Gainesville — By CATHY MOUNCE
North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, GAF, held a grand opening ceremony Tuesday with local and national dignitaries in attendance. Members of the community and long standing GAF customers gathered to tour the new expanded state-of-the-art ISO plant facility that will bring new jobs and a boost to the local economy in the north Texas area.
Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and former Dallas Cowboy Roger Staubach spoke to an estimated 500 during the luncheon and shared his knowledge and experience as a successful business leader and entrepreneur.
Staubach led the Cowboys to four Super Bowls and achieved victories in Super Bowls VI, and XII. Five autographed footballs signed by Staubach were given away at the event.
Bob Tafaro, president and CEO of GAF, said this is an exciting time for the 127-year-old American company founded in 1886.
“Our new facility is the latest addition to our ongoing campaign across America by increasing our manufacturing capabilities in order to serve our commercial roofing clients more efficiently,” Tafaro said.
“At our Gainesville open house we are looking to forward a memorable event as we give sincere thanks to our customers for all their support,” Tafaro continued.
Tafaro said that it was great to work with the Gainesville Economic Development Corporation.
The new ISO plant is adjacent to GAF’s existing TPO plant which opened in 2006. The TPO plant produces a monolithic roofing membrane used in commercial structures. The ISO plant produces an energy-efficient foam roofing insulation.
Gainesville is the only location in the country where GAF has both an ISO and a TPO plant in the same place. Another dual facility is planned in Cedar City, Utah.
“The completion of this expansion program represents over a year’s work involving GAF, the GEDC, the city of Gainesville and North Central Texas College,” said GEDC executive director Kent Sharp. “These efforts will result in a $30 million investment in our city.”
The Gainesville expansion follows on the heels of the grand opening of GAF’s Statesboro Georgia ISO plant with plans for another location servicing the western United States in the near future.
According to Doug Pohli, the GAF Executive Director of Extrusion Operations in Gainesville, the 200,000 square foot expansion can hold 17 million board feet while shipping out 35 truckloads a day. The facility has maximum capacity to hold 180 truckloads of product.
The local Gainesville facility is centrally located and will be able to save the company shipping and handling costs thus keeping the product price competitive.
“The robotics involved in the manufacture of the ISO products are amazing,” Pohli continued. “We have a great crew that keep the process running efficiently and cleanly. Our warehouse is spotless and we police each other. Our team works hard keeping things stored properly and organized.”
Pohli said this building expansion is different from other GAF expansions because for the first time, GAF can offer commercial clients a product that will not require assembly at the building site.
The insulation, according to Pohli, is built into the roofing material and is shipped as one unit or as a kit directly to job sites across the country. Gainesville is the first location to offer both products from one location.
“We work in a very tight time schedule and it is important that our products deliver in the window we have established,” Pohli said. “There could be fork lifts and even helicopters waiting to offload at the site and a delay in delivery can be critical and expensive.”
GAF owner Ronnie Heyman traveled from New York for the grand opening of the new Gainesville facility.
“This is a very exciting time for GAF and our commercial roofing partners,” GAF president and CEO Bob Tafaro said. “We’ve never been more ready to make our mark — on Texas, and across the country.”