Made in Kent

Though the whole world may know about Jell-O, Kool-Aid and Stove Top stuffing, it would probably surprise people to know they are made in Dover. Household names, we take them for granted, so it may surprise even locals to know that some of the things they use every day—and some products that are literally out of this world—are made in their own back yards. Here’s a look.

Gary Williams of Coastal Brewing in Dover says the brewery’s 23 employees produce eight core brands of beer, including Fordham’s Copperhead Ale and Helles Lager. Photograph by Jared CastaldiCoastal Brewing

When it outgrew its facilities in Annapolis, Maryland, Fordham Brewing Company found an existing bottling and cooling facility in Dover in 2002. In 2007, Fordham merged with Anheuser Busch to create Coastal Brewing, which also brought the Old Dominion brand into the fold this past May.

“Since the consolidation, we’ve increased our annual production from 7,500 barrels to 30,000,” says Coastal’s Gary Williams. “There’s ample property to allow us to expand operations up to 80,000 barrels.” Coastal already plans to expand storage by 4,000 square feet.

The brewery’s 23 employees produce Fordham’s Copperhead Ale and Helles Lager, which are available locally. In total, the brewery produces eight core brands and as many seasonal brews, along with Dominion Root Beer and several private label brands.

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Spent grain from the brewing operation is provided to local farmers, which no doubt helps produce laid-back, contented livestock.

Page 2: ILC


Image courtesy of NASA. ILC

Did you know that Neil Armstrong took that first giant step for mankind and, more recently, the Mars rovers landed safely and softly thanks to protective materials engineered and manufactured in Kent?

“We began here in Dover in the 1950s, making high-pressure suits for Air Force pilots,” says Doug Durney of ILC Dover. “We’ve also manufactured inflatable flotation devices for the Marines. We are the world leader in engineered softgoods.”

Once known as the Government Industrial Products Division of Playtex, ILC is a privately held corporation that employs 400 people on a campus that encompasses nearly 240,000 square feet of buildings.

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The primary raw material used in manufacturing is advanced engineered Latex fabric and film. In addition to the space suits used in NASA’s Apollo program and the air bags that surrounded the Mars rovers to soften their landing, all blimps and airships you see during sporting and other events use inflatable materials manufactured by ILC, Durney says.

The company also provides flexible containment solutions for the pharmaceutical industry, counting AstraZeneca as a customer.

Page 3: PPG



Need paint? PPG—one of the largest paint makers in the world—is the place to find it. This Cheswold facility is celebrating its 35th year in Kent. Part of the company founded in the 1800s as Pittsburgh Plate Glass, it moved its coatings plant here due to advantageous distribution costs.

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“Low corporate taxes and a well-educated and diverse workforce were other factors driving the location to Kent,” says plant manager Mitch Magee.

Now part of a $16 billion corporation, the plant’s 100 employees are responsible for 65 percent of the company’s coating business. “We’re the second-largest paint company in the world,” says Magee. PPG is the largest in automotive coatings.

The Cheswold plant produces residential and consumer paints under the Lucite, Pure Performance and Manor Hall brands to the tune of 15 million gallons per year.

PPG’s Olympic brand, distributed by Lowe’s home improvement centers, was the first to receive a green seal for having zero volatile organic compounds.

Page 4: Kraft Foods


Images courtesy of Kraft FoodsKraft Foods

Check out this tasty tidbit: A major employer in the Dover area, Kraft Foods began as a General Foods plant that represented the merger of four smaller production facilities. After the merger with Kraft in 1991, which followed the acquisition of General Foods by Philip Morris in 1987, the plant continued to expand its operations to include powdered beverages with such well-known brand names as Tang, Country Time and Crystal Light, along with the Kool-Aid brand. The facility’s 1 million-square-foot footprint once housed a co-generation electrical plant, which was sold in 1996. Its 500 employees and 200 contractors make it the area’s third-largest employer.

