Bill Converse planning a new manufacturing operation in Greenville, TN
By John M. Jones Jr., Greeneville Sun Editor | Published 1/23/2014 in the Greeneville Sun
Retired engineer-inventor-industrialist William J. “Bill” Converse — who first came to Greeneville in late 1996 as the founder and president of what was then Alpine Industries — has stepped out of retirement and returned to active business involvement, he said Wednesday night.
And Greene County is front and center in his plans. Converse, with energy and enthusiasm apparent in his voice, spoke with The Greeneville Sun on Wednesday evening about what he has been doing for the last few years and about his plans to establish a new manufacturing operation in this community within the next several months.
Alpine Industries’ key product was air and water purifiers for residences, and Converse explained that he is continuing to focus his attention on consumer-level environmental products — in particular, air purifiers. But he emphasized that in the last few years he has developed an entirely different, and much more effective, air purification product using “cutting edge technology” and a concept that he said goes well beyond the approach he used some 30 years ago in establishing Alpine Industries.
PLANS OTHER PRODUCTS ALSO
Converse said he plans to manufacture these (air naturalizers) and, eventually, other related products in Greeneville, beginning later this year and growing over a period of a few years. He said he hopes to be able to attract many of the former Alpine Industries staff back to his new operation. At the moment, he does not yet have a building for the operation, but he said he is working on that issue. He added, in fact, that he would love to be able to return to the very same building in the Mt. Pleasant Industrial Park where Alpine and its successor company operated from 1997 to 2009.
GOAL WAS TO HAVE PLANT HERE
Converse explained that since 2012 he has been manufacturing and distributing the CritterZone product from a facility in southern China, near Guangzhou (the former Canton), and has been successful with the product. But, he said, “The goal has always been that, once we got the product established and recognized, we would be coming back into the Greeneville area to set up a factory again. We have just now basically reached that point.” He is no longer operating in China, he said. …
But he said he hopes to be operating in Greene County at some level — beginning with assembly rather than manufacturing— within the next 90days.Over the next 3-6 months, he said, he thinks his operation here might be employing about 100 people — but he calls that “a real iffy number.”“It’s probably going to be over the next 12 months before we get into full operation,” he added.
He said he hopes eventually to be employing around 500 people here. Converse said that his plans call for the local plant to be doing not just assembly but every aspect of product-manufacturing. “That [vertically-integrated manufacturing] is the only way the economics work out,” he stated. “We have some basic manufacturing to do,” he noted. “We have to build some dies, etc. We’re going to build everything new again.” The only factor that might accelerate the process of getting into operation, he said, is that some Chinese companies want to buy American-made air purifiers. “That may speed us up,” he said, since when Chinese companies place orders, the orders are very large.
Note: This is an abridged version of the article. You can view the article in its entirety on these two pages: Part 1. Part 2.
AirRestore production moved to the United States
Bill Converse, AirRestore’s CEO and inventor, discusses with Channel 5 WCYB about moving the production of the AirRestore product line to the United States. This move is expected to bring jobs back to Greenville, Tennessee, with the hopes of being in full production in the U.S. by late first quarter.
Converse told Channel 5 that by moving production to the U.S., “…We can build a better product. The workforce in east Tennessee is comparable to nowhere and they build quality product. They are loyal, they are dedicated, and they can do the job.”
AirRestore wins 1st Place among new products at Las Vegas trade show
The air-cleansing power of AirRestore’s Air Naturalizer earned it first place among new products at the SuperZoo National Show for Pet Retailers in Las Vegas in 2012. Unlike air purifiers, AirRestore’s Air Naturalizer eradicates the causes of odors, rather than masking it.
Bill Converse, president of AirRestore, said the company was pleased with the award. “The SuperZoo show was a great opportunity to show how effective our product is at removing pet odors. We were excited to be recognized for our efforts to help make pet owners’ and allergy sufferers’ homes more comfortable.”
He stated that the affordability and small size represent the next leap forward in modern air-cleaning technology.
The AirRestore Air Naturalizer uses plasma ionic technology, which knocks microscopic materials out of the air, and hydroxyls, which break down the chemicals that make up pet odors and other smells. In doing so, it recreates natural air balances, much like the earth does during a thunderstorm.
The compact air naturalizer unit is filter-free and very powerful. It can clean the air in an 800-square-foot area. It also is energy saving, using only about 3 watts of energy.