June 11, 2012
International business catapults pair of Northwest graduates to success
By Ben Lawson, media assistant
Two Northwest State University graduates are finding success in the global marketplace with a business they founded to assist with shipping.
Matthew Motsick and Bryan Luttrell attended Northwest together, were members of Delta Chi fraternity and are now teamed up as successful business partners. In 2007, Motsick and Luttrell founded Catapult International, a Kansas City-based company that provides global ocean and air rate management software for the international shipping industry.
Their success has generated accolades. Catapult recently was named a Flyover 50 company, awarded to the 50 fastest-growing companies in the Midwest. In its April edition, trade magazine Inbound Logistics named Catapult one of the top 100 logistics IT providers for the second straight year. KC Business magazine also named Motsick one Kansas City’s fastest rising stars.
Luttrell said they created Catapult in response to frustration in the shipping industry regarding the speed of receiving international shipping quotes. Now, they are one of the few companies that provide this service.
“I’m kind of a born entrepreneur,” Motsick said. “I’ve always been thinking of ways to improve efficiencies and how it could be done better.”
Since its creation, Catapult has experienced annual growth rates 100 percent or better and expanded their company to include offices in Germany, China, New York City and San Francisco. Motsick said the company was allowed to expand because of a talented staff.
“It’s the people we bring on,” Motsick said “It’s the success of all of us working together and developing something that is needed in the marketplace.”
Catapult also has made efforts to recruit Northwest graduates. Of the 18 employees at its Kansas City headquarters, eight are former Bearcats.
Motsick graduated from Northwest in 1996 with a public relations degree and Luttrell graduated in 1995 with a geography degree.
“We had a good experience at Northwest,” Luttrell said. “We know the quality of people that come out of Northwest and we kept relationships with instructors so it’s pretty easy for us to create partnerships. So far, everyone we have recruited out of Northwest has worked out very well for us. It’s just been a good success story so we want to keep that flowing.”
Catapult also participates in the Graduate Directed Project, in which a group of students work to develop mobile applications for the company.
Luttrell said he learned important skills at Northwest that helped him in the business world.
“Northwest taught me how to think independently,” Luttrell said. “Being an entrepreneur you have to learn to think independently and survive on your own because everything you do falls back on yourself. If we make a mistake, we have to pay for it out of our own pocket.”
Looking forward, Luttrell expects to see a 300 percent growth rate for Catapult this year and the company has plans to open an office in the Philippines.
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