For a decade, Roofing Contractor’s Best of Success conference has brought some of the most innovative and inspiring people in the roofing industry together for a unique learning and networking experience that’s unrivaled in the business. The 11th annual installment in Phoenix in September was no exception.
Not only did the two-day conference set a record with more than 450 registered attendees — and more than 400 participating on site — but more roofing contractors from around the country took advantage of the opportunity to engage with the conference digitally via webinars. Webinars are available on-demand for free at roofingcontractor.com until Dec. 21.
Roofing contractors, industry experts, distributors and manufacturers converged again at the Wigwam Resort in suburban Phoenix for an intensive, information-filled experience. Best of Success showcased dynamic contractors, consultants and industry leaders sharing valuable insights about what makes them successful before a roomful of peers, and even competitors.
Roofing Contractor Publisher Jill Bloom kicked off the event by recounting the conference’s humble beginnings, and its ultimate purpose of creating a serious, yet collegial atmosphere for roofing contractors to share ideas and improve their businesses. Ideally, she said she hoped roofing contractors would come away with an experience that they don’t get anywhere else in the industry. Especially tools to stay focused, to keep on fighting for that next job, next technique, or additional strategy that takes their companies to the next level.
“Relationships in this industry are unlike anything I’ve experienced,” she said during her opening remarks. “It’s our goal that everyone who attends BOS feels like family. Because the roofing industry is family.”
“I’m asking everyone to let down your guard and share your exciting moments and your fears and failures – so your piers can learn from you, help you or join in celebrating your successes!”
To help illustrate her point, Bloom shared an inspiring message of resiliency embodied by Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham. Graham, 29, overcame numerous obstacles to become one of the best players at his position in the National Football League. A mouse with a fighting spirit that could have drowned in a bucket of cream, but instead churned it into butter, according to a television commercial depicting his ascent to stardom.
“Many of us didn’t grow up with as many challenges as Jimmy Graham, however, from what I can see today – there’s a lot of butter in this room!” she said.
The first day of educational sessions featured industry experts, motivational speakers and roofing contractors who shared their unique success stories. Including:
- “The Cost of ‘Eventually’ in Selling Roofing Jobs,” by sales expert Ron Marks of Southwestern Consulting.
- “The State of the Roofing Industry for Hispanics in 2015” with Ricardo Gonzalez, founder and CEO of Bilingual America.
- “Lead Generation – How I Learned the Hard Way” with Bo Duggan, owner of America’s Best Remodeling.
- “You Want Me to do What?” with Greg Hayne, owner of Roof Management.
- “Lead With Purpose,” with Andrew Schmidt, co-owner of Core Contractors.
- “Going Social: How to Maximize Your Business Marketing via Social Media,” with Bill Combes, chief social officer with No Time for Social.
- “Risk vs. Reward: How to Experiment While Strategically Expanding Your Roofing Business,” with Jack Scalo, president and CEO of Burns & Scalo Roofing.
- “Crisis: Management: Proactive Steps to Limit Your Liability,” with Christian Madsen, President of Madsen Roofing & Waterproofing, and Allen Brooks, senior vice president of Gallagher Construction Services.
- “Exit Planning – How to Valuate Your Business,” with Mark Santacrose, CEO of Tecta America.
- Day two of the conference was just as busy and informational with the following presentations:
- “National Roofing Contractors Association Update,” with NRCA CEO Bill Good.
- “Coaching, Training and Self Improvement Never Stop,” with Tim Leeper, of Tim Leeper Roofing.
- “How to Build Your Bench Strength,” with John Kalkreuth, president of Kalkreuth Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc.
- “DRONES: What You Must Know Today!” A panel discussion with Tanya Michelle Brown, PhD., lead research engineer and director of hail research at IBHS; Patrick Lohman, COO PrecionHawk; and Charlie Mondello, president of the Property Drone Consortium.
- “Roofing is a Team Sport,” with Gregg Wallick, president and CEO of Best Roofing.
Español, Por Favor
For the first time in its 11-year history, Best of Success became a fertile learning ground exclusively for Spanish speakers in the industry through a special breakout session geared for Latinos. The two-hour workshop was facilitated by Ricardo Gonzalez of Bilingual America, and covered a variety of topics from leadership and workforce development to navigating the American corporate structure.
Among the discussion points were Gonzalez’s six keys to success in the U.S. roofing industry.
More than two dozen Latino workers with different levels of experience from multiple companies filled a conference room for a rather informal discussion about the state of the industry, from their perspective.
In addition to Gonzalez, participants got to hear and interact with leading voices in the roofing industry, including KPost President Steve Little, Greg Bloom of Allied Building Products, and NRCA CEO Bill Good.
“One of our goals was to send a message about how to lead in the American enterprise and how to work with business leadership,” said Gonzalez, who began working on the concept of the breakout session with RC a few years ago.
“We were able to create a forum where they could have access to and engage with some of the top leaders in the industry and that’s important.”
Though unseasonable rain in Phoenix helped with the availability of contractors, some business leaders said they wanted their employees to take full advantage of the opportunity.
“I’ve been attending seminars that have been put on by Ricardo for about a year now so when Roofing Contractor planned the breakout session, I was eager to expose some of my guys to Ricardo’s message,” said Chuck Chapman, president of Tecta America Arizona.
As Bloom described, Roofing Contractor prides itself on offering a unique platform for the industry to improve and for contractors to grow their business through Best of Success. This year didn’t disappoint, even according to those that attended previously.
“Every year the conference seems to have fresh new topics about the roofing industry, and that allows me to take back valuable information and apply it to my own business,” said Stathie Panayi, president of Adams Roofing Professionals in suburban Chicago. Phoenix was Panayi’s fifth Best of Success conference, and he said he uses tips specifically from Gonzalez’s presentations to help deal with the labor issues he’s currently experiencing.
That and the mix of knowledge he’s gleaned from peers who have ‘walked the walk’ and lived through similar business experiences, made the time investment worthwhile.
“The comradery that takes place at the networking events is unreal,” he explained. “Attendees are able to sort of let their guard down and really talk about the success or failure that they’ve experienced.”
Adam Olschewske, owner of Marshal Exteriors in upstate New York, has attended multiple Best of Success conferences since starting his own company and believes the information he’s absorbed has helped his business grow.
“I enjoy giving other contractors suggestions that worked for me and sharing what worked for them. It’s really one of the times you can share like that because it’s not in a setting where competition matters,” he described. “Nobody’s there to compete with each other, they’re there to improve and for the good of the industry”
In addition to the record number of roofing contractors in attendance, the 2015 Best of Success featured the most sponsors since the event’s inception. That included: ABC Supply, AccuLynx, Allied Building Products, American Weatherstar, APOC, BAK/Hapco Inc., Black Rhino, Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence (CARE), CertainTeed, Contractor Nation, Dataforma, Duro-Last, EagleView Technologies, Eagle Roofing Products, Equipter, FollowUp Power, GAF, GenFlex, FiberTite, Hunter Panels, Inspire Roofing Products, IKO, improveit! 360, Johns Manville, Malarkey Roofing Products, Owens Corning, Polyglass, Quest Construction Products, Royal Adhesives & Sealants, Roofing Supply Group (RSG), SRS Distribution, TAMKO Building Products, Titanium Synthetic Roofing Underlayment, Tropical Roofing Products, and TRUFAST.
Roofing Contractor is excited to announce that next year’s event will be back in Marco Island, Fla.