This year marked the 10th anniversary of Roofing Contractor’s Best of Success conference. The event was created to provide a one-of-a-kind educational experience for commercial and residential roofing contractors, and it has continued to grow and succeed in its mission ever since. This year’s conference was no exception, as it set records for both registration and the number of live attendees. More than 400 roofing professionals registered to attend the conference, and more than 370 were on hand for the education and networking opportunities, including the launch of a mentoring program that paired non-competing contractors from across the country.
Roofing Contractor Publisher Jill Bloom reminisced about the creation of Best of Success as she welcomed attendees. “We all know that some of the best ideas start with notes and scribbles on cocktail napkins,” she said. “Best of Success is no exception, and now here we are ten years later.”
“Relationships in this industry are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” she continued. “It’s our goal that everyone who attends Best of Success feels like family because the roofing industry is family. We don’t want attendees to just leave with one idea, but relationships that will shape and change lives and businesses.”
The event was held Sept. 22-23 in Marco Island, Fla., and the beautiful setting was the perfect complement to two days of intensive seminars designed to address current industry issues and help contractors immediately improve their businesses. Presenters included industry experts and successful roofing professionals who shared their experiences and insights. This year’s sessions included:
- “How to Build a World-Class Sales Organization,” by Gregg Wallick, president and CEO, Best Roofing Inc.
- “Seven Proven Strategies for Generating and Converting Leads,” by Ken Kelly, president, Kelly Roofing & Energy Saving Solutions; and Anna Anderson, co-owner and project manager, Art Unlimited.
- “Creative Communication to Win Customers,” by Rod Menzel, president, GreatWay Roofing.
- “How Adversity Set Me Up for Success,” by Tim Hershey, president, Thoroughbred Contractors.
- “Health Care Reform Compliance,” by Jeff Moxley, employee benefits advisor, Roofing Risk Advisors LLC, a division of Frank H. Furman Inc.
- “Recruiting Strategies: How to Make the Industry Appealing to Today’s Generation,” a panel discussion including Rob Springer, president, Spring-Peterson Roofing & Sheet Metal; Jayne Williams, CFO, KPost Company; Tracey Donels, service manager, KPost Company; Gary Register, president, J. Register Company; Lincoln Register, vice president, J. Register Company; and moderated by Steve Little, president, KPost Company.
- “Top 10 Things You Must Know About OSHA,” by Keven Yarbrough, president, Yarbrough Safety Solutions.
- “The Impacts of Politics on Your Business,” by Craig Brightup, CEO, The Brightup Group LLC.
- “Why a Healthy Company Culture is Critical to Your Success,” by Anthony Schena, CEO, Schena Roofing & Sheet Metal.
- “Servant Leadership: Empowering Employees to Create a Productive Work Environment,” by Larry Marshall, president, L. Marshall Roofing & Sheet Metal.
- “Evolving Your Experience and Passions into Community Service,” by Chris Zazo, president and CEO, Aspenmark Roofing & Solar; and Tim Leeper, president, Leeper Roofing.
- “NRCA Update,” by Richard Nugent, CEO, Nations Roof.
- “Building a Winning Sales Team,” by Wendi Zubillaga, chief sales officer, PetersenDean Roofing and Solar.
- “Practical Tips to Avoid OSHA Citations,” by Douglas Lanier, president, Collis Roofing Inc.; and Trent Cotney, president, Trent Cotney, P.A.
- “Safety Programs: What You Need to Know,” by Andy Wray, division manager, Wray Roofing.
- “Why Investing in Your Maintenance Division Pays Off,” a panel discussion including Anthony Schena, CEO, Schena Roofing & Sheet Metal; Richard Nugent, CEO, Nations Roof; Steve Little, president, KPost Company; and moderated by Rick Damato, editorial director, Roofing Contractor.
- “Safety as a Profit Center,” by Brian Pratt and Rob Foote, roofing industry advisors for Roofing Risk Advisors LLC, a division of Frank H. Furman Inc.
For the second year in a row, Roofing Contractor offered the opportunity for those who were unable to attend the conference to view select sessions remotely as free live webinars. The webinars are available on demand at www.bestofsuccessconference.com.
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, this year’s conference also featured special giveaways for attendees, including product packages from sponsors Black Rhino, GripRite and Qualcraft. Ten winners of drawings also received cash prizes, and one lucky attendee received a two-night getaway from the Marco Island Marriot hotel.
Learning From the Best
Best of Success prides itself on offering an educational experience that’s unlike anything else in the industry, where attendees can hear directly from industry leaders who willing share their knowledge, experiences and success stories to help fellow contractors improve their businesses.
“Best of Success is a wonderful opportunity to work on your business and not in it,” explained Larry Marshall, L. Marshall Roofing & Sheet Metal, Glenview, Ill. “You have all these tutors from around the country, and there’s a wealth of knowledge to be received. You’re missing out if you’re not here.”
Attendees appreciate that the majority of the presenters are accomplished roofing professionals who are fully submerged in their trade and the industry. “I really feel that Best of Success is the best bang for your buck out there as far as an educational conference in the roofing industry,” said Tracey Donels, KPost Company, Dallas. “It’s jam-packed with quality speakers, and the best thing is that it’s our peers — it’s people that do the same thing we do each and every day. So it’s a little bit different hearing it from your peers because they’ve lived it. They’ve seen that these things work.”
