Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The History of Tropical Roofing Products

Tropical was started in 1952 in Hallandale, Florida, by George Gleason, the cousin of Jackie Gleason. George ran the small, rural, company as part manufacture and also part distributor. However, as the landscape in Florida began to shift from rural to urban, the Gleason’s decided to put the company up for sale.

George Gleason sold the company to two women who had just gotten out of the Marine Corps. At this time, the company began to transform into a low end, price oriented company. Mostly selling driveway sealer to travelers, the company did not have the best reputation in the industry and had many tumultuous years.

Meanwhile, Richard Zegelbone was the youngest of 7 children born in Pittsfield, MA to Mr. and Mrs. Jack Zegelbone, and was the first child in the family to attend college.  Jack was a chemical engineer for various companies around the country, and eventually took a job at a friend’s family business in Des Moines, Iowa. However, after his friend died, the sons running the family business fired Jack. Out of work at 63, Jack moved around the country and eventually to Miami Beach. After searching for a while, Jack took a job for minimum wage working the sales counter at the company owned by the two Marine Corps women. While working the sales counter, Jack knew that the women were about to go out of business, and decided to take his life savings of $20,000 and buy the company from them.  At that moment he called his son Richard, who had just graduated from college and was set to go to law school in the fall, and asked him to help run the company.

Richard worked various positions within the company, starting at the ground level in the warehouse and operating the forklift. As the Zegelbone’s took over the company, they started producing better quality products and professional grade materials. By creating better materials for their customers, the Zegelbone’s began selling product all over the state of Florida. By joining many different trade organizations, creating better materials, and adding organization throughout the company, Tropical began to shed their old and negative reputation.

Being active in trade organizations led Richard Zegelbone to meet a family with a similar manufacturing family business in Los Angeles, California. In 2001, Richard negotiated with the family, and bought the California facility to launch Tropical Roofing Products nationwide. A year later, Tropical Roofing Products expanded once again, and moved into a facility in Port Arthur, Texas.

Tropical Roofing Products has been successful in this industry for one simple reason; we develop good quality materials - moving away from old hazardous materials, and creating new products such as the PowerGelTM structure.  Tropical Roofing Products continues to develop and create new asphalt and sustainable elastomeric coating products for our nationwide distribution demands.

For over 50 years, Tropical Roofing Products has supplied the industrial and commercial marketplace with the most dependable commercial roofing materials on the market.  More information can be found on our website:

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