Viega opens 439,000-sq.ft. manufacturing center in Kansas

Mcpherson, Kan. - Nearly a thousand industry partners, government officials and Viega personnel gathered in late April for the official grand opening of Viega's 439,000-sq.ft. Manufacturing and Distribution Center. Today, we unlock here in McPherson, another door to the future, said Viega co-owner Walter Viegener. The event kicked off in mid-morning when Viega CEO Dan Schmierer welcomed guests. Joining

Mcpherson, Kan. - Nearly a thousand industry partners, government officials and Viega personnel gathered in late April for the official grand opening of Viega's 439,000-sq.ft. Manufacturing and Distribution Center.

“Today, we unlock here in McPherson, another door to the future,” said Viega co-owner Walter Viegener.

The event kicked off in mid-morning when Viega CEO Dan Schmierer welcomed guests. Joining Schmierer on stage were Viega owners, Heinz-Bernd Viegener, Walter Viegener and newly elected McPherson Mayor Tom Brown.

“This facility represents Viega's commitment to the plumbing and heating industry” said Schmierer.

While the housing market is not favorable now, Viega is confident the housing market will soon recover.

“We have three reasons to celebrate. Our 110-year global presence in Germany, our 10-years in North America and today's grand opening,” said Heinz-Bernd Viegener.

Viega broke ground on its production, logistics and office complex in March 2007.

At the time, before a turnout of city and state officials, business leaders and Viega executive staff, Walter Viegener, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Schmierer, McPherson Mayor Bill Goering, and President of the McPherson Industrial Development company Brett Reber, gave praise to all those involved in making this project possible.

“This is a big day for Kansas,” the governor said.

Viega acquired Vanguard Piping Systems, a cross-linked polyethylene manufacturer, and an affiliated company, Midtec of America, an injection molding company, in October 2005. The Manabloc water distribution manifold was a Vanguard creation. At the time of the acquisition, Vanguard had the largest market share for PEX tubing in the country. Construction of new facilities in McPherson allows the extrusion, molding and warehouse operations to be combined.

Heinz-Bernd Viegener told CONTRACTOR that the presence of Vanguard and Midtec in Kansas and its hundreds of employees was a major reason why Viega relocated its North American headquarters from Massachusetts to Kansas. Viegener said the company had a duty not to uproot or abandon that many employees.

The mechanical and electrical installation at the plant was performed by mechanical/electrical Giant P1 Group Inc. P1 Group was ranked as the nation's 42nd largest mechanical contractor with mechanical revenues in excess of $150 million (May 2009, p. 24). P1 has more than 800 employees.

P1 was founded in 2001 and consolidated into one firm in 2007. The founding companies that were consolidated into P1 in 2007 are A.D. Jacobson Co. Inc., founded in 1919; Huxtable & Associates Inc., founded in 1927; U.S. Electrical Construction Inc., founded in 1955; Huxtable LT Service Inc., founded in 1985; and ADJ-HUX Service Inc., founded in 1993.

P1 consolidates some substantial contracting brainpower that includes three past presidents of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America — Michael W. Gossman, 2004; Smitty G. Belcher, 2001; and Herbert R. Jacobson, 1985.

Viega GmbH & Co. KG, headquartered in Attendorn, Germany, has been providing plumbing and heating solutions to builders, contractors and wholesalers for 110 years. Viega is a family owned business that employs 500 employees in North America and approximately 2,800 people worldwide. Approximately 210 of Viega's North American employees work at the new facility in McPherson.

Presentations concluded with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, plant tours and a Kansas BBQ lunch complete with ribeye steaks and a cake spanning 3-ft. by 5-ft., which resembled the enormous facility. The manufacturing and distribution center spans 11-acres, which equates to nearly 10 football fields under one roof.

Equipped with extrusion and injection molding machines, logistics and office space, the new facility and the state-of-the-art equipment it uses, will help streamline operations, improve efficiency and provide Viega employees the space to start developing new products. Soon, 22 states throughout the Midwest will receive all Viega products from this location.

When co-owner Heinz-Bernd Viegener was asked if he would have invested in this large of a facility if he had known the housing industry was about to collapse, Viegener quickly responded, “Yes. Viega has remained a family owned company for 110 years. Long term thinking and employee interests have always been more important than short termed financial figures. The money earned during the good times is to remain in the company and be used for future oriented investments.”

In his remarks at the grand opening, Viegener emphasized how much the company and its owners believe in the U.S. market. The company's position is that when the housing market turns around, the new facility will enable Viega to easily meet the demands of a rebounding housing industry.

For 110 years, Viega has been manufacturing and supplying the highest quality plumbing and heating products in the world. In 2006, the company moved its North American headquarters to Wichita, Kan. Viega is known for offerings such as the ProPress copper systems, ProRadiant heating and cooling systems, PureFlow plumbing systems, using ViegaPEX tubing, and the Manabloc water distribution manifold.