The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance globally for healthy air, ventilation, filtration, and humidity control. Aprilaire realized such an uptick in business that it accelerated expansion plans to serve the increased demand for healthy IAQ, essentially doubling its total number of employees to about 700 and adding two physical structures: a 110,000 square foot distribution and shipping center and a 60,000 square foot manufacturing facility. The ACHR NEWS recently talked with Dale Philippi, president and CEO of Research Products Corp., Aprilaire’s parent company.
NEWS: How big of a demand increase did Aprilaire see last year during COVID?
Philippi: Much of our growth started prior to 2020, but the pandemic has accelerated it. Indoor air quality was brought to the forefront as a result of COVID-19 and with that, interest in and the need for Aprilaire products grew exponentially.
NEWS: Were you able to keep up with demand throughout the year?
Philippi: There’s so much that has gone on to continue to move our business forward, starting with our employees’ dedication and commitment to our healthy air mission. I’m incredibly proud of our teams for demonstrating operational excellence in all aspects of the business to address increased demand and continue to service our customers.
NEWS: Has that growth continued in 2021?
Philippi: Yes. We have built an unparalleled reputation as the brand of choice among tens of thousands of professional contractors who know our singular focus on improving residential indoor air quality means we offer the most complete whole-home air quality product portfolio available to homeowners to solve a host of IAQ problems and enhance health. We remain committed to supporting our partner contractors as well as the homeowners who use our products every day.
NEWS: How does the HVAC industry keep the IAQ momentum post-COVID?
Philippi: We know that the focus on the air that we breathe isn’t going away. It is vital to prioritize breathing healthy, clean air for greater health, virus protection, fewer allergens, more productivity, and better sleep. We will continue to deliver healthy air solutions to millions of homeowners and the families for their overall well-being post-pandemic and beyond.
NEWS: Talk about the facilities expansion you guys are undertaking. Was this already in the plans before COVID?
Philippi: A ton of work has gone on since the beginning of 2019 to bring our Poynette facility expansion to life. The additions include our new, state-of-the-art, 110,000-square-foot distribution and shipping center, and 60,000-square-foot manufacturing building for our dehumidification line. We continued to ship product while we built out expanded capacity — we’re thrilled to be operating now out of both new additions and anticipate reaching full operational capacity very soon. This expansion has set us up for the future and we’re excited to be able to handle future growth while creating additional jobs.
NEWS: I also know you are hiring more people. How are you finding quality applicants?
Philippi: Our human resources department has done a phenomenal job adapting to increased demand and the need to find quality candidates very, very quickly. We have always prided ourselves on being a people-first organization that takes care of its employees. We provide family-supporting jobs with competitive compensation and platinum-rate health plans and demonstrate core values like innovation, achievement, having fun, and giving back to our communities to maintain an incredibly positive and fulfilling workplace.