by Mike Vogel
Updated 1 years ago
Build virus-killing products nowadays, as RGF Environmental Group does, and the world will beat a path to your door. The company Ron Fink founded 35 years ago typically posts 20% to 30% annual revenue increases. In the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, sales increased nearly 500%. “We’re working seven days a week,” says the 73-year-old.
Based in Riviera Beach, RGF makes more than 500 products that clean air, water and food for industry and homeowners. There’s a sneeze simulator in its R&D tool box. The company’s products protect against bacteria, viruses, odors and mold. It also makes lights for growhouses, plug-in room purifiers for travelers and sonic pest deterrents. It exports to 60 countries. The company’s philosophy is that sustainable companies may be minimizing their carbon footprint but also should manage noise, indoor air quality, water quality, wastewater and emissions.
Fink has a number of patents along with a sense of fun. His company's nine-acre campus holds not only 130,000 square feet of manufacturing and R&D space but also a cafe with free lunches for employees and a two-acre Envisionland. Says Fink, “I spend 90% of my time here, so I like to make it fun. I come here on a Sunday, and I’m not alone. Even in normal times, people bring their kids.” The site has a nature trail, putting green, waterway for kayaking, animals — including flamingos, macaws and 1,000 koi. There's table tennis and a museum with 650 artifacts, collected by Jeff Behary, an RGF technician, from inventors including Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse. It’s been featured on Modern Marvels and NatGeo. The company owns a 110-foot yacht that serves both as a showroom for its products and a perk for employees.
Pre-pandemic, Fink employed about 140. As of early April, he was up to 240. Production stepped up to three shifts, seven days a week.
COVID-19, Fink predicts, will lead to a “whole mindset change.” Restaurants, casinos, assisted living facilities, HVAC contractors, hotels, theme parks and other public accommodations will need to assure customers that they're safe from germs. “We don’t think it’s going to calm down,” Fink says. “We are so backed up with hotel chains. Hotels and casinos. It’s insane.”
Read more in Florida Trend's June issue.
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