LOVES PARK, ILL. — On Wednesday May 2, 2012, Rothenberger, a worldwide provider of pipe tools and machines in plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, refrigeration, and gas and environmental technology, officially opened its new North American headquarters, a 41,000-sq.ft. facility, here, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration.
“We decided to bring North American manufacturing under one roof, and regrouped everything, so this facility will service North American products,” said Dr. Helmut Rothenberger, president of Rothenberger. “We think globally, but act locally.”
Acting locally is paramount to the company, according to Rothenberger, and in 2004, the company’s focus on the North American market was expanded with the 50/50 joint venture between Rothenberger AG and Greenlee Textron Inc., a provider of electrical tools and test instruments in North America, to focus on the professional plumbing tool market.
“When we did this joint venture we decided to streamline,” said Scott Hall, president of Greenlee and president of Textron’s Industrial segment. “We are both comfortable investing here. This is definitely a vote of confidence.
“The facility that was renovated was closed in 2009,” continued Hall, “and when we were discussing where we wanted the facility, we knew we wanted it to be near the Greenlee facility. Renovation of the building took about seven to eight months.”
Rothenberger has hired about a half dozen new employees since opening this April, and as business continues to grow, the company anticipates hiring additional employees.
“The U.S. headquarters will be the central location for all aspects of the business — sales, marketing, customer service, finance, engineering, operations and distribution,” said Chera Ellis, vice president and general manager of Rothenberger USA. “The impetus behind this decision was the customer. With the entire team residing in one location we can immediately react to customer needs. We’re no longer a call away; we’re a few steps away from creating solutions.”
To supply and support customers, every employee plays a pivotal role, and Rothenberger fosters a positive company culture for its employees.
“In my career, I have never experienced the level of loyalty that I have with Rothenberger,” said Ellis. “We have all read articles that refer to the employee/employer relationship being damaged over the years due to cut backs however with Rothenberger there is a tenacity that is unmatched. I recently spoke to an assembler who referred to each of the threaders as ‘his children.’ He takes extreme pride in ensuring that each machine is built to provide the end user with many years of productivity. Even as we have brought on new team members, it is very important to me that we do not disturb the culture. I try to spend at least 30% to 40% of my time working on initiatives that foster a positive culture by recognizing efforts and celebrating milestones.”
North American products manufactured and distributed at the facility include threaders and dies, flaring tools, tubing cutters and light assembly tools.
Besides bringing North American manufacturing under one roof, the company is also focusing on sustainable growth in more than just one way.
“We want to cut down on waste and packaging, we want a second use for our packaging to keep people from throwing things away,” said Rothenberger. “We also need sustainable growth here to supply and support our customers. As a company we have to say we made it and we support it … This is a sustainable relationship with the customer. This gives the customer trust, and trust equals confidence.”
A passion for water
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Rothenberger said that the company is in the water business.
“Rothenberger connects people with energy and water,” stated Rothenberger. “As everyone knows, we have droughts around the world. Water will be the lifeline of the future. We have technology to connect water to human beings. We follow the pipe … that’s our saying.”
In 2008, Rothenberger started Tools For Life, a program dedicated to improve the sustainable public welfare of society. The goal of the Tools For Life Foundation is to help individuals and communities worldwide establish and improve the quality of drinking water and energy supply. Every project embraces aspects of sustainable development collaborations and works with selected aid organizations.
“Water is life and we support and want to bring life to people,” said Rothenberger. “We have been happy to find partners for this in the U.S.”
“It’s rewarding to see what we do, to see that we make a difference,” added Rothenberger. “It’s a very nice experience and activity.”