Specification Rubber Products Named One of the Best Places to Work in the North American Rubber Industry for the Fourth Time!

We are pleased to announce that Specification Rubber Products (Spec Rubber) has been recognized by Rubber News as one of the Best Places to Work in the North American Rubber Industry. This accolade marks the fourth time Spec Rubber has received this honor, reinforcing our commitment to fostering a positive and rewarding work environment.

Rubber News, in collaboration with Workforce Research Group, has just completed its fifth annual program to identify the top companies in the rubber industry. Firms were evaluated based on stringent criteria, ensuring only the highest standards were met. We are proud to be among nine firms recognized this year.

The nine firms will be featured in the June issue of Rubber News, with one firm being named the top workplace in the industry based on the highest overall score. Spec Rubber previously earned this top honor in 2021, and we continue to strive for excellence in our workplace environment.

This achievement underscores the hard work, dedication, and team spirit of everyone at Spec Rubber. We are committed to providing a workplace where our employees can thrive and grow.

Stay tuned for the upcoming issue of Rubber News to learn more about what makes Spec Rubber a great place to work!

For those interested in joining a leading workplace in the rubber industry, we invite you to explore current career opportunities at Spec Rubber HERE!

Specification Rubber Expands Its Operations in Shelby County

Spec Rubber’s newly acquired warehouse is located just off Hwy 31 in Pelham, AL.

Specification Rubber Products in Alabaster, Alabama, is expanding its operations in Shelby County with the purchase of a 120,000-square-foot warehouse that sits on more than 16 acres in Pelham. Located less than half a mile from Spec Rubber’s manufacturing headquarters, the new location will house finished goods inventory and raw materials. Spec Rubber, which celebrated its 55th-anniversary last year, manufactures molded rubber products for the waterworks industry.

“Since our doors opened in 1968, we’ve had six significant expansions and have outgrown our existing property,” said Spec Rubber President Steven Smith. “Purchasing this property ensures our strategic goals for growth are met in the next five to 10 years, and we are able to continue to meet the needs of our customers.”

Pelham Mayor Gary W. Waters said, “Specification Rubber has always been just across the road and has been a good neighbor. I expect the excellent relationship we’ve had with the company to continue as they move into Pelham to expand their operations.”

Spec Rubber expects the renovation of the existing warehouse to be complete in six months. The company expects to increase its workforce by about 10% with this expansion. “This is an investment in our facility, operations, and teammates,” Smith said.

“We are very excited to have Specification Rubber Products expanding a portion of their operation to the city of Pelham,” added Economic Development Director Michael Simon. “Specification Rubber Products’ acquisition of these 16 acres, future renovations of the 120,000 square-foot building, and the jobs created marks a significant investment of time and financial resources. We appreciate them choosing Pelham and look forward to fostering a great working relationship.”

Specification Rubber is a subsidiary of Birmingham-based AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company, founded in 1905. Spec Rubber was recognized as a Shelby County Small Business of the Year in 2023 and one of Alabama’s safest manufacturers by Business Alabama magazine in 2019. For the past three years, the company has been named a Rubber News Best Place to Work. Visit specrubber.com to learn more.

The AMERICAN family of companies also manufactures fire hydrants, valves, ductile iron pipe and spiral-welded steel pipe for the waterworks industry and high-frequency-welded steel pipe for the oil and natural gas industries. AMERICAN’s diversified product line also includes fire pumps, structural casing and piling, and castings for large machinery. For more information, visit american-usa.com.

Aerial view of Spec Rubber’s new warehouse.

Specification Rubber is a subsidiary of Birmingham-based AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company, founded in 1905. Spec Rubber was recognized as a Shelby County Small Business of the Year in 2023 and one of Alabama’s safest manufacturers by Business Alabama magazine in 2019. For the past three years, the company has been named a Rubber News Best Place to Work. Visit specrubber.com to learn more.

