By Juan Sagarbarria
While working in the spray foam (SPF) trade means holding a piece of a growing enterprise, it is a piece that is not obtained without hard work and dedication. On a daily basis, applicators, contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers deal with numerous challenges that are unique to their roles and functions, but their individual efforts to overcome these hurdles overlap with the common goal of certifying SPF as the best insulation and roofing product in the market and, furthermore, expanding the reach of that knowledge. In truth, there are many learning curves to be had and oftentimes industry members look to their professional counterparts for answers and solutions—which is why the SPF community, from the newbie to the master of building science, needs to remain connected.
It all boils down to communication. As an example, an SPF formulation or specific type of equipment that works well for one contractor might interest another contractor; and with a bit of research and advice in between, an otherwise sub-par job can easily turn into a streamlined and flush install that strengthens the SPF name. Presently, there is arguably no better communication tool than social media, and as far as the SPF society is concerned, it has a home on Facebook with Spray Foam World Wide (SFWW).
The description of the group says it all:
“Our goal in this group is to help expand the experience and knowledge of SPF—and to do a little bragging. As the spray foam world continues to grow leaps and bounds, the people within this group will be the pioneers to the future of spray foam.”
SFWW began as what it is today—a closed, private group on Facebook for people who wanted to discuss all things spray foam. SFWW’s administrator Bill Bilben, along with collaborators Jeremy Edwards, Kevin Bilben, Matt Doring, Mike Cerqua, Mike Obryan, Derrick Masden, and Robert Vazquez, launched the group in hopes of finding like-minded folks who dealt with similar day-to-day functions and wanted to share their experiences with them and vice versa.
“We assumed there were others that took this industry as serious as we did, but really had no clue. We knew a few top notch sprayers here in Minneapolis but other than that we didn’t know anyone in this trade,” notes Bilben. “We also developed a line of tools for the trade but still didn’t know if others look at this industry professionally enough to even want a line of industry-specific tools.”
The group was launched; open-ended questions were asked; photos of applications were shared; and humor in the form of memes and caricatures depicting the day on the job surfaced. All of a sudden, the material on the group became relatable for contractors and suppliers alike.
“The idea was, if we could bring together 100 or so contractors from around the world we would quickly have some sort of a pulse on the industry, and if people actually started joining the group, we would have a place to learn, teach, share ideas, promote best practices and network,” continues Bilben. “Little did we know we had just opened the floodgates.”
But what is the hook? Simple. It is a place to discuss matters regarding spray foam seriously but also lightheartedly, mirroring an open conversation between peers so the group took off as membership grew by the day. As this article is being written, the group currently has 4,215 followers and this number shows no indication of slowing down.
“To date, there hasn’t been one day that at least one new member hasn’t joined and we still average 48 new members a week,” says Bilben. “I think the craziest part about this group is how most everyone strives to be great at their craft. To be honest, I wouldn’t have guessed, I don’t even think the manufacturers knew just how professional the people spraying their products are, but they do now!”
The group’s success has prompted its administrators to open up a second SFWW Facebook group—this time, it’s public. The second group has already received traction across the board, and serves as yet another resource for the latest trends, troubleshooting tips, and project showcases. All in all, SFWW helps the SPF community stay connected, arming each member with necessary, relevant information that can not only contribute to their own successes, but perhaps even elevate an already powerhouse industry to new heights.
“When an industry is connected, it takes the guesswork out of the day to day operations and leaves more time for the advancement of the industry,” notes SFWW’s Derrick Masden. “That’s what SFWW has done, connected us by becoming the conduit between all branches and levels of the spf industry. That connection makes us all strive to be better. Within a matter of minutes anyone in the industry can reach out to anyone else to receive the info needed to produce the best results for themselves, the customer, and the SPF industry over all.”•
Want to see pictures of your applications featured in Spray Foam Magazine? So do we! Post your picture in the SFWW Group on Facebook and be sure to tag us at SprayFoam.com or Spray Foam Magazine so that we don’t miss it! We will pick a few contractors to feature in every issue. »
Join the Facebook group »
Search “Spray Foam World Wide” or go to www.facebook.com/groups/1031962486856843