GAF Shares Plans for the Future of GAF Commercial Roofing

GAF appointed John Altmeyer as executive chairman of GAF Commercial Roofing, effective February 1, 2021. As he approached the anniversary of his first year in the role, Altmeyer shared his insights and plans for the future in an exclusive interview with Roofing. He affirmed the company’s commitment to bolstering the commercial segment and shared some of the initial steps of his multi-year strategy. 

“The goal is to build GAF Commercial into a world-class organization and a leader in the commercial roofing space — much like we are today on the residential side of our business,” Altmeyer said. “We spent a lot of 2021 trying to figure out organizationally what that looks like.” 

“GAF has not been in the commercial roofing market for very long, but in that short time, the company has built a strong business with great products and technical expertise,” Altmeyer continued. “Our opportunity is to scale the business, meeting the needs of a broader set of customers, and to deliver a more consistent customer experience.”

Key initiatives in the first year focused on staffing, training, and internal systems. Staff changes included dedicated roles for employees who once split their time between the residential and commercial segments. “The nuances and the complexities of the commercial business are so much more involved, and so different than the residential side of the business that it really entails a different mindset,” Altmeyer explained. “So, a big part of our job was to lay that out to people and organize around that. Our aspiration of having world-class customer service means the people on the phone can answer the questions quickly. That means they need to have the ability, training and technical knowledge to answer those questions, as well as the authority to immediately address concerns and meet customer needs.”

Improving customer service also means improving internal systems. “I’ve always been a big proponent of very strong systems to support the business and support the people on the phone and in the field,” Altmeyer said. “In warranty services, claims, warranty issuance, technical support, order entry, order booking, shipping, and tracking, we are actively engaged in significant upgrades to our technology infrastructure to make our customer experience much more open, transparent, and user friendly. That’s a big lift, and it’s ongoing.”

Other long-term initiatives underway include plans for expansion and developing new products. “There will be some announcements coming shortly,” Altmeyer said. “We’ve been busy looking at our manufacturing footprint, looking at our growth plans, and figuring out where we need to expand our capacity and capabilities.”

Sustainability and labor savings will be key factors driving product development. “We are working hard and looking at our accessories, our adhesives, our coatings, our application methods,” Altmeyer said. “The question is, what can we do as GAF to enable the contractor to get on and off faster with a better, higher-quality roof — and at the same time, avoiding those callbacks, which are a killer.”

Altmeyer is optimistic about the future of the industry, despite supply chain upheavals caused by the pandemic. He sees strong demand for commercial roofing, especially in the warehousing and industrial sectors. “The overall economy is good,” he said. “Interest rates are low, so people are buying and reselling buildings, and that’s always good because those transactions certainly cause one to look at a roof and say, ‘Yes, we should probably replace that roof now as we roll into a mortgage.’ So, the demand side, I think, is in good shape. Of course, that requires that roofing contractors have labor, which is always a challenge. And then it’s up to us to figure out how we can enhance our service capabilities, given the constraints in the supply chain that will carry over into 2022.”

Altmeyer’s message for contractors is this: “As much as GAF is a national company, we really think local. We want to be the roofing contractors’ go-to choice, whether it’s a Big Box, where it’s very competitive, or whether it’s a very complicated job at a church or a university. We will have the technical support and service capabilities to make sure that contractor has a great opportunity to do that job and do it with GAF. That’s the real value we want. This is why we are investing so much not just in our capacity expansion but our people expansion and our training — to make sure that we really can deliver on that promise.”

For more information, visit

About the Author

Chris King
Chris King is the editor in chief of Roofing magazine. He has covered the construction industry for more than 20 years, previously serving as editor of Roofing Contractor, managing editor of the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News, and associate editor of Plumbing & Mechanical. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

Be the first to comment on "GAF Shares Plans for the Future of GAF Commercial Roofing"

Leave a Reply