Sept. 13, 2016 (CONCORD, Mass.) – Vibram®, the worldwide leader in high-performance soles and the creator of the Vibram FiveFingers® articulated toe shoe, today announced its centennial anniversary of manufacturing in the United States. The milestone celebration is set for Friday, Sept. 16, at its Quabaug Vibram Innovation (QVI) manufacturing facility in North Brookfield, Massachusetts.
“Vibram USA’s ‘Centennial Event for the Future’ is as much about celebrating our future as it is our past,” said Mike Gionfriddo, president & CEO of Vibram USA. “This milestone represents Vibram’s commitment to innovating and manufacturing performance-oriented products here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
With the completion of the acquisition of the Quabaug Corporation last year, 2016 marks the beginning of Vibram USA committing to a five-year, multi-million dollar campaign, with investments in staff and machinery to support innovation for the next one hundred years. As such, it is upgrading QVI’s capabilities, manufacturing machines, inaugurating a two-year workforce education program, expanding its domestic supply chain and strengthening its product development and innovation processes in an effort to dominate more global markets.
“Massachusetts is home to so many great manufacturing companies and Vibram is a great example. Here in North Brookfield, Vibram supports good jobs and continues the proud tradition of high-quality products made in America,” comments Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02). “A manufacturer of essential products used by our military and men and women in uniform, Vibram is also helping to keep our country safe. I am proud to join so many in North Brookfield in congratulating Vibram on 100 years of manufacturing right here in Central Massachusetts.”
In 2016 alone, Vibram has invested $6 million for new machinery and machine upgrades to ensure modern capabilities, innovation and institutional knowledge remain in the United States. That effort includes replacing 30-year-old machines with new, more technologically advanced presses, which allow for current materials to be produced with better efficiency, quality and faster response times to meet customers’ demands. Additionally, Vibram plans to make a significant investment in Vibram USA’s materials testing and validation center to better understand the chemistry of its materials as it relates to consumer-oriented performance attributes.
In terms of a commitment to its staff, Vibram’s plans include:
- Continue hiring for all aspects of the business, including sales, marketing, human resources, manufacturing and finance, with a focus on recruitment related to innovation of talented designers, engineers, developers and chemists. That includes both electrical and mechanical engineers.
- A new partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide education to all 300+ Vibram USA employees, with a focus on topics such as plant layout, Lean Education Academic Network (LEAN) initiatives and quality management.
- Provide outside educational growth programs, in partnership with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute for project management, University of Massachusetts Lowell for materials science and Massachusetts Institute of Technology for innovation management.
Gionfriddo continues, “We continue to rely upon new, young talent, who bring technical degrees from top universities with majors ranging from engineering to chemistry and physics to drive Vibram’s global innovation projects in the U.S.”
“The Governor and I want to congratulate Vibram USA on 100 years of business here in the Commonwealth,” says Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Vibram is a key component of the Massachusetts manufacturing economy and an important source of high-quality products for members of our military and individual customers around the globe.”
Vibram USA’s centennial celebration, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 10 a.m.-1 p.m., this Friday, Sept. 16, at 18 School St., North Brookfield, Massachusetts. Scheduled dignitaries attending include Rep. Jim McGovern, State Sen. Anne Gobi and State Rep. Donnie Berthiaume. The celebration will incorporate an anniversary commemoration, factory tours and hors’ d’oeuvres. In support of the celebration, guests are asked to please bring a pair of extra shoes to donate, as Quabaug Vibram International is gathering and donating shoes to Veterans Inc. of Worcester to help support veterans in need.
Vibram is recognized worldwide as the leader in high performance soles for outdoor, recreational, work and fashion footwear and is relied on by the world’s greatest climbers and athletes. Vibram soles have gone on to conquer Mt. Everest, K2 and a host of the world’s tallest peaks. Today, the company works with premium brands including Merrrell, Danner, La Sportiva, Lowa, Red Wing, Sperry, Scarpa, The North Face, and many more. Vibram’s Five Finger shoe line is on the cutting-edge of the minimalist footwear trend.
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