HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- More than 25 years ago, Allen Mayo moved back to Huntington looking for a job in the rubber and foam manufacturing business.
None existed, so he created one. That was the beginning of his company Rubberlite.
Today, they're adding more jobs and expanding their facility positioning themselves for future growth.
“I started this facility with two employees and zero customers,” said Mayo, who's the founder and CEO of Rubberlite.
That was in 1986. Since then, Mayo has grown Rubberlite to more than 145 employees and 1,200 customers worldwide. It is all based in East Huntington where the company manufactures foam, rubber and plastic that goes into a wide range of products.
“If you have sleep apnea and wear those CPAP machines, all of that head gear from the mask, we make," Mayo said. "The automotive, aerospace, footwear and sports apparel industry -- we service all of those.
“We've had a partnership with the state of West Virginia from the very beginning. They've provided us with capital and training programs that have been instrumental in our growth."
That's why Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and other state and city officials attended an event Tuesday. They were among those who celebrated a fifth expansion and the addition of nearly 30 new employees.
Through an ailing economy, Mayo says he's found the secret to steady and consistent growth and success.
“We focus on becoming lean, but we don't sacrifice those resources they need to grow," Mayo said. "Our business plan calls for us to make product you can only get here. So, since you can only buy the product from Rubberlite, we can produce them here."
In addition to unique products created on site from a top secret chemical process, Rubberlite also uses unique technology from transferring the product around the plant to how they split and cut it.
“These are highly skilled jobs and high-paying jobs," Mayo said. "These folks go through a three-year training program.”
“From here, we’ll continue to grow and grow aggressively. We don’t have any limitations to what we can do,” Mayo said.
Ultimately, Mayo says his people are the No. 1 key to their success. They're mostly from West Virginia and at the top of their game in the skills needed at Rubberlite.