Growing from the Ground Up, Working from the Roof Down

Roofing Solutions
Written by Grace McDermott

Roofing Solutions is a company that exemplifies the values of entrepreneurial drive, knowledgeable staff, and an ethic driven by a passion for excellence. From what started as a single-contract roofing job, Roofing Solutions has gone on to serve the construction sector not only inter-state, but internationally.
Backed by years of extensive roofing experience and a team of highly trained and specialized professionals, the firm continues to stand out from the crowd. Roofing Solutions is proof that with a little talent and a lot of hard work, it is possible to build an empire from the ground up – or should we say, from the roof down.

Tupac de la Cruz founded Roofing Solutions in 2004 when a general contractor had an urgent need for a roofing subcontractor on a Baton Rouge area project. In 2008 de la Cruz’s brother, Lautaro de la Cruz, who was working as the Marketing Director for Coca-Cola, came on board as a consultant. By 2010, Lautaro had moved to Baton Rouge, taking on the position of General Manager and partner at Roofing Solutions.

The duo was well paired with diverse backgrounds which allowed them to apply different skill sets to the needs of the business. Lautaro took on the conceptual aspects and planning of the company, allowing Tupac to employ a more “hands-on” approach to the projects and operations.

Today, Roofing Solutions has offices in Prairieville and New Orleans, Louisiana, Jackson, Mississippi and San Jose, Costa Rica. More than ten years on and the general contractor who was the firm’s first client remains one of Roofing Solutions’ best customers, a testament to the company’s commitment to building long-term relationships.

Personalized Relationships, Tailor-made Solutions
Despite the growth of Roofing Solutions, the firm’s business model operates on the notion of personalized customer relationships which center on meeting the specialized needs of every individual project. Lautaro explains, “we have a business model that emphasizes patience. Strengthening our relationships with clients and vendors is our top priority… We do many types of systems and services, from repairs costing hundreds of dollars to multi-million-dollar new roofs or architectural panel systems. However, our principles for success, no matter the job, are always the same.”

Working closely with architects and general contractors, the firm develops synergistic solutions which best fit the demands of an individual project. In a market which is increasingly reliant upon the development of large scale works via the participation of multiple operators, Roofing Solutions is able to provide not only the workforce, but the knowledge needed to respond to every roofing scenario and need. As Tupac says, “While cost remains an important factor on both public and private projects, building long-term relationships is a close second. If a contractor selects a subcontractor that is not the best fit for the job, or is unreliable, there could be hidden costs down the road.”

When it comes to large-scale, complex jobs, Roofing Solutions has the skill level and size necessary to quickly scale up or down according to the needs of a particular project. “We have the resources in-house, financially and technically, to take over large and complex jobs. We have bonding capacity, and we can compete with out of state firms by providing better service. We have highly trained crews, and have the capacity to scale up and scale down on jobs as needed to keep the schedule going.”

One example which highlights this professional dynamism is Roofing Solutions’ work on the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. Roofing Solutions was called in to replace the 24-year-old, 72,000 square foot roof of the aquarium which had been badly damaged during hurricane Katrina. The re-roofing endeavor was no simple task, as the roof needed to be completely demolished and taken down to the structural concrete while the busy aquarium needed to remain open, safe, and accessible to the public. The $1.5 million re-roofing work was demanding as it called for the installation of a brand new, environmentally compatible roof system. Roofing Solutions completed the work without closing any of the exhibits or disturbing patrons – an accomplishment made possible by the firm’s experienced crews and team of experts.

These types of projects, though demanding, are at the heart of Roofing Solutions’ work. Through an avid commitment to specialized roofing scenarios the company has continued to build long-lasting client relationships with some of the nation’s leading firms. In the end, it is these relationships which have propelled Roofing Solutions’ growth as they translate to professional partnerships and ultimately, more work for the firm over time. “From our perspective, the basis of our success is repeat customers. In construction work, there are a limited amount of general contractors out there, so we must ensure that we do the job right and establish a relationship with our clients that is built on trust. If the job goes well, then that same company will want to partner with us in the future,” explains Tupac.

