PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. — MetalForming Inc. (MFI) has chosen Dr. William Drury, an engineer and entrepreneur with an award-winning record of outstanding customer service, as the company’s new president and chief operating officer.
Company founder Geoff Stone will continue as MetalForming’s CEO.
MetalForming is one of the largest distributors of metal folding machines in the world and one of the largest suppliers of high-end architectural sheet metal machines in North America. The company is also a world leader in providing software, communications, training and consulting services.
Drury, 57, has a significant history as an entrepreneur and brings to his new job a wealth of experience managing and leading a private company through all phases of growth and development.
In 1993, while pursuing his doctorate at Georgia Tech in materials science, Drury and a fellow student started a company, Custom Molded Products LLC in their dorm room. They started with one simple idea: “Take care of our customers and they will take care of us.” CMP since then has become one of the largest suppliers of spa industry components in the world and an award-winning pool products supplier. The company now employs more than 700 employees, operates in multiple countries and has been recognized time and again for its customer service.
Drury sold most of his interest in CMP to private equity in 2013, but he continued as CEO until a couple of years ago. He largely retired then but still has a role as chairman.
Stone said his daughter, Abigail Stone, MFI’s vice president of customer relations, was the person who brought Drury to his attention, having worked for him previously. He said Drury became a member of MetalForming’s board of directors just under two years ago, which gave him a jump start on getting to know the company. Drury said he became a big fan of “the outstanding team” at MFI and thought the company represented a good match for his skill set. After discussions with Stone and the board during the summer, he took on the role as president and COO on Sept. 1, 2020.
“He has a huge intellectual curiosity,” Stone said. “He brings both entrepreneurial interest and organizational skills, and he really loves our family orientation.”
For Stone, the definition of family extends to include MFI employees and its vendors.
Quality customer service has always been a key element of MetalForming’s DNA. The company focuses on helping customers optimize both job site and factory operations in ways that reduce waste, increase revenue and efficiently position them to meet the “just-in-time” needs of today’s metal fabricating businesses.
MetalForming also has grown rapidly in recent years, and Drury’s hiring reflects its commitment to making sure that the personalized customer support it is known for keeps pace with that growth.
“MFI is the acknowledged leader in terms of technology and equipment for the metal-forming equipment manufacturers they represent," said Drury. “My area is to take a company that is already successful and standardize the processes. Make it more consistent and efficient.
He said as a company grows, it needs to evolve, so he aims to install processes that are suitable not only for a company of MFI’s current scale, but also for the scale it hopes to achieve in the not-too-distant future.
“What we are after is the best of both worlds. We want to maintain the personal relationships and the personal touch. At the same time, behind the scenes, we want the operations to run smoothly and efficiently," he said. "I hope customers will start to see the impact of more rigorous process management by early next year.”
Drury noted that, though he spent a lot of his career working in the plastic industry, his master’s degree is in metallurgical engineering, and so coming back to metals, is a nice way “to close the loop” on his career interests.
Stone, who is 71, said Drury’s hiring is part of a leadership transition process, but he anticipates continuing with MetalForming for years to come, focusing more on sales as Drury digs into operations.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have a person of Bill’s caliber on board, who also shares our cultural values. It’s an amazing fit," Stone said.