Metal Construction Industry Supports Veterans

During its 25th annual trade show and conference recently held in Tampa, Fla., METALCON International partnered with America’s Fund, a program created to direct urgently needed resources and financial support to injured and critically ill members of the U.S. armed forces and their families.

At the 2006 METALCON, Show Director Claire Kilcoyne presented a new steel-framed ADA-compliant home to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Paul Russell Marek of Satellite Beach, Fla. Marek’s parents, Paul and Rose Marek, were there to help him accept the home.

At the 2006 METALCON, Show Director Claire Kilcoyne presented a new steel-framed ADA-compliant home to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Paul Russell Marek of Satellite Beach, Fla. Marek’s parents, Paul and Rose Marek, were there to help him accept the home.


The partnership builds on a donation made during the 2006 METALCON in Tampa. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Paul Russell Marek of Satellite Beach, Fla., was awarded a new, ADA-compliant accessible home through METALCON’s annual giving-back program. Marek who was severely injured in 2005 while serving in Iraq spent more than a year recuperating at Tampa’s James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, which opened its Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center in 2014.

The Tampa Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center, which is this year’s recipient of METALCON’s annual giving-back program, is one of five facilities in the U.S. designed to provide intensive rehabilitative care to veterans and service members who have experienced severe injuries.

“Going forward, we want to ensure METALCON’s giving-back efforts benefit those brave individuals who’ve put their futures on the line to make all of us safer and able to enjoy all of the freedoms we have,” says METALCON Show Director Claire Kilcoyne. “By affiliating with America’s Fund, we open the door for more recipients and donations on an ongoing basis, not just at our annual event.”

Diane Layman (left), voluntary services specialist for the Tampa Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center, and Debra Jordan, East Coast case manager for America’s Fund, are ecstatic to receive a $10,000 check from METALCON Show Director Claire Kilcoyne. Funds were raised at the 2015 METALCON through contributions from exhibitors, attendees, show management, show vendors and staff.

Diane Layman (left), voluntary services specialist for the Tampa Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center, and Debra Jordan, East Coast case manager for America’s Fund, are ecstatic to receive a $10,000 check from METALCON Show Director Claire Kilcoyne. Funds were raised at the 2015 METALCON through contributions from exhibitors, attendees, show management, show vendors and staff.


Donations can be made to America’s Fund throughout the year and can be applied to specific programs or veterans upon request.

“We are honored to be chosen as the official charity of METALCON; their support will make a difference in the lives of so many service members and their loved ones,” says Karen Guenther, CEO and president, Semper Fi Fund of which America’s Fund is a self-funded program.

Contributions to America’s Fund were made in the exhibit hall during the trade show and can continue to be made through the METALCON website.

PHOTOS: METALCON INTERNATIONAL

Roofing Professionals Give Back During National Roofing Week

In honor of National Roofing Week—July 5-11—King of Texas Roofing Co. L.P., Grand Prairie; H&E Equipment, Dallas; Rmax, Dallas; Jim Whitten Roof Consultants, Austin; and the Rosemont, Ill.-based National Roofing Contractors Association, along with other industry partners, donated labor, materials, expertise and additional necessities to repair the roof system at Momentous Institute, Dallas. The institute helps build and repair social and emotional health for more than 6,000 children and family members every year through educational and therapeutic programs. It is owned and operated by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, a service organization of more than 600 business and community leaders committed to transforming kids’ lives.

In honor of National Roofing Week—July 5-11— King of Texas Roofing Co. L.P., H&E Equipment, Rmax, Jim Whitten Roof Consultants and NRCA, along with other industry partners, donated labor, materials, expertise and additional necessities to repair the roof system at Momentous Institute, Dallas.

In honor of National Roofing Week—July 5-11— King of Texas Roofing Co. L.P., H&E Equipment, Rmax, Jim Whitten Roof Consultants and NRCA, along with other industry partners, donated labor, materials, expertise and additional necessities to repair the roof system at Momentous Institute, Dallas.

The project, which replaced 26,000 square feet of the nearly 20-year-old roof on the campus at 106 E. 10th Street enables Momentous Institute to prioritize its funding for operations instead of capital investments.

