From the origin of the company, to a real turning point, Charles speaks with Carey Ransom on Accelerate OC about how Antis Roofing & Waterproofing flourished into a brand that is celebrating 30 Years of Keeping Families Safe & Dry. Thank you Carey for your leadership & vision for our community! Watch & listen to the full OC Talkradio Podcast episode!
Announcer: Welcome to Accelerate OC, the only show focused on the people leading innovation in Orange County. Join our host, Carey Ransom, in his conversations with the trendsetters, entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders here, because it’s time to accelerate OC.
Carey Ransom: Good morning. Welcome to Accelerate OC. I’m Carey Ransom, and thanks as always to our engineer, Paul, for making me and my guests sound so good.
Carey Ransom: Today’s episode is sponsored by the Orange County Startup Council, which is started and led by my friend Scott Fox, and it is the best online resource that we have here in Orange County for all things startup. You can find great Orange County companies, partners, events, even talent. You can just go to ocstartups.org and learn more.
Carey Ransom: I am super excited to have Charles Antis here today. He is one of the most energetic guys that I have met, certainly in the last several years, and he’s just one of these guys that makes me want to hang out with him more every time I see him. I know that I’m not alone in that regard.
Charles Antis: Thank you.
Carey Ransom: Before we get to hear from him, and we’re going to talk about a lot of stuff today, about leadership and life philosophy and his company and the amazing other work outside of it that he’s doing here in Orange County, first, let me tell you a little bit about him.
Carey Ransom: He’s the founder and CEO of Antis Roofing and Waterproofing, a company that he started here over 30 years ago, and he really describes the company … I think this is a unique way of describing a company like that, but he describes them as a shepherd in the community, purposed by helping healthy families to have safe, dry homes. I think that is so powerful to really both orient his people, his customers, and the community around a company, and that really gives that a noble purpose for existing and continuing to grow, and he is.
Carey Ransom: He firmly has embraced and lived by the principle that I’ve talked with several other folks on this show about, which is this principle of doing well by doing good. We’ll talk about that more today and how he got there in such a meaningful way.
Carey Ransom: He is super involved. I think most people that would see Charles out in Orange County wouldn’t even believe he has time to own and run a company, because he is super involved outside of Antis. He’s on the board of the Ronald McDonald House. He’s on the board of Habitat for Humanity. He’s an advisor to OneOC, and he’s also on the board for the National Roofing Contractors Association, which is his national association for his industry. For the last ten years, Antis has donated every roof installation in Orange County of every home built by Habitat for Humanity. Just amazing.
Carey Ransom: What I’ve seen from him as well and a big reason why I wanted to bring him on here is I just see an innovator’s mindset in everything that he does. He is always challenging, how can he be better? How can he do more? How can he multiply? I just find it so compelling, and I see a guy who’s constantly learning. Every time I talk to him, he’s got a new book that he’s recommending, or now he’s even talking about writing one, which is awesome and I am super excited about.
Carey Ransom: It’s just inspiring, and he’s taken what many on the outside might consider to be a boring business, roofing, and he’s elevated to the top of its game nationally. He’s been recognized for it, and he also, refreshingly, he says what he thinks and he shares what he believes.
Carey Ransom: So one of the things that struck me when we first met at his office was also just how cool it was, the office itself. I felt like I might even be in a tech startup office when I was there, which I remarked to him, and so we’re going to talk about today why he did that.
Charles Antis: That was the cool people there, though.
Carey Ransom: Yes. For most of my crowd in the tech world, you’d never expect to see that from a business like roofing. Then, finally, he’s embraced social media, and we were just talking off the air about, ten years ago, being him may not have benefited him, but he’s embraced social media like few have, and he shares a lot of the great work that he’s doing in the community through that. I know it’s exciting and inspiring and empowering others. So we’re going to talk about that as well.
Carey Ransom: I could spend probably the whole half hour just introducing him, but Charles, it’s so great to have you here on Accelerate OC. Welcome.
Charles Antis: Thank you, Carey. I’m super excited to be here. Pardon the hoarse voice.
