I had the honor to be among the guests on hand in Milan, Ohio, as Johns Manville held a dedication ceremony for its new EPDM plant there. Contractors and other


JM Chairman, President and CEO Todd Raba cuts the ceremonial ribbon at the dedication of the company’s EPDM plant in Milan, Ohio. 

customers on hand for the dedication ceremony got a guided tour the new production facility.

During the ceremony, JM Chairman, President and CEO Todd Raba said, “We are delighted to deliver on our commitment to our customers and dedicate JM’s newest manufacturing facility – one of 40 JM facilities across the globe. Our new EPDM plant here in Milan is a state-of-the-art facility with world-class capabilities and we’re proud to showcase it today.”

The facility is the company’s third manufacturing operation in Ohio, joining JM’s Insulation Systems plant in Defiance and its Engineered Products facility in Waterville, Ohio.

The plant is not only news in the roofing industry — it’s a feel-good story all the way around. First of all, it is good news when manufacturing jobs end up in the United States as opposed to going overseas. In fact, the facility was formerly and EPDM plant for the automotive industry that had been standing empty since its former owner moved the jobs to Mexico. According to the folks at JM, it’s the first new EPDM plant in the U.S. in 27 years.

The task of remodeling the plant and updating it with state-of-the-art technology was a massive one, and the project engineers brought the project in ahead of schedule. I was on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony last June, and I was surprised when project engineer Rick Jonas and plant manager Brian Keyser told me the goal was to be up and running by June 1, 2012. They met their ambitious goals, and the transformation of the plant was truly impressive.

Bob Wamboldt, vice president and general manager of JM’s Roofing Systems business, noted that with the addition of EPDM products, “JM now has the broadest offering of commercial roofing products in the industry.” He added, “With over $125 million invested in our commercial roofing business over the past five years, we are truly stepping up to our commitment to our customers. 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.”

 Wamboldt told me that it was suggestions from a group of contractors that got the company moving in the direction of EPDM in the first place. JM also sought out help from contractors as the plant was being designed. “As we started up the plant, we brought contractors in to look at the product to help us understand what they were looking for,” said Wamboldt. “Today was just a chance to celebrate the hard work that everybody did and thank our customers for their support.”