“As professional roofing contractors, it’s our duty to give back to the communities we work and live in by serving those in need,” says Nelson Braddy, president of King of Texas Roofing. “National Roofing Week is important for recognizing the importance of every roof system, the value of the professional roofing contractor and also for encouraging roofing companies to give back to those who provide services to our communities.”

“This new roof is a huge undertaking for NRCA, King of Texas and the many sponsors who helped make it a reality,” adds Michelle Kinder, Momentous Institute’s executive director. “We are grateful to be part of National Roofing Week. The new roof will enable us to redirect funds to invest in those we serve.”

National Roofing Week increases recognition of the significance of roofs to every home and business in the U.S., promotes the good deeds of the roofing industry and emphasizes the value of professional roofing contractors. Learn more on NRCA’s website.

Proudly Installed by a Roofing Professional

As part of National Roofing Week, the National Roofing Contractors Association asked its members to share photos of their projects while holding a card that said, “Proudly installed by a roofing professional”. See the overwhelming response on NRCA’s Facebook page.

PHOTOS: NATIONAL ROOFING CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION

This article first appeared on NRCA’s RoofScoop blog.

Venture Construction Group: Helping People in Times of Great Need

Steven Shanton (left), CEO and founder of Venture Construction Group, is recognized by John Carr, president of JRC Charitable Foundation, during a golf tournament that benefitted SafeSpace, a nonprofit helping victims of domestic violence.

Steve Shanton (left), CEO and founder of Venture Construction Group, is recognized by John Carr, president of JRC Charitable
Foundation, during a golf tournament that benefitted SafeSpace, a nonprofit helping victims of domestic violence.

Burke, Va.-based Venture Construction Group specializes in residential and commercial construction and roofing, insurance restoration and 24/7 emergency services. Helping people in times of great need has become the life’s work of Steve Shanton, CEO and founder. “I love the storm-repair and insurance-restoration business because it allows me to help people rebuild after disaster strikes,” he says. “I have the same passion for life and my business. Work with passion, give with passion and always take the time to help others.”

Based on Shanton’s mantra, giving back to philanthropic charities is an integral part of the company’s mission. During its 2015 annual-giving campaign, Venture Construction Group supported the ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter, ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter, the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Susan G. Komen and more.

“Our company mission is to help people in need. Philanthropic giving is an absolute must,” Shanton notes. “My dad passed away from ALS in 2012. He was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and always instilled in me the importance of giving back.”

Shanton’s charity work began in 1998 and the memory of his father is a huge motivator. In fact, earlier this year, Venture Construction Group sponsored Luke’s Wings 4th Annual Heroes Gala in Washington, D.C. In addition to the corporate event sponsorship, Shanton paid for a veteran and guest to attend the gala. The annual fundraiser raises money to provide complimentary travel services for wounded service members and their loved ones.

Venture Construction Group’s Chris Polino, Shanton and Mike Geary (left to right) sponsored the Advocates for the Rights of the Challenged of Martin County Fishing Tournament in Stuart, Fla. The event raised money for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Venture Construction Group’s Chris Polino, Shanton and Mike Geary (left to right) sponsored the Advocates for the Rights of the Challenged of Martin County Fishing Tournament in Stuart, Fla. The event raised money for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Venture Construction Group continues to help thousands of homeowners, commercial property owners, and property management companies recover from natural disasters throughout the East Coast, greater Mid-Atlantic, Gulf Coast and Midwest. While it fulfills this important mission, Shanton and his team will carry on touching the lives of people in need through numerous charities throughout the country.

CentiMark’s Scott Luck: A Leader on the Roof

CentiMark Corp. is proud of its 2,500-plus crewmembers, foremen and superintendents. Their jobs are unique: to install quality roof systems, maintain a safe work environment, communicate with customers and co-workers, and meet and exceed customers’ expectations for their reroofing projects.

This year, CentiMark’s Scott Luck, production foreman, Canonsburg, Pa., was recognized by the roofing industry for his 22 years’ experience, excellence in roofing, and knowledge of first aid and roof safety.

