October 3, 2022 at 11:22 p.m.

Editor’s note: The following is the transcript of an live interview with Susan DeGrassi and Charles Antis of Antis Roofing and Rudy Gutierrez of Shell Roofing Solutions. You can read the interview below, watch the webinar, or listen to the podcast here.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Welcome. Welcome to Coffee Conversations from Roofer’s Coffee Shop. My name is Heidi Ellsworth, and we are here today to talk about caught doing good. We are so excited about this. It’s one of our favorite episodes we have every year. We always have two or three of these every year, and they are always brought to you by ABC Supply.

Heidi Ellsworth:
ABC Supply is the sponsor today, and I want to say they show caught doing good every single day with their supportive home for our troops, with Make-a-Wish Foundation. ABC Supply brings philanthropy to the industry, and with roofing contractors every single day. So thank you ABC Supply. We’re excited to share this caught doing good today.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So we are here with a group of panelists that is just amazing. The experts in giving back and in philanthropy, and what they’re doing in their community and so much that they’ve brought together. I want to introduce to the show our panelists. But before I do that I am going to say, please use the chat. We are going to be excited to have you all chatting with our panelists. I’ll be reading those. We will be getting that out in front of everybody. So ask questions, make comments, just be a part of this coffee conversation. Also, this is being recorded and we’ll be on demand within the next 24 hours so you can share it with everybody in the industry. ‘Cause I’m telling you right now, this is going to be amazing.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So let’s get to the panelists today. First of all, I would like to introduce Susan DeGrassi, who is the president and COO of Antis Roofing. Susan, welcome to the show.

Susan DeGrassi:
Thank you for having me, Heidi. And I’m going to see you next week in Dallas.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yes you are, that’s right. I’m so excited. Hey, introduce yourself a little bit to everybody and tell them a little bit about yourself and Antis roofing, if you would.

Susan DeGrassi:
Well I joined Antis five years ago. I had briefly worked in a nonprofit just prior to that, but almost 30 years in the business industry that we sell to, homeowners associations. And what Charles was looking for, he was giving big and needed structure around that. And we’re going to talk about what that looks like later. But that’s how I entered the organization. And of course, like all companies of that size, started wearing other hats, which I was used to and love. I serve on the National Women in Roofing board of directors with you, Heidi. I’m chair of that community service committee and have been for about four years.

Susan DeGrassi:
And so giving back is in our DNA, and I’ve been on boards and committees and volunteered really almost my whole life, starting with donating blood at the age of 17 for the first time when I worked for Disneyland.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Oh my gosh. That’s great.

Susan DeGrassi:
That’s how far back that goes.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. Well, welcome Susan, I’m so excited. We are going to share so many of what you’re doing there. This is really kind of, like you said, in your DNA. And I have to introduce Charles Antis, the founder of Antis Roofing and also, as everyone knows out there, probably one of the biggest leaders when it comes to cause marketing and philanthropy within the roofing industry. So Charles, welcome to the show. And why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and Antis?

Charles Antis:
Thank you, Heidi. I’m so grateful to be back here early in the morning, this time in a studio so I don’t do what I did last time like, “Telephone, hello [inaudible 00:03:48]”

Charles Antis:
So good to be back. And yes, I’m the founder and CEO at Antis Roofing and Waterproofing here. And I love my role because I really get to be, today, chief people awakener. And that’s a silly thing. I’ve thought of changing my title to that, because that’s really the best thing I can do if I want to have an effective company, because that attracts COOs like Susan DeGrassi. People that are willing to wear lots of hats when you lay out the reason why. And we have our why everywhere. It’s behind me. It’s to keep family safe and dry, and we live it in a big way. And we prove it to our employees by the good that we do in the community, and also what we’re going to talk about today, also. What’s really important at Antis is really reaching those within our company, in a high level, putting them first in our generosity. And so I think together we attract and retain top talent, and I sleep better at night than I ever did. Except for last night when the fire alarm accidentally went off.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it. Well Charles, yes, this is going to be… And we’re going to go over how you’re all doing this. And that’s why we have Rudy Gutierrez, the president and CEO of Shell Roofing Solutions. Rudy, I’m so happy to have you back on the show. Thank you for being here. And can you introduce yourself and talk about Shell Roofing?

Rudy Gutierrez:
Yes. Good morning everybody. And I’m so honored to be here with my friends. I love this group of people. Together We’ve done some pretty cool things. All of us, Charles, Susan, Heidi and her team. So thank you for giving us this platform. It’s amazing. Early in the morning.

Rudy Gutierrez:
Yeah. So Shell Roofing Solutions, we’re a California-based company, primarily in the commercial roofing space. I’ve been in the roofing industry for most of my professional life. I’ve worked for major manufacturers. That’s where Heidi and I met and we’ve put together some awesome, crazy marketing ideas. But this industry has led me to some amazing places. I currently serve as the Executive Director of the National Roofing Contractors Association. I also serve on various committees of the Roofing Alliance. And I also serve on the board of directors for the Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce, which is one of the largest chambers in the entire country.