 

Specification Rubber Products: Celebrating 55 Years of Manufacturing Excellence

As the world around us evolves, a few things remain constant, such as the unwavering commitment to excellence that drives Specification Rubber Products (Spec Rubber) even as we celebrate our 55th anniversary. Founded in 1967 by E.W. “Bud” Quiggle, we officially opened our doors in March 1968.

It’s been over a half-century since our humble beginnings in Alabaster, Alabama. Today, after numerous moves, product launches, and employee comings and goings, Spec Rubber is branching out into a new future while remaining firmly grounded in our small-town-America roots.

Here, we’ll touch on our journey and where we’re heading for the next 55 years (and beyond).

Leading the Way in Quality Manufacturing

Over the years, Spec Rubber has made impressive strides and seen tremendous growth. Since opening our doors, we have nearly tripled our plant’s footprint and now enjoy 85,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Throughout our history, Spec Rubber has been committed to excellence. In 1994, the company received ISO Quality certification and was one of the first rubber processing facilities in the US to earn this certification. Our quality system evolves and improves annually, helping produce industry-leading, world-class quality components.

One of Spec Rubber’s critical strengths lies in its rubber processing expertise. While the term “rubber processing” is quite broad, at Spec Rubber, we narrow it down to a couple of specific areas, primarily molding and extruding. Molding and extruding require three essential elements – heat, pressure, and time – which are all carefully controlled at every stage of the manufacturing process.

Global Reach, USA-Made Quality

Since 1968, the company has had four presidents, with Mr. Steven A. Smith currently presiding. All our leaders have been instrumental in our continued growth and success. However, despite all the advancements, one of Spec Rubber’s primary strategies has been to continue diversifying its product offerings and finding innovative ways to better serve our customers.

Our team produces 400 products all across the spectrum of industries we serve. As President Steven A. Smith likes to say, “We’ve made rubber seals for ammo canisters, above-ground storage tanks and a variety of doors, including submarine doors.” These products can be found all across the world, all made with pride right here in the U.S.A.

Today, Spec Rubber’s products can be found in service on five continents and more than 20 different countries, proving that its quality and reliability have a global reach. The company is proud to produce products that are 100% made in the USA.

Prioritizing Teammate Safety

Most importantly, we prioritize the safety of our teammates above all else. Our safety motto is simple but effective: “We want every teammate to go home in as good if not better condition than when they arrived.” With this mindset in place, we continue to innovate and expand, embracing new technologies and equipment to keep our shop floor the safest it can be while pushing forward in the field of rubber processing.

Driving Success and Community Impact

Spec Rubber is a constant innovator because innovation drives success, and success provides jobs and livelihood for our employees, families, and communities.

In 2023, we were proud to receive the Shelby County Small Business of the Year Award, given to companies that deliver gainful employment and anchor economic growth to the county. Spec Rubber has also been named a Best Place to Work in the North American Rubber Industry by Rubber News and is perennially ranked as one of Alabama’s safest places to work.

The awards are nice, but the difference we’ve been able to make in the lives of our neighbors is far greater. Spec Rubber stays actively involved in Shelby County communities, giving back as much as possible. We’ve been proud supporters of the Shelby Cancer Center, Safe House of Shelby County, Shelby Emergency Assistance, Alabaster City Schools, and more worthy organizations—those who have incredibly difficult missions and need all the help they can get.

We’re nothing without our values. They have gotten us to where we are today, and they’ll take us well into the future.

Diversifying Products for Future Success

Looking to the future, Spec Rubber has a clear strategy: continue diversifying product offerings. With an eye on innovation and an unwavering commitment to quality, there’s no doubt that Spec Rubber will continue to thrive for another 55 years and beyond.

Spec Rubber’s 55th: Fun, Fellowship, Inspiration!

