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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Jun. 3, 2016 3 years ago

Homes that really matter

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Sarasota entrepreneur Justin Mizell is used to dirty work.

Sarasota entrepreneur Justin Mizell is used to dirty work.

Mizell, after all, has run a company for 20 years, Specialized Plumbing Technologies, which uses underground video inspections to fix sanitary drainage problems. Mizell is now leading his company on an even greater project than working inside homes and businesses: He and eight employees have volunteered to help build five houses in Nicaragua for a 25-person community, part of a mission trip organized by Sarasota-based nonprofit Waves of Love.

Like many other executives, Mizell says giving back is a key part of the culture and mission at Specialized Plumbing Technologies, which has about 70 employees statewide. Projects the company's employees have volunteered for range from Easter Seals in Sarasota to an orphanage in Costa Rica. The company has been to El Salvador and Mexico, too, for volunteer projects. “I've taken crews all over the place,” Mizell tells Coffee Talk. “And they always come back with more than before they left.”

Aquam Corp, a global water infrastructure firm with a U.S. headquarters in San Diego, acquired SPT last year. Mizell, who remains at the helm of SPT and is now on the Aquam management team, says the company's volunteer projects are a major reason Aquam bought it.

The Nicaragua project involves building five brick houses from the ground up, an outdoor kitchen and two outhouses, according to a statement. Those homes will replace the current structures in the small village, which Mizell says are made mostly with dirt floors and stick and straw walls.

With funding from Aquam Corp., the SPT crews with Waves of Love will also provide and install an individual water filtration system that will connect to the community's well. Says Mizell: “We are pretty much taking care of all the basics.”

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