Rudy Gutierrez:
We are involved, we’re super blessed as Shell Roofing. So we’re involved in nonprofit, giving back to our community, partnering with our friends to give back at a larger scale. And by the way, I had to say that I’ve been motivated to reach further on giving back because of my friend Charles Antis. So I’m very happy to be here. I think this program’s going to be amazing. So thank you. Thank you very much.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you. Thank you. So what were we thinking when we asked these amazing, brilliant folks, roofing professionals, to come on here? What we have been watching is that Antis, Shell and Best Contracting, and Bob Mars couldn’t be here today, but Best Contracting have come together in the LA area and have been doing amazing givebacks. They’re competitors, they work in the same area, maybe not competitors every day, but they’re all roofing companies within the same metro area. And they are all coming together to do amazing projects to help people, to give back. In fact, you’ll see as we go show these pictures here that I’m going to show you here in one second… There we go. So you can see Rudy there with the Ronald McDonald socks. You can see Charles and Susan as they are on the Ronald McDonald with the… There you go, the Ronald McDonald socks. They’re working together on projects, blood drives.

Heidi Ellsworth:
They have been in the community working with Habitat for Humanity and all of these different organizations together. And we wanted to talk about that. We wanted to talk about, one, how you pull other roofing companies, distributors, manufacturers, how do you bring everybody together in an area to give back as successfully as these folks have done that? And also, how does it help your business, your culture, your employees? So that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So let’s get started. And the first, I would love, is let’s talk about the associations and the organizations that you all support. So Susan, maybe can you start with, what is your main thing or even your philosophy around that, on charities?

Susan DeGrassi:
Well that was one of the first things Charles and I started to work on, and he’ll talk about it. It’s hard for Charles to say no to anyone. And we get way, way more asked than we could ever possibly do. So our core areas of focus tend to evolve around shelter. And that was kind of a cornerstone, keeping families safe and dry. We coined that a number of years ago. So Habitat is… We’re a roofing company. So roofs is an obvious choice. But it also included Red Cross, which I’m a board member of in Orange County. That’s the whole blood drive image that you saw. But in addition to blood, the core give back area that Red Cross is known for really is disaster relief. And again, providing shelter to people at their worst possible moments, all over the world, actually.

Susan DeGrassi:
So that’s how it started. Charles will talk a little later about Ronald McDonald House too. Again, another form of shelter for families in one of their worst moments of their life. But one of the things I wanted to mention in how we got to inviting other contractors, was Charles got to say no on a couple of times. We got into situations that were very big, too big for a company of our size, but we had already committed. And we said to ourselves, “Next time we need… Many hands make light work. We need to piece this up.” And I’ll just leave you with that, ’cause I’m sure we’ll get to… That’s how we came together. And the big fear, and we’ll talk about it never happened, is will companies kind of poach the other guys from other companies? Not your customers but your employees. And that never happened. Everybody is just amazingly respectful and joyful to be with each other.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. I love it. I’m going to go to Rudy here real quick. Rudy, again, kind of share what are some of the associations or charities that Shell has really been committed to? And then we’re going to bring it back to Charles and kind of talk about the ones you’re do all doing together.

Rudy Gutierrez:
Okay. So yeah, we are very involved, obviously, at our local level in our communities. However, as a team with Antis Roofing, CI Services, we’ve teamed up to take care of the Ronald McDonald House charities property. It’s a very large property in Mountain View, California.

Rudy Gutierrez:
And then Shell Roofing has taken on the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House, the Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House. And we’re also involved with Paws 4 Success, which is a really cool nonprofit. I mean, very serious. But to me it’s amazing to be part of. It’s a shelter where they take in rescue animals that are found in deplorable situations, brought back to health. They’re brought back to health and then they are partnered with somebody in the military or law enforcement, or a young child that’s having some major, major health issues. And these special assignments, these dogs are trained to help them deal with their challenges. So not only the dogs get a second chance, but obviously they help our most vulnerable people that take care of us when we need it.

Rudy Gutierrez:
We’re also involved with The Whole Child, it’s a nonprofit that deals with young talented kids that might be straying off in the wrong path, but brings them back and gives them the opportunity to learn and be inspired by leaders. And brings them back to the right path.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That’s awesome.

Rudy Gutierrez:
We’re involved with Habitat for Humanity, Pomona, Fontana, Ontario. And we find those special opportunities through Habitat for Humanity. And we’ve delivered roofs to veterans. The most recent one was in Pomona, 70 year old female veteran. She’s an amazing lady, but she had no money to put a brand new roof on. So we took on the project a little bit more than what we should have. But yeah, my team cringes every time I say yes to Charles or other people.

Rudy Gutierrez:
We’re involved at the local level. We have friends that are searching for those opportunities to help our neighbors. Recently we installed a roof over a family that needed a roof, that had just a sick child. Or she’s actually an adult, but all their money goes to take care of that person. They had no money from a brand new roof so they wanted us to repair the roof. We instead turned that around and gave them a brand new roof so they don’t have to worry about the entire house.

Rudy Gutierrez:
And then through Charles and Bob at Best Contracting we’re involved with the Orange County Rescue Mission as well. So yeah…

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. That is so cool. Okay. I kind of want to level set here just a little bit too, Charles, because I think as we talk about bringing companies together and working together to do things, I would love for you to tell… We’ve heard a lot here about Ronald McDonald House. We know that it’s sponsored by the Roofing Alliance. It was your idea that you brought to the Roofing Alliance. Can you tell that story? Just because I think it’s important for everyone to hear too about what’s happening across the whole country.

Charles Antis:
Okay. Thank you, Heidi, for asking. I feel like I need to qualify just in 30 seconds and that. I’m from Oregon like you, I’m raised in those Oregon mountains. I always worked in dangerous jobs. My dad, in the logging and in the plywood mills, and in life, he always taught me to do the right thing. I remember my dad losing his temper, which is kind of funny, it’s a funny memory to me today. But I always remember him doing the right thing. And so when I got older and got into roofing I was faced with a dilemma right away. And again, quickly, I got pulled into a home that I thought I was going to make money. And instead a little girl pulls me into the bedroom where she slept, where I smelt mold.

