Getting serious about growing his business and helping others reach their dreams has been his number one goal. Curtis Sutton, president of Rackley Roofing and one of the fastest growing roofing businesses in Tennessee. But Curtis is not your typical president and executive leader.
Curtis started his roofing career when he was just 18 as a laborer making $6.30 an hour. After graduating high school, Curtis joined his brother-in-law who worked for a large national roofing company. Curtis worked out of an office in southern Ohio, but traveled over three weeks a month. At the time, putting in 100+ hours weekly and getting paid overtime, in Curtis’s own words, “I thought I was rich!”
So just how did a laborer start out to become the president of a multi-million-dollar roofing company? A lot of hard work. Curtis has done every roofing job there is to do, from shoveling debris to leading his own crew as a foreman, taking every opportunity available to move up the success ladder. From the start, he had a goal to one day own a roofing company, and shying away from the work was not an option.In just span of about ten years, Curtis went from working as a foreman, to superintendent, to general manager of a local division of a large roofing company where he helped start up several satellite offices. In 2010, Curtis joined up with Rackley Roofing as a partner, taking part in growing the company to what it is now. The success comes from the understanding that all our team members drive the success and the future of the company, not just management.
“Employees make a great company! Investment in your employees on all levels is critical if you want to grow your businesses into a million-dollar company,“ Sutton said in a recent interview on the Blue Collar Proud Show.
Changing the culture of a business entails several critical things: offering great employee benefits, opportunities for employee training, education and growth, and taking advantage of the latest technology the roofing industry has to offer. For instance, one of the things Rackley Roofing takes pride in is using the app Rackley Roof View, a tool that allows Rackley to provide an online folder to every client that has not only the before and after pictures of the roofing job, but of the complete history of the roof. Clients can see the job progress and completion without ever having to step on a ladder.
Rackley Roofing throws frequent company picnics, special lunches, and goes out of the box to show employees a huge appreciation to their dedication in representing the company. Curtis truly believes this is key to creating one of the most successful roofing companies in TN.
“I consider myself blessed to have worked with an owner prior to acquiring Rackley who believed in my potential. In four different roofing companies that I have worked with, my boss believed in me enough to give me leadership training.“ Curtis said. “Traditionally in roofing, there is not much leadership training as it is more of a blue collar hands-on training. Being able to invest in people with education is a great feeling and goes a long way for both the employer and employee. Many employees are never given the opportunities I was given. I have taken the leadership skills my old boss taught me and put them into practice, ‘trust your people; we all make mistakes daily, but as business owners, we tend to miss our own mistakes because no one is watching.’”
For Curtis, leadership training is one of the most important things that TARC does as an Association.
During Curtis’s presidency, he started up the For Foreman Class, taught by the NRCA, for TARC companies to send their foreman for leadership training. To date, Curtis’s legacy has led two Foreman Level I classes, with a Level II class scheduled for January 2018.
Rackley Roofing Company, Inc., established in 1974, has become one of the leading industrial and commercial roofing contractors serving Tennessee, including the Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis, and Chattanooga areas over the past several years. Earlier this year, Rackley merged with C.M. Henley Company out of Knoxville, and as of August of this year, Curtis has added R.D. Herbert & Sons to continue this growth.
“Rackley Roofing’s success is largely due to the employee culture that we established. We do everything we can to try and take the time out of a busy schedule to train our guys in safety and leadership.”
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