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.

Specification Rubber Products: The Small Business Making a Big Impact in Shelby County and Beyond.

Specification Rubber Products (Alabaster, AL) is a small business located in Shelby County, Alabama, that is making a big impact on the local community, its economy, and beyond. Founded in 1968, the company specializes in producing highly engineered molded rubber components, including gaskets and sealing products for the waterworks industry. Recently, Spec Rubber was honored with the 2023 Shelby County Small Business of the Year Award in recognition of its commitment to creating jobs in the area and providing high-quality goods made in America.

Overview of the Shelby County Small Business Award

Spec Rubber is proud to be the winner of the 2023 Shelby County Small Business of the Year Award for businesses with 21 or more employees open one year or more. The Small Business of the Year awards were given out collaboratively by Calera Main Street, the Chelsea Business Alliance, Columbiana Main Street, Montevallo Chamber of Commerce, Montevallo Main Street, and The Shelby County Chamber. Businesses were judged based on their activities over the past three years, including staying power, employee growth, sales increase, response to adversity, and evidence of helping community-oriented projects. Spec Rubber has been operating in Shelby County for more than 55 years and is an established pillar of the local community. Spec Rubber has seen tremendous growth in recent years, and it is evident that their hard work and dedication have paid off. Spec Rubber is an ISO-certified manufacturer, and its waterworks products are NSF-61 certified, meaning these components meet the health and safety standards set forth by the National Sanitation Foundation for use in potable water applications. This certification has helped Spec Rubber stand out in the industry and has contributed to its success.

Contributions to the Shelby County Community by Specification Rubber Products

Spec Rubber’s contributions to the Shelby County community go well beyond just creating jobs. The company is committed to giving back and has been involved in several community-oriented projects over the years. They have donated to local schools and charities, participated in community celebrations, and supported local sports teams. Spec Rubber values being an active member of the Shelby County community and is truly grateful for being recognized as this year’s Small Business of the Year.

Recent Awards and Nominations  

Named 2023 Shelby County Small Business of the Year

Recognized as a Top Company in Alabama by Governor Kay Ivey’s Made in Alabama Showcase

Named one of Alabama’s Safest Manufacturers

A three-time finalist for Rubber News’ Best Places to Work in the North American Rubber Industry, receiving Top Honors in 2021

A three-time finalist for Alabama Manufacturer of the Year

List of Affiliated Charities and Community Programs

United Way of Central Alabama

St. Jude Children’s Hospital

Children’s Make-A-Wish Foundation

The National Children’s Cancer Society

Special Olympics

Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Shelby Cancer Center

Safe House of Shelby County

Shelby Emergency Assistance

Alabaster City Fest

Alabaster City Schools

Spec Rubber in the News

Rubber News: Rubber News Names Best Places To Work Honorees

Rubber News: Best Places To Work: Building Positive Work Environment Key For Spec Rubber

Rubber News: Specification Rubber Puts Employees In Position To Prosper

Spec Rubber News: Spec Rubber Awarded 2021 Rubber News Best Place to Work

Shelby County Reporter: Alabaster Business Named Top Place To Work In 2021

Alabaster Connection: Alabama’s Governor Visits The Best Place To Work

AMERICAN Newsroom: Alabama Governor Kay Ivey Celebrates Specification Rubber Being Named “Best Place to Work”

Made In Alabama: Gov. Kay Ivey’s Made In Alabama Showcase

Governor News: Governer Ivey Hosts Second Annual Made In Alabama Showcase

Rubber News: Best Places To Work: Teamwork Key To Specification Rubber’s Success

United Way Of Central Alabama: Shelby County Company Moves Campaign Events From Conference Room To Warehouse

AMERICAN Newsroom: Specification Rubber Named One Of Alabama’s Safest Manufacturers

Birmingham Business Journal: Get A Look Inside A Rubber Factory Specification Rubber Products Celebrates 50 Years Of Service To Employees, Customers, And Community

Spec Rubber News: Celebrating 50 Years!

