Texas Roofing Supply and the Highest Quality Roof you`ve never
THE BUSINESS LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE
Supply and the
never heard of
Texas Roofing Supply Team.
Texas Roofing Supply and the Highest
Quality Roof you’ve never heard of
s you drive down Hwy 59, you
might have seen a new billboard
with a Texas logo on it.
Texas Roofing Supply, located
between Wilcrest and W. Airport in the old
Sam’s Wholesale Club building is a new
We took a tour of this impressive facility
and had a chance to sit down with the CEO
and founder of TRS to find out about the
Brian, it looks like you have been up to
something big here. Tell me what inspired
you to create TRS and what specifically
drove you to do it here and now?
Well first I want to say it’s a pleasure
meeting you Michael and I am a huge fan of
the Fort Bend / Katy Business Journal, so when
I heard there was an opportunity for my folks
to talk with you, we were extremely flattered.
Here and now. huh? Well, it’s simple. I have
been in the roofing/construction industry
for 20 years now and have worked almost
entirely in the Fort Bend/Katy areas and so
has most of my team. In those 20 years,
we have seen a lot of changes in the roofing
world specifically. We believe this is the best
Credit Manager Mike Kelsoe with salesperson.
Texas Roofing Supply Fleet Trucks.
timing to compete against our much larger
corporate competitors. As far as the location,
we really were blessed to land this. “I used
to shop here when I was a kid when it was a
Sam’s Wholesale Club. To still be part of Fort
Bend is just a bonus.”
This is quite a place here. Before
this interview, I didn’t have a whole
lot of knowledge regarding roofing or
distribution of roofing. “Some of your
guys have given me some insights to
your business —you mind filling in the
Sure, we distribute roofing supplies to
contractors and builders. We have a lot of
unique ways of going to market here that, to
be honest, our competitor- because of their
size- simply ignore.
Can you explain and or give us some
examples of that?
Over the past two decades I have worked
for a building and a roofing company, owned
a roofing company, and then worked for one
of the largest national supplier.
Are those companies still in operation
“Oh yes, and doing quite well. They are
managed by really smart guys and I wish
them the best of luck.”
But, you have a better way?
Well, let’s say a different way.
Ok, go on...
It is my belief that most of my
competition, like so much of our country
today, are victims of their own success. In
that, in roofing distribution at least, it has
become easy to put up four walls, throw
shingles in the yard, and wait for the phone
to ring. This part of the country has become
known to industry insiders as the “Walmart”
of roofing. Now, they are referring to the
cheapening of the market, mainly due to the
high volume attributed to new construction
and storm activities. It is my belief that this
market can be just as profitable as any other.
So what do you see that the others –
your competition- do not.
In short, salespeople...
Yes, in my experience people in this
industry stopped selling a long time ago.
You see, a true salesperson creates or exposes
a need and upon that discovery, follows
through with service. It just became too easy
to be an order taker. Everyone at TRS is a
salesperson. As a matter of fact we believe
in that philosophy so much that every
employee, regardless of their title is considered
a sales person here. This is true for all our
staff. Everyone attends sales meetings and
That is different. What about your
products? You can have the most trained
and efficient sales staff in the world but
you still need a good product to get
behind. Tell me about this Pabco and
what’s so special about it.
TRS is proud to offer the Pabco shingle
in the Texas market. This shingle pound for
pound is the best asphalt roofing product
made for a roof today. It weighs 260 pounds
per square versus the average competitor
weight of 220 pounds.
Weight, is it that big of a deal?
Without a doubt. Roofing shingles in this
market use to weigh a lot more. Referring to
what I mentioned earlier about the industry
changing a lot, this is a big example of that
change. What Pabco offers the average home
owner in the Texas market is basically a ton
more material to protect their investment,
their home, for the same price. When
dealing with asphalt shingles, weight really
is everything. Most of Pabco’s competitors
have chosen to dramatically lighten up their
shingles over the last decade.
Why would they do that?
You would have to ask them, but from my
perspective, it is simply motivated by profit.
