[Editor’s Note: Responses lightly edited for clarity.]
Childhood friends Steve Kunkel and Jason Reinke didn’t go very far from their hometown of Hebron, Neb. (pop. 1,441) to establish a thriving commercial roofing business. In the winter of 2003, the two buddies took their shared vision roughly 100 miles northeast to Lincoln and formed Stonebrook Exterior. They set out to create a company that would efficiently and effectively address all roofing needs for commercial facility owners.
Through its dedication to customer service and unwavering pursuit of high-quality installations, the company has flourished into one of the most reputable and influential roofing enterprises in a volatile and growing market. Co-CEOs Kunkel and Reinke recently recounted how they did it and what they’re looking forward to next in this exclusive Q&A with RC.
RC: How did you get involved with roofing?
Steve Kunkel (SK): I started at the age of 9, working with the family-owned business.
Jason Reinke (JR): I started building houses from the ground up in high school.
RC: How did you get involved with roofing?
SK: We rebranded in 2018 and built a new office headquarters in 2020. We’ve also expanded to Denver and Florida, both through acquisitions.
RC: How is your company structured?
JR: We have a RECON (Residential Construction); a NUCON (New Construction); BROOKINS (Insurance Division); StoneCare and MasterCare (Service Divisions).
RC: How do you keep your employees safe?
JR: The safety of our people is paramount. We have ingrained a safety-first mindset into every aspect of our operations. We start each daily, weekly, and monthly meetings with a focus on safety to prioritize its importance. Our comprehensive safety program includes site-specific safety plans for each project we undertake, tailoring measures to address potential hazards and establishing emergency protocols.
SK: Overall, our safety program and initiatives demonstrate our dedication to maintaining a secure work environment. Through regular safety meetings, monthly awards, ongoing training, and daily huddles, we foster a safety-focused culture that prioritizes the well-being of our team.
RC: How do you create a good working atmosphere for employees?
JR: We offer STONEBROOK UNIVERSITY, Level 10 Meetings, lunchbox lunchclubs, holiday parties, and a benefits package. We have an incredible company culture at Stonebrook. We have countless fun company outings like golf outings, barbeques, lake days and tailgates.
We also have amazing holiday parties [and] various internal contests with prizes like chili cook-offs, coloring contests for employees’ kids, etc; food truck Fridays, crew appreciation barbecues at the shop, as well as our lunchbox employee appreciation trailer that we use to provide lunches for our field teams occasionally.
Stonebrook ExteriorHeadquarters: Lincoln, Neb.; three other locations in Nebraska; offices in Colorado and Florida
Specialty: Low-Slope Roofing, Steep-Slope Roofing, Metal Roofing, Siding, Wall Systems, Gutters, Masonry, Custom Metal Fabrications
Number of Employees: 242 union
RC: How do you ensure quality workmanship?
SK: We ensure quality workmanship by implementing stringent quality control measures, conducting regular inspections, and providing ongoing training to our skilled workforce. We also build relationships with customers through open and transparent communication, delivering exceptional customer service and consistently exceeding their expectations.
RC: How has your company adapted to all the recent changes in our business climate?
JR: The company faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, including disruptions to supply chains, project cancellations or postponements, decreased demand, and ensuring the safety and well-being of our workforce. To adapt to the challenges, our company implemented strict health and safety protocols, adopted remote working arrangements where feasible, utilized digital communication tools, and closely monitored and adjusted our project timelines and budgets. We also proactively engaged with clients to address their concerns and explored alternative revenue streams.
RC: What are some attributes of your company that make it successful?
SK: It’s our core values:
- Everyone is Important: Our people bring purpose and passion to our organization. We work as a team, and every individual is valued and important.
- Honesty and Transparency: Honesty and Transparency are key in our company, forging a system of accountability for everyone.
- It’s What We Do: Stonebrook is a lifestyle. Our team extends to our families: family-first. We’re all about starting and sustaining action.
- We Do it Right: Always strive for excellence. We expect a high level of quality from every product, service and experience we deliver.
RC: What types of marketing programs have proven successful?
SK: We [use] both traditional and digital channels. Our online presence is enhanced through targeted online advertising and engagement on social media platforms. We also utilize print media, participate in trade shows, and prioritize referrals and word-of-mouth marketing to build trust and credibility within the community.
In addition to our comprehensive marketing strategies, we leverage various physical marketing tools to enhance visibility and engage with potential clients. Our yard signs create visibility and serve as contact points for inquiries, and our truck wraps turn our vehicles into moving billboards, increasing brand recognition.
RC: Any advice to share with fellow roofers?
JR: For other roofing contractors, my advice is to prioritize safety, invest in ongoing training for your workforce, and foster strong relationships with clients and suppliers. You should also embrace technology for efficient project management, maintain financial resilience through contingency planning, and remain adaptable and responsive to the market.