The Vigor we know today got its start in 1995 when Frank Foti purchased an ailing ship repair company known as Cascade General. Inspired by the passion and skill of second and third generation shipyard workers that called the company home, Mr. Foti set out on a journey to create a new kind of manufacturing company, values-driven and people inspired.
In the face of a declining market he began the company’s turnaround. He developed innovative financing structures and labor strategies. He privatized the shipyard, restructured the company’s debt and steadily grew the business. By 2010, the industry had stabilized and Frank was ready for expansion.
Vigor expanded into the Puget Sound with acquisition of Todd Pacific Shipyards in 2011. Todd brought a 100 year tradition of shipbuilding and ship repair to Vigor as well as access to the vibrant maritime community in Seattle with its diverse customer base. One year later, Vigor further expanded its reach with the acquisition of Alaska Ship & Drydock in Ketchikan, Alaska, making the company the largest ship repair operation in the region.
With Vigor’s geographic and ship repair reach broadened and deepened, Frank set out to strengthen the company’s fabrication capabilities. In 2014, a merger was finalized between Vigor and Oregon Iron Works (OIW). Founded in 1944, OIW was a pioneering force in advanced manufacturing and complex metals fabrication. Its exceptionally skilled workforce brought to Vigor a proven track record of success as a structural fabricator in aerospace, high performance military crafts, nuclear products, infrastructure and energy. Today the former workers of Oregon Iron Works, make up Vigor’s complex fabrication teams and serve in leadership and project management positions throughout Vigor, applying processes and work strategies across engineering disciplines to strengthen fabrication in every area of the company.
The following year in 2015, Vigor acquired Kvichak Marine Industries, an industry leader in quality aluminum workboat fabrication. Once a competitor of OIW in the aluminum sector, the former Kvichak and OIW teams are now united as Vigor and competing for and winning major contracts in the maritime security and workboat markets.
Today, Vigor is a diversified industrial business united across locations and product lines by the same values and providing good paying, family wage jobs to people doing important work and striving to be a positive force in their communities. And we are only just beginning.