A Discussion with NICE Guys

NICE Guys group photoWriter Morgan Letcher has grown up in the insulation business. As the granddaughter of Southland’s founder and owner, Jerry Palmer, and daughter of Southland’s general manager, Scott Letcher, she recently wanted to learn more about the thoughts of other independent insulation contractors like her family. She decided to sit in on the summer meeting of the National Insulation Contractor’s Exchange LLC, also known as NICE, a group of 70 independent insulation contractors nationwide and gather their thoughts.

Started in 1996, NICE was created as a way “to foster the growth and success of independent insulation contractors through the efforts of Members and Supplier Partners.” Morgan had the opportunity to sit down with a small group of their members to discuss their experiences in the insulation business.

Morgan’s first observation was that these insulation independents value family. And family extends to more than just relatives. “Our business is our family,” Kevin Kinzler of Kinzler Construction Services says. “Many employees have been with us for multiple decades. I have watched them come into the business and get married, divorces, births, deaths, all of life’s events we have weathered together.”

While on the topic of family, the discussion turned to succession. For many of the members of NICE, their businesses have been family-owned for consecutive generations and they are often asked about passing the baton to the next generation. Brent Dudgeon of North Central Insulation says he gave his kids “the opportunity to choose.” If second and third generations are truly interested, they’ll decide to stay. The children who decide to stay will be the ones best suited to take over the family business.

The conversation shifted to the support that NICE offers its members and the importance of utilizing those resources, both old and new members alike. NICE offers both knowledge and wisdom to its members while granting them access to resources they would not have had access to without the support of NICE.

“NICE provides a wealth of knowledge all over the place,” Tom Hayes of The Hayes Company says. Senior members have years of experience working in the insulation field. They’ve seen changes in construction regulations, relations with OSHA, employee testing, technology evolution, business operations and more. Besides senior members, NICE offers skilled advisors in other business disciplines including marketing, human resources, cybersecurity, law, and finances.

Morgan walked away with a clear understanding that this group of independent businessmen will continue to evolve and adapt to the morphing insulation industry together, through the support of each other and organizations like NICE.

Check out the full story and read more about Morgan’s discussion with NICE guys.