Tom Nichols

President & Chief Executive Officer

What does a typical day look like for you at Polyco?

I work primarily on the expansion of the company. This entails working up financial models and determining where we’re headed with technology as we proliferate across the United States and European Union. But for me, the most important thing I do is reconnect with my team, make sure we’re on track, help them achieve their goals and provide support as needed. 

What did you do before starting Polyco?

I’m a technologist and have run every kind of equipment in the world in the asphalt business. I’ve done a little of everything to create a unique life experience for myself. Before college, I worked with machine tools producing drill stems and learned welding and pipe fitting with the Local Union 211 in South Houston. After attending New Mexico State University, I went into the roofing industry as a lab technician, eventually working as a process engineer, and then into polymer sales of the raw materials to modify asphalt. 

What are you most excited about at Polyco?  

There’s so much to be excited about, but also proud of, when creating a company from its inception. Our team does a great job every day — whether it’s success in production or resolving a sales issue. I’m also excited about growing our connections in Europe and deciding how we’re going to expand into that market. It is a big world and there is always room for new products and technology in the construction materials business.

What does the future look like for you? 

The future for me is set but also fluid. Currently, our goal is to finish up the reactor technology in Joshua, Texas. The next phase of that is determining new locations in the U.S. and abroad and deciding whether we expand by joint venture or throughput agreements. Going it alone is easier in some respects, but it is also slower and more cumbersome at times. Choosing partners is a lot like a marriage, choose wisely with the like-minded or … you know the rest of that story. Polyco has a great future no matter how we decide to grow.

Why is sustainability at Polyco important to you?

To me, sustainability is the moral obligation of every citizen. Polyco’s approach to upcycling allows waste streams to be recycled over and over, creating a circular economy in all infrastructure products. It’s important for the country because it ends landfill issues that we’re already struggling with. Additionally, it ends the one-and-done approach of incinerating tires for fuel, which causes more greenhouse gas emission.

What do you love to do outside of work?

My wife is the best partner in the world. We do so much together. We love to travel, hunt, fish, attend concerts, play with our grandkids and our dogs more than anything else. But the most important thing I like to do outside of work is to give back to the country that has given me every opportunity to succeed in life. As a working-class kid growing up in Texas, there are so many people who stepped into my life when I needed them most. And I’ll never forgot the opportunities their kindness gave me. 

“To me, sustainability is the moral obligation of every citizen. Polyco’s approach to upcycling allows waste streams to be recycled over and over, creating a circular economy in all infrastructure products.”

Insights

Our experts share their thoughts on asphalt sustainability, innovation, safety and creating a culture of care.

Harmonizing the Hallmarks of Sustainable Pavements

In many sectors, including the asphalt pavement industry, sustainable materials are coming into play and are at the top of everyone’s agenda. Recycled asphalt pavement and shingles (RAP/RAS), waste tire rubber (WTR), plastics, glass – many scrap products find viable end uses in pavements. But focusing on materials alone is not enough to achieve truly …

Answering the Call: Where Roofing and Sustainability Meet

It’s what’s inside that counts. The quality of a shingle is only as good as the materials it’s composed of — and shingle manufacturers have been put on notice. More accountability is being demanded of the roofing industry, with an emphasis on expanding sustainability measures. For more than two decades, our roofing partners have relied …

The Evolution of Waste Tire Rubber in the Greening of the Asphalt Industry

The greatest innovations often have the most humble beginnings. So is the story of the use of waste tire rubber in asphalt pavements. Charlie McDonald – dubbed the father of asphalt rubber – pioneered this concept more than 70 years ago.  McDonald’s camping trailer was leaking, and he needed a flexible material to effectively patch …

Meet the Team – Kaylea LaBee

Polyco’s Supply Chain Manager, Kaylea LaBee, is a dedicated problem-solver who thrives on new challenges. Starting as an assistant in 2014, Kaylea moved into customer service before recently transitioning to head up Polyco’s supply chain operations. We spoke with her about her evolving career, the excitement of bringing a fresh perspective to the field, and …