Carey Ransom: It’s all good. I’m sure everyone will enjoy the …
Charles Antis: It was the Ducks game last night, I promise.
Carey Ransom: Okay, okay. Well, let’s get to the starting line. So I know I’ve introduced the company a little bit, but give us a quick synopsis on your journey to get to where you are today with Antis Roofing.
Charles Antis: Well, it’s really impossible for me to tell how we got here without telling the story I tell the most, and that’s how I kind of got started and how we kind of developed the first vein of purpose showing up in the company.
Charles Antis: So when I started the company, it wasn’t because I had this great business plan. I had a skill. I could solve anything that leaked from rain. I discovered that at the company I was working, and I started getting confident at it, although I had no desire nor plan until there wasn’t enough work at the company where I worked, and I had a mouth to feed.
Charles Antis: So, in that need, I got a few side jobs, and the side jobs were fixing people’s leaks. So I got so few calls, my work one week was just putting weatherstripping up on the home bedroom converted office so they wouldn’t hear my daughter cry. I got a call that week after I did that from a woman, and she claimed she had leaks in every room. This was a really good feeling. I get to be the hero. I get to go solve her leaks. I get to make some cash.
Charles Antis: So I’m driving up to her home the next day, and I’m noticing as I’m getting closer to the town that the homes are getting a little more disheveled, a little smaller, but my hopes are still high, until, finally, I turn on the street where the home would be, and I look and see dead grass and a set-back home, a simple home with a flat roof, and thinking, “I hope that’s not it.”
Charles Antis: But I went knocked on the door, because Dad says you show up, right? No matter what, and I knocked on the door. Then three things happen really quickly. A woman answered the door with a really tired look on her face. Before I can say anything, I’m hit with this smell of mildew that nearly knocks me on the floor. Of course, I’m recoiling. I’m thinking about what I’m saying to leave. But as I start to leave, I feel a tug at my finger, and I look down. There’s this little girl, and unlike the mom and me, her expressions were something else. She didn’t smell this mildew. She just had this visitor, and she just pulls me into her house with this big smile, ear to ear, with blonde hair.
Charles Antis: She pulls me in this undersized hallway and turns right into a room, and she just throws her arms up to point to the poster on this wall, and that’s when I knew it was her room, because it was a My Little Pony poster. She was smiling, and I just sort of looked around peripherally. I saw bedding on the ground. I looked down, and there were four mattresses with moldy bedding.
Charles Antis: I didn’t cry when I saw that, but I was troubled. I was troubled, because this didn’t look right. There was something that needed to be fixed, but I was also troubled because I felt a little bit trapped, because I needed to survive. I had a daughter to feed, and I had a mortgage payment to make in a couple of weeks. I didn’t have enough money for it, and so I was in this really difficult situation that I’ve felt many times since, owning a business. I couldn’t do anything. The little girl, as cute as she was, as needy as she was, I couldn’t do anything until her mom walks in the room again, and I don’t know what is. But I looked at her mom, and I just saw that same expression.
Charles Antis: Something came out of me that I couldn’t control, and I just said, “I’m going to take care of your roof.” I remember thinking, “I wish I … Do I? Can I? Will I? I don’t know.” But I made that commitment, and that was a magic moment, looking back.
Charles Antis: I went up on the roof, and I found that they needed a new roofing, and that wasn’t something I was prepared to do. So I got on the phone, and I got a bunch of volunteers. I got a bunch of material from Home Depot, I remember, and we gave them a goopy on the outside, but a really completely dry roof, and they stayed in that home.
Charles Antis: I remember two things about that after. Whenever I ran into one of the volunteers or whenever I would bump into one of the six siblings that lived in that house, it was like high fives. It was like hugs, before I was a hugger. I mean, yeah, I’ve hugged you, but before that, I wasn’t a hugger. But we were hugging, and what was that?
