SPECIAL TO CONTRACTOR
NASHUA, N.H. — Viega North America opened its first educational facility Sept. 18 in grand style before a turnout of nearly 350 attendees. Contractors, industry partners, city officials and Viega personnel gathered to celebrate the official opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and champagne toast.
Viega CEO Dan Schmierer, Training Director Mark Parent, Vice President/ Sales and Marketing Dave Garlow and Nashua Mayor Bernard A. Streeter welcomed guests. Joining them were the two cousins who own Viega, Heinz-Bernd Viegener and Walter Viegener, and the company's export manager, Karl-Heinz Maier.
The 16,000-sq.-ft. training center, under Parent's direction, is equipped with a computer lab for plumbing and heating takeoff applications, multiple presentation rooms and a hands-on interactive shop area. The educational facility showcases the benefits of Viega systems and represents its know-how in the plumbing and heating business.
Viega North America made the point that its German parent is backing it with its substantial expertise and broad product line. Viega has more than 2 million sq. ft. of manufacturing and office space in Germany. The privately held company has operated continuously since 1899. The company, which employs more than 2,000 people in four plants in Germany, manufactures and distributes more than 12,000 metallic and plastic products for the plumbing, HVAC and commercial piping markets.
The computer lab in Nashua features a score of built-in workstations set in theater style tiered seating. A display room shows the range of the company's products from large diameter plumbing to hydronic radiant heating controls. A lower level workshop in the radiantly heated — and cooled — building is set aside for hands-on training. The facility has a full kitchen and a vendor arrangement with the catering services of the nearby Crowne Plaza hotel so the students will never go hungry.
"This facility represents many things including a commitment to our North American industry partners, customers, employees and end-users," Garlow said. "It also represents Viega's commitment to being best-in-class in everything we do."
The opening of the training center is part of the firm's physical reorganization following the move of its headquarters from Bedford, Mass., to Wichita, Kan. Viega has designated McPherson, Kan., as its North American manufacturing site and will construct a 450,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing, warehouse and office facility northeast of the city.
Viega acquired Vanguard Piping Systems, a PEX manufacturer, and an affiliated company, Midtec of America, an injection molding company, in October 2005. Construction of new facilities in McPherson will allow the extrusion, molding and warehouse operations to be combined. The three facilities currently occupied by the extrusion and injection molding divisions of Viega will be vacated in mid-2007 with the completion of the new facility. Viega has more than 435 employees in North America.
In addition to the McPherson warehouse, Viega will open a Western regional-warehouse, most likely in Reno, Nev. The firm plans to open a West Coast training center. Schmierer said neither the site nor the state has been determined, but the San Francisco Bay area, especially Oakland, Calif., is a major candidate.