For over three decades, Innovative Energy, Inc. has been a leader in the reflective insulation industry, fearlessly steered by their own trailblazing leader. With Robert (Bob) Wadsworth at the front of the pack, I.E. has been delivering high-performance reflective insulation products to a growing market of energy conserving industries. From metal building insulation and HVAC materials, to custom packaging, I.E. has been your single source for reflective insulation products.
Bob started the company in 1980 after successfully constructing a solar-powered, year-round greenhouse at his farm in Indiana that peeked his interest in energy conserving products. He and his wife, Mary, began company operations at their farm and chose to make this their life’s work. Little by little, they pushed forward to develop several products and become well-known in the industry. By 1995, they had long outgrown the space the barns provided, and expanded to a plant in Lowell, IN. The company has grown to have several departments and provide nearly 50 jobs to the the local community.
Bob always cared for his business and his people very seriously. During the struggles of the market around 2008, he vowed not only to keep the doors of his small business open, but to do everything in his power to avoid a single lay-off. He persevered.
As the years went on, and the business continued to grow, Bob began to think of the future of the company, and who would carry on the mission after him. Nearing 81, he had considered selling many times, with demands that his employees be looked after. However, the idea of letting go always kept him from pulling the trigger. Bob lived to work. It gave him purpose. He felt responsible, and knew it kept him going. So, rather than retire, when the opportunity presented itself, he called in for reinforcement.
After reconsidering his ideas about mixing family and business, Bob hired his son-in-law, Jonathon Hagarbome, to manage a new warehouse. After a few months of exemplary performance, Bob quickly promoted him to General Manger of the company. They were so different, and yet, two-of-a-kind in that they eat, sleep, and breathe this business. The two worked tirelessly, sharing an office and a home for over a year. Jonathon brought a new passion for success and eagerness to propel the company into the innovative ways of new business practices. He listened intently to learn Bob’s experiences and begin trusted relationships.
Just a few weeks after the company’s holiday party where the pair was smiling and handing out bonus checks together, Bob was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital. On January 20, 2019, his 81st birthday, he passed away.
I can tell you proudly that Bob’s last moments were still spent worrying about his company and his people, and that Jonathon was right there to fill him in and to push the company forward as they were feeling a little lost without their leader. “I wasn’t done learning from him,” Jonathon says of their time working together. Luckily, once again, Innovative Energy will persevere.
While the change came quicker than expected, Jonathon is confident about the future of the company. Moving forward as the new President, Jonathon plans to provide high-quality products with incomparable customer service. He takes the reputation of this company seriously, especially because it is tied to his family. Along with raising business standards, Jonathon is devoting attention to the culture and systems within his team in hopes that Innovative Energy will also develop a reputation for being the area’s best place to work.
We will certainly never be the same, but we will push forward to success.