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In Memoriam: Frank Morsilli

Francesco (Frank) P. Morsilli, the founder of Dryvit Systems, Inc., died May 28 at his retirement home in Naples, Fla. Morsilli introduced exterior insulation and finish systems to North America in 1969. He was a visionary who was able to see beyond a piece of polystyrene, and with the help of many other dedicated and determined people, helped to create a billion-dollar industry. His vision for energy-efficient and aesthetically pleasing buildings was ahead of its time. Morsilli embraced the desire to Build A Better World in the 1960s.


Morsilli’s father, Pietrantonio, was a master journeyman plasterer with whom Morsilli started working when he was 12 years old. This training and experience were later credited, in part, for Morsilli’s success, work ethic and mental toughness. He went on to 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 for more than 28 years.


In 1957, Morsilli 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, he 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, Morsilli 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, 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, Morsilli bought the rights from Horbach and founded Dryvit Systems, Inc. on Oct. 1, 1969.


“If I’ve had a modicum of success, it’s because I’ve accumulated an enormous among of failure, Morsilli said in the January 1995 issue of AWCI’s Construction Dimensions.


Today, Dryvit Outsulation® has been used to build or renovate over 550,000 buildings throughout the world. Thanks to Morsilli’s foresight, efforts and determination, Dryvit is an important brand in Tremco’s Construction Products Group.

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