This year, CentiMark’s Scott Luck, production foreman, Canonsburg, Pa., was recognized by the roofing industry for his 22 years’ experience, excellence in roofing, and knowledge of first aid and roof safety.

This year, CentiMark’s Scott Luck, production foreman, Canonsburg, Pa., was recognized by the roofing industry for his 22 years’ experience, excellence in roofing, and knowledge of first aid and roof safety. At the Rosemont, Ill.-based National Roofing Contractors Association’s 128th Annual Convention in February, Luck was one of four winners of the 15th Annual Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards by The Roofing Industry Alliance For Progress and the Best-of-the-Best Award winner sponsored by Professional Roofing magazine and OMG Roofing Products Inc., Agawam, Mass. (CentiMark’s Pedro Arguelles, foreman, Denver, and Edgar Ramirez, foreman, Lakeland, Fla., were recognized as Roofing MVP Awards finalists.)

“I am proud to have Scott represent CentiMark in the national roofing industry,” says Timothy M. Dunlap, CentiMark’s president and chief operating officer. “He has always been a hard worker, quick learner and dedicated to the job. He’s a good family man and an active volunteer in CentiMark’s charitable projects in the community.”

After starting as a laborer on the roof, Luck’s career advanced to production laborer, service assistant, service foreman and, currently, production foreman. He has an extensive technical knowledge of roofing, roofing materials and roof safety. His Canonsburg-based crews have not had a workplace injury in nine consecutive years.

Luck is trained in first aid and safety practices through CentiMark and has medical training from his previous career as a certified nursing assistant.

Utilizing those skills, Luck has saved the lives of two of his crewmembers from medical emergencies on the roof. One crewmember had a heart attack; the other had a heart attack and stroke. A quick-thinking Luck attended to them and called the local fire department for a ladder truck to help them off the roof. Both men were able to return to work after they recovered from their medical emergencies.

“I have great respect for my crewmembers. My job is to keep them safe and train them to succeed and advance at CentiMark,” Luck states. “We work well together as a team and take care of each other.”

Luck takes his crewmembers’ safety seriously. He adds: “I train new crewmembers myself because I want them to be safe on the roof and be the best they can be. I am responsible for their safety and their knowledge of roofing.”

PHOTO: CentiMark Corp.

Baker Roofing: 100 Years of ‘Always Good Work’

Baker Roofing Co., a full-service building envelope contractor, was founded in 1915 in Raleigh, N.C., by William Prentiss Baker. At the time of its founding, Baker Roofing employed only a handful of workers at its Davie Street address in downtown Raleigh. Since its founding, the company has grown to become one of Raleigh’s largest employers. In addition, Baker Roofing’s footprint stretches across the Southeast with offices spanning six states and 18 cities. In fact, at the beginning of 2015, it opened offices in Orlando and Jacksonville, Fla.

Whether you ask a new employee or one of the many employees who have been working at Baker Roofing for decades, they will give the same resounding response that Baker Roofing stakes its reputation, growth and business on its 100-year-old promise of “Always Good Work”.

Whether you ask a new employee or one of the many employees who have been working at Baker Roofing for decades, they will give the same resounding response that Baker Roofing stakes its reputation, growth and business on its 100-year-old promise of “Always Good Work”.

The company continues to be family-owned and operated by W.P. Baker’s grandsons, brothers W. Prentiss Baker III, chairman and co-owner, and Frank Baker, vice chairman and co-owner. Prentiss recollects the company’s founding, “When my grandfather founded the company, he did so with the desire to be the best roofing contractor possible, but I wonder if he ever imagined it would grow into the organization it is today.”

Baker Roofing’s humble, yet confident, beginnings were displayed in its original promise to its clients. Frank Baker describes the foundation for the company’s growth: “When Granddad founded the company, it was during a time in our nation’s history that offered many hurdles for a new business to overcome. Despite this, when he opened the shop, he proudly displayed a sign that’s promise endures to this day: ‘We shall do good work, at a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but always good work.’”