Charles Antis: Well, that’s what culture is today at Antis Roofing. But it wasn’t that way, I didn’t think, then. We couldn’t let somebody have a leaky roof just because they didn’t have the money to pay. We didn’t think that could be economized. I thought that this was not a good idea. I can’t afford to do this, but my stories … I don’t go by what I see. I go by the stories that occur every time that we were able to help somebody stay in a home. It never shut us down, and our employees stayed.
Charles Antis: Again, we didn’t recognize that data until later, but there was something magic. I call it my doctor on an airplane moment. When you hear that call, we all believe that doctor’s going to say yes, and I don’t think we believe he’s going to send a bill for it. That was my moment. I said yes, and I’m so glad I did. It’s made all the difference.
Carey Ransom: That’s an amazing start to a company, right?
Charles Antis: It was. Yeah.
Carey Ransom: I mean, I’m sure, as you sort of alluded to, in a 30-year run that you’ve had, to be able to continue to do that, and now to be able to do it in a much more, in some respects, freely maybe more comfortable way, but still, those are the things that make the difference in the authenticity of the culture in the company.
Charles Antis: It is authentic, and it still hurts. But we tell the real stories today. We didn’t know we could tell the stories back then. We hid them, but it still hurts when we get a request for something. We try to come up with a way to say yes, and we’ve made commitments that were way out of our league, still to this day.
Charles Antis: So I’ve felt that pain, and I think that there’s a message there from the stories. Making that commitment can be scary for your CEO, for the board of directors to make, to give back in a healthy way. But not only the data, but, I mean, just look at the smiles around office. It’s amazing. The HR spend over the next decade, as things change, trying to retain employees, is going to double per person. I mean, that overspend that we do on programs to help our people. So II think we can’t err too much in erring on our people, both in our company and in our community.
Carey Ransom: Yeah. I could not agree more. I think it was Richard Branson who said, “I’m going to invest everything I can into my people to make them as employable elsewhere as possible, with the belief that that’s why they’ll probably stay.”
Charles Antis: Last night, someone compared me … It was the mascot who plays Wild Wing. He told a friend of mine last night that I remind him of Richard Branson, and that was the biggest compliment, because he is a curious and powerful man.
Carey Ransom: That’s right. I agree with that. So, as you’ve thought about it, what’s led you to be this way, do you think, versus you could have been a proprietor, a service provider, just marketing a business, showing up, and fixing people’s leaks, but you connect so much more purpose to that. What is it about you that’s led you to be that way?
Charles Antis: Well, I believe we all have perfect lives. It’s something I tripped on and realized when I stopped comparing myself to you and other people. “God, why does he have a radio show? I could have a radio show, Paul.” But I stopped. I just started somehow realizing my life was perfect, and what was the question again?
Carey Ransom: Why did you orient to such a higher purpose about what you’re doing and why this company … You could have just … For 30 years, I mean, you could have made a great living and just shown up and done a good job fixing people’s roofs and waterproofing, but you’re so much more. Why? Why do you think …
Charles Antis: It’s really just the stories, I guess. It’s like that that happened, and I couldn’t ignore that it happened. Hhow was there always enough? Also, I had some really hard knocks in there, some bad years. I didn’t know how we were going to survive. But somehow we did that donation we said we … We always kept our word, and our word, we kept our word high.
Charles Antis: I think that it was just the affirmation that … I’m not saying I was better than because I chose this higher road at all. I’m saying that I had no choice. Sometimes I had to make choices that affected the brand of the company so people would look at the good things, and it required an investment. I couldn’t fake it.
Charles Antis: So when you’re all in, you’re all in, and if you know me, I’m all in. I’ll tell you what’s not working. I’ll tell you what’s working. I’ll respect all parties and have fun with it. But I don’t know. It’s a beautiful thing once you realize that. Stop comparing yourself to everybody else and try to be the best at what you do, and treat people the best. I just tripped on that, accidentally, by that little girl, and then by Habitat for Humanity, when I saw those families that bought that could finally get into a home.
Charles Antis: I knew when I woke up with a scratchy voice this was going to be an extra emotional day.
Carey Ransom: It’s okay.
