The mission statement at Damschroder Roofing, Inc., is pretty simple and straight to the point: “Your Roof, Our Reputation.”
Behind its simplicity, however, is an ironclad commitment to fulfilling the mission and making the customer completely happy that’s powered the business into a leading commercial roofing company in northern Ohio for more than four decades.
Based in Fremont — located just off the Ohio Turnpike corridor between Toledo and Cleveland — Damschroder is a commercial roof installer of heat-welded, single ply membranes only. The company is home to roughly 30 employees that embody the business philosophies of teamwork and high-quality care when it comes to commercial roof installations and customer satisfaction.
“Damschroder Roofing realizes that each person on the team is vitally important for the success of the company as a whole,” said Mike Vodika, director of operations. “We function as a family, we encourage honest open communication and teamwork mentalities in all departments.”
To help facilitate that open communication, the company is specifically structured to keep accountability and productivity a high priority, Vodika explained. Staff is split up between sales, project management and roof installation departments, and a full-time maintenance division.
“Our competition would consider some of the overhead we have as unneeded or wasteful. However, the goal of any additional employee must always be for the good of the team and the streamlining of the pipeline,” he said.
A Roofing Evolution
Dave Damschroder founded the company in 1976 and focused primarily on general construction projects and home building. With continued encouragement from a local Duro-Last sales representative, he completed his first roofing project a few years later and was so impressed by the dynamics of the project that he eventually moved exclusively into commercial roofing.
By the time he joined the company in 2001 as a project manager, Vodika said that Damschroder as a company was well entrenched in the commercial roofing market, but has never stayed stagnant and incorporates technology and proven business practices to evolve. He said among the major milestones he’s witnessed was the implementation of the project management division, which allows the sales force to concentrate on selling, installers to exclusively install, and increases the customer engagement during the roofing process.
“(We’re) virtually inviting the customer to experience the project as it unfolds,” explained Vodika, who met Damschroder while on a volunteer building mission in Africa. The founder has since sold the business, which is now owned by President Dana Howell.
The ownership change didn’t impact how the company did business, and enhanced both the employee and customer experience.
Workers have quality healthcare benefits and retirement plans, and profit sharing bonuses paid out per job installed based on quality and efficiency. The company also hosts family parties throughout the year, including an annual kick-off event with a 8’x12’ mock up roof challenge for all installers. They encourage installers to compete in a competition, and encourage any future or past customers as well as manufacturer representatives to join in for what becomes one of the favorite events of the year.
Damschroder also recently established a revolving-chair board of directors that’s comprised of one team member from every department. They participate with the goal of encouraging employees to buy-in and have a voice in the organization’s day-to-day operations.
The consistent commitment to quality has earned long-term customers, as well as numerous partnerships with leading manufacturers in the roofing industry. One of the longest-lasting relationships is with Duro-Last, which partnered with Damscroder from nearly the beginning about 40 years ago.
“They have treated us like family the whole time,” Vodika explained. “As everyone who has been in this industry for any amount of time knows, the roofing industry is extremely interconnected.”
Vodika also said the company emphasizes partnerships with other local businesses and suppliers, which has proved profitable over the long-term.
“We are a local contractor and we really try to emphasize local companies and community purchasing awareness,” he said.
Safety and training are also an integral part of how they operate. Damschroder recently rolled out a two-hour training program that goes into effect every rain day that cancels a job installation. All employees are required to meet in the shop and discuss and train on a pressing issue ranging from proper heat-welding techniques and new installation procedures, to advanced safety training or customer service.
There are a number of long-standing roofing contractors with good reputations working in northern Ohio’s robust market, yet Damschroder has managed to stand out on several occasions. The company was honored with the 2016 Excellence in Roofing Award from the Ohio Valley Chapter of RCI for a difficult full-system install on an elementary school in Columbus.
“The job was extremely detailed from the beginning and the accelerated schedule really tested our company’s ability to manage time and resources,” Vodika said. “The project closed out beautifully and the customers and consultants were extremely happy with the end result.”
In 2013, Damschroder won the contract to repair and replace multiple roofs that were severely damaged by a tornado on the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute branch in Wooster, Ohio. The job had two architects, multiple consultants and a project manager appointed by the university. Damschroder’s experienced crew and open communication style helped information flow through all layers with weekly project updates and regular status reports.
Even when things didn’t go quite as planned. Of all 10 roof sections the company repaired or replaced, there was one recorded leak that just happened to cover a brand new communications system module.
“I laugh because anyone who has been in the industry very long understands the irony of this leak,” Vodika said. “Had it been one foot in any other direction, the equipment would not have been ruined —but that’s just how it goes.”
Taking the good with the bad is essential in forging a business that’s built to last. So is finding a passion within the work that keeps you motivated to grow and improve, Vodika said.
“Teach yourself to love your job and you’ll find that eventually it changes your attitude and outlook on the bad days, makes you enjoy and look forward to the good ones, and helps you learn to be a positive effect on your team,” he explained. “Not every job is perfect, but a right attitude goes so much further than most people even understand.”