Chicago Construction News special feature
From one crew in 1986, Sterling Commercial Roofing Inc. has grown into one of the largest contractors in northern Illinois. Serving northern Illinois, eastern Iowa and southern Wisconsin, the company installs a variety of roofing systems, provides coatings and waterproofing services, as well as inspection and maintenance services.
Company president Kevin Froeter says Sterling’s sales have grown from $300,000 that first year, to just under $28 million last year. “We have a workforce now of 125 people but are going to grow that to keep up with the $20 million worth of projects we have ahead of us this year.”
The company handles projects ranging from simple repairs to multimillion dollar projects. Froeter says the business currently has two active contracts worth more than $2 million each.
“We also just completed the final phase of a multiyear project that totalled one million sq. ft. that was a combination of 880,000 sq. ft. of new standing seam metal roofing system with total deck replacement and 120,000 sq. ft. cold applied modified roofing system.”
Sterling installs single-ply membrane, built-up roofs, steep roofing (shingles, slate and tile), metal roof systems, roof coatings and green roofs (garden roofs). Its product lines include Versico, Firestone, Sika Sarnafil, Carlisle, GenFlex, Tremco, GAF, and Johns Manville.
Other services include complete building envelopes, air barriers, and all types of wall panels and sheet metal.
Froeter says he believes in single source responsibility for the entire building envelope because it eliminates the finger pointing of who is responsible it is if a leak does occur.
Part of Sterling’s success over the years, he says, is a commitment to put the customer and employees first. “We feel that if we take care of them then success is assured.”
Another reason for success is the company’s ability to watch trends and to adapt its own services accordingly. “We see huge growth potential in the air barrier and wall panel business,” he said. “We are presently building a 12,000 sq. ft. warehouse so that we can expand our sheet metal division. We also plan to buy a CNC (computer numerical control) machine so that we can produce our own ACM (aluminum composite) panels.”
Froeter says the roofing industry is constantly changing, and not always for the best. For this reason, Sterling stays abreast of all the new products entering the market place.
However, he says the team is careful to research and test all new products before selling them to customers. “Our customers count on us to have all the right answers and we try hard to make sure that we do.”
As part of its commitment to staff, Froeter says Sterling offers free membership to the local fitness centers to all of its employees. “We feel keeping our employees in the best physical shape benefits both of us and is well worth the cost of the program, especially in reducing jobsite injuries.”
Assisting with that aspect, Sterling’s safety program has evolved immensely over the years,” Froeter said. “Our present motto ‘Safety the only choice’ has helped us achieve an EMR (emergency modification rate) of. .67.”
Sterling has also acquired the services of a third-party safety company, Safety Check, to oversee the program and contribute to the overall safety culture.
The company has been recognized with many awards for its performance, including being named the Firestone Master Contractor several years in a row and the Versico King’s Court Lifetime Achievement Award.
For more information, visit http://www.sterlingroofing.com.