Cole Roofing featured in BC&E’s “The Exchange”

Industry Group Explores How to Adapt Robots to Roofing

The era of construction robots is coming, but not in the way everybody imagines.

About 18 months ago, Cole Roofing Company President Bill Cole began researching possibilities for construction site robots with members of his industry peer group

“I know this technology is coming to my business one day, so I thought so I want to just play from behind or do I want to help lead the change and figure out ways to automate and integrate and develop solutions,” he said.

Peer group members divvied up research duties, consulted with manufacturers, contracted an engineering firm to provide guidance on possible intersections of robotics and roofing, and did a field trip to a robotics company that currently has two construction bots on the market.

While that research has generated more questions than solutions to date, it has focused Cole’s thinking on the possibilities, impacts and challenges of adding robots to roofing operations.

Click here to read the entire article from the April edition of The Exchange. 


“A Century of Service” in Roofing Magazine

A Century of Service

Cole Roofing Celebrates its Centennial Anniversary

By Chris King

COLE ROOFING Company is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. Founded in 1919 in Baltimore, Maryland, the company currently employs more than 100 workers and focuses on commercial roofing work,with a diverse portfolio that includes single ply, built-up roofing, metal, wall panels, and renewable energy systems.

In 2012, William Robert Cole, known as Billy, took over the helm of the company from his father, William Roland Cole, known as Bill. Billy Cole represents the fourth generation of his family to run the business. As the company commemorated this milestone, Bill and Billy Cole shared their memories of the company and insights on the industry with Roofing.

Bill’s grandfather, John H. Cole Sr., founded the company as John H. Cole & Sons after World War I. “My grandfather started the business in his basement making ductwork for home furnaces,” Bill says.

The business expanded to include gutters and downspouts, which led to installing shingle roofing. “Near the end of World War WII, my grandfather died suddenly,” Bill recalls. “All three of the older sons were off in the military. My grandmother, Mary Cole, ran the business for about two years until the war ended and the sons returned.”

Two of Mary’s sons, John and Bud Cole, took over the business after the war. In the 50s, the company started installing BUR on row houses in Baltimore. In the 60s, at Bud’s initiative, the company began doing commercial work. Bud bought out his brother in the mid-60s, and the commercial side of the business continued to grow as the residential side tapered off.

“In the late 70s, I saw an opportunity with the introduction of single-ply membranes,” Bill says. “We shut down our residential side and trained all our steep roofers to install single-ply roofing.”

Bill Cole became president of the company in 1989 and continued to build the company, expanding into metal roofing. After years of being known as Cole Roofing, the company officially changed its name from John H. Cole & Sons to Cole Roofing Company Inc. in 1998. The business has continued to diversify in the 21st century, expanding into areas including green roofs, photovoltaic systems and metal wall panels. Bill served as president until 2012, when Billy was named president; Bill remains with the company as senior vice president.

Click here to read the entire story in Roofing Magazine’s March/April edition. 

BBJ’s “In the C-Suite” Features Bill Cole

This week, Bill Cole sat down with Carley Milligan from the Baltimore Business Journal to discuss the future of Cole Roofing and how he believes that technology will impact the roofing industry.

“Roofing remains one of the hardest and dangerous jobs out there. Anything we can do to assist the human labor needed to do hardest grueling parts of the work while limiting the numbers of humans we have to put up in the air seem to both make sense for a more efficient, safer and cost effective future for roofing”. – Bill Cole

Click here to read the full interview.