Some small businesses are started from a love for a particular product or field. Others are born out of a person’s professional desire to be their own boss and control a career trajectory, while shaping service based on their specific ideals.
Either way, passion is the key to success and Tom Kelly and John Peters, co-founders of Ecologic Spray Foam Insulation, have that both for controlling their own business and for helping to make Rhode Island home and building owners more environmentally and economically sound.
They also had a little help in the way of happening upon an opportunity at just the right time.
“The success we experienced wasn’t just stumbling across this product. We filled a void in the market,” Peters said. “We established a competitive price line, did what we said we were going to do, and we [have a] treat-it-like-it’s-your-own mentality. That’s been our key.”
Peters and Kelly met as undergraduates at the University of Rhode Island more than a decade ago and always talked, they said, about one day going into business together, but the path to that wasn’t straight.
Kelly earned his bachelor’s in accounting in 2004 from URI, while Peters began a career with the United States military.
Kelly went on to work after graduation in 2004 for Textron in Providence as an internal auditor, earned his Certified Public Accountant licensure, and became supervisor of the company’s financial-audit team.
While serving in the military, Peters transferred to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida and earned a bachelor’s of science in aeronautics in 2004.
The two Rhode Island natives were both in the same area again once Peters finished his military service, but the veteran went to work for what is now Mahr, a dimensional- measurement services company, in Providence.
They both were always on the lookout for what might make sense for their careers and that long-talked-about business and, by mid-2005, they started paying attention to what Peters saw as shifting public views on energy usage.
Kelly had a friend who was working as a spray-foam-insulation installer and the pair began researching the cellurized plastic installation, often made of recycled or renewable materials that come out as a liquid and curs into a solid, which allows the insulation to be custom-molded to building materials.