Women in Business - Laura Dover of Dover InsulationOct 30, 2023 12:43PM ● By Randee Brown
After her father passed away in 2004, former editor Laura Dover and her two sisters decided to keep their father’s business, Dover Insulation, in operation.
Dover’s grandfather had been an insulator since 1915, and her father began Dover Insulation in Marion in 1965. She said that when he passed at the young age of 59, there was no clear plan for what to do with the business. She was the one who was able to take on a leadership role, and despite having a lot to learn, she eventually bought out her sisters and has been running the company since 2004.
“I worked in the company when I was younger, but didn’t have a lot of experience,” Dover said. “I had to learn a lot very quickly. Soon after I bought the company, there was an economic downturn. We got through that, and the business is still going strong. It has been incredibly difficult, but also incredibly rewarding.”
Dover Insulation’s work includes insulating piping and ductwork and installing mechanical, industrial, and commercial insulation in facilities such as factories and schools. According to Dover, mechanical insulation is “among the original green industries.” Dover Insulation’s work saves energy, reduces facilities’ carbon footprint, prevents mold, and provides protection to personnel, among other benefits.
“It is a very male-oriented business, but I don’t focus on that,” Dover said. “Everyone treats me with respect. It helps to have had a family member that was so well-established and well- respected. I have had the privilege to work with many of my dad’s friends, my dad’s employees, and now some of their children. These connections and relationships have been the key to our success, and I could not have made it without them.”
Dover feels that when staying true to her company’s mission of doing good work and emphasizing customer service, gender becomes irrelevant.
In March of 2023, Dover became the President of the National Insulation Association — the first female contractor to take that position. The NIA consists of hundreds of companies nationwide, and her company has been active in the association since 1996. Dover feels small contractors need to be represented and that the ability for these businesses to come together is important, especially for companies located in more rural areas.
“The importance of sharing information and support became increasingly obvious during COVID,” Dover said. “Simply having others who were running similar businesses with whom to talk was a life saver.”
In her role as NIA President, Dover travels all over the country and to Canada to attend conventions and to give presentations. She talks about the issues facing the industry and small contractors and the resources available to NIA members, and she said it’s been very satisfying.
Dover also has a goal of being a role model for other women in this industry. She has had female mentors, although none who are in her exact role and situation. She hopes to be a mentor to other women who are already in the industry, as well as those looking for a career in the construction trades. She is thrilled that several women have already reached out to her for advice and assistance.
“People are watching,” Dover said. “I’m hopeful that other women contractors will be interested in taking on leadership roles in our national associations. I think it’s really important.”