Many of us working in the manufacturing industry are increasingly more interested in the story and people behind the products we purchase (or want to purchase). I love a good story – especially an American success story. Having visited the oldest hat maker in the country, I had the opportunity to hear part of the centuries-old story that is uniquely Bollman Hat Company. Background about our visit can be found in this previous blog post.
This is the story about a company that’s been in existence for so long that the town welcome sign indicates that it’s the home of Bollman Hat Company since 1868. This is the story of (the very personable) Don Rongione and his team of employee-owners who are deeply proud of the quality hats they make and are giving everything they’ve got to continue the company’s legacy. This is the story of a small manufacturer trying to “make it in America” and how the local MEP center and the Virginia MEP are dedicated to helping the company with continuous improvement, supply chain and reshoring efforts.
It is my privilege to now share with you Bollman’s story as the latest hero in our Heroes of American Manufacturing series.