Diversification can be a good business strategy for coping with tough times, but it was a focus at Douglass Colony Group long before the recent economic downturn. The company’s goal is to be “the comprehensive source for the installation, service and maintenance of large-scale roofing, metals, solar and waterproofing projects,” and they’ve been laying the groundwork for 65 years.
Douglass Colony is a specialty contractor that performs roofing, metal, solar and waterproofing work all over the country. Headquartered in Commerce City, Colo., the non-union company primarily focuses on commercial and industrial work, but does a few high–end custom residential projects as well. About 50 percent of its work is in the new construction market. The company maintains that its ability to handle multiple services on an array of diverse projects gives it a leg up on the competition, while quality work and service keep customers satisfied.
The formula seems to be working. In 2011, Douglass Colony experienced one of its highest revenue years in the history of the company, up 15 percent over the previous year.
The company was founded as Douglass Roofing in 1947. “Douglass Roofing worked alongside Colony Metal since 1982 and in 2009 merged the two companies to form Douglass Colony Group,” said Christy Maraone, the company’s marketing director. “Now, Douglass Colony has four offices in Colorado, completes jobs nationwide, and is the largest commercial roofing contractor in Colorado. It also maintains the largest commercial roofing service division in the state. Over the years, Douglass has expanded competencies as well. We started off as just a commercial roofing company and now have four main product lines — roofing, metal, solar, and waterproofing. Within those main product lines, we also offer composite metal wall panels, sheet metal, metal roofing, sunscreens, light gauge steel trusses, garden roofing, daylighting, horizontal and vertical waterproofing.”
Douglass Colony has more than 350 employees in its four offices in Colorado (besides the Commerce City headquarters, there are branches in Greeley, Glenwood Springs and Colorado Springs). It is a member of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and a member of National Roofing Partners (NRP). Robert Bechtholdt, the president/CEO of the company, oversees the entire company. Executive Vice President Patrick Wolach oversees the Roofing Division. Executive Vice President Gary Degenhart oversees the Service and Re-Roofing Divisions. Executive Vice President Steve Bechtholdt oversees the Metal Division.
According to Maraone, each division has a group of specialized sales representatives — all of them LEED accredited. “All divisions interact heavily on job bids,” she said. “One of our main advantages is being a diversified company. When we bid a job, we bid all company competencies — roofing, metal, solar, waterproofing, etc. — and offer complete turnkey solutions. Our different divisions are in constant communication and work as a team for bid proposals. All divisions and all offices are in constant communication and work as a team to bid jobs locally and nationally.”
Maraone pointed to a number of high-profile projects to demonstrate the company’s breadth of expertise, including the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver. This LEED Silver project included a 68,000-square-foot white TPO tapered roof system and two garden roof systems, as well as pedestal-mounted plaza pavers, a composite wall panel system and custom sunshades.
At St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., a LEED Gold project, Douglass Colony installed more than 100,000 square feet of EPDM and PVC roofing, plaza paver decks with hot fluid applied waterproofing, and more than 100,000 square feet of custom-made rainscreen metal wall panels. They also designed and installed composite metal wall panels for columns and beams, both radiused and straight.
The company installed 180,000 square feet of tan TPO roof membrane atop St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood, Colo., as well as custom flashing, sheet metal work, composite panels and soffits.
At the University of Denver’s Ruffatto Hall, they installed light gauge steel trusses, and a standing seam copper roof, as well as copper wall panels, louvers, gutters, turret roofs, and downspouts.
At NREL, the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colo., Douglass Colony completed a variety of work on two LEED Platinum buildings. The project included the installation of a passive solar wall unit and the design, fabrication and installation of more than 8,000 Rheinzink wall tiles.
Douglass Colony can point to its own headquarters in Greeley as a showpiece. Maraone noted that recent renovations increased the energy-efficiency of the existing LEED Silver building. “This past year Douglass Colony added a few more energy saving measures such as sunscreens and a 100 kW rooftop solar system comprised of three different solar technologies,” she said. “All three technologies are connected to separate inverters for individual data monitoring and reporting. Our solar experts often give tours on our roof to potential solar buyers or even those intending to learn more about the systems and want to see the products firsthand.”
Douglass Colony’s headquarters location also has a 70,000-square-foot fabrication facility where all metal products are designed and fabricated. “This helps us to better leverage our metal division because we are able to provide custom fabrication for turnkey commercial metal solutions,” said Maraone.
A Reputation for Service
Douglass Colony is dedicated not only to installing roofs but maintaining roof assets once they are in place. And that means a commitment to service. “The Service/Maintenance Division keeps growing exponentially,” said Maraone. “Douglass Colony maintains 12 service crews working at a time and crews on call for emergency leaks 24-7 at all offices.”
The company is dedicated to excellent customer service, said Maraone, who notes that it all starts with a commitment to a safe work environment. “Safety is a top priority for Douglass Colony,” she said. “Douglass Colony promotes the highest safety standards for all workers and is often selected for jobs based on their stringent safety requirements.”
The company points to its repeat business as proof that its formula is successful in tough times as well as boom times. “One of the best rewards our company experiences is repeat business from our best customers,” said Maraone. “It’s a satisfying feeling that we provided such quality work that the customer is satisfied and calls us for repeat jobs.”
“By diversifying business offerings and expanding services nationwide, Douglass Colony was able to grow despite economic conditions,” she continued. “Like other contractors in our industry, we were required to reduce our expenses during difficult times, but our diversification and teamwork helped us stay on top.”