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Elevating A Roofing Business For The Next Generation

Kelly B. Van Winkle
President & CEO
King of Texas Construction Company, Inc.
Vistage member since 2021

Taking the reins of a family business isn’t always easy. “I was lucky,” says Kelly Van Winkle, who stepped up as president and CEO of her family’s roofing business, King of Texas Construction Company, in 2019.

Van Winkle inherited a healthy company. King of Texas had seasoned employees, a strong reputation and steady clients, some of whom had remained loyal customers for 35+ years. Repeat business was so plentiful, in fact, “We didn’t need to bid on a lot of new types of work,” recalls Van Winkle.

But by 2022, Van Winkle recognized the company had peaked, and not in a good way. After the number of employees reached 100, “We got to the point where we weren’t going to grow anymore,” she recalls. “We weren’t able to take on more work.”

An absence of protocols, systems and unclear organizational structure was to blame. Employees’ roles and responsibilities weren’t well defined, leading to duplicated efforts and customer service issues. Poor communication between employees created conflicts in the office and on the field. Because the company had never documented its protocols and processes, new employees felt lost while experienced employees disagreed on how to get things done.

“It was not working smoothly, to be honest,” says Van Winkle. She turned to Jonathan King, a Vistage speaker and CEO of the Frisco, Texas-based Lean Leaders, to develop a long-term strategic plan — the first in the company’s history. Step one was to establish one- and five-year visions that would guide priorities and the path forward.

From there, Van Winkle assembled her core leadership team — “I call them the ‘Fab Five,’” she says — and appointed them to own different parts of the business. She adopted new software to gather and report KPIs and keep department heads accountable. And, to position the company for sustainable growth, she identified two new service offerings to integrate into the portfolio.

"This is going to move us forward into the next generation."

In only three months, the company changed dramatically, Van Winkle says. Team meetings are productive and efficient. Employees feel like they’re being heard, and culture and communication are both improving. Leadership decisions are guided by data instead of instinct.

Van Winkle plans to keep working with her consultant for the next two years to keep building on this success. “This is going to move us forward into the next generation,” she says.

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