- Written by: Kelly Matlock
- Produced by: Christian Davis
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Custom-Bilt Metals (CBM) stands solidly behind its work as a high-quality fabricator of metal roofing and rain gutter systems. The company offers products that last a lifetime and come with the warranty to prove it. By focusing on the integrity and longevity of its work, the company, in turn, is set to go the distance itself.
Though CBM has served customers along the West Coast, Gulf Coast and in Hawaii for the past three decades, the company has been transformed in the last few years under new management. Mike Kowal, now president of CBM, is an integral part of the investment team that bought the company in 2010. Although Kowal is just three years into his leadership at CBM, he knows his market, as he boasts 30 years in the manufacturing and distribution business.
With a bullish approach toward his industry, Kowal has the ability to see through the present and invest in the future, building on what he finds and launching it into something greater. Of CBM, Kowal says, “There was a great opportunity to invest and revitalize.” And that’s what has been done, quite successfully.
“We’re in a better place today than we were four years ago,” says Kowal. After overcoming the economic downturn, Kowal and his team were confident in approaching CBM; the company has a foundation that enables it to survive.
“We brought onboard some exceptionally talented people,” says Kowal. “It is great to see how they have driven the change in the company that is enabling us to be more successful in securing larger and more sophisticated projects.” The company employs more than 100 personnel throughout sales offices in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Hawaii, Louisiana and the corporate office in Texas.
For its sizable geographic footprint, CBM manufactures product that can be fabricated on-site, using portable roll formers. This means even 150-foot-long panels can be fabricated on-site, eliminating unnecessary waste. Installation of the CBM product is done by trusted partners and the company underwrites the entire job with a warranty, providing full peace of mind for its customers. Adding to that peace of mind is the fact that the company uses predominantly domestic product from west coast mills.
Another way CBM stands out to its customers is in its short lead time for orders. While most competitors require six to eight weeks, CBM only needs between two and four to deliver. Additionally, CBM is working to shorten its lead time further, which falls in line with Kowal’s overall philosophy of continual company enhancement.
“When you’re trying to lead an organization through change the part I get the most satisfaction out of is the improvements,” says Kowal. “It helps differentiate ourselves and provides more value to our customers.”
Value also comes in the form of variety, and CBM offers a nice assortment of long-lasting roof and gutter products in durable aluminum, cooper and steel. On the roofing side, the company has the ability to fabricate standing-seam metal roofing, aluminum shakes and shingles, corrugated metal roof and wall panels, as well as wall/soffit panels. On the gutter side, CBM offers half round style guttering, gutter accessories and material for contractors to fabricate several other gutter styles, including K, O/G, Fascia and Super/Deep Fascia.
Enhancing customers’ options is color; roofs and gutters can be painted in all sorts of imaginative shades. For gutters, end caps, miters and screws are all color-matched. Before color is applied, however, aluminum and steel gutter products are finished with the tough, yet flexible, Dura Coat XT-10. This coating ensures that the gutter resists scratching, fading, salt and pollution. For roofing, choosing one of several available colors on the lighter end of the spectrum will also increase reflection and prevent solar heat gain.
Furthermore, CBM uses Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) reflective pigments in the manufacturing of many of its products; these COOL Roof products reflect up to 70 percent of the sun’s heat. According to Kowal, this helps customers save thousands of dollars on cooling costs over time – especially those customers in California, Hawaii and across the Gulf Coast.
In addition to energy-saving ability, CBM products are designed to function superiorly in a number of other ways. For one, CBM roofing maximizes durability and cleanliness. In the case of standing-seam metal roofing, panels run unhindered from the top to the bottom of the roof resulting in far fewer seams overall than other roofs and the elimination of horizontal seams entirely. Similarly, CBM’s continuous rain gutter systems are efficient and seamless. The owners of these products will save time and money on debris-removal maintenance, and can rest easy knowing the best protection against leaks is provided.
Integrity for Longevity
The company is better today than it was yesterday; CBM is poised to be even better tomorrow. Firmly operating with a profit margin, CBM’s current goal is to expand in size and offerings. “We are looking at opportunities to expand our footprint geographically,” says Kowal. “Over the next year we have several new product lines we are introducing. We are going to see in the next 12 to 24 months a lot of significant progress on both of those fronts.”
As for now, projects, ranging in size and nature, continue to come to CBM from both the private and public sector. A repeat customer for CBM is the U.S. Department of Defense, and the team finished work on an extensive new physical fitness center for the Navy facility in Pearl Harbor.
“The project included a large barrel-vaulted roof, a very unique design,” says Kowal. “It was all rolled on-site.” Along with those large projects for CBM are private homes, schools and condos.
“We consistently demonstrate our ability,” explains Kowal of CBM’s success. According to Kowal, in the end, there have been challenges that the company has seen its way through and management will continue to focus on continual evolution by investing in growth and by embracing increasingly sophisticated products that best serve the customer and protect precious assets. Custom-Bilt Metals is on the fast-track to success with no signs of slowing down.
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