From garage beginnings, Sportech celebrates 25th anniversary

Passion and people — these two elements represent Sportech’s core values and have fueled the company’s incredible success over the past 25 years. This success will now be celebrated as Sportech will recognize customers, suppliers, and employees who have played a pivotal role in the company’s 25-year journey.

The Elk River, Minnesota-based company embodies the American spirit of entrepreneurship. Starting in a garage as a father and son business, Sportech now operates out of two state-of-the-art, $23 million facilities totaling 200,000 square feet of production space, with close to 300 employees. The company is recognized as a product development expert and designs and manufactures comprehensive accessory products for a diversified list of vehicle and equipment manufacturers, many of which are some of the most recognizable brands in the world, including Polaris, John Deere and Honda.

Chris Carlson started Sportech in his Minnesota garage. The company celebrates its 25th anniversary this month and employs nearly 300 in Elk River, Minnesota. Photos courtesy of Sportech

With revenue growth for 2017 in excess of 25 percent, Sportech generated more than $200 million of revenue for its clients. This kind of sustained growth takes leadership, ingenuity, determination, and clear vision to guide the company, but perhaps more importantly, it takes dedicated and talented people throughout all levels of the organization who are as passionate about Sportech as its owners.

“It has been an incredible journey,” said Sportech CEO and owner Chris Carlson. “None of us who have been here since the beginning could have ever imagined this level of success. It’s been a complete team effort. Certainly, we’ve had some luck along the way, and we have been truly blessed to work with some amazing companies, but most importantly it’s our employees. They are the number one reason for our company’s success.”

A sense of belonging for Sportech employees goes beyond the company walls. Sportech also places a great deal of emphasis on being an integral part of the community the company calls home, located 45 minutes north of downtown Minneapolis.

Sportech attributes much of its growth to products it makes for the side-by-side industry. UTV cabs have become a growth-driver.

“Valuing people over plastic, it’s something we talk about constantly,” said Carlson. “We don’t just want to engage our employees and our customers, but also the families and communities our company represents.”

For this reason, it’s not surprising people will be the focus of Sportech’s 25th anniversary celebration and the days, months, and years to follow. Sportech is poised for continued growth through ongoing diversification and innovation as the company enters the golf, heavy equipment and agriculture industries. Attracting the very best talent will remain a critical part of the journey.

“Our employees, our team, they’re our strongest differentiator in the marketplace, and the number one reason we’ve been so successful,” said Carlson. “There’s nothing I’m more proud of than the folks I’ve had an opportunity to work with over the past 25 years; and I’m looking forward to continuing and building on those relationships over the next 25.”

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