A few years ago, Chris Zazo and Tim Leeper were both successful roofing contractors who had a strong desire to give something back to their communities — they just weren’t sure how to do it. This year the two men teamed up at Best of Success to share their experiences launching their own community service programs. They live in different parts of the country and used different methods, but in the end, their message was the same. Both tapped into their passions to help others in their communities, and ended up helping themselves and their businesses in the process.
In 2013, Zazo, the president and CEO of Aspenmark Roofing & Solar in Dallas, founded Roof Angels, a nonprofit organization that provides free roofing services for area families in need. “In my 20s, I was the biggest taker you ever saw,” Zazo said. “In my 40s, I was looking for a sense of community. We decided to form a foundation to give back, so we did what we knew, and that was roofing. We founded the organization in our industry.”
Zazo and his employees not only found the experience personally rewarding, but the company benefited from the coverage the program received from local newspapers, TV news and social media outlets. “The boomerang effect is the PR you get from doing something nice for the community,” Zazo said. “It’s OK to profit from nonprofit.”
Tim Leeper, the owner of Leeper Roofing, in Nashville, Tenn., also felt the need to help the community he served. “I believe I owe those people something because they believed in our company enough to write a check for $8 thousand or $10 thousand to us,” Leeper said. “We owe them something. You can’t take, take, take and give nothing back.”
Taking his cue from the Nashville music scene, Leeper founded the Music City Guitar Tour, which supports local nonprofit organizations by auctioning guitars autographed by celebrities.
Leeper has found that the company’s efforts to help out the community have helped cement its reputation as a company that operates with integrity. “Reputation is everything,” he said. “I’m extremely guarded about the perception of our company because that’s all we have.”
He urged other contractors to embrace community service projects. “Ask yourself one question,” Leeper said. “Is my community a better place because I am in it?”