This article was featured in The Times Reporter on November 4th, 2012. Click here to find read the article on their site.
BEACH CITY- Doing well in business is different than doing good in business, and Pat Culpepper is the first to make that distinction.
Doing well pertains to the bottom line. Doing good is tethered to the Biblical Golden Rule.
Culpepper’s leap of faith 20 years ago paved the way for him to accomplish both.
The curtains open with a Cleveland kid watching his father work up from mechanic to plant manager in a foam manufacturing plant in the Flats. In 1969, Dad moved the family to Michigan, where eventually he started his own company “making just about anything you could think of in foam.”
Culpepper joined him for a time, returning in later years to try to salvage the business floundering in a recession. Still, the dream and the company went bankrupt in 1992.
“While we were noodling around one day (before the bankruptcy), we decided that aluminum siding was dying. And, as much as you hate vinyl siding, you can’t beat it. You have to join it,” he recalled. “Out of all the things we did in my dad’s company was keep 10 good ideas on the drawing board and keep working the best of them until it starts paying the bills.”
Fast forward several years and a lot more noodling.
The ashes of his father’s company still glowing in his gut, Culpepper returned to Ohio where he founded Progressive Foam Technologies in April 1992.
The short version is that he did it with $200,000 borrowed on a handshake from a couple of fellow church members. He put down roots in a small building south of New Philadelphia.
“At the time, my family was still in Michigan and I was living on the front porch of a house in New Philly. My shower was so small that I couldn’t get my whole body into it at once. I had to turn around. I was praying, ‘Oh, God, just tell me. Are we going to make it?’ I wasn’t asking for help, just to know if all this would be worth it. I didn’t get the answer that night.”
Determining that specialization held the key, he focused on innovative concepts the young company could develop and patent.
It would turn vinyl siding on its ear. <click here to read the rest of the article>