Viega's New Training Facility

Finding skilled employees to hire in today’s world is one of the greatest challenges any company in the PHC field faces.

Keeping the dedicated, skilled technicians you already employ abreast of all the new products, technology and capabilities that innovative companies like Viega are bringing to market is an equally daunting challenge. For that reason, many manufacturers are stepping up their game with train- ing programs designed to accommodate more technicians with less downtime than ever before.

Case in point: Viegas LLC’s new seminar center in Broom- field Co (just outside of Denver). Viega held a media day in August to showcase its new 23,000 sq foot facility…and it is spectacular. The 12-acre parcel incorporates two state-of- the-art buildings; the company headquarters and a training center (one of two for the US) with a capacity to train up to 10,000 technicians per year.

According to Viega, the seminar center is for “training and education to help contractors enter new markets and add skills to make themselves more productive and efficient”.

“The best technology is useless without tradespeople to implement it and any job is only as good as the work behind it,” said CEO David Garlow. “Viega appreciates the skill and hard work of its customers and all tradespeople and is proud to provide them with education and training.”

Viega’s press release states that their seminar centers (they have a second training center in Nashua NH) offer classes taught by experts who proved themselves in the field before moving to the classroom. Classes range from one to five days on topics from pressing technology and radiant system de- sign to PEX plumbing and pathogen prevention. Offerings are evaluated each year and adjusted to ensure they encompass the lat- est advances and best practices in plumbing, heating and building construction. The courses are subsidized by Viega to keep them affordable for even one-truck operations.

The day Southern PHC Magazine spent at the new Broomfield Center was eye-opening. Viega decided during the design stage to utilize all the space in the center for training. The result is an expansive gathering/relaxing area as you enter the building with soaring windows that frame the Rockies in the distance. Spectacular is the only way to de- scribe it. That opens into a breakroom/dining area which enjoys equally spectacular views and spills outside to a patio under brilliant Colorado skies. Back inside, the main hallway is lined with cutting-edge, interactive training displays. They are fun to use but teach information on difficult to vi- sualize concepts in a surprislngly efficient manner.

Off the main hallway are the training rooms that allow for teaching and simulating a huge variety of concepts and problems with hands-on real, world-style training. It’s an immersive and content-rich experience. Experts lead single- and multi- day classes in everything from radiant system design and fire protection to hydronics and pathogen prevention. De- spite being open only since April, it is on track to host more than 2,100 students this year, said Bo DeAngelo, manager of technical training.

The benefit to the industry…to the contractors in the field…is immense. The firm was founded in 1899 to sell brass beer taps, and moved into plumbing in the early 1900s. Its North American operations were launched 17 years ago with the Wichita headquarters, and then an educational facility was added in Nashua, New Hampshire 10 years ago.

The Viega Group has more than 4,000 employees world- wide, including more than 650 people in the United States.