This year, Baker Roofing celebrates 100 years of upholding the promise W.P. Baker made in 1915. Although the company has grown to employ more than 1,000 people and offer specialty services beyond roofing, like renewable energy and historic renovations, the legacy of “Always Good Work” has never left the DNA of the organization. “As we grow as an organization, the culture of ‘Always Good Work’ continues to drive so much of what we do each and every day,” says Mark Lee, Baker Roofing’s president. “From Nashville, Tenn., to Orlando, Fla., project safety to quality control, multi-megawatt solar systems to residential roof repairs, we will never outgrow or outpace our enduring commitment to the foundation laid 100 years ago.”

Whether you ask a new employee or one of the many employees who have been working at Baker Roofing for decades, they will give the same resounding response that Baker Roofing stakes its reputation, growth and business on its 100-year-old promise of “Always Good Work”.

Learn More about Baker’s 100 Years of History

More information, including a video, about Baker’s 100 years of history and celebration can be found on Baker Roofing‘s website at AlwaysGoodWork.com.

PHOTO: Baker Roofing Co.

Book Showcases 100 Years of Wagner Roofing’s Craftsmanship

Commemorating 100 years since Wagner Roofing was founded in Otto Wagner’s basement, Chuck and Sheila Wagner have written Preserving Washington History: 100 Years of Wagner Artistry.

Commemorating 100 years since Wagner Roofing was founded in Otto Wagner’s basement, Chuck and Sheila Wagner have written Preserving Washington History: 100 Years of Wagner Artistry.

For a century, many of the metropolitan Washington, D.C., region’s most distinguished roofs have had one thing in common—the handiwork of Hyattsville, Md.-based Wagner Roofing. Commemorating 100 years since Wagner Roofing was founded in Otto Wagner’s basement, Chuck and Sheila Wagner have written Preserving Washington History: 100 Years of Wagner Artistry. Published by Hamilton Books and with a foreword by Knight Kiplinger, the book is available from Amazon.com, Rowman.com and select retailers.

Surveying Wagner Roofing’s project portfolio, Preserving Washington History: 100 Years of Wagner Artistry traces the firm’s evolution into capital region experts in historic preservation and installers of slate, architectural metal and copper roofing, as well as façade restorers. The book celebrates the firm’s heritage through photographs of iconic area buildings, often from rarely seen vantages.

Oak Hill Cemetery Renwick Chapel, circa 1850, is the only known example of James Renwick Jr.’s Gothic Revival ecclesiastical design in Washington, D.C. Wagner Roofing replaced the purple Vermont slate roof and the copper built-in gutter and downspouts.

Oak Hill Cemetery Renwick Chapel, circa 1850, is the only known example of James Renwick Jr.’s Gothic Revival ecclesiastical design in Washington, D.C. Wagner Roofing replaced the purple Vermont slate roof and the copper built-in gutter and downspouts.

Wagner Roofing’s touch has graced more than 500 sites, including the Washington National Cathedral, Smithsonian Castle, U.S. Naval Academy’s Mahan Hall, 6th & I Historic Synagogue, President Lincoln’s Cottage and the Old Post Office Pavilion. Throughout Wagner Roofing’s work is a commitment to quality, customer service and artisanship, an ethos shared by the three
generations of Wagners in the trade.

A copper cornice restoration was performed on the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in 2013-14.

A copper cornice restoration was performed on the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in 2013-14.

“I owe much to the family members who came before me,” writes Chuck Wagner in the book’s dedication. “They dedicated themselves to providing for their families and those who worked for them during difficult and trying times. It has been a challenge walking in the footsteps of such men, but they left a legacy of excellence in workmanship and service which continues today.”

PHOTOS: Wagner Roofing

Oklahoma Roofing and Sheet Metal Honors Children of Deployed Oklahoma Soldiers, Receives NRCA/CNA Community Involvement Award

In recognition of its efforts to help children of deployed members of the U.S. military, Oklahoma City-based Oklahoma Roofing and Sheet Metal LLC was presented with the second annual NRCA/ CNA Community Involvement Award, an award sponsored by the National Roofing Contractors Association, CNA and the CNA Foundation. The award honors charitable works performed by NRCA contractor members.

