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Best of Success 2016: Learning from the Roofing Industry's Best in Marco Island

December 2, 2016
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Roofing contractors, industry experts, distributors and manufacturers again brought their best business practices and open minds to the Marriott in Marco Island, Fla. for Roofing Contractor’s 2016 Best of Success conference. For the 12th straight year, the event drew hundreds of roofing professionals from around North America for an intensive, information-filled experience that showcased dynamic contractors, consultants and industry leaders with a common goal: uplifting the roofing industry to the next level.

Roofing Contractor Publisher Jill Bloom kicked off the event reminding attendees about the purpose of bringing the roofing industry together outside of the trade show environment. It’s to build a cordial atmosphere where roofing professionals from across the continent — even competitors — can come together and learn how to improve their businesses, largely from one another.

“The most important component is networking and relationships,” she said. “This conference is based on the core idea that no one of us is smarter than all of us put together. That everyone in this room has something to teach everyone else.”

Feels like Family

After asking for first-time attendees to raise their hands — and seeing the majority in the converted ballroom with arms up — Bloom assured the crowd that there are probably more similarities between contractors in the room than differences, regardless of where they call home.

Since the first Best of Success in Myrtle Beach in 2003, more than 3,500 contractors have attended the two-day conference and heard presentations from more than 260 speakers. They’ve shared their stories and experiences, whether of success or failure, and often inspire others in the room to improve their personal and business acumen. But having the right attitude is essential.

“I’m challenging everyone here to let down your guard,” she said. “Share with the other roofing contractors what’s happening in your business.”

As a result, attendees don’t just leave with ideas, but with new relationships among a roomful of peers that can change their business for the better.

“I’ve been to the first and every single Best of Success that they’ve had,” said Ken Kelly, president of Kelly Roofing in nearby Naples, Fla. “I came back from the first one with a notebook full of ideas, and I keep coming back because it’s proven so valuable.”

 Kelly, a former Best of Success speaker, said his company has grown since that first conference from three employees to more than 100 who produced roughly $16 million in revenue last year. That was good for 56th on Roofing Contractor’s 2016 Top 100 List

Arry Housh, founder of Arry’s Roofing in Tarpon Springs, Fla., said Best of Success has undoubtedly helped his family business, and he credits the family-style atmosphere.

“All of us have brought something home with us, but the greatest thing about this is that we get to talk to each other. We find out who each other is, what we do, what we’re about and then exchange information,” he explained. “We’re here to learn, share, and be more successful.”

Day One

Highlights from day one included presentations on a wide variety of topics ranging from sales tactics, employee recruitment, safety and establishing a peer group to help company leaders improve their business practices and management styles.

Attendees also got a closer look at how the team at NMC Exteriors & Remodeling from Plymouth, Minn., focuses not just on high-quality customer care, but being good stewards of the industry and proving their dedication to the communities they serve. They do it by getting actively involved in charitable causes and using those opportunities to improve communication not only with the customer base, but among themselves as a team.

“We do what’s right for the customer, always,” said COO Molly Mortensen. “There’s a lot of fraud in the industry and we have to stand firm to our principles and stand above the rest. We don’t so much worry about the competition, but on being the best version of us.”

Day one’s formal sessions culminated with the announcement of RC’s Residential and Commercial Contractors of the Year — the annual acknowledgement of roofing companies from around the country that exhibit industry best practices and uphold high standards for employee and customer care.

“We’re very humbled by this,” said Able Roof/Mr. Roof President Jim Ziminski, who accepted the award for Residential Roofing Contractor of the Year on behalf of the company on the Best of Success stage. “It’s very humbling to be nominated and to win this award, and we do our best to try and uphold the best standards in the roofing industry.”

Following the awards, the crowd gathered in a beachfront tent for a networking and social event with music, appetizers and cocktails.

Day Two

An energetic group of speakers followed day one with important — at times moving — presentations on how to handle the sudden loss of a critical employee, improving the prospect experience, and the latest developments in solar roofing, drone usage and politics.

Also featured on day two was an insightful presentation by Phil Owens on the importance of planning your business exit and the twists and turns that can happen along the way.

“When you start a business you’ve got your head down, you’re building the business and you’re running it. You’re not thinking about getting out,” said Owens, president of WeatherSure Systems in Denver.

“By far, the most important thing we as entrepreneurs tend not to do is set up the systems and processes so that not only is the business scalable, but in the event of your absence, for whatever reason, the business can continue to function.”

Before the conference concluded, Craig Brightup, CEO of the Brightup Group, offered some predictions for the November election. Though he didn’t forecast then Republican-nominee Donald Trump’s presidency, Brightup, a political consultant with more than 30 years of experience in the Beltway, did share an emerging trend that ultimately led to the celebrity businessman’s stunning upset victory.

“We’re seeing a surge in the white voter cohort around the country among white voters that couldn’t connect with (other candidates),” he said.

Brightup also correctly predicted the results of critical votes that allowed the GOP to retain control of the U.S. Senate.

He said if both happened, roofing contractors would have an excellent chance to overturn overbearing regulations impacting their businesses, perhaps as early as the end of 2017.

If so, it will surely be a topic of discussion for speakers and attendees of the next Best of Success. Roofing Contractor is excited to announce that we’re headed back to the desert next fall. Whether you were there for Marco Island or not, we invite you to be part of the industry’s best by attending Best of Success 2017 on Sept. 18-19, 2017 in Tucson, Ariz. For more information, visit www.BestofSuccessConference.com.

Best of Success Sessions

Check out webinars from Best of Success on demand until December 26!

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