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Rutland Herald: Manufacturing of Mamava comes to Springfield

December 13, 2016
In The News

By Susan Smallheer

SPRINGFIELD — Manufacturing is returning to Springfield, although it’s nothing remotely resembling machine tools.

Konrad Prefab formally announced its opening Monday at the Robert S. Jones Industrial Center, and that its first product line would be lactation suites, sold by the Burlington-based Mamava.

Konrad Prefab opened in 20,000 square feet of space in the Jones Center, where 30 years ago, Springfield machinists made Jones & Lamson high-tech comparators.

Konrad Prefab President David Jaacks told a gathering Monday morning that employment would start out modestly, with about five people, with hopes of reaching 10 to 15 people within the next year.

The Mamava suites are being installed in public facilities around the country to support nursing mothers, and some of the first suites will be shipped to the military.

Jaacks, who lives in West Windsor, had earlier worked for Kiosko, a North Springfield manufacturer of display cases.

He said that the Mamava suite was a “truly innovative product,” that would be “lighter ... smaller ... faster” than the earlier Mamava models.

“It allows us to compete from Vermont, in the worldwide market,” he said.

“We hope to grow substantially in the coming years,” he said.

His new business has been supported by the town, in the form of a tax break, and funding from the state, to help renovate the space they occupy in the former machine tool plant.

Jaacks praised the help he had received to set up the light manufacturing company from the Springfield Regional Development Corp., which is his new landlord, the Vermont Economic Development Authority, Mascoma Bank and the town of Springfield.

Springfield Select Board members Kristi Morris and Walter Martone, who were on hand for the formal baby-blue ribbon cutting, said the town gave the new firm a break on the taxes on its machinery and equipment, since the building belongs to SRDC.

While the town long ago did away with the inventory tax, businesses still pay taxes on their machinery, and Konrad has some expensive machines, Morris said.

Janet Stambolian, of Mamava, praised the work of Konrad and the design abilities of Jaacks, and thanked U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., who was on hand, for his support for the company.

Welch and Jaacks wielded an oversize pair of scissors.

The company is now able to have the Mamava stations’ manufacturer in Vermont, Stambolian said, and that means a lot.

Stambolian, who said she was the first salesperson for the company, said the Springfield manufacturing facility was a step forward for the company.

“Now we get to say we’re built in Vermont!” she said. She praised Jaacks for his “innovative genius” in designing the newest Mamava.

Welch praised the return of manufacturing to Vermont and Springfield, even if in a modest way. 

“The things we do locally are more important than ever before,” Welch told the gathering. “We’ve got smart people here in Vermont.”