Anthony Wilson, Rich Roofing Systems, Indianapolis, agreed. “I think the thing that brings me back to Best of Success is the amount of knowledge and information that I get from the seminars,” he said. “Being a young guy in this industry, it’s a place where I can meet other professionals my age, but also learn a lot from guys who have been in the industry for a long time.”
Many contractors who attended Best of the Success for the first time this year were impressed with the wealth of knowledge they took away. “I’ve been overwhelmed to hear men that are so successful want to share their ideals and what’s made their companies successful,” said first-timer Zeke Martins, Guy Roofing, Spartansburg, S.C. “I was typing notes, and I was texting people back at my company saying, ‘Listen, we gotta talk about this!’ It’s been great.”
Guy Akasaki, Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing, Honolulu, added, “I took away from the real-life experiences. You know, a lot of learning comes as a result of growing pains, and it’s really neat that people shared real experiences rather than bullet point 1, 2, 3 to make it happen. It was amazing.”
“I’m looking forward to coming back,” said Matt Guaschino, Clarity Contractors, Mays Landing, N.J. “The things that we learned? Priceless. It’s going to immediately have an effect on our company, and I’m looking forward to seeing the growth in the following year.”
The attendees also acknowledged the critical takeaways that they could use to make their businesses more productive and profitable. “Just listening to the different speakers and what they do successfully, and taking that and seeing different things that we can do better, it’s helped us tremendously,” said Matt Cheney, ROOF ROOF, Greenville, S.C. “It’s our first day, and we’re already sitting here putting together plans and ideas and things that we can do — and not just waiting until the beginning of our year to implement it, but start doing it now.”
“That was one of the best things about it,” agreed David Foster, Foster Roofing, Brooksville, Fla. “Everything you heard today you can take home and use. There’s no doubt about it.”
“I would absolutely consider coming back,” Cheney added. “Seeing these guys out there and what they’re doing and helping the community — it makes you proud to be a roofer.”
Contractor to Contractor
The more than 370 roofing professionals who attended Best of Success this year also took advantage of the unique opportunity to network, share ideas and experiences, and form crucial relationships with their peers.
“You know what’s great about talking to contractors from other parts of the country? It’s that I’m not competing with those contractors,” explained Steve Little of KPost. “So I can get an idea from a guy from Chicago or San Francisco or Kansas City or Miami, and I can bring it back to my marketplace, and it’s fresh — and that’s what I like. I like to be the fresh contractor in the market, the innovator.”
Robert LaBelle, LaBelle Roofing, Wayland, Mass., added, “I absolutely got some great ideas not only from the speakers, but from guys I’ve been talking with. Networking with others contractors is probably the most fun thing and where I got some really good ideas.”
“We’re creating life-long relationships here, long-time friends,” Donels said. “Some of my best friends are people I see three times a year at roofing conventions, and to get the younger generation involved in that earlier I think is just going to do great things for the industry in the future.”
The manufacturer and distributor representatives on site also appreciated the opportunities for in-person interaction. “I liked how small and intimate it was,” said Michelle Miller, Seaman Corporation, Wooster, Ohio. “I really enjoyed the fact that there were so many contractors who were just willing to openly talk to each other about current issues in roofing. It’s very refreshing.”
“I think the contractors, the manufacturers, the distributors — we all got a lot out of it,” agreed Kerry Brooks, Royal Adhesives & Sealants, Glastonbury, Conn. “When we are able to talk to contractors at events like Best of Success, we are getting actual feedback from the field. We aren’t hearing things through other people, we’re hearing things from the guys that are actually using our products.”
The Roofing Contractor team thanked all of the event’s attendees, past and present speakers, and sponsors for their participation and support. “The people that are helping us build our legacy are the speakers,” Bloom said. “Thank you for taking the time to share your stories. I also want to take a moment to thank our sponsors because clearly none of this would be possible without their support.”
This year’s sponsors included 3M, ABC Supply, AccuLynx, Allied Building Products, APOC, BAK/Hapco Inc., Black Rhino, Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence (CARE), CertainTeed, Dataforma, EagleView Technologies, Eagle Roofing Products, Equipter, FCS Control, GAF, GripRite, Hunter Panels, IKO, improveit! 360, KARNAK Corporation, Johns Manville, National Roofing Partners (NRP), Owens Corning, Polyglass U.S.A., PreSalesTracker.com, Qualcraft Industries, Royal Adhesives & Sealants, Roofing Supply Group (RSG), SRS Distribution, TAMKO Building Products, and the United Association of Storm Restoration Contractors (UASRC).
Roofing Contractor is excited to announce that next year’s event will return to The Wigwam Resort in Phoenix Sept. 21-22, 2015. For more information, visit www.bestofsuccessconference.com.
Best of Success Seminars
- Minimize Risk and Maximize Profit
- Invest in Your Service Department
- Develop a Culture of Safety
- Take Action to Help Prevent Burdensome Regulations
- Have a Great Safety Program — And Make Sure You Can Prove It
- Use Creative Communication to Win Customers
- Fall in Love With Your Clients
- Empower Employees With a Culture of Appreciation
- Learn All You Can About Solar
- Excel in Sales by Practicing the Fundamentals
- Reach Out to the Younger Generation to Build Your Workforce
- Target Your Audience and Convert More Leads
- Make Sure You are in Compliance With Health Care Legislation
- Develop a Healthy Company Culture
- Know How to Handle OSHA Inspections
- Don't Let Your Guard Down When It Comes to Safety
- Recognize the Benefits of Community Service
- Keep an Eye on Capitol Hill