Charles Antis: But it’s like when you realize you can, or when you realize that abundance thing … I don’t talk about it always well, but when you realize there’s enough and you’re probably not going to going out of business if you try to share this talent that you have in a big way, it’s like everything changes. That’s when I kind of realized, I think, in this giving that I became so grateful, that I became so grateful every day, and then it was able to … and I’m not grateful … I’m not pointing that to anybody. I’m just grateful.
Charles Antis: I see us all as one. I think everyone in the community needs to be acknowledged, and I didn’t use to think that way. It’s not that I didn’t think that way. I just walked by homeless people, and I didn’t see them. I didn’t see them. Then I hear something.
Charles Antis: I have to say one thing. I have to plug Paul Leone’s Illumination Foundation, because this is what shakes me, and this is what I will tell you, because I want to shake you. Paul Leone, who was the nurse who started the Illumination Foundation to help the chronically homeless, tells a story about a veteran that he found living under the underpass, near death, who had lost an arm. When they revived him, the first thing he told Paul was, “Paul, I can count on my one hand how many times I’ve been acknowledged by another human being in the last ten years that I’ve lived under this underpass.”
Charles Antis: Then you hear Paul, a few minutes later, tell Stephen a few months later with his sleeve pinned up and his girlfriend on the side graduating the Illumination Foundation ceremony and the transformation that happened in his life. I would walk by that man ten years ago, but I won’t today, most days.
Charles Antis: I think that there’s a gift when you can look at this differently. I’m way off, and I’m not telling you how I got there, but I just have a really grateful approach today, every day, with no exception. I do whatever I have to do to make sure I’m that guy and I’m that boss, and no matter what, at work, I won’t show the fear and that viciousness that bosses can do. I won’t be the seagull boss anymore, the guy that comes in and flaps his wings and shits all over everybody, wondering why they’re not doing it right.
Charles Antis: So now it’s a more beautiful life, and it’s a more beautiful life at work. I believe when you’re … We spend most of our waking hours at work, a lot of us, and boy, when that can become your magic place where you do your magic, where you find that super power and you can use it, then it’s just like that’s the way life should be.
Carey Ransom: Yes.
Charles Antis: I’m not talking churchy. I’m just saying that’s life.
Carey Ransom: Yes.
Charles Antis: That’s living, every day, every day.
Carey Ransom: It’s a choice. The amazing thing is it’s a choice. You choose.
Charles Antis: Yes. Oh yeah.
Carey Ransom: Right?
Charles Antis: Yes.
Carey Ransom: You’re active.
Charles Antis: Yeah.
Carey Ransom: But so much, I think that … and I love that this is becoming a much more common conversation than it was for maybe ever in our humanity.
Charles Antis: Yeah, this is an interesting business conversation. Ten years ago, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Carey Ransom: Right. That’s right. But that you can actively choose. You can actively choose to show up with a smile, to show up.
Charles Antis: Yeah.
Carey Ransom: I mean, I think that that taps into our humanity at such a level of depth that …
Charles Antis: Well, not until recently did I realize that circumstances around me could be going a little crazy, and yet I could choose to be joyful and happy today.
Carey Ransom: That’s right.
Charles Antis: I bet a lot of listeners, and that sounds like … I couldn’t have heard that ten years ago. But today, it’s interesting, and in this super rapidly accelerating, moving world, we better get that peace of mind.
Carey Ransom: Well, because, I mean, to your point, the chaos is actually higher now than it’s ever been.
Charles Antis: Exponentially.
Carey Ransom: Yes, and continues. I mean, our ability as humans to keep up or keep ahead of the pace of change is now not possible.
Charles Antis: Right.
Carey Ransom: So what our choice is is to get swept up in that and be more miserable than ever, which I don’t accept …
Charles Antis: Right.
Carey Ransom: … or we get to choose. We can rise above it all. We can be comfortable in the uncomfortable and in the uncertainty, and I love this “My life is perfect” that we were talking about, and you’d mentioned that.
Charles Antis: Yeah.
