The founders of SHELL Roofing Solutions built a strong niche for their commercial roofing business by treating it like an energy company. The San Bernardino region of Southern California is rife with light manufacturing and warehousing facilities that serve the dominant technology, aviation and agricultural industries. Saving them money with roofing solutions that maximize the climate and production time under the roof has been the key business model propelling Rudy and Hector Gutierrez’s success.
So it’s no surprise that the next generation of roofers in the family are paying close attention.
“At SHELL Roofing, I have two large influences in the roofing community being (father) Rudy and (uncle) Hector Gutierrez teaching me everything I need to know so that I can push the roofing industry further,” said Matt Gutierrez, project manager. “But I notice that they are a different type of generation of business.”
He and cousin Bryan Herrera have spent the better part of the past decade learning the ropes, but also infusing their own love for technology and connecting with others to help uplift the roofing industry as a whole.
“The roofing industry will need the younger generation to take it as a career opportunity because construction will continue,” Herrera said. “To stay ahead you must adapt to the needs of your clients and to represent the roofing industry well.”
They recently took the time to share the following with RC.
RC: What have you learned from older generations of roofers you've encountered?
MG: Having the older generation aid in my growth in the roofing industry has taught me lots of things already, but the most important is communication. Whether you are communicating with a general contractor or to a project manager, or even your superior, communication is always important when a message needs to be conveyed to move projects along smoothly.
RB: The most important thing in roofing that I have learned is communication. You need to be in contact with your clients and let them know what is going on with their roof. Involving your client in the process of what you are going to do on a roof is a key factor in trust between the company and clients. Internally, as well your company, should always be in sync when working on a project.
RC: What have you taught them, or wish to teach them about entrepreneurship in 2021?
MG: I would like to teach them to trust the next generation with the roofing industry. I’m going to be working, selling, and creating relationships with people in my generation who will understand exactly where I started in roofing. And when the next generation is upon me, I will be worried just as the generation before me was, to hand the industry off to them.
BH: I would like to teach them to be open minded to the different methods for getting clients to your business. You can use advertising on many platforms to get in contact with new clients. I think there needs to be work ethic put back into place for younger employees. Roofing takes skill and it needs the care of someone who is willing to take pride in their job as a roofer.
RC: Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed your career goals/trajectory, and how has the industry responded to the challenge?
MG: Since March 2020 all construction industries have been on high alert about how to go about a pandemic and I am proud to say that SHELL Roofing has made quick and safe adjustments to allow our business to run effectively during this hard time. But it really hasn’t slowed me down from what I was focused on before the pandemic. For the most part, it made me work harder on what needs to be done here.
BH: COVID-19 has not changed my trajectory, it has just made me realize how much this industry is dependent on workers and their safety. We need to make sure that the health of the workers on roofs are taken care of during this pandemic. We cannot build roofs if there is no one able to build them. The industry responded the best it could with short notice by having the COVID-19 guidelines put in place at offices and construction sites.
RC: What would you say are the biggest changes you've seen in your short time in the industry?
MG: The biggest changes I’ve seen is the use of technology. When I started out, using photos was just becoming the thing to do to report roofing and it wasn’t as constant. Now, I can practically make a report with pictures on my phone on the car ride back to the office. How easy it is to communicate using a phone has been the biggest change. But it doesn’t stop at pictures. A few years ago, I was introduced to an app that helps you measure square footage, pitch, and pinpoints while using the camera function on your phone. Although I don’t use that app or software, I do notice that our industry is moving in a positive direction of progress.
Another change I have seen is the roofing industry trying to change the image of roofing. National Roofing Contractors Association offering scholarships, ProCertification programs, and advocacy help the industry to be as great in all eyes and not just our own.
BH: The biggest change that I have seen is the revaluation of safety guidelines and the efforts companies are taking to make sure their employees are safe. The video chat has become the main change for meetings. I have communicated remotely for the whole year. The construction sites have strict COVID-19 guidelines that help keep construction going without endangering the workers.
RC: What's the biggest change about you personally, professionally during that time?
MG: Since March I feel more focused on success. Like a competitive drive to achieve all I can in roofing. Currently, I’m in the National Roofing Contractors Association’s ProCertification program. The pandemic allowed me to sharpen my tools like study materials, manufactures, techniques, and selling. There’s always more to learn in this industry and I continue to challenge myself to move forward.
BH: I have taken my health more seriously and am aware of the habits of being in public. I did not go out, and tried to keep my contact with others at a safe distance due to the unknown consequences of COVID-19. I started working from home and became dependent on my laptop and cell phone to contact co-workers and clients.
RC: How aware are you of the next group of Young Guns out there?
MG: I’m seeing more “Young Guns” every year in the past five years, and what I like to see is how I stack up in the industry. I’ve had the privilege of having a highly-respected roofing team educating me for the past 10 years and to stay ahead I need to keep pushing myself to excel in all facets of roofing. And that isn’t just in knowing the material I’m selling, but also knowing how it works, what it’s made of, how to install it, and different challenges to face on a day-to-day basis.
BH: Due to COVID-19, I have not been aware of the new group coming up in the industry. I believe in the next year as we start to live in post-COVID-19 world, that there will be more people working in our industry due to demand in employment.
RC: Any advice to the next crop?
MG: The advice I would give is to be hungry. Keep learning new things because there will be someone out there who will work harder than you. So, it’s up to you to be competitive in an industry like roofing.
BH: Learn the craft of roofing. Understanding the roof systems and keeping up with the projects that are coming up are the way to get ahead. Talk to those on the business-forecast side of the roofing industry on where things are going. You cannot be a good business representative if you don’t know the service you’re providing.
Do you know our next candidate for an upcoming Young Guns feature? Let us know at 248-244-6497 or firstname.lastname@example.org.