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voestalpine Rotec Officially Reopens After Tornado

October 15, 2014

In less than one year, Austrian automotive supplier reopens stronger than ever

Last year on November 17, 2013, out of 30 tornadoes that touched down in Indiana, the strongest part of the largest tornado (rated an EF-3 with winds of approx. 140 mph) touched down about five miles southeast of Lafayette in the direct path of the manufacturing facility of voestalpine Rotec, Inc . In a matter of seconds, it reduced approximately one-third of the plant into a crumpled mess of scrap metal.

On October 7, 2014, less than a year later, a rebuilt, reconfigured and re-optimized plant officially reopened to a crowd of company and government officials as well as key customers and members of the Lafayette community. Repairs ran approximately $10 million, with the company expanding in the back. During the ceremony, company representatives from Austria and the US all spoke of how glad they were that no employees or local residents were hurt, and showed gratitude to first responders and key customers whose supplies were impacted.

“Employees were just fabulous though this entire situation. They were very flexible and did a great job working with us. We were able to reopen only three days after the tornado struck, and would have never been able to officially reopen so quickly without the dedication of our employees, some who literally have worked every single weekend to bring us here today.”

Not only did voestalpine Rotec survive and rebuild, but it has come back stronger. Investing an additional $4 million in state-of-art technology, the company is also working with local community colleges to expand its staff by over 25%, from 100 to 128. According to Mario Hiesmayr, VP Market Development, “Our clients in the automotive industry continue to make increasingly sophisticated cars. This is always raising the bar for us to manufacture parts with specifications we might have only imagined five years ago. Our new plant helps us meet these challenges well.”   

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