In its 25 years of operation, PetersenDean Roofing and Solar Systems has designed and installed roofs and integrated roofing and solar systems valued at well over $2 billion. Since its founding in 1984, the company has grown to become the largest privately held integrated roofing and solar contractor in the country, employing 4,500 people and operating coast-to-coast in over 15 offices in five states. But it’s not size that determines the Contractor of the Year - it’s a commitment to following industry best practices, satisfying customers, and providing a rewarding and safe environment for employees.
Keen business management is also essential. Even during one of the most challenging periods for the building industry, PetersenDean has remained consistently profitable, with annual revenues over the last three years averaging more than $200 million per year. The company is especially proud of its solid balance sheet showing assets of $90 million and a bonding capacity of over $50 million.
The company stresses the importance of executing the fundamentals, but its breadth of expertise and commitment to environmentally friendly systems and solar power keeps PetersenDean on the cutting edge. This award might specify residential work, but PetersenDean does it all: residential and commercial roofing, waterproofing, solar energy and energy efficiency. Half of its work is residential and half is commercial, with 25 percent of the work in both markets in new construction.
The key to the company’s success, said Jim Petersen, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, is having the right people in place. “Every member of our team across the country has the fundamental belief in not just doing things right, but doing the right thing,” he said. “From planning every detail for a project, to assuring the highest level of safety, to building projects to specification and assuring the highest level of customer satisfaction - these attributes have also enabled PetersenDean to be profitable in each and every year over the last 25 years. Solid fundamentals in planning, worker safety, innovation, and building projects right the first time has contributed to our great reputation, as well as solid profitability year over year for 25 years.”
Petersen was introduced to the roofing industry early. “As a high school football player looking to play professionally, I took a job in roofing over the summers to stay in shape,” he said. “I actually enjoyed the trade and the hard work so much that I gave up football and developed a path to become a great roofing contractor.”
Petersen attended trade school and night school and worked as a union roofer for a local roofing and waterproofing company in San Jose, Calif. He obtained his contractor’s license in 1984 and teamed up with Joseph Dean to open PetersenDean. Petersen and Dean own the company along with David Van Beek, who attended Santa Clara University and worked as an accountant for various Big 8 accounting firms before joining the company in 1990.
PetersenDean got its start in the San Francisco Bay area in 1984, but the owners soon found themselves in demand in other areas as well. “Our customer base requested that we perform work for them in others areas of the state, and in 1990 we opened our Sacramento office. From there we opened offices in Southern California (1994) and again in Phoenix in 2001.”
The company also grew through acquisition, said Petersen. “We acquired Pacific Coast Roofing in 2003 to enhance our growth in Southern California. In 2004 we acquired Red-Rose Roofing (Las Vegas) and opened in Reno, Nevada as well. In 2005, we acquired Roof Tile Specialists in South Florida, as well as Brinkmann Roofing in Texas, all in part of a plan to expand growth in the middle of the country, in addition to the lower coastal areas and up the eastern seaboard.”
In 2006, PetersenDean developed its plan to grow solar energy services nationwide. They acquired Roofing Services, headquartered in Santa Rosa, Calif., to add the Sonoma and Marin counties to the roofing and solar energy base. They didn’t stop there.
“In 2007, we Acquired Therma-Seal, a South Florida-based commercial roofing contractor, to add to our growing presence in Florida, as well as to build upon the commercial roofing portfolio in Florida and up the eastern coast,” said Petersen. “In 2009 we acquired OCR Solar and Roofing in Northern California to build upon our new homes solar energy business.”
The firm is structured centrally as it pertains to accounting functions, insurance risk and surety matters. Despite its vast size, the company stays connected. “All of the business units across the country interact on a daily basis,” Petersen said. “Starting with a Monday morning conference call that can take half the day, we discuss specific business items affecting everything from materials, labor to regulations, etc. All of the managers have an open forum to raise issues in their areas.”
In addition, management conducts four face-to-face executive meetings per year and is spread out throughout the regions. “This enables top management to not only interact with the workers, but allows them to visit current projects in the various regions,” he said. “Leadership also spends a considerable amount of time on the road visiting and interacting with all of the regions nationwide.”
PetersenDean has been involved with the redevelopment of Fort Ord, a military base in Monterey, Calif., which was closed by the federal government in 1992. This project consists of the removal and abatement of over 3,000 homes and the subsequent reconstruction of 3,000 energy-efficient homes.
