Marshall Roofing and Sheet Metal Co.
The history of Marshall Roofing and Sheet Metal Co. (MRS) dates back to 1944, when the company was first established as Federal Roofing. For 70 years, the company has helped commercial and industrial building owners protect their structures and assets from the harsh New England weather. Based in Peabody, Mass., MRS now employs eight office professionals as well as a field team that ranges from 25 to 50 roofers, depending on how busy the company is.
Today, Bob Marshall leads the business as president. He joined the company in 1981 and purchased it in 1991, changing the name to reflect the change in ownership. His wife owns Maplewood Sheet Metal, the company that performs all fabrication for MRS’s diverse and challenging roofing projects. Together, the businesses provide and install the materials to comprise custom roofing systems for private owners, general contractors and specifiers, as well as municipal, state and federal contracting authorities.
A process you can trust
Every roof is different. Between structural design, size and material, the MRS team knows that there is no one-size-fits-all roofing solution for commercial customers. The business works closely with clients through a needs analysis, problem-solving and cost estimate process to develop a product and solution that best meets the functional and financial needs of the structure and owner.
MRS is a union company, performing private, negotiated work. Repeat business comprises a large share of the team’s volume, whether through installation and maintenance for private owners, or continuing contracts with general contractors. Maintenance work makes up around 25 percent of contracts with the rest installation work for commercial customers and contractors.
One of the most memorable recent projects for Bob has been the company’s work for Northeastern University’s International Student Dormitories. The team constructed green roof gardens atop two high-rise dorm towers including all of the decks and grading systems. Green roofing has become a growing segment of the business. The team has performed several of these projects in recent years, working on the Millennium North and South Towers in Boston, the Macallen Building, also in Boston and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Throughout the recession, Bob says his team really had to tighten up. With shrinking margins threatening the stability of business across the country, MRS operated lean for a few years. Now, he sees all of that turning around. “We have had a lot of luck here in the Boston area,” he explains. “The city is dotted with cranes. There is a lot of building going on. We are in a boom.”
Part of the company’s success has come through vertical integration. The only thing MRS subcontracts is landscaping work for rooftop gardens. Everything else is performed in-house wither with MRS labor or through the company’s subsidiary sheet metal shop. This offers the management team better control over quality.
Putting people first
The single aspect that Bob feels sets his team apart from other roofers is the company’s ability to build and maintain relationships. Whether with owner clients, general contractors or employees, MRS focuses on people. At the end of the day, Bob knows his team is only as good as its last project. The rate of return business for the company is impressive and continues to grow.
In addition to these relationships, MRS also places high value on contributing to the community. As a member and president of the North East Roofing Contractors Association, Bob is no stranger to the importance of a sense of community in the roofing industry. When three roofers were severely injured in the finish line blasts at the Boston Marathon in 2013, he helped coordinate information and funding to help the roofers cover medical care and get back to work. While the men are still in recovery, the Roofing Industry Marathon Victims Fund has collected more than $100,000 and continues to grow.
The health of the industry and well-being of its members is a pet issue for Bob. He embraces the community aspect of the industry, utilizing association memberships to network and provide better education and opportunities for his professional peers. “We have a good backlog for 2015,” he notes. “We still have concerns about the strength of the market, but we are optimistic.”
Bob and his team are ready to tackle a wave of new projects in 2014 and 2015. In the coming years, MRS will continue to leverage relationships with quality, experience and safety to provide high-quality, efficient roofing systems to a diverse customer base. Marshall Roofing and Sheet Metal Co. is pushing ahead, succeeding with integrity.
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