Up on the Roof
Shell Roofing Solutions Group’s specialized skills help customers attain energy efficiency
Rudy Gutierrez is proud to be a roofer and is passionate about using his skills to create more comfortable working environments, give back to his community and share knowledge about the roofing industry.
He started Shell Roofing Solutions Group (Shell) in 2008 alongside his brother and business partner, Hector Gutierrez. Rudy had previous experience with roofing company Carlisle SynTec Systems, leading its training and sales divisions before becoming a national account manager, helping build the company’s energy-efficient TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) roofing system along the way.
Rudy says, “I had success with someone else’s company, and I wanted to try it on my own.” In 2006, he began working on a business plan to offer energy efficiency through roofing, using products such as light-reflective roofs, skylights and insulation.
Although Rudy and Hector launched the company at the peak of the recession, business grew quickly. What began with two guys working around Rudy’s dinner table is now a midsize company in the $10 million revenue earnings space. Located in Chino, California, the company helps commercial clients reduce costs through energy-efficient roofing systems, daylight harvesting, solar-ready installation, roof maintenance programs and energy usage studies.
A Special Skill Set
Although Shell serves a variety of commercial clients, it specializes in the aerospace and food industries, environments where the internal building temperatures can often be extreme. One example is Red Chamber Co., a fish importer in Southern California for which Shell designed a full roof renovation that efficiently maintains the facility’s internal cold-storage temperatures.
Rudy says, “These special environments are where we shine. We understand them and how to use vapor seals, insulation and physics to completely seal a building.”
Rudy explains that in the aerospace industry, his roofing crews must adhere to many safety protocols due to extreme heat and ongoing plant operations. One aerospace client produces aircraft parts using ovens heated to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. The extreme temperatures radiating from the ovens make it difficult to maintain cool temperatures inside the metal building, resulting in uncomfortable working conditions for employees. Rudy’s team was tasked with designing a new roofing system that can withstand the heat radiating from the machinery while maintaining building temperatures more efficiently. In addition, the team created a specialized strategy for completing the roof renovation without shutting down the manufacturing activities. The team used tents and drapes to protect equipment and workstations and installed a cool metal roof, which reflects sunlight and absorbs less heat than a standard roof, reducing a building’s heating load. Despite the heat created by the ovens, the reduction in heat gain on the roof resulted in a 25-degree decrease in interior temperatures. Skylights were incorporated into the design, reducing the facility’s artificial light consumption.
Rudy says, “We completely transformed their work environment. Whenever we install a cool roof, it’s an amazing feeling to see people’s reactions when they’re able to work in more comfortable conditions.”
South Bay Lexus in Torrance, California, also sought Shell’s expertise on improvements to its workspace. The company’s repair facility is housed in a 200,000-square-foot warehouse that previously had very poor lighting for technicians working on vehicles. Over each work bay, the Shell team installed Solatube skylights, daylighting systems that use a sunlight-capturing dome and reflective tube to deliver maximum natural light. Shell’s solution improved lighting and reduced internal temperatures, and South Bay Lexus reduced its energy consumption by $250,000 per year while increasing its production by 20%.
Maintenance programs are a large part of Shell’s business, helping customers extend the performance and lifecycle of their roof systems. The company is undergoing an expansion of its repair and maintenance division, investing in this arm of the business with added marketing, equipment and personnel. Called “Roof Care,” the maintenance program offers customers a service agreement that includes periodic maintenance and performance reports.
“I love this area of the business because it allows us to stay in contact with owners after roof installation,” Rudy says. “Our long-term vision is to separate the two and move Roof Care into its own facility.”
Blessed to Give Back
A big priority for Rudy is using his company’s success and his team’s talents to provide for those in need. He and other employees are involved with several nonprofit groups, including A Step to Freedom, which helps transition incarcerated individuals back into society, and The Let It Be Foundation, which offers support to critically ill children and their families.
Shell is also involved in a program through the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) to adopt facilities within the Ronald McDonald House Charities, a nonprofit that houses families of pediatric cancer patients while their children are receiving treatment. Shell has adopted three of these facilities: Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, consisting of 44 buildings; Inland Empire Ronald McDonald House (two buildings); and Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House (three buildings). Shell provides roof maintenance for all buildings at no charge and recently installed a new roof on the Camp Ronald McDonald arts and crafts cabin.
Each year, Shell donates a new roof to a family in the Chino area. Last year, the recipient was a military veteran caring for his special-needs daughter. This fall, Shell is scheduled to install the roof on a new home being built by Habitat for Humanity.
“We are blessed to be able to use our skills to give back,” Rudy says. “It is also an educational tool for our team, as they don’t often get the chance to install residential roofs, which aren’t flat like typical commercial and industrial roofs.”
Pride in the Profession
Education is a priority at Shell. Company employees routinely participate in seminars and webinars on new products and sustainability issues. Its estimating team is involved in a continuing estimating education program and the firm participates in the NRCA ProCertification program, covering costs for team members to apply for professional certification.
Rudy says, “Education is very important, and ProCertification status gives us an extra layer of credibility. Not many roofers can say that.”
The company’s emphasis on education extends to the international level, as Rudy is part of a 12-person European delegation through the NRCA that works to expand roofing education to markets outside of the United States. Every two years the group attends international events to share technical knowledge and strategies with roofing professionals in other countries.
“I’m proud to be in the roofing industry, and I love being involved with our professional associations and sharing my knowledge with others for the good of their communities,” Rudy says.
Shell goes the extra mile to make sure customers are informed as well. Rudy says, “We strive to provide the best, most professional client experience, and to do that, we are diligent in communicating with clients.”
He explains that Shell gives very specific presentations at the outset and throughout the installation process, underscoring what clients gain through their investment. He adds, “We have been successful because we connect with clients. They aren’t the roofing experts—we are—so we share as much information as we can to keep them involved.”