Carey Ransom: It is. I mean, I can’t conceive it all. That’s not my job. My job is to embrace it.
Charles Antis: As long as my intent is pure, I’m not trying to hurt anybody, right? I might hurt somebody unintentionally.
Carey Ransom: Yes, yes.
Charles Antis: But I don’t guilt myself or shame myself for that anymore. I go, “Oh, well, did that work for them? Did that work for me? No,” and I correct myself. Yeah, it’s an awesome different view you can have when I lose that top-down fear strategy.
Carey Ransom: That’s amazing. Well, let’s go a little bit deeper here. I mentioned at the outset you are so incredibly busy and involved in a lot of things outside of your company. What got you comfortable with being able and willing to do that? Because that’s not common. A lot of my friends who have companies here, they can’t extract themselves. They actually cordon themselves off. They buy into this. “I have to focus. I have to” … and I challenge it and say, “You’re going to build a better company by being in the community while you’re building it.”
Charles Antis: Right.
Carey Ransom: You’re not the norm. You’re the exception. So how did you get there?
Charles Antis: People say … There are two reasons, but the underlying reason’s more powerful, the subconscious EQ reason.
Carey Ransom: Yes.
Charles Antis: They’re saying they’re not because they have to work those 80 hours a week. I know that mindset.
Carey Ransom: Yes.
Charles Antis: But, really, they’re not because they see themselves too small. We all do that. I got my real education through Vistage, sitting around with other CEOs for 12 years, and in Vistage, I remember one speaker that we really liked. So we did what he said, and he had us close our eyes, and he said, “I want you to raise your hand if you wake up really feeling like an impostor, and if everyone else in this room knew who, really … your fears and where you really were” … In our egos, we all had our hands raised up, because he had us open our eyes.
Charles Antis: I can’t believe that’s making me emotional right now. But I love moments that I have ahas, and I get ahas every day. That sounds … Maybe I don’t, but it feels like I have ahas every day.
Carey Ransom: I’m sure you do. I do.
Charles Antis: So I forgot, again, the question. I get rambling.
Carey Ransom: What got you comfortable not just being in your business all the time?
Charles Antis: So, really, what happened with me is … and it was the need. It was that giving, having to give those roofs for Habitat, and then it was the need to brand myself, knowing our brand was not getting noticed. Then it was just telling the story. I keep forgetting the last part of the question. I have it in my … Ask it again.
Carey Ransom: Just not having to be in the business all the time. Right?
Charles Antis: Okay. This is what it was. So the real problem, I didn’t see myself high enough, and what happened was another … It was Melinda Masson, former CEO of a management company that was real big in Orange County. She told me, “Why aren’t you on the board?” I couldn’t see myself there, and I said, “I can’t go on the board.” She said, “Why?” Well, there wasn’t a conflict of interest. I would just come up with these reasons, because …
Charles Antis: So I was coming up with conscious reasons for subconsciously seeing myself as this lowlife roofer with dirty fingernails, which is, by the way, how I used to see myself. I’m sure it’s good for me to say that around other roofers, who sometimes see themselves that way, because now I don’t see them … If you ever see me talk, I use my hands all the time, and I have beautiful hands. I like to use them, but that I see myself that way.
Charles Antis: So there was a powerful metamorphosis that has occurred, and it can happen to anyone. So my big thing with young professionals, and older people, too, but the emerging 30 something, we need you on these committees and on these boards. We need you, and then everything grows exponentially. You see yourself. When you know yourself better, and getting involved with causes helps you know yourself better, your path becomes more clear. Then all this magic starts to happen, which, again, I don’t understand how it happens or why it happens, but it happens. I’m sorry. I got a little off there.
Carey Ransom: No, that’s good. So you’ve had a business. It’s survived. Most businesses don’t last 30 plus years.
Charles Antis: Three out of five roofing businesses will fail in the next three years across the country.
Carey Ransom: Yes.
Charles Antis: It’s the highest fail rate in contracting, last I heard.
