Brandon Dennis

What is your position within your company?
I am project manager and estimator for Henson Robinson Co., Springfield, Ill. We are a 159-year-old roofing, HVAC and plumbing company.

Why did you become involved in the roofing industry?
After I graduated from Illinois State University, Normal, Ill., with a construction management degree, I started working for a national general contractor. I then seized an opportunity to work for a roofing subcontractor so I could have more control over the work my crew was doing. Once I saw the depth of the roofing industry, I knew I wanted to stay.

What was your first roofing experience?
My dad owned a residential construction company, and my brothers and I grew up going to job sites. We would "feed" shingles to the guys on the roof and pick up trash from the ground.

What is the most unusual roofing project of which you have been a part?
We completed a project installing an EPDM roof system on a building with a 30-foot-high screen wall around the roof's perimeter. We had to use a tower crane to access 16 levels of the roof during the job, and our crew couldn't take two steps in any direction without running into a roof system penetration.

What is your roofing industry involvement?
My company is an NRCA member, and I currently am enrolled in NRCA University's Future Executives Institute—Class 9. I'm a trustee on Roofers and Waterproofers Union Local No. 112's pension board and a trustee for its apprenticeship program. I serve on the advisory board for Capital Area Career Center, a trade school in Springfield that receives students from more than 20 high schools.

What's the most exciting/adventurous thing you've done?
I did a road rally with my brother across Florida. We did track driving and drag strip runs in a Corvette. I learned he drives way faster than me and, I hate to admit it, but possibly better than me.

What was your first job?
I worked in a local hardware store.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A stock broker—I got a degree in business administration and economics and spent a year working for a financial company. But I was quickly turned off by the industry and started working for my dad laying hardwood floors on nights and weekends. After receiving my first bonus, I decided to go back to school for a construction management degree. It was one of the best and most important decisions I've made.

People would be surprised to know...
My parents have owned a karate school for almost 40 years, and I grew up competing in karate tournaments internationally.

My favorite part about working in the roofing industry is ...
The people I've met—there are some amazing people in this industry at every level.

What is your favorite food?
A horseshoe sandwich—it's a Springfield thing.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
Japan—I've always wanted to go there but never seem to have time. Through my karate involvement, I learned a lot about Japanese culture and met many people from Japan. I respect the culture's traditions and discipline.

What is the most high-tech item in your house?
My two-year-old daughter. She did not come with a manual, and as soon as I get her figured out, there's an update and I'm lost again.


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