Pictured Above: Guest Speaker Noah Galloway

On October 30th, Spec Rubber proudly celebrated its 55th anniversary with a luncheon that acknowledged their hard-working current teammates and cherished retirees who contributed significantly to their longstanding success. Recognizing their courage and determination that parallels the company’s spirit, Spec Rubber had U.S. Army Veteran, Amputee, and finalist on Dancing With The Stars, Noah Galloway, grace the occasion as their special guest speaker. In a profoundly inspiring conversation, Noah candidly spoke about his journey of triumph over adversity, symbolizing resilience and living life with no excuses.

Pictured Above: Engineering Manager Scott Reaves and Retiree Tony Fischer

The event served as a perfect platform for Crystal Humphreys, Spec Rubber’s Sales and Marketing Coordinator, to elaborate on the company’s key milestones and initiatives. She touched on the significance of this anniversary for Spec Rubber, reflecting on our successes and shedding light on an important product milestone – the 9th anniversary of our Barracuda Gasket. Humphreys also highlighted the importance of the Imagine a Day Without Water initiative and our continuous support for Breast Cancer Awareness by undertaking fundraising initiatives all month, including collecting donations for the Shelby Cancer Care Center, ranging from gift cards to blankets.

Other contributions came from Alabaster City Administrator Brian Binzer, who shed light on Spec Rubber’s dedication to the local community and its profound impact on various outreach organizations. One of the day’s special segments was a Q&A session with a panel of our esteemed retirees: Mr. Jim Carden, Mr. Tony Fischer, and Mrs. Ora Doss, who graciously offered their insights and wisdom to the younger generation. All three emphasized the importance of teamwork and dedication and collectively asserted that Spec Rubber is more than just a workplace; it’s a family.

It was an immense privilege to have the opportunity to hold this event right here at our plant, commemorating the place where the company had its humble beginnings so many years ago. Further enriching the day, we were excited to offer plant tours for retired teammates and esteemed guests, providing them with a firsthand look into the current operation of Spec Rubber. This day was more than a simple anniversary celebration; it was a poignant reflection of our company’s legacy, an illustration of unity, a tribute to family, and a joyous anticipation of our bright future.

 

 

Embracing Breast Cancer Awareness Month: How Spec Rubber Cares for Its Community

As October arrives, trees shower us with waves of falling leaves in beautiful shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown.

But this month, there’s only one color on our mind: pink.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the time we take to spread awareness about the impact breast cancer has on women, their families, and their communities.

One out of every eight women will be confronted with a breast cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives. The National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that by the time 2023 is through, over 300,000 men and women will have become diagnosed.

Those are sobering statistics, but here’s the good news: With awareness, advanced screening, and early treatment, breast cancer can be defeated.

That’s why, for October, Spec Rubber and thousands of businesses across the country are adding pink to our favorite fall colors – to help fight and overcome this disease.

How Turning Pink Helps Turn the Tide Against Cancer

Don’t underestimate the power of awareness.

Like all cancers, breast cancer begins as a clump of rogue cells that starts small. At first, you can’t notice that it’s there. It hides and bides its time, gathering size and strength.

But at a critical juncture, the cancer announces itself – or rather, makes itself detectable, in the form of various early warning signs. These breast cancer symptoms can manifest as anything from the typical lump in the breast, to a change in skin texture, or any unexplained swelling or change in size.

If the cancer is caught at this early, localized stage – meaning it hasn’t yet spread outside of the breast – then the 5-year survival rate is 99%.

If it isn’t, then breast cancer can spread, sometimes rapidly and aggressively – and eventually kill.

Awareness is crucial to increase our chances of taking on and conquering this insidious disease. According to the American Cancer Society, people can dramatically increase their chances of detecting breast cancer early by:

  • Getting a risk assessment from their doctor.
  • Paying attention to any unusual changes in their breasts and bodies.
  • Receive regular screening with a mammogram.