Bottom line, if you use less asphalt and
granules in your product it will cost you less
to produce. There is a reason why the average
asphalt roof today only lasts 8 to 12 years,
and it’s not global warming. It’s a direct effect
of a lighter product being made. Most of the
other manufacturers have made their shingle
so light that they have stopped publishing
their weights all together.
So is weight the only thing that sets
It is one of the main attributes but not
the only one. Another huge selling point
of value, especially for this part of the
country, is the fact that Pabco shingles are
protected by Scotchgard. 3M is a well
known company who owns the Scotchgard
brand. Most consumers have purchased
this product in connection with leather
seats, certain clothes, carpeting, flooring
and so on. They also offer copper coated
3M granules for roof shingles. You see,
copper kills the algae that likes to grow on
roofs in humid regions like South Texas. In
order to get the Scotchgard warranty, which
is 20 years guaranteed no algae growth, a
shingle manufacturer has to purchase these
granules from 3M. So, 11% of the granules
on the surface of a shingle have to be 3M
It seems like that would be pretty
costly. Why don’t other manufacturers use
Scotchguard as well?
Texas Roofing Supply, CFO Austin Hill.
It is costly. Copper isn’t cheap. Years ago,
a manufacturer could use zinc, which is less
expensive and they all did. That has since
been outlawed to use on roofing products,
so one must use copper to achieve the same
results. As far as a lot of Pabco’s competition,
they are simply making darker shingles to try
and hide the effects of algae growth. In some
parts of the country that might work a little
longer but not down here. Just drive around
this town and look at new subdivisions that
are barely seven years old and you will see a
large majority of the homes with algae stained
Who all distributes Pabco in this
TRS is the only supplier for this market.
Most distributors have tried for years to
get their product down here. It just isn’t
something Pabco wants to do.
Lena at “Lena’s Cafe”
Why would they not work with bigger
distributors? Why did they choose to team
up with you?
Pabco is a family owned business and,
although I would not dare speak for them,
believe they do not like dealing with
national chains or distributors that are
larger than them. They believe the “big
guys” have somewhat lost their way. Trust
me, it wasn’t easy convincing them to team
up with us. But, once they saw we have
Juan driving the forklift transporting pallets.
the same vision and values as they do, it
became a good union. Our philosophies
align nicely. They do not report to
Wall Street, a private equity fund or put
corporate above their customers. Like us,
they know that the customer is the only
one they and we should be reporting to.
So the customer who gets a new roof
from a contractor who buys from TRS
is getting a much heavier, and therefore,
longer lasting shingle. And along with
that longevity comes a way, through
Scotchgard by 3M, to keep the roof
looking new. Do I have it right?
Michael, you know we are always
looking for good people... No seriously
though, you got it!
I’m guessing with this premium
shingle, there has to be a premium price
tag as well?
Well, normally you would be right. But,
with the relationship we have managed
with Pabco, we are selling Pabco for the
same price a contractor and/or builder
would normally pay for the national
brands. TRS and Pabco are willing to make
less on a far superior product than what
jointly our competition is making.
Speaking of them again, how are the
other manufacturers taking all of this?
I would have to get back with you
on that Michael... No, look in the end
we believe that this will create a need
somewhere down the road for other
manufacturers to start making better
shingles again. And hey, that’s good for
And with that Slay was off to help another
roofer who walked thru the door. There were
a number of times he had to break away to
help with a customer, this time he grabbed the
arm of his CFO to help finish the interview.
So, I was able to follow up with Austin Hill.
So Austin, how does a West Point
graduate with Honors, Iraq veteran, and
Dean’s List MBA from University of Texas
at Austin wind up in roofing distribution?
How much time do you have? If you
would have told me two years ago that I
would be in roofing, I would have told you to
dream on. The best answer to your question
was that I was born into it. My dad has been
in the roofing industry in some fashion since
1980. A couple years ago, I met Brian at a
lunch with my dad, which led to a lunch with
the two of us, which ultimately lead to Texas
Roofing Supply. I’ve always wanted to work
for myself, and after hearing about Brian’s
vision and the chance to disrupt a “good ole
boy” industry, I was hooked.
