Why Community Engagement is Vital to Power Players

Nearly 70% of these elite roofing and exteriors contractors make giving back to the community a priority in three key ways. Roofing & Exteriors' analysis reveals why community service matters—and simple ways to start your own practice of giving back.

Gary Thill

August 3, 2022

7 Min Read
Community Service Power Players lead image for Roofing & Exteriors 2022
Informa Markets

When it comes to what makes roofing and exteriors companies thrive, it might be tempting to dismiss something like community engagement and volunteer activity. But that would be a big mistake.

In fact, "research has shown that these programs improve employee satisfaction, foster employee engagement and boost retention," according to the Harvard Business Review.

The Harvard report shows that 93% of employees who volunteer through their company report being happy with their employer, and 54% of those who are proud of their company's contributions to society are engaged at work, according to the Macquarie Graduate School of Management.

What's more, getting employees to engage with the community through volunteer work improves professional skills, leadership, loyalty, satisfaction, teamwork and recruitment, especially among millennials, according to various reports.

That's why community engagement was one of the key criteria we considered when choosing the 2022 Roofing & Exteriors Power Players. Indeed, 68% of companies on our list named community engagement as one of their core company strengths—among the highest percentage of all other company strengths.

A guiding principle for home improvement pros

For some firms, community engagement was not just a core strength but a guiding principle. With $14.8 million in annual sales, Antis Roofing & Waterproofing is a good example.

"Every day, Antis Roofing & Waterproofing lives out its' purpose before profit' corporate responsibility.  Charles Antis, founder and CEO of Antis Roofing, is fueled by a desire to be not just an expert in his field of roofing and waterproofing but also a leader in his community who models how to use success, resources, time and influence to change the world," said Cori Vernam, the company's director of marketing and cause. "Living by the motto that 'every nail matters,' each of the company's 95 employees are devoted to quality product and service in equal measure with giving back to the communities they serve."

That's more than just lip service. Antis provides 16 hours of paid volunteer time for employees, along with a charitable donation company match up to $1,000.

Additionally, the Antis Foundation was established in 2016 as a donor-advised charitable giving fund to provide a safe shelter to keep families happy, healthy and dry. The Antis team and its vendors and suppliers help the most vulnerable through board leadership, employee volunteering, charitable giving cards, donations, food drives, blood drives, corporate and nonprofit collaborations, and in-kind donated roofing projects.  In 2021, Antis made $413,000 in grants to nonprofits throughout Southern California to organizations including Ronald McDonald House Charities, Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, American Red Cross Southern California Region, California Love Drop, Orange County United Way and Boys & Girls Club of America.

This dedication to giving back extends to some of the largest firms on our list, such as CentiMark Corporation, with 3,500 employees and $784 million in annual sales.

"Leadership takes many directions. At CentiMark, Edward B. Dunlap, founder and chairman of the 54-year-old commercial roofing and flooring company, leads by example in both business and philanthropy," said Kathy Slencak, the firm's public relations manager. "Since the company's early days, Ed Dunlap supported those in need and encouraged volunteerism from his associates. At CentiMark, we walk, run, bike and golf for charity; we teach school students; we deliver meals; we donate blood; we shop for winter coats for children; we place Christmas wreaths on veterans' graves; we support people in need; and we give of our time. CentiMark associates take great pride in our success as a roofing and flooring company because our success enables us to undertake our charitable and volunteer endeavors."

For many firms, community engagement has a flavor specific to the area they serve and the employees. But there are some commonalities companies share when it comes to giving back. Let's take a closer look at three ways our Power Players engage in community service overall.

1. Time off and volunteer days for charity

Offering employees time off for charitable work or regular volunteer days was the most popular method for giving back among our Power Players, with 94% offering those options. Many noted that doing so not only helped the community but also bolstered company morale and teamwork.

"By continuing to give back to the community, we all as a team feel accomplished," said Chad Enger, CEO of Black Hills Exteriors. "The hard work we put together as a company pays forward to the people we all go to church with, that our children go to school with and that we run into at our local grocery stores."

While some firms focus on particular efforts or organizations, others support overall community service. "We encourage our team members to also be involved in their community," said Roman Malone, president of E. Cornell Malone Corp./Malone Roofing Services, a $61-million family business with 200 employees. "Many coach youth teams, work at their school functions, or assist (with) or lead group activities in their church."   

2. Regular donations

When it comes to giving back, making regular donations to local charities and community services was the second most popular community engagement activity. Fully 84% of Power Players named that as a method used to engage with the community. Often, companies choose to work with a specific partner. Harbeck Roofing & Remodeling, with $2.7 million in annual revenue, is a good example.

"We work with a local nonprofit in Wilmington, North Carolina, called WARM (Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry). WARM's mission is to repair, rebuild, and make homes accessible; and to inspire service, generosity, and hope," said Harbeck owner Virginia Harbeck. "WARM serves low-income homeowners, many of whom are elderly and/or disabled. By preventing home accidents and illnesses, WARM helps people age in place safely—preserving their dignity and independence. We started working with WARM last year. We make monetary donations to their program as well as offering reduced prices on work we do for them."

Other firms simply find ways to give to those in need in various ways. Along with its other charitable giving, Superstorm Restoration directly targets those in need.

"Our business is not only for roofing, gutters and siding. It is for so much more," said Chandler Steffy, the company's president. "We encourage our team to help in simple ways. For example, we regularly purchase $50 to $300 gift cards at the local grocery store and present the cards to management to share with those families that may come up short on a payment. It will allow that family to get the food they need for the families."

3. Repair and replacement giveaways

Another popular community service among our Power Players is repair and replacement giveaways to the less fortunate, with 56% naming that method of giveback. For example, over the past 10 years, Aspen Contracting has donated 60 free roofs to families in its community through its Covers 4 Others project.

"Aspen has been able to replace roofs of veterans, teachers, firefighters, cancer survivors, churches and even nonprofit organizations through this program with the help of their supplier partnerships and dedicated crew members," said Courtney Nussbeck, the firm's marketing and events manager.

These events not only help those in need, but they provide a powerful marketing and branding vehicle, especially when combined with other media partners such as local radio and TV stations.

"This [past] year, a Christmas wish was made by a listener for her mother-in-law. [Guy Brothers Roofing owner] Mike Guy told her on the air that we were going to grant her Christmas wish and fully replace her mother in laws roof. I went out to the home on the day the roof was installed and witnessed tears of joy and thanks, and about 30 hugs shared between everyone," said Misty Smith, office manager for Guy Brothers, in one particularly poignant example. "She even had Mike come back for a pot of turnips and a pan of cornbread."

If you missed featured Power Players from previous weeks, use these links to view Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4, Week 5 and the full list

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Power Players

About the Author(s)

Gary Thill

Gary Thill is an independent writer and editor with an extensive background in the residential and commercial construction sectors. He served as editor of the Replacement Contractor newsletter for five years and has contributed regularly to Remodeling and other construction-focused publications for several decades. He lives and works in Portland, Oregon.

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