Oklahoma Roofing and Sheet Metal was selected for the 2013 award for its involvement with “Horseback Heroes”, an annual event to honor the children of Oklahoma soldiers. The event gives the children the rare opportunity to spend the day on a working farm, taking part in activities that include horseback riding, cattle roping, and tack and grooming.

The event took place on the ranch of Oklahoma Roofing and Sheet Metal President and CEO Gerry Shepherd and was offered free of charge to more than 80 children, between the ages of five and 16, and their families.

The CNA Foundation awarded Oklahoma Roofing and Sheet Metal with $5,000 for the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, which co-sponsored Horseback Heroes. The donation enabled Horseback Heroes to accommodate 163 children in 2014, allowing organizers to stick to their goal to never turn a child away from participating. Shepherd and the Oklahoma National Guard are hoping to grow the Horseback Heroes program to accommodate children of deployed soldiers from other states in the coming years.

“Although it requires us to buy and add another bucking dummy and find 20 more horses and two more buggies with teams to pull them, it also requires many more volunteers, more breakfast foods, more drinks and more lunch items,” Shepherd says. “Because of the award we received, we will be able to serve every one of these kids.”

NRCA currently is seeking entries for its NRCA/CNA Community Involvement Award. NRCA urges its contractor members to submit any charitable project, activity or donation completed between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2014. One winning charity will receive $5,000. Two honorable mentions each will receive $1,000. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 31, 2014.

The awards will be presented during NRCA’s Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Reception Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, during NRCA’s 128th Annual Convention in New Orleans. For more information, contact me at (847) 493-7548, or visit NRCA’s webpage.

VIEW VIDEOS ABOUT HORSEBACK HEROES
A video highlighting the Horseback Heroes program
Gerry Shepherd, president and CEO of NRCA member Oklahoma Roofing and Sheet Metal, is interviewed in an Oklahoma National Guard video about his work with the third annual Horseback Heroes program, which took place Saturday, Oct. 18, at his Covey Creek Ranch.

CentiMark Corp. Has a Culture of Giving

Although roofing is Canonsburg, Pa.-based CentiMark Corp.’s business, giving back to the community is the company’s commitment. Dedicated to helping people in need, CentiMark offers volunteer or financial support to hundreds of charities across North America that serve the hungry, homeless, at-risk children and families, domestic-violence victims, veterans and senior citizens.

CentiMark corporate associates deliver Back-to-School, Christmas, and Easter food and gifts to families in need and non-profit organizations.

CentiMark corporate associates deliver Back-to-School, Christmas, and Easter food and gifts to families in need and non-profit organizations.

Edward B. Dunlap, founder, chairman and CEO of the 46-year-old roofing company, leads by example in business and philanthropy. Since the early days of the company, Dunlap supported those in need in his community and encouraged volunteerism from his associates. “Giving back to the community has not shaped the CentiMark culture; it is the CentiMark culture,” says Timothy M. Dunlap, CentiMark’s president and chief operating officer. “The culture of giving back and volunteering has been ingrained in us for years. Now, as our company grows, we have more resources to help people.”

For example, in July 2014, 60 of CentiMark’s 80 offices throughout North America held food drives and made financial donations to food banks in their respective communities as part of National Roofing Week, sponsored by NRCA. They did the same thing last Thanksgiving, and they will do it again this Thanksgiving.

As part of their regular Friday routine, CentiMark corporate associates take turns delivering Meals on Wheels, a program near and dear to the heart of Edward Dunlap. “We are committed to the senior citizens in our community who need our help,” he states. Last summer, in the middle of a heat wave in western Pennsylvania, Dunlap instructed his associates to purchase and install air conditioners and fans in the homes of the seniors on the Meals on Wheels route who did not have the cooling appliances.

The company especially is committed to children and families. CentiMark associates teach Junior Achievement and host field trips at their corporate offices to show students how a business works. CentiMark Foundation Executive Director John Rudzik continues to teach Junior Achievement after 35 years. He remembers, “Even when I was a busy CFO and thought I didn’t have time to teach, Ed Dunlap told me I did have the time.” In addition, CentiMark associates regularly stuff backpacks for Blessings in a Backpack programs to provide meals for children on the weekends.

CentiMark participates in "Take Our Kids to Work Day".

