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Q&A with Markus Brettschneider about Viega in Canada

October 25, 2023 Viega
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Viega has been continuing its investments in the North American market in 2023 and one of the most notable areas where the company has seen a tremendous amount of growth this year is in Canada. We had an opportunity to sit down with Viega LLC CEO and President, Markus Brettschneider, to hear more about Viega’s work in Canada and what’s on the horizon for this growing and exciting North American market.

1.  How has the Viega journey started and evolved in North America? What stands out as you think about our growth journey in the U.S. and Canada—how have we evolved?
“Viega’s growth journey in North America started in the U.S. and continues to evolve, from our growing presence in Canada to the expansion of our footprint in the U.S. The growth in Canada is a result of the progressive Canadian market, embracing innovation and new ideas, as well as Viega’s strategic focus and dedication to delivering on our commitments. The Canadian sales team has a strong leader in Pragnesh Desai. They are enthusiastic and engaged, almost doubling in size over the last 12 months and achieving over 35% growth in the Metals business, with opportunity for even more growth ahead. This team is committed to building strong partnerships in the industry and driving our entire Viega metals portfolio, and it absolutely shows in their success and exponential growth. As we look at our evolution in North America, I’m incredibly excited about how Canada will play a part in how we continue to evolve and win in the market!” 

2.  We started 2023 with everyone talking about an imminent economic recession. Some of those concerns have waned. What do you see as the health of the short-term economy and any key economic drivers over the next two years? 
“Despite the economic concerns going into 2023, Viega continued to see growth in both Canada and the U.S. There’s immense opportunity in Canada with the growing commercial and residential markets, especially with some of the largest North American construction sites in Toronto. As we look to maximize our success, it’s important we continue driving conversion from traditional to press and building out our distribution network by ensuring our product is available, working closely with engineers, and strengthening our partnerships with contractors.” 

3.  Sustainability is a big topic, especially in manufacturing. What are Viega’s current sustainability initiatives and goals? 
“This is an incredibly important topic to Viega. There’s more to how we define success than just financially—it’s also about how we care for our people, our local communities, and our world. As a purpose-led organization rooted in our values, we must assume responsibility for prioritizing these efforts. Caring for our workforce includes investing in our people and their growth, as well as offering valuable benefits and continuing to develop a meaningful workplace culture. Viega also has a long-term goal to be carbon neutral by 2035, which includes how we are developing new facilities and investing in existing facilities. Outside of our buildings, this also includes how we manufacture our products—taking an innovative approach with our materials, as well as the processes we use and how we do things.” 

4.  Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is also growing in importance. What is Viega doing to encourage a diverse workforce and educate its teams on inclusivity?  
“As part of our cultural transformation at Viega, we embarked on an intentional journey with diversity & inclusion in 2022, engaging people and groups across our workforce to be part of how our journey continues to take shape. Specifically, an Inclusion Council was formed earlier this year consisting of people from different departments and levels across our organization with an interest and passion for this work, including a representative from our Canadian team. The objective of this group is to solicit feedback from the business in helping determine our specific focus areas as we drive this work forward. We’ve also hosted several in-person trainings and discussions with our leaders focused on appreciating differences and being an inclusive leader, with more learnings planned for the rest of our organization through the end of this year and beginning of 2024. We want to make sure that people feel safe at work—not just physically, but psychologically and emotionally—so they can bring their whole and best selves to work.”

5.  What is your view on the Canadian market and Viega’s plan specific to Canada? What are some of the highlights from your recent trip to Canada for the executive committee meeting in September?
“Canada is a vibrant country with open and welcoming customers for Viega and our innovative solutions. In my recent visit to Canada to meet with leadership, it was so clear to me how important it is to have the right team, the right leadership, and the right strategy. It’s exciting to see how much progress we have made, and how much more we can do in the years to come. We believe in the Canadian market, and I’m extremely happy to see how our customers are coming along on the journey with us. I look forward to our continued investments into our people and our presence in Canada. There is so much opportunity for growth, and I’m excited about what lies ahead as we continue delivering on our commitments to best support our customers.” 

6.  How are our investments throughout North America helping support Canada and their market growth?
“As we continue expanding our North American footprint and investing in future growth, our support of the Canadian market is part of that discussion and those decisions. The new Viega Experience Center in New York City, which opened in June 2023 to our customers, and the new manufacturing facility in Shalersville, Ohio, expected to be in production in 2025, are both located in the upper northeast. This allows us to bring Viega’s products and customer training opportunities in closer proximity to Canada. We look forward to how these investments as well as more developments in the future will continue to support the market growth in Canada.”

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