The Solution

The Solution
SCOTT MACKENZIE – EcoHome Insulation Systems
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SPRAY FOAM MAGAZINE – Each contractor’s journey to the spray foam industry is unique. In the case of Spray Foam Magazine’s second runner-up for Contractor of the Year Winner 2023 from Canada, this remarkable contractor’s road to success was pitted with a fight against the odds. Living in a region that was suffering an economical and logistical nightmare, this person took his dream, knocked down any preconceptions surrounding SPF, and headed for success.

When Scott MacKenzie purchased his first spray foam rig in 2008, spray foam insulation was not an option in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. In fact, the local community was a little hesitant to embrace the material, preferring to stick with insulation they had installed for years. Mackenzie started off as a franchise and ran under the name of Enviro Foam Insulation. The following year he left the Enviro Foam franchise and became an independent contractor, operating as EcoHome Insulation Systems.

EcoHome Insulation Systems serves Cape Breton Island, which is at the eastern end of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. The island covers just under 4,000 square miles and has a population of just over 130,000 people. Unfortunately, its economy experienced significant changes over the last few decades with the decline of its main industries, steel production and coal mining. These industries were at one time the backbone of the region’s economy and the main source of employment and economic growth.

In 2021, the closure of Sydney Steel Corporation (SYSCO) led to the loss of thousands of jobs and created challenges for the region. Similarly, the decline of coal mining and the global shift towards cleaner energy sources resulted in a significant outmigration of skilled workers seeking employment opportunities elsewhere. 

Scott with his supportive family, Amanda (wife), Makayla (daughter), and Keagan (son)

This has resulted in an aging workforce and challenges for businesses and industries in terms of labor supply and skill gaps.

However, in the last decade, Cape Breton has consciously focused on diversifying its economy and attracting new industries. Efforts have been made to promote tourism, renewable energy, knowledge-based sectors, and niche industries like artisanal crafts and agri-food businesses. These initiatives aim to create new job opportunities, attract investment, and stimulate economic growth.

It was during this time of transition MacKenzie became the first and only spray foam contractor in Cape Breton. It was a huge risk considering the diminishing workforce on the island and at the time, the lack of support for a new product. However, he knew from living in various parts of Canada, spray foam was an excellent product with a wide variety of uses. So, over the next several years, he pushed forward through all the challenges that came his way.

Through continuous education, local building inspectors and contractors have become increasingly aware of SPF advantages, especially after many manufacturers updated their blowing agents to HFOs. After recent material shortages were resolved, work increased, and things started to fall into place for MacKenzie.

MacKenzie recollects, “We came through the COVID years and in 2023 purchased our second rig, so we can continue with our vision of building EcoHome Insulation Systems. In 2023 alone, we solicited the insulation of 300 homes by an energy services and consulting company as well as continuing our extensive work on local, native reserves with the intention of completing ten homes per week.”

EcoHome Insulation Systems has also begun utilizing polyurea for foundations and waterproofing. They also intend to use it on projects involving the vast marine environment surrounding the island. MacKenzie excels at his job due to a combination of valuable skills, qualities, and a dedicated work ethic. His exceptional abilities allow him to consistently deliver outstanding results and contribute positively to his business.

“I work on the front line of EcoHome Insulation, which has taught me that my technical expertise is invaluable when in business hundreds of miles away from equipment technicians. I possess an extensive knowledge base and stay updated on the latest advancements in the field. My proficiency allows me to tackle complex challenges with confidence and find innovative solutions,” confirms Mackenzie.

Mackenzie’s communication skills enable him to effectively convey ideas, collaborate with employees, and build productive relationships with his clients, and contractors. He makes a point of actively listening to others, empathizing with their perspectives, and responding thoughtfully. All of this fosters a positive work environment. He also spends time on the details and thoroughness ensures that tasks are completed accurately and efficiently.

Through incorporating these skills into his business, EcoHome Insulation Systems has completed many noteworthy projects, some of which include:

  • Cabot Links Golf Course, Inverness N.S. Membertou Hampton Hotel, Sydney, N.S.
  • 25,000 sq. ft. Boat Building Facility
  • Green Diamond, Sydney N.S.
  • Multiple Churches in the area
  • Valley View Chalets, Margaree, N.S.
  • Multi Apartment Complexes, Sydney, N.S.
  • Nova Scotia Power Projects, Cape Breton, N.S.

Through his company’s ongoing success, MacKenzie notes that it’s his family that are key in this life and his continuous driving force to prosper. He also takes an active role in his community like being a volunteer and sponsor for the Race Against Drugs, high school hockey, and basketball teams. He is also a frequent donor to the Canadian Breast Cancer Society.

Scott’s team took on the task of insulating this small floating cottage, navigating high humidity, shifting docks, and unexpected waves. Despite the obstacles,it was a triumph of craftsmanship.

Not only is EcoHome Insulation Systems a success, MacKenzie is also in the process of distributing a wet ISO cleaner with a food grade safety label. “This product is extremely easy to use. It enables the checking of valves, screens, and makes any gun parts that come in contact with ISO easy to clean without affecting the O-rings. I’m also in the process of developing a hard ISO cleaner alongside a chemist with similar properties as the wet ISO cleaner,” explains MacKenzie.

A positive way to progress in business is to not only learn from other’s mistakes, and even one’s own, but to see an opportunity, grab it, and don’t let go. Through riding the rough seas of a community’s industrial collapse, to educating himself and others on the benefits of spray foam, Scott MacKenzie really is a marvel.  

Congratulations Scott MacKenzie for winning Second Runner-Up in Spray Foam Magazine’s Contractor of the Year 2023. Your determination is a real inspiration for all.

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