Nebraska is home to many exporting companies and multi-nationals, which are the lifeblood of robust international business in the state. Fortune Magazine revealed in its 2011 report that Omaha ranked eighth among the nation’s 50 largest cities, in terms of both the number of billionaires and the number of Fortune 500 companies. Many world-class companies are headquartered in Omaha, including Warren Buffett’s massive multinational holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, which employs over 250,000 people across the globe.
Other large multinationals based in Nebraska include investment company TD Ameritrade, Kiewit Corporation, one of the largest engineering and construction contractors in the world, and ConAgra Foods, a packaged food company that generates over $12 billion in annual revenue. These large corporations along with hundreds of other small to medium-sized exporting businesses contribute to the diversity of Nebraska’s commodity and service related export base, highlighting the many options available to the state’s international business majors who will be graduating and entering the workforce in the coming years.
Nebraska’s International Trade Partners
Exporting goods and services across the globe is big business in Nebraska. In 2010, Nebraska shipped exports of merchandise totaling $5.8 billion, according to the International Trade Administration. Canada is Nebraska’s number one trade partner, with the state exporting $1.6 billion in goods, services and materials to the northern neighbor in 2010. Nebraska’s second largest international trade partner is Mexico, which imported $1.3 billion in finished goods and raw materials from the state in 2010. The booming Asian markets of Japan and China were not far behind, having received $437 million and $279 million in imports from Nebraska that year respectively.
According to the Business Roundtable, an association of corporate executives from top American corporations, the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar is one of Nebraska’s fastest growing trade partners. According to the national US-Arab Chamber of Commerce, in the last decade, Nebraska-based businesses increased annual exports to the country from just $38,000 in 2000 to over $71 million in 2010 .
Due to the immense influence of food giant, Con Agra Foods, processed foods were Nebraska’s largest export in 2010, accounting for $1.9 billion. Other leading exporters from the state included machinery manufacturers, agricultural producers, chemical manufactures and transportation equipment manufacturers.
Exporting companies require the talents of international trade specialists, global managers and management consultants, as well as logisticians and freight forwarding agents to manage foreign and domestic operations, provide consultation services and to handle the logistics of financing, licensing and shipping goods and materials for export.
International Business Jobs in Nebraska
Nebraska is home to a number of major multi-national companies that contribute significantly to the economy of the state. According to the Business Roundtable, foreign-owned companies employ more than 20,000 Nebraska workers and corporate professionals, accounting for over 3% of the state’s total private-sector employment in 2009.
One major multi-national company with a strong manufacturing presence in Nebraska is Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corporation of Japan, located in Lincoln. The company opened its Nebraska plant in 1974 with 286,000 square feet of production space, and has since expanded to include over 1.3 million square feet of manufacturing, warehouse and office space. More than 1,000 employees work at the plant, making it a major employer in the Lincoln area.
Other multi-nationals in the state include McCain Foods of Grand Island, which manufactures over 100 million pounds of food products annually. Schneider Electric, a French company, employs over 123,000 workers in 100 countries, and has operations in both Omaha and Lincoln.
As these and other globally connected companies continue to thrive, they will require the talents of import compliance specialists, international accountants, custom brokers and international market research analysts to identify probable markets for selling goods and services and to navigate the complex world of overseas trade.
Making International Business Contacts in Nebraska
Nebraska offers a number of resources to those interested in information about the influence of international business in the state: