2010-12-16 / News

Local company honored as ‘start-up business of the year’

By Geoff Campbell

Tom Kelly (holding plaque) and John Peters accept their “Start- Up Small Business of the Year” award presented by SEED. The duo co-owns the Jamestown company Ecological Spray Foam Insulation, which is entering its fourth year of operation. Photo courtesy of SEED Tom Kelly (holding plaque) and John Peters accept their “Start- Up Small Business of the Year” award presented by SEED. The duo co-owns the Jamestown company Ecological Spray Foam Insulation, which is entering its fourth year of operation. Photo courtesy of SEED Jamestown’s Ecologic Spray Foam Insulation was recently recognized by the South Eastern Economic Development Corporation (SEED) as the “Start-Up Small Business of the Year” for 2010.

Ecologic’s co-founders Tom Kelly and John Peters were among 250 small business owners and employees in attendance at SEED’s 28th annual awards dinner on Nov. 18 in Westport, Mass. Kelly and Peters said that they were honored that the business community acknowledged them for their successful efforts.

Although Ecologic has been in business for four years, Kelly says that they were considered for the “start-up” award because SEED chooses companies that have been in operation for at least three years, allowing enough time for them to establish “a track record and results.”

Kelly was born and raised in Jamestown – his parents still live on the island – and attended the Prout School. Kelly and Peters met while classmates at the University of Rhode Island and remained friends after college. Kelly graduated in 2004 with a degree in business accounting, while Peters left URI to join the Air Force. He ultimately earned a degree in aeronautical engineering.

Maintaining contact over time, the duo first began to discuss the prospect of being business partners in 2006. He said that they both knew that at some point they wanted to work for themselves.

At the time, Kelly was an internal auditor for Textron and Peters worked for Mahr Federal as a tech support liaison. Kelly kept a close eye on spray foam insulation, a new product on the market that was gaining awareness. A friend who “thought highly of the product” influenced the duos decision to pursue the idea. During the end of 2006 and beginning of 2007, Kelly and Peters put together a business plan, sought out loans and purchased the necessary equipment to get their business off the ground.

Kelly said that he and Peters enjoy the work and they also see the value of the product and the service that they provide. He added that customer feedback has been positive. Jobs can range between parts of a day to two weeks and can involve residential, commercial, and industrial applications.

No plan to sell, or grow too fast, Kelly says that Ecologic is looking to create strong customer relations by providing a proven product matched with quality installations.

Ecologic offers products that are created from organic-based materials. Their product is extracted from castor bean, sugar beets and soy, which “creates a product that is one of the most ecologically friendly building materials available.”

The product boasts zero volatile organic compounds, which consists of vapor pressures that negatively effect human health and the environment. It also has zero emission.

Kelly stressed that the strength of the product is the air seal, providing a “draft free, air tight, higher level of efficiency.” He said that the biggest issue regarding efficient heating and cooling of homes has to do with air infiltration.

According to their website, spray foam is created on site by equally combining two compounds – isocyonate and organic resin polyols. The two compounds are brought to the work site separately and combined at precise temperature and pressure levels.

Applying the foam requires a “plural component” process involving two hoses that meet at the tip of an applicator gun, according to Kelly. An exothermal reaction that produces another 50 degrees of heat brings the carefully managed material to about 200 degrees.

The combination of the materials, heat and pressure results in a spray foam insulation, which fills “every crack and empty space producing a true sealed thermal envelope.”

The business has seen signifi cant growth. They have also had many repeat customers over the years. Ecologic reached the $500,000 mark in annual sales for the first time this year. Along with Peters and Kelly, they have two other employees, and Kelly says that Ecologic is in the initial stages of acquiring additional equipment, which he said would double their output capacity.

In the field six days a week, Kelly said that the seventh day is saved for family – although he admitted, the office can sometimes call on Sundays, too.

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