Case Studies

Suncoast Insulators & Specialties: Installing Quality, Diverse Insulating Solutions

  • Written by: Suncoast Insulators & Specialties: Installing Quality, Diverse Insulating Solutions
  • Produced by: Suncoast Insulators & Specialties: Installing Quality, Diverse Insulating Solutions
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Patsy Bowen founded Suncoast Insulators & Specialties (SIS) in 1977 after gaining years of experience in the industry. “I went to work for an insulation company in 1966,” recalls Bowen. “I caught onto the business there. The owner was a young guy who was willing to let me learn, which was pretty unusual in the ’60s.”

Bowen stayed in the industry for over a decade before striking out with her own company. During that time, Bowen gained experience in the business and application sides of insulation sales. In 1977, when she moved to Ocala, Fla., with her former husband, Bowen was ready to lead her own small company.

“We came to Ocala looking for a small town to settle in,” explains Bowen. “There was an insulation company here that was very small, with just four guys and three trucks. We bought them out and we worked together until 1994 when my then-husband left the company.”

Since the early days, SIS has grown significantly. Today the team employs 49 people operating out of four locations that serve northern and central Florida. The business has a high retention rate, and Bowen reveals that SIS has employees who have been with her for 33 years. “This year, at a family Christmas picnic, we celebrated our longtime employees with awards,” says Bowen. “We had three employees who have been with the company for over 30 years, seven who have been with the company for over 25 years and then we have nine who have been with the company between 10 and 19 years.”

Diverse, Friendly Service

SIS started out installing fiberglass insulation in the residential sector. As the years have passed and the business has grown, Bowen and her team have expanded into new product lines and services. “We do fiberglass foam spray, cellulose insulation, shower enclosures, mirrors, closet shelving, bathroom accessories and partitions,” says Bowen. “We do masonry block fill with foam and acoustical ceilings. We’ve also branched out into commercial work. Those projects now make up 70 percent of our business.”

The team is licensed in Florida and has performed large and small projects alike from coast to coast in the northern and central regions. “Right now we’re restoring a train station in Gainesville,” notes Bowen. “Generally we go into a job and insulate before other components of a project begin. We’ve done some work with municipal buildings and schools. We were on one project at a university where we had to spray down an elevator shaft from the top of the building. We had to get a lift to pick the spray machine up onto the roof. We’ve also done some buildings at Disney World, and even provided spray insulation for one of the attractions.”

The team offers time-tested expertise and durable products to customers, two major components of SIS’s success. Spray foam has become the biggest trend in insulation materials, and is lauded for its easy application and resilience. SIS uses spray foam that blocks air and moisture infiltration, offering energy savings, better indoors climate control and can even add structural stability to a home or business. With over three decades of experience, the company offers peace of mind and knowledgeable service to a range of clientele.

Family Matters

Although Bowen’s former husband is no longer involved in the business, her son has joined the ranks, continuing the family business environment in a literal sense. The family feel is carried over to employees, customers and business partners, as well. Bowen is focused on relationships, and founded SIS on the principles of great craftsmanship and honesty in business. “It’s very important to us to stay in touch with our suppliers,” details Bowen.

A major part of establishing and maintaining relationships comes through networking. SIS is a member-business of the National Insulation Contractors Exchange (NICE). “NICE has been a very useful organization for us,” says Bowen. “We utilize membership for networking, education and advice, like attorneys and human resources.” SIS also enjoys member benefits of Insulation Contractors of America, as well as the National Association of Home Builders.

Such relationships and networks have kept the team working through the slow economy. “We used to be larger, but during the downturn we did have to streamline a bit,” explains Bowen. “We did, however, diversify, adding more products to our line.” The outlook is good and the team is starting to see a turnaround in the region.

“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Bowen continues. “Now the concern is whether we are going to have the labor force when business starts to come back in the area. A lot of people have moved to other states for work, so that’s going to be a big challenge to face.”

Despite a slump in local business, SIS recently celebrated 35 years in business, albeit quietly. “The first time we celebrated a big anniversary, nobody told me,” recalls Bowen. “I had no idea what was going on, and it was a good surprise. I have employees and previous employees tell me that their children have always remembered that celebration.” As the local market shapes up, the team can look forward to a big party for SIS’ 40-year anniversary.

Bowen and her team have proven themselves in the industry. SIS has established a local reputation for quality service and products, which customers remember the next time they need insulation work. Bowen strives to set the bar for performance, and has so far set it quite high. Suncoast Insulators & Specialties offers a friendly and memorable experience to customers of varied demographics across the state.

Published on: April 22, 2013

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