Young Guns: Meet the Roofing Contractors Shaping the Industry's Future
Energetic, successful and on the cutting edge, the Young Guns are making their marks in the roofing industry.
Roofing contractors in their 20s and 30s are more than just new faces in an established industry; they represent roofing’s future. Along with fresh business perspectives and practices, these next-generation contractors are the driving force behind the implementation of the industry’s latest technology. Routinely showcasing Young Guns as part of our comprehensive coverage, Roofing Contractor is excited to introduce the people who are taking their companies — and the industry — to the next level.
Austin Anderson: The Rainmaker
A one-time college football player, 25-year-old Austin Anderson now scores his biggest goals for Elbert Construction in Noblesville, Ind.
Not born into the roofing trade, Austin nearly missed his chance to become a part of it. The former placekicker and captain of the McGill University (Montreal, Canada) football team, he tried out for the Indianapolis Colts but was cut. “I had just gotten married so I needed to get a real job,” recalled Austin. “I initially turned Elbert Construction down for what I thought would be a more ‘glamorous’ career, but the company’s commitment to training drew me back.”
Joining Elbert Construction in late 2012, Austin showed his commitment to the roofing company almost immediately. “I was able to produce $1 million in sales revenue in my first year,” he said. “I was then promoted to sales manager at the beginning of 2014, and was again promoted to vice president of sales in January 2015.”
While he might be a rainmaker with his personal sales performance, Austin shows a maturity beyond his years while managing Elbert’s older workforce. “I make every effort to show them how much I care and how sincere I am in helping them succeed,” he explained. “Implementing Rodney Webb’s sales system at Elbert has been a huge help; it’s the single biggest reason the company has been able to grow over 300 percent in the last three years.”
The time and energy Austin puts into his career, he said, is something of which he’s most proud. He also listed mastering Elbert’s sales system, studying the technical details of its products and production processes and training his team among his many accomplishments. He added, “I’m excited about the addition of Presalestracker.com, which is helping us build one of the strongest sales teams in the country!”
Being part of a solid company has played a large role in Austin’s success. After T.J. Elbert started the business in his garage in 2008, Elbert Construction evolved into a $10 million company. It was included in Roofing Contractor’s 2014 Top 100 List, and has won four consecutive Angie’s List Super Service awards, the Service Excellence Award from Guild Quality and the Bright Future Award from Owens Corning. The company is a GAF MasterElite Contractor.
“I could not say that I am proud of ‘achieving’ the position of vice president of sales because it wasn’t of my own doing,” Austin commented. “T.J. Elbert has placed an abundance of trust in me and has given me every opportunity I could ever want. I’ve also had the most fantastic teachers and mentors along the way to prepare me.”
Having recently moved into his latest role with the company, Austin said he plans to help drive Elbert Construction’s continued growth. He explained, “We’re doing many things to systematize our business so that we can scale operations and help more people in more markets while retaining the same level of excellent customer service and workmanship. I’m also encouraged by organizations such as the United Association of Storm Restoration Contractors, and I hope to help to push these efforts forward.”
Richard and Stephanie Gaydosik: Perfect Partners
The husband-and-wife team of Richard and Stephanie Gaydosik helps keep things flowing smoothly at ProTouch Restoration in Cincinnati. This allows the company to continue its important work as a storm restoration general contractor.
Seven months after Hurricane Ike struck Ohio in September 2008, Donald Baldwin began storm restoration contractor training. By July 2010, the company now known as ProTouch Restoration opened its doors in Cincinnati. Nearly two years later, ProTouch became one of the founding members of the United Association of Storm Restoration Contractors (UASRC). Today, the business has four offices — Cincinnati; Dayton, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; and Indianapolis — and continues to specialize in commercial renovation and disaster recovery.
Being Donald Baldwin’s daughter, Stephanie, 34, began working at height rather early. “I first stepped foot onto a roof at the age of 14,” said Stephanie. “I helped my father and his crew with site cleanup and running materials up and down the ladder.” Many years later, Donald would persuade his daughter to leave her career in dentistry and join him as the company’s bookkeeper. She self-trained for the position by studying Quickbooks, and over the years she progressed to controlling the company’s finances.
Stephanie’s husband Richard, 32, joined the company five years ago. Before that, he had a successful career in various land-development and home-building companies. “My responsibilities at ProTouch have more or less stayed the same,” he said. “As director of business development, I oversee sales for all of our markets as well as handle estimating and supplementing.”
Since ProTouch is a storm restoration general contractor that works with the insurance industry, its technology focuses upon weather-related apps and websites. As far as ProTouch’s management systems are concerned, the company uses Acculynx, Quickbooks, EagleView and Xactimate. “Our use of technology hasn’t resulted in a generational gap because we have a very young company with an average age of 38,” Stephanie explained. “They seem to have no problem utilizing smartphones, laptops and similar devices.”
While Stephanie said she’s achieved many milestones, she described speaking at Roofing Contractor’s 2013 Best of Success conference in Phoenix as a career highlight. “It was a pleasure giving advice to several other companies that are UASRC members,” she explained. As for Richard, he considers his most significant achievement to be something a bit closer to home. “Working with my family has been the most fun and rewarding experience to date,” he said.
