Skip to:

Office of the Governor Blog

RSS Feed


    view as list


      Delegate Profiles: Business

      Posted on June 13, 2012 at 9:15 AM

      Jet Edge

      David Anderson is confident his company has what it takes to cut it in China.

      “If you have a good product and can sell it here, you can sell it anywhere,” says Anderson, the international sales manager for Jet Edge, a manufacturer of ultra-high waterjet and abrasivejet technology. “China is a huge market for our products.”

      Jet Edge waterjets cut with a supersonic stream of water that is so powerful it can cut through materials in one pass without shredding or crushing them. Here’s how it works: water is pressurized up to 90,000 psi and forced through an orifice as small as .005 inches. Often an abrasive is added that can cut cleanly through virtually any material.

      The company manufactures complete systems and related products for precision waterjet cutting, surface preparation and coatings removal.
      The systems have a variety of uses. Materials commonly cut with waterjet include rubber, foam, plastics, composites, stone, tile, metals like hardened steel and titanium, food, paper and much more. The only materials that cannot be cut with waterjet are tempered glass, diamonds and certain ceramics.

      Jet Edge waterjet systems are used around the world in a broad range of industries, from the world’s leading airlines to automotive, aerospace, and industrial manufacturers to machine and job shops.

      Jet Edge has a Chinese partner and sales office and showroom in Shanghai. “It is crucial to have equipment there to show and demonstrate, to have a local presence,” says Anderson. “Customers need to hear it, see it, look at it.”

      Jet Edge’s customers in China are U.S. companies with operations in the market as well as Chinese companies.

      Headquartered in a 100,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in St. Michael, MN, Jet Edge also has sales offices throughout the United States, as well as distributors in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia/Pacifc, South America and the Middle East/Africa.

      Anderson has been on other governor’s trade missions and thinks the trips provide valuable experience, networking and outreach opportunities. And he stresses that doing business in foreign markets is a smart move for Minnesota companies that want to grow.

      “In difficult economic times, it is particularly important that you have a great product that can sell around the globe – to keep your company healthy.”

      Learn more at

      New Asia Partners

      It was the spring of 1989 and, like everyone else on the planet, Dennis Nguyen was transfixed on China as mass demonstrations for economic and political reform erupted in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

      Watching the drama unfold on television, the young college student from southern California looked beyond the moment and saw his future.  “I thought: That’s the country that’s going to change the world,” he recounts.

      Today, as the chairman and CEO of New Asia Partners, LLC, a private equity group based in Minneapolis and Shanghai, Nguyen is deeply immersed in the economic revolution that has transformed China into an international powerhouse.

      New Asia Partners works with investors to buy stakes in small and mid-sized Chinese companies with growth potential and provides the financial, strategic and operational guidance to take those companies public.

      The company focuses on health care services, consumer retail, alternative energy, and natural resources and mining.

      Not so long ago, Nguyen’s group invested $20 million to buy a sizable minority equity stake in Wuyi International Pharmaceutical. A year later, New Asia Partners took the company public in Hong Kong, creating more than $375 million in value for its management and initial owners.

      As consumer demand rises in China, Nguyen sees opportunities for investment everywhere. Opportunities for Minnesota companies to sell goods, services and commodities in China. Opportunities for Minnesota investors in China. Opportunities from Chinese investors in Minnesota.

      The overall Chinese consumer retail market shows tremendous growth potential because of basic factors:

      • A 1.3 billion customer population
      • Low but highly rising penetration rates
      • Rising disposable incomes
      • Increasing real estate growth
      • Increasing urbanization rates
      • A recent emphasis by the China’s central government to transform economic growth to a consumption-based model from an export-driven model.

      “It’s all predicated on the rise of the middle class in Asia,” says Nguyen, pointing out that China’s growing middle class now numbers 300 million people, about the population of the United States.

      “The more money you have, the more you can afford health care, clean water, food, consumer goods like cars, washing machines, bikes,” he says. “People are just adopting so many things.”

      Nguyen’s aims to figure out how to help investors and companies tap into that demand.

      “I’m trying to create a Minnesota-to-Asia bridge, allow our investors to earn outsize returns, introduce Minnesota products and services to our companies in China, and stimulate Chinese investment here.”

      And the time is ripe for Chinese companies to look to buy or expand operations in the United States, turning back a decades-long trend of one-way investment from the United States into China, says Nguyen.  A large crop of Chinese millionaires has given birth to a new investor class eager to diversify their holdings. “Now it’s starting to come back to the U.S. in a huge way,” he says.

      Nguyen says participation in trade missions helps his company make valuable industry and political contacts and connections not only in China but also in Minnesota.

      There are some doors in China that can only be opened by a high-level U.S. or Chinese officials.

      For instance, New Asia Partners invests primarily in companies in Fujian, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Jiangsu, and Zheijang, but the group wants to expand into other regions of China, including Shaanxi Province.

      “This trade mission will give me the chance to meet Shaanxi’s governor, thanks to Governor Dayton,” says Nguyen. “And the connections I’ll make with Minnesota agricultural companies on the business delegation with be just as valuable.”

      Learn more at

      DLR Group

      The desire to use his firm’s architectural, design and marketing experience in the Chinese market – and a deft stroke of timing – led Griff Davenport, chief executive officer of DLR Group, to the China trade mission.

      The design firm provides architecture, engineering, planning and interior design from 21 offices nationwide. An office in Shanghai with local expertise came onboard a scant two months ago. The China trade mission will be Davenport’s first visit to that country.

      Davenport joined DLR Group in 1980 and has worked in several of the company’s offices during his career. He founded the Minneapolis office in 1989 and was instrumental in growing the firm’s K-12 education market share and award-winning design expertise in the Midwest.

      Named DLR’s managing principal in 2005, Davenport collaborates to craft the firm’s business and marketing strategy with a focus on hospitality, retail/mixed-use, workplace, K-12 and higher education, sports, senior living, criminal justice and courts clients.

      Davenport says China’s growing middle-class presents business opportunities, particularly for DLR Group’s hospitality, retail, education and senior living practice areas.

      “The Chinese are very interested in the Mall of America,” Davenport says, noting that accommodate an increase in Chinese visitors, MOA has opened stores for luxury brands, hired staff with Chinese language fluency and worked with airlines to offer more flights from China.

      “We want to explore the market and use our experience as a catalyst for growing our presence in China,” he said.

      DLR Group is one of only three firms to attain an ARCHITECT magazine Top 10 ranking based on design excellence, sustainable design commitment and financial acumen every year since the publication began its Top 50 list in 2009.

      Learn more at