When you’ve spent nearly half of your life on a roof, it becomes more than just a profession. And if you’re like Young Gun Matt McGrew, who shadowed his mentor and father for a majority of his career, then roofing quite literally runs in your blood. McGrew, 36, grew up watching his father on the roof, learning the ropes and observing what it takes to manage a company that’s been in business for over 70 years.
RSS Roofing Services & Solutions opened its doors in Nashville in 1937 under the name Young Sales. Since its inception, the company has built a strong reputation and a massive customer base, positioning them to be one of the preferred roofing contractors in their prospective market. And McGrew’s father, Carlton, was instrumental in that accomplishment, having managed the business for 25 years.
Shortly after graduating from Nashville State Tech, Matt entered the company as a project manager/estimator. In 2013, he followed directly in his father’s footsteps, taking on the role of general manager, where he diligently worked to build upon the legacy his father helped build. Ready and willing for this challenge, McGrew said he always knew his passion resided in roofing, “My father started out as a sheet metal worker and progressed his way through the company I work for today. It was through watching him that I determined what I wanted to do in life.”
The business, which performs mostly commercial jobs and a few high-end residential ones, is the only union company in Tennessee. The workload includes both new construction and reroofing, with maintenance crews that run 24/7.
According to McGrew, what sets RSS apart from the competition is the employees commitment to maintaining the key values the company was built on — God, family and teamwork. Numerous employees have been with the company for a majority of their lives. McGrew sees this as an advantage in their market, as the veterans at the company are full of industry knowledge and best practices and can pass that information along to newcomers. On the other hand, in an attempt to better prepare for the future, the company has spent the past few years tackling its generation gap head-on.
“So many people have reached the retirement age and we have learned that you must always be training someone to take your place,” he said.
Just as employee growth and knowledge have progressed, so has the company’s use of technology. Smartphones and tablets are used by employees to help transmit jobsite and customer information back and forth quickly. RSS also recently purchased a water jet system that helped increase productivity as it relates to fabricating sheet metal. In the near future, the company plans to incorporate drones into their business model.
McGrew said he plans on continuing to build on his father’s legacy, serving the customers and driving business forward for years to come.
The Nashville Predators fan and father of two girls is grateful for his chosen career path, and most importantly, his decision to follow in his father’s footsteps, “Knowing that my father trusted me with the company he managed for so many years is my most significant achievement,” he said.
This was originally published in Roofing Contractor Magazine.