A Family Kind of Business

Speck USA celebrates 50 years in business.

For decades after Speck USA opened in 1968, it was a family business. Multiple family members worked for the company over the years, and they were proud of that family culture. Chad Brayton, Chief Operating Officer, has been with the company since 2001. He says, “That was always one of the great things about working here—everyone felt like family.”

When the business was sold to Matt Mausser in 2004, some of our people thought that family environment would change. But preserving—and even refining—that company culture was one of Mausser’s goals.

“It still feels like family,” Brayton says. He should know. His wife works for Speck, too.

“We have a lot of employees who have family working here,” Mausser says. “I’m proud of what that says about the company, that our employees believe in it enough to want their kids or spouses working here, too.”

In fact, a few years after he bought the company, Mausser convinced Jeremy Speck to come back and head up the new decorative concrete side of the business.

Speck, whose father started Speck USA, had been working in the newly emerging decorative concrete field, learning the processes and the techniques, and he saw the potential to really develop that market.

“We’d seen some of the new products in the decorative side at trade shows, but most of that was happening in places like Florida, Las Vegas, California,” Mausser says. “No one around here was doing that.”

“I did a little training—really took a little information from several people and just figured it out. There wasn’t exactly a recipe for this that everyone was using,” Jeremy Speck says.

It was the success of Speck USA’s commercial business that allowed the company to invest the time and money into learning the decorative side of the business. Speck now dominates the market in central Iowa.

“The commercial part of our business allowed us to go in the lab for a while and make some mistakes and learn, which has been the biggest part of our success with the decorative work,” Speck says.

“One of our first decorative projects was doing the countertops in our own offices on Maffitt Lake Road,” Mausser says. “We also did stained and sealed floors and made concrete desks for all the employees out there. That was our first big project. Then it’s just expanded from there.”

Mausser is quick to acknowledge he had some big goals when he bought the company in 2004. And the rest of the team at Speck is just as quick to acknowledge that he makes those goals a company effort.

“When I started here in 2001, there were maybe 15 to 20 employees,” says Brayton. “Now we have close to 70. But one of the things I like is that we were pretty tight-knit back then, and we still are. Even though we’ve grown so much, we still have that family value and culture.”

Speck USA was still predominantly a parking lot maintenance company when Mausser took over 14 years ago. Shortly after that, the company began doing more concrete and asphalt commercial projects, including repair work and removal of damaged concrete, as well as expanding into the decorative concrete work in 2008.

“We’ve really followed our customers on this journey of adding more services,” Mausser says. “We look for things they aren’t getting from their current vendors that we can start providing, whether that’s seal coating, crack sealing, or the decorative products.”

Today Speck USA is the only concrete company in central Iowa that encompasses nearly every aspect of concrete work available.

“There are striping companies, asphalt companies, parking lot companies, but when a property manager steps out the door and sees work to be done, we can be that single point of contact,” Mausser says.

That’s where he sees growth in the years ahead, too. “We continue to look for other areas on the acquisition front where we can meet our customers’ needs or where there’s a long lead time that we can fill. Over the next 10 years, I see us working on larger, more-complex projects; living by our core values; participating in philanthropy; and giving back to our community, all the things we’re doing now.”

Mausser arrived at Speck USA with some very clear goals, personally and professionally. “I knew someday I wanted to accomplish two goals: to have a son and to have season tickets to the Hawkeye football games.”

The father of four—three boys and a girl—and University of Iowa grad has achieved both of those goals since he came back to Iowa.

“The day I met him, he told me he wanted to double the business in five years. He did it in three and a half,” Brayton says.

Mausser says the entire Speck team is at the heart of that success. And with a family culture that’s grown along with the company over the past five decades, Speck USA can look forward to even more of that success in the years ahead.