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Welcome to the STIHL USA Blog

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Make it in America" $40 Million Challenge Announced at STIHL

by Roger Phelps, Promotional Communication Manager, STIHL Inc.

On Tuesday September 25th, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank visited us here in Virginia Beach to announce a $40 million multi-agency competition, the Make it in America Challenge. The competition is designed to help accelerate the trend of insourcing, and bring jobs back and making additional investments here in America. The Secretary chose to make the announcement at STIHL Inc. because her staff had learned about our strong Built in America story.
It’s a story we are very proud of. While many American companies have chosen to move their operations overseas in pursuit of cheap labor, we have chosen instead to reinvest in our technology, our workforce and our infrastructure right here in Virginia Beach

In 1974 our facility consisted of only 20,000 square feet, 50 employees and the assembly of one model of chain saw. Today we have over 2 Million square feet under roof, on over 150 acres with over 2000 employees nationwide and are an industry leading, vertically integrated manufacturing concern.

What a lot of people may not know is that the majority of the STIHL products manufactured for the world market are built here in our U.S. facility. In fact, we currently manufacture 79 different models and 277 model variations of STIHL products in America and distribute them not only nationally, but export to over 90 countries worldwide.
Custom engraved piston head

During her time with us the Secretary toured the factory and met with STIHL employees. At one of the stops our piston team presented her with a custom laser engraved piston head. She also visited one of our older chain saw lines and one of our newest before heading to the presentation area in our new accessories expansion. Our vice president of manufacturing Christian Koestler shared with the Secretary some of the unique “green” characteristics of the expansion including a green roof, wind turbine generators, and a forklift hydrogen fuel cell filling station.

Among the guests in the audience for the announcement were our partners from the City of Virginia Beach, regional economic development authorities, and executives from our local business partners including vendors, suppliers, and transportation companies. We are fortunate to have such great working relationships with local businesses and try to source goods and services locally as much as possible.
 STIHL Inc. president Fred Whyte

In her comments Secretary Blank praised STIHL for keeping our operation here in the U.S. and pointed out that we had achieved significant success as a result. As our president Fred Whyte pointed out the key to our success has been to stick to our principles. For us that means that we will continue to design, engineer and build the best outdoor power equipment possible for our independent servicing dealers and STIHL customers here in America and around the world.

The Secretary’s visit was a great opportunity to show how pride, dedication and hard work have helped us become the #1 selling brand of gasoline powered handheld equipment in America and let the world know that we build it here in America because we believe in America.

You can see more photos from the Secretary's visit at our Facebook page. To find your local STIHL dealer go to stihldealers.com