D. Thomas Roofing Company of Wilmington, N.C., keeps things on the straight and narrow in the company’s spiritual approach to success.
“If we had a company motto it would be, ‘Do what’s right,’” said David Thomas, President of D. Thomas Roofing. “That goes in treating employees fairly, treating our customers with respect and honesty, and building relationships that last.”
Thomas’ philosophy of treating employees and customers fairly started even before he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 1987.
“I went to work with a man that was starting up a roofing company in Wilmington, but after three years he decided to move on to another venture,” Thomas recalled. “This left us with a lot of contacts. So, in August of 1991 my wife, Gina Thomas, my mother, Betty Turner Thomas, and I opened D. Thomas Roofing Company Inc. We brought with us a couple of employees (Perry Patrick and Larry Brown) from the other company and they are still with us today.”
Approximately 85 percent of the company’s work is commercial and industrial. Recent projects include installing a roof on the ILM Emergency Safety Building at the Wilmington International Airport.
“We did the job for Gregory Construction of Wilmington,” Thomas said. “This job had a few quirks that we had to overcome. We had to design a roof system with the help of the Duro-Last Engineering Department that would meet the wind requirement for New Hanover County and also needed to maintain a Class A Fire Rating covering the existing roof. We successfully met the criteria for both.”
The project also came in under budget. “We were able to reduce the cost of the roof replacement and passed that on to the owners,” he said. “We also had to get FAA clearance for our employees. This was not a normal job, but it turned out great.”
Thomas said his primary commercial roofing manufacturer is Duro-Last Roofing Inc. “because of their unique ability to custom fabricate the majority of the roof system.”
The company uses CertainTeed and GAF products for the majority of their steep-slope applications. The company is selective about the manufacturers they work with and the products they install. “We believe in the products we sell and find it hard to sell others,” Thomas said.
He noted the tough economy has brought a new set of challenges his way. “Mainly people do not have the resources to do much-needed roof work, so we try to offer solutions to maximize their return on their investment,” he said. “What we really try not to do is offer only band-aid solutions that in the long run will cost even more. We have done several partial roof replacements to work within our customer’s budget.”
In a good economy or bad, it’s important to stress the fundamentals. “I believe that the down economy has taught me to return to the basics of job management, to get several prices on all aspects of the projects, from materials to equipment rentals,” Thomas said. “We spend a lot of time with our employees explaining that we need to maintain the quality and integrity that have brought us to where we are today. If I was to give a tip to other contractors it would be that if you are given the opportunity to help someone, you should do so.”