Roof Connections Podcast: Episode 11 – Preparation for Hurricane Season w/ Advanced Roofing

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RC Ep 11

David Huval: Welcome to Roof Connections, a podcast dedicated to facility maintenance and construction.  My name is David Huval. For the past eight years, I’ve worked in marketing, mostly in the national commercial roofing space, for companies like RoofConnect, the largest national services provider for commercial roofing in America.

Today, I’m joined by two gentlemen from Advanced Roofing. One of RoofConnect’s premiere service contractors based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Please welcome President Rob Kornahrens and Director of Government Services, Steve Schoen. Thanks for joining me today. How is your morning going so far?

Rob: Everything’s good, David. I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this subject matter. Hurricanes, as we are a few weeks away from hurricane season and prediction are up for the amount, not as many as last year, but still above average. So looking forward to our conversation this morning.

David Huval: I am too. Before we jump into hurricanes, I wanted to ask you Rob, if you want to talk about Advanced and how they got started out and how they eventually started working with RoofConnect?

Rob: Yeah, sure. So I grew up in Long Island. I worked on the roof in high school and college. My boss had me open a branch in Atlanta, Georgia, right out of the University of Arizona in 1979 and moved me to Fort Lauderdale in 1982. In 1983, I bought a pickup truck with a loan from my dad, and now today we grew it to over 500 employees, seven locations around the state and specialize in re-roofing and repairs of occupied buildings.

David Huval: That’s impressive. So you cover up the entire state, and relatively quick too. Y’all have had pretty good pretty good success down there in Florida. I would say.

Rob: Yeah, you know, I’m blessed to have a twin boys, 37 in the business and a really good team that’s been developed around the culture, and we all know culture is everything. You know, I was actually one of the founders of RoofConnect, when my job today is more having the vision and doing the community business development stuff. So one of the visions early on with a group of contractors to make a national footprint of tier-one commercial roofing contractors, 24-7 service.

 So, I was a founding member and served on the board early on in the early years. And recently, I think I’m serving my third term, I’m back on the board. So RoofConnect’s an awesome organization and I’m really proud to be a founding member and still providing the great service that all our contractors within our RoofConnect network family provide.

David Huval:   Yes and I know that RoofConnect is very appreciative of Advanced and what you’ve done working with RoofConnect over the years. It’s been a great partnership.

Rob: Yes, absolutely.

David Huval: Steve, you want to tell us a little bit about your background? How long have you been with Advanced?

Steve: Sure. I’ve been with Advanced for going on two years. I’ve got over 30 years of independent group consulting, design, project management, and have done some extremely large logistically challenging roof asset and management programs for some very large corporations with footprint that you guys are familiar with, all over the United States.

So, yeah, I’ve been in the commercial roofing industry. Like Rob, I started out boots on the roof slinging hot, back in the early eighties and have grown to the position I mean today with, with a lot of great success and really enjoy working for Rob and you know, Advance Roofing, which is a very family-oriented company.

David Huval: That’s great. Why don’t we jump into our main subject here? It’s already, as we record this, it’s the latter half of May and we want to get in front of our listeners to talk a little bit about what they need to do to get their roofing portfolio ready for hurricane season.

And I thought, who better to lead us through that conversation then Advanced. So Steve, what do customers need to do to get their roofing portfolio ready for the hurricane season?

Steve: Sure. Yeah, it’s crazy. How quickly the calendar flips.

I mean, last year we had just a high number of potential storms that really could have impacted anyone within the state. We in south Florida, we’re lucky that we didn’t experience any direct hits. The key here and the key to this entire webinar webcast is preparation.

And I think the number one thing that building owners need to do is get up and inspect their roofs. I mean, we all know that industry-wide, over 90% of roof leaks are, are simply caused by lack of maintenance. But more importantly, during the storm season is clogged drainage systems. So they need to get up clean their drains, clean their scupper boxes, clean gutters and in doing so know where your risks lie, because a lot of owners may have multiple buildings, but they really don’t know, like from a hurricane standpoint what their risks are, you know, and when I talk about risk, I talk about like their buildings in relationship to where the impact areas are.

How close are they to the coastal areas? You know, are their roofs still waiting to have repairs done from prior storms? You know, this storm can be the epic of tearing the entire roof off and we’ve seen those type of effects. Also, they need to know what the condition of their roofs are in relationship to age, because south Florida, we’ve gone through a number of very in-depth code upgrades.

And if you have a building that was put down 20 or 30 years ago Those standards are not by today’s standards, so they’re at risk and they need to know these things. So we’ll just photograph those conditions. I think that the second area of importance is taking a look at your insurance policies and make sure that they’re up to date. You know where they are, what they cover and make sure they have that contact information available, should the need arise.

Another issue – warranties. You know, going through the hurricane season, we may not always be impacted by high level winds or hurricane winds, which would impact, obviously, your warranty. But know where your warranties are.

Hopefully they’re in a spot, like cloud-based, so you can download that information and you have it easily accessible if we have a Dorian come through and there’s catastrophic damage, obviously there the warranty is null and void, but to have a place where they’re secured with that information is critical.

And I think the last area of preparation, which I think a lot of building owners miss in preparation is having a reputable company ready to support you at whatever level of storm you’re impacted with. And I think that is where our relationship with RoofConnect really puts us in a position to cater to our clients.

We have a very high standard when it comes to supporting our clients yet, you know, if a major event comes, you have to have that team ready and we have resources. So, you know, for those people that are listening, I think it’s a fair question to ask your roofing contractors, where am I on a priority list?

