Rheem Unveils Cutting-Edge Innovation Hub in Fort Smith, Arkansas
October 12, 2023, marked a significant milestone for ACCA Premium Corporate Partner Rheem as the company celebrated the grand opening of its Innovation Learning Center (ILC) in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The event, complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, was graced by Rheem leadership, including Kevin Ruppelt, senior vice president and general manager of Rheem’s U.S. air conditioning division, Andrew Welch, Rheem’s director of operations, and Fort Smith Mayor George McGill. Following inspiring remarks, attendees attended a comprehensive tour of the facility, lab, and a company-wide picnic.
“Today, we not only celebrate the opening of this Innovation Learning Center, but we also commemorate a significant milestone for Rheem, the state of Arkansas, and the city of Fort Smith. This center, spanning over 3,700 square feet of showroom and classroom space, along with over 7,000 square feet of conference rooms and office space, stands as a beacon of progress and learning,” said Ruppelt. “This achievement is a testament to the dedication, collaboration, and innovative spirit that defines Rheem.”
A Hub of Education and Innovation
Designed as a multifunctional hub, the Fort Smith Innovation Learning Center underscores Rheem’s unwavering commitment to education, innovation, and quality. With a remarkable investment of $5 million in the local community, the center is poised to address the training needs of specialists in Rheem’s air-conditioning and water-heating divisions. Moreover, it represents Rheem’s active participation in the Fort Smith community, aiming to empower its employees and contribute significantly to the local economy.
“We are committed to being active participants in the Fort Smith community. The skills and knowledge gained here will not only benefit our employees but will also be a driving force in strengthening our local economy,” said Welch. “We hope to inspire our local young people to see a future for themselves and their families by working in manufacturing and skilled trades.”
A Cutting-Edge Experience
The ILC stands as an immersive environment, welcoming HVAC and plumbing contractors, wholesalers, specifiers, engineers, and other professionals to directly engage with Rheem’s extensive range of residential and commercial HVAC systems and water-heating products. What sets this center apart is its integration of cutting-edge technology, facilitating a wide array of training sessions, conferences, seminars, workshops, and other events.
Within the ILC, classrooms have been meticulously designed to provide interactive learning experiences. These state-of-the-art spaces are equipped with advanced technology, enabling seamless live audio and video streaming. Additionally, a specialized classroom with tools and utility connections allows for hands-on demonstration installations and diagnostic training.
The launch of the ILC is part of a broader Rheem investment initiative, totaling more than $20 million, dedicated to supporting the growth and development of the trades in the Fort Smith community. Rheem’s commitment to education, innovation, and community development shines brightly through this exceptional facility, marking a new era of progress and learning for all involved.
With the Fort Smith Innovation Learning Center, Rheem is not just opening its doors; it’s opening pathways to a future filled with possibilities for the community and the HVACR industry at large.
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