TROY — State officials and local dignitaries gathered to break ground at Clopay Building Products on Thursday to celebrate the expansion of the manufacturing facility and addition of 205 new jobs.
When the groundbreaking ceremony began, Clopay President Steve Lynch shared how Clopay has seen many changes in 10 years.
“I remember when we first talked about this facility, we were making picture tubes in 2005 and today, I’m proud to say this is the state-of-the-art, most technologically advanced garage door manufacturing facility in North America, and that’s not by accident.”
Lynch said a lot of investment was put into the facility during the time where similar companies were backing away from construction, and credited the success of Clopay to the team members who have always been there, including members of the Pioneer Club, which recognizes employees who have 20 years experience or more.
Lynch recognized the number-one guy, Allie Cordonnier, who is now starting his 51st year with Clopay, and praised Cordonnier’s dedication to the company.
Cordonnier said the changes over his tenure were amazing, from the size of the facility to the number of people working.
“When I started there was 12 of us employed, and everything was 100 percent wood,” he said. “Everything was done manually. We didn’t even have a forklift at that time.”
Now everything is automated and the garage doors Clopay constructs are insulated. Cordonnier said everything is almost 100 percent steel, which can make a house look elegant.
“I never knew they could make a garage door look so good,” he said, followed by a laugh. “It’s come a long ways in my 50 years.”
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel was present and spoke about Clopay’s contribution to the community and how it could help an upcoming generation. He said that he has known and heard the stories regarding graduates of liberal arts colleges who can only find jobs in retail or service and struggle to pay off massive student debts.
Developing a strong workforce and encouraging students to go into careers in manufacturing, Mandel said, was one of the best ways to help young adults avoid the serious debt, enter into good careers and help the economy of Ohio.
“Manufacturing is an important component of Ohio’s economic backbone,” he said. “The fact that Clopay is invested in manufacturing jobs will be not only important for Troy, but also for the whole Miami Valley and the state of Ohio. As treasurer and chief financial officer, I applaud Clopay for investing here and expanding. It not only creates more jobs, but it injects more optimism into the future of this region’s economy.”
Other speakers included CEO of Griffon Corporation Ron Kramer, which owns Clopay; Glenn Richardson of JobsOhio; Julie Sullivan of the Dayton Development Coalition; J.C. Wallace of the Troy Development Council and Troy Area Chamber of Commerce; and Tom Tathan of Dayton Power and Light.
After the remarks, the group of leaders broke ground.
“What’s great about it is it’s not just about expanding the facility, it’s about the new technology as well, which makes it really exciting,” Lynch said. “We are adding 205 jobs through 2019.”
Lynch said the types of jobs range from people working on the floor to accountants and engineers helping with the technological advances.
“A lot of people want to move on to four years of college,” he said. “Our thing is come work for Clopay, we’ll help you pay for college. We have a solution to get people on board and they can fulfill their life’s career, and we have a lot of examples of that in Clopay.”
Cordonnier is excited for the expansion, remarking that anytime new jobs are created, it serves a greater purpose.
“There’s only one reason why people come to work, and that’s to make a living for themselves and their family,” he said. “Any time you can provide a job, you’re doing the good Lord’s work — feed the hungry, clothe the naked and shelter the homeless, and every time you create a job that’s what you’re doing.”
Reach Allison C. Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Troydailynews.