West Warwick-based Dryvit Systems Inc. has its new, 120,000-square-foot manufacturing plant up and running in North Kingstown. Providence Business News spoke with company President and CEO R. Michael Murphy about what’s going on there now – and what’s planned for the new year and beyond.
PBN: Dryvit has said it needs the new plant to manufacture NewBrick, an insulated brick product, and meet demand. What is the appeal of this product to your building and construction clients?
MURPHY: NewBrick has proven to be a breakthrough product because of its lightweight status, speed of installation, product durability and an appearance that matches the desired look of traditional clay brick. NewBrick accelerates installation and reduces the need of costly structural steel reinforcements.
NewBrick is … part of a growing need for an energy-efficient wall solution. … We even have several multistory buildings going up in California, where clay-brick construction has not been possible. Our new facility will help ensure that we can meet exponentially growing demand for NewBrick.
PBN: What is the status of the new Dryvit plant at the Brown & Sharpe building in North Kingstown?
MURPHY: The new plant is operational, manufacturing NewBrick since November. This is an exciting opportunity for Dryvit to expand into a facility with such a long history of manufacturing excellence and precision. Initially, our manufacturing activity will focus on NewBrick, but manufacturing of our exterior insulation and finish systems – now produced in our West Warwick facility – will soon shift to the brand-new facility.
PBN: Are you using/will you be using robotics there as part of the manufacturing process?
MURPHY: NewBrick will certainly be looking for efficiencies in the manufacturing process. We recently made investments in hiring a team with expertise in advanced-manufacturing capabilities to help gear us up for our growth expectations. We understand that investments in technology are a critical ingredient to sustaining a competitive advantage over the competition and delivering true value to the users of our product solutions.
PBN: The company looks to double its employee numbers over the next few years. Is this a challenge with a manufacturing labor shortage?
MURPHY: Dryvit has been successful at recruiting even in the tightest labor markets, because we’ve got a great reputation in the industry. People recognize Dryvit as a leader in the EIFS industry and now our introduction of NewBrick, coupled with our latest acquisition announcement of NUDURA, the leader in insulated concrete forms, demonstrates that we’re a company focused on innovation and tremendous growth opportunities … critical attributes in attracting top talent. We are a company that is expanding our commitment to providing high-quality, energy-efficient building solutions in both commercial and residential construction.
PBN: Dryvit has won PBN Best Places to Work awards four years in a row. What is the main reason?
MURPHY: The real success of any business rests on having a top-quality team who love what they do. This perspective has been part of Dryvit’s culture for years. It’s a culture we instill in new hires and strengthen in our existing talent by being a place where people can really challenge themselves and see the direct result of their hard work on our collective success. We’re also a company that values family and having fun; we work hard to make sure that our employees can easily balance work and home life.
Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributing writer.