I often say, “making caulk is a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.” Well, no one lives up to that statement more than my business partner, CEO, and Plant Manager, Chin Lin.
Lin moved to China Town in New York City when he was 13. In the early ’90s, he relocated to Kernersville, NC, where he owned and operated a small restaurant. During that time, Lin met one of my best friends, who tried to convince him to sell his restaurant and start a company to manufacture fire-retardant caulk. At the time, Lin had two identical twin newborns and an eight-year-old son and had never worked in a manufacturing environment.
Although it sounds crazy, in 1997, Lin sold his restaurant and took all the money he had to buy a 35-gallon concrete mixer and a 35-gallon drum press with a stainless-steel kettle. Along with the drum and press, Lin crafted some spring-loaded, hand-operated jigs used to insert the plunger into the back of the caulk tube.
He rented a small 3,500 square foot warehouse, hired a couple of folks, and started to manufacture the first ASTM-E136 rated fireblock caulk for single-family construction, DraftStop. Within six months of Lin opening his humble manufacturing facility, I was hired as the first sales representative. And so began our unlikely journey together, which eventually brought us here as Everkem Diversified Products today.
Murphy’s Law stating that “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” certainly rings true more often than not when it comes to manufacturing. It takes a particular type of person to run a successful manufacturing business, let alone a caulk manufacturing business. It takes ingenuity, resourcefulness, and grit – qualities Lin has in spades.
For the past 25 years, Lin has been the true force behind Everkem’s reputation for timely delivery and reliable product performance. He keeps the machines running, the production team on point, and continually works to improve our manufacturing infrastructure to ensure we fulfill our promises. Even now, at 56, Lin continues to grind it out with the Everkem team as we battle labor shortages, Covid, and a global supply chain catastrophe.
When it comes to the North American caulks and sealants markets, we’re pretty much the smallest and least known manufacturer out there. But we come to work and bust our asses each day and pour a part of ourselves into everything we do, and I know that shines through in our products and our service. The growth we’ve experienced alongside continually being approached by new partners who are willing to invest their trust in us is as rewarding as it is humbling.
I fully realize that our competitors are older and larger. I understand that they may have state-of-the-art equipment, large teams, and investors with deep pockets. I know that they’re well-established and have the bulk of the business.
Despite that, I’m not worried. I’m confident that we will continue to make good on our commitments of service and value and continue to do what those other manufacturers can’t or won’t. Yes, other manufacturers may have all the machines, the teams, and the money – but we have Lin. And Lin will keep grinding it out to make sure the machines keep running and you get your product. Unless it’s silicone. Because apparently, no one on earth is getting that, thanks to the global shortage. But you can bet your bottom dollar he’s busting his ass to try to get that shipped, too.