Shelby County Reporter: Specification Rubber Products Celebrates 50 Years

AMERICAN Newsroom: Specification Rubber Celebrates 50 Years Of Service

Birmingham Business Journal: How One Metro Birmingham Business Is Keeping Up With Foreign Competition

Rubber News: Spec Rubber Finds Opportunity In Crumbling Infrastructure





Why the NSF/ANSI-61 Certification Program Matters

Most Americans take clean water for granted.

But for much of our history as a nation, clean water has been a struggle. Diseases caused by contaminated or polluted water aren’t nearly as prevalent as they once were – in large part because we’ve completely re-engineered how we protect, treat, and transport this vital substance.

To keep your water as clean as possible, it’s important to make sure that every object it comes in contact with – from the pipes and conduits that carry it to the rubber gaskets, fittings, and adhesives inside them – meets high-quality standards.

That’s the purpose of NSF/ANSI-61 (NSF-61): a set of regulations that make sure our water is safe and clean like it should be – and Specification Rubber helps make that happen.

The NSF-61 Certification Program Explained

The purpose of the NSF-61 certification program is simple: to provide proof that the company and its personnel understand the importance of keeping our water free from contaminants and impurities that can leach into it from the products that transport it.

The substances used by the industry to create our water infrastructure can be dangerous to humans. Drinking or consuming contaminated water can cause serious illnesses, which is why we have to be as careful as possible to prevent this from happening.

Companies with the NSF-61 designation for their products can demonstrate their commitment to the safety and sustainability of their products. To earn it, the company’s product must be evaluated by an independent and accredited third party that operates under the guidelines of NSF (the sponsoring organization of the standard) and ANSI (the American National Standards Institute). 

This process involves:

  • Product testing
  • Material analysis
  • Factory inspections
  • Regular, on-site audits
  • Ongoing surveillance of products

It’s not a one-shot deal, either; you have to stay certified on an ongoing basis. 

If your products are certified, you gain the right to include language such as “NSF certified” or “NSF listed”, and can use the NSF certification mark. These are clear signals to your customers and constituents that you meet the necessary standards to produce a safe, community-friendly product.

As of 2023, 49 states have laws or policies on the books requiring all drinking water system components to be compliant with or certified by NSF-61. (Louisiana is the only state that doesn’t.)

At Spec Rubber, we don’t settle for anything less than the highest standards for the cities and towns we serve, and that is why we stay fully certified to NSF-61. In becoming certified, our employees also achieve higher levels of training and deepen their understanding of how our rubber gaskets for water pipes and other components fit into the system as a whole – and the important role they play in protecting it.

Benefits and Details of the NSF-61 Certification Program

The NSF-61 certification process delivers benefits not just for employees and companies but also for residents.

These benefits include:

  • A universally accepted verification of product quality
  • Less liability for water systems
  • A lower chance of expensive repairs and future required updates
  • Easier decisions on what to purchase and which provider to choose for purchasers
  • Confidence for residential consumers when it comes to buying and/or using certain components in the home
  • A higher level of industry training and understanding for employees
  • Easier access to markets all over the country for producers

Other facts concerning the program include the following:

  • NSF began developing standards for drinking water in 1986 under a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Prior to 1986, NSF had been working in the water industry for over two decades
  • A historical moment came in 2008, when NSF-61 mandated lower limits on lead content in plumbing products, spurred by regulations passed in California, Louisiana, Maryland, and Vermont
  • NSF-61 is updated by a joint committee that includes end users, public health experts, and members of the water industry
  • “Certification” is different from “compliance”; being compliant involves far less testing and regulation than becoming certified and is a much easier process to complete

The standards that NSF-61 covers can be found in the guidance produced and/or updated on a regular basis; you can access it here.

Protecting Water Now and in the Future

As a company with a full line of NSF-61 certified products, Spec Rubber is fully committed to maintaining clean water for the people we proudly serve.

Each new innovation we create goes through the process to ensure we’re creating the highest quality of safe and reliable products that we would want our own families to use. 

Learn more about how we help our partners ensure NSF-61 compliance and keep our water system free of contaminants that no American should ever have to encounter.



