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Pewag starts U.S. Manufacturing in Pueblo, Colorado

May 7, 2014

After 535 years of operation, Austrian chain manufacturer starts U.S. manufacturing - investing $10 million and hiring 55 employees  

On May 3, 2014 pewag opened the doors of its first manufacturing facility outside of Europe: $10 million invested in a 55,000 square foot greenfield tire chain plant with 55 initial employees located in Pueblo, Colorado.

pewag had always kept its manufacturing operations close to home in Europe, where it has produced the snow chains, industrial chains and tire protection chains for which it's renowned. For 39 years, pewag has also maintained a North American headquarters and multiple distribution centers. Driven by the company's success in the U.S., it identified the need to provide quicker response and shorter delivery times and to reduce costs for its North American customers.

Meeting the need proved to offer unique challenges. According to Mike Uhrenbacher, President of pewag's North American operations, "In Europe we have multiple manufacturing plants and a very experienced workforce. In the U.S., we need to create and foster a new manufacturing team that will have the same level of expertise as our Austrian colleagues. The greatest challenge is to find the right people for the team and to keep moving forward with confidence, even when you experience delays or setbacks.”

Whereas pewag was able to purchase much equipment for the Pueblo plant in the U.S., the company still had to transport some specialized equipment from Europe, where the chain manufacturing industry is more robust. Yet Uhrenbach, who has changed the chain market in the U.S. by working directly with such key accounts as UPS, FedEx and the U.S. military, is unfazed by the complexity. "As a business leader, you have to have a clear vision of your company's future and be willing to take a risk at trying something different."