RC: How long have you been in the roofing industry and how did you get your start?
MP: I started in the roofing industry in 2017. I was an estimator learning the ins and outs of commercial roofing, primarily. With my sales background, we grew our new construction department through relationships and follow-up and I moved into a sales role within our residential division. From there, I became our vice president overseeing residential roofing and marketing while continuing to grow our commercial division. In January 2021, I became president and bought shares in ownership to take over from our retiring owners.
RC: How long has your company been in business and what’s its story?
MP: We began in August of 2014. My father, Mike, and his partner started the company as a way to leave the corporate world before they headed in to retirement. As they developed relationships and a reputation in the market they began to see that this could be more than just a job before retirement and potentially a legacy for their families. With my father’s previous experience in the general contracting world, we quickly grew from just residential projects into the commercial new construction space. My father started the company from the ground up performing inspections, estimating and running production while Gary, his partner and brother-in-law, handled the business side of the company. Together they began growing and hiring, and when I joined in 2017, we were growing 20-30% year-over-year and are now up to 20 employees total.
RC: What are the top reasons for the company’s success?
MP: Customer service; brand; relationships; and reputation. Each of these are strategic in growing a company and ensuring that you are focused on your customers and reputation beyond just profits.
MICHAEL PICKEL, 30
PRESIDENT, TEXAS TRADITIONS ROOFING, LLC
LOCATION: Georgetown, Texas
COLLEGE: Texas A&M University
FAMILY STATUS: Married: Abbey Pickel. Two daughters
RC: Do you see generational differences within your own company and what challenges do they pose?
MP: As a young leader taking over a company from an older generation, there are naturally differences from generation to generation. Overall, I see the benefits of learning from those who have experience and wisdom … but at the same time, myself and those in the younger generation are able to bring in new ideas. The balance is helpful as I am sure it has been previously when there is a multi-generational transition. Challenges are faced daily between the generations but, ultimately, leadership guides the direction in whether or not those become tumultuous challenges or ways to grow, learn from each other and continue down the path that the company needs to go down to grow.
RC: Do you see your age as an advantage or disadvantage in this business?
MP: Age can definitely be a disadvantage in leadership across every business. It can lead to people not respecting your opinion and doubting your abilities to lead a team. At the end of the day, I see it as an opportunity to hire those who know more than I do and cast a vision for them to get behind and follow without breathing down their necks and trusting them to do the tasks they need to accomplish for us to reach our goals as a company.
RC: What area of your roofing business are you the most passionate about?
MP: I am extremely passionate about growing our commercial service department. To me, this is an area where the industry as a whole either excels or fails miserably for clients. I see it as an opportunity to learn from those who have been successful at it in other markets and expand on the opportunity to change the perception of what comes to mind when people think about a roofing company.
RC: What’s next?
MP: Our next goal is to become an established, dominating roofing contractor in the commercial space in Austin. We are starting to turn heads since our transition in late 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on our timeline, yet we are on pace to add more service trucks and hire more account managers. We are aiming to have four service trucks up and running and capitalize on the continued growth in the Austin market. Our main objective is to hold to our core values, take care of our clients and more importantly, take care of the people who show up every day to work with us so we can meet our goals.
RC: What are you doing when you’re not thinking about roofing?