HWZ, LLC can trace its corporate origin back to 1920, when E. Clyde Hoge, the grandfather of Bob and Rich Hoge, established HOGE-WARREN-ZIMMERMANN CO. (HWZ). HWZ began operation as a specialty subcontractor installing gypsum concrete roof decks, which at the time was a novel fireproof method of building a roofing substrate. Clyde was a co-founder and patent holder of this new method of construction.
Acceptance and use of the gypsum roof deck grew steadily during the 1930s and 1940s because of its unique properties: fireproof design, acoustical sound control, and fast installation. With the conclusion of World War II and the subsequent building boom in the 1950s, HWZ established permanent field offices in Detroit and Chicago, and six temporary facilities from Georgia to Iowa. With expiration of the original patent, it became a necessity to cut costs through a faster installation method. John Hoge, Clyde’s eldest son, and the company’s Design Engineer, patented a new method of metering, mixing and pumping fast-setting cementitious slurries to the point of application.
In 1956, Walter Mason designed and built a compact version of the continuous mixer being used in the field operation. The success of this design and the sales efforts of Doug Hoge, youngest son of Clyde and father of Bob and Rich, established the HWZ Equipment Division as a leader in providing mixing and pumping machinery for the industrial plaster user market. The company’s line of mixing equipment can now be found in mold shops around the world.
Beginning in the 1950s, the company’s design engineers were on the cutting edge in the development of various lightweight-insulating concretes (LWC) with densities generally less than 50 lbs./cf. These concretes were originally developed for use as an insulating medium in roof deck construction. In recent years, new applications have been developed to utilize the product’s unique properties in geo-technical applications.
As a result of the Arab Oil Embargo in 1973, the gypsum roof deck business was headed for obsolescence due to the inability to add substantive insulation values to the system. The year of 1974 was the year of HWZ’s entry into the Gypcrete self-leveling gypsum floor underlayment business. Over the years this line has grown to be the major component of the company’s construction business. Acquisitions of Advanced Floors (GA/TN) in 1998 and Farris Floors (FL) in 1999 helped the company create the largest (seven locations) cementitious floor underlayment subcontractor in the country and to add the additional product lines of LWC roof decks and low-density cellular geo-technical concretes.
In 1968, HWZ made the strategic acquisition of Busse Acoustical, an acoustical subcontractor in Chicago. From this contractor background, the Central Acoustical Supply House (C.A.S.H.) distribution division was created in 1974. HWZ ultimately discontinued the acoustical contracting business in 1978 to avoid competing with its customers. C.A.S.H. started with two locations, Chicago and Cincinnati, and has expanded by internal growth and external acquisitions to become one of the largest distributors (16 branches) of interior and exterior building products in the Midwestern market.
In an effort to focus its talents and resources on what had become our core business unit (distribution), HWZ sold the assets of its Contracting Division to its manager in 2005. NexGen Enterprises was established that same year as the parent company for all operations. With the purpose of expanding its drywall market share in Cincinnati, NexGen acquired United Building Supply (UBS) in July 2005. The primary UBS facility is in the downtown business district, with a branch location in Florence, Ky. Following the seamless re-branding of Ohio operations as NexGen Building Supply, the company decided to re-brand all 16 locations in five states as NexGen Building Supply. During this same period, the Hoge-Warren-Zimmermann equipment division was renamed HWZ, LLC.
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