North Dakota firm buys Tramco

Westfield Industries, a Fargo, N.D., firm specializing in grain equipment, has acquired Leon Trammell's Tramco, the 44-year-old Wichita firm at 1020 E. 19th St. that manufactures bulk material handling equipment.

The deal was a cash transaction for stock, Trammell said Monday. The purchase price was not disclosed. Trammell said company president Steve Cloud would remain as general manager.

Tramco has about 135 employees and builds manufactures bulk material-handling conveyors.

The deal will be formally announced to Tramco employees at 11:30 a.m. today, Trammell said.

"It hasn't been easy," he said. "It's kind of like marrying off your daughter. No man is good enough for your daughter, and no company's really good enough for your baby down here."

But Trammell praised Westfield's move into international grain markets, calling it the best fit to take the company he founded in 1967 "to the next level."

The new owner and its parent, Ag Growth International of Winnipeg, Canada, manufacture and distribute a variety of grain handling equipment across the United States, nine provinces and overseas.

"I don't have the energy to take the company to the next level," Trammell said. "They are a conservative company with a global view that were interested in us because of our global expertise.

"They see a worldwide future in the grain industry as third-world countries develop, and I think they're right."

Trammell said he wanted to make sure the future of his employees was assured in the sale of the company.

He'll remain as a consultant during the sales transition before retiring to his Butler County home as a rancher and international marketing consultant.

"I'll be watching," he said. "We're in 57 countries right now, and if we ever get to that Coca-Cola level of 210 countries, I want to be right in there celebrating."

Gary Anderson, the president of AGI, will comment on the sale after it is announced today, company officials said.