W-W Livestock and SWOSU Win Economic Development Partnership Award
Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford and W-W Livestock Systems of Thomas were among several institutions and businesses throughout the state recently recognized for their innovative collaborations that further the education of Oklahoma’s workforce.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Economic Development Partnership Recognition Program is designed to highlight successful partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses and to further cultivate the higher learning environment through State Regents’ economic development grants.
SWOSU and W-W Livestock Systems were honored at a reception in Seminole. Attending from W-W was Harold Gleason, majority owner of the company. Representing SWOSU were President Randy Beutler and Center for Economic and Business Development (CEBC) employees Dr. Marvin Hankins, Doug Misak and Lisa Thiessen.
W-W Livestock Systems partnered with SWOSU’s CEBC and its Oklahoma Small Business Development Center and Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance office to acquire Stampede Steel, another livestock equipment manufacturer. SWOSU assisted W-W in obtaining financing, which helped make the acquisition possible. This acquisition will result in a total of 30 new jobs created in southwest Oklahoma and an additional $5 million in exports, mainly to Canada.
W-W Livestock Systems began designing and manufacturing quality livestock handling equipment in 1945. Over 1,200 dealers across the nation now distribute W-W products.
Gleason said the business strives daily to produce the best quality equipment while offering the best services to their customers. The business focuses on its valued relationships with its customers, and this focus provides its customers with superior service and allows for referrals to other potential customers. By maintaining a professional image in addition to excellent services and products, W-W Livestock Systems provides Thomas and the surrounding area with economic achievement.
Misak, director of the Small Business Development Center at SWOSU, said this venture has been a worthy experience for all involved. W-W gained valuable small business knowledge and provided feedback not only for the SBDC and Manufacturing Alliance to grow from but to encourage other small business owners to use the services as well.