WM President Inducted into Modular Building Hall-of-Fame

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.

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Investing in the Local Community

Whitley Manufacturing is Proud to Invest in the Local Community.

THE HARRISOn mixed-use project completes fort wayne’s harrison square development, the centerpiece of downtown revitalization plans.

the harrison fort wayne

The Harrison (pictured above) is the last phase of the Harrison Square development which includes Parkview Field (home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps) and is a vital component of the city’s downtown revitalization efforts.  The mixed-use development will offer Fort Wayne an upscale urban living option in a one-of-a-kind setting.

the harrison interior

The third and fourth floors of The Harrison (click here to download a brochure) feature forty-four luxury apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms with amazing views into Parkview Field or towards the Fort Wayne downtown skyline.  The first floor features retail and restaurant space with the second floor occupied by commercial offices.  The Harrison (scheduled for completion by February 2013) is the final component of the Harrison Square development which seeks to drive activity and economic growth back into the downtown area.

Despite the poor economy that hampered the initial phases of the project, a new public-private partnership including the owner of Whitley Manufacturing, have backed the project which celebrated a cake-cutting event on January 31st.

The New York Times profiled this unique approach to downtown revitalization in a feature article last year.

the harrison floorplanThe Anderson (a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment) featuring ballpark views over Parkview Field is shown at left.  The full floorplan package can also be downloaded here.

Media Coverage:

Project Partners:

 

 

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FMI Survey Shows Modular as “Growth Opportunity”

Modular Building Benefits and Opportunities

From the Modular Building Institute:  “FMI Corporation (one of the nation’s largest providers of management consulting, investment banking and reserach to the engineering and construction industry) recently released their fourth quarter 2010 Nonresidential Construction Index (NRCI) stating that modular construction is considered a growth opportunity for the industry.

The NRCI report indicates that in light of the long recession, more contractors are thinking lean and looking for ways to build for less.  FMI asked about one trend that could help make the construction business leaner and more efficient, the growth of prefabrication and modular construction.  Although the trend for greater use of off-site construction has been growing slowly for years, the recession and new technologies are set to increase the use of manufacturing processes and environments for construction.

Only 11% of the panelists surveyed expected growth for the next three years to be less than 1%, or less than expected GDP growth.  Thirty-seven percent expect growth to be between 1% and 5%, but 49% expect growth to exceed 5%.  Panelists expect this area to grow faster than the market in general due to the growing use of BIM, owners wanting projects faster and for lower cost, safety, quality and the shortage of skilled labor once markets return to more normal growth.

“This report confirms what we’ve believed for a long time, that modular construction is poised for take-off,” said Tom Hardiman, Executive Director of the Modular Building Institute.  “Over the past five years there has been a growing interest in the commercial modular construction market from building owners and investors alike.  We expect to see continued growth for our commercial building providers as the modular construction industry continues to adopt innovative and efficient construction techniques.”

The NRCI is a quarterly report by FMI which is a sampling of construction industry executives voluntarily serving as panelists for surveys about industry trends.  The responses are based on their experience and opinions, and the analysis is based on FMI’s interpretation of the aggregate results.”

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