English
English
Español
Français

Sign Up for Our E-News!

Join over 18,000 other roofers who get the Week in Roofing for a recap of this week's best industry posts!

Sign Up
Owens Corning - Sidebar Ad - Roofers Choice Insurance
Leap - Sidebar - LeapPay - Feb 24
EVERROOF - Sidebar Ad -  Branding Campaign
Bitec - StrongHold Sidebar Ad
Roofle - Sidebar Ad - RoofQuote Pro
EVERROOF - Sidebar - Podcast Training - Dec 2023
RoofersCoffeeShop - Where The Industry Meets!
English
English
Español
Français

Joel Shealey and David Allen - A Change in Leadership - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

Joel Shealey and David Allen - A Change in Leadership
May 19, 2021 at 10:50 a.m.

 

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an live interview with Joel Shealey and David Allen, of Bitec, Inc. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Roofing Road Trips with Heidi. Explore the roofing industry through the eyes of a longterm professional within the trade. Listen for insights, interviews, and exciting news in the roofing industry today.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

Hello and welcome to another roofing road trips. My name is Heidi Ellsworth and I'm with Roofers Coffee Shop. Today I have a podcast for all of you that is going to be pretty dang cool. I am so happy to introduce and welcome Joel Shealey and David Allen of BTech to Roofing Road Trips. Good morning, gentlemen.

 

David Allen:

Good morning, Heidi. Thank you.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

We were just talking before we hit the record button on this, about how, since the very beginning of my career, I have known David Allen and we've sat at so many different trade shows. I am thrilled at this point to really get to know Joel who we met last year at trade show in Chicago before the whole pandemic thing happened. There has been so much going on at BTech. We really wanted to have a podcast to just talk about what's happening with the company, but also talk about this generational coolness that is happening too with leadership. Before we get started, I'd love to have David, if you would start us out and just introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about what you do at BTech and a little bit about you.

 

David Allen:

Okay, thank you, Heidi. I appreciate that. I'm David Allen. I'm currently president of BTech Inc. Was BTech's first employee 34 years ago. I've worked with Joel's dad, with him and for him, for the last 42 years. This year I'm celebrating 44 years in the roofing industry and 44 years ago, I never would have thought I would be sitting in this chair. You're lovely to talk to, but [crosstalk 00:01:55] because I had other aspirations at the time. Once you get into roofing, it's very difficult to get out. It's been a great thing over the past four decades. My duties here in comp is basically anything that needs to get done a lot of times. It's just been the way it was since we first started the business 34 years ago. I dabble, of course, in operations, marketing, sales, staffing, you name it. We're a small company and a lot of us here, in fact, all of our staff and employees wear many, many hats. That's basically me and what I do in a nutshell here.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

That is great. That's what I've seen too over the years. You do everything, so it works out.

 

David Allen:

I wouldn't say I can do everything, but I get cast in there with the lions and the tigers sometimes.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

Good place to be. Okay, Joel, tell us about you.

 

Joel Shealey:

Thanks, Heidi. I've actually joined BTech in November of 19, just pre pandemic. As you mentioned, met in Chicago, got up to two shows before the world shut down. Previously, I was working in the refining world, primarily on the asphalt side. Did that for quite a few years and have really enjoyed getting to learn the roofing side of the business and meeting a lot of people. Now that the world started to open up again, I'm starting to get back out and meet a lot more people and hopeful that we can continue to grow this business and make it a BTech 2.0 if you want to call it.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

I love it. I love it. You're really focused on operations.

 

Joel Shealey:

Sorry, my title yes is currently VP of operations. I'm focused on, like David, a lot of different things, sales as well as operations at this point. We're really working to strengthen our sales force and are really tackling some new markets right now.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

That's excellent. That's excellent. David, could you maybe just tell everybody out there a little bit about BTech, the history, the products? What makes you guys so unique?

 

David Allen:

Up front Heidi, that's an excellent question. One thing that makes us unique is that the technology that we share with the Europeans, we have elected not to change it. I was trained in Europe over several trips over there, both with app and SBS modified [inaudible 00:04:32] membranes on how to make them, how to develop them and what have you. The reason BTech started was Bruce was very instilled is... In fact, he's here today actually. [crosstalk 00:04:44] was here in the office.