Spec Rubber: An American Success Story

Underneath the ground, all over North America, there is a network of piping systems that delivers water to your home. Every time you turn on a tap, the water that enters your tub or your glass flows from miles away.

It’s a modern marvel of engineering: twist a knob, get water in a moment. Since 1968, Specification Rubber Products (or Spec Rubber, as we’re called) has been proud to play a part in that experience, and it all started with a vision to deliver something as essential to water to our local communities: meaningful work.

This is the story of Specification Rubber Products: how the company grew from one small building in a rural Alabama town to today providing high-quality, American-made gaskets and products to over twenty-five countries across the globe.

Our Founders’ Vision

In 1968, when our doors opened for the first time, 75% of ductile iron piping used in America’s waterworks industry came from the foundries and foothills of Birmingham, Alabama. 

At the time, America was going through a growth spurt: a massive boom in infrastructure dating from the end of World War II, when our GIs came home and started having children and building communities across the country.  

Those new families needed water. No one wanted to stay stuck in a past where you needed to depend on a well, especially not in rural areas. That’s why the industry laid as much ductile pipe as it could get its hands on – but it wasn’t just the pipes we needed. 

The founders of Spec Rubber – including E.W. “Bud” Quiggle” – saw this unprecedented growth as not just an opportunity for modernization, but a chance to provide something even greater: opportunity. 

By manufacturing the rubber gaskets needed to ensure the water stayed in the pipes where it belonged – on the way to your house – and not leaking into the earth, the founders would help support communities on multiple levels. Not only would we help deliver water, we’d help deliver jobs. 

The vision of being a responsible and valued neighbor, providing reliable work while delivering an essential product at an affordable price, led the founders to that moment in 1968 when our doors opened for the very first time.

Our History: From Alabaster to the World

The very first Spec Rubber facility was modest by today’s standards: 18,000 square feet, sprawling across a very rural town called Alabaster.

The location was advantageous because it was just a short drive away from the ductile pipe companies that dotted the landscape in nearby Birmingham.

They were our first customers: companies that needed reliable rubber gaskets for water pipes so Americans could all enjoy the benefits of clean water on demand. 

Success came quickly; in just a year, Spec Rubber became a part of a rapidly growing family of companies that today is known as AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company (itself founded in 1905 in Birmingham). 

In 1975, we took our next major leap forward with the production of the Tyton Joint Gaskets – a product that effectively doubled our business. It wasn’t just the technological advance of a newer, more efficient product that fueled this surge; it was also our growing reputation for high-quality products delivered to exact specifications at a price companies could afford.

Even though the 1970’s were filled with economic turmoil, Spec Rubber kept producing home-grown ingenuity and hard work. It didn’t take long for our company to achieve the highest standards in the industry; in 1992, we achieved the NSF-61 Product Listing Certification, followed in just two years by the coveted ISO 9001 quality certification, marking our products as things customers could count on to do their job and then some.

We also branched out from rubber gaskets to a wider range of essential products, including specialty mechanical molded goods for industrial applications. We’ve innovated with groundbreaking technology like our Barracuda® Gasket, which was released in 2014 and provides an easy (and colorful) way to show if a pipe joint is properly installed and restrained.

And we partner with customers who have unique requirements that call for custom-engineered solutions – a little old-fashioned American ingenuity and know-how to solve problems that take more than just any part off a shelf.

From NSF-61 flat gaskets to mechanical joint gaskets and more, our products have branched out from serving the waterworks industry to delivering quality for applications in agriculture, energy, mining, and beyond.

We like to say that if it’s made from molded rubber, we can make it (and we probably have).

Our Community: Only in America

In a modern era where outsourcing has become the main way to do business – and in a country where domestic manufacturing has fallen from its historic highs during the middle of the 20th Century – Spec Rubber is proud to produce our products right here in the USA, from the same local teammates you may see in the grocery store or at the ballpark. 

That guiding vision of delivering economic opportunity to our friends, families, and neighbors has helped us stay focused on providing jobs in a positive environment, one where teammates know they’re valued for their contributions.

Our production facilities employ over 70 teammates, some of whom come to us right out of high school and stay with us until they retire. 