CentiMark participates in “Take Our Kids to Work Day” to teach kids about how a business works.

Each year, CentiMark corporate associates deliver Back-to-School, Christmas, and Easter food and gifts to families in need and non-profit organizations. “When you give a child a book bag, school supplies, school clothes and shoes, you not only make their
day, but you reinforce the importance of education,” Edward Dunlap notes. “Plus the peer pressure is so great for children who do not have the latest book bag or school shoes. We try to help the parents who cannot afford all the back-to-school or holiday items.”

“Our non-profit partners tell us: ‘This was the first Easter basket that this child has received’, ” Rudzik adds. “Parents tell us: ‘There would not have been Christmas at our house without your help’. ”

“At CentiMark, we walk, run, bike and golf for charity; we teach school students; we deliver meals; we shop for winter coats; we place Christmas wreaths on veterans’ graves; we support people in need; and we give of our time,” Tim Dunlap says. “We take great pride in our success as a roofing company because our success enables us to increase our charitable and volunteer endeavors.”

A Minneapolis Neighborhood Plans to Bring Solar, Vegetation and Bees to its Rooftops

As part of its commitment to maintain and enhance the physical, social and economic environment of its Minneapolis neighborhood, the Southeast Como Improvement Association (SECIA) has begun a program in which it is matching the owners of buildings with low-slope roofs to solar and green roof providers, as well as beekeepers.

The Southeast Como neighborhood is surrounded by industrial buildings and essentially is the last of Minneapolis’ industrial hub. A community resident who considered the industrial buildings’ rooftops wasted but valuable space approached SECIA about partnering with Minnesota Community Solar. The for-profit organization builds large solar arrays in locations ideal for generating solar power—like roofs—and works with utilities so any Minnesota ratepayer can have access to solar energy. While SECIA’s Executive Director Ricardo McCurley was researching that option, he met a green-roof consultant who is part of the Minnesota Green Roofs Council, a nonprofit that supports green roofs in the state. In addition, Minneapolis recently eliminated permit requirements to maintain beehives in the city above 1 story.

“It occurred to me we should just play matchmaker,” McCurley says. “Let’s get a bunch of options on the table and match them to local property owners.”

After receiving a $3,000 grant from Minnesota’s Clean Energy Resource Teams, an organization that connects individuals and their communities to resources that will help them implement community-based clean-energy projects, SECIA began surveying the neighborhood. “We have an intern who currently is looking at aerial images of roofs and doing rough estimates of square footage, as well as collecting contact information for building owners,” McCurley notes. “Then we’ll be contacting all these property owners in person and via telephone and asking them questions about their flat roofs, like ‘Are you planning to reroof any time soon? How is the stormwater management on your property?’”

If the property owners show interest in learning more about sustainable options for their rooftops, SECIA will invite them to a luncheon that McCurley compares to speed dating. “We’ll have different providers of the various technologies at the luncheon, so they can talk about options,” he says. “Then if we make a match, we’re going to help the property owner through the process of finding grants to make it more affordable for them.”

McCurley thinks the program will be a success if just one property owner opts to install solar panels, a green roof or beehives. But he hopes for many installations and to make more connections within the neighborhood to expand how roofs are used. “We’re big into urban agriculture in the neighborhood,” McCurley explains. “Wouldn’t it be cool if one of the green roofs connects with a farmer who would lease the green-roof space?”

Although the program currently is in its infancy, McCurley is certain it will increase Southeast Como residents’ awareness about the benefits of green roofs, solar arrays, bees and even trees. “We’re dealing with the emerald ash borer here in the Twin Cities, particularly in our neighborhood. We’re already losing a lot of our tree canopy,” he says. “If our residents’ buildings were shaded by a beautiful ash tree and now they’re not, they’re going to feel that in HVAC costs. So what are the options to make a building more efficient? This program provides many great options!”

Want to Be Involved?
If you’d like to assist in the Southeast Como Improvement Association’s mission to bring solar, vegetation and bees to its rooftops, email Rooftops@comogreenvillage.info, SEComo@secomo.org or call (612) 676-1731.

