By Mark Edward Nero
Aluminum workboat design and build company Kvichak Marine Industries is becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of ship building and repair company Vigor Industrial, the two companies confirmed March 3.
Under the terms of the merger, Kvichak’s current owners, Jim Meckley, Brian Thomas and Keith Whittemore, are joining Vigor as shareholders and members of the leadership team.
“Sharing best ideas and practices across companies will make us even more competitive and create a more stable business base for our workers,” Whittemore, Kvichak’s president, said. “Vigor shares our values and our commitment to providing long term opportunity to our people.”
Kvichak, pronounced Kweejack, was founded in Seattle in 1981, and has extensive experience in the commercial fisheries of Alaska building gillnetters, seiners and tenders.
“Kvichak brings amazing fabrication talent to our company and some of the best customer relationships in the industry,” Vigor CEO and owner Frank Foti said. “Infusing those fabrication genetics into our broader operations is what industrial evolution is all about. What could be better than creating a team that allows most new fishing boats to be built where they work—in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska?”
This transaction builds on the Vigor and Oregon Iron Works (OIW) merger in 2014, which expanded Vigor’s reach into highly complex industrial products in marine, renewable energy, aerospace, nuclear containment, transit, defense, hydroelectric, bridge building and other commercial construction industries.
“With Kvichak on board, we also see enormous opportunity to strengthen our role in supporting offshore oil and gas operations in the Arctic,” Foti said. “The synergy between Vigor, OIW and Kvichak provides the ability to fabricate larger and more complex components and expand our offerings for building offshore support vessels, oil spill response vessels and systems, modules, rigs, terminals and related structures.”
The combined company is expected to employ about 2,500 people in Alaska, Oregon and Washington.