Robb Peterson, president and CEO of Glacial Lakes Rubber & Plastics (GLRP), is ready to open the doors and hire staff to operate his new company based in Watertown, S.D. Peterson announced at a ribbon cutting ceremony that GLRP has secured VIBRAM as its first partner.
VIBRAM is a global leader in rubber soles used in shoes for the outdoor and recreation markets. It also produces rubber soles used in shoes provided to U.S. soldiers. This is the market GLRP will assist with.
“When Minnesota Rubber decided to leave South Dakota, terminating employment for close to 200 people, Robb saw an opportunity to keep the rubber and plastics business alive in Watertown by opening his own business, Glacial Lakes Rubber & Plastics,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “That kind of dedication to growth and sustainability is what makes businesses in South Dakota successful. I’m honored to be a part of the company’s celebration today.”
After traveling the world while employed by General Motors, Robb and his wife Jodi, both natives of Aberdeen, decided to move their family back to the Midwest. In the fall of 2010 Robb settled in Watertown after he was hired as plant manager at Minnesota Rubber. Unfortunately, three years later, the company closed its Watertown facility, leaving 180 employees out of work. Peterson was offered a job elsewhere in the company, but he didn’t want to leave Watertown. That’s when he started GLRP.
“I’m excited to be able to stay in South Dakota and have an opportunity to create jobs and be part of Watertown’s future,” Peterson said. “Partnering with a global leader like VIBRAM is a great place to start on the path to growing our customer base and industry footprint.”
Peterson said he’s excited to get some people back to work too. And although he won’t be able to fill all 200 jobs that were lost, Peterson says the potential for growth is there, it might just take some time.
“There’s a strong talent pool in Watertown and I’m eager to tap into that.”
“It is an honor to welcome Glacial Lakes Rubber & Plastics to Watertown,” said Rep. Kristi Noem. “I am confident Glacial Lakes will not only provide long-term economic growth to this community, but also show its clients that South Dakota has some of the most dedicated and talented workers our country has to offer.”
“The Watertown Development Company is thrilled GLRP recognized an opportunity in Watertown to utilize existing industry experts for the startup of its business,” said Craig Atkins, executive director. “We are confident Robb has the right plan at the right time and can grow into an established employer in the community.”