Company History

Frank Morsilli
Francesco (Frank) P. Morsilli, 
founder of Dryvit Systems, Inc.

"If I’ve had a modicum of success, it’s because I’ve accumulated an enormous amount of failure.”  

Francesco (Frank) P. Morsilli, the founder of Dryvit Systems, Inc. is the man who introduced exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) to North America. Frank’s contributions helped to create a billion-dollar industry in the U.S. 

Frank’s father, Pietrantonio, was a master journeyman plasterer with whom Frank started working when he was only 12 years old. This training and experience was later credited, in part, for Frank’s success, work ethic and mental toughness. Frank went on to graduate high school, earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island, and serve in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, and continued to serve our country for more than 28 years. 

In 1957, Frank borrowed $2,000 to purchase his first brick company as a means of making a living and supporting his family. Believing that brick was a commodity item, Frank searched for a better way to make money even as his business prospered to regional status with operations in Providence, Boston, Hartford and Philadelphia. Always the entrepreneur, Frank traveled to Europe to investigate new and innovative products that were being used to rebuild war-torn Germany after World War II. 

Edwin Horbach, whose company was in Stuttgart, West Germany, had experimented for many years with polystyrene as an exterior insulation. Its low density made walls very flexible and prevented cracking. After weeks of negotiation, Frank bought the rights from Horbach and founded Dryvit Systems, Inc. on October 1, 1969.

The business was started in his parents’ garage in North Providence, RI and the Morsilli home was the second EIFS job applied in North America. Building the business was a struggle. Frank recognized the beneficial features of Dryvit including its lightweight design, easy installation and maintenance, permeability, crack resistance, high insulation and lower cost, but builders and contractors were not moved or motivated to purchase this energy efficient product. It took the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s to bring about industry changes and a focus on efficiencies, spurring Dryvit’s growth and success. 

The first Dryvit manufacturing facility was built in Cranston, Rhode Island and expanded to a larger building several years later in Warwick. Now with our world headquarters located in West Warwick, Rhode Island, we have additional plants strategically located in Oklahoma, Georgia, California, Toronto and Poland. Morsilli sold the company to three Dryvit executives and a venture capital firm in 1990. Five years later, the owners sold the company to RPM International, Inc., of which we are currently a wholly owned subsidiary in their Specialty Products division. 

RPM is a Fortune 500 Company and $3 billion international corporation that manufactures industrial coating, sealants and adhesives for waterproofing, corrosion control and specialty chemical applications. 

Among RPM’s holding include industry-leading brands like Tremco, Rustoleum, Zinsser, Day-Glo, DAP and Bondex, just to name a few.

Acquisitions are a key element of RPM’s overall growth strategy. The company actively pursues acquisitions of free-standing entrepreneurial companies and product lines that complement its portfolio. RPM creates shareholder value by attracting successful entrepreneurial companies and applying a disciplined approach to investing in their continued growth.

RPM’s acquisition philosophy is to “Seek good companies. Create an atmosphere where the founders and managers stay with their companies. Then, get out of their way.” This entrepreneurial culture was a key attraction to our business owners, since the majority of RPM’s operating companies are managed by their founders, second- or third-generation family members or the managers they trusted to lead their companies. For this reason, RPM is the best home for entrepreneurial companies in the industry and a great fit for Dryvit. 

Given the entrepreneurial beginnings of Dryvit, our relationship with RPM offers our stakeholders (clients, distributors, employees, etc.) the best of both worlds – the backing of a multi-billion-dollar international company with an independent, small company feel. The entrepreneurial culture of RPM offers the benefits of a large international company with the freedom and independence to run our business and address business needs in a way that is beneficial to our partners, distributors, customers and employees.