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Make it in America Challenge: Stihl Hosts Announcement
Oct 4, 2012
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United States Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank was at Stihl Inc. in Virginia Beach, VA, on Tuesday this week to announce a $40 million, multi-agency competition, the Make it in America Challenge, to accelerate the trend of insourcing. Insourcing companies bring jobs back to the United States and make additional investments in-country.

The competition is designed to build on the administration's bottom-up approach to strengthening the economy and creating jobs by partnering with state, regional, and local economies.

"This administration's top priority is creating American jobs, and through the Make it in America Challenge, we will be supporting business' efforts to expand here at home," Blank said. "By making competitive investments, the Challenge will help communities across the U.S. accelerate economic growth, attract business investment, and create jobs."

Stihl has manufacturing and its U.S. operations headquarters in Virginia Beach. The company started in the United States in 1974 with 50 employees assembling one model of chain saw. It now employs about 2,100 people nationwide, including 1,900 in Virginia Beach, and makes more than 270 model variations of chain saws and power tools for sale in the United States and worldwide.

The company said the majority of Stihl products sold in America are also built in America. The U.S. company exports products to more than 90 countries and produces the majority of Stihl units for the world market.

"While many American companies have chosen to move their operations overseas in pursuit of cheap labor, since 1974 we have chosen instead to reinvest in our technology, our workforce and our infrastructure right here in Virginia Beach. As a result, we have since become the number one selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment in America," said Fred Whyte, president of Stihl Inc., who accompanied Acting Secretary Blank on a partial tour of the more than two million square feet of the company's manufacturing facilities.

"Some people may say that American manufacturing cannot compete in the world economy. I beg to differ. American innovation, technology, and the American worker are second to none and we are proving it," said Whyte.

Competition details are available at: http://1.usa.gov/RhBIxf.

The competition is funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST-MEP), and the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA).

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