Modular Building Institute: Celebrating 40-Years of Advancement
In late 1982, 18 men and women with a passion for advancing commercial modular construction met in Atlanta, Georgia to discuss establishing a trade association for the mobile office trailer industry, which eventually became the Modular Building Institute. They were Doug Bessey, Kim Coates, Bob Coker, Earl Ferguson, Barry Gossett, Len Gover, Ted Hamre, Bob Harkavy, Robert Landrum, Guy Morgan, Roy Price, Stephen Sandstrom, Lowell and Junella Stanley, Rusty Taylor, Dave Turner, Jim Walker, and Toni Sylvester. The meeting opened with general discussion of the benefits such an association could provide including legislative action, unification of codes, support for the industry, and establishment of third party inspections.
The discussion also focused on the need to define a common denominator among manufacturers and dealers of non-residential factory-built structures. It was a consensus that office trailers were the foundation of the industry and, therefore, should be considered the focal point in forming an association.
This marked the beginning of 40 Years of Exemplary Service by the Modular Building Institute in advancing the commercial modular construction industry.
In their second meeting, excited about the progress they were making, the group established a steering committee to guide organizational details. Possible names for the association, including such terms as “mobile,” “modular,” and “relocatable” in connection with “office buildings,” were discussed. As an interim name, “Mobile Modular Office Association” world of modular which eventually evolved into the Modular Building Institute, was decided on.
The group’s desire for an industry alliance was quickly becoming a reality. In fact, on March 4, 1983, just six months after their initial meeting, the Mobile Modular Office Association held its charter convention and a board of directors was elected. Bob Houchin (Cliff Industries) served as the first president while the first executive director was Toni Sylvester.
The Mobile Modular Office Association's first executive director, Toni Sylvester, addresses attendees of the MMOA's first annual convention in Las Vegas, NV.
In 1984, with Doug Bessey (SpaceCo) as president, exhibit booths were added to the second MMOA convention making the “Annual Convention & Tradeshow” a permanent part of the association. Barry Gossett (Williams Mobile Offices) was elected president in 1985. That same year, Texas passed legislation regulating commercial modular construction.
The MMOA reached a significant milestone in 1986 when Scotsman Corporation joined the group as its 100th member. ATCO Structures also joined that year and was the organization’s first Canadian member. Two other important “firsts” also occurred in 1986. Joan McGrath (Mobile Modular Management) was the first female of the Modular Building Institute to be elected to the board of directors and as secretary, first female officer. Neal DuCharme (Modular Structures International) was president when the University of South Carolina completed the first statistical survey of the industry. Indiana adopted the Mobile Structures Code for commercial modular buildings.
MMOA introduced its Awards of Distinction in 1987, recognizing the best commercial modular buildings institute with trophies and displaying building pictures at the annual convention. Finding itself now armed with pictures of award-winning buildings, the organization formed a public relations committee. MMOA’s first membership directory was also produced.
Linc Moss (Mark Line Industries) served his first of two terms as president in 1987. Lowell Stanley (Coastal Modular Corporation) won the membership campaign contest, contributing five new members to a total membership of 133.
The public relations committee of the Modular Building Institute went on to develop MMOA’s first brochure about the benefits of modular construction in 1988. Fourteen thousand copies of “Mobile & Modular Offices: Tomorrow’s Solutions Today” were printed and distributed to the general public. Under president Bob Harker (SteelCo), the organization also established its Outstanding Achievement Award in 1988, naming Barry Gossett (Williams Mobile Offices) as the first recipient.
In 1989, outgoing executive director Toni Sylvester was awarded Outstanding Achievement and Mike Slataper was elected president. With the hiring of John Waxman, the MMOA headquarters moved from Irmo, South Carolina, to Chicago, Illinois.
The MMOA introduced its Awards of Distinction in 1987.
In 1990, Roy Van Doorn (Geary Pacific) was elected president and Ray Tyson (Tyson Corporation) received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Modular Building Institute. One year later, Van Doorn was hired as executive director and MMOA moved from its Chicago home of two years to Charlottesville, Virginia.
Mike Blackmore (Aurora Modular) was named president in 1991. For the first time, the organization also released the results of its annual statistical survey to the general public. The Outstanding Achievement Award went to John Harty (PBS Building Systems).
