Johns Manville (JM), a Berkshire Hathaway company, recently held a groundbreaking ceremony at its new EPDM manufacturing facility in Milan, Ohio. This is a great story for the roofing industry, and I was on hand to cover the news for Roofing Contractor.
But this was also great news for the small community of Milan. At the ceremony, Milan Mayor Robert Bickley presented JM Chairman, President and CEO Todd Raba with the key to the city. He thanked the company for reviving a plant that had been vacant for years and could just as easily have never opened its doors again. “To open up this building is wonderful,” he said, noting his brother had worked in the building for more than 40 years when it was a plant that produced EPDM for the automotive industry.
These sentiments were echoed by the Milan plant manager, Brian Keyser, who told me he lives just two blocks away and feared he’d see the building gradually crumble. He’s thrilled the plant will soon be up and running and that it will bring jobs to the community. The fact that the site was previously an EPDM plant should help speed up the conversion, noted Keyser. “The site was a fantastic fit,” he said. “It had the infrastructure for mixing on the premises.”
JM executives on hand for the ceremony emphasized that this was a win-win for all involved - the community, the company, and the contractors who will use the products manufactured there.
“This is a great day for Johns Manville and it’s really incredibly gratifying to see the level of community support,” Raba said. “JM has a strong presence in the state of Ohio and we are excited to be part of the Milan community.”
“Everything starts with our customers,” said Bob Wamboldt, vice president and general manager of JM’s Roofing Systems business. “With over $125 million invested in our commercial roofing business over the past five years, this is really the crowning jewel of a five-year effort. JM has dedicated substantial resources to underscore our commitment to the single-ply business and ensure a strong future for our customers in this segment of the commercial roofing industry.”
I was told the materials that used to be manufactured at the site are now manufactured out of the country. Any way you slice it, it’s nice to see jobs created in the United States - especially in these tough economic times.