Just a Minute with Rob McNamara President F.J.A. Christiansen Roofing Co. Inc.

Company address:   2101 W. Purdue St., Milwaukee
Company Web site:
www.christiansenroofing.com
Industry: Roofing contractor
Number of employees: 140
Education:  Business administration/ accounting, Marquette University; J.D., Marquette University Law School
Family: Wife, Kate; children, Chris, 18, (“roofer” working on an FJAC crew this summer before college), Connor, 16, and Clare, 14.

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“Leadership development with our field management people. You cannot overstate the importance of building your team’s ‘soft’ people skills.”

What’s new at your company?

“We’re very excited to be working on Milwaukee City Hall’s historic renovation. Our FJAC sheet metal craftsmen are involved with the complete replacement of the ornate copper roof on both the south clock tower and the smaller north tower. Old-world craftsmanship is alive and well today, as our people demonstrate every day on this very challenging project.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“Already, we have added to our estimating/project management team as well as field craftsmen in roofing and sheet metal due to healthy demand we are experiencing. In the area of capital, we have a couple of additions to our ‘clean and green’ fleet that has been our hallmark for 129 years.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“Our industry is evolving through much change in the world marketplace. Global competition for energy and raw material inputs has greatly affected roof product prices (read: inflation) and even availability. We are challenged to work closer than ever with our suppliers and customers, to make sure our customer’s needs are met without interruption. On the plus side, I have been fortunate to be named this year’s Senior VP of our industry’s National Roofing Contractors Association (membership of more than 4,000). That would lead to a term as NRCA President next year, which will keep me out of the office a bunch, and out of everyone’s way!”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“Competition for use of rooftop space. No longer ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ roofs are seeing significant change in use as green/vegetated roofs and solar/photovoltaic installations make greater use of rooftop space.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“‘Results, no excuses.’ This is the motto that has been in place around here for generations, an ethic started by our founder, Frederick Julius Andreas (‘F.J.A.’) Christiansen, a Danish immigrant who started our company in 1879.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“Well, the person from whom I’ve learned the most – my dad. Don was a tax attorney working for Touche Ross & Co. when he decided to make a go of it in roofing and joined Bob Christiansen here in 1967. Thanks to the duo of Don’s great business sense and an even greater way with people, he successfully grew our company over many years and then more recently organized the nation’s largest commercial roofing operation – our parent company, Tecta America Corp., which now has grown to 45 locations throughout the United States.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“Build your company with the best people and create an environment in which they can thrive.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Spending time on our lake at home, golfing, hiking and skiing in the Rockies, biking, and doing just about anything with Kate and our kids.”

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