Curt Stendel has developed a reputation as an expert on structural insulated panels (SIPs). As the owner and President of Panelworks Plus, a SIP dealer/distributor based in St. Francis, Minnesota, Stendel often finds himself in the public eye, teaching continuing education for contractors, headlining the Eco Experience exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair, or being interviewed on the local news. And all that exposure generates interest and leads for his business.
Although he is not fond of the term, Stendel admitted that his customers “are recognizing us as so-called ‘experts,’” said Stendel.
“In some case we’re getting calls from people saying ‘we were told that you’re the only one we need to contact,’” he added.
Stendel’s construction experience dates back to 1967. He quickly picked up wood-framed panelized construction, but traded that in for SIPs in 1980 and never looked back.
Panelworks Plus offers SIP packages, along with floor systems, windows, and installation services through a preferred network of experienced contractors. Customers also receive Stendel’s detail-oriented attitude and 40 years of project management experience coordinating contractors, architects, building officials, and structural engineers.
“What separates us from the competition is just plain taking care of details,” said Stendel. “We’re staying busy because we take care of details and that is where we get our referrals from.”
With so much time invested in SIPs and years of experience in SIP construction, Stendel chose to pursue the SIPA Registered Master Builder designation to differentiate his company from the competition.
“Everybody’s got a business card with a whole bunch of letters behind it….and I thought I’ve earned my stripes in the SIP industry, so I’m going to advertise,” he said. “It carries some weight, it really does.”
Stendel’s homes have performed exceptionally well, garnering six SIPA Building Excellence Awards in the last seven years. His 2013 entry, the Forest Lake Studio-Workshop, claimed the Commercial/Industrial/Institutional Under 10,000 sq. ft. category and was named the competition’s Overall Runner Up. The project featured a super-insulated building envelope comprised of 8 and 10-inch SIP walls and a 12-inch SIP roof over a timber frame made from reclaimed timbers. Despite the building’s large 7,000 sq. ft. size, air infiltration was measured at 0.56 ACH50.
When he is not busy building homes, Stendel devotes his time to SIP training and education. He teaches ongoing continuing education courses for building contractors through the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). Panelworks Plus has participated in the MPCA Eco Experience exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair since 2006; and Stendel has presented at the Duluth Energy Design Conference six of the last eight years.
In 2005, Panelworks Plus also contributed to Energy House III, a high profile demonstration project with the Suburban Northwest Builders Association of Elk River, Minnesota, aimed at educating builders and homeowners on energy-efficient, sustainable construction.
You can see additional pictures of award-winning homes from Panelworks Plus below. For more information on Panelworks Plus, visit their website.
Click on a photo to enlarge.