By Josh Boatwright, Asheville Citizen-Times
Business: North American Roofing, commercial roofing contractor.
Who: Chief Executive Officer Brian Verble, 50 employees at corporate offices in Asheville and more than 300 nationwide.
Offerings: The roofing company has been a major national contractor over the past 30 years in the installation of roofing made from black, rubber-based ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, or EPDM. Its crews also install white, energy-efficient thermoplastic roofing and a variety of other products. Clients include large commercial retailers like Walmart and Home Depot.
Origins: Commercial developer Carl Verble founded the company in 1979 in Indianapolis when he partnered with Firestone Tire and Rubber. Firestone produced the roofing material, and Verble’s crews handled installation. The company remains family-owned.
“A lot of the people we hired (at the beginning) still work here today,” said Brian Verble, a thirdgeneration owner of the company.
Changing with the industry: North American experienced big growth in the early 1980s, earning it a spot on Inc. 500’s list of the 10 fastest-growing companies in the nation.
The Verbles moved the company headquarters to Asheville in 1993 under the leadership of Carl’s son, Mike, to take advantage of the area’s mild weather and high quality of life, Brian Verble said.
In the past decade, North American has branched out from its initial focus on installing EPDM roofing to energy-efficient products like thermoplastic “cool roofing.”
“Even though the black EPDM is very much a tried-and-true product, the industry started to shift more toward the white products as society became more energy-conscious,” Verble said.
Business tip for tough economy: Demand for commercial roofing has fallen over the past two years as the recession has stifled new construction.
North American has responded by refocusing on reroofing and maintenance services and expanding its client base from retail to hospitality, warehouses and a variety of other industries.
Verble said it’s crucial for an established company to maintain a strong relationship with existing customers while seeking new ones. “Our employees treat the customer like family,” he explained.
Satisfied client: HealthSouth, a franchise with about 100 rehabilitation hospitals across the country, has hired North American Roofing numerous times over the years.
“You don’t have to worry about the quality of the work they do,” said Jim Moxley, director of facility management for HealthSouth. “They’re honest, and they don’t try to make you replace something that doesn’t need to be replaced.”
Roofs in Asheville: The company has roofed the Overlook Village shopping center on Tunnel Road, Gerber Village on Hendersonville Road, numerous Ingles stores and offices, two Home Depot stores and a variety of other hotels and retailers.
Up next: Verble said business looks promising in 2010, with many contracts already in place with national retailers planning new locations.
The company also plans to monitor and possibly expand its selection of solar and green roofing products to meet customer demand.
Contact: Offices at 41 Dogwood Road; call 800-551-5602; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.naroofing.com.