Federal Foam Technologies, Inc., has been a part of the New Richmond business community since 1995 when their first manufacturing facility was built in the community. The company has a long and interesting history of manufacturing dating back to 1914 in St. Louis, Missouri and in total employs approximately 500 people and has 1 million square feet of manufacturing space in Europe and North America.
The New Richmond facility has played a significant role in that growth over the years and now encompasses more than 200,000 sq. ft. locally and since 2001 has been the home of corporate functions for Federal Foam Technologies, Inc. The local manufacturing facility supplies the off-road equipment and UTV markets with items such as headliners and back panels and other parts and accessories.
The company has been continually growing in New Richmond and outgrew the original facility some time ago. Additional warehousing and distribution expanded into a former retail store. When Federal Foam purchased the former retail facility in New Richmond, they had their first opportunity to work with Derrick Companies to renovate the space for their needs.
The increasing possibility of a new large business opportunity for Federal Foam Technologies led the management team to thoroughly research options for efficient expansion. As part of that process, the team contracted with Derrick Building Solutions for design-only of a 100,000 sq. ft. primarily warehousing and distribution facility on their existing site. The expansion would be connected to the existing building, but also provide separation. As the design took shape, the possibility of the new business opportunity strengthened, and the decision was made to move forward on construction.
Cathy Longtin, the Chief Financial Officer of Federal Foam Technologies said, “We had experience with Derrick Companies on the renovation of the retail building and had been very pleased with their work and how they handled the project. We knew they had the ability to work with us on this size of expansion. We requested bids from several contractors and ultimately chose Derrick Building Solutions because we knew the work was going to be quality. We also welcomed the opportunity as a local company in New Richmond to do business with another local company to accomplish this project.
“Once we made the decision to build, we planned for the project to be completed promptly. We had new projects coming in and deadlines to adhere to,” Cathy added. “We felt that having a local contractor working with us, particularly one with a proven track record, would help us meet the timelines and deadlines we had set.”
The project started in March of 2018 and a ceremonial groundbreaking was held in June. The site concrete work (more than 90,000 sq. ft.) took several months and the steel frame of the Butler Building was erected in the fall of 2018. Federal Foam occupied the new space early in 2019. The expansion is 103,219 sq. ft. and includes shipping and receiving operations, tool storage, raw material storage, assembly, break areas, offices, training rooms, and conference areas. The facilities size and value earned Federal Foam a place on the State of Wisconsin’s top 25 projects in the state for 2018. The Butler pre-engineered steel facility also features two different types of Butler wall panels and the MR-24 standing seam roof.
“The winter of 2018-19 was one for the record books in our area,” Chad Derrick, the project manager on the job said. “We had record cold temperatures and record cold wind chills the week we were setting the roof on the facility. This was followed by a record-breaking February for snow totals in which we received more than a winter’s worth of snow essentially in one month,” he added. The weather was an annoyance to work around but did not delay the project. “One of the bigger challenges was working with a labor shortage. With low unemployment some of our subcontractors are working with smaller crews and we worked hard to stay on top of our schedule to keep the project moving forward as fast as possible,” he added.
The new space allowed Federal Foam to move some warehousing and shipping operations completely out of their connected manufacturing facility. This, in turn, allowed their internal team to execute a plan to reconfigure their production space to improve efficiency and safety. Staging the re-configuring project included altering production scheduling to allow for the move, re-arranging the floor layout, providing utilities to the equipment sites, and some disassembly and moving of very large machinery.
When asked about the process, Cathy said, “We created an internal team here and Kirk and Joe from our staff worked closely with the contractors and trades on all the details of the project. Joe and I sat in on all the site meetings. The Derrick team, including the project manager Chad Derrick and project superintendent Kevin Derrick worked very closely with us. They were always honest and open about everything that was going on with the project and continually reached out and presented options to keep our project moving forward.
“Whatever we needed from Derrick Building Solutions, we knew it would be taken care of promptly by Chad or Kevin with a phone call or email,” she added. “The project turned out just as we expected it would when we chose to work with Derrick. It was done on time, the quality is excellent, and the process of working with them was very straightforward and professional. We are very pleased with our new facility.”
Federal Foam Technologies hosted a public open house on July 12, 2019, with a ribbon cutting by the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce. The event also showcased the products made in New Richmond and the technology utilized in the manufacturing facilities. It was well-attended and well-received event for the community.
Learn more about Federal Foam Technologies, Inc. by visiting their website: https://www.federalfoam.com/.