Though it has been in operation for less than a year, Mississippi Green Built (MGB), manufacturer of polystyrene insulated concrete form (ICF) products, has already become an international player. A plant fashioned after the company’s Lumberton facility is being built in Sao Tome, an island off the coast of Africa with the assistance of MGB staff, and the company has a number of customers abroad.
In addition, MGB’s products will soon be available through Home Depot, and the company is in negotiations with other retailers/distributors.
MGB recently began manufacturing a new product, polystyrene flat panels, and another, ICF roof/floor panels, is set to begin production within a week or two.
It all adds up to some exciting times for the South Mississippi manufacturer, says Paul Pullen, MGB’s executive director of marketing.
“Our expectations have been exceeded,” Pullen says. “The future looks great.”
MGB was founded by president Hensley Lee, a longtime Mississippi contractor based in Picayune. Hurricane Katrina dealt his area a tremendous blow, and Lee began looking around for materials and processes to build stronger, yet still affordable, houses. After researching other storm-prone areas, Lee struck on ICFs.
MGB went into production in June 2007, with Aaron Lott, former mayor of Lumberton, serving as general manager. The company began producing ICF block that was originally developed in Austria.
Pullen says MGB chose the ICF block for its strength and energy efficiency. Pullen says the structures built with its product can withstand winds of up to 240 miles per hour. And, a homeowner in a 1,200-1,400-square-foot house can expect to save approximately $100 per month in utility bills compared to a house built of traditional materials.
On February 4 of this year, MGB began producing its polystyrene flat panels for use in stucco-type finish systems. The panels come in widths from 1/2” to 4”, and Pullen says they come in short lengths, making them easier to handle and install than competing products.
The company still makes ICF block, which comes 6”, 8” and 10” sizes, and MGB also offers SIP panel screws, tap-cons, spray foam and other roofing and miscellaneous fasteners and supplies, including those needed to install the flat panels.
At press time, MGB’s marketing campaign for its flat panels was still in its infancy, but Pullen says the company is excited about the early returns. The company is talking to distributors across the country interested in carrying MGB’s products. The company already has a distributor in Shelbyville, Ky., Kentucky Green Built.
The Home Depot deal is a coup for MGB. The company talked to Home Depot last summer as it went into production, but negotiations stalled. Approximately three months ago, the two entities reopened talks, and a deal was struck.
Pullen says the agreement calls for MGB’s products to be in six to 10 stores in Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida. He adds that the two sides will gauge sales to determine whether or not the deal will be expanded to other stores and states.
MGB sells to both contractors and individuals. It offers training to both — to builders to show how to install its products and to do-it-yourself owners. As “green” construction gains momentum here in Mississippi and abroad, MGB is expecting more business.
“We’ve got people bidding on huge projects in Puerto Rico and another in Mexico,” Pullen says.
MGB’s presence is even being felt across an ocean and on another continent. Lott has been traveling back and forth between Mississippi and Sao Tome, serving as a consultant to the plant being built there that will mirror the Lumberton plant. The product from that plant will be used to construct the large Lagoa Azul Resort.
Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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