SOUTH WHITLEY, Ind. -- The Modular Building Institute (MBI) held its annual conference last week in Orlando, Florida. Labeled the "World of Modular" the event recognizes the industry's past year of achievements honoring both projects and people. Through the "Hall of Fame" award, MBI seeks to recognize the contributions of those whose careers are or were dedicated to the modular construction industry or whose acts have had a significant impact on the careers of all others involved. This year's inductee, Simon Dragan, with over 30 years in the industry has influenced the careers of employees and colleagues alike along with his significant contributions to the industry.
Mr. Dragan escaped Romania during its dictatorship in 1969 and found himself in a refugee camp seeking a new country to call home. While Mr. Dragan could have left sooner for other countries, he waited for his opportunity to enter the United States. "In America," Mr. Dragan explained, "I had the opportunity to succeed or fail on the merits of my own efforts. Despite a language problem, different customs and just $10.00 in my pocket, the American dream encouraged me to succeed. Doors for opportunity are open in America."
Whitley Manufacturing has been located in South Whitley since the close of WWII with a goal to provide returning veterans with homes. Over the subsequent decades it changed to providing commercial office space and was acquired by Williams Mobile in 1971 until it was purchased by Mr. Dragan in 1993.
When he arrived in this country in 1972, he was hired as a draftsman by a Baltimore, Maryland area firm engaged in the modular industry. He was later hired by Williams Mobile, now Williams Scotsman, where his career grew and led to his opportunity to purchase their flagship factory. Mr. Dragan singled out Barry Gossett, former CEO of Williams Scotsman, as a key mentor and his reason for embracing the industry he has been honored by.
Whitley Manufacturing now includes three factories with the acquisition of Evergreen Mobile in 1999 near Seattle, Washington and a second Indiana factory in Rochester. Whitley and its associated businesses typically employs over 250 including tradesmen, factory workers, design and engineering staff along with its management team. Mr. Dragan elaborated on the contribution of his employees. "I have succeeded because of my employees, many who have been with me for over 20 years. I thank them for their hard work and dedication to our industry." The South Whitley headquartered manufacturing firm has produced countless projects in over 40 states and overseas including the recently constructed dormitories for Indiana Tech in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Whitley has won over 50 "Awards of Distinctions" from the MBI for their excellence in modular construction marketplace.
Mr. Dragan enjoys his Ft. Wayne, Indiana community and has recently invested in the Harrison Project, a mixed-use venture which completed Fort Wayne's Harrison Square Development, the centerpiece of the downtown revitalization plans.
About the Modular Building Institute
Founded in 1983, MBI is the international non-profit trade association serving modular construction. As the Voice of the Commercial Modular Construction industry, its mission is to expand the use of offsite construction through innovative construction practices, outreach and education to the construction community and recognition of high quality modular designs and facilities.
About Whitley Manufacturing
Whitley Manufacturing is one of the nation's leading builders of pre-fabricated commercial modular structures for permanent or temporary applications. The company offers products ranging from simple wood frame buildings to multi-story and non-combustible structures. With three locations, Whitley Manufacturing serves a national clientele. Building types include schools and classrooms, medical buildings (clinic, MRI, dialysis, hospital), banks, laboratories, dormitories and student housing, offices, detention / correctional buildings and government / military facilities.
SOURCE Whitley Manufacturing
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