May 22/29, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 25
By Lindsay Baillie
Myrna Block, executive vice president, DriTac, has been described by others as outgoing, positive, intuitive, a visionary, an entrepreneur—all of which are exemplified in her passion and hard work in the flooring industry and her community. Whether she is helping fellow flooring members or supporting local charities, Block thrives in developing quality relationships with those around her.
In 1987, Block and her husband, Yale, current president of DriTac, started working together and bought a small adhesives company called Basic Adhesives. From there, the couple purchased four other modest-sized adhesive manufacturing companies—one of which was a company known for its only flooring product, DriTac 6200. DriTac has grown exponentially over the past 27 years and now has a portfolio exceeding 30 environmentally friendly products.
As a team, Block and her husband have split company responsibilities. She is in charge of DriTac’s sales, marketing and customer service departments, while her husband oversees finance, manufacturing and R&D. Block noted that this division is specific to their areas of expertise. “Yale is a biochemical engineer from MIT with an extensive background in manufacturing; I was a high school chemistry and biology teacher with a successful background in sales.”
Yale Block attributes much of the company’s success in the flooring industry to his wife. “Myrna has been the driving force for DriTac. We had actually been a basic adhesive company selling to all different companies, and she guided us to focus on the flooring industry.”
More importantly, Block never loses sight of the importance of serving the customer. “She always wants to do the right thing regardless of the effort it takes or the course,” he added. “We pride ourselves in our ability to react to a customer’s needs quicker than our competitors, whether it’s warranties for certain projects, test adhesives, etc.”
As owners, Myrna and Yale Block have adopted an “open door” policy by making themselves available to customers and internal staff. One way of doing this is by including their cell phones on their business cards and encouraging customers to contact them during the day, night and even weekends. “I believe there are very few owners in the flooring industry that are as accessible as Yale and me,” Block said.
This level of accessibility speaks directly to DriTac’s fundamental values. As the person in charge of sales, marketing and customer service, Block makes sure all of her employees are honest, innate at building strong relationships, smart and have a great work ethic. “People buy from people, and forming strong bonds plays a major role for us,” she explained. “We are committed to our customers and take responsibility for our products. We stand behind the problem-solving solutions we produce that help our customers sleep better at night.”
Block and DriTac’s dedication to providing partners with solutions has helped create lasting partnerships with various dealers and distributors. Bob Eady, president of T&L Distributing, described his company’s relationship with Block as being open and honest. “She has, at times, gone above and beyond to help us in some uncomfortable situations, and she asks that we return that same cooperation to her and DriTac. That sounds pretty simple but I can assure you there are plenty of suppliers that ignore uncomfortable issues rather than face them. It’s great to have a partner like Myrna.”
Bruce Zwicker, the recently retired CEO of Haines, also noted Block’s devotion to her business partners. One example he cited involved DriTac keeping inventory of fast-moving SKUs available in the warehouse for immediate shipment to Haines. This helped keep the pipeline supplied and benefited Haines.
“Myrna sets the pace and the tone for sales, marketing and customer service—always aiming higher,” Zwicker said. “This means DriTac is always bringing new things to its customers. She is a strong leader and understands the value of forming long-lasting partnerships. Myrna is deservedly proud of the long-term customer relationships—15 years with Haines. She is all about trust, her personal credibility and is always going to do the right thing, even if it means negatively affecting the bottom line in the short term.”
In addition to standing behind DriTac’s products and building relationships, Block has helped the company grow by taking risks and hiring proactive people. Chuck Hall, senior vice president of sales at DriTac, sees Block as the sales driver of the company. “She has been instrumental in assisting our sales team in recruiting new partners and establishing great relationships with our customers. Myrna empowers her senior managers to manage their teams, make sound decisions and implement initiatives to be successful.”
Hall also praised Block’s approach to business—one that is calculated and well thought-out. “Myrna takes a long-term perspective of our business. Decisions on investments are made today that might not benefit us for years to come.”
Block’s ability to look ahead coincides with DriTac’s drive to produce environmentally friendly adhesives to help minimize the company’s overall carbon footprint. “We strive to have the most technologically advanced adhesives and installation solutions available in the marketplace,” she explained. “We continually introduce new products and have demonstrated a strong commitment to providing sound- and moisture-control system adhesives that offer time and cost efficiency.”
Legacy of innovation
Under Block’s leadership, DriTac has looked to help revolutionize flooring installations with the development and promotion of two key adhesive products. In the 1990s, DriTac 6200 helped to steer the industry away from chlorinated solvents to a more user-friendly, water-based adhesive solution that could install multiple flooring types that included wood, rubber and vinyl. Again in 2008, DriTac’s team developed DriTac 1001 All-In-One, the first urethane-based, four-in-one sound and moisture control system adhesive, which helped to transform hardwood flooring installations, making them more time and cost efficient.
DriTac’s dedication to innovation and product development is also reflected in its commitment to building its workforce. DriTac recently hired additional people to help fortify its internal staff and assist in obtaining the company’s goals. “We are always focused on developing next-generation, problem-solving solutions that positively change the way flooring is installed,” Block said. “We will continue to keep our commitments to our customers and stand behind the products we produce.”