Galvan Industries, Inc., a hot-dip galvanizing service provider in Harrisburg, N.C. received the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Galvanizers Association (AGA) for its work with another North Carolina company, Metrolina Greenhouses of Huntersville. The award was presented at the AGA’s Annual Conference March 21 in Maui, Hawaii.

A part of the association’s annual “Excellence In Hot-Dip Galvanizing Awards” program, the Lifetime Achievement Award honors projects that have been in service at least 15 years, demonstrating hot-dip galvanized steel’s resiliency and showcasing galvanizing’s extraordinary longevity, as judged by a panel of architects and engineers. Galvanized coating thickness measurements from the most corrosive areas in the facility were included in the judging process.

Metrolina Greenhouses not only meets the service life requirement for the award, the company has continued to expand and enlarge its facilities with galvanizing for nearly 40 years. When its latest expansion is completed, the company will have nearly 6 million square feet of greenhouse under roof, all protected from corrosion by hot-dip galvanizing from Galvan Industries. It is now the largest single-story building of any kind in the United States.

Metrolina’s founders, Tom and Vickie VanWingerden, emigrated from the Netherlands in 1971 and initially rented a 20,000 square foot greenhouse on three acres in Charlotte, NC in 1972.

One year later, the family moved to Huntersville, NC, opening a 40,000 square foot greenhouse on 85 acres of land and started what is now the largest single-site greenhouse in the country. The first greenhouse was a one-acre plastic covered galvanized structure.

By 1982, the greenhouse had grown to 12 acres, and increased again to 50 acres by 1996. During the past 15 years, Metrolina has grown from 50 acres to 141 acres of greenhouse space and hot-dip galvanizing has been integral to all of this construction. Galvanizing was engineered into the first buildings, and company officials say all future construction will include it to protect the steel from the moist, corrosive environment of the greenhouse.

Art VanWingerdan said, “Not only does galvanizing provide an exceptionally long life in the hot, moist greenhouse setting, but it also corresponds with our efforts to protect the environment by eliminating the VOC’s released when paint is used for corrosion protection.”

Metrolina Greenhouses’ newest $50 million addition will bring the total size of the building to 5.8 million square feet. By comparison, that’s a larger footprint than the 4.3 million square foot Boeing assembly plant in Everett, Washington.

Metrolina employs 550 people year-round and uses an additional 300 temporary workers during the peak times of the year. Employees use golf carts, mopeds and bicycles to travel through the expansive indoor farm. Every year, more than 75 million plants of more than 700 varieties are grown in this heated greenhouse. Annual sales total more than $125 million.

Metrolina is also ‘green’ beyond what it grows in its greenhouses. The boilers used to heat the greenhouses is have replaced 100% of fossil fuels with biomass. All of the runoff water from rainfall and the greenhouse floors is captured in retention ponds, cleaned and recycled. Plastic trays that are not re-used are recycled at a local plastics recycler. Metrolina is also developing organic trays that can be used to plant directly into the soil, eliminating plastic altogether.

Galvanizing supports Metrolina’s green initiatives without sacrificing corrosion protection. Zinc used in galvanizing is 100% recycled, abundant and natural. In fact, zinc is a necessary mineral nutrient for good health. Unlike painted steel, galvanized steel does not require the wasted energy and expended chemicals that are a part of continuous paint touch-up. Read more about Galvan’s eco-friendly processes.

“I want to congratulate Laurens Willard and all the employees of Galvan Industries for winning this award,” said Harrisburg town councilman Phil Cowherd.  “Galvan has been a part of Harrisburg more than 50 years. To see them win a Lifetime Achievement Award for work they have done with a single customer over a period of four decades proves they know what they are doing and they care about relationships. That’s the kind of company we need in Harrisburg. They are good corporate citizens and good neighbors.”

About the AGA

Founded in 1935, the American Galvanizers Association (AGA) is a non-profit trade association dedicated to serving the needs of fabricators, architects, specifiers, and engineers, providing technical support on today’s innovative applications and state-of-the-art technological developments in hot-dip galvanizing for corrosion control. The AGA maintains a large technical library, provides multimedia seminars, and offers a toll-free technical support hotline to assist specifiers in North America.

About Galvan Industries, Inc.

Since 1958, Galvan Industries has provided the ultimate in corrosion control to steel fabricators and manufacturers. The first hot-dip galvanizing operation in the Carolinas, the company has grown to become the largest capacity contract galvanizer in the Southeast. For details, or to place an order, call Galvan Industries at (704) 455-5102, Fax (704) 455-5215; e-mail: