Watertown, South Dakota Small Business Showcases New Manufacturing Partnership

WATERTOWN, S.D. (July 17, 2015) – At the invitation of Glacial Lakes Rubber & Plastics (GLRP) CEO Robb Peterson and Vibram USA CEO Mike Gionfriddo, Representative Kristi Noem (R-At Large) will visit and tour the Glacial Lakes manufacturing facility in Watertown on Monday, July 20th.   This informational event presents the opportunity for Representative Noem to observe first hand the manufacturing of Vibram rubber soling used for footwear for the commercial market as well as for the boots and dress shoes worn by the United States Armed Services.  Representative Noem met personally with the men and women employed at the factory.

Vibram USA is the largest supplier of high-quality footwear soling to the U.S. Department of Defense. The Glacial Lakes Rubber & Plastics plant features multi-line capability with the ability to manufacture a broad spectrum of products, ranging from soling for high-performance athletic shoes to mountain combat boots for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Special Operations Forces. In addition, GLRP also produces products for the automotive, industrial, and agriculture markets with a variety of molding technologies.

The tour comes at a critical time for the domestic footwear manufacturing industry, which is an essential component of the industrial base in the United States that helps supports those who serve our country.

Regarding the visit, Rep. Kristi Noem said, “The partnership between Glacial Lakes Rubber & Plastics and Vibram is a true testament to the talented and dedicated workforce in South Dakota. I am excited to welcome Vibram and I look forward to getting a behind-the-scenes view of all the hard work that goes into every sole produced.”

The event also provides an opportunity for Glacial Lakes Rubber & Plastics to showcase their new capabilities and continued commitment to growing their footprint in South Dakota. Company representatives have actively engaged both Congressional and Department of Defense leaders to ensure that the federal government continues to properly support the footwear needs of the Armed Services.

Vibram USA CEO Mike Gionfriddo said, “Vibram USA is pleased to expand our operations into South Dakota through our partnership with Glacial Lakes Rubber and Plastics.  This region has tremendous technical capability in our industry that is combined with a remarkably talented workforce.  I am pleased to have the opportunity to welcome Congresswoman Noem to our newest domestic manufacturing operations here in Watertown.  Our Vibram brand has been manufacturing rubber soling in the United States for more than 50 years and we are fortunate that our members of Congress are working to help maintain a robust industrial base in the United States.”

Glacial Lakes Rubber & Plastics president and CEO Robb Peterson commented, “ I am delighted to welcome Congresswoman Noem to our new production facility here in her hometown of Watertown.  We are fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with a world-class brand such as Vibram, the recognized global leader in rubber soling.  We are looking forward to growing our Vibram-branded business as we grow our industry footprint.”