With little start-up money, virtually no equipment and a worn out 1973 work truck, Thad Brown decided to look beyond the obstacles to a brighter future for his new roofing business. Now, 25 years later, business is thriving, and Brown’s vision of operating a successful roofing company has come to fruition as Dynamic Alliance, LLC services commercial and industrial roofing needs across the entire state of Wisconsin.
Owned by Brown and his wife, Ruth, Dynamic Alliance, LLC operates out of two locations in Appleton and Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc. It’s also one of the few women-owned roofing businesses in their market, a unique facet to the family operated business.
An entirely re-roofing operation, the company handles mostly commercial jobs (90 percent) with a small amount of residential (10 percent). Complete with seven non-union employees, the team works closely together, performing all maintenance operations.
All in the Family
Brown’s roofing career began in 1979, working alongside his brother doing residential work. In 1985, both moved to Sacramento, Calif. and began working for a local roofing company. It wasn’t until six years later that he decided to relocate to Wisconsin and open his own roofing business.
Learning about contracting at a young age from his uncle, Brown discovered a way to successfully intertwine both work- and family-life, working side by side with his wife, son and daughter.
“We are a family-run business and on a daily basis we keep in contact with each other to touch base with where the company is at,” Brown said.
Brown’s uncle, a veteran independent contractor, ingrained in him the mindset that although self-employment is not always easy, quitting is never the answer. “He told me that at times you will question why you went into business, but you will get the satisfaction that you did the best you could. And, the more jobs you land, the more your reputation will build and grow,” Brown said. It’s positive lessons such as this that have propelled Brown forward year after year, including the winter of 2009, when his family was on the brink of losing their home.
Brown described this experience as both the worst and best in company history. With little time remaining before they would lose their home, Dynamic Alliance received a life-changing call, landing a sizeable contract from Mid-States Aluminum Corp. in Fond du Lac, Wisc.
The Dynamic Alliance team currently travels throughout the entire state of Wisconsin to keep business flourishing, completing projects like Schumann Printers in Fall River, Wisc., as well as BNCW Properties in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc.
Challenging Mother Nature
Keeping their work inside state lines means working through some of the coldest winters in the United States. During peak winter months — December through February — average temperatures in the state’s capital range from 11 to 31 degrees Fahrenheit, according to U.S. Climate Data. Cold temperatures like this can pose serious difficulties for roofers including increased risk of hypothermia, frostbite and falls.
“Generally, the toughest challenges for us come in the form of wind and weather,” Brown explained. He described a particularly challenging job he came across in the mid-1990s. The job involved tearing off a half-lap roof, to then install a modified bitumen roof. Operating solo, with the knowledge of fast incoming rain, Brown worked tirelessly from 5 a.m. until 4 a.m. the following day, eventually completing the job on time, and avoiding any leakage to the building.
“I was a one man show,” Brown said, “But I met the rain and the building did not leak.”
While tough, cold and snowy winters are the most prominent challenges, Brown said there are other obstacles that can also create complications. Those include educating the customer on the ‘why’s’ of using above-average materials and installation techniques. Brown explained that the low-ball price is not always the most affordable choice, nor the most cost effective, and relaying that information to the customer is often challenging.
A Dynamic Team
Brown’s vision for progress starts and ends with his employees and remains constant in this fast-paced market, “Strive for continued education in the field of your expertise; products change, methods change, and codes change,” he said.
The Dynamic Alliance staff also trains regularly on how to respectfully treat customers throughout the roofing construction cycle. It starts with an in-depth survey of each roof, and discovering the needs of the customer. Employees are then instructed to educate the customer on the best choice for their roof, based on their needs and return on investment.
“We honor the contract and fulfill our jobs with the best quality,” Brown said of his employees. The company ensures quality workmanship by following each manufacturer’s guidelines for application in addition to codes subjected by the state and county. Regular inspections on jobsites are completed by trained foreman to guarantee superiority standards and deadlines are met. OSHA guidelines are also strictly followed to warrant safe roofing practices.
Dynamic Alliance’s marketing plan includes techniques like co-op advertising, direct mail and cold-calling. Based on their solid reputation built over the last 25 years, they also receive a great deal of their business through referrals and word of mouth.
“We have traditional values while offering and installing historically proven durable roofing systems,” Brown said. “The jobs we take on, we excel at and we see the contract to completion.”