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Charle Antis talks with Matt Watson about how companies should lead through the COVID-19 crisis!

Listen to Matt Watson’s The Business Talks Podcast here.

Full Transcript:

Matt Watson:
All right, everybody, thanks for listening to another episode of the Business Talks Podcast. Today my guest is Charles Antis. He’s the founder and CEO of Antis Roofing with over 30 years in the industry experience. Charles, thanks for coming on the podcast.

Charles Antis:
Hey, pleasure to be here, Matt. Thanks for asking me on.

Matt Watson:
Yeah, of course. Why don’t you start out by telling a little bit of a story for those that may not actually know what Antis Roofing is, and what you guys do. Would you mind kind of telling a little story of how you founded Antis Roofing, and then also maybe some of the things that you’ve done since then? Since it’s been over 30 years now.

Charles Antis:
Sure. Yeah. I love talking about Antis Roofing. Antis Roofing, me being in the roofing business, it wasn’t something that at as a child… I grew up in the state of Oregon in a logging town, Myrtle Creek, Oregon, population 3,000, and every man I knew did labor. Every man I knew was a laborer in the forest or in the mills. My dad was a foreman and safety director at Roseburg Lumber Products. That’s where I grew up.

Charles Antis:
I did blue collar work, but I ended up in Southern California when I was 21. I had come down, I was recruited for a sales position, and I was selling, knocking on doors, selling insulation with some kind of rebate that California was doing. I was promising them savings. Here I am, 21 years old, finished my second year of college, I think I actually dropped out of those classes. I wasn’t the most mature. [crosstalk] I think I got zero credits that semester, but I was knocking on doors, selling installation.

Charles Antis:
I knocked on this family’s door, and it was a deaf family, deaf, they couldn’t hear. I was able to communicate with them, and I had this sale that made me feel so good, and they were so happy, they were going to have the savings on their home. The next day, I drove back to this house, to this deaf family’s house to pick up the check, and when I knocked on the door, I saw them in there, but they didn’t answer. I’m a people pleaser. [inaudible] And then the neighbor walked over to me and she says, “Get out of here.” I said, “Why?” She says, “Because you lied to this family. You told them that they were going to have this energy savings and look at that. There’s no way they’re going to have that.”

Charles Antis:
I looked at what she said… You know, I just walked away. I can’t believe I’m getting emotional, I didn’t think that would happen right now, but it hurt me because I felt connected to this family, and that means something to me if I sell something that there’s value there. Looking back, I quit that night. I quit. Here I was in Southern California, they owed me money, but not that much because I didn’t do that much selling. I was playing a little too much, but I looked for a job, and I didn’t see myself doing anything but labor, so I looked for a job, and a job to me was labor.

Charles Antis:
I met this roofer and he said, “I don’t have any work, but I think this guy does.” I met this roofer named Tim Curtis, and I just learned the business from him, I learned how to solve leaks from him, and that was a fascinating experience. I was telling this story yesterday, what I loved about roofing, because I didn’t love the hard work, I just knew I could do it. Work to me, and the way I was raised, was the toil and labor of men, and you get slivers, and you could get injured. In fact, you could die, but you go to work every day. It happened all around me that men died and men were injured. This going to work in the roofing business, I didn’t do it for pleasure, it was a job, and I found that it was one thing that fulfilled me.

Charles Antis:
It started with kind of a train wreck because I was told by my boss to go out and do this leak repair. I’d seen him do leak repairs before, and I went out, and I looked above this leak, and sure enough I found it. If you’re in the roofing business, every roofer thinks he’s the best at roof repair. We just do. It’s an ego thing, and I have to be careful, even though I truly am the best, I have to act like [crosstalk 00:04:12]. I go out on this job, and there’s coping metal, and coping metal is just cap metal that covers a little wall. I realized it was going through this nail hole at this joint in the coping metal. I took it apart, sealed it, put it back together, and then my boss came out on the job. I said, “Hey, I found that leak.” I walked over there like a big man, and I said, “There it is.” He looked at me and he said, “Well, that’s the leak all right, but you didn’t repair it right.”

