Making Dreams Come True
by Tom Groethe

Congratulations to Building Systems Magazine on 25 years of reporting the current events, trends, and achievements of the industry. As we reminisce, what a span those years have represented in the use of modular, panel, log, and other forms of industrialized housing to create the American dream.

Most of my career has been in the modular industry. The building systems industry continues to reach for plateaus that we all questioned were ever achievable. I have witnessed the spirit of the entrepreneur, the creativity in design, the innovations in manufacturing technology and new building materials have created a healthy, growing industry.

First, the industry has many successful entrepreneurs, who took on the challenges and risks of new technology to build homes. Their endeavors created jobs, fortunes, and dreams along the way. In many cases these individuals were stick builders looking for a better way to build. Some were forward looking executives of larger building related companies who saw an opportunity to be a part of the future. Most succeeded in becoming many of the industry leaders of today, who build the highest quality homes in the country each year.

As I look back 25 years I recall the limitations of design, size, features, and processes. The industry was limited to a single story, with few options, and sometimes difficult transportation and sets. But, all that has changed to include every size house imaginable with unlimited offerings, design features, and the highest quality of structure offered anywhere.

Remember when the drawing board, calculator, and pencil were the way to design? This time consuming process has been replaced with the computer and software that unleashed both the technical solutions and imagination. It created a whole new career opportunity for many in the industry as technology continues to improve.

The factory floor has also evolved as the experience and equipment paved the way to higher volume and efficient manufacturing methods. Earlier equipment was borrowed from other intended uses and redesigned by clever people. Today, equipment is designed specifically for the industry to provide both quality and efficiencies in the operations.

The supply chain has grown to companies with specific operations to supply the industry. These companies have developed processes to provide materials customarily destined for job sites to sophisticated manufacturing operations. We can all remember the days when option choices consisted of two or three of an item. Today, the choices are unlimited thanks to the ability of the supplier community to provide just-in-time inventories.

Building materials have also transformed the way homes are built. Engineered wood products and components have opened the architectural features of homes built today to what the imagination can create. Many building material companies are producing other components specifically for the building systems industry. These items are of the highest quality and current to design trends.

We all marvel at what the American dream home has become. Our house is the haven for the family, the place to grow up and to create new expectations for the next generation. It is a statement of our life and a place to entertain our friends. It is a place to feel secure and comfortable. The building systems industry has become a recognized leader in helping make those dreams come true.

Our hats off to Building Systems Magazine for 25 years of spreading the message of the industry to those who participate in the business as well as those who have found a home to fulfill their American dream. It has been a good message to help the industry grow and prosper. Thanks for growing with us.

Tom Grothe is the strategic account manager for the building systems industry at Merillat Industries.