            How this was started... He and I were working for another company at that time. We had investigated the technology for this type of roofing product, brought it back over, successfully started up an operation. We felt like that not necessarily the operation was going in the wrong direction, but things were going to change chemically and physically and with raw materials. We were so proud of this particular technology we elected to leave and he elected to start this company so that we could continue the tradition, the technology, and bring the European expertise over and maintain it here.

            Joel came up with a nice phrase. "When quality matters," and that BTech is your quality source. It always has been. In fact, our technology, other than making some improvements with fire-rated sheets and other things, is basically the same as the Europeans manufacturing produce these products today.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

Wow. Wow. We know the quality that continues to come out of Europe.

 

David Allen:

Exactly, and I'm not trying to cast darkness upon anybody else here domestically. Bruce and I felt that this technology shouldn't be altered to a certain degree and we've maintained that here. I have the utmost respect for our competitors. They're doing a bang up job. They're great people. It's good to have good competition. We do have that, but our hallmark is that we maintain that technology and keep the quality up.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

That is cool. With Bruce starting the business and you two basically starting it together, Joel, I would love to hear about you 34 years later or 35 years I think, coming in to the business. Your dad's the owner, president, and working now with David, how has that been? Tell us just a little bit about joining the family business.

 

Joel Shealey:

My story is when I graduated college, I wanted to go out and get my own experiences. Then a few things happened in life that happen in life and wound up being where I wasn't in a position to come join the company for a while. Had some family issues that kept me in another state. As time evolved and I continued to grow myself in the roles that I was taking with different organizations, it allowed me to come in to here obviously last year, and to get a chance to work with my dad as he winds down to retirement, as well as to help BTech, as we said in the start, go to the next level and be BTech 2.0, if you want, at this point. It's been a real pleasure getting to work with David and my dad and the others here. They've got such a wealth of knowledge that just is immeasurable and unreplaceable as well. I hope to gain a 10th of their knowledge before both of them decided they're done with this industry or this business for a while.

 

David Allen:

You're too kind.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

Like you just said, Bruce is in the office today, right?

 

David Allen:

He's here. [crosstalk 00:08:22] get him here.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

I say, bring him in to say hi, but you know what, so we don't totally embarrass him or maybe we should... David, I would love for you to just talk about him. Bruce is so well known and has done such amazing things in the industry. Can you just talk about what he's left or everything he's done, I guess is how I'm trying to say it.

 

David Allen:

I don't think we really I have enough time for me to cover everything he's done, but I'm sure he would be humbled if he heard that statement that you just made. In fact, yes. He's done a lot for this industry over the years. I believe, if I'm not mistaken, Joel help me with this, I think he's been in it what 55, 56 years now?

 

Joel Shealey:

That sounds about right. Yeah.

 

David Allen:

Which is a long time. I thought my 44, 45, but he's got 10 years on me. First of all, he loves it. That's why he's in the office today. All right. He really cares about it. He cares about the operation. He cares about people and he cares about the industry per se. There are a lot of things that Mr. Shealey ... I will give him that respect, even though we're calling him Bruce. Mr. Shealey has done for this industry, there will be people who have no idea what influence he has, what influence he has had that has created certain things in this industry, both engineering, marketing, and product wise.

            It's really difficult to say. The whole litany of it would probably take an hour to do it. I guess it bodes well for him that he's had so many people work with him and for him for decades. We've had people retire from here that have worked with him for over 30 years. Mine has been over 40 years. There are people here now, even in our facility that have been here over 30 years. That's unique in the industry and I think as... Joel alludes to version 2.0, and I know there's a question in here about mentorship. I'm not trying to get ahead of schedule here, Heidi.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

That's all right.

 

David Allen:

What I'm trying to say is version 2.0 needs to continue to have a lot of version 1.0 in it from the standpoint of, let's say, loyalty, the culture here that we've always had, which is a family type culture. Joel is his son, but there are a lot of us that feel like he's a good mentor and a good father image too. He bears that distinction as well. To go specifically point by point into various things that he's done would take a while. I will reiterate there are a lot of things that he's done, he's incorporated, he's developed and the exchanges he's had with others, such as machinery manufacturers and other people within the industry has actually advanced it and bolstered it.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

Wow. Yeah. I've seen that. I've seen it throughout the... Quietly and then in such a, I don't know, in such a great way that... Joel, as you're looking at this... I have to say, my kids actually are working with Roofer's Coffee Shop now, both of them. I don't know how long that's going to last, but we're loving it at the moment. Yeah. When you're really looking... I love what, David, you just said about... You're looking at BTech 2.0, but let's keep the culture and all of the greatness of 1.0. Joel, how do you work with David on that? You guys are both working in the business right now, plus having your dad really providing mentorship, how important is that?

