Watching the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio, the Springfield area felt especially connected to the men’s swimming event, where our very own Ryan Held took home the gold.
But he wasn’t the only one representing central Illinois. He shared the honor with a few thousand pounds hometown innovation.
Indesco is an independent engineering and manufacturing company, short for “the INgenious DESign COmpany.” For more than 40 years, Indesco has developed items ranging from oven parts (the company’s former primary specialty) to products for the parks and recreation, construction and process equipment industries.
“We specialize in stuff other people don't see value in,” as the company’s president Norm Jones puts it.
Apparently, that stuff includes rugby goal posts. Because the goal posts used for the Olympic rugby events were designed and build by Norm and the Indesco team.
Norm has been affiliated with Rhino Rugby US for over four years, one of the leading manufacturers of rugby apparel and equipment. Rhino was contracted through the Olympics to provide the posts. According to Norm, he was asked by Rhino to build and supply “because we have quality, fast turn around, and generally cheaper pricing.”
For such a huge order (literally—we’re talking tons here) Norm and his team had only weeks to make it happen.
“We got the go on June 20. We had to design, procure materials, fabricate and powder coat by July 6,” Norm said. “They left on a truck July 8 for Miami.”
Once the posts arrived in Miami, the two crates of goal posts, weighing 4,000 lbs. each, had to be loaded on an airplane to ship to Rio.
“It wasn't cheap, but given our short notice, there wasn’t time to send them by boat,” Norm said.
This was the first year rugby had been included in the Olympics since 1924. Thanks to a USA win at the 1924 Summer Games, America enjoyed 92 years as the reigning gold medalist in the sport. This year’s winner was Fiji.