Charles Antis:
And I looked down. As she smiled and pointed to the poster on the wall I looked down and saw the moldy mattress she slept on. And I was stuck. And that’s the first time that I ever can remember telling somebody that I was going to try to take care of their roof. And I thought I could patch it, instead it was a whole roof and I had to get volunteers. And it was not a beautiful roof, but it was dry. And something stayed with me in that thing, dad. I’m the expert, I’m there. And I’m going to turn my back on a family just because they don’t have any money? So many times we get that call to go patch it. And it’s not always happy, “God, just go patch it.” But boy, looking back, we feel good and that’s where it started. And that’s why we started donating habitat roofs. But to your point earlier, when we talked about what we’re doing together, nobody would ever say yes to share the donation with us for the last 12 years.

Charles Antis:
And so let me fast forward to where we are today. So about eight and a half years ago, my wife’s pregnant. Beautiful, wonderful pregnancy. We’re healthy, but she’s got twins and Dawn is thin. So she was really big. And suddenly overnight it went south and we had to go to the hospital. She had preeclampsia. And it was so scary watching the babies come out not breathing and watching them go straight to a NICU, and Dawn in the hospital. I was overwhelmed. And then there was one place there, Ronald McDonald House, right next to that NICU that we drove to every day and spent two hours, twice a day to do skin on skin. ‘Cause the doctor said, “If you put the kid skin on skin on your chest it’ll give them the best chance to heal.” Looking back, that was the most beautiful advice. We would come in and do that.

Charles Antis:
And one day I’m coming in to do that donation. And by the way, Ronald McDonald House was there. They had beds, they had computers and they’re trying to make it available to me. But I’m still in that, “Don’t talk to me,” mode. I had a really big beard right then, I looked like Ted Kaczynski, and I was like, “Don’t talk to me. I’m in my own world. I want to feel sorry for myself. And I don’t want to associate with the families with sick kids.” I mean, I didn’t say that, but looking back that’s how I felt. But one day I came in, Dawn was there. I was late. I was due to have Charlie on my chest, but I couldn’t because I had such bad heartburn. And I was stuck. And that day I went in and the Ronald McDonald House attendant who was always offering us stuff that I would avoid, she wasn’t there.

Charles Antis:
And I looked down and I just saw this little green Nature Valley granola bar. And I thought it might do the trick. And I have a lapse in memory on that day, eight years ago, until about it’s about an hour and a half later. I just remember laying down in NICU with my shirt off, Charlie asleep on my chest. And it is like, I get it now. Ronald McDonald House keeps families close to their kids so they can heal. And that’s the whole thing. And so when they knocked on my door two years ago and said, “Hey, you want to help? You want to do the Ronald McDonald fashion show?” That’s where I got this, first time I got a branded suit. This one, this is the Roofing Alliance one, the old logo, til you changed it, Heidi. So anyway.

Charles Antis:
So that’s where it started. And so I didn’t know. And then they said… I was at their house one day and I was telling them how we take care of the Habitat roofs. And they had a leak and I go, “Hey, let’s fix it. Why don’t we keep the families safe?” So they’re dry and close. So we started keeping the families dry and close. And that’s what happened, ’cause at the same time, Bill Good, who was CEO of the NRCA came to Antis and he goes, “Wow, this is a unique roofing company. It feels like a Google campus. You guys do roofs? How do we do this? Can we spread this type of cheer across the country?” And I said, “Yes.” And I had all these ideas, and all the ideas were hitting, they weren’t going to work, until I brought up the fact that there’s only 165 Ronald McDonald Houses in the US.

Charles Antis:
And I think that’s a doable deal. And it wasn’t me. It was Bill Good calling 300 CEOs. And he talked to 200 of them. And of all of the CEOs he spoke to, only one said no. And it was because he didn’t have access to what he could help. I mean, it has been a unanimous help. But the people that showed up at first really set the standard. And Antis, we were all in. We put a big channel of money into this on two campaigns, the local and the national, ’cause we knew the impact. And we went to people like Shell Roofing with Rudy, ’cause I met him. ‘Cause we’re doing good, we’re marching in DC together on National Roofing Day. I could read him. And he was the first contractor ever in the history of my existence that ever said yes when I asked him to share a donation. This was the first time. And he said yes right away, he got it. He’s all in. He’s never been no.

Charles Antis:
And by the way he said yes to everything I’ve ever asked. And now Bob Mars is on that same train. Like, “Wow. I got to be careful.” And Susan, by the way, is not letting me ask you more. And so it’s a beautiful thing together. And so go back to Habitat for Humanity, where we’ve donated every roof for the last 12 years, we just broke ground on going to be our 97th and 98th roof donated. And what’s really exciting, Rudy, I’m going to let you know this, is once we lay the 100th, since we done it to 98 and we couldn’t get a donor, now we can, but we’re going to finish the 100th donation because that’s kind of a milestone. And then on… or maybe the 100th or the 101st, we’re going to invite you Best to start sharing our Habitat donation. Yeah. I’m going to be popular in my own company.

Rudy Gutierrez:
Thanks?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thanks? I know. Be careful out there everyone, as you’re chatting or asking questions, because Charles may… what you’re doing. But that’s why, ’cause you ask. And I think-

Charles Antis:
But everyone will tell you, and it’s worth just being… I’m sorry. I don’t want to-

Heidi Ellsworth:
No, go ahead.