Years 1992 and 1993 would hold significant changes for the MMOA. With Robert Kullman (Kullman Industries) as president, the group took on a new motto: “image is everything.” Believing that the industry’s image is created the moment one hears or reads the name “Mobile Modular Office Association,” the MMOA board of directors sent a survey to members to inquire about interest in a name change. The survey included several new names as well as an option to keep the existing one. Ninety-three percent of respondents stated they would like to change the name to better reflect the composition of the industry. The majority of those responding agreed on one new name for the group: Modular Building Institute. These transformative decisions marked another milestone in the Modular Building Institute's 40 years of exemplary service to the industry.
Mike Slataper received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1992. Eric Day (Zieman Manufacturing) received it in 1993. Also in 1993: Bob Houchin served his second term as president, Judy Smith was named executive director, and the Industrialized Buildings Commission was created to promote interstate reciprocity among industrialized building providers.
Eric Day and Skip Taylor (Office Master of Texas) served as presidents in 1994 and 1995, respectively. Bruce McDonald (McDonald Modular) and Bob Houchin received the years’ Outstanding Achievement Awards.
Then, in 1995, MBI ventured onto the Internet in with a new member service. Its “Computer Bulletin Board System” came complete with 13 pages of instructions on how to participate.
In an effort to reflect its diversifying membership and mission, the Mobile Modular Office Association became the Modular Building Institute in 1993.
In 1996, president Mike Morton (Modular Technology) announced two important additions to MBI. First, an association website at www.mbinet.org would facilitate faster communication with members and would help present a united message to the general public. Second, the MBI Seals Program, a system for labeling member buildings and reporting industry statistics, would forever change association government affairs and public relations efforts. The program generated the funds necessary to maintain far-reaching, consistent, and quality efforts when working with federal, state, and local elected and building officials and when advertising to end-users. These developments further solidified the Modular Building Institute's position as a leading organization in the modular construction industry.
Maury Tiernan (Geary Pacific) was elected president in 1997. During his term, MBI saw updated and more efficient operational policies and procedures, an enhanced statistical report, an improved member newsletter, and expansion of its website. Michael Roman (Resun Leasing) was elected president the following year, serving the first of his two terms.
Increased public perception of the industry became a major focus of the MBI. In 1998, Linc Moss (Ramtech Building Systems) received the Outstanding Achievement Award. Robert Kullman received the award in 1999. In 2000, Mike Morton, president of the Modular Building Institute, was the recipient and Randy Holler (Manufactured Structures Corporation) was president.
MBI created an Educational Foundation in 2001 with the generous US$100,000 gift of Barry & Mary Gossett. The Foundation is the only organization established specifically to provide educational opportunities in the form of training and scholarships to individuals with an interest in commercial modular construction. Since 2001, the Foundation has trained over 2,000 industry professionals through events like its popular “Essentials of Commercial Modular Construction” educational series, developed a modular buildings installation certificate course, and awarded five student scholarships totaling US$12,500.
MBI also debuted regional councils in 2001 as part of the Modular Building Institute's efforts to strengthen the industry's network and collaboration. Regional groups of members were formed all over North America to encourage regularly scheduled meetings of members with each other and local building officials. Lowell and Junella Stanley (Coastal Modular), Don Carlson (“Automated Builder” Magazine), and Randolph Bard (Bard Manufacturing) were the first inductees to the MBI Hall of Fame. The award was established to recognize the contributions of those whose careers are or were dedicated to the industry or whose acts have had a significant impact on the careers of all others involved.
The first issue of Modular Building Institute MBI's “Commercial Modular Construction” magazine was published in 2001 and mailed to 25,000 readers while the second issue was mailed to 50,000 readers. To help substantiate the magazine as quickly as possible, circulation and reader demographics were audited by BPA International, a third-party media verification company. Laurie Robert (NRB, Inc.) was the first female and the first Canadian to be elected president. Maury Tiernan received the Outstanding Achievement Award.
Barry Gossett (left) and his wife Mary helped create the Modular Building institute's Educational Foundation in 2001 with a generous US$100,000 gift.
In 2002, Michael Roman served his second term as president and Tom Arnold (TR Arnold & Associates) received the Outstanding Achievement Award.