Grass-roots Growth from Top-Shelf Staff
Roofing Solutions’ commitment to positive customer relationships is matched equally by the firm’s dedication to employee retention and professional development. Expertise is an invaluable asset to contractors; there is no match for experienced staff with practical knowledge of company-wide standards and industry best practices. At Roofing Solutions the experts are everything, and that is why the firm continues to invest heavily in the professional development of its workforce. “Building relationships with our employees is important,” shares Lautaro. “We invest both time and money to attract ‘top shelf’ workers by offering an attractive benefits package and pay structure, as well as continuous training through various vendor programs and LSU.”

A unique feature of the firm is its ongoing commitment to not only knowledgeable staff, but staff from diverse professional backgrounds. As the de la Cruz brothers harnessed diverse professional skill sets when setting out to grow the firm, the overriding notion of knowledge diversity remains a primary focus for the Roofing Solutions team. Mr. de la Cruz explains that, “the company recruits top talent with an emphasis on education and experience and also seeks out workers with diverse backgrounds, with many having worked for general contractors, suppliers or other roofing companies. This diversity of experience gives workers in the field a better understanding of project complexities, which enables them to quickly provide solutions when challenges arise.”

The firm’s commitment to diversity is perhaps best exemplified by its designation as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) by the New Orleans Aviation Board and as a Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) by the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. These designations, which set out to celebrate diverse enterprise development, enable Roofing Solutions to serve public projects that have DBE or MWBE goals. This unique feature is an important part of the firm’s corporate culture and is an accomplishment of which the de la Cruz brothers are proud. “We at Roofing Solutions consider these designations an important part of our company’s identity. We are proud of these designations. They give us an opportunity to add more value, since most government-funded work requires that certain quotas be met. At present, some 30 percent of Roofing Solutions projects are DBE or MWBE projects.”

Diverse Services
Roofing Solutions is committed to providing the best technical services the industry has to offer. From commercial roofing to architectural paneling and even HVAC work, Roofing Solutions has the experience and the manpower necessary to complete any job. The team believes that, “understanding the job and working actively toward assigning the right skill set of people and the right supervision is the key to success.”

To be sure, commercial roofing is a complex and demanding field. As illustrated by the firm’s work on the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, commercial work has intricate demands which can impact the overall well-being of the customer.

“Roofing Solutions has extensive experience with all types of roofing systems, including modified, built-up, clay tiles, single ply, metal, shingles, and coatings, as well as roof insulation systems. Our team can be consulted for roof design, maintenance and value engineering. Our services include Roof Replacement, New Roof Installation, Preventative Maintenance and Leak Repairs, Waterproofing, Composite and Metal Wall Panels, Sheet Metal Fabrication, and HVAC,” Mr. de la Cruz shares.

The company is widely known its roofing work, but architectural panel systems and HVAC work also represent a significant feature of the company’s overall services. Roofing is instrumental as it often determines the longevity and climate of a structure, but Roofing Solutions’ expertise in these additional services ensures a holistic approach which reaffirms the company-wide commitment to quality.

Architectural panel systems are a unique component of the team’s expertise. As any construction professional knows, quality design and installation are essential, but the aesthetics of such work is an equally important consideration. “With over two decades of experience in siding and panel installation, Roofing Solutions is specialized in successfully balancing the competing requirements of aesthetics, performance, cost and schedule,” says Mr. de la Cruz.

Roofing contracts typically demand a large portion of HVAC work, but often general contractors are forced to hire separate contractors to fulfill these HVAC needs. Since Roofing Solutions has an integrated approach which includes both Roofing and HVAC services, general contractors are able to work via a single source, guaranteeing a uniformity and quality control throughout each project. “We saw an opportunity to develop our skill set in that area, and at the same time help the owner and GC to protect the integrity of the roof during HVAC projects. Most HVAC companies do not have the knowledge to seal roof penetrations or prevent damage to roof membranes during HVAC projects.”

Roofing Solutions is a success story built on innovation and a passion for people. Through long standing client relationships and a commitment to employee development, the firm has built a foundation of expertise by which a plethora of integrated services are underpinned. The company saw consistent, stable growth throughout some of North America’s toughest economic times, a sure sign that, as the marketplace bounces back, the business can only boom.



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