New Tramco owner steps in

Wichita entrepreneur Leon Trammell formally handed his 44-year-old conveyor manufacturing firm over to its new Canadian owners during a noon ceremony Tuesday.

Ag Growth International, based in Winnepeg, Manitoba, purchased the Wichita bulk-material handling firm at 1020 E. 19th St. for $21.3 million.

The sale was formally announced to employees Tuesday at the company's Christmas dinner, which included presentations by Trammell and AGI president Gary Anderson.

AGI, which owns 10 other agricultural-related companies in Canada, the United States and Finland, sought Tramco for its international footprint, Anderson said.

"In this case, it was pretty evident that Tramco was the prize in this sector, and we were very interested in acquiring it," Anderson said.

"We're most interested in what Tramco offers globally. For a somewhat small business in terms of global business, Tramco has extended a footprint far beyond its size, and that's primarily what we saw in the company."

Anderson said Tramco's focus on customer service also appealed to a Canadian firm that rode that service to grow into a 1,200-employee multi-national firm.

"Certainly his philosophy in how he looks after his customers, and that's a philosophy that we've shared since we were a startup company in 1996 back in Saskatchewan," he said.

"We started with a new product line and all the pain that comes with that, so you have to be committed to your customers. Customer service still works."

Very little will change for Tramco and its 135 employees, including the company name, Anderson said.

Company president Steve Cloud, a longtime Tramco employee, will remain as general manager.

Trammell thanked the employees for their contributions to his company.

"It's just amazing the recognition that our product has received around the world, thanks to you," he said.". . . Every day, each of you have tried as hard as you can to build a quality product, and it's recognized around the world."

There are no real retirement plans in the works: Trammell plans to remain active in business as a consultant, and work on his Butler County ranch.

"So, I guess my last official duty here is to wish all of you a Merry Christmas," he told the employees.