We’ve been named the Best Place to Work in the North American Rubber Industry by Rubber News, selected as a finalist for Manufacturer of the Year by the Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Technology Network, local Business of the Year by the Shelby County Chamber, and one of the states’ Safest Manufacturers – all a part of our commitment to change American-made industries for the better.

Today, we support our communities and focus on giving back and being a civic-minded company, one on which our teammates and their families can rely. Even though our products can be found all over the globe, each one got its start right here in America – and so did we.

Our Future – And Yours

It’s been more than half a century since our first gasket rolled off the line in 1968. We began with a clear vision of supporting a crucial industry in an area of high need and continued to drive innovation and provide opportunity to the American workforce.

Our job isn’t complete; there will always be problems that need solving, teammates that need to make a living, and families that need clean water and close-knit communities. Spec Rubber is proud to be a part of it all. 

We encourage you to learn more about our company, our mission, and the vital role domestic manufacturers play in the economic health of our people and country.

And the next time you turn on the tap, think of us – we’ll be thinking of you.

What “Made In the USA” Really Means

Elfrida McClain

Elfrida McClain has worked with Spec Rubber for more than 4 decades. She started as a front-line employee and now manages production. See how she and the Spec Rubber team provide world-class service to delight our customers. 


I’ve worked at Specification Rubber Products for more than 45 years. I started as a front-line production employee, and now I’m our Production Manager. Spec Rubber has given me a great career path. 

Our customers know “Made in the USA” matters because a lot of projects require it. But I think it’s more important to say “Made at Spec Rubber” because I’m proud of the company I’ve worked for over the last 4 and half decades, and I’d like to tell you why. 


Company Culture

I started at Spec Rubber working part-time in the cutting department, but the company could see I wanted to learn. So they offered me a chance to continue to advance, and I learned about every job I could. Eventually, Spec Rubber promoted me to Supervisor. I earned that opportunity because I had learned every step in the production process. 

At Spec Rubber, we think supervisors should be out on the floor instead of holed up in their offices because it makes it easier for production employees to communicate with you. If they notice a problem, they can ask for help without worrying you’ll be upset about stopping production. We have each other’s backs, and everyone does what it takes to keep things running smoothly to eliminate waste and prevent project delays. 


Employee Retention

We have a lot of long-time employees. It’s a great place to work, and a lot of folks have stayed here for more than 40 years, but only one person worked here longer than me. He retired at 46 years, and every time I see him, I say, “I’m going to catch you!” I just have one year to go. But I think I’ll keep going for a while longer. I have too much energy to just sit on the porch. 

You don’t keep employees for decades if you don’t take care of them and give the folks who want to learn opportunities to advance. Some folks like to work the same job day after day and year after year, and it’s fine for them to be the very best at what they do. Others want to learn everything and advance like me. Spec Rubber does a great job of providing a career path for each employee. 

If you are looking for a rewarding career with long-term opportunities, find your future at Spec Rubber!


Customer Service

I think our customer service is the reason most of our customers do business with us. When a customer calls, they get someone right here in Alabaster, Alabama who understands their job and can provide the information they need. 

I think the most important part of providing great customer service is keeping your promises. Maintenance takes great care of our equipment, and we work hard to maintain our supply of raw materials because when we say we are going to deliver something, we deliver it. I’m responsible for planning every aspect of production so that we can promise the fastest possible delivery date without overpromising. If I’m going to put my name on something, we are going to do it. And when the unexpected happens, I tell customer service immediately. That way, we don’t make promises we can’t keep, and we communicate with our customers whenever anything changes. Most folks in our industry aren’t used to that kind of service, and it makes me proud that we take care of folks like that. These customers are the reason I’ve had this job for 45 years, so I want to make sure we do things right every time to take care of them.  


Request A Sample Gasket 

Would you like a sample of a gasket made by Elfrida’s team? Request a free gasket sample here or call us at (800) 633-3415. A real person will answer the phone to answer your questions. And if customer service makes promises, we will deliver. Elfrida will be sure of that.

