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ExporTech Program Provides Pivotal Edge Tools Needed For Export Success

exporting on a boat, plane and a tractor trailer
Credit: iStock/Tryaging

Pivotal Edge, Inc. is a family-owned company founded in 2006 with annual sales of $3,500,000. Today they have four employees manufacturing the Pivotal Edge Cover, which fits onto the manholes on top of tank trailers. The covers can be opened and closed from the ground,  providing safe and more efficient loading for drivers. By keeping drivers off of platforms, ladders, and the tops of trucks, loading times are reduced; speeding up cycle times. On average ten minutes can be saved on each loading cycle. Without having to climb heights so frequently, it reduces driver fatigue; making the roads safer. In addition, it is a robust product that is easily repairable with minimal tools, so it's perfect for the drivers who are often working in remote locations. In order to control costs and ensure high quality parts, Pivotal Edge manufactures most products in-house.

Pivotal Edge wanted to export to additional countries. Their key challenges were: 1) transportation/customs, 2) certification for pressure vessels, 3) language/translation of technical documents. As an ISO company, Pivotal Edge Inc. sells the only ASTM-certified manhole cover operated from the ground to the dry bulk transportation industry. The challenge is to increase customer awareness of the product.

My experience with ExporTech was very positive. The program provided meaningful and contextual information that we were able to put into practice. We have had year after year growth in our exports to countries identified in the program as potential markets.  

—Jay Beyer, President

Jay Beyer, Vice President of Pivotal Edge, participated in the ExporTech program hosted by Impact Dakota, part of the MEP National NetworkTM. He said there were several really good take away items for the Export Tech experience, in which four to eight non-competing companies participate in three workshops over the course of ten weeks. During that time, the participants receive individualized coaching, listen to and learn from various presenters, and ultimately develop their own actionable export growth plan. In the final session, the companies each present their plan to a panel of experienced international business people for feedback. The research data was an immediate help in identifying potential countries for Pivotal Edge to target for sale, but more important was the exposure to the process of who to reach out to as the company continues to develop.

For example, presenter Tim McCue from FedEx Logistics is the reason today most of Pivotal Edge's shipments are done using the FedEx team. With manufacturing located in North Dakota, transportation is a large part of Pivotal Edge's cost of doing business.  ExportTech helped Pivotal Edge increase export sales from $167,000 in 2017 to $1.2 million in 2018 (Canadian sales not included.)


  • Over $1,000,000 in increased sales
  • $850,000 new investment in machinery
  • 150% productivity increase
  • 14% reduction in small package shipment costs

Could your company benefit from assistance with exporting? Connect with your local MEP Center for more information.


Impact Dakota is the official representative of the MEP National Network in North Dakota. The MEP National Network is a unique public-private partnership that helps small and medium-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy. The MEP National Network comprises the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), the 51 MEP Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

About the author

Impact Dakota

Impact Dakota is a business consulting firm dedicated to helping organizations become more than they are today. We offer products and services including:

  • Leadership training and staff development
  • Process improvement practices and tools
  • Growth strategies to expand markets and develop new services
  • Innovation, strategy, and systems planning

Impact Dakota’s team of experts helps solve the needs of industry and business through innovative, sustainable, cost-effective solutions. We conduct detailed needs assessments, outline potential solutions based on the results, and provide technical assistance to help you solve those problems. 

Impact Dakota will find answers and customize solutions to address your operational needs. We are committed to providing you with services and access to public and private resources to positively impact your business results. 

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