Kvichak Marine Industries, Seattle, one of the most successful aluminum boatbuilders in the U.S., today announced that it is merging with Vigor Industrial. Under terms of the merger, Kvichak will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Portland, Ore.-based Vigor. Kvichak’s current owners, Jim Meckley, Brian Thomas and Keith Whittemore, will become Vigor shareholders and become part of Vigor’s management team. All Kvichak employees will also be retained.

“In the short run, there won’t be any huge changes,” said Keith Whittemore, Kvichak president. “Kvichak will go on the way it has been, and everybody here will go on with what they’ve been doing. That said, changes will happen. We’ll be part of the Vigor management team and will be involved in Vigor products. We’ll have access to all of the other Vigor facilities, including the amazing machine shop capabilities at Oregon Iron Works [which merged with Vigor last year]. In the same way, they’ll have access to our metal processing facility. It’s all very complimentary and very exciting.”

For Vigor, the Kvichak merger is another step in the creation of a regional shipyard/boatbuilding conglomerate that also includes Oregon Iron Works in Portland, the former Todd Pacific Shipyard in Seattle and Alaska Ship & Drydock in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Eventually, according to Frank Foti, president of Vigor Industrial, all the various divisions of the growing company will be branded as Vigor entities, “but there’s a lot of pride in these names that needs to be honored.”

Foti also said that he and other Vigor executives feel like they’ve been “shot out of a cannon” about what the combined companies can do. “We’re so excited to be putting all these pieces together,” he said. “The cross-pollination will definitely improve our genetics. It’s not about getting bigger, it’s about getting better.”

Vigor and Kvichak agreed to terms of the merger yesterday. The deal is expected to be finalized in early April, subject to regulatory approvals.