Mammograms are key. They’re a doctor’s main tool for early detection – but far too many women don’t get this crucial screening on an annual basis (and many never do). Women who are at a higher risk of breast cancer due to genetics or other health factors should get a mammogram and breast MRI once a year, starting at age 30 – but if they never get assessed, they’ll never know if they’re at a higher risk.

Without a doubt, America’s greatest weapon against breast cancer is awareness, leading to early detection. Turning the country pink in October can help turn the tide – and turn tragedy into triumph.

How We Can All Do Our Part

It’s all well and good to talk about why awareness is important, but how can we make it happen on an individual and company level?

Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Donate to a charity that supports breast cancer research
  • Share links like this one with your friends and families via social media and use the hashtag #wearpink
  • Participate in fundraising events like Race for the Cure or fundraising challenges on social media
  • Volunteer to hand out materials at community engagement events
  • Wear pink ribbons, t-shirts, hats, buttons, and anything else that gets the message across (turn your body into a breast cancer billboard, y’all)
  • Take someone to the doctor for a screening

At Spec Rubber, we’re making sure our teammates know the importance of this month and how they can get screened and diagnosed as early as possible. Spec Rubber proudly joins our community each year in events and initiatives that drive awareness and contribute vital funds to the fight.

Breast cancer is a big deal. It’s an all-in, all-hands-on-deck type of challenge that, together, we can take on and win.

Pink isn’t normally a fall color. You won’t find many pink leaves on the ground or pink pumpkins in the patch.

But this October, to spread hope and unite our communities against breast cancer, let’s make pink the best fall color of them all – and save lives.

Behind the Gasket: Meet Antoney Smith

In today’s competitive job market, it can be challenging for companies to attract and retain top talent. However, Spec Rubber is one organization that has succeeded in this endeavor thanks to its process and to dedicated teammates like Antoney Smith. With nearly six years of service, Antoney is a shining example of positivity, teamwork, and excellence.

Why Antoney Chose Spec Rubber

Antoney’s journey with Spec Rubber began with his interview. He was immediately struck by the warm and friendly atmosphere of the workplace. He was particularly impressed by the attitude of his future colleagues, who seemed genuinely happy to be part of the team. For Antoney, the workplace environment is a crucial factor in job satisfaction, and he knew that Spec Rubber was the right place for him.

“Teamwork Makes the Dream Work”

Over the years, Antoney has taken inspiration from his mentors and colleagues at Spec Rubber. He cites several individuals, including President Steven Smith, HR/Safety Manager John Vines, Manufacturing Manager Matthew Johnson, and Interim Production Manager Elfrida McClain, as having impacted him. Their example of positivity, collaboration, and respect has helped shape Antoney’s own leadership style. He believes that “teamwork makes the dream work,” and he strives to embody this principle in all his interactions with others.

No Challenge Is Too Great

Of course, no career journey is without its challenges. Early on in his time at Spec Rubber, Antoney found himself feeling overwhelmed by his workload. He had multiple responsibilities and tasks to juggle and struggled to prioritize them effectively. However, he overcame this challenge by focusing on one thing at a time and ensuring that each task was completed thoroughly before moving on to the next. This lesson in time management and prioritization is one that all teammates benefit from.

It’s Not All About Work

For Antoney, life is not just about work. He understands the importance of achieving a healthy work-life balance, and he appreciates the family-oriented environment that Spec Rubber fosters. This allows him to enjoy quality time with his loved ones while still excelling in his job. He wholeheartedly recommends Spec Rubber to anyone looking for a job in a respectful and supportive environment.

Spec Rubber is proud to have Antoney Smith as a member of our team. His positive attitude and commitment to doing things the right way is an inspiration to everyone around him. As the saying goes, “You can’t get the dream without the team,” and Antoney is an essential part of the Spec Rubber team that helps make that dream.

An Expensive Problem – and a Brilliant Solution

Pipes make America happen. 

Every day, over 2.2 million miles of underground pipes – fitted with couplings, valves, and other fixtures – help deliver over 38 billion gallons of life-giving water to businesses and homes nationwide.

