When the housing industry was hitting rock bottom during the recession, USG CEO Jim Metcalf knew he needed to make changes in order to stay competitive.

In a Conference Room interview with FBN’s Jeff Flock, Metcalf says USG, which makes Sheetrock for construction projects, began developing innovative new products to better appeal to its customers.

“UltraLight was one of our innovations that we did during the recession. It’s 30% lighter but it performs better. And you can see the workers here -- lifting Sheetrock can be a tough job, but we made it much easier and they’re more productive so at the end of the day they’re not as tired,” says Metcalf.

Offering a new option to the construction industry, says Metcalf, was key to staying ahead of the pack.

“You know, in the midst of the recession, we said we have to innovate, we have to give our customers something different. We had to give them something that made their jobs easier and that made them more productive and really something that differentiated us from the competition,” he explains.

Despite the slow-paced recovery, Metcalf is optimistic about the future for housing and USG.

“We think housing in 2014 is going to be around 1 million to 1.1 million, and for our business for every hundred thousand housing starts, it equates to about 800 million feet of demand,” says Metcalf.

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