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Spotlight - Amber Baker Peterson, Capital Insulation

image Amber Baker Peterson Managing Partner Capital Insulation Tomball, TX

HOUSTON - For Amber Peterson, it’s almost hard to tell where family ends and business begins – or vice versa. Actually, it’s important to her that there really is no difference. If you work at her family-owned business, you are family. And if you’re her family, chances are you work at Capital Insulation, started by her beloved Papaw and her dad, Robert Baker.

 

 


When did you start with Capital Insulation?

    As a kid, my brothers and I always worked during the summers. Our dad had a much larger distribution company – that he later sold – and Capital Insulation was its baby sister, so to speak.  It was fun for us to see our dad at work and to learn the industry at such a young age. Plus, the warehouse was a free jungle gym. I started officially working full time in 2012 while still in college at Sam Houston State University.

Are you from Houston?
    I am. I was born and raised in Tomball, north of Houston. My parents still live in our childhood home and we all moved within five miles of them. My family, friends, and business are all here. Tomball is home and always will be.

What was your major at Sam Houston and is your role at Capital Insulation?

    I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy. I definitely wanted a different career when I was in college.
    My role at Capital is managing partner with my brother Kyle Baker. I handle finances and HR while Kyle handles operations, sales, purchasing, etc.  Everything I know, I give credit to my mentors - our dad and our business coach Nicholas Stander. I also take educational classes, listen to podcasts, and seek counsel whenever possible.

If you did not want to be a part of the family business, what did you want to do?
    I actually wanted to continue my education and get my master’s in psychology so I could become a family counselor or social worker. I have a heart for people and I think I’m a pretty great listener that can see all sides.

What was the transition between working part-time in the summer to where you are now? How did you work your way into this?
    My transition began when I was in college. As I mentioned before, my dad had a much larger sister company that he was in the middle of selling. Kyle worked for that company and after the sale, he made the transition to Capital Insulation to eventually take over. I saw the potential of growth for Capital and I absolutely love working with my family every day – so I slowly started opening to the thought of making this my career, too.
    Looking back now, it all happened super fast. Once my dad sold our sister company, he wanted to fully retire and have Kyle and I take ownership. Kyle was 100% in. I still had a semester left of school and I remember him saying to me one day over dinner, ‘You have to make a decision: are you in or are you out?’ No pressure right? I was 23 at the time, still in school, and I had to make that decision in a matter of weeks. It was do or die.

How have you liked it?

    Best decision of my life. We have been through tough times – learning experience, rather – and I have never regretted it. I’m very blessed to work with my family every day and our team we have built, who is also family – blood-related or not. We’re all very, very close and we have something special.

Working with your family and living so close to them - does it ever get on your nerves?

    Absolutely! Working with family is not for the faint heart. We fight hard but love harder. We’re not perfect. But you can’t beat the luxury of closeness. There is nobody on Earth I trust more than my family and in business that is something money can’t buy. The good thing about Kyle and I is we don’t ever take it home with us. We leave it here.

Are you married?

    I am. Trevor and I were married in February and that man is my best friend and counselor when I get home from work. We have three rescue pups and no kids yet. He works for an oil and gas company in Conroe.

What do you do that gets you recharged?

    Honestly, what recharges me is hanging out with the people I work with outside of work. That is usually when our best ideas come to light. We are a very close-knit company. Stephanie, our sales manager, and Jorge, our operations manager, have been with us since 2011 and their family is my family. I know their children and spouses, experienced heartaches and triumphs with them both. Cody, our cousin, is our lead estimator, IT, our “everything” guy; my best friend from pre-K is our project coordinator and also keeps everyone in line at the office! My sister in law also works part time and manages our office needs. I can confidently say they are what recharges me and centers both Kyle and me. We do what we do not just for our family, but for theirs too and we’ll always continue to have that culture here no matter how big we grow. Now, for recharging outside of Capital, we go to our family lake house on Lake Travis every chance we get. We are always in Austin during the summer, even during the holidays.

Have you ever lived away from your family?

    I moved out at 18. I moved to College Station for a year. I wanted to go to A&M but it turns out, I am not an Aggie. Our little brother took care of that for us. I hated being in College Station; I love being home. Not even home, just Tomball.

How did Capital Insulation start?

    My grandfather - my Papaw, whom we are blessed to still have with us - started Capital Drywall with $600 to his name. He taped and floated homes himself for years and made a name for himself in the industry. My dad, who worked for him, also started out hanging drywall and eventually took ownership. During that period, he started CBM, the sister company he sold, and Capital Insulation in 1980. The name Capital has been around for a long time and with that comes a responsibility to uphold the core values that have been established. We pride ourselves on doing honest and quality work.  We try to make it personal and leave a lasting impression.

What is your daily job like?

    I wish I could tell you because every day is different at the office! We have done a substantial amount of growth so we both wear a lot of hats.  I heard a podcaster say once, “The six most expensive words in business are ‘We’ve always done it that way,’ and that couldn’t be more true. As our growth becomes more rapid, we are adapting and creating a space for our team to bring new ideas, come up with more efficient ways of doing something, etc.  We want our culture to be something that people want to be a part of. At the end of the day they’re going home to their family and I’m going home to mine. We really work hard at making anyone we encounter feel as though they are a part of the future here, because they most certainly are.

Has anything strange ever happened to you on the job?
    You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.

How do you and Kyle work the business?
    Day by day! He’s the yin to my yang. I couldn’t do it without Kyle.

What do you see for the future for yourself, professionally and personally?
    Ten years from now, I see Capital as a statewide company with the same people we have working here now plus a lot more. God willing, Trevor and I will have some kiddos running around and I’m hoping a few more dogs!

Will you bring your kids along in the company as well?
    I would never put the pressure on them for a succession plan. My dad did it right. He supported our dreams and would say, “You do exactly what you want to do in this life, and if this isn’t it, that’s totally fine.” Honestly, if my kids wanted to do something else, I think they would be smart – owning a business is hard!
    Our little brother went to A&M and majored in geoscience; he is now getting his master’s and works for NASA. He went a completely different route and we couldn’t be prouder.
    Kyle and I have learned so much about being business owners because we have failed multiple times. Experiencing those failures only made us stronger.
    Capital Insulation is an insulation contractor in Houston. -dsz


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Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net