STAUNTON, Ill.—BOFA Americas, the U.S. arm of England-based BOFA International, a developer and manufacturer of fume extraction devices used across a variety of industries, announces plans to expand this spring, following closely on the heels of a previous expansion in late 2014.
“We put on about a 2,000-square-foot addition to our building in November, we have added four more people, and in spring we’re going to add another 2,000-plus square feet to our facility for storage,” says John Podwojski, general manager of BOFA Americas.
Once complete, the next expansion will put the company at about 25,000 square feet at its North American headquarters, which opened in 2008.
“We were an unknown commodity here for the first year,” Podwojski says. “You could probably throw out the first year, and part of the recession years, but outside of that it’s been pretty dominant growth, you know, over the past five, six years.”
BOFA Americas’ staff currently sits at 14 people, although Podwojski says he plans to add three or four more employees after the start of the new fiscal year, which begins June 1.
“The facility here covers the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean; it covers the Ukraine, it covers the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, and – what did I forget? – Malaysia, I think. All of those areas fall under us, believe it or not,” Podwojski says.
His company’s fume extraction machines are all manufactured in England, which is where the company started. Staff at BOFA Americas’ headquarters do any modifications and upgrades needed at the Illinois facility, he says.
“We don’t make the huge plant-sized pieces of equipment, we make what’s called LEV – local exhaust ventilation – systems, which are portable,” Podwojski says. “Some of them are pretty large and pretty powerful and can handle some very elaborate and large applications, but they’re not like some of the companies out there who are going to put a big unit in the middle of a huge facility that does the whole facility. We don’t do that.”
About 65 percent of BOFA’s fume extraction systems are sold through distributors, he says. A very small amount are sold directly to some of the world’s biggest companies. The remainder are sold to OEMs or integrators, the latter of which incorporate BOFA systems into a larger system.
The industries BOFA sells into are varied – everything from medical and dental to beauty and pharmaceuticals to awards and recognition, sign shops and screen printing shops. All its systems are portable, which Podwojski says is a distinct advantage in the marketplace.
“We make equipment that can be used in everything from that full-blown shop to the mom-and-pop applications that work out of their home or their basements,” Podwojski says. “That’s why our units are so widely used – because they’re so versatile.”