Progressive Foundry celebrates recent expansion projects with ribbon cutting, community open house

Allison Ullmann
Perry Chief

Community members got a chance to check out the recently expanded Progressive Foundry facility on Monday.

The Perry Chamber of Commerce helped host a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by tours during Progressive Foundry’s Community Day celebration.

The ribbon was cut outside of the foundry’s front office, which Vice President of Sales Jackson VanKirk said is the final piece of a three stage renovation.

“The first stage was manufacturing based,” he said in a separate interview. “We added roughly 25,000 square feet of manufacturing facility plus another 15,000 square feet of warehousing and new maintenance space.”

Tucker Brown shows residents one of the new buildings during the Progressive Foundry Community Day on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.

The second stage included turning the old maintenance facility into a new breakroom, men’s and women’s locker rooms and foreman labs. The space also can serve as a tornado shelter.

The old front officers were torn down and new office space was built for the final stage of the expansion. Staff members moved into the new space in July.

President Darek VanKirk said they had talked about locating the offices closer to the production area.

“But we knew we were going to make it nice and we wanted to have it out on First Street so it’s more visible,” he added.

The new office space includes a conference room, offices, kitchen area along with a workout space.

Residents chat in the new office space during the Progressive Foundry Community Day on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.

“We probably more than doubled the size of our office. We’re really comfortable here and we plan for this place to be here for a long time,” Jackson said.

Darek said Progressive Foundry’s three stage renovation project all started because the city of Perry approved their request to close 2nd Street.

“I think it’s also good for the community because we were trying to make it a safer environment for pedestrians with our truck traffic. And I’m almost certain we’ve accomplished that by closing 2nd Street and building across 2nd Street,” Darek said. “We also keep our noise away from the neighbors better too. Everything is pretty much done on the south side of the building.”

He added that Wiese Industries then came forward to sell some of their back buildings to Progressive Foundry. The foundry was able to move the maintenance facility and add a new cafeteria and locker room.

Community members check out the new breakroom during the Progressive Foundry Community Day on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.

“Just update our facilities for our employees, which has been really key with the shortage of labor here,” Darek said. “Hopefully, it’s been a win-win for our employees and for the city.”

The idea for the Progressive Foundry Community Day came about, Jackson said, as residents were curious what the business was up to when the new office space was being built.

"We’re coming to the completion of this very long, three-year project. We decided that we wanted to open our doors and let people see what we do, see our new facilities,” Jackson said.

“And just thank Perry,” Darek added.

Jackson, Darek and fellow president, Kirk VanKirk, welcomed community members to Progressive Foundry during the community day celebration on Monday.

“First of all, I want to thank everyone for coming today,” Kirk said. “And second, we as the VanKirks want to thank this community and the city of Perry for our acquisition of Second Street. When we acquired Second Street, it gave us a whole different vision.”

Kirk VanKirk speaks during the Progressive Foundry Community Day on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.

“We can’t thank the community and the city of Perry enough because it really let us do all of this,” Darek said of Progressive Foundry’s recent expansion projects.

Community members were able to see those expansion projects in person as tours were held throughout the facility following the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Jackson said in a separate interview that Progressive Foundry is already looking ahead to future expansion projects as the business continues to grow.

"We plan to be here for the long term," he said.

"We’re happy to be here and again, thank you to Perry," Darek added.