For Chuck Chapman, vice president of Central Roofing Company of Glendale, Ariz., a Tecta America Company, roofing wasn’t the career he envisioned while growing up.
“I went to school as a communications major - I wanted to be the next Wolfman Jack,” said Chapman, referring to the longtime radio disc jockey who was the king of the airwaves in the 50s and 60s. “When I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I reverted back to roofing, as that was my summer job while I was going to college.”
It’s no surprise Chuck Chapman wanted to be a disc jockey who soothed radio listeners. As a contractor who represents his company to building owners each and every day, Chapman is like that a late-night radio jock or the lead singer of a band: You can’t go on without him.
“I wear a lot of hats,” Chapman told Roofing Contractor magazine. “I develop, estimate and negotiate work. I project manage work. I train estimators in new roofing systems and estimating software. I work with on-site management to develop their skills as new managers.”
Central Roofing specializes in commercial work, both new construction and replacement roofing. “The percentage fluctuates between new and re-roofing, depending on the time of year,” Chapman said. “But on a yearly average, I would say we are about 60/40 spilt with re-roofing and new roofing.”
He may not be as famous as Wolfman Jack, but Chapman has become widely renowned in his role as president of the Western States Roofing Contractors Association (WSRCA).
“Primarily the president of our association is the chairman of the executive committee, so he or she is responsible for setting the tone for all the association activities and projects,” Chapman noted. “I am responsible for chairing all board meetings, as well as executive meetings, and in my mind the president is responsible for setting the example for the rest of the board.”
At the time of this interview, Chapman was busy working with WSRCA staff and directors organizing the 2009 WSRCA Convention to be held June 14-17 at the Peppermill Resort in Reno, Nev. “There are tons of great educational opportunities for contractors to gain an edge over their competition,” he said. “All of our seminars are geared toward helping the contractors in this tough economic time.”
Aside from heading up the WSRCA, Chapman is also helping transform Central Roofing during tough economic times.
“Our company is actually doing pretty well,” he said. “We have offices in Arizona and Minnesota; fortunately I am lucky enough to work in both. We are having to work harder than ever before to get the work and be more creative, but we have really good people working for us so that makes it easier.”
Chapman said the two key words that sum up the road to success in the roofing industry are “hard work.”
He had this advice for his fellow contractors: “Work hard and be the best that you can be. Get all the education and training that you can get. Go the extra mile with your customers. When you think you have done your best, go one step further. In this economy the opportunities are few and far between, so you have to make the most of every single chance that you have of obtaining business.”
Chapman expects to make the most of a relatively tough market until the economy picks up. “Right now we see most of the available work being in the public sector,” Chapman said. “Very few dollars seem to be present in private industry. This will probably continue until the market stabilizes and banks are willing to lend money to the private sector.”
Chuck Chapman tries to pass on the lessons he has learned along the way to his co-workers and association members. It’s his way of honoring those who helped him achieve success in the industry.
“I have had the luxury of being mentored in this business by a very wise man,” he said. “The most important thing is I was taught that this industry is all about people. If you start with that, then everything else falls into place. Treat people as you want to be treated. Simple.”