As you can probably imagine, building and maintaining this vast infrastructure network is expensive. It also takes countless hours of labor and a constant stream of technological innovation to solve new problems and keep the system running well into the future.

When everything goes well, water gets to where it needs to be: your faucet, kitchen sink, and toilet. 

But the water system has an issue that the general public never knows about, a problem that can result in enormously expensive leaks and temporary water shortages.

It all has to do with the pipes that send H2O from point A to point B.

A Leaky Problem in the Water Pipe Industry

Water pipes that transport our clean water are mainly made of three materials: metal, concrete and clay, and plastic. 

Their diameters and lengths vary, but one thing is constant: no pipe is ever long enough to do the job all by itself.

Before water reaches the bottom of your tub, when you turn on the faucet, it travels through miles of pipes from the nearest municipal water supply facility. Even the longest pipes can’t bridge this distance, so we join these pipes together with fittings – or connectors.

On the outside of these fittings are circular rims running all around the outside. These are called flanges, which are used to bolt the fitting together to form a nice, tight seal.

To further help provide a seal – and keep the water inside, where it belongs – pipe connections also contain rubber gaskets. These rubber gaskets for water pipes are flexible enough to fill every possible crack and crevice yet rigid enough to hold up to a steady stream of water pressure.

This system works well – until it doesn’t. Sometimes, old gaskets fail. Or the pipe fitting and valves loosen. Or, more commonly, two pipes being joined together (especially a newer one replacing an existing fitting) don’t quite line up the way they want.

They can form a gap, and even one that’s just 3/8ths of an inch can result in what every water pro fears: a leak. A leak underground that isn’t easy to see or fix can be a very costly problem for your water company.

Nothing is more frustrating – and expensive – than shutting down a project because of unexpected gaps. That’s why companies like Spec Rubber have spent much time and brain-power developing solutions to prevent these problems before they get out of hand.

Introducing Filler Flanges: a Game-Changing Solution

Filling a gap that arises from joining pipes and valves usually involves going back to the machining shop to build something out by hand. 

This process is a major headache because it involves stopping work, spending money, and delaying the project. At best, you’re looking at hours of lost production and thousands of dollars worth of expenses – and that’s if you have a shop nearby and available. 

(And nothing gets lost in communication.)

Filler flange gaskets were developed as a solution because they allow instant, on-site filling of gaps between pipes up to 3″ in diameter – no custom machining required.

Our flanges come in various sizes; you can even stack them to create a more custom fit. Built from EPDM according to NSF-61 specifications, these flanges are easy to install, durable, and more cost-effective than metal flanges.

It’s an elegant solution to an expensive problem, but it’s not magic – just good, old-fashioned American ingenuity and hard work.

American-Made Gaskets from Alabaster, AL, USA 

The best thing about modern filler flanges is that you don’t have to import them from overseas and worry about quality – they’re made by Spec Rubber’s manufacturing facility in Alabaster.

Our products meet high standards because we know that what we build is used by our communities, communities that deserve the best. Elfrida McLain, our production manager, says, ” ‘Made in the USA’ means it’s going to be high quality, but ‘Made by Spec Rubber’ means it’s going to be the highest quality.

As she mentions, “We are an NSF-certified company, so we are very concerned about what we send out.” Elfrida and professionals like her carefully observe our production and definitely aren’t afraid to stop the whole process if something doesn’t seem exactly right.

Plus, being local means customer service is all-around better than what consumers can find anywhere else. “I’m looking at everything that we could do to satisfy this customer, trying to make sure that we get those orders done right. When you call Spec Rubber, you’re going to talk to a person; you’re not going to get a machine.”

She adds, “We carry our inventory, so you don’t have to wait for a long lead time.” When you need filler flanges to keep a project humming along smoothly, you’ll have them.