In 2003, Judy Smith retired after 10 years of service as MBI executive director. Her tenure saw the creation of many important programs including the State of the Industry report, MBI's name change and rebranding, and the creation of its website, Seals Program, “Commercial Modular Construction” magazine, Educational Foundation, and Hall of Fame. She is also responsible for helping stabilize and significantly increase association financial reserves. In addition, the value of networking and educational events as essentials of association life was realized. The number of yearly member regional meetings and MBI leadership meetings increased as did the number of people participating in each. For example, one hundred and fifty people attended her first convention, while 350 attended her last.
A transition committee was formed to seek, interview, and recommend to the board of directors a candidate for the vacant executive director position to the Modular Building Institute's board of directors. Laurie Robert chaired the group. In 2003, Rick McClymont (Britco Structures) was president and the Outstanding Achievement Award went to Michael Roman.
Laurie Robert announced the appointment of Tom Hardiman, Certified Association Executive, as the new MBI executive director effective January 5, 2004. Previously, Hardiman was executive director of the Associated Builders & Contractors West Virginia Chapter where he served as a registered lobbyist. With a new director in place, Modular Building Institute (MBI) focused more on increasing market share, establishing a more effective and proactive legislative effort, and becoming involved in the national and state political scenes, building relationships and advancing positions. In 2004, MBI signed an alliance agreement with the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration to deliver safety programs to members, including 10-hour safety course specific to commercial modular construction developed by Modular Building Institute’s MBI and OSHA.
Rick Bedell (Miller Building Systems) was president and Judy Smith received the Outstanding Achievement Award.
A first for many in commercial modular construction, Modular Building Institute (MBI) coordinated meetings between industry representatives and the US Army Corps of Engineers in 2005 to discuss the role of modular in MILCON transformation and base realignment. MBI also repackaged its State of the Industry report to be more appealing to end-users and financial institutions. The Outstanding Achievement Award was presented to Laurie Robert while Steve Tucker (Blazer Industries) was elected president in 2005.
With Jeff Deutschendorf (M Space Holdings) as president in 2006, MBI began to focus more attention on association events and education. New themed meetings were created to address opportunities and trends in modular construction. Meetings were also tailored to specific audiences. A new Government & Military Construction Conference, for example, offered sessions on securing federal projects, marketing the federal government, and agency-specific acquisitions programs as well as question and answer sessions with well-known expert speakers like James Lee Witt and General Richard Myers. In addition, MBI’s first Green Building Conference was held in 2006. Modular Building Institute (MBI) also increased the number of its programs that qualified for American Institute of Architect continuing education credits.
The MBI website was also overhauled in 2006 and a new address acquired. Modular.org became the new home for commercial modular construction. Case studies, articles, industry definitions, member finder, events calendar, building codes directory, safety resources, and a get-a-quote function contributed to increased traffic by the general public and members alike. A members-only MyMBI section offers region specific code and licensing information, interviews with building officials, late-breaking legislative and regulatory issues. Marv Shetler (Blazer Industries) was awarded Outstanding Achievement.
In 2007, Mike Mount (Indicom Buildings) served as president of the Modular Building Institute (MBI) and the Pennsylvania College of Technology completed development of a modular buildings setup certificate course, presented for the first time in February 2008. Jerry Brosius (Modular Code Consultants) received the 2007 Outstanding Achievement Award.
A screenshot of the previous version of MBI's website, modular.org.
In 2008, the association celebrated its 25th anniversary with Rick Bartolotti of Modtech serving as president. To honor their legacy, MBI inducted several industry pioneers into its Hall of Fame, including Sam Kullman (Kullman Diners), A.V. Williams (Williams Mobile Offices), and S.D. and R.D. Southern (founders of ATCO). Steve Tucker of Blazer Industries received the Outstanding Achievement Award.
Modular Building Institute (MBI) published its popular “Portables Toolkit” to push back against unfair negative press surrounding relocatable classrooms and begins its efforts to impact the building codes.
In 2009, Marty Mullaney of Satellite Shelters is elected President. Marty helps navigate the industry through the federal economic stimulus package and testifies before Congress at a hearing for the Bureau of Indian Affairs on inadequate housing and educational facilities.
Jeff Deutchendorf of M Space Holdings receives the Outstanding Achievement Award while Mike Arnold (Markline Industries) and David Taft and Rick McClymont (founders of Britco Structures) are inducted into the Hall of Fame.
