Northern Elastomeric Inc.
- Written by: Camila Osorno
- Produced by: Chuck McKenna
- Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Tom Zickell founded Northern Elastomeric Inc. (NEI) in 1989 to manufacture a new generation of roofing and waterproofing products. NEI’s flagship product is a self-adhesive roofing and waterproofing solution made from SBS modified asphalt, which created a whole new world of watertight underlayments.
Today, the company is a joint venture with Owens Corning. The innovative spirit and continual improvement that defined NEI’s first decades continue to drive the company today. NEI has since expanded into new products, but the company continues to take pride in leading the global industry with American made products.
NEI is currently headquartered in Brentwood, N.H., boasting roughly 110 employees. NEI produces five primary products that are all self-adhesive, rubberized membranes that have been formulated to make roofing installation easier and create watertight seals. NEI’s underlayments are ideal for use beneath asphalt shingles, tile, slate and metal roofing.
NEI manufactures its products for sale for private label clients who will often package and sell the product alongside its roofing or waterproofing counterpart for quality assurance.
Pushing the Envelope
Behind the scenes, the NEI team is constantly working to improve upon its existing products and develop new products that fulfill the needs of the customer. NEI’s products can be cold-applied on site without the need for any additional heat, adhesives or equipment to create a durable seal. “We like to think of our products as peel-n-stick solutions that can be applied primarily beneath roofing shingles, to wooden decks, to foundations or around windows,” expands Tom Zickell, CEO of NEI.
Additionally, NEI has developed its product line to suit a variety of applications and roofing types. NEI’s shingle starter strip can be rolled out along a roof’s edge so roofing professionals can apply shingles quickly and with the guarantee of a watertight seal.
While many construction material manufacturers felt the pinch of a seriously downsized new construction market, Zickell asserts that NEI has grown substantially. Though most of its products are used for the residential roofing industry, NEI’s AC HydroSeal 3000 waterproofing product is popular amongst commercial clients for its high-performance below-grade waterproofing.
The firm has grown specifically by leading the industry in innovation. Zickell himself had his own roofing business in college and brings first-hand roofing experience to the company’s operations.
“We probably have over 160 SKUs in our product line and we are constantly working with our customers to develop new products and improve upon existing ones,” says Zickell. “Our culture of creativity makes us more competitive because the entire NEI team works together to seek feedback from clients and develop products that address their needs more directly,” he adds.
Nevertheless, NEI takes pride in coordinating and collaborating with clients to improve the performance and application of its products. At any given time, the NEI team has a plethora of products in development and undergoing testing, and Zickell attests that NEI rarely goes for more than a few months without releasing a new product.
More recently, the company has partnered with a tile roofing company to develop a peel-n-stick product to suit the southern markets. “We are very involved with the development and research process,” says Zickell. “As soon as we have a prototype ready, we’re on site with the client and the roofers to get feedback on the areas we can improve on.”
In the next few years, the company is poised for further growth. Zickell estimates that NEI has grown by 40 percent in the past three years and is poised to maintain a steady growth rate around 10 percent for at least the next two years. “There aren’t a lot of other products on the market that are truly on par with our products’ performance so there’s definitely a lot of market share to gain and we plan on gaining it fast,” says Zickell.
Currently, NEI is the first in the nation to use recycled asphalt in its products partnering with RAS-Tech, a New Hampshire-based company pioneering asphalt shingle recycling technology. “There’s $40 billion worth of oil just sitting on roofs in the U.S. and this technology could prove an economically viable option for reusing the asphalt and reducing our own material costs,” adds Zickell.
As the company grows, the NEI team will continue to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in roofing underlayments. The team takes pride in finding new ways to make roofing installation easier on the roofing professionals in a more timely manner with a performance rating for maximum cost-effectiveness, which makes Northern Elastomeric Inc. one of the best.
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