Charles Antis:
Everyone will tell you that, oh my God, what it does inside and outside your company, and what it does to your culture. Who knew? I thought people wouldn’t get the Ronald McDonald House. They didn’t have sick kids, but everybody has sick kids in their family around them. And everybody gets that. It’s something that’s needed. And outside, when people pause on our brand, there’s so many stories that hit us late that we never knew. People do understand that purpose eventually means quality. There’s half a million parts in every HOA roof we install. Half a million. There’s 250,000 nails or more. And what if a nail goes in too far or not far enough because a guy doesn’t know or doesn’t care? It cuts that section in half. It literally cuts it in half.

Charles Antis:
So we have another expression we say at Antis, that I think is actually… What is it, copyrighted? It’s, “Every nail matters.” But it shows up. And now we know this, and I want people to understand, this is not some trend. People care, more now than ever, about what really matters. And the only way people can see it is through this authenticity and the vulnerabilities that show when you’re doing good in the world. It’s a completely different model than command down. It’s now listen up. And that’s what we’re living in the roofing industry. And the whole roofing industry is seeing itself high and proud. We no longer hide our hands in our pockets. We are the ones that provide shelter. We know it, and I love that. And Rudy you’ve been there at my side from the beginning. Susan, since she came to Antis, oh my God, it’s been amazing.

Charles Antis:
And what she’s taught me is to stop doing it all myself, stop joining all the boards myself. I just joined Boys and Girls Club, but still. Stop joining all the boards myself. Instead, look at her. She’s not only on National Women Board, she’s also on the local chamber board. She’s also on American Red Cross board and that’s why we’ve had 78 blood drives. So it’s like this thing is exponential. Culture is exponential. Brand is exponential. Antis has so many more opportunities than we’ve ever had because of the brand. And how do we use that brand to bring more light on good things?

Charles Antis:
So it’s a beautiful thing and I would like everyone to understand that, we’re not doing this because we’re saints. We’re doing this because we’re being smart business people and we care about our people, inside our company and outside in the community. And we really can make a difference. I don’t know why I’m making a Vulcan sign right there. That’s not going to-

Heidi Ellsworth:
But I think that what you’re… Exactly. So you’ve just taken us to where we want to get as we’re going through that. I do want to say, just out there to level set for everybody, that the Roofing Alliance has roofing contractors, like Charles said, across the country. And every single Ronald McDonald House is covered by a roofing… Whether they’re an NRCA member, Roofing Alliance member or not, it does matter. We have contractors all over the country giving back and really involved with Ronald McDonald House through the Roofing Alliance, which is just a thing of beauty.

Heidi Ellsworth:
But I want to talk too about Rudy, playing off what Charles just said on culture. What does it mean to your employees and how have you been able to get your employees involved? And also, what have you seen in the culture, the growth of culture as you’ve been so involved with everything?

Rudy Gutierrez:
Yeah. So obviously our team is… They’re very in sync with each other. And these projects that we throw at them, the giving back projects, they’ve been very unique. The Antis, CNI Services, Shell Roofing experience working together at Ronald McDonald House charities to deliver large scale maintenance and new roofs on the properties, it has brought our teams together. And I do recall Charles and I talking about some concerns at the beginning, but once our team started working together we had a team leader. That team leader gave out the assignments and everybody just went to work. Using our skills to do good things. And I think that that’s what our team has taken back. They know that when we take on these special projects, they’re so careful about doing things and they want to do it even to a higher level. We have a pretty good team of guys that are roofing professionals.

Rudy Gutierrez:
And so definitely brought our team together more, and they like doing these kind of projects. They know that it’s for special situations, and certainly motivated for us to find new projects to give. The very touching project that we just finished, that was such an emotional project. All these dogs that are in such bad shape. It was so hot inside this building and we were able to bring our skillset to lower the temperatures inside so the dogs could be comfortable as they’re being cared for. I mean, we obviously take care of people, but these animals are so special. And our guys, they’re tough guys. And man, some of them couldn’t hold back the tears as they’re talking about these projects. And I know they feel that way when they work with Charles’s team as well, and Susan’s team. When they’re all working together it’s just a team of people doing great things.

Charles Antis:
They feed off each other.

Rudy Gutierrez:
Yeah. Obviously there’re always the concerns in the back of our head, “Well they’re going to like that team or we’re going to lose some people.” I’m not concerned about that. I’m not. We take care of our team. I know Susan and Charles do a great job for their team. And so does Best Contracting. I’ve known the Best Contracting family for decades and they’re fantastic company. So we don’t have those concerns. We just go out, use our skill set and deliver some really great projects to people that really need it the most.

Charles Antis:
A scene that really describes that, Heidi, was when we were at the camp the last time… We’d been there twice. We started the whole thing at Camp Ronald McDonald in Idyllwild. When we went back there this time it was beautiful watching how everybody came together and how… There was this moment, though, this moment where the teams were harmonizing and just eating together. And suddenly we had a band up there playing Mexican music, Banda music. And then a tech stood up, and he might have been in your company or he might have been in CI Service Company, he wasn’t Antis. And he started singing like he learned when he was a kid, an old folk song. And it was the most beautiful moment that really shared that… We actually have it somewhere. I would love to pull that up and play it. It was a beautiful moment that really shared how it felt to be there that day, knowing that we were providing all of the roof keeping that camp safe and dry. It was powerful. And we’ve had tremendous respect with one another.

