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Plasser American Expanding Chesapeake HQ

Written by David C. Lester, Engineering Editor and Editor-in-Chief, Railway Track & Structures
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Plasser American says “a new era has begun” with signing of a contract to increase manufacturing capacities at its headquarters in Chesapeake, Va. The expansion, the company says, is its “commitment to the Chesapeake facility and products ‘Made in USA,’ as a big family and part of the railroad system” and that “shows our longstanding regional footprint.”

In addition to a new office building, Plasser American’s entire assembly area including the warehouse will be expanded to 229,000 square feet. Output, the company says, will be increased by more than 100% due to a new assembly production flow, the efficient design of workspaces and additional employees.

The $52.6 million project includes the office building, scheduled for a 2021completion; expansion of the assembly area and the warehouse by 2022; and overall campus enhancements by 2023. The expansion is expected to create approximately 98 new jobs in the region. Local companies, led by MEB General Contractors, will carry out all construction work.

“This historic project is our proof of trust in the North American railroad system and confidence in the U.S. economy,” says Plasser American President Thomas Blechinger. “I am proud of our company’s development in the United States over the past six decades and here in Chesapeake for 50 years. This milestone is our chance to show our commitment to the region and to support local talent, employees and suppliers.”

Mark Olmstead, Senior Vice President, MEB General Contractors (left), with Thomas Blechinger, President, Plasser American.

Plasser American says its mission is “to support the railroad industry by providing cutting-edge machines, technologies and services for customer’s individual needs. We are engaged in all areas of research, design, manufacturing and services providing this know-how to North American customers. Quality standards combine efficiency with cost-effectiveness. We pride ourselves in being much more to customers than just the manufacturer of the highest quality machines for track technology.” Plasser American has grown from a small operation with five employees in 1961 to now more than 300 employees.

Signing of the contract to increase manufacturing capacities at Plasser American on August 28, 2020. Left to right: Ross Chernitzer, Assistant Treasurer, Plasser American; Lloyd Jackson, Senior Business Development Manager, City of Chesapeake Economic Development; Robin Laskowski, Vice President Finance & Administration, Plasser American; Mark Olmstead, Senior Vice President, MEB General Contractors; Thomas Blechinger, President, Plasser American; Steven Wright, Director; City of Chesapeake Economic Development; Ben White, Assistant Director, City of Chesapeake Economic Development; Eric Keplinger, Vice President, Business Development, MEB General Contractors; and Joe Stark, Vice President Operations & Maintenance, Plasser American.
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