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NIBCO celebrates grand opening of plant expansion, distribution center

June 22, 2011
NIBCO Inc. held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in early June for a large group of customers, city and state officials, business leaders, and NIBCO executives to mark the official completion of its iron valve plant expansion.

BLYTHEVILLE, ARK. — NIBCO Inc. held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house in early June for a large group of customers, city and state officials, business leaders, and NIBCO executives to mark the official completion of its iron valve plant expansion and grand opening of its new distribution center here.

“The NIBCO brand stands for quality products, pride in workmanship and service excellence,“ said NIBCO Chairman of the Board and CEO Rex Martin. “Due to the growing demand for NIBCO valves in the international and domestic markets, this facility reflects our strategic commitment to keep manufacturing and distribution in Blytheville while increasing our production capacity to meet our customers’ needs.”

Martin added, “The new distribution center right here at the point of manufacture allows for even faster customer service.”

NIBCO has had a presence in Blytheville since 1963, Martin said, and built the foundry in 1975 for an investment of $15 million. It invested additional money improving the plant in the 1980s and has spent $14 million on the plant in the last six years.

Among the NIBCO executives who welcomed guests were Rex Martin; his wife, Alice Martin, vice chairman of the board and chief people officer; Steve Malm, president and COO; David Goodling, vice president of supply chain; Jim Hilfinger, vice president – wholesale sales; and Plant Manager Danny Quick.

Alice Martin emphasized that the plant provides good-paying American jobs creating products that are shipped all over the world, contrary to the notion that all new jobs in the U.S. are low-paying retail and service sector positions. NIBCO invests in its people, Alice Martin said, with 25% of the plants’ employees on the job for 25 years or more and 9% for 35 years or more.

NIBCO broke ground on its 50,225-sq.ft. expansion in March 2010, allowing the company to maximize its manufacturing processes while freeing up 100,000-sq.ft. to accommodate its new distribution center. This NIBCO facility manufactures ductile and cast iron gate, globe, check and butterfly valves for the commercial, industrial and fire protection markets.

Rex Martin said that, despite the economy, the firm has had strong business from Brazil, China, Russia and India. The company has also succeeded in the U.S. based on service and quality, he said.

“Our associates here have shown they can compete with anyone anywhere anytime,” he said.

Attendees toured the 281,500-sq.ft. iron valve manufacturing facility and new distribution center to learn more about the company’s best practices, including lean manufacturing, and its commitment to safety, quality and service. After the ribbon cutting ceremony, guests were treated to a Southern barbecue lunch prepared by NIBCO associates, immediately followed by a hospitality reception.

Rex Martin was appointed chairman of the board of NIBCO in 1995. He is the fourth generation of his family to lead the privately held Elkhart, Ind.-based manufacturing company. Martin joined the company in 1975 and served in a variety of marketing, plant management and executive positions until his appointment as president in 1986. Martin holds a B.A. from Indiana University and a Masters in Business Administration from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Martins co-founded The Rex and Alice A. Martin Foundation. The Rex and Alice A. Martin Foundation has funded “Martin Stadium” for the University of Illinois women’s softball team; the Martin Academic Technology Center at Culver Academy in Culver, Ind.; NIBCO Water and Ice Park in Elkhart, Ind., and the Boys & Girls Club of Nacogdoches, Texas.

Founded in 1904 as Northern Indiana Brass Co., NIBCO is a worldwide provider of flow control solutions to the residential and commercial construction, industrial, fire protection and irrigation markets. NIBCO headquarters is located in Elkhart, Ind., and it has 11 manufacturing plants located throughout the U.S., Mexico and Poland.

The company manufactures products for residential and commercial construction, fire protection, industrial and irrigation markets. Products include metal and plastic fittings, valves and actuators, PEX piping systems, press-to-connect copper fittings and valves, BlazeMaster fire protection fittings, Chemtrol industrial plastics, and TOLCO pipe hangers, fabricated supports, seismic bracing, channels and accessories.

NIBCO employs approximately 2,300 people worldwide.

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