Sponsored by Allied Building Products Corporation
Steve Grinaker, President of Tecta America Seattle, came out of retirement because of his loyalty and passion for the roofing industry.
“My (first) job was to remove two layers of composition and one layer of wood shingles and load it into a flatbed truck,” Grinaker recalled. “I was then driven to a landfill to unload by hand. The real roofers would then install the plywood and new roofing. After doing that after school and weekends, I was allowed to learn the process of installing the plywood, felt and three-tab composition.”
Grinaker’s roofing and sheet metal career really started when he was 12 years old, watching his brother work in the trade. “Materials were loaded up the ladder by hand, and hand nailed,” he remembered. “After the steep slope roofing was mastered, they allowed me to learn the process of running the kerosene kettle. This machine you pumped up pressure so the kerosene would heat up the tar (asphalt). If the color turned green, it was too hot and ready to flash or catch fire.”
After taking on several different roofing jobs, Steve Grinaker found a home at Edmonds Roofing in Edmonds, Wash., and again started at the bottom by carrying the composition shingles up and down the ladder. “All of us were paid piece work: no material installed, no money,” he said. “If I wanted a job - pay the dues.”
And he did.
Steve Grinaker worked his way up to be the company vice president and achieved 50 percent ownership. Then, after 27 years, the Edmonds Roofing original owner retired.
“His son came on board and he did not have the same vision his father and I had built the company on,” Grinaker said. “So, we parted ways.”
Grinaker happily retired … briefly.
“Western Roofing out of the Bay area started a satellite office and it was having trouble roofing in the Pacific Northwest; it rains in Seattle,” Grinaker said. “They contacted me and asked me to consider coming out of retirement for a year to give a hand on the ins-and-outs of making a profit in such a not-so-friendly climate.”
Grinaker said the company’s success is wrapped around the use of Tecta America’s bonding, insurance and safety, which allows him to go after “high-profile and difficult jobs that smaller companies are not qualified to perform.”
Success in roofing means Grinaker can now sometimes relax on his Harley Road King, and he also enjoys hunting and fishing. He points out to the many friendships he has established among roofing company owners and suppliers in the Northwest.
“We planned on the economy going south by using the input and foresight from our corporate office in Skokie, Illinois,” Grinaker said. “Our Florida offices were the first to see the downturn, and history has shown the downturn starts East and moves West.”
Still, 2009 was Grinaker’s best year. “And 2010 will be a challenge,” he said. “The work is available to us with Tecta’s strength to back us up.
“Tecta America has given us the tools to succeed.”