 

Joel Shealey:

It's vital. Coming in from an outside industry into this world, it's something you just... It's like going into any industry. There's so much you don't know and you don't know what you don't know. Having somebody like David to act as my mentor right now, as well as my father is key from me putting my foot in my mouth or stepping off a bridge that I didn't know there was a step off of. These guys have provided just a wealth of knowledge and an incredible sounding board and the guidance that's allowing us to keep a lot of that version 1.0 going into 2.0. We have such an incredibly solid foundation to work off of. We just tweak around the edges to get us be a little bigger and better.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

Yeah, and you know what, I think when you can bring all of that knowledge, plus any... Things are changing so fast with technology and just... Like what we're doing here today. How has that worked, combining such a strong traditional company with new technologies and bringing all of that in?

 

Joel Shealey:

It's been good. We have done a lot of in the last year to move to online conferencing and video conferencing, video chats, CRMs and things that just weren't part of 1.0. Some of it was by design, some of it was pandemic aided. I've got to admit, I did a bunch of Skype calls and stuff in my past life, but probably wouldn't have been the first thing I'd have brought to BTech or one of the early things. When COVID hit, it was... We got to do something different. How do we get there? It forced us into other marketing methods and things we necessarily hadn't been trying before and, knock on wood, we're seeing a little success with. Some ways it's been a good thing, as good as a global pandemic can be.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

I have to tell you, I'm so happy that one of those marketing things has been Roofers Coffee Shop, because I love working with you all. You've been on the site and now this year doing. I can see that. You can see how it's all growing. It's pretty exciting.

 

David Allen:

Joel is definitely expanding my horizons with technology. That's a good thing. We're glad to have him here, not just for that reason, but for other reasons as well. [crosstalk 00:15:08]

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

Like you said, once you're in the roofing industry, you never leave. Joel, here you go. This is what's happening.

 

Joel Shealey:

I was associated before with asphalt. Once you get into the asphalt world, you're you're into it. You don't [crosstalk 00:15:29] on the road or on the roof. It's there.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

I have to tell you, our kids feel like they've been part of the roofing industry their whole life because that's all I've done their whole life, as we've been a part of this great industry. It is, it's very family oriented and it's so awesome. I really want to get to... I'd like to take some technology, but also again, how the strength of your products... I'd really love for you to talk just a little bit about the uniqueness of your roofing products. Obviously in how they're manufactured, but also in the installation, how they're used, the colors, all the different patterns. Honestly, that was one of my favorite things when I'm going to trade show and walk by, and I'd see all these different colors and all these different patterns. Maybe David, why don't you start out. What's happening with the product line and what are you seeing in the market?

 

David Allen:

What I see in the market after the pandemic is a little constrained. You're talking about colors. They're very limited right now. Ours aren't of course, but they're very limited, but let's go back in time. Let's go back in time. When we started the plant up in June of 1987, we were making three colors in five products, both APP and SBS. That's evolved into a very specialized product called Mineral Design, which is one I think that you like so much where there are eight different patterns and about 20 different color variations, with blended colors and patterns and what have you. Our standard color arrangement has 13 solid colors in it and six blends that work both for residential and for commercial installations. I started on the colors first because I know that's what caught your eye because you're in marketing.

            From three humble colors, we now have just about anything that 3M can sell us and that we can mix up and blend here. We can do specialty blends if we have to. Again, we make both APP and SBS modified bituminous membranes. The standard conventional products along with fire retardant or fire rated products as well, self adhered, cold applied, hot asphalt applied and Thermo fusible. I think we cover the vast majority. Joel, if you want to jump in here, jump in at any time.

            In a nutshell, we canvas and we cover just about any modified product that you need or that the contractor needs for their application purposes. I may have Joel do this because this is version two. We're looking at some other products and other systems to introduce in the market within the next year or two. I'm going to put you on the spot, Joel. You want to take that?

