2016 Metal Construction Hall of Fame
Over the last 43 years, Dave Evers has been a fixture at Butler Manufacturing, Kansas City, Mo. He retired this past July after spending almost his entire career at the company, rising through the ranks from structural designer to vice president of research and technology. While at the company, Evers led it through an era of new product development and enhancements, helping positioning Butler and BlueScope Buildings North America (BBNA) as industry leaders in high-performance metal building systems, while moving the industry toward greater energy efficiency.
After graduating college at the University of Missouri Rolla
(now the Missouri University of Science and Technology), in 1972 with a degree in civil engineering, Evers spent a year working for Texaco Oil before following his girlfriend, now wife, to Kansas City, where she was college roommates with Evers’ sister. After researching local companies, he applied to Butler, a company name he was familiar with. “I had heard of Butler mostly from grain bins and really didn’t realize that they were going to be doing buildings,” Evers says. “I put my application in, came in for an interview and the rest is history. That’s how it all got started.”
Evers joined Butler and BlueScope Buildings North America in 1973 as a structural engineer, designing custom buildings for the buildings group. By 1976 he had earned his professional engineering registration and started moving into different roles like project leader, project manager, regional sales engineer, regional engineering manager and product integrity manager. In 1986, Evers became the research and development manager, where he stayed until he became vice president of research and technology in the 1990s.
When the Internet and computerization started to play a larger role in business, Evers recalls setting up the first remote regional office in Butler’s agricultural products office, where they debugged communications systems. “We set up an office in town, which was remote from the central office. Since the computers were all in one spot, you had to be close to them,” he says. “That was the whole idea, to set up the first regional operation for the engineering groups and debug all of the communications needed to design and process orders.”
“As a product development leader, we have always been able to count on the clarity and integrity of Dave’s thinking along with his stalwart and uncompromising standards, which have assured the long-term performance of our building systems for thousands of building customers.”
— Ron Miller, vice president, innovation at BBNA
While at Butler, Evers led the company through an era of significant new product developments and enhancements. Along with his team, Evers developed many new Butler products that blended well with commonly used architectural accent materials, leading the company to grow in market share, both within the metal building industry and the overall construction market.
Evers developed new high-performance details ensuring the weathertightness of the MR-24 roof system, the industry’s first standing seam roof system. They also developed different wall systems, the StylWall and two variations, the Shadowall and Shadow Rib. “There was a number of enhancements to the MR-24 roof system, including adding a daylighting system,” Evers says. “There are also a variety of different insulation options for the walls and roofs.”
“We acquired some companies and so we integrated some composite foam panel products into the system,” Evers says. “We also updated our Long Bay Joist product a couple of time, started on insulation systems, and there are several patents on a variety of ways to improve energy efficiency.”
In 1997, Evers led the design and expansion of the Butler Research Center, and in 2009, he spearheaded the construction of the Guarded Hot Box, the only company-owned assembly testing of its kind. “We built the certified Guarded Hot Box to provide tested assembly performance values for those products,” he says. “It takes the guesswork out of the performance values for an insulated roof and wall because you test an actual assembly like it would be installed, giving you actual performance values. So you’re not only able to meet the code, you’re also able to come up with new assemblies.”
Ron Miller, vice president, innovation at BBNA, notes, “As a product development leader, we have always been able to count on the clarity and integrity of Dave’s thinking along with his stalwart and uncompromising standards, which have assured the long-term performance of our building systems for thousands of building customers.”
Dick Jarman, president of the buildings division of Butler Manufacturing from 1984 to 1999, says Evers’ strategic vision, technical knowledge and leadership abilities drove strong results in product development and research activities. “His thoughtful approach to challenges and his approachable style made him an ideal leader,” he adds.
Impact on Energy Codes
In addition to his work at Butler, Evers spent 10 years as chairman of the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) Energy Committee, providing leadership to help the industry respond to the changing energy codes. He led research projects that demonstrate the performance of manufactured buildings and helped organize training programs to educate MBMA members on energy efficiency.
Under Evers’ leadership, the committee promoted the use of metal building systems in the nonresidential construction industry, encouraging fair and equitable treatment of metal building systems by energy codes, standards organizations, testing and rating groups, and other governmental and nongovernmental groups. By participating in organizations such as the Cool Metal Roofing Coalition and the National Association of State Energy Officials, he helped MBMA provide input on energy code changes and updates.
Dan Walker, associate general manager of the MBMA, says Evers was really good at taking off his Butler hat and putting on his industry hat. “He could see past the competitive interests of the individual companies and do things for the betterment of the industry as a whole,” he says. “And he always recognized the importance of doing what’s right for the industry and its customers. As an engineer, Dave had the ability to plot a course to solve any problem. He was steadfast in his belief that problems could be solved.”