You’re only 28 years old with a heck of
a resume. Presumably you have a ton of
opportunities, but ended up CFO and
part owner of a start-up company within
an industry you are still learning a lot
about. Tell me about the ride so far.
You are right. I am still learning every day
from everyone that comes through our doors.
I go out of my way to learn from our drivers,
sales people, front office, back office, vendors
and, most importantly, our customers. There
were many areas I was interested in after
my MBA, but nothing as exciting as the
opportunity to start Texas Roofing Supply.
After sitting down with Brian and realizing
the potential that TRS has to offer, I haven’t
looked back. We are truly disrupting the
roofing distribution industry here in Texas.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing
a new customer on our sales report. Well
maybe seeing two new customers. Once they
jump on the Pabco/Texas Roofing Supply
bandwagon, there is no going back. After the
third job or so, you can see that contractor
start to change his business acumen once
they see the superiority of our products and
Well you’re the CFO. How have the first
couple months been?
In a word – phenomenal. We have had
over 60 different contractors purchase three
or more roofs since our August 1 start date.
Sometimes I have to take a step back and
remember that we are a new company, selling
a new product in the largest/toughest shingle
market in America- and doing a heck of a
job at it. We have a superior product that
has been strategically blocked from entering
the Houston market to keep others’ profits
high and shingle quality low. We are selling a
smart phone and our competitors are selling
flip phones. Some people stick it out with
their flip phones for a couple years, but they
always come around to the smart phone, or
they make a conscious decision to be left in
the past. We are truly dedicated to delivering
Texas Roofing Supply Showroom.
a superior product combined with superior
service through our A-Team. Like the CEO
has always said, “There is nothing more
independent than a Texas contractor.” With
that high level of independence comes a
choice, and our sales speak volumes about
the choices our customers have, and continue
to make. Our satisfied customers and
homeowners reflect positively on the waves
we are creating here at Texas Roofing Supply
and I am excited to see what the future
Natasha & John in Showroom.
I spent the entire day with the TRS crew and
must say they do seem to be the A-team of what
they do. I met their warehouse loaders and
drivers, the dispatcher, the inside sales people
and the credit manager. Interesting enough
Mike Kelsoe, the credit manager, has been in
the credit/collections industry for 29 years and
used to be Slay’s boss. I asked Brian about that
and he responded, “You know it is the ultimate
compliment to have someone who was your
supervisor from years prior to think enough
about you, to come and work along side you
again”. Ray Sosa, TRS driver/sales, said he and
others have willingly left their previous employers
to help build Texas Roofing Supply and in some
cases agreed to make a little less. Sosa says,“I
have known Brian a long time, he is a good
man and he’s a winner. We are really part of
a team here not just a number. All of us care
about the end goal because we see everyday that
TRS cares about us.” Slay’s team seems extremely
loyal and fully on board with the end goal. But
what is that goal? I had a chance to ask him
one more question at the end of the day, while he
had customers around him.
©2014 • Reprinted from Fort Bend Business Journal
Brian, what would you like Fort
Bend/Katy Business Journal readers to
take away from this interview?
Michael, in a nutshell, I would say
if you are building a new home or you
are a homeowner who is looking to
upgrade or replace your roof, you owe it
to yourself to look into Pabco Roofing
Products. There is a choice out there
and you don’t have to settle. If you
have a contractor or a builder making
decisions for you, remember you are the
boss. Ask that person or company to get
you information about the best roofing
shingle now available in the Texas market,
Texas Roofing Supply is located at 12002
SW Freeway Meadows Place, Texas 77477.
They have a rather large showroom packed
with knowledgeable people and samples that
can help with any roofing related questions.
They are a roofing supply wholesaler, which
means their customer is primarily a roofer,
contractor or builder. But, as Slay has
stated many times they welcome the public
into their showrooms and will help them
with their roofing questions and even refer
12002 SW FREEWAY
Meadows Place, Texas 77477