FT. SMITH, Ark. — During the week of Sept. 8, Rheem celebrated its 45th year of operation in Fort Smith, Ark. The company opened the air conditioning manufacturing site in 1970 and selected Fort Smith due to its central location and accessibility to many major U.S. markets. Today, the plant is Rheem’s manufacturing site for its commercial heating and cooling equipment, and it remains the headquarters for Rheem’s Air Conditioning Division.
“Forty-five years is a tremendous milestone, and we want to take time to reflect on our past, celebrate our present and look ahead to our future,” said Mike Branson, vice president and general manager, Rheem Air Conditioning Division. “When something works, you stick with it. One thing that has worked is being here in Fort Smith. Rheem looks forward to many more years in this great city.”
When the plant opened, it featured some of the most advanced manufacturing technologies of the day. Rheem is presently reinvigorating this facility by making significant capital investments to prepare for future commercial product launches. The company is overhauling its commercial offerings using its 360°+1 product development philosophy, which tasks the product development team to re-imagine its offerings and find ways to make next-generation products easier to install and service, and perform better.
Throughout Rheem’s 45 years, the company has been active in the Fort Smith community, contributing to a number of organizations that make a difference in the lives of local citizens. The company has been a United Way Pacesetter Company for more than a decade. It has also been a supporter of the Fort Smith Public Schools’ Partners in Education program since 1987 and a proud sponsor of the Northside High School football program since 1974.
On Sept. 10, Rheem hosted an anniversary celebration event for its employees. As part of the event, Rheem displayed vintage Rheem signage, collateral and equipment, including the first air conditioning unit ever manufactured at the site. Rheem also entertained several retirees who made contributions to Rheem in Fort Smith and the community at-large, as well as Tim Allen, president and CEO of the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“As we celebrate our anniversary, I also want to sincerely thank the employees, the community and all the people that have contributed to what we’ve become over the past years,” Branson added.
In addition to Rheem’s 45th anniversary in Fort Smith, the company is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. To learn more about Rheem, visit www.Rheem.com.