At the end of the day, it’s very simple for Elfrida: “Our goal is to meet and exceed our customer’s expectations every time here in small town Alabaster.” That’s the ‘Made in the USA, Made by Spec Rubber’ promise.

Taking Advantage of the Filler Flange Solution

We encourage you to learn more about filler flange gaskets and how replacing valves and fitting pipes with flanges is easier and more effective than older, less modern methods.

You’ll see, just as our other customers do, how creative, homegrown solutions turn expensive problems into money-saving solutions. 

Pipes make America happen – and filler flanges make pipes happen.

American Manufactured Gaskets Can Change Everything

You probably have yet to think of rubber gaskets before reading this blog.

Maybe you’ve flexed your DIY muscles and repaired a leaky faucet, but most Americans will go their entire life without giving rubber gaskets much thought.

But rubber gaskets are far more important than you’d ever imagine. They enable the modern-day water infrastructure that delivers water to over 131 million households – water we use each and every day to drink, cook, shower, wash clothes, and even fill our swimming pools.

And they’re made right here in America – at Spec Rubber.

Here’s how American-made gaskets are just some of the homegrown products fueling economic prosperity for families and communities today (and how you do your part to help).

America’s Economic Powerhouse Is Still Made in the USA

In the 1950s, America stood alone at the top of the global economy. Domestic manufacturing was the juggernaut that helped the U.S. fuel the Allied victory in World War II and carved out the most significant era of prosperity the country had ever seen.

However, economic conditions over the next three decades, coupled with the rise of globalization, would allow the rest of the world to catch up. Soon, America transitioned to a service economy, and homeland manufacturing was in danger of becoming an afterthought.

Spec Rubber was founded in that golden era of manufacturing and has persisted through the sector’s ups and downs because of the same reason we’re still around today: people still want and need American-made products.

Today, the “Made in the USA” label helps provide jobs and keep money here in the States instead of going abroad.

As of June 2023, American manufacturing:

  • Provides almost 13 million jobs
  • Generates over $2.5 trillion in economic impact
  • Exports over $1.4 trillion in products to the global market
  • Accounts for nearly 17% of the world’s manufacturing output
  • Ranks second in the world

Nearly 100 of those 13 million jobs are right here at Spec Rubber. Every paycheck our teammates earn goes back into the local community, which helps every local business and their workers.

When we buy locally, we’re helping our families, friends, and neighbors flourish.

How American Safety Regulations Keep Our Water Clean

Buying local isn’t just about economic growth; it’s also about maintaining the clean water we depend on.

It is not always guaranteed that foreign-made products meet the highest quality standards. (That’s an understatement.) You never really know how an imported product – like a water pipe gasket – is manufactured. Was the process free from contaminants? Will the gasket fail earlier than it should, causing costly leaks? Will it leach harmful substances into our water supply?

These are all questions that are impossible to answer for most foreign-made goods. There’s a long history of inadequate imported products and materials failing Americans, from cheap Chinese drywall to food created in unsanitary conditions.

But gaskets made here in the USA have to abide by strict standards and regulations that govern everything from structural integrity and longevity to the health impacts of the substances we use.

Our water supply is too important to leave up to manufacturers outside our borders who don’t have to use it. Local manufacturers like Spec Rubber drink the same water as you. Our families depend on it just like yours do.

Keeping it safe is our number one priority – something foreign companies can’t say.

Why Buying American-Made Products Helps the Consumer

Finally, when you turn to companies like Spec Rubber, you will get a higher-level customer experience.

It’s not always easy to get help from a company that relies on foreign customer service reps or whose offices are thousands of miles away.

Nothing is more frustrating than needing assistance and having it delayed. (We’ve all been there before.) But local companies are more accessible and available. Our people are easier to contact and visit, making every step of the sales and service processes more convenient.

Businesses that buy local have manufacturers in their corner, right in their backyard – and that’s something you just can’t find elsewhere.

Rubber gaskets for water pipes made here in the USA aren’t just for protecting water. They’re also better for the environment, local communities, and businesses.

