REHAU has announced the 40-year anniversary of establishing its North American headquarters in Leesburg, Virginia. The company’s regional presence has expanded with the growth of REHAU’s polymer-based innovations and the transformation of Leesburg into a suburban extension of Washington, D.C. As the current Americas headquarters for the privately held manufacturer, REHAU Leesburg oversees operations across four sub-region administrative offices, 20 sales offices, nine plants and eight logistics centers throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America.
A Proud History: Civil War Fort and Hub of Early Digital Communications
The modern office campus is a strategic part of American history and also of the global trajectory of REHAU. Situated at today’s intersection of Edwards Ferry Road and Battlefield Parkway, Fort Evans was constructed on top of a hill that provided a great vantage point of a strategic Potomac River crossing and played a key role in the Civil War Battle of Ball’s Bluff.
The initial building on the campus was constructed in 1952 by Lester H. Carr for Development Engineering Corp., later acquired by Westinghouse Electric Corp., to support contracts with the Department of Defense for digital communications research. Across the Atlantic, a polymer manufacturing company founded in 1948 by Helmut Wagner in the Bavarian town of Rehau was beginning to make inroads in North America, first with a sales office in New York City in 1959 followed by a factory in Montreal in 1961. The 1979 purchase of the Fort Evans site paved the way for continued expansion in the region. A second building, constructed in 2001, provides office and conference space for five local businesses in addition to a REHAU showroom.
“Helmut Wagner had great foresight in 1979 when he selected the Leesburg site amongst, at that time, rolling farmland and dirt roads for our North America headquarters,” said Theo Haast, president of REHAU Americas. “This location is a beautiful green space where about 90 REHAU employees enable the company to grow in the Americas by pushing the boundaries of what is possible with polymer-based solutions.”
A Bright Future: Leading Operations and Innovation in the Americas
“From Montreal to Buenos Aires, it is quite clear: REHAU Americas today is at home in one of the most diverse, dynamic and multicultural regions in the world,” said Haast. “The REHAU family, with more than 20,000 colleagues in more than 50 countries, can be very proud of our Leesburg journey over the past 40 years.”
Just as computers and digital communications radically changed the world of business since the 1950s, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, promises to radically change the efficiency of global supply chains, improving quality of life around the world. Manufacturing companies such as REHAU must continually reinvent themselves to remain relevant.
“REHAU is not relying on past successes,” said Haast. “In 2019, we are rolling out a refreshed brand identity supporting the claim ‘Engineering progress. Enhancing lives.’ To deliver on this claim, digitalization is key, from increasing the efficiencies and small-batch customization potential of our manufacturing processes to delighting consumers with finished products that enhance their productivity, safety and comfort.”
“While we remain laser-focused on innovation and driving value for our customers, we are also keenly aware of our responsibility to our employees and our community,” said Monika Irchenhauser, vice president, human resources. “On behalf of the Wagner family, I want to thank our employees, especially those who’ve remained loyal to REHAU for several decades. The history we have made, the innovative ideas we have shared, have shaped not only REHAU Americas but also REHAU globally.”