Tackling major industrial and commercial projects in Springfield, Missouri, Queen City Roofing sets a high bar.
THE ROOFING INDUSTRY can be a crowded place. Barriers to entry are relatively low – allowing for “marginal” contractors who work out of a single truck or do not carry proper insurance to get a start – but there’s good pro t to be made if a legitimate company can stand out.
And Queen City Roofng does.
With 86 years in business, it has an established reputation on its side, and – more importantly, owner Larry Stock says – the crews there have a dedication that Stock has worked hard to instill.
“The major difference from our competitors is that we’ve been able to create a culture here where the guys in the eld genuinely care and take pride in what they do,” he says.
Competitive pay and fringe bene ts help attract the best talent, Stock says, but it also takes a lot more than that.
“It’s trying to show them respect, and we constantly remind them that everything that everybody does is important,” he says. “Even if it’s unloading materials or picking up trash, it’s important to the overall job. What everybody does directly impacts everyone else at the company, a project and our clients.”
Those kinds of distinguishers matter more than almost nine decades in business, Stock says.
“From my standpoint, it’s given us a long time to practice,” he says. “In my 37 years here evolving and adapting, I don’t believe that [longevity] has ever gotten us a job. The bottom line is, I would say, efficient and quality production. That’s really the answer to how we are able to do what we do.
“I’ve had competitors tell me their guys don’t seem to care,” Stock says. “If something goes wrong they know they’ll get paid to go back and fix it. That’s a recipe for disaster.”
With an opposite approach – building quality roofs, including metal roofing systems, that are meant to last – Queen City Roofing is the go-to roofer for major commercial projects in Springfield, Missouri. In a city with a population around 150,000, the list of roofing contractors has grown from four in 1978 to 125 today, Stock says. But Queen City has stayed on top.
Queen City offers a complete line of professional roofing and metal services for commercial, industrial and institutional roofing. Services include installation of low-sloped and metal roofing systems; customization and implementation of cost-effective preventative maintenance; installation or repairs of existing roofs; identification and repair of leaks; and help with short- and long-range budgeting and planning.
Client industries range from healthcare to distribution facilities to entertainment and educational venues, such as a 150,000-square-foot arena to house basketball and volleyball games as well as concerts for Missouri State University. Queen City also laid the roof for a subsequent project for the university, a recreation center. Many of the company’s projects are for architecturally stunning structures, including some that have landed notable awards for design.
The company’s sheet metal products and services, launched about 15 years ago, marked a strategic addition for the company, Stock says. Now, contractors call on Queen City for projects with exterior metal paneling, so much so that the company’s sheet metal operations are approaching about half the company’s annual sales, Stock says.
“We’d do the roofing and then we’d have to wait for the metal companies to come in and do their part,” he says. “It was very inefficient. That’s why we got into it, but it turned out to be a very good endeavor.”
Some highlights around the city feature Queen City’s work, such as a combined roofing and metal paneling project for a performing arts center at Pittsburgh State University in Pittsburgh, Kansas. Hospitals in town also have looked to Queen City to provide the metal paneling piece so popular in contemporary designs. Another point of pride is that Queen City stepped in to help in Joplin, Missouri, after the devastation from the deadly May 2011 tornado. The company worked with Mercy Hospital, helping erect an emergency temporary facility with modular units set side by side.
“With great GC leadership and project management, and the team of subcontractors carefully selected by the GC, the project was completed in an unbelievably short amount of time,” Stock says.
Most important, though, Stock says, is the investment in people. Around the same time the company added the metal products and services division, Stock made a decision to hire and provide a culture of safety first – and then respect. The employee roster now is around 50 people.
“In hindsight, we probably operated for a long time without change,” he says. “Now, we are constantly trying to improve and get better.”
For example, Queen City Roofing’s director of roofing operations, Brain Draper, was the first person in the country to complete and achieve the certification of “Pro-Foreman” designation, a program started three years ago by the National Roofing Contractors Association. The company has made gains in increasing negotiated work over straight bid projects, and its metal division continues to excel, but Stock says he keeps a different end goal in mind. He hopes to instill more decision-making throughout the company as part of a vision to make a better workplace.
“I’ve never desired to be a really large company in size,” he says. “It’s not how big you are or how many branches you have. For me, it’s always been, ‘Let’s just do a good job.’
“My picture for the future – and my excitement right now – is the culture shift we’re creating, knowing our team members, in the office and in the field both, care and take pride in working for ourcompany and in what they do,” he adds.