At ADKF, we pride ourselves on the relationships we develop with our clients. We grow with them and are proud to be their trusted advisors. Because of how important our clients are, we want to share their stories. For this quarter, we interviewed Brad Beldon, Chief Culture Officer and CEO of Beldon Roofing Company.
This year marks the 75th anniversary for the family-owned business. Their website invites the viewer to look back through time to see how the business was started in 1946 by Brad’s grandfather, Morry Beldon after serving under General Patton in the U.S. Army. The Beldon family settled in San Antonio and is now a four-generation business. They are repeatedly recognized as one of the top roofing contractors in the country. The company believe in progress and being better every day. They believe their people are their “secret sauce.” This year, Beldon Roofing celebrated seventy-five team members with over twenty years of service and thirty-one team members have been with Beldon for thirty plus years!
It was a personal relationship with Tom Akin that connected Beldon Roofing Company and ADKF. Brad stated, “We were with some big firms for years and we just felt that we wanted to be with a firm that better understood the construction industry, small family businesses, and that we weren't just a number. That was important to us.” When asked what has made the business so successful these 75 years, Brad replied, “Our core principles of integrity, honesty, and doing the right thing help us get through. I think that our customer, both internal and external, see that when you treat them like family. I think that is one of the reasons people stay here so long, like in your firm, they feel like family. We always talk about how taking care of the internal customer takes care of the external customer.”
Like most businesses, the global pandemic has affected Beldon and required them to pivot and find new ways to do things. According to Brad they, “were using Zoom probably two years before [the pandemic hit]. We were very much into understanding how to apply the product but nobody anticipated what we were going to have to go through. [COVID] is still an issue. It's still a challenge. COVID has dramatically impacted the supply chain. So that's altering our business models. If you order materials today, you won't get them until July, August, or September of next year. So, you must do a lot of planning.”
Brad continues, “I think once we got past being able to understand how to address and deal with COVID and putting the proper protocols in place, then our focus immediately turned towards the supply chain side of the equation. Once we were able to find protocols to make it safe for people to work, then we had to figure out how to get the materials. We sent about half of the staff home. Most of those have not come back. We've found ways for sales and our call center to work remotely permanently. It's better for them. (Referring to drive time,) You know, two hours of windshield is two hours of windshield time, right? We think that creates anxiety as well, so if we can reduce that level of anxiety. The difficult part is how do you get your culture? When you hire somebody new that is working remote, we're still working through how to pass on that culture to remote workers who have never been in our office and never been in that environment.”
Brad feels their biggest accomplishment throughout the pandemic has been that they, “got through the two variants without a lot of people getting sick. That was because we got involved immediately and put in protocols, bought thermometers and wristbands, and we were testing everybody every day before it became normal; we put in protocols on hand wiping. We even bought Bandanas because you couldn't get masks. We bought bandanas and we were wearing bandanas.” Now, Beldon Roofing is striving to, “help develop alternative strategies for our customers to be able to manage the supply chain crisis.”
Brad takes his work and legacy seriously. He has four children who will eventually join the team. I wondered what was the best part of working for his family-owned business. Brad answered, “Carrying on the lessons and traditions from my grandparents and my parents is an honor. Not many people have the opportunity to carry that legacy from generation to generation and I don't want to be the one to screw it up so. I think it's fun.”
Brad also had some insight into the future and what he thinks we can expect. “COVID has taught us a lot in that the mindset of employees has changed. They can work in Colorado during the winter for three months, then they can go to New York in the spring for three months, and they go to Florida in the summer and live for three months if they want. They probably won’t own a home. They'll probably do Airbnb. Them being able to live where they want, when they want is going to change the way we all do business. You don't have to look far to see there's a number of companies buying single family homes as though they are an apartment door and they're renting it like an apartment. It's just a bigger apartment behind that door. I think that you're going to see a shift in the way people look at tangible assets. It ultimately changes the dynamics of a company like ours because the demand for that product is not as high. You have to be willing to change very quickly and to track and see what are the things that are different in my customers mindset and what do I have to do to be ahead of the competition.”
When asked about the biggest lesson that he learned from the generations before, he answered simply, “Hard work. Nothing happens until you do something. The other thing too is my grandfather and my father taught me never ask someone to do something you're not willing to [do] yourself. And so, if I'm going to ask them to be there, I'm gonna be there with them.” There’s that integrity.
Brad Beldon is an avid Red Sox fan, a sports fanatic. He has four children, three girls and a boy, and five dogs with his wife Susan. He spends his time off off-roading in his Ford Bronco and spending time with this family.