The first call Ken Kelly and his younger brother, Joe, made after earning RC’s 2019 Residential Roofing Contractor of the year had to go their father. He did, after all, start the business in Naples, Fla., upon relocating from New York, and put so much into it — bearing the scars and mended bones to prove roofing wasn’t an easy lifestyle.

“After we went on stage … we found an empty conference room and called him. And we all sat there and cried,” Kelly recalled in an exclusive chat with RC. “This was something he created, and it’s great to see the kids pick it up and go from a small family business to earning that honor.”

Kelly retells that story, the real reason his father left New York, and why knowingly bouncing a check was one of the best moves he made early on in his roofing career in this candid conversation with RC.