Charles Antis:
He pointed out that I had had backlapped the coping metal, so the water going down would be forced under that, and it would leak again eventually. He says, “This is the easiest thing in the world.” He goes, “It’s like a feather on a duck’s back, every component overlaps what’s below.” That failure on that first leak was… I love failing. Failing is how I learn everything. I don’t learn anything by winning. I think I know why I won, but when I do something wrong, it’s a lesson. It just doesn’t emotionally spike me anymore like it did then. But I said “By God, I’ll never miss a leak again.” And I became the best at doing leaks. That was the thing that when Tim’s work slowed down, and I kind of had that moment where I had a couple side jobs. That was the thing that I could do. I could sell that service of fixing anything that leaked from rain, and that’s who I became, that guy that would snoop and…

Charles Antis:
Because that’s the only calls I’d get. Truly, if you called me to do… When I started my company then, that’s when I started it. If you would have called me, and given me the opportunity to do a reroof, a lot of them I just couldn’t have done. I didn’t have the crew, I didn’t have the kettle, I didn’t have the experience, but give me that thing that nobody else could solve. Give me that leak. Let me come out and let me play because I got nothing else to do, and I would take things apart, and I would put it back together. I just became this Snoop Dog, Snoop Dogg? No, it wasn’t Snoop Dogg. I became this hound dog where I would find that leak, and I would literally imagine myself as a bead of water, and how gravity and capillary action would pull me down that wall. I became the very best at solving leaks, and that’s how our company got going. We did a lot of leak repairs, and eventually, we were able to do these maintenances because I couldn’t compete with the big roofs. They’re going to spend $1 million to get, on average, they’re getting about 24 years on this roof, but I can get them 10 more years for $100,000. In fact, I’ll guarantee it.

Charles Antis:
That’s what we started doing. We started doing these things called special ops. In special ops we go, “Yeah, they’re selling you that because that’s the way the industry is, but do you realize that 20% of our landfills are filled with roofing material? Let’s get you this roof to last 10 more years, and let’s spend 40% of the money per year that you were going to spend.” That’s what we did, and we still do that even though we do a lot of reroofing now, obviously we’ve grown into that. I skipped over all the good stuff, that’s just the leak path, the journey curve of the leak repair, and how it turned into who we are today, problem-solvers that go in and engineer roofs that last 30 years. We have this saying that every nail matters because it does, whether we’re talking about the people that we invest in or we’re talking about every 200,000 nail part in that roof, every nail matters.

Charles Antis:
At Antis, we invest in our people, and that’s why we have the best product, but it didn’t start that way. It started a long time ago, and I don’t know where you want me to go, but I usually tell this origin story, I call it, because it’s when purpose hit, and that’s when I fell upon a family that had mold in their room, and I didn’t know what to do. I could go down that path, but I don’t want to steer you away from your podcast.

Matt Watson:
No, let’s do that, and then we’ll get right into how to lead through COVID-19, but I like that story, I’ve heard you say it before, so feel free.

Charles Antis:
Okay, so I’m in that beginning stage, I’m needing work, and I no longer work for this guy, so it’s like, “Oh my god, I have a mortgage payment to make. I have a little girl.” My work one week, because I only got about three calls a week, was putting weatherstripping around the bedroom that had converted to be a home office. I got that so they wouldn’t hear my daughter crying. [Inaudible] I’m kind of selling in a business to business model, the work that I got was at [inaudible 00:08:47]. That’s all I got, a couple of repairs here.

Charles Antis:
I get a call one day from a woman, and she’s got leaks in her home, and leaks in every room, that sounds very appealing to me because I make a few hundred dollars per week, and I have a mortgage payment to make in two weeks. So the next day, I’m driving to her house, and I remember as I’m driving to her home in LA, the homes are getting smaller, more disheveled, until finally I turn on the street where the home would be. I just see this dead grass, house setback. I’m thinking maybe that’s not the house because it’s got one of those 140 and a half or something. I go up on it, and I knock on the door.