Charles Antis:
So Rudy, you said that well, but I just have so many memories of that. When I see your brother on a job site, when I saw him on House of Hope up on that roof… We didn’t hug ’cause it was awkward, it was up on our roof, but we hugged each other with our eyes. We were happy to see each other, and there was a genuine, deep respect. And I see your sons and his sons. And I see some of the other people that I’ve marched with DC. And when they see our men back and forth, we don’t always high five, but there is a moment. And that’s what we share. When you do good with somebody else, you belong to a special club that has access, with no limits. And you guys know that about each other and you’re able to do more. It gives you presence. I don’t know what presence is, but everyone in this room has it. It has something to do with showing up and building bridges all the way to everybody.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is so cool. I want Susan, just real quick… And we’ve talked about this, about worrying that by bringing all these teams together and doing projects together that you might lose your employees to another company. But you’ve got found just the opposite. How has that also helped with your recruiting and getting more people in, because of the culture that you’ve grown?

Susan DeGrassi:
As employees are looking, especially employees in the professional jobs… So they’re checking you out on social media right away. And it is a big draw, for anyone at any age now, to be part of an organization where their heart feels good about the work they’re doing.

Susan DeGrassi:
I’ll use our digital marketing hire, Bobby, who joined us about, oh, three or four months ago. And he’s going to love the work partnering up with a visionary CEO like Charles is, who loves it. Who wouldn’t want that as part of their career? But really what really got him right away was the what he was talking about, which is all this giving back. But even our texts, I’ve been chatting in the chat box, because we have, as contractors, employees that know how to use tools. We all have fleets of trucks. We have equipment. And some of this work, it’s just simple work.

Susan DeGrassi:
We’ll get calls from a shelter that says, “Hey, we’ve got to move beds from one place to the next. Can you send a couple of guys?” Four of our guys on Saturday are using their 16 hours of paid volunteer time to go out and install fire alarms with the Red Cross Sound the Alarm campaign.

Charles Antis:
What?

Susan DeGrassi:
And they’re bilingual, even more helpful in those situations. So it doesn’t always have to be some big, expensive thing. Sometimes it’s just… And when we piece together these roofing gives that have been alluded to, the next big one coming with the three contractors is Orange County Rescue Mission. And we have a fourth joining us out there also. We’ve got someone donating material, someone donating wood, someone donating the labor, two guys per company. Chunk it up so it’s achievable for even a small contractor. Charles got called recently by a very small company in LA. He met him for lunch, talked about this, and we’re inviting him to send one guy and join us in a small… A little home, under 2000 square feet. But they operate it as a safe house for human trafficking youth in Orange. And it’ll be a way to do something small, a one or two day re-roof. And that employee, these employees, it just fills them up. They’re so proud to be asked to be the one that gets to go.

Charles Antis:
Rudy, how about those one or two day re-roofs? They often turn into five or six day dry rot replacements.

Rudy Gutierrez:
Yeah. Yeah. I haven’t been on one of your projects that hasn’t been like, “Totally two days.” Yeah, no.

Susan DeGrassi:
So you know what? Why is that, Charles? So everybody listening, it’s always going to be that way. These nonprofits, they don’t have money. And so they neglect every type of repair on any asset they own, often for a very long time. That’s why. And in this particular one I just mentioned, we think there are two or three roofing systems that we’re tearing off. I know.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Oh wow.

Susan DeGrassi:
Painful. So don’t forget to ask your tear off companies also to either donate or discount the work.

Rudy Gutierrez:
Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That’s excellent. Well, I wanted-

Charles Antis:
Took me a long time to learn that. It took me a long time. I didn’t realize the community was so generous. I just thought I was doing what dad wanted me to do.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Yeah. I know. But I have to always say this too, is that the roofing industry, and I think overall construction industry, has always given back. Everybody. Rudy, for however long we’ve been doing this, we’ve always seen the contractors giving back. They just didn’t talk about it. And because they didn’t talk about it or they felt like they shouldn’t talk about it… And that’s been a big thing that you really helped, Charles, to get that word out, is that it’s okay to talk about it. It’s not just about yourself, but by showing what you’re doing it helps others do the same thing. And it lifts the whole industry, which we’ve seen.

Heidi Ellsworth:
And so real quick I want to just read out from Carla Ferguson. Thank you. Carla, J and K roofing out of Denver, Colorado. “Just did our second annual public bed building project with Sleep in Heavenly Peace Denver.” I love that. “To build beds for kids that don’t have a place to sleep.” That kind of makes me a little teary. Carla, thank you. That is so cool.

Charles Antis:
Yeah, we need to hear that. We need to hear that, that there’s kids that don’t have a bed to sleep, because that’s [inaudible 00:35:52] our peripheral. Our brains are designed to stay in the lane and not notice that. So we have to pause and help others pause. So thank you for helping us pause to notice, ’cause we no doubt have the same thing in our community.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. When people talk about it, then now everybody can look and see, like you said, outside the lane. And Rick Bui said… ‘Cause I asked, I said, “What’s everybody doing?” So I’d love everyone to type in. But they are in Chino Valley Rotary. They are Paws 4 Success, Spring Valley Lake Veterans, the Rotary Clubs of Apple Valley, Victorville and Hesperia. So thank you. I mean, that’s just so cool.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Please, everybody out there, if you have any questions… Or share with what you’re doing right now, ’cause we would love to share that. Okay, Charles. Let’s talk just a little bit about that topic. And I know this is a favorite one of yours, of why for so long people have been, “We do it. We give back but we don’t say anything.” And I think it is kind of that old, humble, “Don’t say anything. It makes you a bad person if you do.” But we know that’s not true. So talk about your experience with that.

