MIFAB’s official groundbreaking ceremony for its 68,000-square-foot expansion at its headquarters in Chicago took place on Aug. 6, bringing the total square footage to 128,000. The planning for the expansion began just over a year ago and has an expected completion date of January 2020.
The ceremony began with President Michael Whiteside expressing his gratitude to everyone who has played a crucial role in the expansion, including longtime MIFAB employees.
“This new facility is dedicated to the expansion of our Beeco backflow prevention product line, including an in-house test facility,” Whiteside said during his opening speech. “It will provide more space for our range of plastic interceptors so that we can continue to grow this exciting part of our business.”
MIFAB was first headquartered in Canada, and it was in 2006 when Whiteside thought it was time to make the transition to the United States. Alderman Carrie Austin was at the first groundbreaking ceremony, and was again in attendance for the current expansion. She also was accompanied by Chief of Staff Chester Wilson Jr., and Ed Lewis of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.
“We have operated and thrived from this location for 14 years,” Whiteside noted. “We have received a warm welcome from the city of Chicago and Alderman Austin’s office during this time.”
He shared two stories from that time; one being how his wife and Lewis found the current location, and another on how the company overcame an issue the weekend before they were to move into the facility.
“We had 100 tractor trailers of product en route from our Toronto warehouse to this building,” he said. “The racking company called me and said they could not finish the project. I called the Alderman’s chief of staff and asked him if he could identify local people to meet me here Saturday morning and help me install the warehouse racking. He came through with 20 people and we worked all weekend and got it done. We were able to unload the trucks from Canada.
“These stories reflect the ‘can do’ spirit at MIFAB and the city of Chicago. This is certainly the city of big shoulders and hardworking people.”
Whiteside recognized four people who have been with the company since its Chicago opening 14 years ago and three people who have been with them for more than 10 years. “It has been a pleasure working with all of them since the beginning, and I look forward to many more years together,” he said. “We have grown from 40 people to 70; we have added a significant manufacturing operation and six new product lines; we have been tight for space and are very much looking forward to moving into this new building so we can operate more efficiently and continue to grow our business.”
In addition to their already massive 60,000-square-foot space, the new expansion will house some of MIFAB’s growing product lines, such as the HDPE plastic interceptors that range from holding tanks of 75 to 2,000 gallons. The new space also will provide additional distribution space and testing for its BEECO backflow preventers.
Whiteside concluded the ceremony with high hopes for MIFAB’s future. “This would all not be possible without the team spirit that we have at MIFAB, the support of Alderman Austin’s office, and the Charles Hall Construction team. Thank-you very much for being here to celebrate this moment with us.”