Cole Roofing in Roofing Contractor Magazine

Still Going Strong: Cole Roofing Co. Inc.

The Fourth Generation of Cole Roofing Co. Inc. Continues a Century-Long Tradition in Greater Baltimore while Staying Focused on the Future

By Art Aisner 

Baltimore is one of the country’s oldest and arguably most important big cities in the Mid-Atlantic, which is why after all this time, the youngest members of the Cole family are proud to say their ancestry had a pretty big hand in its modern development.

Earlier this year, the Cole Roofing Co. Inc. celebrated its centennial — marking 100 years of providing quality commercial roofing services in and around Maryland’s largest and most renowned city. Its employees join a handful of roofing companies that can boast membership in RC’s Century Club, and say they remain just as committed to the core principles today as the founders did when they established the high-demand business in 1919.

The longevity is basically broken down into a handful of factors, said third generation owner William Randall Cole, or Bill.

“We have remained true to our values; integrity, dependability and being team oriented, relationship-oriented problem solvers,” said Cole, who still has a hand in the business while son, Billy, handles the day-to-day operations.

“Over time, company leaders developed a culture of learning throughout our organization which allows us to adopt new products, processes, etc. This change meets a general resistance that comes from being a legacy company creating a healthy friction between new ideas and proven process,” Billy said.

“This is good and bad,” Billy, the current company president, explained. “It prevents us from moving too fast and making the big mistake; it also holds us back from evolving as quickly as we can, usually resulting in price pressure.”

It also shows that company employees are engaged with the business and understand the model for success. It’s part of the internal philosophy to treat your employees right and trust them to do right by your customers, who have grown to become loyal not just for the successful projects they’ve completed again and again. What Cole employees do when they sometimes fall short of expectations is just as, if not more, important.

“We believe that our reputation is built when we make mistakes,” Billy explained. “How you act in the toughest of times shows your true spirit.”

Click here to read the full article from Roofing Contractor Magazine. 

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.