Tom Truelson started roofing homes as a way to earn cash during high school and college, and after a short stint as a teacher returned to the work to help a friend. Looking back 10 years later, he’s built a career still on the rise — and more importantly, also discovered his life’s passion.
RC: What type of work does your company do?
TT: 1st Choice Roofing Co. started a little over 11 years as strictly a residential roof replacement company. It has now transformed into a commercial, specialty (tile, slate and copper) and residential roofing company as well as a stand-alone service department. This year we will be about 55 percent commercial roof installs, 25 percent service and maintenance and 20 percent residential roof installs.
RC: What’s your role with the company and how do you fit into its success?
TT: I started in the field as a laborer, over time moved to foreman, then sales and that progressed into management, to where I am today.
Although we’re a roofing company that repairs and installs roofs, we still attest to the idea that 75 percent of what we do every day is customer service.
RC: Do you believe your age gives you an advantage?
TT: I think in my instance, it’s helped me relate better to employees both older than myself because I’ve done the work in the field and had the experience to back up what I’m saying. Regarding younger workers, I’m still able to relate to them on very different levels professionally and personally. Most employees know that I started in the field and was able to work my way to where I am today, which helps in a lot of different situations.
RC: Is there a generational difference within your own company? If so, what are the biggest benefits/challenges?
TT: Occasionally, there is on roofing crews, which is typically unavoidable. There may be communication or work-ethic disconnects that need to be worked out, but in large, I think helping each one of us understand how we work and what motivates others helps everyone understand that we’re all on the same team trying to accomplish one goal.
RC: What area of your roofing business are you the most passionate about?
TT: Every part … top to bottom. From interviewing future employees to meeting new customers to helping develop new strategic planning for the future, there isn’t much about the industry that I don’t like. The technology is always evolving in roofing, but at the core, it’s still working with great people that helps facilitate a great company and working environment.
RC: How has technology impacted your company?
TT: We’ve instituted using new sales software … and software for our production and service departments. Both have helped us pinpoint our strengths and weaknesses in the field and in front of customers as we continue to add more pieces to this puzzle, and work at developing a better level of customer service and sense of professionalism to our industry.
All of our salesmen work strictly off iPads. All foreman have smart phones, which helps with the communication between the field and management. Technology, in my opinion, has been crucial in our growth to help track sales and production, which ultimately leads to a better customer service experience.
RC: What excites you about the future?
TT: Continued growth is the goal. Creating more jobs for more people in the area and more opportunities to meet potential customers to make more relationships. The goal is to be the most trusted and reliable roofing company around.