That’s what gaskets can do – and now, you’ll always remember it.

Keeping Your Home Safe and Your Water Clean

About 72% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water – but only 3% of the water on Earth is fresh and fit for human consumption.

We depend on water for various reasons, so keeping our fresh water supply clean and free from harmful contamination is paramount. With the proper infrastructure, though, the water we bring into our homes for drinking, cooking, and cleaning can protect our health.

Keeping water clean – and keeping us safe from nasty chemicals, biological hazards, and other potentially harmful matters – is the water industry’s biggest priority. On a daily basis, here is how the water is kept safe and secure.

The Challenges of Water Contamination

Fighting contamination first means understanding it.

Humans are remarkably resilient, but our immune systems can only handle so much. Water can be an excellent conduit for organic and non-organic contaminants to invade our bodies and potentially wreak havoc.

In the U.S., a contaminant is legally defined as “any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter in water” – in short, anything that isn’t water itself. Not all contaminants are harmful, and eliminating 100% of contamination from a water supply is impossible.

However, when a harmful contaminant is in the water supply above a certain level, people can become sick with anything from an acute, short-lived illness to potentially a chronic condition. Lead, for example, can seriously damage our brains and kidneys and hamper our body’s ability to produce life-giving red blood cells.

Fighting the good fight against contamination is a challenge because over 90 chemical, physical, or microbial agents are viewed as harmful enough to be tracked by the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s a long list.

Detecting contamination is easy enough with the right tools, a regular inspection schedule, and constant vigilance. Still, the U.S. water system is massive – which means ongoing inspection of the untold miles of pipes and countless delivery systems is virtually impossible.

The first line of defense is designing safer equipment and materials that get water from where it is to where we need it: in our homes.

How Today’s Equipment and Technology Protect Our Water

The science of water transportation has come a long way from the simple terra-cotta and wooden pipework of yesteryear.

Today, the industry uses a combination of high-tech materials and innovative components to construct systems that are not only reliable – thus helping to prevent catastrophic pipe bursts and other structural failures – but as contaminant-free as possible.

For example, Spec Rubber produces rubber gaskets for water pipes that comply with NSF-61, the national standard for water safety in components designed to come in contact with our fresh water supply. The appropriately named NSF-61 flat gaskets are constructed from an EPDM rubber compound manufactured according to the rigorous ISO 9001:2015 quality control standards.

By meeting (and exceeding) these standards, our American-made gaskets can sustainably and reliably protect water as it is transported through the structural networks we enable – thus helping to protect it from contamination that otherwise would threaten our health.

To further help in the fight, the water industry employs sophisticated ways to treat and purify water that improve in effectiveness as technology continues to advance. Fresh water that goes through a public water treatment facility is made progressively cleaner for use through coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection. (For more info on these steps, check out this handy guide from the Centers for Disease Control.)

Thanks to hard work and American ingenuity, our nation has some of the safest drinking water in the world.

Ensuring Safe Water Not Just Today, but Tomorrow

As stewards of our environment, we have a duty to protect drinking water not just for today’s families but for those of the future – for the next generation and every generation after.

Sustainable, environmentally friendly American manufacturing processes help maintain cleanliness inside and outside the water system. Even if the pipes and gaskets that carry water are clean, toxic chemicals can still leach into the groundwater if not properly handled and disposed of.

The molded rubber industry hasn’t always been kind to the environment. At Spec Rubber, though, we’ve built a reputation for using processes that are as safe for the environment as they are for our teammates and the families we support.

We also support clean water initiatives and industry best practices that don’t sacrifice the environment for quality or efficiency.

We encourage you to do your part to keep our drinking water clean by getting involved in the community. Find and reach out to a local watershed protection group and learn more about volunteering. You can also follow these simple guidelines to manage how you interact with water on an individual level and be a part of the solution.