Page 5: Procter & Gamble


Procter & Gamble

When Procter & Gamble acquired a 24-year-old Scott paper plant in Dover from Kimberly-Clark in 1996, it officially became a resident of Kent County. The 54 stock keeping units produced currently include all the Baby Wipes brands sold in North America, such as Pampers and Luvs. Sam’s Club honored these products with its Simple Steps to Saving Green award. The award recognized a Procter & Gamble waste steam project designed to reduce environmental impact from manufacturing. Procter & Gamble is the only diaper and baby wipe manufacturer to receive this award. The state of Delaware has also recognized the plant’s efforts in employing workers with special needs. In a partnership with Kent-Sussex Industries, Procter & Gamble employs 80 special needs workers under the supervision and project management of KSI.  

Page 6: Hirsh Industries


Hirsh Industries

Further evidence, perhaps, that our economy is on the rebound, Dover’s Hirsh Industries plans to manufacture 1 million metal filing cabinets in 2010.

“We are a seven-day-per-week, 24-hour operation,” says vice president of manufacturing Tom Apostolico. “Seventy-five percent of all the small and home office cabinet products sold in the United States are made right here in Dover.”

The plant has been located in Dover since 1975, when it moved from Smyrna, and changed its name from General Metalcraft. The plant’s 180 employees produce about 80 products, from filing cabinets to commercial lines, and it creates a line of shelving products.

Hirsh sells primarily to the North American market, including Canada and Mexico. Sixty percent of its distribution, however, is focused on the East Coast, which, along with a seasoned and dedicated workforce, helps explain why when Hirsh sought to consolidate U.S. production, it closed its Midwest facility and shifted operations to Dover.  

Page 7: Kent-Sussex Industries


KSI re-manufactures more than 12,000 toner cartridges per year for more than 600 customers. Photograph by Mark GreeveKent-Sussex Industries

KSI provides value-added third-party contract labor services to manufacturers, as well as training and rehabilitation to nearly 300 working adults with disabilities.

“We’re also the largest private transportation company in the state, moving 280 workers twice per day to and from their work sites,” says Craig Crouch, KSI’s CEO. “That equates to more than 1 million miles per year.”

KSI is a private, nonprofit vocational rehabilitation business that serves Kent and Sussex County residents. It works with adults with a wide range of disabilities in order to provide meaningful employment and improve the quality of their lives.

KSI’s biggest in-house production is the re-manufacture of toner cartridges for computer printers. “We re-manufacture upwards of 12,000 cartridges per year for more than 600 customers,” Crouch says. “We save customers anywhere from 30 percent to 50 percent of the cost of new cartridges.” 

Page 8: Camdel Metals


Camdel Metals of Camden produces the world’s longest continuous seamless stainless steel coils.Camdel Metals

A division of Handy & Harman, a company with roots in the 1800s, Camdel Metals of Camden produces the world’s longest continuous seamless stainless steel coils, which can measure in excess of 5,000 feet.

“That capability was developed right here in Camden,” says Camdel’s John Coates. “There’d been a need identified in the marketplace for longer coils, so the company built the Camden plant specifically for that purpose.”

According to the company, Camdel tubes have been produced for general control systems, instrumentation, medical, military, oil and gas, and subsea umbilical applications. What does all that mean? “We produce coils used to fabricate the hydraulic lines that provide the power to drive the pumping operations on an oil rig, for example,” Coates says.

The plant’s 140 employees produce about 20 million feet of stainless steel tubing per year. The company is developing an application to distribute energy collected from solar panels via its coils, delivering it to an engine that will convert that energy into electricity.

Page 9: Baltimore Air Coil


Cooling towers made by BAC of Milford.Baltimore Air Coil

This is cool: Citing a workforce known for its reliability, trustworthiness and work ethic, Baltimore Air Coil, a major maker of air conditioners, expanded its Maryland-based operations to Milford in 1974. It moved additional production capacity from the Baltimore area to Milford in 2005.

“Milford is the flagship plant among the 14 facilities we have worldwide,” says BAC’s Glen Babcock. “It is the model on which all our other production facilities are based.”

The privately held company does not release sales or revenue figures to the public, but Milford’s 260 employees are part of a network that binds every continent of the globe, “except Antarctica,” Babcock says.

Green before it was cool to be green, BAC is a leading manufacturer of water-cooled air-conditioning systems that are used in large commercial and public buildings. “Milford manufactures six cooling tower configurations as standard units,” Babcock says. “Milford’s production covers all of North America.”

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