Charles Antis:
Well I think for me, I thought that. I have to remember that’s what I thought. I never talked about the good that we did. I reluctantly gave those roofs. I reluctantly kept those families safe and dry. I was almost like I was afraid I’d be cursed if I didn’t. And then it was Habitat for Humanity. They asked if we’d donated a roof, I’d been donating roofs for a long time. I’d finally talked to her. I knew she was wanted to talk to me, the CEO, and I kind of avoided her for a while. I finally took a call. She goes, “Hey, will you donated a roof?” I said, “Sure.” That was the first time. And then she’d call me again. “Will you donate another roof?” “Okay.” And I got sick, “I got a military complex. These families were all veterans and now they’re getting their first home. Will you help on those?” “Let me talk to my team.” Okay, we started doing those.

Charles Antis:
And what happened after about the sixth or seventh or 10th home, we donated for a year and a half all of the roofs. And then Habitat put an ad in the paper and it said this, “Antis roofing.” It was a wrap. I mean, I was so happy. “Wow. I got an ad we didn’t even pay for.” “Antis roofing, donating roofs, transforming lives.” And I thought, “That feels a little bit blasphemous or something.” Like, “Whoa, you can’t say that. We can’t talk about it.” But when I woke up the next day I felt a little bit different. I didn’t get struck by lightning. People seemed to know, people in my company seemed a little bit proud. Like, I thought they all knew. They don’t even all know. Maybe I didn’t tell them ’cause I didn’t want them to think I was foolish, too.

Charles Antis:
But there is something miraculous that happened when I started talking about it. And then I learned this magic thread, and it was just something. I don’t know if somebody told it to me, probably I have some mentor somewhere that’s like, “Dude, come on. I told you that.” I learned, if you don’t talk about it then how will anyone know? And why does that matter? Because how will it be repeated? If this is a good thing then certainly we can talk about it and let others share in how great it is. And that’s what I did. And I started talking about it, and I found a way to do it. And that is the way, hold it through that filter. Never miss, never overstate. Ugh. It’s cringey. Never call yourself a philanthropist. I’m just saying things I don’t do, I recommend not to. But really talk to what the story is. And what happened was, in this case, I really got tested because when we presented this idea and Bill Good started talking across the country, all these contractors were calling me ’cause they knew this was my thing ’cause I told my story.

Charles Antis:
And they said, “Well by God, Charles…” And they didn’t talk like that, but they were [inaudible 00:39:41] “By God, Charles, I want to donate that roof, but we’re not going to talk about it.” And this is what I want. I learned the power of this argument and I said, “Well, Bob, if we don’t talk about it how are we going to grow? How’s it going to grow?” And then they just kind of got it. And then everybody started talking about it. Some let others talk about it. It’s marketing, not all roofing companies are strong in marketing and messaging.

Charles Antis:
So that’s part of the reason, but you’re right. It’s everywhere. It’s the most generous trade, or something about knowing this skill. It’s like you’re a doctor and you’re on an airplane. You’re going to help that patient, unless you’re a turd doctor or afraid of being sued. But if I’m a roofer and I go out at a place, and I’m an expert there. And I have the ability with all those years to cause that pain to go away, and I’m not going to do it? There’s not too many of us like us out there. We’re a really generous trade. And that’s what’s really beautiful about today, is we’ve come together in so many ways in community. And in the community in support of our trade.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Rudy, I see you nodding and… So same journey? And I mean, I would love to hear a little bit more too about the Chamber of Commerce, because you give back so much that direction too. So it’s not always… I’m just going to say, at Roofers Coffee Shop, our give is really to the industry. So doing things for the industry, for all the associations and all of that. But then we also encourage our employees and we help them give to their local, ’cause we’re so virtual, we’re all over the country. But you are also giving back on so many different levels, like you said, on the boards and then also in the projects. So talk about that a little bit.

Rudy Gutierrez:
Yeah. So I just want to make a comment real quick to Charles’s comment as well. He is so right. So our industry, the roofing industry is such a generous industry. And I do recall that voice that Charles just mentioned, somebody saying, “We just don’t talk about those things.” And I was in that meeting and it captured me, the reply. Charles said, “If you don’t talk about it then how are you going to inspire others to do something? Even put a nail down or put a roof down.” And it resonated with our industry. This is a room full of owners across the entire United States. And it resonated. I know it resonated even with those that stay quiet about it, because now they’re talking about it. And we all got involved with the Ronald McDonald House charities.

Rudy Gutierrez:
At a local level it inspired us to do even more, again with our local Chamber being involved, trying to find those people that really need our help. We drove up to a home here in my community that, you look at the outside of the home, this person really doesn’t need… I mean, he could afford doing something. Until you start to peel back and you look inside and you realize, “Wow, this is tough.”

Rudy Gutierrez:
So we at a local level, through our Chamber of Commerce, have been able to help and reach those people. We have people listening to those people that need it. And some people just… As Charles said, we have a skill set that we could do something. We have stuff in the back of our truck. Even mastic in the back of our truck, that we could do something. And that’s, even at the local level, being involved with our local Chamber here in the city of Chino, as well as at the Los Angeles level, which is a much bigger situation. Being involved with the Whole Child, giving back with kids. And other organizations, helping out with school supplies, partnering with a food company, just to give back… We fed 500 homeless people during the holidays. We gave away something like 1200 pounds of turkeys. We just found those opportunities through people asking or keeping their ear to the ground.

Rudy Gutierrez:
We partner with Fresh Cut Foods who… They know who needs to be fed. And they’ve been able to feed so many people and give back at our local level. But if you don’t talk about it, how are you going to inspire others?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Right. So true. That’s the part I love about this. And we just had a great question here. I want to put it towards Susan. It’s from Carla, thank you, Carlos. She says, “Appreciate this group. How did you start inspiring your teams, employees to want to get more involved?” Oh, you’re on mute Susan.

