JONESBURG, Mo. – CertainTeed formally unveiled its new asphalt shingle manufacturing plant during a celebratory opening ceremony in central Missouri Tuesday.
The $100 million facility, located about an hour’s drive from St. Louis, produces CertainTeed’s signature Landmark™ shingles and is the first roofing plant built by the company in the United States since 1978. It sits adjacent to a 150,000 square-foot warehouse that opened in 2014.
Manufacturing on the lone product line housed in the 60,000 square-foot facility began a few months ago, and company officials said it will act as a production and distribution hub for all of CertainTeed’s high-performance roofing products throughout America’s heartland for decades to come.
A group of high-level company officials and local municipal leaders planted a tree in front of the facility offices as a symbol of the company’s long-term commitment to the community, and as a demonstration of the sustained business growth officials said they anticipate the plant will help provide.
“Our roots will be deep here for decades to come,” said Pierre-André de Chalendar, chairman and CEO of Saint-Gobain, CertainTeed’s parent company. He flew in from Paris to tour the facility for the first time and participate in the event, which culminated a strategic plan that started nearly 10 years ago.
“This is an amazing, state-of-the-art plant,” he told a crowd of about 500 CertainTeed employees, customers, business partners and local government officials invited to tour the facility. “It’s a promise of sustained growth and profitable growth for all of us.”
Company officials said they wanted to mark the third and final phase of construction on the site nestled between a major railroad line and Interstate 70, which runs through the heart of the state.
“We don’t have a lot of opportunities to have big celebrations with our customers,” said Tom Smith, president of CertainTeed Roofing. “We get to thank them for their partnership and now have a deeper partnership with our customers in the heartland of the United States.”
Despite the large amount of visitors, production of roughly 800 squares of roofing shingles an hour continued throughout the day.
“One thing I don’t mind is having to speak up while work continues around me,” said Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who actively recruited CertainTeed to locate in Jonesburg as part of his administration’s focus on advanced manufacturing. “When it’s running at maximum capacity, this facility will produce enough roofing products to cover nearly 200,000 homes per year. Once again demonstrating Missouri builds strong, we build tough and we build to last.”
The plant already filled more than 80 of the 100 local jobs officials promised, and additional hires are expected this year, officials said. CertianTeed anticipates the facility will spur the creation of about 400 more ancillary jobs in trucking, welding and maintenance services.
Attendees took guided golf-cart tours around the property, which provided a first-hand look at the shingle creation process from the time the asphalt granules arrive by freight train directly onsite, to the formation of two-mile long sheets of shingles before they are cut and packaged for distribution.
CertainTeed invited several local roofing companies and long-time customers to the event, many of whom left wide-eyed after seeing the manufacturing process for the first time. Some said they were excited about what they learned and the prospects of it bringing in new business.
“I think the photos and videos I took today will help us a lot when talking to customers at the kitchen table,” said Brady Houdashelt, sales manager with Jess’ Residential Roofing in nearby O’Fallon, Mo.
“We’re a local contractor, and to be able to show them that we know where the shingles come from, how they’re made, and that it’s made locally is a big deal.”
Art Aisner is editor of Roofing Contractor. He can be reached at 248-244-6497 or firstname.lastname@example.org.