Because, bottom line, to be completely honest, we have very valued customers that we work with on a daily basis and we want to be able to service everybody. And I think our relationship with RoofConnect certainly helps that.

David Huval: That’s great. Yeah, you definitely don’t want to be trying to find a roofer after a hurricane has come through.

That’s a good way to get taken advantage of, there’s a lot of fly by night guys. You have to be careful about those guys. You know, people, insurance, scammers, things like that. So it’s always good to have a plan beforehand.

 As a contractor in Florida what kind of preparations do you take as a contractor, before a hurricane or storm, what kind of preparations are you making for that storm?

Rob: You want me to take that, Steve? I mean, we’ve been doing this, you know, my whole career. I mean, my first hurricane was hurricane Hugo in St. Thomas 1989 and did all the blue tarps in an Andrew. You know, we’ve been through this so many times we have a committee that gets ready. You know, what materials are we going to have on hand?

We power all our facilities with generators. We move trucks around, so we’re ready. Any which way, you know, our computers are stored in the cloud, all our information. We own a couple planes who we’d go up in survey the areas.  A lot of times we’ll know a client has an issue before they can even get to their place. So all that is a lot of preparation.

And to get back to the, having a roofing contractor, is you should have them on your speed dial or whatever, but also the size of the company, because when you see some of these big storms and we’re talking billions of dollars in roof damage, well, if your guy does five, ten million a year, he’s been around. They’ve got a lot of clients, you know?

So with us, we have 550, then, RoofConnect over it. So many hurricanes, their staff and their people are fantastic. I call, I pick up the phone and say, I need five more trucks in Palm Beach and they’re sending another RoofConnect member along with the project management.

So I’m just not getting a pickup truck and we got to figure out, we give them here’s the job, go handle it. And it runs seamlessly. So that relationship with RoofConnect and having over 5,000 roofing personnel throughout network. Yes. Invaluable.

David Huval: Yeah, that’s great. We that’s one valuable benefit of having a national contractor base, is that they can pull contractors from the surrounding states that are on standby, ready if they’re needed to come in and support companies like you, that are in the middle of it. Directly after the storm, you may have to pull some personnel to deal with things in your own facilities, so you can get up and get running and get out to help people. So it’s always good to have that support system there.

After a hurricane has made landfall and eventually moved out of the area and y’all get a chance to go out and start performing work, what steps should facility managers take to start assessing the damage and get somebody out to get the repairs started?

Steve: You know, again you know, preparation. When I came on board with Advanced Roofing, it was, I think, three weeks before Dorian was about to impact our shores. And, you know, as a company, we’re sending out notices to our key clients giving them hints on what they need to be doing in preparation. But, you know, to your point once the storm is through, what do you need to do?

And again, it’s all about pre-planning preparation. They need to have those qualified teams ready when the damage assessments come into play. You know, like I said before, know your buildings, know your priorities, you know, from our standpoint. Yeah. As a company, we look at, if there is a catastrophic event, our focus is going to be on the critical assets within the communities, the hospitals, the shelters, the police and fire.

But again, you know, those resources can be exhausted and having RoofConnect ready to go in support of us is a huge, a huge benefit. I’ve seen it firsthand working with their command centers. When Dorian was about to hit, I saw it as it moved towards Jacksonville. The efforts that RoofConnect was playing in the background, they had teams ready in their Atlanta based offices. Ready to hit the ground with a number of people, on these sites.

But, have an action plan in place. So once these assessments are made, what is the next step of getting materials and actual workers there to follow up? That’s something that we do very well. And as Rob said, we fly over the impact zones, take a look at what the impacts are, and we know where we need to send our resources.

And again, having come here and experienced my first storm, I was a little scared, you know, based on the potential of the storm hitting us yet, the dedication that our company had, not only to our employees, but to our clients. We had flat beds of materials, ready to be distributed to certain areas of impact.

On the back side, Rob and our staff here at Advance, we had an entire warehouses with cots and generators and food prep, things like that to help people that would probably themselves, be impacted by these storms and yet their commitment to us and our company to go out and help the community is… it’s just mind blowing. I mean, it’s impressive.

David Huval: That’s amazing. This has been some great information. So talking about the benefits of being a RoofConnect partner in a storm, the backup and support you get. So we kind of discussed that earlier, but I feel like it has been great information for our customers.

If customers in south Florida want to look up more information or go check out the Advanced website, where can they find y’all?

Rob: Yeah, our website is advanced roofing, that’s advancedroofing.com. And we actually have several lunch and learns, and we have one on hurricane preparedness, so you can get some more information, more detail there.

So that’s, that’s where you could find us. And you know, I can’t say enough about the RoofConnect family. When we need help, they’re there for us. The only thing we don’t do, you know, when we get call for snow renewal up north after blizzards, we don’t help out. We’re a little bit of a one-way street, our guys just won’t up there and shovel snow. So it’s a border being in Florida.

Steve: So that’s, I think, you know, one of the biggest benefits and a lot of times owners look at the old adage, the biggest is not always the best. But, in a case where you have a major catastrophe or event, bigger is better.

When you consolidate the management expertise of two very large companies, working under one umbrella, it’s definitely an advantage, to our client base.

David Huval: Yeah, that’s great. Well, I appreciate you guys coming on the episode with me today to discuss this. If you want more information about Advanced Roofing, you can go to their website – advancedroofing.com. They are a proud RoofConnect partner.

For more information on RoofConnect, who sponsors this podcast, you can go to roofconnect.com. Again, my name’s David Huval. Thanks for joining me guys. We’ll see you next time.

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