Susan DeGrassi:
I was typing a response. So I’m glad to answer [inaudible 00:45:28] ’cause it was getting long.

Susan DeGrassi:
So I think when you’re getting started, most businesses do well if they start with something small and achievable. For example, the holidays are coming. The Red Cross has a program where you write letters to veterans. We have Super Bowl Sunday coming up, have a Super Bowl party and collect canned soup for a food bank. It doesn’t have to be expensive and you don’t have to start with the roof give. And by the way, and Rudy alluded to this, that the chamber is helping vet and qualify the ask. So we do get a lot of calls from individuals looking for roof repairs. And there’s no way as a company you can really qualify and vet whether or not they really have the need. You need a nonprofit organization or a chamber, which is also a nonprofit, to help you do that. They have a program and you can raise your hand to be someone who is their partner.

Susan DeGrassi:
But just start looking around your local community. And by the way, that’s where you’re doing business. So getting the attention as a company that cares is important in your market. So start local and see what the nonprofit needs. Maybe someone’s looking to clean up a playground, and you could do an all employee event there. Don’t be surprised if everyone doesn’t want to show up on a Saturday. People have families and kids. And even if you pay them to be there through paid volunteer time off, it just might not work out for them. So I think try to start during regular business hours, if you can, and gradually bring in other opportunities.

Susan DeGrassi:
By the way, the Ronald McDonald partnership, which is nationwide, those houses used to have, and it will come back, Meals of Love. Where volunteers go in and cook a meal, prepare a meal, pay for the food and serve the people that are staying in the house. It shut down during COVID for obvious reasons. But we invite clients. We use that as a client and sales opportunity, and they love it. We get a lot of owners of businesses that we sell to that say, “Thank you for inviting our employees to go with you to that, as opposed to another cocktail event.” It means so much.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love that. And Susan, I’d love you to also kind of… So one thing I’m going to say for Carla too, that I think I’ve heard from a lot of different contractors and things, is ask your employees too, what they are interested in. What is important to them? Because if it’s important to them they’re going to be more likely to get engaged and then catch the fever of everything.

Heidi Ellsworth:
But the other thing, Susan, real quick, I wanted you to talk about is you are the chair for philanthropy for National Women in Roofing. And we have councils across the entire country who are out doing… I mean, we did stuff here in Oregon that we participated in, giving toys to kids, all those kind of things. That’s a great way to get the women and men in your company involved. So maybe talk about that just for a sec.

Susan DeGrassi:
Well, yes. And Carla, I asked you for your story because we’re going to be talking about this National Women Roofing’s post every single day during the month of November, on companies all over the country and how they’re giving back. And most of us tend to choose… Pets are very popular. We all love them, but we also tend to choose organizations that are in service to people in need. Families, women, children. And so I would say if you are that company that doesn’t have something-

Charles Antis:
You’re muted, Susan.

Heidi Ellsworth:
No, she’s not. No, you’re not muted.

Susan DeGrassi:
Oh, okay. We are that company that doesn’t know where to start. Yeah, look for your local council. Email National Women in Roofing and they’ll put you in touch with somebody who’s in your area. We just drove up a couple months ago, this summer, to help the LA Council with a big event that they had, and brought a bunch of people together. Again, many hands make light work, and you make some new friends that way.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it. Charles, I really want to make sure, ’cause we’re getting close to the end of the hour, but I want to talk a little bit about the term cause marketing. Because that is so important and it’s important out there. And some people look at it, like you said earlier, like, “Oh, maybe that’s not…” But it’s such good marketing on so many things. So talk just a little bit about that.

Charles Antis:
Well, cause marketing is basically making certain that all of your messaging points to building bridges all the way to the community. Susan mentioned, it needs to be a bridge built all the way to everybody. So cause marketing could be like… I’ll give you an example that really had a profound effect on me. If you were at a movie theater about 15 years ago you would’ve seen a Coca-Cola ad, and the Coca-Cola ad was about 20 seconds long. And you just saw all these Coke cans and the sound kind of… And then all these Coke cans going in the trash. And this guy’s voice comes on and it says, “Do you realize if you’ve drank Coca-Cola in the last 40 years you’ve participated…” And this makes me emotional because it was true. And this is what I try to hit, cause marketing. So I’m embarrassed that I’m emotional, ’cause it’s not my message, but it rang true.

Charles Antis:
“You participated in the largest recycling combined project in the history of the world.” Now they used stats in a way to prove that, but it was true in the thread. And it made me feel good about buying Coke as opposed to another brand, because I felt like they were looking at ways to give back. And I knew of some of the things that they do. And they give back in every market differently, according to the geography of what’s going on there. And not every a company does that. So that was really impressive to me.

Charles Antis:
So I went back, where we had already donated Habitat roofs for a year and a half. And so this is 10 years ago, and this is one of my first attempts at cause marketing. And I said… This is probably why I’m emotional, because this is where it hit home. I said, “Do you realize if you’ve traded with Antis Roofing in the last two years that you’ve helped provide a roof for a family who were buying their first home through Habitat for Humanity?” Something like that. And I didn’t know if it was going to matter, but it rung. It mattered. I heard it. Some of my people heard it. Habitat heard it. Some other people heard it, and it was real and it built bridges all the way to everybody.