Carey Ransom: Wow. I think I told you when we first met I grew up in a family business that lasted 146 years. It’s not in my family because there was not the next generation there to take it over. Lasted 30 years is an incredible run. What’s changed? What’s different today than 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and how are you looking forward?
Charles Antis: In roofing?
Carey Ransom: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Charles Antis: Roofing’s really different all of a sudden, because, number one, you have this labor shortage. I mean, it’s a real thing. I mean, we’ve been saying half a million roofing workers across the country. We just had ASU do an assessment, a study on this, and it’s not published yet. So directionally, though, it could be twice that many. What was the question again, Carey?
Carey Ransom: What’s changed?
Charles Antis: Oh, yeah, so the labor shortage. So I have so many angles on this that I usually talk, but we don’t have enough labor. We literally could fill a couple hundred thousand jobs right now.
Carey Ransom: Amazing.
Charles Antis: So that creates all sorts of challenges. But there’s one good thing that’s going to come out of that, and I don’t mean good because I’m a people first. I’m a really look at the people that we try to bring here, but the technology play. The technology play in roofing is going to change everything, and what’s going to happen is the price for labor is going to go way up.
Charles Antis: Roofing in Switzerland and Germany is not looked on like it is here. It’s looked on we are the superheroes that are protecting everything, and that’s the way we see ourselves now. That’s the way the roofing industry is starting to see itself, and that’s a huge difference from that. But there’s a lot of other stuff going on, too, the same things that affect everything else.
Charles Antis: If you don’t have something you stand for, today, in any business, it’s really difficult to survive. In the roofing industry, we see a lot of innovation, and we see a lot of these old brands. They’re beautiful companies, and they can’t compete anymore. They’re really struggling because of rising liabilities, small margins, but the biggest thing is they can’t hold onto their people.
Charles Antis: This is the last stat in the roofing industry that blew my mind, and I don’t know the current stat. But, as of a year ago, there was a 54% attrition rate in the roofing industry.
Carey Ransom: Wow.
Charles Antis: So all of this is changing right now through three things, and I give a lot of credit to Reid Ribble, who is the CEO of the NRCA, and he’s got a big name. I won’t get into it, for lack of time. In the past, a CEO, Bill Good, and they’ve done amazing things. There’s three areas that I like to point out.
Charles Antis: It’s advocacy. We’re going to have 500 of us, I think next month or the month after, in DC, and I’m going to have four or five Antis employees there. We’re going to be advocating, and now we do that. We’re building this ability to have a standard across the country. We’re building this certification. Then third, the thing that I’m most involved in, because it was my concept that Bill Good pushed through, and that was we now take care of all the Ronald McDonald House roofs, keeping all the families safe, dry, and close to their sick kids, for all of us across the country. That’s where it’s changing in a good way, but the need and the impetus really is lack of labor.
Carey Ransom: So if there’s 54% of people leaving, I mean, there have to be tremendous skills that these people [crosstalk 00:28:14].
Charles Antis: That’s company to company.
Carey Ransom: Company to company? Okay.
Charles Antis: Yeah, that’s 54% attrition …
Carey Ransom: From one company to another?
Charles Antis: Yeah.
Carey Ransom: Okay.
Charles Antis: Yeah. Which, we, by the way … I shouldn’t say that without clarifying Antis. The last we tracked, last year … I’m going to say 2018. We don’t have anything for 2019 yet. 2018, we tracked 93%, and the year before, 91%, or vice versa.
Carey Ransom: For retention?
Charles Antis: Retention. Yeah.
Carey Ransom: So yours is much lower, which everyone would expect.
Charles Antis: Yeah, we say at Antis every nail matters, and there’s a lot of ways you can extrapolate that, because it does.
Carey Ransom: Yes, I agree. Okay. So it’s not that they’re all leaving the industry.
Charles Antis: There’s a lot that have left the industry but I don’t have that number.
Carey Ransom: Sure.
Charles Antis: I would guess that it could be as high as 10 or 15%, which would be catastrophic.
Carey Ransom: Yes.
