What began as a mechanical fastener business for construction and industrial applications in the ’80s has since turned into a global manufacturer of industrial adhesives. Today, Adhesives Technology Corp. manufactures advanced chemical and adhesive products, primarily for the commercial construction and transportation industries.
“The company began under the name U.S. Anchor, and it was primarily an importer of anchors. Ironically, it never offered adhesives for much of its early years,” shares T. J. Bland, an engineer and president of Adhesives Technology. “At least until the mid-90s or so, when it acquired the ULTRABOND products out of Miami, which we still carry today as one of our primary brands.”
ULTRABOND is a well-known family of products that offer a comprehensive selection of anchoring and doweling adhesives for cracked and uncracked concrete at varying strengths, application temperature ranges, and curing speeds.
Eventually, the company also acquired another business out of the Seattle area (from which it would later take its name — Adhesives Technology).
“Our production supervisor came with that acquisition and he’s still with us today, which is amazing considering he initially began working with this technology nearly 30 years ago,” he says. “So, since our roots technically go back to the ’70s, we now use 1978 as our founding date for Adhesives Technology.”
As U.S. Anchor slowly became more of a chemical company, its original owner (Hart McIntyre) recognized one thing: it was time for a change. In the imported fastener business, the company was likely never going to be a leader.
“At the time, we simply didn’t have the scale or size to compete in that sector,” explains Bland. “So, the owner made a bold decision and divested the mechanical anchor business. As of January 1st, 2005, we officially became a dedicated chemical company, Adhesives Technology Corp.”
This may sound like a smart call but it was also a gutsy one, according to Bland. It removed about two-thirds of the company’s size at first. And though adhesives have gained traction as viable industrial fastening solutions, within a few years the 2008-09 recession would hit.
“Perhaps surprisingly, the company grew during that time and came out on the other side of it stronger than ever,” he says. Similarly, it’s also maintained its strength and resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and remained an essential business.
“I mean depending on how you look at it, we’re a 15-year-old business that somewhat ‘re-launched’ our focus in 2005. But on the other hand, the company is more than 40 years old in terms of experience,” says Bland. “And because we’re in construction and, predominantly, infrastructure — which includes road, bridge, water treatment, and tunnel building, for example — it’s relatively recession-proof work and necessary regardless of what’s going on in the world.”
However, this does not mean the work is without challenges. “Certainly, it’s not always easy, particularly on the infrastructure side. Nationally, there are different state regulatory codes to follow that sometimes change. And for the last year, there have been fewer optional projects being built because of the pandemic, which means only repairing the critical infrastructure that’s nearing or exceeding design-life expectancy.”
But this is also where Bland excels. He was hired in 2014, primarily to lead this anchoring side of the business because of his engineering background and experience as VP of R&D at Stanley Black & Decker and director of product development at Powers Fasteners.
“Hart McIntyre, the previous owner, really took me under his wing when I was first hired and was an incredible mentor,” he says. “We grew the business together and that continues to be my focus.”
McIntyre retired in early 2020 and that’s when Bland took over as company president. So far, Adhesives Technology is showing no signs of slowing down. Part of this growth, however, is due to extremely strategic decision-making over the last few years.
As one example, the company was willing to put its R&D focus on hold for a couple of years to fully concentrate on manufacturing excellence.
“Back in 2015, we decided that we were ready to tackle the world’s best in terms of product development,” shares Bland. “So, our team dug in and made significant improvements in the way that we manufacture chemicals.”
One result: the launch of ULTRABOND HS-1CC, which is the world’s first anchoring epoxy that’s IBC and IRC-compliant in bulk and cartridge delivery systems. IBC is the International Building Code and IRC is the International Residential Code, which comprises regulations for construction and best practices.
“To develop what’s currently the world’s strongest 1:1 mix ratio anchoring epoxy is pretty incredible,” he says. “Particularly for a relatively small company that’s only been solely making chemicals for just over a decade. It was a lot of heavy lifting, risk, and independent testing. Essentially, you’re investing in a product that you’re not sure is going to pass approvals. But we received full ICC approval in December of 2018, which is a testament to the expertise and determination of our team of chemists and engineers.”
ICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) is a provider of solutions for regulatory compliance in transportation and workplace safety. Increasing safety — including for roadways, bridges, and crash barriers — has been a major U.S. focus in the past few years, so this is a major accomplishment.
Despite this success, Bland and his team have continued to focus on new developments.
“It’s one thing to offer the world’s best product, but it’s another thing to be seen as one of the best global company’s in the industry,” he says. “It typically takes a number of those products and years before you develop that kind of brand recognition for a business. To this end, we have a strong pipeline of products that we’re going to be launching in 2021…and beyond.”
Another way that Adhesives Technology has positioned itself for growth is by having joined the Meridian Adhesives’ team. Meridian is a U.S.-based manufacturer of high-performance adhesives and sealant technologies, currently with nine adhesive-related companies under its portfolio.
“We were the first company to become a part of Meridian’s platform in 2018, and the timing and alignment between us just felt right,” he says. “They’re able to offer support and accelerate the type of growth and development that we see possible for our business. We already sell to all 50 of the U.S. states to some extent but we’re also a global company and want to be the go-to chemical experts on a national and international scale.”
Aside from growing its business and product offerings, Adhesives Technology is also dedicated to ensuring its employees and customers are supported.
“We have such a great team here. I’m so proud of them,” he shares. “We continue to strengthen our internal capabilities and I think we’ve become more accessible now than ever,” he shares. “In fact, we never missed a single day of production last year, which is a testament to our team’s hard work and dedication…and the trust our customers have in our products.”