 

Joel Shealey:

Without giving away too much, we are actively doing some research into some new products and some new potential delivery systems for those products, as well as we're venturing more into the coatings world. We've had our enpersol line for years, but looking to expand that product line as well as some accessory product lines. Look to do some additional partnerships, even with some other suppliers so that we can be a little bit more full service into our offerings. Everything takes time and getting face-to-face with people has been a little difficult this last year, but as we move further into 21 and people are a lot more comfortable, that's high on the agenda for us to form some of those partnerships and arrangements and agreements to expand what we can offer.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

That's cool. Your contractors are so loyal and the contractors, I know, they know the quality of the product and how it works. I have been in hotel rooms looking down at the flat roofs below me and seen the patterns. I'm like, I know that has to be a BTech roof. So many times you look down on a roof and it's just ugly, nothing personal against anybody out there, but when you see all these colors and all this great stuff, plus the quality of a sustainable and long-term roof, those are the kinds of things that I think people are looking for.

 

Joel Shealey:

I would agree. I think that's the loyalty and the contractor base you're talking about is... The guys that have used our product or even new contractors we bring on board. When you get them to try a BTech roll versus the competition, they're going to find that it's a softer, it's a more pliable roll. It's going to go down with less heat. It's more forgiving. It's going to roll true. It's got all those things that the industry started with 30, 40 years ago. We've just decided to maintain that quality. As the slogan is coined, when quality matters, you'll buy a BTech roll.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

I like it. I think that is awesome. Let's talk just real quick. I know that you do have availability and that you are... We're seeing material shortages everywhere. What are you all seeing? Maybe we'll start with you, Joel. What are you seeing for the industry for the rest of the year?

 

Joel Shealey:

I think it's stretched. I think from everything I've been hearing in the field, you got some longer lead times, be it really long lead times potentially on shingles and even into mod bit. We're starting to hear some of that. I think with some of the severe weather that's starting to hit, the hailstorms that just hit Oklahoma and Texas are only going to worsen that impact. Obviously we're only a couple of months away from going into hurricane season that would stretch it for the rest of this year. With what we're hearing, we're probably looking at no real recovery or length in any materials until 22.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

It's just the weather. It's just been such the perfect storm between Texas and the weather and the demand. I hear this over and over again. David, are you hearing a lot of the same things?

 

David Allen:

I'd say ditto. Yes. I'm hearing a lot of the same things. Something that we're also seeing ourselves, our suppliers are having problems too supplying let's say raw materials. That's helping to bottleneck this. I think there are some capacity issues. There may not be in some areas, but I think the shortages in raw materials right now are creating part of that problem as well.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

David, what's your advice? Talking about mentorship, what's your advice to some of the contractors out there? What should they be doing?

 

David Allen:

First of all, I think they need to plan for it since it's an obvious thing. They need to plan for it and they need to plan for it in the way they structured their contracts, how they sell the product to the customer. Be upfront with them. Don't over promise and under deliver. I think that would be the mantra. Don't over promise and under deliver. Just be perfectly honest with the customer, because there are limitations. Everybody watches the news, everybody reads a... Maybe they don't read newspapers, that's version 0.5, but online news or what have you. They're getting the news. It's not something that just cropped up yesterday and they're very well aware of it. Utilize the information that you have, adjust it to your customer base, but be very, very honest with the customer. Tell them up front just exactly what... There could be price increases, there could be shortages. Possibly, we don't really know what length of time that would be. I think that's a regional thing, more so than across the country. I guess that's the mentorship I have. Just be honest with them.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

I think transparency... Like you said, everybody's hearing about it. It's not like it's something that people are like, oh, I didn't know there was a shortage. I just heard there was chlorine from swimming pool shortage this morning. It just is everywhere. It's crazy. What's your plans for the rest of the year? Are you looking at some trade shows? Where can people find you this year? I know they're going to want to meet you, Joel. They're going to want to all talk to you. They want to see David and Bruce, so we want to know where you're going to be.

 

Joel Shealey:

So far we're going to be at the RCAP show in June. We'll be at FRSA in July. We're going to be at IRE in August, as well as the Arizona show in August. Then I'm not sure if I'll attend yet, but we will have attendance at the Midwest show in November as well. Those are all on the books at this point.

I left out western states as well. I think that's in...