In conclusion, clean water matters, and we can’t live without it. Spec Rubber will continue to innovate better ways to be a part of our nation’s water delivery infrastructure, manufacturing the best, most sustainable gaskets that our families can rely on.

We’re all in this together when it comes to protecting our freshwater supply. We all need clean water, and to stay clean, water needs us.

Behind the Gasket: Meet Elfrida McClain

Spec Rubber has been in business since 1968 – one year before we landed men on the moon – and throughout our journey, we’ve been blessed with employees who have been a loyal and ever-present part of our family.

Without dedicated employees, we wouldn’t be where we are today. One employee, in particular, has been with Spec Rubber for over 45 years, and we want to draw special attention to this amazingly committed pillar of our company: Elfrida McClain.

Meet Elfrida: Providing Stellar Service for Over 4 Decades

When Elfrida joined Spec Rubber as a front-line production teammate in the 1970s, times were different in almost every possible way.

The industry had just witnessed a fundamental advance in the decade before – the creation of ethylene propylene terpolymer rubber (EPDM), a key ingredient in today’s mol

ded rubber products that offer superior heat, light, and ozone resistance compared to other forms of rubber in common use at the time.

Domestic demand for rubber was also on the rise, which was one primary reason behind the creation of Spec Rubber.

But competing as a new company at a time when more suppliers were hitting the market – including from overseas – was only possible with a steady, reliable, and responsible workforce. 

Elfrida represented an invaluable asset to the company: a homegrown worker who knew that the products she helped create would serve the community in which she lived.

She initially began as a part-time worker in the cutting department. It was (and remains) hard work, but Elfrida didn’t shirk from it. In fact, she threw herself into her craft, learning as much as she could. That kind of diligence and effort stood out to management, who thought she could be an even more valuable asset to the Spec Rubber family.

As a result, the company gave Elfrida every chance to learn about all the jobs under the Spec Rubber roof, and Elfrida took it. It was only a short time before she became a supervisor and, from there, a Production Manager. Her years of putting her hands on every part of our process gave her the insight she needed to do a great job, but she would’ve only gotten that far with the perseverance and dedication that has become her calling card.

Elfrida’s Principles of Success and Lessons Learned

Elfrida reached her current position in no small part thanks to her philosophy – and Spec Rubber’s – that supervisors should be on the floor, rubbing elbows with their teammates, instead of “holed up in their offices,” as she likes to say.

Communication is critical, and the supervisor needs to have an ear to the ground. Being on the floor is the best way to keep lines of communication open – especially in an industrial environment.

Elfrida also believes in teammate retention. “You don’t keep teammates for decades if you don’t take care of them and give the folks who want to learn opportunities to advance,” she says. That principle has led her to stick around for over 45 years: giving teammates every opportunity to reach their fullest potential.

Another essential principle – not just for managing and retaining teammates, but keeping customers happy – is believing in always keeping your promises. When we say we will deliver something, we will do everything possible to fulfill that promise. If something unexpected happens, we communicate immediately with our customers and teammates so no one has to be in the dark.

“Most folks in our industry aren’t used to that kind of service,” Elfrida says, “and it makes me proud that we take care of folks like that.”

Finally, understanding the importance of American manufacturing and supplying American jobs is vital. “When a customer calls, they get someone right here in Alabaster, Alabama, who understands their job and can provide the information they need,” says Elfrida. That local connection – having a provider who understands you because they live in your community – is why Spec Rubber and teammates like Elfrida have been so successful over the decades.

Here’s To Another 45 Years

Elfrida has helped make American-made gaskets and other rubber products for over 45 years – and we’d love to have her around for another 45.

She’s a sterling example of how much impact a loyal and energetic person can make on a company, its workers, and its customers.

With people like Elfrida, Spec Rubber exists. Her commitment is legendary; her attention to others is exemplary. We’re thankful for Elfrida McClain, and if you become a customer, we’re confident you’ll be grateful for her, too.

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