06 Oct Viega to Add New Production Line and Jobs
By Cristina Janney
McPherson Sentinel, Managing Editor
Posted Oct. 6, 2014 @ 8:35 am
Viega announced Friday it will build a new 80,000-square-foot addition to its facility in McPherson. The building will include a manufacturing hall for metal fittings and office space. Ground will be broken on the facility in November, weather permitting, with manufacturing slated to begin in 2016. The project will result in the addition of more than 100 permanent employees at the plant during the next several years. The company employs about 200 workers in McPherson today, 485 in the U. S., and 2,800 worldwide. The company did not disclose how much it would be investing in the project.
Viega’s current facility is 439,000 square feet and sits on 106 acres in McPherson’s industrial park. The McPherson plant specializes in injection molding and pipe extrusion. The plant also houses a state-of-the-art logistics center. Its products are used in residential, commercial, industrial and marine plumping, heating and cooling worldwide.
Viega is a German-owned private company based in Attendorn, Germany. It got its start 115 years ago, making brass beer taps. The company entered the United States 15 years ago with the introduction of press technology for the plumping market. In 2005, Viega acquired Vanguard Piping Systems and Midtech and relocated all of their operations to Kansas. The company has placed an emphasis on innovation. A Viega development in press fitting technology has allowed plumbers to increase efficiency and quality. Viega also created a carbon steel fitting that can join black iron pipe.
Robert Boots, Viega executive vice president and COO, said McPherson offers a positive business climate.
“The city and the county have been extremely supportive, especially MIDC [McPherson Industrial Development Corporation],” he said.
However, with that positive business climate comes challenges. Low unemployment means more competition for qualified and talented employees, David Garlow, Viega president and CEO, said.
The McPherson facility is designed for optimal material flow, as well as safety. Boots said the company’s No. 1 priority is safety, and it maintains a clean factory to that end. These attentions to detail help the company recruit and keep quality employees.
Kim Smith, a molding line manager who was giving tours Friday, said, “We keep the plant super clean. We are proud of where we are working, and we have great benefits.”
Viega officials also continue to encourage infrastructure improvements within McPherson County, including hotels, eating places and entertainment destinations. These amenities help the company cater to visiting customers and draw new employees to the area.
Viega made the announcement about its expansion Friday during its celebration of nationwide Manufacturing Day. Several hundred people signed up to tour the facility.
“This helps us with recruiting for the company, but, in general, it exposes people to manufacturing. It’s an exciting field,” Boots said.