PELLA, Iowa — About a year ago, an EF-3 tornado ripped through Vermeer Corp. in Pella. After a lot of hard work, Vermeer's CEO says they are now back and stronger than ever before.

“51 weeks ago we were hit by an EF-3 tornado. For myself and my team, when we knew just a few hours after the tornado that we had no serious physical injuries [and] no fatalities, we knew that we had everything we needed to rebuild,” Vermeer Corporation CEO Jason Andringa said.

Vermeer Corporation lost Plants 5 and 6 to the tornado. They are turning that space the tornado left behind into a more than 400,000 square foot facility called Plant 7.

“We are not only taking this opportunity to build a new facility but also starting to redefine some of the ways the rest of our legacy plants look as well. This allows us to have the space to spread out a little bit because we have been cramped. You don't recover in 30 days by just doing the same thing you've always done. We did a lot of consolidation throughout the facilities. Our team members have been amazing in this transition but this really allows us to spread out again and prepare for growth in the future,” Vermeer Vice President of Operation Bill Blackorby said.

Two other new facilities they are in the process of building are Shop 48, which will be completed this year, and a new Eco Center.

“As I think about all the components that have to go together in the ecosystem to be able to invent great products, to manufacture high-quality products and to get them out and support them to our customers that are doing great things around the world. I see growth and I see another 71 years of Vermeer’s history and strength,” Vermeer Chief Marketing Officer Mark Core said.

Andringa also announced and broke ground on the construction of a new monument on the Vermeer Mile that will remember the tragedy from last year. It will be constructed with pieces from the destroyed buildings and the building numbers will be retired.

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