Company makes materials used in products such as water filters, furnace filters, and bandages.

While many manufacturing jobs have been moved overseas, a Middletown company recently opened a new warehouse that will enable it to add jobs here, making products that will be sold in the United States and also exported to other countries.

DelStar Technologies held the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new 46,000 square-foot warehouse on Industrial Drive on May 30.

The company is the world's leading manufacturer of thermoplastic nets, nonwoven materials, laminates, and extruded components used in products such as water filters, furnace filters, and bandages.

Jim Dickson, vice president of engineering, served as master of ceremonies and welcomed everyone to the event.

“It’s been a long road to get here,” he said. “It took lots of hard work.”

Dickson compared the qualities that go into creating a useful building to the qualities that a certain person possesses, and he asked everyone to guess who that person is as he listed the qualities. Then Dickson revealed that the person is Mark Abrahams, the president and chief executive officer of DelStar Technologies.

“This is the gentleman who’s going to lead us in the next chapter of our company’s future,” said Dickson.

Abrahams thanked everyone for their efforts on the warehouse project.

“We’re taking another step to grow this company into something bigger and better than we’ve ever imagined,” said Abrahams. “This is part of a dream to grow this company into the leader in filtration products.”

A secret revealed

In a surprise, the plant leadership team unveiled the building’s cornerstone with the name of the new warehouse, the Abrahams Building, in honor of the company’s president and CEO.

“I had no idea this was happening,” said Abrahams. “This means a tremendous amount to me. It’s a moment you don’t expect. I want to thank everybody, but this building is not about me. It’s about you. You achieved this – something a lot of people never thought we could achieve.”

Expanding the local economy

State Sen. Bethany Hall-Long was among the honored guests at the ribbon cutting.

“Congratulations to all of you,” said Hall-Long. “This is what it’s all about – employing local residents. It’s awesome when you have the opportunity to expand our local economy.”

She thanked the contractors who built the addition, Joseph Gallo and Joseph Gallo Jr. of InSite Constructors, and thanked the Town of Middletown for working with DelStar on the project.

“This is exciting and I wouldn’t mind coming back in a few years for another expansion,” Hall-Long said.

Jay Biddle, plant manager, talked about the how the warehouse project started and the results of the expansion so far.

“Last spring we met on this same site to announce to the world that the ‘little plant in the cornfield’ was about to grow, and grow it did,” Biddle said.

That’s when Del Star broke ground on the new warehouse to make room for anticipated growth.

At that time, the company had about 144,000 square feet of space, 168 workers, with 17 extrusion lines, and 11 converting lines. Now, the company has 183 workers with 19 extrusion lines and 12 converting lines.

“I am pleased to announce the continuing growth opportunities both for the business and community located in Middletown,” said Biddle. “As the ‘little plant in the cornfield’ grows, so will growth opportunities for all current and future Del Star family members. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to begin the newest chapter in the history of DelStar.”

Growth through the years

That history in Middletown began about 40 years ago when the company was named as Hercules. Later, the company’s name was changed to Applied Extrusion Technologies. In 2001, the company was taken private as Del Star Technologies. In 2013, DelStar was purchased by a public company, SWM.

“Even though we’ve changed ownership, the core people have never changed,” said Abrahams. “Jay (Biddle) has been here 35 years, and we’ve had people who’ve worked here for 40 years.”

Biddle said he remembers that less than 30 years ago the company had about 35 employees compared to the 183 employees today.

“A group of us who work here grew up together,” said Biddle, who was born and raised in Middletown and graduated from Middletown High School. “With this company, I’ve been able to travel all over the world without having to move from my hometown.”

Exporting products made here in Middletown

DelStart Technologies has manufacturing facilities around the globe, but the Middletown site is the company’s headquarters and largest factory.

“About one third of all we make here goes overseas,” said Abrahams. “We export globally including to Asia.”

The biggest market for the company is in making products for water filters including those used in reverse osmosis water purifying systems.

Biddle said the company also makes the material for the small, white pads that are used in just about every brand of adhesive bandage.