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Harnessing Success

Mcn  Success Story  Jan17 4

Harness Roofing excels at customer service, safety and workmanship

C2. That's what Harness Roofing Inc. (HRI), calls its corporate philosophy. C2 stands for Customer Committed. The Harrison, Ark.-based commercial roofing contractor is proud of this mindset, and C2 has fueled HRI's growth since the company's inception. HRI is a licensed installer of diverse roofing systems in a variety of available designs and colors for both new construction and existing buildings.

"We will, first and foremost, keep our word to always be C2 Customer Committed," says Christine Hartman, marketing coordinator for Harness Roofing. "Without our loyal customers, we wouldn't be where we are today. We hope to continue to build our customer base, stay abreast of the latest technologies and methods, and offer additional services in the future."

Roger Harness purchased the company from his brother and now is president and CEO. When Roger purchased the company, HRI had four employees and one location. Today, there are 250 employees and five locations. Roger's wife, Patty, and three children, Christine, Beth Ann and Justin, co-own the company and sit on the board of directors. Christine and Beth Ann do marketing, and Justin is a vice president of business development. "We are proud to be family owned and treat all employees like part of our family," Roger says. "Valuing employees makes for a happier workplace, which creates strong, skilled, professional employees who feel like they really have a stake in the outcome of a job," Hartman adds.


Branching Out

HRI is licensed to work in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. Along with its Harrison branch and corporate office, its branch locations span the Mid-South, with locations in Springdale, Ark.; Fort Smith, Ark.; Little Rock, Ark.; and Tulsa, Okla. These locations help it serve its region with an emphasis on quick response. "Our strength is in delivering large and difficult jobs on time and in budget," Roger Harness says. "We have the ability to bring in roofing mechanics from our other locations to meet fast-paced projects."

But expanding out was not always easy for Harness Roofing. When HRI opened its first satellite branch in Springdale, it had to learn how the market worked in a new area. HRI had to figure out which jobs it could competitively bid on, how to attract and retain the most skilled employees, and how to make its name known in a new area. Hartman says it faced this challenge with each location it opened.

Also, going from four employees to 250 meant revising both HRI's internal communication and customer communication processes. HRI now has client service managers who keep customers apprised of every step of the job process. HRI uploads job progress and photos to a database that is accessible to its clients. "Before a job begins, the job foreman and project manager meet to discuss materials, logistics, safety policies, scheduling and personnel," Hartman says. "Then, the foreman and project manager meet with the crew to go over the plan. Each day before a job begins, HRI reviews a safety and production checklist. The job is visited regularly by project managers and the safety supervisor to ensure quality, production and safety. Every employee is encouraged to voice his/her questions or concerns throughout the process."

In addition to this regional coverage and its customer service, the company prides itself on its safety. "The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority." Roger says. "We supply our teams with the safest and best technology available. As a result, our employees have helped earned one of the best safety ratings in the region."

"We have an EMR rating of 0.62 and make safety our number one priority," Hartman adds. "We constantly train our employees on best safety and installation practices. All of our employees are full time, not contract laborers. Safety ratings affect insurance rates, obviously, but also demonstrate to our customers that we take our job to ensure a safe worksite for their building and assets seriously."


HRI Projects

HRI provided metal roofing and wall work on the Champions Hall at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark. This involved challenges because the project was confined and it was difficult to get equipment in. Also, "The architectural design, such as slopes of roofs and angles of roofs were unusual," Roger says. HRI overcame this by using its most experienced sheet metal technician to problem solve and direct others how to accomplish a sleek, sophisticated final product. "Roofing, especially metal roofing which requires precise design and application skills, is really an art form," Hartman says. "We like to say that our employees are craftsmen. Yes, they follow architectural specifications, but those specifications don't tell us how to create the product. It really takes ingenuity and vision to achieve clean lines on a metal roof, especially when it involves complex angles and slopes."

HRI's work as a roof installer on the Fayetteville Montessori Primary School in Fayetteville helped the project win a 2016 Metal Architecture Design Award in the ribbed metal wall panel category. It was a complete renovation of an outdated suburban office building into a nineclassroom school building. Metal panels allow lightweight, cantilevered, angled walls to fold down in front of its windows. The metal panels seamlessly navigate custom corner details existing odd angles. James Russell, sheet metal supervisor at HRI says, "All of the trims had to be custom fabricated to match the profile of the wall panel. The panels had to be laid out for every corner in order for the trim to work. Layout and maintaining dimensions was the key." Roger adds, "It was challenging to adhere to the architectural design, but our skilled roof technicians problem solved and it turned out beautifully."

Looking to the future, HRI is keeping its word to remain C2. Also, it is focusing more on its waterproofing division. "Our waterproofing technicians have undergone rigorous training to learn how to waterproof entire building exteriors," Hartman says. "We want to focus on preventative methods so that customers won't have to wait until damage (has) occurred to call us."

Sidebar: Company Profile

Year Founded: 1976
Location: Harrison, Ark.
Geographic Areas of Service: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas
Services Offered: Commercial roofing contractor with installation, roof evaluation and assessment, maintenance, repair and replacement, and waterproofing
Number of Employees: 250

Roofing Product Installed:
2016: 2,216 squares
2015: 763 squares
2014: 3,294 squares
2013: 800 squares

Management Team:
Roger Harness, President
Justin Harness, Vice President of Business Development
Gail Zerr, Controller
Mike Dees, Senior Estimator/Safety Coordinator
Tina Nofsinger, Payroll Coordinator
Darrell Wallin, Inside Sales
Christine Hartman, Marketing Coordinator