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Best Kansas City Product, Kan. 

Garmin International

Garmin's Super Bowl ad is symbolic of the company itself. You know the one: A suit-wearing dude uses a Garmin device to turn himself into a giant robot to kick the crap out of a map monster. If you haven't figured out the symbolism, the beast is Microsoft, Magellan, Google and every other technology giant that simply can't keep up. It wasn't always this way for Garmin. The company was formed in 1989 by Wichita State grad Gary Burrell and Taiwan native Min Kao on a simple prediction that satellites would provide the future of map technology. Turns out they were as spot-on as one of their GPS doohickeys. Garmin expects to pull in $2.8 billion this year, a billion more than the company made in 2006. The company now has 6,000 employees, with nearly a third of them in Olathe. Even in Kansas City — where our fine grid system keeps most people from getting lost — people are slapping down a few hundred bucks so that Garmin's handheld GPS devices can remind them that Pflumm is west of Quivira. For a company used to giving directions, here's one Garmin is sure to follow: "At next intersection, turn into a giant monster. Devour competitors."

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