PetersenDean recently completed projects at NASA in Houston; the Orlando Magic’s new arena; San Francisco’s Pier 39; The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas; and Ponte Palmero, Cameron Park, Calif. All these projects involved energy-rated cool roofs.
PetersenDean has also designed and constructed over 1,000 other solar projects, which total over 10 megawatts. “PetersenDean has been involved in the design and construction of solar energy systems since its inception in 1984,” said Petersen. “However, with the resurgence of solar energy, PetersenDean has made substantial investments in both acquisitions of solar energy firms as well as the development of a first-class team of designers, engineers, and constructors on the West Coast. Over the last three years, PetersenDean has designed and built over 10 megawatts of solar energy systems on the West Coast. These projects not only include homes and private businesses, but also state, city and federal level projects.”
Safety and Training
For all of its emphasis on cutting-edge technology, the company realizes the key to success is in the fundamentals - and there’s nothing more important than safety. “In 2002, PetersenDean embarked on one of the most aggressive safety campaigns in our industry, setting aside over $1 million to provide equipment, training and policy,” Petersen said. “At the field level, this included the hiring and placement of over 20 new field safety officers nationwide.”
PetersenDean boasts an experience modification rate of 0.70 and has earned eight Golden Gate Partnership awards from Cal OSHA, including two in the last six months. PetersenDean has also earned full partnership status with ADOSH (Arizona Division of OSHA) for the last two years.
It all starts with proper education and training. “PetersenDean’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program outlines the company’s safety policies and procedures, our training and testing requirements for new hires, inspection routines, safe work incentives, accident investigation practice, and hazard communication,” he said. “The Injury and Illness Prevention Program safety policies and procedures are continuously evaluated and updated.”
Partners and Friends
PetersenDean has worked closely with many manufacturers on the roofing side, including Monier-Lifetile, Eagle Tile, Johns Manville, Firestone, Garland, Tremco, CertainTeed and GAF-Elk. “On the solar side, we have partnered with such firms as Suntech Solar, BP Solar, Sharp, Sanyo, and over 10 other firms on the Balance of System side,” Petersen said.
The company is a member of groups and associations including the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), Western States Roofing Contractors Association (WSRCA), National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC), National Housing Quality (NHQ), The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), Certified Solar PV Installers, American Solar Energy Society, and the California Solar Energy Industry Association (CALSEIA).
PetersenDean and its employees also donate time and resources to such notable charitable endeavors as HomeAid, Make a Wish Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, and Extreme Makeover Home Edition, as well as supporting youth sports and children’s organizations in communities across the country.
Asked about some of the company’s best and worst experiences, Petersen didn’t have to look very far back. “The best experience was in the last two years,” he said. “As this recession was taking hold, the PetersenDean team (nationwide) jumped into action and made the tough decisions necessary to survive and thrive.”
“The worst experience was during the same period of time,” he continued. “We were forced to make tough decisions and lay off some of our PetersenDean community members. We hope to bring them all back when the economy turns upward again.”
Petersen chalks the company’s recent success up to experience. “Leadership has been through other downturns,” he said. “We were able to navigate through the downturn by recognizing early on that the backlog was eroding. We also recognized the need to diversify more into solar construction and energy services.”
The future ahead looks bright, said Petersen. “The roofing industry is poised for a massive rebound vis-à-vis cool roofs, reflective coatings, shade structures and rooftop solar energy systems. I foresee the greatest era for roofing and solar growth since the industrial revolution.”
Asked about his company’s guiding philosophy, Petersen replied, “‘Trust, Reliability and Certainty’ is our creed. The community of PetersenDean simply focuses on the fundamentals (blocking and tackling) towards planning, construction and service. In other words, we keep it simple.”
Petersen credited his employees with the company’s award-winning success. “It takes a community to build a company, so I would like to thank each and every member of the PetersenDean community that enables management to look so good. We owe all of our success to the team members nationwide; they are the heroes of PetersenDean Roofing and Solar Systems.”
For more information, visit www.needaroof.com and www.smarterroof.com.
Sidebar: PetersenDean LocationsArizona
West Palm Beach
North Las Vegas
Brinkman Roofing Company
Conroe / Huntsville