MBI’s Volunteer of the Year Award is present to Irv Derks of Bard Manufacturing (2008) and Mike Henning of Mobile Modular Management Corp (2009) for their work on addressing the ANSI Classroom Acoustics Standard, and its impact on relocatable classrooms.
Barry Gossett makes a $100,000 matching pledge for the Modular Building Insitute (MBI) Educational Foundation, his second $100,000 commitment to the Foundation.
William Scotsman’s Joe Lopardo is elected president in 2010, with Mike Mount of Indicom Buildings receiving the Outstanding Achievement Award. Mike Slataper of Ramtech Building Systems and Joe Donegan of Williams Scotsman are inducted into the industry Hall of Fame.
MBI forms a military construction task force as military base realignment opportunities increase. The task force lobbies the USACE, NAVFAC, and other federal agencies. Modular Building Institute (MBI) continues its Government and Military Construction Conference, started in 2006, in Washington D.C.
Mike Ridley of Britco Structures becomes board President in 2011 with Mike Wilmot of Wilmot Modular receiving the Outstanding Achievement Award. Kevin Walsh of Modspace wins the Volunteer of the Year Award for 2011. Marv Shetler, founder of Blazer Industries, and Dick Haakenson, founder of Pacific Mobile Structures, are inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Modular Building Institute (MBI) launches new Canadian Educational Foundation with initial donation from Rick McClymont and David Taft, founders of Britco Structures.
With a tremendous amount of input from MBI members, the Acoustical Society of America publishes its ANSI Standard S12.60 Performance Criteria, Design Requirements, and Guidelines for Schools, Part 2: Relocatable Classroom Factors. This marks the first national standard for the modular construction industry.
MBI successfully lobbies to address its biggest industry threat to date with the creation and proposed adoption of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC). The code was drafted without any consideration of offsite construction practices and contained numerous provisions harmful to the industry.
Modular Building Institute (MBI) coordinates and hosts a modular construction tour of England, bringing thirty industry professionals together to learn best practices, tour factories, and visit high-rise modular projects.
John Lieffrig of Modspace is elected President in 2012, while Ralph Tavares receives the Outstanding Achievement Award and Simon Dragan, founder of Whitley Manufacturing is inducted into MBI’s Hall of Fame.
MBI creates a new award for its academic partners and names Professor Ryan Smith as its first Modular Building Fellow in 2012, while Doug Robinson of Williams Scotsman earns the Volunteer of the Year award.
Sage Policy Group publishes its popular Economic & Financial Performance of Relocatable Buildings, helping to educate lenders and investors as to the potential of this sector.
Modular Building Institute (MBI) hosts its first European event in Birmingham, England targeting European companies, with nearly 100 participants. The event is followed up with a modular construction tour of Ireland.
In 2013, Mike Bollero, Sr. is elected board President. Marty Mullaney of Satellite Shelters wins the Outstanding Achievement Award and Floyd Bigelow of Porta-Kamp and Tom Arnold of T.R. Arnold & Associates are inducted into the Hall of Fame. Bill Haliburton of ATCO wins the Volunteer of the Year award for 2013.
MBI leads the effort for the creation of a new Offsite Construction Council within the National Institute of Building Sciences. MBI Executive Director Tom Hardiman appointed to the Council’s initial executive committee board.
MBI’s code development efforts continue, helping to shape the IGCC, as well as the International Existing Building Codes as a new threat emerges. Modular Building Institute (MBI) filed an Amicus Brief on the Russ Will Mechanical case to prohibit expansion of prevailing wage rates into off site fabrication shops.
MBI Celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2013.
Harry Klukas of Black Diamond Group is elected President in 2014. Founding member Kim Coates receives the Outstanding Achievement award while Al Hilde, Jr., founder of Satellite Shelters, is inducted into the industry Hall of Fame.
MBI works to amend the 2018 IBC with more modular-friendly language.
A California appeals court rules in favor of MBI 's position that prevailing wages should not apply to off-site fabrication.
In 2015, Kelly Williams is elected as board President while Bill Haliburton wins the Outstanding Achievement award and Michael Roman of Reliant Asset Management, and Linc Moss of Ramtech Building Systems are inducted into MBI’s Hall of Fame.