Charles Antis:
Three things happened really fast that just the impression never leaves me. This woman answers the door, and she’s got this tired look like… Before I can say hello, I’m hit with this smell of mildew that just almost knocks me down. I want to recoil. Mildew bothers me more than some people. I’m really recoiling, but as I start to recoil, and wondering what I’m going to say to leave the home, I feel a tug at my finger, and I look down and there’s just like this beautiful little blonde girl-

Charles Antis:
And I looked down, and there’s just this beautiful little blonde girl. I mean, in contrast to her mom, and me, and our expressions, how they must’ve been, I mean she was just like, oh my God, I have a visitor in my home. And she grabs me and she pulls me in that living room. And, of course, I go into this undersized hallway. And then, she goes into her room. And I know it to her room because she looks up immediately and looks at me and is pointing to a My Little Pony poster on the wall.

Matt Watson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charles Antis:
But, as she did that, I just looked down and there was four mattresses. And I’m hitting, oh this is where her siblings sleep. And then I’m like, oh my God, there’s mold on the mattresses.

Matt Watson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charles Antis:
And I just kind of sat there in this awful state. Because I was aware that, oh crap, they have no money.

Matt Watson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charles Antis:
Their roof is probably shot. I got to get out of here. And, I mean, I remember it felt like 30 seconds, maybe it was only ten or 15. But then, the mom walked back yet. And I remember the little girl’s face, as cute as she was. And I wanted to help. But, when the mom came in and I saw that face again, something came out of me. I just said, I’m going to take care of your roof. And that was like, what did I just say? Because I didn’t know. Will I be able? Can I?

Charles Antis:
And then, so that was a profound moment that I wanted to tell you because that has happened to me so many times since. And I think the reason that we’re successful at Antis is because we can’t let anybody have a leaky roof just because they don’t have the money to pay. And it started right there. That was our doctor on an airplane plane moment where, if a doctor is on an airplane, I think we all believe that he or she, if they hear that call, they’re going to raise their hand and go, yes, I’m a doctor.

Matt Watson:
Yeah.

Charles Antis:
And they’re going to help out. And I also believe that we believe that that doctor, he or she, will not send a bill for. That just wouldn’t happen.

Matt Watson:
Yeah.

Charles Antis:
And that, looking back, was my doctor on an airplane moment, because we gave that family… I went up on the roof and they needed a whole new roof. And so, I went and got on the phone and I got six volunteers. And seven of us that weekend gave that family, I think there was like six or seven kids, we gave them this drippy, goopy, not my best roof, but it was dry and they stayed in their home.

Charles Antis:
And that was a powerful moment because it became… I didn’t start telling that story until ten years ago. But that story repeated itself often quietly. Sometimes the people knew. I didn’t always tell my employees because they didn’t always agree with it. They didn’t want to go out of business. And how could I afford to donate something? But that eventually turned into a philosophy here at Antis that we believe, in fact, I think it’s on the wall behind me.

Matt Watson:
Yep.

Charles Antis:
We exist to keep families safe and dry there. I couldn’t remember what the slogan was. It didn’t come off my tongue. We know why we exist.

Matt Watson:
Yeah.

Charles Antis:
I mean, it’s a beautiful thing when you know why you exist. And that’s so easy. Like, of course, we’re a roofer. We keep people safe and dry, but it took us 30 years almost to come up with that slogan.

Matt Watson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charles Antis:
And it’s so pure. And it answers questions that don’t need to be asked because, when somebody in customer service gets a call and they know why we exist is to keep families safe and dry, they get that family safe and dry. They’re not contingent. They know why we exist. And that’s a powerful thing. So, we try to create purpose today that kind of started from some of those stories of all those years of, yes, it didn’t ever get formalized until we ran into Habitat for Humanity.

Matt Watson:
Yeah.

Charles Antis:
And you had ask me about that earlier. Did you want me-

Matt Watson:
Yeah.

Charles Antis:
I’m sorry.

Matt Watson:
Absolutely. No. Keep going.

