Dry Ice was a pivotal invention in the early 20th century. It enabled food to be shipped out farther, last longer and allowed farmers to reap the benefits of a long-distance customer base. When in transit, dry ice prevents bacterial growth and slows decay, resulting in crisper, fresher, and flavorful food for as long as possible. Dry ice can also be used to clean and prep nearly any surface, including cleaning everything from crime scenes to food manufacturing equipment. More recently, Dry Ice has been used by the biomedical industry to transport perishable medications like vaccines. North Carolina Dry Ice Manufacturer, CMC Dry Ice Manufacturing, LLC, was founded in the midst of an unforeseen pandemic and against the odds, found stability and success with the help of North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) partner, NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES).

CMC Industrial Services, LLC was founded in 2016 and is based in Concord, NC. They started out as a small surface preparation company and evolved into a leader in the abrasive and non-abrasive surface preparation industry. In 2019, CMC Industrial established a subsidiary company, CMC Dry Ice Manufacturing, LLC as a direct result of the larger Dry Ice suppliers not being able to sufficiently supply CMC Industrial Services with dry ice. Mike Coleman, owner and President of CMC Industrial Services, LLC and CMC Dry Ice Manufacturing LLC, said people told him it wasn’t a good idea to start another company in a pandemic.

“My son Dalton Coleman, who is the National Sales Director for the company, conducted a study on the costs of buying the Dry Ice from another vendor. The results were nothing short of amazing and projected that if CMC made its own Dry Ice, the savings would be thousands of dollars each year. It was a no-brainer at that point,” Coleman said. “We started making connections and meeting the demands that the larger Dry Ice distributors had left hanging.  We now manufacture enough Dry Ice for ourselves plus wholesale and retail clients.”

Soon after CMC Dry Ice Manufacturing started production, they found out that the Covid-19 vaccine needed dry ice for shipments. CMC seized the opportunity and is now making dry ice to ship the vaccines around the country.

When CMC Dry Ice Manufacturing was looking to find lines of credit and qualified personnel to help meet the demand, they reached out to the NCMEP and its partner the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) for help. When CMC needed extensive training for their new equipment, EDPNC referred them to NCMEP partner NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES).

CMC contacted IES regional manager Kami Baggett to plan their training. “Kami has been a Godsend.” She takes the time to listen to what we have to say. Whenever we had questions about anything, she was quick to answer as soon as possible. I remember contacting Kami for the first time, and she called me right back. I was very appreciative of the professional courtesy Kami showed each time we had a conversation.  “She is very knowledgeable and gave us the information we needed to be successful,” Coleman said.

With the help from NCMEP’s Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) grant funding made possible by the federal CARES Act funding, CMC Dry Ice Manufacturing was able to complete three projects with IES within the 2020-2021 calendar year on workforce challenges, engineering, and market growth.

When the projects were surveyed, it was shown that CMC Dry Ice Manufacturing was able to retain nine positions and create seven additional positions.  CMC increased their investment in new processes by $500,000 and also increased their investment in additional equipment and a new manufacturing facility by $650,000. Other investments for the business resulted in an additional $350,000.

Due to its recent success, CMC Dry Ice Manufacturing, LLC continues to expand. CMC said they will continue to work with NCMEP partner NC State IES and Kami Baggett on an upcoming expansion project, “NC State IES has such a great program, and we’re happy to continue working with them on the upcoming projects we have,” Coleman said.