AARON ANTIS, 37
Chief Growth Officer, Antis Roofing and Waterproofing
LOCATION: Irvine, Calif.
COLLEGE: Brigham Young University
FAMILY STATUS: Wife, Aubrey; children, Mark, Luke and Avery
When 37-year-old Aaron Antis, chief growth officer of Irvine, Calif.-based Antis Roofing and Waterproofing isn’t thinking about roofing, he enjoys what most people his age and where he lives (Orange County, Calif.) like, including working out, hiking and taking his three kids to the park.
Lest you think a roofing CGO isn’t first and foremost a contractor, one notable activity he enjoys is a tell: When asked about activities outside work, included in the reply was “fixing something my kids break (every day it seems like).” Antis is also active in his church as a youth minister.
RC: How did you get your start in roofing?
AA: Over 15 years ago, in 2007, all I needed was a summer job from my uncle, Charles Antis. After working for him for six months, in between semesters at my university and seeing the amazing vision of where the company could go, I went back to school and changed my major to construction management.
Approximately two years [spent] in the field working as a laborer and then as an assistant foreman, I was needed in the office since the team was short a person. Initially, I was not happy about that at all until I realized how much I liked air conditioning.
After being heavily involved in administrative office roles, estimating, and some exposure to marketing (where I was known industry-wide as “Aaron the Elf”), I was given a shot at a sales role.
After one year in the sales role, I was promoted to director of sales and built a team out over the next nine years, having significant growth during that time. I have recently become the chief growth officer for the company and am the dedicated sales rep in one of our newer regions, pushing for serious growth.
RC: What is the company’s backstory?
AA: Thirty-three years ago, my uncle, Charles Antis, started the business “fixing leaks that nobody else could.” That has since grown to community-wide maintenance and reroof projects. The business started then and continues today to be almost exclusively in condo and townhome homeowners associations for most of the regions of Southern California. It is a niche that we know and serve well.
RC: Why is it successful?
AA: Antis Roofing gives back to the community in a big way. We truly have the best, most genuine team. We know our current customer base really well and are laser-focused on how to serve them. Our customers rave about us to other managers because we really truly do — and are invested in — making their job easier.
RC: What are some challenges in your particular market?
AA: Currently, with inflation, condominium [homeowner association] boards that make all the decisions on behalf of their communities are getting nervous about spending big dollars to take care of items … for fear of burdening the homeowners with more costs or spending too much money all at once.
We are spending the time to educate them on how it won’t be getting any cheaper, using the recent past as a guide. We also take [on] the burden of communicating this to their [residents], so the board is not the “bad guy.” We also offer [financing] on certain projects that aren’t getting an HOA loan.
RC: How has your company changed in recent years?
AA: We have changed a lot in these 15 years, a little at a time; culture-wise, we’ve continued to improve and evolve. Those who didn’t fit our culture anymore knew it and self-selected out or were shown they were no longer a fit. Fifteen years ago, it was basic [MS] Word files stored on a server and SD cards with photos mailed in. Today, we customized [enterprise software] Salesforce for our needs, use automatic cloud photo storage from photos taken on cell phones, and have access to all of our information at our fingertips in front of our clients.
RC: Do you see a generational difference?
AA: We have a lot of millennials and younger [people] working for us in the office. In the field, we have a slightly aging workforce, but still, on average, a couple of decades away from retirement age. Our culture has allowed us to leverage technology, innovation and take risks from the younger generation angle while still [recruiting] and respecting those in the business that has a lot more work experience. Probably the biggest challenge I see is a lack of leadership experience, so mistakes get made. It can be difficult if people look at the mistake too closely [versus] who the person is and what their real intent is.
RC: Do you see your age as an advantage or disadvantage in this business?
AA: A little bit of both. There are certain discussions or ways to discuss things with people that I wish I had a couple of decades more experience with. It’s an advantage, too, because I can use new technology much quicker, relate to the younger generation a bit easier and quicker, and have more energy to grind through things when they get really busy.
RC: What area of roofing are you the most passionate about?
AA: Sales; I was born to do it. I love it, and I am fascinated by it every day. I also love building relationships with people and seeing the oft-quoted “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”-statement play out time and again. It’s so much fun for me; I wake up excited to play the game to win.
RC: What's Next?
AA: I want us to grow — a lot. We may expand soon into other markets, so I am excited to vet those out and see what we can do next. Overall, it is to grow, continue to build the culture, provide good-paying jobs for our employees, and to set a model of what a roofing company can and should be.