Charles Antis:
And that’s one thing that’s important about the nonprofits you choose, by the way. Don’t choose a controversial nonprofit. It must be one that’s loved. And there are a lot of outside critiques that will help you decide. Habitat is one of the most beloved brands in America. People don’t always know what it does, they think we give away homes. We don’t give away homes, we help people buy that first home that really deserve it, that can’t afford it because of the rising interest rates in the housing market here.

Charles Antis:
And that’s what it’s about, and it’s powerful when you can get to that real message. So all of ours, if I’m talking about blood drives, and so I’m going to miss… And Susan’s on the American Red Cross board. And what’s a roofing company doing blood drives? But right now? Yeah, we give roofs and we keep family safe and dry. But if the community’s concerned about blood, then why not raise your hand for blood drives? And over the last two years Antis roofing has had 78 blood drives, and we’ve really literally raised 6,000 life saving units of blood. All because of Susan asked if we could do that.

Charles Antis:
Because in the moment she heard the audience, our people, and that’s why you choose your causes. What do your people want? But she heard. And let me tell you why that matters. And I told you guys this the other day, it’s the donors that come in… And we have a room. They tell why they give. And we get guys like Nigel. Nigel comes in, and he has an English accent, I won’t do the English accent. But he said, “I came in and I was on my first parachute jump, and I was due to give blood later in the day. And on the way down, the chute wouldn’t open and I knew I was going to die. And in that moment I made a deal with God. I said, “God, if you get me to the ground safely I promise I’ll give blood the rest of my life.”” And then he says, “Charles, that was 38 years ago. God kept his part, now I’m keeping mine.”

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow.

Charles Antis:
When you hear that, what does that do to you? I mean, that awakens me out of this trapped moment where I’m chasing work or whatever. I’m alive in the moment and you can feel it, my people can feel it. Susan can feel it, she’s alive too. We tell that story and it matters. And we have story after story. I could tell you blood stories, blood donor stories all day.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it. I love it. I just thought, okay. Speaking of which, I want to just read this real quick from John Kenny, John, love having you on here, with Cotney Consulting. “I am working with the Virginia cities movement, with full scholarships to cover the cost estimating, training for kids coming out of the foster care program to gain skills and find work in our industry.” I love that. And it’s another example of… We always say time, treasures. But it’s giving your skills of John’s vast knowledge in estimating and helping these kids to get a career. I mean, that’s beautiful. So to Susan’s point, there’s so many different ways to give back. [inaudible 00:55:37]

Charles Antis:
John, you can be generous and give me some of your old roofing collection. You give me some of your 1910 [inaudible 00:55:44]

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it. Okay. I can’t believe it, we’re at the end of the hour. Oh my gosh. I have loved this so much. Rudy, any last words?

Rudy Gutierrez:
Thank you for this platform. We do things that help our communities. We do it because we have an awesome skill set. We’re roofers. Think about that. We’re the most important part of a building. And thank you to my friend, Charles, who inspired me to reach to a whole different level, and Susan for your advice. Start small. There’s many ways you can give. So thank you for this platform. I’m absolutely honored to be a roofer.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So awesome. Roofing respect. Susan, any last words?

Susan DeGrassi:
Just pay attention to what’s around you. That example, John’s example of mentoring and developing our youth and focusing on our trade. That’s another easy way to… Well it’s not easy, but it’s a very meaningful way and an achievable way to pass on your gifts to a next generation.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, I love it. Okay, Charles, hold on one second. I got to read this from Michelle Kettering. “Thank you all for being such an inspiration. Just the push that I needed to make the time to reach out to the nonprofit that I have been wanting to get involved with.” I have chills now. Yeah, Michelle. It’s so awesome. Okay, Charles, last words.

Charles Antis:
Well, my last words are to Bob Mars, who couldn’t be here this morning, about the Orange County Rescue Mission. We’ve committed to provide a roof that’s going to be 150 beds for veterans and for families, and for women in need. It’s going to be this… And kids. It’s going to be this amazing thing. And it started as an impossible give. It’s a couple hundred squares. JF donated the shingles, Best is involved. Shell is involved, CI Services is involved. And we’re super excited. It’s an overwhelming…

Charles Antis:
When I got that ask it was all I could do to say maybe and not say no. But I don’t say no, I always say maybe. And somehow, I pinched myself when I walked that property. But somehow it showed up and everybody showed up. And now, like Susan said, we’re going to be able to make a real difference in Orange County, just like we were able to do in LA last week, taking those six pallets of hand cleaner to the missions up there. Whatever we can do to help. What it does for us and everything around us, why not do it?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Oh my gosh. I love it. I just have to say thank you all. Wow. This has been great. And I want to thank ABC Supply because I have to tell you, ABC Supply is doing this every day with Make-a-Wish and with Home for the troops and so much more that they give every day in every community across the country, working with our roofing community and just overall.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So, wow. LeeAnn Slattery just said, “What an inspirational way to start the morning.” And I agree with her. I’m a little teary. I’m just overwhelmed. But thank you all for being here today and thank you all for listening.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Hey, next week we are live with Coffee Conversations from Western States. So we are going to have Lee Lipniskis, Tim Hart, Wendy Marvin, and Will Lorenz who will be live on the Coffee Conversations talking about what’s happening in the Western States. What’s happening, material shortage, labor, you name it. And it’s all sponsored by Everroof and General Coatings. So be sure to be there. And by the way, a little secret for everyone going to Western States. General Coatings and Everroof are also giving away free training modules from the RCMA, Roof Coating Manufacturers Association. So stop by our booth, 861. We’ll see you all there on the next Coffee Conversations. Thank you so much and have a great day.

Charles Antis:
Bye.





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