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

Yes, western states. I have to tell everybody who's listening, if you can go by the BTech booth, pull up a chair and just sit and visit. It's one of the best things you'll do while you're at these shows. I am serious because I've been doing this for almost 30 years sitting and visiting with David and Bruce and now Joel. I have to tell you, I'm excited for BTech 2.0. We have all of your information in a full directory on the Roofers Coffee Shop. We're getting articles out there talking about your new products. It's really an exciting time as we bring you digitally into our world. Last thoughts as we finish up this podcast. Joel, just some of your thoughts on your involvement with BTech, the leadership and what you're seeing.

 

Joel Shealey:

I want to say first off, I think we're very excited for where things are going right now. We're seeing a lot of really good things coming for BTech and a lot of really good things already happening for BTech or that are in the pipeline. I think as an organization, we're really pointed in a nice upward trajectory right now. Again, I couldn't do it or couldn't have done anything that I've done without the help of David and my father and the mentorship and the guidance that they've given. Learning this industry, learning not only the industry, but our operation and the machinery and the equipment and how everything goes together has been vital in my growth that I have these guys around to give me that tutelage. You can't succeed in the industry without probably having somebody help you out or give you that starting point and give you the guidance. It's been very good to have them help me along and get me to where I'm at today.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

That is great. That's so true. This industry, there's a lot of good stuff that happens that way. David, how about you? Any last thoughts on the future?

 

David Allen:

First of all, I'm just delighted to have Joel here. Number one, he's bringing, I guess, a new life, creating the version 2.0, if you will, bringing in the newer technology and the digital age. Still like the smell of a good book though, every now and then.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

Yeah, definitely.

 

David Allen:

He's brought a lot of youth to the organization, a lot of energy, a lot of wisdom. I really do think that he has a legacy to fulfill. All right. I'm sure without a doubt, he will fulfill that and continue the existing legacy and possibly improve on it. We're excited. We're excited about that. As far as the year, I agree I think as Joe mentioned, we are on an upward trajectory, both technologically and in sales and marketing more so than we were 24 months ago. Of course that has some... You're helping with that too as well [crosstalk 00:28:17]. I'm excited about it. Like I said, Bruce is still in the office. He'll probably be around forever. Who knows about me. I'm rather whimsical, but I do love the industry and I take pride in what I do. If I didn't take pride and appreciate the people who work around me, for me and the customers that we have and the other people in the industry, I certainly would be doing something else. After four decades, I'm here, so obviously I like the folks and I like the industry and I like what we do here at BTech and for the roofing industry as a whole.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

I really think the message here is if you're listening to this or when you're listening to this out there, you really need to look at how do you invite people into roofing because it is a great place to be. 40 years, family, I'm looking at 30 here pretty soon. It's just one of the best careers you can have and you all exemplify that. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for sharing your story with us today.

 

David Allen:

Thank you, Heidi. We appreciate it. All the best to you and all the success to you as well.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

We're going to be seeing a lot of each other, more than we have the last year.

 

David Allen:

I hope so.

 

Heidi Ellsworth:

I'll see you in Florida. That's our first show. We'll see you all in Florida and for everyone who's listening, thank you so much. Please listen to all the podcasts on Rooferscoffeeshop.com under read, listen, watch. You can find out everything you want about BTech on their directory at Roofers Coffee Shop. Thank you again for listening today, and we'll see you again. Bye.

 

Speaker 1:

Make sure to subscribe to our channel and leave a review. Thanks for listening. This has been Roofing Road Trips with Heidi from the rooferscoffeeshop.com.

 



Recommended For You


Comments

There are currently no comments here.

Leave a Reply

Commenting is only accessible to RCS users.

Have an account? Login to leave a comment!


Sign In
WTI - Banner Ad - Roofing Careers Rock
English
English
Español
Français

Sign Up for Our E-News!

Join over 18,000 other roofers who get the Week in Roofing for a recap of this week's best industry posts!

Sign Up
Quarrix - Sidebar - SmartPlug Free Sample - April 2024
Rocky Mountain Snow Guards - Sidebar Ad - Show Us Your Snow Guards Contest!
ABC Supply - Sidebar Ad - Redefining Solar Distribution
GCMC-Podcast-WinTraining-Sidebar-2
Western Colloid - Sidebar Ad - FAAR Best Practices
NFBA - Sidebar Ad - Accredited Builder