ATAS International, Inc. is a family-owned business that went from a siding and trim company in an immigrant’s basement to an industry leading manufacturer of metal panels for the building envelope, with locations throughout the United States.
Aluminum Trim And Shapes was founded in1963 by Jacobus "Jack" P. Bus in his home’s basement in Rochester, NY. His wife, Nel, and their eight children, were all part of the manufacturing and installation team. “Everyone was expected to work,” Nel explained. “We were a family, and we all had jobs to do.”
The journey to become business owners started when Jack and Nel moved to Canada from the Netherlands in the 1950s. The hardworking and quick-witted duo saw a business opportunity while Jack was installing siding and trim, often crossing the border to do so in Rochester. He noticed contractors hated bending their own products, so he had the idea to do it for them. This business was well-received, and the company has seen tremendous growth over the years.
Jack first moved his company and its original equipment from the basement into a 12,000- square-foot facility in Rochester. When they needed more space—and a better location to allow for a larger distribution radius—the company moved to Allentown, PA. With sons Dick and Jim at his side in management roles, the Bus family saw opportunities in various markets by creating ingenious products. This, combined with their focus on quality, customer service and family, has made ATAS an industry leader.
Today, ATAS has two locations in Allentown, as well as facilities in Mesa, AZ, and Maryville, TN. Brightsmith Coil Coaters, in Morrisville, PA, is a sister company of ATAS that was acquired in 2008. Product categories include metal roofing, wall and ceiling panels, as well as accessories and trim, for commercial and residential buildings. ATAS operations have been certified to the ISO 9001:2008 with design International Quality System Standard in all locations. This certification assists ATAS with maintaining industry leadership; utilizing a customer focus and quality improvements that are consistent with continued growth, enhanced customer service and employee satisfaction; and harnessing growth responsibility.
Sustainability also has become integral to what ATAS does. It produces less waste and reutilizes materials, such as skids, cardboard, and coil ID rings, when possible. These efforts have reduced the creation of new skids and packaging by 50 percent, and hazardous waste has been reduced by 64 percent. It is proud of the accomplishment that in 2008 the company scrapped one million pounds of waste and only 300,000 pounds currently. Motion sensors and improved lighting in the original Allentown plant and new production facility have made the buildings more energy efficient. ATAS also installed its own product InSpire, a supplementary solar air heating system, at its newest Allentown manufacturing location.
“InSpire is a transpired solar collector wall system that we are very proud of at ATAS,” Jim said. “This simple technology takes solar heated air generated by the sun, pulls it through perforations in metal wall panels and circulates it through a building. It has the capability to heat a building in cooler months, keep a building cool in warmer months and destratify indoor air. I think that is pretty cool.”
In addition to InSpire, ATAS manufactures other sustainable building products. Where possible, ATAS roofing products are coated with a cool pigment paint that reflects infrared radiation. This allows the color to appear the same but keeps the material cooler, reducing the urban heat island effect, lowering the building’s interior temperature and slashing cooling season utility bills. Implementation of above sheathing ventilation (ASV) can also help to create a more energy efficient building. The ATAS standing seam roof panels are solar ready, making it easy to attach photovoltaic systems without roof penetrations. Many ATAS products may also contribute to LEED credits and/or be ENERGY STAR qualified.
As new products and profiles are created every year, the Bus family remains as the central element. Dick serves as President, and Jim as Executive Vice President. Dick's wife, Peg, is the company's Human Resources Manager, and two of their children have a role in the company. Mark and Eric first started with ATAS when they were 14 years old. Like their father, they were handed a broom to sweep the shop floors and taught how to load trucks. Eric worked his way around the shop from shipping and receiving to a machine helper, building crates, working second shift and setting up a few machines for the day shift. In 2001, Eric moved to the Mesa facility, serving as the Plant Manager, and in 2013 he relocated back to Allentown as the Operations Manager to focus his efforts in the production area. Mark stayed in Allentown and has worked within sales and customer service, and now serves as the Eastern Region Sales Manager. Mark sees his future within sales and accounting. Two of Jim's children,Tiffany and Tony, have joined the family business. Tiffany Hutcheson is a Customer Service Representative at Brightsmith Coil Coaters, a sister company of ATAS International. Tony has spent recent summers in production and quality control and is currently pursuing an industrial engineering degree. He sees a future in contributing to technical aspects of the products and procedures.
"A great source of pride is that ATAS has remained a family business for over 50 years and that the third generation is now involved in the company," Dick said. "It isn't always easy to work with family, but we have proven that great things can be achieved when you respect one’s contributions and talents." Nel also can still be seen in her office at ATAS. She likes to come in from time to time to review marketing materials and check in on advertising, which was her focus when she worked full time. Jack passed away in 2008. "I miss my dad every day, but his legacy can still be felt in this building and among the ATAS employees," Jim said.
In Arizona, ATAS added the Building Envelope Design Center, and at their headquarters in Allentown, Pennsylvania, they are renovating the Kennis Center to increase the size of that training center and incorporate state of the art technology. These educational facilities are, and will continue to be, filled with mock installations and other tools to help educate contractors, architects and others in the construction community about metal design and installation. Adding insulated metal panels and metal panel laminates to the product offering will open new design possibilities for the company.
"As we look to the future, we cannot help but to stop and thank our staff and customers for being part of the ATAS team for over 50 years," Dick said. "I started working with my dad when I was nine years old, and this industry has been my life. Jim and I are honored to call so many customers friends and to have been part of some outstanding projects.”
ATAS holds a Customer Appreciation Day each May to honor their customers, and has implemented Customer Advisory Boards to gain knowledge on how to improve upon serving their customers, as well as on expanding their product and service offerings.
It is clear that the Bus family and the ATAS employees have a love and dedication to the metal construction industry. Some employees, such as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Jim Bush; Dutch Seam Line Operator, Mike Rex; and Maintenance Manager, Larry Darlymple, have been with ATAS since the doors opened in Allentown in 1983. Several employees even have their own family members working at ATAS. Finding a family business with strong roots, devoted employees and dedication to the industry is rare. Finding one that is recognized as an industry leader with quality at the core of everything it does makes selecting your next metal manufacturer that much easier.
Brothers Dick and Jim Bus:
Current owners of ATAS International, Inc.
Nel and Jack Bus:
Founders of ATAS International, Inc.
Manufacturing Facilities of ATAS
Snowdrift Rd. Allentown, PA
Mesa, AZ Facility
Maryville, TN Facility
Grant Way Facility:
BRIGHTSMITH Coil Coaters:
Morrisville, PA (Sister Company)