Success of Premier Roofing Contractor
Pales in Comparison to its Big Heart
This article was written about Johnson Roofing by Alysia Shivers for “American Builders Quarterly,” Summer 2009 issue.
On a sprawling 700-acre working ranch in Waco, Texas, you might be surprised to find that amidst the roaming Appaloosa horses and longhorn cattle rests a thriving, nearly 70-year-old roofing company. And yet, for Johnson Roofing, one of the largest roofers in the country, this blend of home and business is a perfect complement to its culture and heritage.
With a history stretching back to the early 1940s, when patriarch Jack Johnson and his son Bill would haul shingles to job sites in a horse trailer, Johnson Roofing has grown to be one of the premiere roofing contractors in Texas. Bill and his two daughters, Sherri Johnson and Shawn Brown, are actively involved with the business today. And while the Johnson family’s ultimate goal is to be the greatest residential and commercial roofing company in the world, its success pales in comparison to its big heart. In fact Johnson Roofing was recently honored with the 2008 Baylor University Family Business of the Year Award for Community Service.
“My dad is very much a giver,” says Sherri of chairman and CEO Bill Johnson. “As part of our walk in the Christian faith, we try to help our fellow man wherever possible.”
When Hurricane Ike slammed into the Texas coast one early mid-September morning, the Johnson family and two of its crews arrived shortly after with trailers full of roofing materials. “There was no electricity and no water, but we immediately started assisting people in repairing roofs on homes and businesses,” Sherri says.
That wasn’t the company’s first rodeo with a natural disaster. In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina left hundreds of thousands along the Gulf Coast homeless, Bill provided many families with shelter in a school he had purchased. He invited area churches to decorate the school’s rooms, giving them a cozy, homey feel for those who were encouraged to stay until their homes were once again livable.
“He wanted to help those folks as much as he could,” Shawn, the CFO, says. “He truly walks the walk and is always ready to help.”
Supporting U.S. troops is one cause dear to the Johnsons’ hearts that is celebrated at the Johnson’s ranch at an event called “Operation Building Bridges.” At this festival of food, fun, and music, thousands join in recognition and a show of gratitude for the soldiers. “This is our main charity,” Sherri notes. “Our focus is to thank our soldiers and their families for their sacrifice.”
Evidence of the company’s craftsmanship stretches across the state, beyond state lines, and abroad as far away as the Cayman Islands. As Shawn points out, “Texas is our home, but we will go wherever there’s opportunity.”
Its ability to handle every type of roofing material as well as adapt to emerging technologies and introduce new products, in addition to offering siding, decking and carpentry, keep Johnson Roofing ahead of its competition. Truly setting it apart, however, is its sheet metal shop where exceptional works of art are produced for structures requiring a unique look. “This is a trade that requires skilled workmanship,” explains Shawn. “Each is a custom job.”
One of its more notable projects was the installation of a green roof on the Waco Chamber of Commerce building, the first LEED Gold certified chamber building in America. Covered in plants, including grass, flowers, and trees, the roof not only reduces energy costs but is pretty to look at. “This was definitely a new technology for us, but our company is very progressive,” says Shawn.
Bill is already looking ahead, aggressively seeking out new markets and new products into which Johnson Roofing can expand. “Our commitment to our customers is to provide them with the best roofing solution, as stated in our trademark; we are Pursuing Excellence for our company and our customers.” Sherri says.
Johnson Roofing has been an integral
part of the Central Texas community since 1941.
The primary way we serve our community is by providing excellent service wherever we go. We also keep our ear to the ground, listening for needs in the area near and far, and attempting to go above and beyond to meet the needs of our friends, neighbors, and countrymen.