Two of Oregon’s largest industrial companies are officially joining forces in the expectation that their combined facilities and capabilities will provide additional growth possibilities. Under terms of the merger, Oregon Iron Works will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Vigor Industrial. The combined company will employ about 2,300 people in Oregon, Washington and Alaska.
Oregon Iron Works has been in business since 1944 and has been under current management since 1974. The company builds a wide variety of products ranging from fast military boats to streetcars to nuclear power components. Annual revenue is about $100 million. OIW’s headquarters is in Clackamas, near Portland. Terry Aarnio, OIW’s chairman of the board, will become vice chairman of Vigor Industrial. Corey Yraguen, current OIW president, will stay on and report to Frank Foti, president and CEO of Vigor Industrial.
Vigor Industrial’s headquarters are in Portland, where it operates a large shipyard. Vigor also owns and operates the former Todd Shipyards in Seattle and the former Alaska Ship & Drydock in Ketchikan, Alaska.
“This is what we mean when we talk about ‘industrial evolution,'” said Brian Mannion, a Vigor spokesman. “They [OIW] do a lot of really advanced machining, custom fabrication and system integration. This will improve our shipbuilding genetic and also provide them with more opportunities.”
Mannion also noted that Vigor and OIW ran U.S. Barge as a joint venture to build barges at Vigor’s Portland shipyard. “We’ve worked together before,” he said. “These guys really know each other.”
OIW was recently awarded a federal contract for the construction of special operations stealth boats for Navy SEALs and other combatants. The contract ceiling is $400 million and will run through 2021 with all options. OIW is also nearing completion of two fast-response fireboats for the city of Portland.
Foti told the Portland Business Journal that no jobs would be eliminated by the merger. “We’ll provide stability for those with the jobs we have, and our goal is to add more jobs,” he said. Foti also told the Journal that Vigor is anticipating even more expansion. “We don’t intend to stay strictly on the West Coast. We're looking at ways to strengthen the companies and put them in more geographic locations.”
Oregon Iron Works will retain its name for now, but “there are plans to eventually put it into the Vigor family brand,” said Mannion.