- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Ian Nichols
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
With every commercial roofing job Rod Petrick and his team at Illinois-based Ridgeworth Roofing successfully deliver, the company is building on a multigenerational tradition his father started and his son will continue. A proud member of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), Ridgeworth Roofing isn’t the largest regional roofing contractor, but family-oversight and a trusted workforce ensures the company is indeed one of the best.
“We’ve all seen it where there’s a change in ownership and a company ends up doing triple the volume and after a year or two they’ve vanished – like a flash in the pan,” says Rod Petrick, second-generation president of Ridgeworth Roofing. “For us, slow, controlled growth allows us to work toward our business philosophy and that’s hands-on ownership. My son, Ryan Petrick and I are out in the field on every job at least a couple of times a week, talking to the owners and being on the project in person. I also buy my roofing materials and equipment through relationships – it may not be the cheapest way to go but our suppliers are here to help and stand by what they sell and the same goes for Ridgeworth Roofing.”
“We’re not going to be the lowest number on a job every day, but we offer a building owner a complete solution -if there’s an issue he picks up the phone and calls one guy for an answer,” adds Rod. “That answer is Ridgeworth Roofing.”
A single-source solution and a trusted team of family and family-like employees – that’s just the way it’s always been at Ridgeworth Roofing ever since Robert “Bob” Petrick started the company in February 1974. “My father worked a roofing competitor and he decided to leave and start his own company with two partners,” recounts Rod.
Bob eventually bought his partners out and continued to grow Ridgeworth Roofing with his wife, Barbara, who handled the finances. Together, the couple led the company for nearly 30 years, working hard to provide customers with top-notch roofing materials and service until 2003, when Rod took over.
“My father started the business shortly after I graduated from high school,” recalls Rod. “He asked if I would go to work with him for a year and I did, on the condition I would leave in a year to go to college.”
Plans changed and Rod says his education turned out to be more like the school of roofology, passed on direct experience and growing up in the business. “Needless to say, my degree is isn’t from a university, but I worked for my father until he was forced to step out due to health reasons and 10 years ago I bought the business from my mother and continued to grow the company,” he continues.
Now, it’s onto the third generation as Ryan Petrick, Rod’s son, steps in. “Ryan started the way I did; working on the roof,” tells Rod. “I’m proud to say now he’s attending the NRCA Future Executive Institute. This program will is an opportunity that wasn’t there when I was first in the business.”
“It’s going to give him a leg up when he pushes me out the door,” jokes Rod. But Rod does take mentoring Ryan very seriously. “He comes out into the field, meeting customers and suppliers and we’re doing a lot of estimating and project management,” he tells.
A family-like team
Also part of the Ridgeworth Roofing team is Rod’s wife Bonnie and his son, Dan and daughter, Ashley. From Local 11 roofers apprentice to working as a journeyman, Rod’s roots run deep in the industry and so do many of the other highly experienced, family-like team members at the company.
Based in Frankfort, Illinois, Ridgeworth Roofing serves clients in the greater Chicagoland area and into northern Illinois and Indiana. “We have a few customers and two roof manufacturers that when they call, we’ll go anywhere, as far as Madison, Wisconsin, where we’re doing maintenance on a school,” shares Rod. “The owner made the decision that they wanted us on the project because they know we deliver high-quality workman ship because I demand it from our employees.”
Ridgeworth Roofing currently employs a crew of 16 seasoned roofers, but the number decreases in the winter. “We’re a fairly hard company to break into in terms of employment,” tells Rod. “It’s a requirement that all of our people get along and get along well because you want to know you can trust someone when you’re up there on the roof. That’s just our culture and most of our employees are great friends outside of work.”
Ramping up in reflective roofs
From schools to industrial buildings, religious facilities to commercial properties, Ridgeworth Roofing expertly executes a wide range of roofing projects. No matter the market, Ridgeworth considers various factors and how each caters to the specific need: materials, design, techniques and weather. “We have the skill and experience to deliver an expertly installed, watertight roof the first time or off preventative maintenance or inspection on a previously installed roof,” expands Rod.
While the company is well versed in traditional materials and methods, Rod is a big believer in innovation and constantly reinventing Ridgeworth Roofing’s scope. “Recently we’ve made a push into the true single-ply market,” he tells. “We made the financial commitment to buy the equipment but we had money set aside because you have to continue to redevelop yourself as the industry changes and transition to the next market share.”
Another market that’s grown over the last five years for Ridgeworth Roofing is in reflective surfaces. According to Energy Star, qualified reflective roofing products can reflect more of the sun’s rays and effectively lower roof surface temperature by up to 100 degrees. When less heat enters a building, peak cooling demand decreases by up to 15 percent.
“In summer 2013 we completely removed the existing roof, installed a temporary system and added insulation to meet new energy codes at Evergreen High School in Evergreen Park, Illinois,” says Rod. “The school wanted to be more environmentally friendly, so not only did we put on a reflective, energy efficient roof, but we also installed planting trays for a rooftop garden. This is the first of its kind for the school district.”
Chicago changes the roofing industry
And this trend extends far beyond Evergreen. Since 2008 the City of Chicago has required reflective roofing on all new construction, as well as new roofing projects on existing buildings and Rod was influential in this industry change. “Ridgeworth Roofing was one of the contractors to go to work with the Chicago Roofing Contractors Association and a group known as the Roofing Industry Alliance to set forth the change,” details Rod.
“Chicago now has one of the best roof reflectivity codes out there in the public sector,” adds Rod. This commitment to innovative materials, methods and overall furthering the industry has made Ridgeworth Roofing a recognizable force among area contractors.
But as much as the company changes and continues to evolve to meet the pace of industry progress, there’s one factor that’s held the company together like glue for 40 years -family. Robert instilled the values of hard work, trusting your fellow roofers and integrity in Ridgeworth Roofing from inception and that legacy lives on.
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