WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
In June 1987, Kevin and Sue Ryan got married. By August, Kevin and his father became business partners when they started Sheet Metal Werks, both operating in the shop by day, and Kevin and Sue from their kitchen table by night.
“We started from nothing and built it from there. It’s the American dream,” Sue said.
“Kevin saw an opportunity 35 years ago and seized it.”
“My dad was a sheet metal worker and taught me never to say no to work,” Kevin said.
“One night when I was working at the old shop in downtown Des Plaines, a guy sitting at a traffic light heard my air hammer and stopped to get a quote on a project. I gave him a price, he gave me the go-ahead, and the rest is history. Lo and behold, he’s still a customer today.
”The company has grown into an 80,000-square-foot facility that was redesigned last fall to improve workflow. “Changing the footprint has opened up about 3, 200 square feet in shipping and receiving, making everything much more efficient,” Kevin said. “We continually look for
opportunities to evaluate our resources which results in elevating our employees and our product to the next level.
”One such product is Sheet Metal Werks’ investment in a brand new, industry-changing coil line from Iowa Precision — the Pro-Fabriduct Line. International Test and Balance performed pressure testing on 1-inch through 6-inch pressure class. Due to the improvement in notching and breaking, which closes the corners, the company now sees a reduction in typical air leakage by up to 40 percent. This technology will result in an improved overall quality, which allows Sheet Metal Werks to provide SMACNA contractors with a higher level of efficiency when it comes to sealing duct in the field.
“Our business parallels evolving societal changes,” Kevin said. “For example, the pandemic brought changes amongst every business, but we rose to meet the demands in multiple assisted living homes, as well as remodeling healthcare facilities and schools. We’re also uniquely positioned to respond to a rise in industrial standards for improved indoor air quality through the use of Thermaduct and KoolDuct. They’re made from closed cell phenolic foam that resists the growth of mold, bacteria and fungus.
”With a staff of nearly 50, Sheet Metal Werks has the experience and capabilities Chicagoland customers have come to know and trust. Each product is tailored to the customer’s expectations, and each customer is treated like family."