Charles Antis: It’s probably lower than that, but it feels catastrophic, the pinch on labor, to every employer I know.
Carey Ransom: Yeah, and a lot of industries are dealing with labor shortage right now, obviously, which, I mean, back to the core purpose of why I have this show is I really like to highlight innovators in their domains that are here in Orange County, because we have them in every corner and nook in this place, and their stories need to be heard. That was the whole reason for starting this.
Carey Ransom: As you think about it, you mentioned technology. I mean, are you seeing things already that allow someone like you to service more customers with fewer people? Because the need is out there. The need isn’t going to go away.
Charles Antis: Yeah.
Carey Ransom: I mean, maybe my roof will last longer than it did because of new materials and things, but the work, in many cases, still has to happen. So you have to look at the different leverage points. Where are you seeing the technological innovations happening?
Charles Antis: Well, there’s some cool stuff. So the two things that we’re really … Well, first of all, drone technology is huge.
Carey Ransom: Yeah.
Charles Antis: We have drones at Antis Roofing. In fact, this is what it feels like with new innovation, and it’s not always … I love when things fail. That’s how we learn, and this hasn’t failed. But we’ve, I think, invested 40,000 into these drones, and it’s not producing for us yet, but we’re learning, right?
Charles Antis: But we’re part of this national group, Roofing Technology Think Tank, and we’re founding members. What that allows us to do is collaborate and be second end. We can give them CSR practice, push forward, and they can help us.
Charles Antis: So GAF, one of the greatest institutions in roofing, just did an experiment with a drone that’s actually nailing shingles. Now, that’s not ready yet, and it wasn’t perfect. It was a funny video. It didn’t work out. But we’re trying everything. But if you look at what drones can do in inspection and how much that saves lives, because roofing is a dangerous activity.
Carey Ransom: Yes.
Charles Antis: But there’s a lot going on there, but there’s also … Imagine robotics on roofs. If you have a straight roof run and these large roof runs, you’ll be able to take two bars, put them down, and, using some laser technology … We’re really close to seeing this in a big way. So I get to go and see all of the companies that are first in, working on this. So we’re really close.
Charles Antis: So we’re really close to a lot of electronics up on the roof, and if you look at roofing, as far as the innovation of the membranes, now we put stuff on with a heat gun, and it lasts so much better than that dangerous, messy hot goo. There’s just a lot of amazing things happening in roofing, and it’s becoming a sexy sport. Having a service business, man, everyone needs a roof, and they need their stuff protected. It’s become a really awesome time to be a roofer.
Charles Antis: The other trend that’s helping roofing is the fact that trades are becoming sexy …
Carey Ransom: Yes, absolutely.
Charles Antis: … again, as with all of the changes we see.
Carey Ransom: Well, and as you describe those things, the work in the trade becomes a very technical and interesting job, right?
Charles Antis: Yes. Yeah.
Carey Ransom: I mean, flying a drone.
Charles Antis: Yeah, we have all sorts of technologies.
Carey Ransom: Yeah, that’s right.
Charles Antis: But I’m not the guy there. I love it. I endorse it. My nephew, Aaron, we have some amazing guys, Jose, that work on this in our company, but they collaborate, and that’s the key. We collaborate where we can, locally. I love to collaborate with other roofers. It’s not always easy, but, nationally, we’re able to do that. I always try to bring that where I can.
Carey Ransom: That’s really interesting. So let’s build on that a little. So as you think about Orange County, right? This show is designed around Orange County and really creating stories around folks like you that are really innovative and thinking about change in our world. How do you partner, potentially, or work with others in Orange County around innovating? You said, “I’m not the one to innovate,” but there are material scientists, and there are hardware and software engineers and people here who could conceive new ways. How, in your mind, do you think we can do a better job in creating those collisions to change industries, to create new industries here?
