ESCO Corporation today announced the naming of its newest building at World Headquarters. Honoring a Portland native, local business leader and one of the company’s visionaries, ESCO dedicated its cutting-edge innovation facility, naming it the Hank Swigert Center for Innovation.
During the last six decades, Henry T. “Hank” Swigert has served the company in many roles, from the shop floor to board chairman— earning the respect of colleagues, helping ESCO grow into a global enterprise and serving the Portland community.
As a part of ESCO’s founding family, Hank began his ESCO career earlier than most; he is the grandson of the company’s founder, C.F. Swigert, and son of E.G. “Ernie” Swigert. In 1955, Hank followed his father’s footsteps and began as a mold helper on the shop floor. He went on to Harvard College (part of Harvard University) for his undergraduate degree and returned to hold a variety of positions at ESCO, including sales, marketing, human resources and finance. Hank retired in 2003 as Chairman of ESCO’s board of directors, and at 83, still serves today on ESCO’s board.
“This building is symbolic of our unwavering commitment to innovation and our tireless pursuit of creating value for our customers,” said Cal Collins, ESCO’s President and CEO. “On behalf of the board of directors, our shareholders and our employees, today we show our appreciation for Hank’s quiet leadership, steady hand and watchful eye over ESCO during the past 60 years.”
Hank is an enthusiastic supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, Cascade Pacific Council; Boys and Girls Clubs; Jr. Achievement of Oregon and SW Washington; and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), as well as a host of other local charities.
“The Hank Swigert Center for Innovation now houses ESCO’s growing innovation and technology team—a group dedicated to keeping ESCO on the leading edge,” said Chris Carpenter, Vice President of Innovation and Technology for ESCO. “Within this new building and at ESCO sites worldwide, teams push the boundaries to continue the company’s leadership in technically rich wear materials to develop the most innovative products and manufacturing processes that benefit customers around the world.”
The Hank Swigert Center for Innovation is built at the former site of the Vaughn Street Ballpark, home to the Portland Beavers baseball team from 1902 to 1956. Baseball greats, such as Jim Thorpe, Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio made appearances. The ballpark was partially financed by Hank’s grandfather and located next to ESCO’s main plant, where home run balls regularly landed on the foundry roof behind the right field fence.
The park is an important part of Portland’s history and was immensely popular with locals, as attendance regularly topped 13,000 people. The team eventually became an affiliate of numerous Major League Baseball teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins. In 1956, the Beavers baseball team moved out of the park and it was demolished soon thereafter.