Ted Swanson, president and owner of Trinity Exteriors, got his foot in the roofing industry after graduating from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., with a degree in entrepreneurship in 2001.
“I began looking for a job, which led me to a friend who was selling roofing and siding for a fast-growing construction company,” said Swanson. “I began working there in 2003 and moved up the chain of command rather quickly. I was sent to open up offices in Illinois and Colorado. After working there for five years, the last two of which I was a sales manager, I decided to open my own company.”
Trinity Exteriors has been in business for five years. The lion’s share of the company’s business is in the residential and multi-family arena, but about 10 percent of its work is commercial. The company focuses on roofing, siding, gutters and windows. Over the course of the last few years they have become more involved in storm restoration work.
Building a Business
When Swanson was in the early stages of planning his business he knew that the people he brought on board to form his team would make all the difference.
“I began to identify my personal strengths and weaknesses in order to determine what roles would need to be filled first. Through my experience working for my former employer, I was very confident that I could sell roofing and siding products and that I had the systems in place to run the day-to-day operations,” he said.
Swanson knew he lacked experience on the production side of the business and would need help with office administration. Identifying these needs led him to hire his first two employees — an experienced production manager and an office manager.
“Doing so created the foundation on which the company began to grow. Since we got started in 2008 I have added 12 employees, two of which are my younger brothers. I feel very lucky to have them a part of the company. They have worked very hard to learn the business and have become an integral part of the success and growth of the company.”
The company has been fortunate to stay busy despite the economic downturn, in part due to some very large multi-family projects. Another recent project involved re-roofing Macalester Plymouth United Church in St Paul, Minn. The company replaced 110 squares of roofing and 400 linear feet of custom reglet, most of which had to be tuck-pointed before it was installed.
Swanson mentioned that their work on the Macalester Plymouth United Church really showcased how well they plan and deliver on large-scale projects.
“The church is located in a very busy urban area, with a college campus right across the street,” he said. “During the week the church houses a preschool that has morning and afternoon sessions. Each day there were hundreds of parents, children, and college students on the church grounds, entering and exiting the building, and their safety was our responsibility as we carried out the project.”
Swanson noted that he tries to keep things as simple as possible and believes his philosophy on customer satisfaction is what has made his company so successful. “Everything we do revolves around customer satisfaction, from the moment we meet the customer until the job is done. It starts with the salesperson selling the job properly and setting reasonable expectations that we will meet or exceed. Our construction crews provide the highest quality workmanship as quickly and efficiently as possible. When we are finished with the job we always follow up with the customer to make sure they are completely satisfied with the work we have done.”
“Our employees are what make Trinity Exteriors unique,” he concluded. “We would not have been able to achieve the level of success that we have without their hard work and dedication.”