Tuflex began in a one-car garage in 1968. After a stint in the Army, Mike Sayward took a position with Florida Power & Light as a meter reader, eventually advancing into the engineering department. After being passed over for promotions numerous times because he didn’t have a college degree, he knew he needed to make a change. He had acquired fiberglass skills repairing his boat and used a small inheritance to purchase a fiberglass company with his wife, Jean. Thus, Tuflex was born. From humble beginnings in their garage, Tuflex became one of the most innovative fiberglass tank companies in the industry.
Mike invented and patented the seamless tank design that sets Tuflex apart from competitors, the tightly-held secret that revolutionized the creation of fiberglass tanks. Mike’s son, Tom Sayward, took over the business after he retired.
Tom, who recently retired, shares his experience working at and running Tuflex:
“Like my dad, I worked for Florida Power & Light in the underground department and as a high lineman. After beginning work with my parents and nine years of running the company, I had the opportunity to purchase it when they were ready to retire at an early age. Over many years of owning Tuflex, I was able to diversify the company, building on our business of making tanks for the agricultural/pest control/lawn spray industry to incorporate complete truck assemblies. We also branched out into industrial markets and many specialized/custom fiberglass projects. After years of speaking with customers and learning what they needed and wanted in the green industry, I engineered the design of many fiberglass tanks, truck bodies, and many of the pump/engine designs. No other company was able to compete with the seamless design of Tuflex fiberglass tanks!”
The addition of Chemlawn as a major client in the early 70’s, and ultimately the entirety of Chemlawn Corporation, provided Tuflex the revenue stream necessary to expand its product line and grow into what it became after 53 years of business.
Tom ran Tuflex for 40 years. By the time he retired this year, Tuflex had expanded a long way from its beginnings in a one-car garage. Following in her family’s footsteps, Erika Michajlyszyn, Tom’s daughter, will take over running the shop and managing sales. Erika began her career at Tuflex when she was just 14 years old, answering phones for the office. She has worked there on and off ever since. For the past three years, Erika has been the warehouse and parts manager.
Erika shares her perspective on her father’s time at Tuflex:
“When my father took over the company, he brought it to a different level. He was a genius when it came to manufacturing things that people said couldn’t be done. His engineering skills made Tuflex what it is today. He will be sorely missed.”
Tuflex’s future looks bright with Erika knowing the business inside and out operating running Sales and Administration.