Steve Riddle Retires as President of NCFI Polyurethanes

Steve RiddleLed NC Company to Global Success, Pioneered US Foam Markets, Ran with Bulls in Spain, Conquered Highest Points in Eastern States, Five Marathons and Counting

MOUNT AIRY, NC—The board of Barnhardt Manufacturing Co. (BMC), parent
company of NCFI Polyurethanes, announced today the retirement of NCFI
president, Steve Riddle. Riddle, 66, became the foam company’s fourth president
in 2007, succeeding Swanson Snow, and was the first executive officer not part
of the founding team in 1964.

“Steve was a bit of an outsider,” says Lewis Barnhardt, Pres./COO of BMC, “He brought a wave of innovation and change to the company from which we all benefited greatly. Steve’s leadership was a rock anchoring us during the Great Recession; the steady hand guiding the organization through it, getting us to the other side in a better position in the markets we serve. I speak for the entire Barnhardt family when I thank Steve, and congratulate him on his highly successful and constant leadership.”

Riddle is a Dalton, GA native, and graduate of Georgia Tech (BA), and Univ. of Pittsburgh (MBA). He worked in R&D and as a market manager with Mobay Chemical Company, now Bayer, and transitioned into sales with NCFI (then North Carolina Foam Industries) in 1999. He was chosen by the board to serve as president in 2007, and his seven years at the helm have seen the company grow considerably and prosper:

  • Supplier Quality Excellence Award for work on the External Tank Program of the US Space Shuttle program from NASA/Lockheed Martin
  • First US company to experiment with reducing petroleum content of foam by adding renewable agricultural products like corn and sugar beets
  • Opened Western manufacturing facility (Utah)
  • 14 distribution warehouses across the country
  • Introduced many new brands of foam products (InsulBloc, AgriThane, BioLux, TerraThane, etc)
  • Became leader in U.S. spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation industry
  • Sales of NCFI products on every continent except Antarctica
  • Grew to more than one million sq. ft. of manufacturing space
  • First flexible foam to receive the USDA’s BioPreferred label
  • Pioneering safer next generation blowing agent.

Riddle says his time at NCFI was one of the best experiences he could have hoped for. “If I had to choose one thing as my hallmark on the company it’s leading the transition from thinking and acting like a manufacturing company to being a customer-focused organization. It’s kept us ahead of the markets we
serve—more consistent and open to change. There are so many good, solid, hard working, intelligent people at BMC and NCFI that I feel blessed to have played a role in the polishing of this diamond in the rough. I am sure the company will continue to grow and prosper for another 50 years.”

Riddle is known as an active and adventurous person: twice running with the bulls in Spain, conquering the highest points in most Eastern US states including Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts with his daughter, and running in a marathon each of the last five years. “I expect to stay pretty busy. I think I’ll teach high school math, continue hiking the highest points in the Western states with my daughter, and running marathons as long as I can.”

Riddle is succeeded by Chip Holton, the current Director of Operations. Holton says he is honored to be following Riddle. “He’s one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met—a true gentleman. He served as president of PFA (Polyurethane Foam Association) and on many boards of the trade associations to which we belong. He’s been an amazing mentor and leaves the company in an ideal state for continued growth. His mark on the company will go with us long into the future.”

For more information or to arrange an interview on this subject contact:
Dale McGlothlin, (202) 341-8615


Celebrating 50 years of foam. NCFI, headquartered in Mt. Airy, NC since 1964, manufactures polyurethane foam chemical systems for spray foam-in-place insulation (SPF), geotechnical, agricultural, roofing, marine floatation, packaging, specialty molding, and many other uses. The company also offers a complete line of flexible foams for furniture seating, transportation seating, bedding, carpet underlay, and packaging. NCFI also has manufacturing plants in Hickory, N.C., Dalton, GA., and Salt Lake City, UT. NCFI is a Barnhardt Manufacturing Company, Inc. company. To learn more about NCFI please visit