John P. Lamborn Sr. began his entrepreneurial journey in the flexible duct business in 1961. Fifty years later, his hard work and vision have been realized with countless contributions to our industry, innovations, and marketing savvy. Most importantly, he has touched the lives of the many people he employed, mentored, and conducted business with over the years.
John P. Lamborn Sr. (better known as Jack) established JPL in Fresno, California, to produce and market flexible air duct in Central California. Jack, who had previously owned an HVAC distributorship, saw the growth potential for this new concept of air distribution. With the objective to provide a larger distribution base for this revolutionary product, Jack soon established a second flex duct company in San Jose, California, under the name Norflex (Northern California Flex). Norflex marketed in Northern California, Oregon and Washington.
Lamborn’s business was profitable and growing, but as the industry grew, so did Lamborn. In the late 60s, Lamborn combined the assets of JP Lamborn Co. and Norflex, and with the help of other key investors, General Environment Corporation (GEC) was formed to provide flexible air ducts on a national basis.
A second generation of the Lamborn family (Jack’s son John) joined GEC in 1970. GEC marketed its flex duct products under the names of Norflex (residential), Genflex (commercial) and Modular-Air (manufactured housing and OEMs) and Special Tubing (dryer, marine and RV). GEC gained national recognition and was considered an innovator and market leader.
Being a stockholder not a sole owner did have its disadvantages, however, and in 1980 Jack and John left GEC to re-establish JP Lamborn Co. (JPL) as a manufacturer of flexible air duct. “At the time, people thought we were crazy,” John Lamborn remembers. “Let’s just say that it wasn’t the easiest of times to re-start a business with interest rates at 17%; it just made sense to us.” The Lamborns’ decision paid off as JPL quickly became one of the largest producers of flex duct on the west coast. A third generation (John’s son Jason) joined the company in 1997 as Denver’s Plant Manager and currently is the key decision maker for both JPL’s sales and operations.
Since JPL’s humble beginnings, the company today boosts four state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities located in California, Colorado, Tennessee and Florida. The company has a solid reputation of providing top quality, excellent service, and innovative products to best-in-class distributors in forty states. The future looks bright for the company, its employees, suppliers and the great customers it serves.
60 Years (and counting) of Success, Growth and Innovations