Facilities at the Vermeer Corp. headquarters in Pella, Iowa were left severely damaged following a tornado that ripped through the region at approximately 4 p.m. July 19.
According to a company statement, in addition to its team members at work at the time, more than 400 dealers and customers were onsite for the 2018 Customer Conference. Upon being notified of severe weather, Vermeer worked to quickly activate our emergency response system. The emergency alarms in all buildings sounded and team members, dealers and customers were directed to tornado shelters in all facilities on the Vermeer campus.
The statement from Vermeer notes there is significant structural damage and personal property damage across the Vermeer campus.
- Vermeer corporate office, Plant 1, Plant 2, Plant 3, Parts Distribution Center, Global Pavilion, Lely and Yellow Iron Academy Learning Center appear to have zero to minor damage.
- Plant 4, Plant 7 and the Advanced Systems/Testing facility will need a structural assessment before the company can determine the impact of the damage and the ability to continue operations.
- Plant 5 and Plant 6 both have significant structural damage that we believe, at this time, will limit Vermeer’s ability to continue operations.
- The company’s waste management facility is a complete loss.
Due to the damage, third shift operations for July 19, as well as all operations, both office and production, were closed for July 20.
Following the devastating tornado, Jason Andringa, president and CEO of the company, released the following statement:
“July 19, 2018 is a day we won’t forget.
The devastation from the most powerful tornado in Iowa in more than three years was significant, but it is nothing compared to the impact of what happened after.
The outpouring of concern and support from our community has been overwhelming. It means more to me and our team than we can express. Messages of support from Governor Reynolds, Senator Grassley, Senator Ernst and Congressman Loebsack solidifies the strength we have here in our great state of Iowa. The dedication, quickness and compassion of emergency responders was demonstrated in caring for our team members and helping clean-up has been crucial.
I have never been more proud of the Vermeer team than I have been over the past 72 hours. We plan for scenarios and practice drills, but nothing truly prepares us for the unknown. The way our team handled the situation, followed procedures and cared for one another is precisely what Vermeer team members pride themselves in – doing more. The amount of progress we have already made is astounding.
The rebuilding has begun. We are Vermeer Strong.”
As of July 23, Vermeer team members were able to return to production in many of the facilities thanks to the work of team members and clean up crews.
The company notes that it has two goals moving forward. First, recover safely and recover completely, which means a return to full production as soon as possible. Second, the manufacturer wants to get its team members back to work quickly.
For completed updates, visit: vermeer.com/NA/en/N/vermeer_strong