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Welcome to the STIHL USA Blog

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Here We Grow Again

By Roger Phelps, promotional communications manager

 We recently celebrated the grand opening of an expansion to our accessories plant; the latest addition to our Virginia Beach manufacturing campus. Completed in May after only five months of construction, the expansion is part of our continued investment in vertical integration. We want to thank all of our development partners including the City of Virginia Beach for making this project go so smoothly.

STIHL executives cut trimmer line to open the expansion.From left are Christian Koestler, STIHL Inc. vice president of operations; Dr. Bertram Kandziora, executive board chairman at Andreas STIHL AG & Co. KG in Germany; Ben Hoffmann,STIHL Inc. manager of special projects; and Fred Whyte, president of STIHL Inc.

We were very pleased to have STIHL executive board chairman Dr. Bertram Kandziora, present to dedicate the facility. During a speech at the dedication he recognized the continued growth and success at STIHL Inc. One of the key points he made in his speech was that while many U.S. companies have chosen to move their operations overseas in pursuit of cheap labor, STIHL has chosen instead to reinvest in our technology, our workforce and our infrastructure here in Virginia Beach.

The new addition adds more than 55,000 square feet, and doubles the capacity of our blow molding operation. The expansion also houses a new 3,200 square foot state-of-the-art energy efficient data center which is the first of its kind in the world to use computer door coil cooling units in conjunction with geothermal cooling.

Our vice president of operations for manufacturing Christian Koestler said the accessories plant expansion is significant because it represents the evolution the company has undergone through the years expanding from a simple assembly operation in 1974, to an industry leading, vertically integrated manufacturing company. He pointed out that unlike many other companies, we have not increased the outsourcing of component manufacturing. Instead, we have taken additional processes in-house to maximize quality, while minimizing material cost increases and achieving delivery efficiencies that make our operation competitive with any in the world.

What impressed me was that many of the employees who will be working in the expansion were on hand for the ceremony. Overall the expansion should generate an additional 50 jobs over the next three years adding to the over 2000 people presently employed by us. Their contribution is what really sets our company apart, something that both Dr. Kandziora and Mr. Koeslter pointed out in their comments.

The expansion means that we now have over 2 million square feet under roof, but not matter how large we grow our commitment remains the same; design, engineer and build the best outdoor power equipment possible for STIHL servicing dealers and STIHL customers worldwide.