The Stars Align as Waukegan Roofing Celebrates 100 Years in Business

Waukegan Roofing Co. Inc., Waukegan, Ill., is celebrating 100 years in business in 2014.

Waukegan Roofing Co. Inc., Waukegan, Ill., is celebrating 100 years in business in 2014.

The universe seems to be telling Bruce Diederich he is following the right path. Diederich is president of Waukegan Roofing Co. Inc., located in Waukegan, Ill., a suburb 32-miles north of Chicago. As the roofing-contracting firm enters its 100th year in business, it’s difficult to ignore the coincidences Diederich, who has owned the company for 16 years, has uncovered while researching Waukegan Roofing’s long history.

One hundred years ago, M.C. DeThorne established Waukegan Roofing on Philippa Avenue in Waukegan. Although Waukegan Roofing no longer is located on Philippa Avenue, Diederich is grooming his son Philip to someday take over the business. Strange? It gets better: DeThorne included his company’s telephone number—1625—on advertisements discovered by a local historian. Today, Waukegan Roofing’s phone number is (847) 623-1625.

An early location of Waukegan Roofing.

An early location of Waukegan Roofing.

If that isn’t enough, it seems as though Diederich was always meant to own a roofing business. His father owned a shingles-only roofing-contracting firm for 32 years. While he was growing up, Diederich worked for the company but opted to sell roofing materials instead and went to work for Bradco Supply, now Beloit, Wis.-based ABC Supply Co. Inc. Diederich happened to sell materials to Waukegan Roofing, which at that time was owned by Ed and Dave Hiner. The Hiners’ father had bought Waukegan Roofing from the DeThorne family in 1951. When Ed Hiner mentioned in 1998 they were planning to retire, Diederich pulled $5 out of his pocket and jokingly told Ed not to sell before he could speak to his youngest brother who was interested in returning to roofing. The next day Dave Hiner invited Diederich for coffee.

“We were parked next to each other and Dave opened his trunk and said, ‘Ed and I want you to buy our company. Here are the last 10 years of financials,’” Diederich recalls. “I put them in my car and called my wife, telling her she’d never believe what just occurred. She thought they were really serious and urged me to call our attorney and accountant. Thirty days later, I owned Waukegan Roofing.”

Owner Bruce Diederich credits his 55 union employees with his company’s success.

Owner Bruce Diederich credits his 55 union employees with his company’s success.

The Hiners had followed DeThorne’s lead and focused their business on low-slope commercial and industrial roofs. Diederich realized he could offer his shingle heritage to the business. “I looked around and there were all these retail centers being built and they all had a shingle-mansard roof of some form,” he says. “I approached Waukegan Roofing’s top-five contracts and asked what they thought about me starting a shingle division. Every one of them said it would be a great idea because they could come to Waukegan Roofing for everything, not just the flat part of the roof.”

Waukegan Roofing’s shingle division has been very successful since Diederich established it in 1998. Today, the firm constructs all types of low- and steep-slope roofs, along with roof-related sheet metal. In addition, in 2007, Diederich started a commercial service and maintenance division, which kept Waukegan Roofing busy through the economic downturn and benefitted the company’s growth overall.

Waukegan Roofing constructs all types of low- and steep-slope roofs, along with roof-related sheet metal, as well as operates a commercial service and maintenance division.

Waukegan Roofing constructs all types of low- and steep-slope roofs, along with roof-related sheet metal, as well as operates a commercial service and maintenance division.

Diederich credits his 55 union employees with his company’s success. “We stick by them through thick and thin,” he says. “We just believe in the people who work for the firm and in the quality of the product we put out. Our motto is ‘Installing roofs you can rely on’, and we believe in that wholeheartedly.”

All the clues that Diederich’s chosen profession was meant to be are there, and he agrees his life has come full circle—from working in his dad’s roofing business to helming a successful roofing contracting company of his own into its 100th year. “People ask me whether I regret buying a roofing company and I say, ‘Yeah, I wish I would’ve done it 10 years earlier’,” he chuckles.

INVOLVEMENT

Bruce Diederich is immediate past president of the Chicago Roofing Contractors Association. He also is an active member of the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association and National Roofing Contractors Association.