NRCA University's Future Executives Institute (FEI) serves as a breeding ground for up-and-coming roofing industry leaders. FEI, which teaches students leadership skills as well as the intricacies of family businesses, has a rigorous admissions process. Those who complete the program leave with skill sets unmatched in the industry, and the following individuals are just examples of many in the program who will affect the industry in the future.
Kyle Thomas—FEI Class 1
Vice president of Thomas Roofing Co. Inc., Mobile, Ala.
Thomas' career trajectory is common in the roofing industry: go to college planning not to enter the industry, graduate college and join the family roofing business anyway. Thomas says he was drawn to the entrepreneurial aspect of roofing, and now he and his two brothers run Thomas Industries, which includes a general contracting division, with their father who bought the business in 1980. Thomas explains their family business' success: "Although we may not always agree, we all wear different hats, and we understand and respect each other's roles and responsibilities."
Erica Jackson—FEI Class 2
President of CYE Enterprises Inc., Jacksonville, Fla.
Jackson's grandfather was a roofing contractor who had 11 children. Of those 11 children, four started their own roofing contracting companies. And now Jackson is the family's third generation to own a roofing contracting company, which she formed with her husband, William, in 2009. The family's contracting companies, which are located throughout Florida and Georgia, support each other, and relatives share technical expertise and business advice. "There never is a question I can't get an answer to," Jackson says. "I am blessed to work with the ones I love doing what my family has done for so many years—build lasting relationships while providing quality roofing services."
Carlos Rodriguez—FEI Class 3
President of Mr. Roofing Inc., South San Francisco, Calif.
A second-generation roofing contractor, Rodriguez took his father's small roofing contracting company and turned it into one of the leading businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. The company has been named the best roofing contracting company in the Bay Area by San Mateo County Times, KRON television station and San Francisco Chronicle. In addition, the Telemundo network named Mr. Roofing the Hispanic Business of the Year in 2009. "It sounds cliché, but we make sure the customer is satisfied not only with our work but with the experience of doing business with us," Rodriguez says. "My goal is to change people's perceptions of the roofing industry."
Bob Morgan—FEI Class 4
Chief operating officer (COO) of Upstate Roofing & Painting, Rochester, N.Y.
Morgan entered the roofing industry in 1998 when he joined Upstate Roofing, a family friend's roofing company. By 2005, he was COO and facilitated the merger of his family's painting business with Upstate Roofing following his father's death in 2006. And during the 18 months following the purchase, the company tripled the size of its painting division. Morgan sums up his business philosophy this way: "We approach every opportunity with the intent to build and maintain a long-lasting relationship. I believe strongly in treating customers, vendors and teammates in a way that I would like to be treated."