Vermeer Corp. last week held a groundbreaking for a monument commemorating the buildings destroyed by an EF3 tornado last July, while celebrating the strength of the Vermeer team and its growth and process. With three new facilities underway at the company’s Pella, Iowa, headquarters, Vermeer is investing heavily in its future.
“The tornado was the greatest challenge Vermeer has ever faced,” said president and CEO Jason Andringa. “Not only are we rebuilding what we had, but we’re becoming stronger than ever before.”
The first facility scheduled to open this summer is a new engineering and R&D building named Shop 48, named for founder Gary Vermeer’s shop where his innovations came to life and led to the founding of Vermeer Corp. in 1948. With more than 100,000 square feet of space dedicated to building and testing new equipment, employees will begin to move into this space next month.
“We’re very fortunate at Vermeer to have a 71-year history of innovation,” said president of industrial solutions Doug Hundt. “Shop 48 will take our innovation and growth opportunities long into the future.”
Plant 7 was formally announced Friday as the new facility being built where Plants 5 and 6 once stood. Nearly 500,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space will expand beyond the original manufacturing footprint that took up almost 400,000 square feet. The new facility will connect to the original Plant 7 that was damaged in the tornado but repaired in the months following. Together they will take the name Plant 7. The building is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2020.
“Looking ahead, this facility is going to be world class in every feature,” said vice president of operations Bill Blackorby. “We’re advancing our paint technology, coat technology and the space for our team.”
Vermeer is also building a new Eco Center, replacing the one lost in the tornado, scheduled to open in January 2020. The Eco Center helps process and manage waste in Vermeer facilities.
“Our customers depend on our ability to get high quality equipment to them,” said executive vice president of forage and lifecycle and chief marketing officer Mark Core. “This new facility makes us excited to continue to deliver on this promise into the future.”