Paul Bonaccorsi of Intelligent Offsite becomes MBI’s first European board member.
Modular Building Institute (MBI) publishes its Introduction to Commercial Modular Construction textbook in partnership with Clemson University. Clemson offers the program for credit in their construction management program.
In 2016, Chris Peterson of Satellite Shelters is elected President while Harry Klukas wins the Outstanding Achievement award. Maury Tiernan of Geary Pacific is inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Canada Standards Agency publishes CSA A277 in 2016, the first industry standard in Canada.
Mike Rhodes of Silver Creek Industries becomes President in 2017. Mike Bollero, Sr. wins the Outstanding Achievement Award while Laurie Robert of NRB, Inc is inducted into the Hall of Fame.
In 2017 MBI signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Code Council, begins work on shipping container Guideline.
Modular Building Institute (MBI) forms a new Canadian Advisory Council to ensure members in specific regions continue to have a voice within MBI.
Devin Duvak of Indicom Buildings is elected President in 2018. Roland Brown of Ramtech wins the Outstanding Achievement Award while Carl Bennett of Vanguard is inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Stephen Shang of Falcon Structures and Hala Jawad of Radco are Volunteers of the Year for their efforts in developing the new ICC/MBI shipping container guideline.
Modular Building Institute (MBI) successfully advocates for a new section in the 2018 International Building Codes for relocatable buildings, codifying the industry’s “grandfather” provision.
MBI retains Professors Ryan Smith and Ivan Rupnik to develop its “5 in 5 Modular Growth Initiative” providing a roadmap for MBI to double its market share over the next five years.
MBI celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2018.
Roland Brown becomes the MBI President in 2019, with Chris Peterson of Satellite Shelters winning the Outstanding Achievement Award. Gerry Holthaus of Williams Scotsman is inducted into the Hall of Fame.
McKinsey & Company publishes its research paper: Modular Construction: From Projects to Products.
Modular Building Institute (MBI) begins working with ICC on two new industry standards – ICC/MBI 1200 and 1205.
Drew Welborn of Whitley Manufacturing becomes MBI President 2020. Kathy Wilmot of Wilmot Modular is selected as the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award, joining her husband Mike who won the award in 2011. Bob and Craig McNeil, founders of NRB, Inc are inducted into the Hall of Fame.
MBI’s 2020 World of Modular Conference wraps up in Florida just days before the COVID 19 shutdown.
MBI creates a COVID response page displaying member capabilities globally and works with federal, state, provincial and local leaders to help address infrastructure needs.
Modular Building Institute (MBI) works with Fannie Mae to publish their Multifamily Modular Construction Toolkit, to educate and assist lenders with modular deals.
Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation announces their Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) to address affordable housing needs throughout Canada. $1 billion allocated for new modular construction projects.
MBI works with Dodge Data & Analytics on the publication of their Smart Market Report “Prefabrication and Modular Construction 2020.”
MBI launches its Design Professionals and Owner/Developer Advisory Councils.
In 2021, Brad Gudeman of Modular Genius is elected MBI President. Laurie Robert of NRB wins the Outstanding Achievement Award becoming the first two-time recipient of the designation. William Meehleis of Meehleis Modular is inducted into MBI’s Hall of Fame.
Modular Building Institute (MBI) holds its first ever virtual World of Modular conference, attracting over 1,300 digital participants.
In 2021, MBI and ICC finalize two new industry standards, 1200 and 1205, with Salt Lake City, Utah, becoming the first jurisdiction to adopt the new industry standards.
Bruna Rafaela Xavier of Lafaete Rentals becomes MBI’s first South American board member.
MBI facilities the doubling of industry market share growth over the prior five years, exceeding five percent of all new construction starts in North America.
Mike Wilmot of Wilmot Modular is elected MBI President in 2022. Mike Rhodes of Silver Creek wins the Outstanding Achievement Award while Ralph Tavares is inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Modular Building Institute (MBI) passes the 500-member milestone and hosts a successful in-person annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, with over 1,200 participants.
Bill Duffield of McDonald Modular donates $100,000 to the MBI Educational Foundation.
U.S. Department of Labor proposes to expand Davis-Bacon rates to offsite modular factories. MBI hires powerful D.C. lobby firm, submits public comments, and prepares to challenge the proposed rule.