History

Our past helps us build our future.

Our proud heritage goes back to our founding in 1955

Universal Forest Products is an American success story, authored by thousands of employees and led by loyal individuals who learned the business from the ground up. The markets we serve aren’t always glitzy, but they’re essential. When is the last time you saw a roof without a truss, a deck without boards, or a shipment of apples without crates? The things we build are important. And the opportunity we build along with them is rewarding. Here’s how we’ve done it.

Check out our timeline to see what hard work, determination and the best employees in the business can do.

1955

  • Universal Forest Products incorporates with William F. Grant as major stockholder and sole salesman.

1962

  • Michigan State University graduate Peter F. Secchia joins the company.

1971

  • The company has sales of $12 million.
  • Then-Vice President of Sales Peter F. Secchia purchases control of the company.
  • Bill Currie, today’s Chairman of the Board, joins the company as a salesman.

1978

  • Current CEO Matthew Missad joins Universal’s maintenance crew as its “lawn boy.” (He stayed on through high school and college, borrowing money from the company to attend law school and paying it back by working for the company full-time upon graduating.)
  • The company’s Florida plant produces its first charge of treated lumber. Today, it is the nation's leading supplier of treated wood.

1979

  • Universal ships the first load of treated lumber to a brand-new company, The Home Depot.

1989

  • Peter Secchia is appointed United States Ambassador to Italy by President George H.W. Bush.
  • Bill Currie succeeds Peter Secchia as CEO.

1993

  • Universal goes public, issuing 5.7 million shares and raising $20 million in additional equity.

1997

  • Universal enters the site-built construction market with an acquisition in Pennsylvania and Texas. It was the beginning of new and significant growth for Universal.

1998

  • Less than one year after entering the site-built construction market, Universal becomes the nation's largest residential truss manufacturer with the acquisition of Shoffner Industries, Inc., the leading producer of roof and floor trusses for commercial and residential builders. Headquartered in Burlington, N.C., Shoffner had 14 facilities in seven states.
  • Universal cements its commitment to industrial packaging and other components with the acquisition of Atlantic General Packaging, a manufacturer of specialty wood packaging products in North Carolina. It is Universal’s first acquisition in the industrial market.
  • Universal acquires a 45% interest in Pino Exporta of Durango, Mexico, which changes its name to Pinelli Universal. (Universal subsequently purchases another 5% interest.) Pinelli manufactures moulding and millwork products for North American customers.

2000

  • Michael B. Glenn becomes President and Chief Operating Officer of the company.

2002

  • Peter Secchia retires from active employment.
  • Universal is named to Forbes magazine’s Platinum 400, an annual ranking of the 400 best-performing U.S. companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue.
  • Universal acquires a facility from Quality Wood Treating, Co., Inc. in Prairie du Chien, Wis., which produces composite decking.

2004

  • Universal is again named to Forbes magazine’s Platinum 400, their annual ranking of the 400 best- performing U.S. companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue.
  • Advancing its commitment to grow its framing business, Universal announces an investment in the largest framer of multifamily structures in the Massachusetts area, Shawnlee Construction, LLC. Based in Plainville, Mass., Shawnlee has been in business for more than 30 years.
  • Sales pass $2 billion for the first time in company history, reaching nearly $2.5 billion.

2005

  • Universal celebrates 50 years as a company. 
  • Annual sales are $2.7 billion
  • Universal purchases the assets of Maine Ornamental Woodworkers, Inc., the leading manufacturer and distributor of decorative caps used on decking and fencing posts.
  • Universal Consumer Products, Inc. is launched, a wholly owned subsidiary intended to create new distribution networks for the company’s growing portfolio of consumer products.
  • Universal acquires the leading importer and marketer of decorative balusters, Deckorators™.

2006

  • For the seventh time, Universal is named in Forbes magazine’s Platinum 400.
  • Universal announces a leadership transition plan with the appointment of Mike Glenn to CEO effective July 1, 2006. Former CEO William G. Currie is appointed to the newly created position of executive chairman of the board and former Chairman Peter F. Secchia becomes chairman emeritus.
  • The housing market begins to show signs of weakness.

2007

  • Osmose’s MicroPro™ -- which Universal affiliates use to treat wood -- is named the first and only wood preservative technology in the world to earn the esteemed Green Cross recognition, which marks it as an Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP). (Universal’s ProWood® is treated with MicroPro™.)
  • Universal adds concrete forming products to its growing portfolio.

2008

  • Universal is again named one of Fortune magazine’s Most Admired Companies.

2009

  • Pat Webster is appointed President and COO of Universal Forest Products.

2011

  • Matthew J. Missad is named the fifth CEO in the company’s history.
  • Universal announces strategies for growth that include adding new products and new markets, and opening doors to offshore opportunities.

2012

  • Universal launches its all-new ProWood® premium pressure-treated lumber brand.

2015

  • Universal introduces a new line of composite decking under the Deckorators brand, the revolutionary Vault product.
  • Universal celebrates its 60th year in business.
  • CEO Matt Missad is named to Fortune’s “Businessperson of the Year” list, an annual ranking of the top 50 corporate leaders in the world.

2016

  • Forbes magazine names Universal as the best-performing company in Michigan, based on total returns.
  • Universal makes its largest acquisition to date, buying idX Corp., an international provider of highly customized merchandising solutions. The acquisition brings Universal 20 facilities in North America, Europe and Asia.