Charles Antis: Yeah, I mean, so in Orange County, I mean, yeah, I couldn’t find that echo back in the industries that I knew the best. But interestingly, I tripped on it, and I tripped on it by the same thing. I couldn’t let anybody have a leaky roof that just have money to pay. I got involved in things like Habitat. Eventually heard of an organization called OneOC, and I think what happened with OneOC, OneOC is a nonprofit that exists wholly to bring for-profits and nonprofits together for everyone’s benefit, including the community. That’s the best way I would describe them. As you mentioned, I’m on their advisory board.
Charles Antis: That’s where, I think, I really learned how to be heard. What happens, once you get involved there, I collaborate with all sorts of businesses. I mean, now with the roofing companies, they’re kind of a broker, because if there’s a roofing company that really wants to do the right thing, “Go through this company. They’ll hook you up.” I’m not saying it’s happening in a big way. I think in roofing, it only doesn’t happen because it doesn’t feel like there’s enough. It’s that fear again.
Charles Antis: Once you realize there’s enough and have flipped that mindset, I’m watching those roofing companies become very generous, and I didn’t start that way. Well, I guess I did, but it wasn’t easy in the beginning.
Carey Ransom: Okay. Okay. So I’m getting the hi sign here from Paul, so …
Charles Antis: Oh, come on.
Carey Ransom: Yeah, exactly.
Charles Antis: Let’s have a drink there. I see something there.
Carey Ransom: Exactly. So I do want to get your thoughts on Orange County. You’ve been here a long time. How do you describe Orange County to people at your national association? What is it about Orange County that you most appreciate as, really, a community to be an entrepreneur and a member?
Charles Antis: Well, so this is not a knock on my allies, my roofing allies in Texas or whatever. But I remember being at a meeting, and this guy said something socially forward. I don’t remember, really, what it was, but it was something that not everyone in the room thought the same way. He just got, “Rah-rah.” He got railroaded, and I foolishly, later on, said something way more in that direction. I just got a little tap on the arm.
Charles Antis: Then I started paying attention to how, when the roofer that gives roofs in Florida gives them away, it didn’t get the same response from those other big brands around the town. Yet when we gave away a roof here, we got a “Thank you for what you’re doing with the community” from an Edwards or a Disney or all these other companies. I thought, “Wow, doing best practice echoes well here.”
Charles Antis: So I’m going to say this sounds really … I have friends in the Bay Area or in Silicon Valley that would would maybe be slightly offended, but we want to do socially forward things here. But we don’t want to go through pain to get there, where maybe I have friends in Berkeley that would go further. So what I’m saying is Orange County resonates well to the rest of the country.
Carey Ransom: We’re a good bridge. We’re not isolated.
Charles Antis: We’re a good bridge, and we echo well. We create a little bit of a … Part of my success in marketing and Antis’s success in marketing has to do with this Orange County echo. The Orange County echo leverages really well nationally. I don’t sell roofs in every state, yet, but when we do, this will leverage well that we’re headquartered here. I have lots of stories that prove that.
Carey Ransom: Yeah. That’s really powerful. So we need to talk more about that. I’m going to have to have you back on here. So, Charles, thank you so much. We’ve got to go the final lap. I always ask my guests for kind of last parting words of wisdom or a lesson that they’ve learned along the way that they want to share with our listeners.
Charles Antis: I think this morning, I read that question right before I came, and I think you gave me something, because I think I became a little more clear. I’m saying it in fewer words, is what I mean.
Carey Ransom: Yes.
Charles Antis: That is this. I want to tell this to everybody, and this will work for business, but this is for your life. Because the two things work together. Realize that your life is perfect, and be curious daily. Then you will have power.
Carey Ransom: There’s so much to unpack there. That is a really, really compelling statement. Thank you, and thank you so much for joining me here today and taking us on this ride. I mean, we did not do this conversation nearly the justice it deserves in the time. We’re going to have to revisit it again and continue it.
Charles Antis: Sure.
Carey Ransom: I so appreciate your wisdom, your leadership, your authenticity, and your outsized commitment to this community and this world that we’re in. You make such a big impact here. I want you to know that. At least for me, and I know for many others here, it’s so appreciated. You are definitely doing your part to accelerate OC.
Charles Antis: Thank you.
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