Jonathan Wolf attributes his company’s success to following four guiding principles:
1. Don’t lie.
2. What’s right is right.
3. No matter how far you have gone down the wrong road, turn back.
4. Return phone calls and e-mails in a timely manner.
Wolf is the president of Tecta America Zero Company, LLC, with offices in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Ky. It has 130 employees and does all types of commercial and residential roofing and architectural sheet metal. The company was founded in1929 and joined Tecta America in 2002. Tecta America has more than 40 locations and earned $426 million in revenue last year.
Wolf followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, joining the company in 1992 after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis. By then he already had a wealth of experience from working for the company during the summers while he was in school. Around this time the family had been considering selling the non-union roofing company, which had been downsized to around $500,000 a year. Jonathan decided to buy it himself and made the most of the opportunity. He retooled the company and built it into a $4.5 million business by 2002.
It was then that Jonathan and his father made the decision to join Tecta America. Wolf calls it the best decision he ever made. “At that point I thought I had taken the company as far as I could on my own, or at least for the foreseeable future,” he said. “I wanted help building and growing the business more rapidly and thought this was a win-win situation. It appears to have worked, as our current annual revenue hovers around $20 million.”
High-profile projects include the Carew Tower in Cincinnati; Madison Place and Marriott River Center in Covington, Ky.; King’s Island in Mason, Ohio; the Senator Paul Simon Building in Carbondale, Ill.; and the Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts. For Northern Kentucky University’s Griffin Hall, the company installed metal, PVC and garden roofs. The work earned Sika Sarnafil’s Project of the Year Award in the Waterproofing Category. Next up will be a 100,000-square-foot green roof for Mercy West Hospital. “These projects show our ability to handle all types of roof systems out there and work with owners and contractors of all types,” said Wolf. “At Tecta, it’s amazing what we can do, day in and day out.”
Technical expertise is essential when it comes to satisfying customers, noted Wolf, but integrity is the real key to long-term success. His four guiding principles are a reminder of that. Wolf has rule No. 3 — “No matter how far you have gone down the wrong road, turn back” — emblazoned on the wall. “It’s the first thing you see when you enter my office,” he said. “With customers you need to be honest and you need to admit mistakes if you make them. You have to find out early on what their expectations are and then beat them or explain what a realistic expectation could be.”
Tecta America Zero Company’s goal is to be “the contractor of choice” with its target clients. “If we’re all working together as a team toward that goal, we’re going to be successful,” he said. “Nothing makes me happier than when I receive unsolicited calls, e-mails and letters from customers telling me their experience with us was the best they have had with any contractor, and it turns out we did not do anything extra special; it was just our normal service and performance. I am honored to say this occurs on a regular basis.”