Modular Building Executive Inducted into Hall of Fame
South Whitley, Indiana. April 6, 2012. The Modular Building Institute (MBI) held its annual conference last week in Orlando, Florida. Labeled “World of Modular” the event recognizes the industry’s past year of achievements, honoring both projects and people. Through the “Hall of Fame” award, MBI seeks to recognize the contributions of those whose careers are, or were, dedicated to the modular construction industry or whose acts have had a significant impact on the careers of all others involved. This year’s inductee, Simon Dragan (President / CEO and owner of Whitley Manufacturing), with over 30 years in the industry, has influenced the careers of employees and colleagues alike, along with significant contributions to the industry.
Mr. Dragan escaped Romania during its dictatorship in 1969 and found himself in a refugee camp seeking a new country to call home. While Mr. Dragan could have left sooner for other countries, he waited for the opportunity to enter the United States. “In America,” Mr. Dragan explained, “I had the opportunity to succeed or fail on the merits of my own efforts. Despite a language problem, different customs, and just $10.00 in my pocket, the American Dream encouraged me to succeed. Doors for opportunity are open in America.”
Whitley Manufacturing has been located in South Whitley since the close of World War Two with an initial goal of providing returning veterans with homes. Over the subsequent decades, the company changed focus to providing commercial modular buildings and was acquired by Williams Mobile in 1971, until it was purchased by Mr. Dragan in 1993.
When he arrived in the country in 1972, he was hired as a draftsman by a Baltimore, Maryland firm engaged in the modular industry. He was later hired by Williams Mobile (now Williams-Scotsman), where his career grew and led to the opportunity to purchase the Whitley Manufacturing flagship factory. Mr. Dragan singled out Barry Gossett, former CEO of Williams-Scotsman, as a key mentor and his reason for embracing the industry he has been honored by.
Whitley Manufacturing now includes three factories with the acquisition of Evergreen Mobile (Marysville, WA) in 1999 and a second Midwest factory location (Rochester, IN). Whitley and its associated businesses typically employ over 250 including tradesmen, factory workers, design and engineering staff, and management team. Mr. Dragan elaborated on the contribution of his employees, “I have succeeded because of my employees, many who have been with me for over 20 years. I thank them for their hard work and dedication to our industry.” The firm (headquartered in South Whitley, IN) has produced countless projects in over 40 states and overseas. Whitley has won over 50 “Awards of Distinction” from the MBI for their excellence in the modular construction marketplace.
Please join us in congratulating Mr. Dragan on the well-deserved honor!
Learn more about the Modular Building Institute.
Learn more about Whitley Manufacturing.