D.C. Taylor Co.
In 1949. Dudley C. Taylor founded a small masonry repair business, Taylor Tuckpointing, in Chicago. Within a few years, the business had diversified and Dudley renamed the operation D.C. Taylor Co. (DCT) and moved to Vinton, Iowa, in 1952. The business moved again in 1954 where it remains today in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Today, the company specializes in complex commercial and industrial roofing contracts. The business continues to grow and has now entered its third generation of family leadership. Dudley’s son, William Taylor, joined the team years later and has been serving as chairman and CEO since 1985. William’s son, Brent, joined the team in 1998 before his freshman year of college.
“I started as part of the roofing crew,” Brent recounts. “I did an internship here, working with the crews and in the office. After college, I worked in the mortgage industry for a while. Then, in 2005, I came into the company full time. I worked my way up as a regional account manager, then I moved back to Cedar Rapids in 2009 and I have been here since.”
What sets the company apart, Brent explains, is the people. “We have had a lot of long-term employees,” he elaborates. “Nine of our 12 original account managers have been here for 25 years or more. The company has relied on the skill sets of each of those people. Those unique qualities have allowed us to realize a major opportunity to define and document the processes we use.”
DCT specializes in low slope commercial and industrial roofing. The company’s clients come from a number of backgrounds with a range of needs regarding performance and safety. “We do a lot of work for agricultural companies who have a lot of milling plants,” Brent notes. “They need skilled laborers and a company that they can rely on to come in and not botch up their operations. In the rural parts of the country, roofers are few and far between. Our guys tend to be from those kinds of areas and share those kinds of values. Most of our work is done on buildings as they are in use. We do re-roofing projects on facilities that are in operation that can’t shut down processing lines. We can go in, tear off the roof down to the structural steel and put in new decking, insulation, membrane and roof.
“About 75 percent of our work is spent doing reroofing projects like that,” he continues. “We do some new construction, but that is small compared to the existing structures. Our staff ranges seasonally between 250 and 300 people. We rarely use subcontractors. Generally speaking, the types of environments we work in have safety considerations and coding involved. There is too much risk to not have control over all of the safety and training.
“Some of the more elite companies we use for supply include Sarnafil; we have done a lot of projects with them. We also use Firestone, Carlyle and Johns Manville. We also work with smaller, niche companies as well, such as Kemperol. They produce a resin-based liquid coating system we use, that once it is installed, it is solid lining. It comes into play for water management facilities and containment systems. ER Systems is another coating manufacturer we use, which is a pretty green company. They make a urethane product for lining.”
Unique Projects and Strong Performance
These strong relationships combine with a leading reputation for efficient and safe completion. As a result, DCT has a number of complex projects coming down the pipeline to add to the company’s impressive portfolio. With every project, DCT works with owners and property managers to determine the needs of a business. Beyond the physical construction on a new roof, many of the company’s clients need to maintain production while replacement occurs. Together, the project managers and owners build a plan for progress and process that will result in a new protective structure while offering the lath of least interference throughout construction.
When the team worked with Liguria Foods, DCT was challenged with a number of safety requirements to protect workers at the plant as well as food sanitation. Two regional account managers, a service manager and a construction project manager worked for months ahead of time with Liguria’s plant maintenance manager, Chris Collins to formulate a plan. While replacing the 33,400-square foot roof, DCT’s crew dealt with the usual risks in addition to a tight work site and a challenge unique to food processors, maintaining the stability of ammonia gas lines. With some additional training for these hazards, the team was able to execute the project on time, resulting in a watertight, durable roof with improved drainage systems.
One of the team’s more unique projects has been Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome. Constructed in 1989 through 1991, the structure serves as the university’s sports stadium and remains one of the world’s largest wooden-domed structures. In preparation, DCT pulled together one of the most in-depth proposals in the company’s history. The architectural challenges of this project required unique materials, application and safety precautions. “Our crew utilized a double tie off safety method to deal with a constant slope of around 60 degrees,” says Brent. The team was able to plan far in advance for design and execution, determining a winch system for materials movement and consulting the materials manufacturer, Carlisle SynTec to ensure the project’s success.
Setting a Precedent
In addition to high quality projects and performance, DCT has built strong relationships within the industry. As a founding member for the Center of Environmental and Innovative Roofing (CEIR), the business is working through industry partnerships to promote greener practices and sustainable materials usage. In 2012, the team received the RoofPoint Excellence in Design award for work on Meridian Vineyard’s facilities. The winemaker undertook a massive solar project incorporating energy saving practices and materials to coordinate a low-impact operation.
Brent and his team continue to strive to exceed environmental expectations. DCT has been recognized several times by CEIR for green projects and initiatives. As the team expands its market share, the business will continue to promote roof projects that are easier on the earth. D.C. Taylor Co. is ahead of the industry in a number of ways and constantly on a path of improvement.
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