In March of 2020, Everkem started a new chapter with the move to a more spacious facility. We are thrilled to share what we’ve been up to since the move. But first, let’s take a moment to look back and reflect on how far we’ve come.
For 14 years, we called 5180 Indiana Avenue in Winston-Salem home. Initially, the facility had everything we needed. However, over time we started to outgrow our home and required a place with enough space to handle our rapid and continual growth. Jason Lynch, Everkem’s president, had prepared for the day when the company would expand. At first, the plan was to build a facility from the ground up, which would allow us to customize. However, after looking at multiple tracts of land and discussing the finer points of building with several architects, it was decided purchasing an existing facility would be best. To ensure we didn’t miss an opportunity, we entered the real estate market with an open mind, leaving nothing off the table; newly constructed buildings, older buildings, and anything in-between.
During the search, Jason came across a metal building. From the outside, the facility showed promise. However, looks can be deceiving. Upon touring the facility, Jason noticed it was in need of renovations. It wasn’t until a thorough walkthrough that he realized the extent of the required repairs and decided it would be wise to look elsewhere. Not long after the tour of the metal building, we found our home at 120 Regent Drive, in Winston-Salem. The building was approximately 48,000 sq. ft. which was roughly twice the size of the facility at Indiana Avenue with enough land and space for future expansion. It was everything we needed and wanted.
Originally a solvent chemical manufacturing facility, there was little for us to renovate. When asked how he felt about the building Lynch stated, “the building was set up exactly the way we needed it and it’s on a great side of town. We are very excited to be part of this community. It was perfect, like it was waiting for us, just at the right time.”
With the closing finalized, we began the process of moving. Relocating a production facility and administrative offices was a large endeavor. With the exception of breaking down, transporting, and setting machinery back up, we did the majority of the moving on our own. Making it essential to work as a cohesive unit. To ensure the process of the move operated seamlessly, we were assigned various responsibilities. Jason gave a great illustration of this when he was asked about the tasks he took on during the move, “Most of the time, I was on the clean-up crew at our old facility. I was down on the floor with a putty knife scraping old caulk from the floor. Certain tough spots required a floor grinder and a jackhammer to remove old raw material that had dripped behind the mixing platform.”
Even though moving ourselves wasn’t the easiest thing to do, we found the process served a greater purpose. We became stronger as a team. Working together on day-to-day assignments is different from working together to relocate a company. It’s much more personal; you have the opportunity to work with staff members you don’t normally interact with and create new connections. When asked what he learned from the experience, Jason stated, “I was able to work closely with the production team, something I hadn’t done in many years, which gave me a new appreciation for the process, talent, commitment, and drive of our team. It was great working side-by-side and feeling like everyone had your back. It really helped us come together and kickstarted a new line of communication that’s still in place today.”
Moving is not without its challenges, as anyone who has ever moved knows. There are always things you would do differently if you had to do it over. Our experience was no different. While we were preparing to move, Covid-19 began spreading across the country like wildfire, propelling the country into a state of crisis. Due to Covid-19, Everkem instituted protocols to ensure the health and safety of its team. The protocols stipulated that any staff member who was ill or exposed to Covid must take a Covid test and be quarantined until test results came back, which could take up to ten days. As a result, we were left understaffed throughout the moving process. This impacted everything from our relocation timeline to production. Despite the challenges, we came through it and we’re better because of it.
The new facility gave us the space to accommodate new machinery which addressed needs in our production process. New equipment was bought to resolve bottlenecks in production, increasing efficiency and enabling us to better serve our customers while providing new opportunities. With the new facility and equipment, talented operators and maintenance personnel were hired. The increased space in our office and lab enabled us to hire new administrative and lab employees.
These new hires allowed current team members, who wore many hats to focus on roles and responsibilities they were most compatible with. When asked how he felt about the change, Jason stated, “I was working on a variety of tasks and I wasn’t able to get to everything . But now with the addition of new employees, I get to spend more time speaking with our customers, keeping them updated on new developments, and educating our salespeople and distributors to improve product sales. I am now able to take on a larger role engaging our partners and creating more awareness for Everkem.”
Since the move, we have been busy as bees making up for lost time. The production team quickly mastered the particulars of the new machinery. Lab personnel has been unwavering in their pursuit to optimize our product formulations to improve performance and reduce cost, as well as meticulously formulating new product offerings.
It is hard to believe that it’s already been a year since the move. It was an adventure that had its ups and downs, but that’s what made it interesting. At Everkem, we believe one should never forget where they came from nor the challenges faced along the way. Without it, you lose sight of your purpose. Thank you for taking the time to look back and celebrate with us. “We are very glad to be here and proud of what we have created.”
– Jason Lynch