Supply Chain Shortages Are Affecting Gaskets And Water Systems


By: Matt Haan

Supply chain shortages and import delays are affecting all sectors of the economy. Our water system customers have told us that gaskets have been hit particularly hard because so many are imported. This has led to delays on otherwise shovel-ready projects. 

Gaskets manufactured in the United States face fewer hurdles, but some manufacturers have struggled to stock enough raw materials to meet demand. Spec Rubber has managed our access to raw materials for over 50 years, and we’ve worked around the clock to maintain a warehouse with a significant amount of inventory. If you’re having trouble getting the gaskets you need for your project, call me at (800) 633-3415 or email me at

Supply chain problems have brought more attention than ever to “Made in the USA” gaskets, but those aren’t the only reasons it’s wise to examine which gaskets your water system writes into project specifications. 


Made In The USA: Required For Federal Funding

Many water systems have prioritized products “Made in the USA” because they qualify for funding through federal programs like the recent infrastructure bill. Non-compliant foreign gaskets look appealing because the sticker price is often lower, but savings evaporate if it jeopardizes funding sources for infrastructure projects. 


Made in the USA: Verified NSF-61 Certification

The NSF-61 designation is essential for anything that comes in contact with drinking water, including gaskets. However, international manufacturing facilities are not inspected like domestic facilities, leading to compromises in manufacturing processes, materials used, and overall quality. This has led to several manufacturers talking about how their products relate to NSF-61 standards without actually complying. This is not acceptable for potable water. 

We are proud that all our products are 100% Made in the USA and NSF-61 certified.  


Gaskets: Ready to Ship

Spec Rubber has manufactured gaskets in Alabaster, AL, for more than 50 years. We are proud that our position in the industry has allowed us to step into the gap to supply customers who’ve been left high and dry without access to imported gaskets they’d used in the past. We currently have very small to no lead time, depending on the product. Give me a call at (800) 633-3415 or email me at to find out more. 

Request a free gasket sample here!

Alabama’s Governor visits the “Best Place to Work” – Specification Rubber Products

Specification Rubber Products recently received top honors as the 2021 Best Place to Work in the North American Rubber Industry by Rubber News. This milestone achievement prompted a visit from Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey, who toured the facility on March 21, 2022.


The company produces products for multiple industries, with its largest division being the waterworks industry. Specification Rubber Products prides itself as an ISO-9001 certified manufacturer providing NSF-61 certified gaskets and sealing components to the drinking water industry.


Specification Rubber Products President Steven A. Smith said, “Gov. Ivey’s visit, her participation in the celebration, and her recognition of the work our teammates do mean the world to us. It helped make an extraordinary day even more extraordinary. Having the governor, our special guests, our teammates, corporate leaders, and elected officials, including Alabaster’s Mayor Scott Brakefield, with us on our special day was incredible. It is fascinating to see what’s happening here. While our company has enjoyed good times in our 54-year history, our best days are ahead of us. It is an extremely exciting time to be part of the Spec Rubber family.”


The celebration began with an overview of Specification Rubber’s operations and products by Marketing and Sales Manager Wesley Helton. “We are so fortunate to have such great teammates who put their heart and soul into Specification Rubber Products daily,” Helton said. “Without their support and love of this company, we would never have had a chance at such a prestigious award.”


Ivey and others toured Specification Rubber’s manufacturing operations before Governor Ivey spoke to the crowd. “It is quite an accomplishment to be named the number one manufacturer in your industry in North America. Without all of you and your work, we wouldn’t have the components needed to help make water clean and safe. You are making a huge difference in our state and beyond. Keep up the outstanding work and bring this title back to the great state of Alabama next year!”


After the celebration, Specification Rubber Products Customer Service Manager Paige Harkins said, “We have a wonderful group of teammates. We are very proud of our experienced and diverse team here at Spec Rubber. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have many devoted teammates, many having more than 25 years with the company. In the audience today, we had our most senior teammate who recently celebrated her 45th year with the company, as well as our newest teammate having only two days.”


Spec Rubber was founded in 1968 and is a subsidiary of AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company, located in Birmingham, Alabama. The company is the pre-eminent supplier of rubber gaskets and sealing products to the North American water industry.