As is typical for roofing industry Young Guns, Richard and Stephanie have big plans for their professional futures. She’s currently preparing to become ProTouch’s chief operating officer and eventually, its CEO. Together, the couple plans to grow the company’s commercial sales in current and new markets, while also developing proprietary technologies. “We have a saying that we are always ‘pushing to the top,’” Richard said. “Stephanie and I are going to keep working as a team until we become the best we can be!”
Paul Goodman: His Father’s Son
A second-generation roofing contractor, Paul Goodman is continuing the tradition of success at the roofing division of his father’s company, Goodman Construction LLC of Oklahoma City.
After getting out of the U.S. Army in 1976, Paul’s father Dave Goodman founded Goodman Construction. Back then, Dave was laying shingles for $1 per bundle, usually in the dead of winter. Eventually, the company grew to include three cities and a 24-person sales team, and became known for its slate and tile expertise. Today, Goodman Construction handles all types of roofing and construction work.
When Paul’s parents divorced 20 years ago, his father closed the company’s offices to work from home. While this scaled back operations, it provided Paul the benefits of having a full-time dad willing to teach his son a trade. “After I graduated college, my dad made me start at the bottom of the company,” explained Paul. “Over the last six years, I’ve moved through the ranks and eventually transitioned into running the roofing company while my dad has taken over the homebuilding side.”
Being a 30-year-old roofing professional, Paul has been instrumental in implementing Goodman Construction’s technological transition. He said, “We use Apple products exclusively — Macs, iPhones and iPads — and we embrace the mindset that ‘simplicity is key.’ We also use drone photography as needed.” In the future, Paul said he’d like to see solar-panel shingles become the norm for new roof installations.
With a transition to the latest technologies comes generational differences that Paul greets with an understanding beyond his years. He explained, “While I like to think that I’ve brought my dad over from the dark side, I also realize that these innovations weren’t available when he was my age. I also draw upon his more than 40 years’ worth of industry knowledge, experience and contacts whenever I need it because in the end, he’s not just my business partner, he’s my father, and he always knows what’s best.”
While being a young, up-and-coming roofing contractor can be exciting, Paul said there are times when his youth works against him. “I have a young face, even for my age,” he said. “Because of this, there have been plenty of times I’ve needed to pull my dad in to be a mouthpiece for me with clients who don’t take my seriously.” Through the combined efforts of father and son, Goodman construction eventually attained Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) status with the U.S. government, and is presently installing its first slate roof at Ft. Sill, a U.S. Army post in Lawton, Okla.
Having a passion for being proactive regarding legislation and policymaking, Paul and Dave are members of the United Association of Storm Restoration Contractors. “Our group has a lobby and meets several times a year to ensure we stay ahead of the game,” Paul said. “Anyone intent on conducting old-school business with honor and integrity while still being on the leading edge of the industry should seriously consider joining.”
As a young professional, Paul is driven to succeed, and he has big plans for Goodman Construction. The company currently is positioned to begin hiring more salespeople, he said, and he also plans to continue with systemization while furthering his real estate interests. He added, “The endgame is recurring income, both from the roofing side and from the real estate side. It’s one thing to make money; it’s another to keep it.”
Ryan C. Westfall: The Reinvention Man
Ryan C. Westfall joined his father’s company, Westfall Roofing, at the start of the recession. Using his business and technological savvy, he’s helped make the company a premiere roofing contractor in Tampa Bay, Fla.
Westfall Roofing is the definition of a family business. Originally known as Westfall Construction, the company was founded in 1989 by Ryan’s parents, Kirk and Maria Westfall. They’re joined in the business by Kirk’s brother, Paul, and even Ryan’s wife, Anissa, once worked at the company. It should come as no surprise then that 30-year-old Ryan is no stranger to the roofing trade. “As a child, I would hang out with my dad on jobsites and during the summer help the crews,” recalled Ryan.
After graduating from college with a business degree, Ryan officially became an employee of Westfall Construction on July 1, 2008. Though the company had been installing up to 30 roofs per week by his estimation, things fell flat with the beginning of the recession, which coincided with him joining the company. During this time, Ryan helped rebrand the business, turning his attention to residential roof replacements. “Our in-home sales consisted of a sheet of paper for our replacement proposal and a friendly conversation,” he said.
Using his iPad to pitch roofs, one of Ryan’s first big decisions was taking the company’s in-home estimates in a paperless direction. He also added Salesforce, a CRM tool that helps him and his team manage leads and customers, and creates electronic sales proposals that are presented to the customer via an iPad, then delivered through email. “By 2012, our in-home sales process was fully tuned while our production side continued doing what it does best,” he explained.
As a Young Gun looking to make his mark, Ryan continues to implement modern technology at Westfall Roofing. “We also utilize a sales and production pipeline for our leads and customers,” he explained. “This is also managed by Salesforce, and our office staff utilizes email, text and phone to communicate with homeowners.”
While Westfall Roofing currently has 50 employees and a sales staff of four, Ryan plans for more long-term expansion. He explained, “We will always foster the culture that we believe will allow Westfall Roofing to continue to be a leader in Tampa Bay and other markets. We’re hoping to open our first satellite office this year, and maybe create a roof maintenance division. Solar and windows might also be in our future.”
As he furthers his journey as a professional roofing contractor, Ryan said he continues to respect the foundations upon which Westfall Roofing was built. “The first generation paved the way for what and how we do things now,” he said. “Their wisdom is what made it all possible.”