Reflecting on Milestones for the 50th Anniversary of the Rheem Montgomery Plant
December 16, 2021
Fifty years ago, in October 1971, Rheem® broke ground on a 200,000 square foot manufacturing plant in Montgomery, Alabama to produce water heaters for households in the Southeastern United States. Since opening in 1972, the plant has undergone two major expansions and now ships both residential and commercial water heating systems to households and businesses across North America. Rheem has grown to be the largest manufacturer of water heaters worldwide with the Montgomery plant shipping to Canada, China and other parts of Asia.
1971 & 1972
Rheem has proudly provided continuous, uninterrupted business and job growth in Montgomery for 50 years. When the plant opened, it employed 200 people. Today, Rheem employs more than quadruple that number, with 900+ team members across its Montgomery operations.
“It’s an honor to take something that’s been here for 50 years and drive us into the future,” said Jeff Duckworth, leader of the Montgomery plant. “It’s just such a great atmosphere and a great team here that rallies around each other, supports each other and is always working to make each other excel.”
Over the years, Rheem has supported dozens of non-profit organizations that serve the greater Montgomery community. Charitable causes like Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Tots, The United Way, Prattville YMCA and the Joy to Life Foundation’s Walk of Life have been recipients of countless volunteer hours, equipment donations and hands-on mentoring through the company’s employee-run Heart of Comfort program.
“To Team Montgomery, thank you for your dedication to quality. Thank you for your focus on serving our customers. And thank you for your commitment to doing the right thing every day. Congratulations on 50 years (and counting)!” said Greg Miller, vice president & general manager, Rheem U.S. Water Heating.
Montgomery Operations Milestones
1972: Rheem produced its first water heater in Montgomery.
1973: On January 17, 1973, Rheem produced its 100,000th residential water heater in Montgomery.
1977: The plant expanded its footprint to 450,000 square feet to increase its production capacity for residential water heaters.
1988: The plant expanded again – to its current size of 600,000 square feet – this time to begin manufacturing commercial water heating systems.
1996: A tornado damaged the Montgomery plant causing the plant to close for five days; by day 10, the plant resumed operating at full capacity.
1996: The Montgomery plant qualified for ISO 9000 certification, meeting international standards for quality and efficiency in manufacturing.
2012: Rheem invested $2.5 million in the manufacturing facility to produce a new line of metal-free water heaters.
2016: Renovations and upgrades were made to the plant’s Training Center and Research & Development Lab.
2017: Rheem opened a new 26,000 square foot divisional office at 800 Interstate Park Drive. The facility combined Rheem’s Water Heating Division with its Customer Care group and Technical Support Center, which used to be in separate locations on Bell Road and Carwood Court.
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange proclaimed October 2nd “Rheem Day” in Montgomery to commemorate the company’s long-standing commitment to the city.
2019: Rheem set the baseline for sustainability improvements. At the time, 67% of waste was being diverted from landfills, and a long-term goal of 97% was set. Presently, the plant has reached 87% diversion.
2020: Rheem is deemed an essential business and continues to operate through the COVID-19 pandemic, supplying critical water heating equipment to clean and sanitize commercial institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes and designated FEMA emergency facilities.
2021: Rheem celebrates its 50th anniversary in Montgomery.
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