For more information about Specification Rubber Products, including open positions, visit



Spec Rubber Nominated for 2021 Rubber News’ Best Places to Work

Specification Rubber Products, Inc. has been named one of Rubber News’ “Best Places to Workin 2021.  

The Rubber News’ “Best Places to Work” program, recognizes and honors companies in the rubber  industry for outstanding employee satisfaction. The rubber industry is defined as companies that make  end rubber products, as well as suppliers or providers of services for the rubber industry. 

Determining the best places to work involves a two-step process. The first step involves an evaluation of  participating companies’ workplace policies, practices, and demographics. In the second step, employee  surveys are conducted to directly assess the experiences and attitudes of individual employees with  respect to their workplace. The combined scores determine the top organizations and the final ranking.  

Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process, and also analyzed the data  and used its expertise to determine the final ranking.  

About Specification Rubber Products: Founded in 1968, Specification Rubber Products is a wholly  owned subsidiary of AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company. Specification Rubber Products is the  preeminent supplier of rubber gaskets and sealing products within the United States of America alongside it’s robust industrial market sectors. The company is headquartered in Alabaster, Alabama where the sole plant produces over 2 million rubber components per year. Specification Rubber  Products’ prides itself as an ISO-9001 certified company. Every component intended for drinking water  application is NSF-61 certified.


For more information about Specification Rubber Products visit or contact Wesley Helton (  




Celebrating Manufacturing Day 2021

Each year the National Association of Manufacturers recognizes “Manufacturing Day” on the first Friday in October. Manufacturing Day aims to raise awareness about modern manufacturing and the rewarding careers available, especially among students, parents, educators, and the general public.


Modern Manufacturing: History and Industry Trends

Manufacturing as an industry has been around for hundreds of years. From the first major shift during the Industrial Revolution, to lean manufacturing and robotics, each new level of innovation makes production more impressive and efficient. 

We have seen some remarkable gains in the manufacturing industry over the last ten years. Industrial robots have gone from heavy equipment designed to perform only the most dangerous tasks to smaller machines that collaborate side-by-side with employees. Additive manufacturing has matured in the last decade, lowering cost barriers in prototyping and production. Technologies are advancing and consumers and businesses are in the market for unique, quality products at a much higher rate. 

In 2019, manufacturers in the United States accounted for almost 12% of the total economic output, and employed 8.51% of the nation’s workforce. Over the years the manufacturing output has increased by billions of dollars — every single year.

Out of the top 10 manufacturing sectors, Plastics and Rubber Products ranked 10th, with an estimated $83 billion in output.  


And the industry is continuing to adapt and grow.


How the Pandemic Affected the Manufacturing Industry

Last year, the pandemic affected millions of jobs and hundreds of industries, and manufacturing was no exception. Forced shutdowns in the early months of the pandemic caused a significant dip in manufacturing employment levels. April 2020 recorded manufacturing’s lowest employment levels since 2010. 

Today, production and order levels are seemingly at an all time high. While the industry’s recovery may have been relatively quick. It will take effort to maintain our current climate.


Our Role in the Manufacturing Industry 

Specification Rubber Products has been a part of the manufacturing industry for over 50 years, serving clients and customers all across the United States. Our company began in 1968 as a manufacturer of molded rubber components for the waterworks industry, specializing in rubber gaskets. Today, Spec Rubber is a primary supplier for ductile iron pipe, valve, hydrant producers, and specialty mechanical molded goods for industrial applications.

Over the past 53 years, we attribute much of our success to the hardworking individuals that make up the Spec Rubber team. From the employees who have stuck by us since our early years to the eager and skilled individuals who have joined us along the way, they have found rewarding and long-lasting careers in modern manufacturing. 

We want to celebrate Manufacturing Day 2021 by thanking our employees, customers, and community for helping us continue to do what we love each and every day. We also want to do our part in spreading awareness about the great career opportunities that modern manufacturing holds for the next generation! 


If you have any questions about our products or want to learn more about what we do, contact us here! 




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