The path to success for Lexington, Ky.-based AIC Roofing & Construction has been far from easy and Blaine Adams, president and owner, is the first to admit it.
However, the 38-year-old said what he identifies as “failures” along the way have ultimately proved most beneficial for the company.
“I often reflect and wonder how my life and business would be different had I not went through such hardship,” said Adams. “I can say whole-heartedly that I am a better person as a result. I am engaged and motivated in a way that I never was before, and I am thankful for that.”
Today, AIC Roofing & Construction serves the Lexington area, working in both residential and commercial roofing. The company is certified GAF Master Elite Contractor, Owens Corning Preferred Contractor and CertainTeed Master Craftsman.
Adams said he wants AIC — an acronym based on the first letters of affordability, integrity, and consistency — to be the “most relied on and trusted roofing company” in the Lexington market.
He told RC how the company plans to do just that, and how it arrived to where it is today.
RC: How long have you been in the roofing industry and how did you get your start?
B.A.: In 2003, I was recently out of college and looking to get into the working world. (My father) introduced me to someone who designed other types of specialty coatings and I was able to get access to a variety of coatings jobs through him. I primarily did elastomeric roof coatings, but did do a variety of other applications as well. I found out quickly that there was much more opportunity for general roofing than there was for roof coatings. In 2006, I decided to do away with coating applications altogether and focus on roofing repair and replacements only.
RC: Does your career have any major milestones?
B.A.: When the great recession of 2008-09 occurred I was woefully unprepared, and as a result, the conditions exposed the flaws in my “fly by the seat of my pants” business model. It was during this time that I realized that if I was going to survive in the roofing industry I would have to better define who I was as a contractor, and who my customer was. I began to transform AIC into a residential roofing company. By the end of 2011 the transition to a residential roofing contractor was complete; however, the job was far from over. It would require several more years for me to repair the financial damage that the company had sustained.
RC: What are the top reasons the company is successful?
B.A.: AIC is successful due to our dedication to our founding ideals, which are affordability, integrity, and consistency. It is these three values which guide our day to day operations, and how we see ourselves in the marketplace.
RC: What are the big challenges in your market?
B.A.: The first would be competition from owner/operators who are able to consistently underbid my company due to differences in overhead costs. Some of these contractors can be very low quality, and in some cases it can be very risky to even let them on your property. Another challenge we face is pricing inconsistencies during times of high material pricing volatility. This is something that crosses all levels of contractors, from the owner/operator enterprise, to comparably sized companies, and even larger.
RC: How has your company changed in recent years?
B.A.: In the recent years AIC has become much more efficient and effective at delivering the sold job to the customer, and doing so more profitably.
RC: Do you see a generational difference within your own company? What are the biggest benefits and challenges it poses?
B.A.: Within my organization, I am surrounded by staff and associates who are all approximately the same age, and that is about 10-15 years older than me. Overall, I believe this adds strength and credibility to the company. Generally speaking, when combined with knowledge and professionalism, life experience lends a certain comfort to the customer. Generally, customers see people in this age range as stable, possessing a solid work ethic, and more capable in recognizing pitfalls associated with their particular job.
RC: Do you see your age as an advantage or disadvantage in this business?
B.A.: My age gives me credibility with those older than me, they see someone 38 as relatable, steady, and possessing good personal characteristics and discipline, that younger men may not fully appreciate. On the opposite side, I am only 38 and that gives me credibility with younger people because I am still rather young. I have a bit of a younger outlook on doing business, culture, and on technology’s integration and value within the workplace.
RC: What are your future plans for the business?
B.A.: Establishing AIC as a multi-location enterprise is a vision for the future that I look forward to turning into a reality over the coming years.