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Building Something With Your Own Two Hands

By Ron Skinner posted Mar 19, 2014 9:05 PM


As a child, I would play with Legos, tinker toys, and Lincoln logs.  We would build forts, and various other contraptions with whatever leftover materials we could find around, and enjoyed every minute.  Never once did my play include sitting in front of a computer answering emails.

IMG_1124.JPGSo maybe that’s why I couldn’t help but feel like a kid again when I was able to get out from behind my desk and tour the Virco school furniture factory here in Torrance, CA today.  And since I know the average school business official spends more time behind the desk answering those pesky emails than building things, I thought I would share some of the images from the day.

Virco is a strategic partner of ASBO and has supported ASBO for a long time—in fact, they have exhibited every year for the last 56 years.  The chance to visit their factory because of that long relationship is an awesome bonus.

Seeing the rolls of steel come in one end of the factory, get turned into various sized tubing, then bent and welded (often by robots) is extremely cool.  And I was fascinated by the detail of the work—the care they take to make sure that the products can withstand the years of punishment that they will undoubtedly get from kids who won’t ever think about all of the work that went into making that desk they are sitting at.

IMG_1152.JPGAnd while the styles have been updated over the years, I very much enjoyed the chance to see that iconic school chair still being made.  It is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, in fact.

I am sure the excitement of being in the factory would quickly give way to the reality of the hard work and resulting muscle aches that must be a part of doing the job every day.  But even if that is the case, it didn’t prevent the pride in a job well done that was so obvious in everyone—from the founder Mr. Virtue on down.

So the next time you are out and about in your schools, give extra consideration to the furniture.   And if anyone from Virco reads this post, I am definitely fishing for an invite to the even bigger factory in Conway, AR someday (please!).

(Below are some of my photos from the day. Special thanks to Brian True (white shirt in pictures below) of Virco for showing us around.)

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