Since he was in his teens, Michael Ivester has been in a company business in one capacity or another.
The drywall company he is in today has long been a family business for more than 60 years. Originated in 1948 by Michael's grandfather John Ivester, the company was then known as Ivester Drywall & Painting. Thereafter, his own father, Michael Ivester Sr., continued the business as Dry-Tech Inc., in North Carolina.
After many years with Dry-Tech himself, Michael Ivester Jr. now owns and operates (in the footsteps of his family and under the original name) Ivester Drywall & Painting Inc. He has learned from the absolute best, and most of all his passion for the work has enabled him to continue the legacy of his father and grandfather.
Although the junior Ivester has been in this industry since he was about 16/17 years old, he started his company in 2006 and has been in this business for 15 years.
“Drywall has been a family business,” he says. “My grandfather had his company, and then my father had his company. And now with my company, this is the third generation of drywall contractors in my family. I was fortunate to learn the business from them.”
The company focuses on multi-family construction in North Carolina.
“We have 20 employees working for Ivester Drywall & Painting,” Ivester says. “We have a great family-like dynamic. Not only do we work together but we spend a great deal of time together in and out of work. With this pandemic, I have been fortunate to keep my staff employed and working.”
Things are always changing and growing, says Ivester. He explains that there has been a lot of growth in a lot of different aspects in the business. Technology has definitely grown in the construction industry, he explains, and has changed a lot of the way things are done.
“You can do anything from view site plans, submit billings, to view day-to-day changes from anywhere. This has been beneficial for me because I travel quite often, as I have projects in several cities.
“You know, the construction industry is a difficult industry to be in as it can be fickle at times,” Ivester says. “We have had our ups and have seen our share of downs. But that is how it is in the construction industry. Things are always changing and growing, and we hope to be a part of that growth.”
Business has been good, he reports. He says the company has been fortunate enough to stay busy during the pandemic. The company has had to change the ways it does certain things to ensure the health and safety of its employees, which is always the priority.
“We have been blessed to be able to continue to work and have upcoming work, especially in today’s climate,” says Ivester. “The pandemic has changed how a lot of things are done.”
For Ivester, the most interesting parts of the job are the changes in design and new products that have revolutionized the way things are done. He says he is a fan of the “modern concepts.” The technology aspect in the industry again has changed the way things are done - making things easier as a contractor that keeps the company and its employees on-site on the same page.
“In multi-family construction, I would have to say the most difficult aspect would be the schedules,” Ivester says. “Schedules are specifically made to keep production on track, so the work is done in the time a general contractor has allotted. But schedules never factor in the issues that can arise, like the weather, other trades being behind schedule, etc.”
The company has a few jobs lined up that they are excited about, working with general contractors that they have an ongoing relationship with, and GCs that are new. The company is also hopeful it can continue to stay busy and have worked lined up for the future.
“I think for everyone,” says Ivester, “the long-term goal is always to be successful, but for me success is maintaining a steady workload so that I can keep my staff employed. Times are definitely tough in the work force these days, and we are a family at Ivester Drywall & Painting. We just want our family to be able to take care of their own families and stay health and safe.
“My experience is a great factor in my success. I also believe it is imperative to be knowledgeable of building codes and materials,” says Ivester. “I do not believe in cutting corners. Doing everything to code is especially important. With our company and work, it is important that everything is done correctly.”
“I do not feel we will ever see the construction industry fall the way it did in 2010,” Ivester reflects. “But I do think we came through that one strong, and I believe the industry has come a long way from that.”
The company uses the products of:
- National Gypsum
- G-P Gypsum
- American Gypsum
- CertainTeed Gypsum
Its main distributors are:
- L&W Supply
- Builders First Source
- Best Supply