I had an interesting chat recently with Brad Beldon of Beldon Roofing Company in San Antonio, Texas. The full interview will appear in the next issue of Roofing Contractor, which contains a profile of the company. We timed it to coincide with the IRE show in San Antonio.

Brad represents the third generation of his family to run Beldon Roofing Company, which was founded 67 years ago by his grandfather, M.C. Beldon. Mike Beldon, Brad’s father, took over the reins in the early 1980s and he remains active with the company as its Chairman. Brad’s goal was always to work at Beldon Roofing alongside his father and grandfather, but the route mapped for him included an interesting detour—by design.

After graduating from the University of Texas in Austin, Brad went to work for John Van Wagoner and Jim Stamer of Prospect Enterprises in Sterling, Va. It was all part of a plan to round out his education before he returned to work in the family business. “I worked there for two years because my dad wanted me to gain the perspective of being the employee rather than the employer,” Brad said. “Dad also wanted me to learn how another contractor ran his business so I could bring new ideas to Beldon.”

That seems like a pretty shrewd strategy. I wonder how many other family-run businesses do something similar. Brad returned to San Antonio after two years in Sterling, but he noted that he still talks to Jim Stamer frequently. “I still look to him as a great mentor and hero to me for teaching me things I never knew, and teaching me a lot about leadership,” he said.

But he always planned on coming back to work for Beldon Roofing. “Since I was a kid, that was the only thing I ever wanted to do,” he said. “I never thought of doing anything else. It’s the best thing you can ever imagine to work with your father and grandfather. My grandfather passed away in 1998, but I was fortunate enough to work with him for 10 years, and to this day I work with my dad every single day.”

 The profile of Beldon Roofing will appear in our February issue, which will be distributed the IRE as the event’s official show issue. If you’ll be in San Antonio, keep your eyes peeled for the people on the cover (Mike and Brad Beldon).