Standing at the podium at this year’s Best of Success conference in Phoenix to announce the 2015 Roofing Contractor’s of the Year was a true honor and one of the more exciting and memorable moments I’ve had since joining the publication earlier this year.
To see the genuine reactions of surprise, joy and accomplishment by both Residential Contractor of the Year Tim Leeper and Commercial Contractor of the Year Jack Scalo was thrilling. But that was unexpectedly trumped by what I felt after hearing each of them describe what the award means to them.
Whether it was Scalo’s warm embrace with his son and planned successor, John Jr., or a shaky-handed Tim Leeper texting the news to his wife and business partner, Alanna, it was clear the awards were just as significant to their families behind the scenes. I began to wonder what it meant to them … so I asked.
Alanna Leeper said being recognized by the industry for achievements in business growth and quality customer care was the furthest thing from their minds when her husband decided to go out on his own 11 years ago. In many ways it was a professional and personal dream come true.
She also swears the humble man roofing peers saw accepting the award on stage in Phoenix in September or on his company’s YouTube channel is in fact the real deal.
“He’s a very humble person and it’s not going to his head,” she said of Tim, whom she married more than 17 years ago. “He’s always been a hard worker and this is really a reward and extra motivation. We’re all really excited.”
It’s also true in Pittsburgh, where Scalo has ingrained a motto to ‘stay humble, stay hungry’ among his staff from the executive level on down. Members of his team are also fond of saying Scalo is ‘often pleased but never satisfied.’
Few know that better than the next generation of Scalos entering the family business. His son John Jr., is now a project engineer in his second full year with the company out of college. The elder Scalo makes a point of including him in high-level meetings and events like Best of Success to expose his son to as much of the industry as quickly as possible.
“He always has me involved and I’m seeing how he’s running the meetings, handling deals and going to these big events like BOS,” Scalo Jr. told RC. “I have the best teacher in the industry.”
Scalo also brought his daughter, Jessica, on board as the new director of marketing for Scalo Inc. to coordinate publicity campaigns and promotions for all the companies under the Scalo umbrella.
Earning Roofing Contractor of the Year honors has reinforced how and why he operates the business the way he does, she said.
“Stay humble — stay hungry is his way, so even if it has gone to his head he’d never show it, especially as a parent even more so than as a boss,” she said. “Around here we also say Jack is often pleased but never satisfied, and he’s always hungry for the next innovation, the next thing.”
Given their unique perspective, seeing the work he’s put into growing the family business translate into success is a tremendous source of pride.
“We see him day in and day out putting in the hours to make this company successful that many people don’t see, and to see all that hard work pay off is a great feeling,” she said.