Viega to move operations to Wichita

WICHITA, KAN. Viega North America, a major U.S. manufacturer of plumbing, hydronic heating and commercial piping products, announced in late May that it will move its corporate headquarters from Massachusetts to Kansas and build new manufacturing, warehouse and office facilities. Viega NA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Viega GmbH & Co. KG, headquartered in Attendorn, Germany, has designated McPherson,

WICHITA, KAN. — Viega North America, a major U.S. manufacturer of plumbing, hydronic heating and commercial piping products, announced in late May that it will move its corporate headquarters from Massachusetts to Kansas and build new manufacturing, warehouse and office facilities.

Viega NA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Viega GmbH & Co. KG, headquartered in Attendorn, Germany, has designated McPherson, Kan., as its North American manufacturing site and will construct a 450,000-sq.ft. manufacturing, warehouse and office facility along Interstate 135 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. Today, Viega has more than 435 employees in North America.

The decision to move was an easy one, Viega CEO Dan Schmierer told CONTRACTOR. Following the Vanguard and Midtec acquisitions, the company needed to relocate to where most of its employees are.

Construction of new offices in Wichita will commence within the next year, Schmierer said, adding that Viega is in the process of acquiring property in the Waterfront area of Wichita. The new office structure will include a training center and display area showcasing many of Viega's 12,000 products, which are sold worldwide.

The move away from its long-time New England home is likely a nonissue with its customers, Schmierer said, because the company is building a new training and seminar center in Nashua, N.H., along with a 200,000- sq.- ft. warehouse to serve New England customers.

In addition to the McPherson warehouse, Viega will open a Western regional warehouse, most likely in Reno, Nev. Viega also operates eight strategically placed consignment warehouses throughout North America. The company's ultimate goal is to be able to ship all orders within 24 hours.

The 30 people working in the Bedford, Mass., office have all been offered employment, Schmierer said. Ten to 15 will end up coming to Wichita, five to 10 will move to the new facilities in New Hampshire and about five will seek new opportunities. The Bedford office will close in September.

Viega also has about 60 field sales representatives scattered across the country and works with about 30 independent rep organizations.

Viega's premier products include the ProPress copper press fittings for potable water and commercial piping applications, the patented Manabloc water distribution plumbing system and Vanex Ultra PEX tubing.

"We believe the North American market offers significant growth opportunities and we're making a strong commitment to the market with an aggressive growth strategy," Schmierer said, adding that the new McPherson facility would incorporate world-class extrusion and molding technologies.

"We'll also equip the warehouse facilities with the most modern inventory handling equipment and software, giving us the capability to serve our customers with reduced delivery times," Schmierer said. "Our goal is to deliver complete orders to our customers within a 24-hour period throughout North America."

The site of the new Viega national headquarters building, scheduled for completion within two years, was selected based on numerous factors, including accessibility to the airport, high visibility, and the proximity of hotels, restaurants and shops.

"The Waterfront is an excellent venue for the Viega headquarters building," Schmierer said. "We'll be in an area with well-established commercial development. And, we believe this is a premier office area in Wichita. I believe this is a great opportunity for Viega, for Wichita and for Kansas."

Viega's parent company has more than 2 million sq. ft. of manufacturing and office space in Germany. The privately held company, owned by cousins Heinz-Bernd Viegener and Walter Viegener, has operated continuously for more than 100 years. The company, which employs more than 2,000 persons in four large plants in Germany, manufactures and distributes metallic and plastic products for the plumbing, HVAC and commercial piping markets.