Charles Antis:
So, it was really awkward in the beginning when I can’t say no to somebody like this. And then, my team didn’t always take it well. And then, Sharon Ellis, the CEO here in Orange County of Habitat for Humanity, a friend of mine wanted me to call her. Greg, his last name is not coming to me. But Greg wanted me to call her. And I said, yeah. I’ll donate a roof. But, yeah. Sure. He’s trying to tell me I should do that. And I didn’t understand why he was saying that. I think he had a better marketing brain than me. And he said, you should call her. And he said, you should. I didn’t understand this.

Charles Antis:
So, finally Sharon Ellis calls me, the CEO of Orange County Habitat for Humanity. And she asks me herself, will you donate a roof? And it was just so pure. I said, yes. It was an easy answer. And then, we donated that roof. And then, she came back and said, hey, there’s a military neighborhood of military families. Will you donate another roof? Sure. And then, will you donate these eight roofs? And that was a tough pill for my team to swallow, because it meant more weekends for marketing. It meant more work for production, but with no money coming behind it.

Matt Watson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charles Antis:
And that’s where my enthusiasm was separate from my team. And a CEO needs to be a combined story, not just your story. I tell my stories, but I can’t keep them under a bushel. And I need to share with them. And so, in the beginning, it was kind of like, I like to say I was like Will Ferrell in Old School when he’s streaking down the road by himself, but he thinks there is a crowd. And his wife comes and says, get in the car. And he’s like, come on, honey. Everybody’s doing it. That’s how I feel when I get too much out in front.

Charles Antis:
And so, I think the balance is really critical. Your HR team needs to be aligned. So, the way we eventually built that is, we started doing builds and we started inviting our people, our employees, our stakeholders. Everybody started coming out. And, when everybody started coming out, we started to feel… we started doing Meals of Love together at Ronald McDonald House. We started installing fire alarms. We started doing American Red Cross. We’re actually doing a blood drive and we’re donating 6,000 feet on Monday. We’re collecting blood with the American Red Cross on Monday here. We really believe in that today.

Charles Antis:
But, back then, it was just all this learning it. And what happened was, eventually it became a thing. It became something we talked about. It became part of our stories. We all have Habitat stories. And now, when I talk about it, there’s other stories that mesh. There’s contextual understanding, if that makes sense.

Matt Watson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charles Antis:
We’re kind of like overlapping and aligning our values. And we’ve also given to things that we didn’t know that we would give to. Like, when the central American earthquakes hit a year and a half ago, we had the wherewithal to reach out to our immigrant from Mexico labor and say, how does this affect your families? And they told us. And we were able to donate to many families. And that was powerful.

Matt Watson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charles Antis:
So, the experience of donating those roofs became powerful. And, I meant to tell you, we’ve donated over a million dollars of roofing in the last 11 years, along with all of the tiles being donated by Eagle Roofing Products in Rialto.

Matt Watson:
That’s awesome.

Charles Antis:
So, we’re really excited about that. It’s become who we are. And it’s how the public knows us. They know us as people that are aligned with them in keeping families safe and dry. And that we believe that everyone deserves a decent place to live. And that we believe that it’s unimaginable to ignore sick children. And so, what that does is we wear that, not with proud pride, but with a little bit of humble pride. Like, how can we help?

Charles Antis:
And so, it’s been an awesome journey. Looking back, I’ve never tried to weave it and tell the story until the last couple of years because I never saw it happening. When we gave those roofs, we didn’t talk about it. We couldn’t talk about it because it felt wrong. Don’t let the left hand know what the right hand is doing, as I remember somebody telling me as a kid over and over again. And it’s like, it was hard to talk about.

Charles Antis:
Habitat started talking about Antis saying, hey, they’re donating roofs and transforming lives. I’m like, oh my god. Can you say that? Are we going to get struck by lightning? And then, one year and I decided I need to talk about it because I need people to understand who we are. We doing this. And I think it’s important. And, when we started talking about it, it really changed everything because what happened is we refined. That compassion muscle grew.

Matt Watson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charles Antis:
And we found that the only way it could grow would be to talk about it some more. And so, now it’s so much a part of who we are. We’re very involved in a lot of boards that give back, boards that oversee nonprofits. And, of course, I’m on the board of Habitat for Humanity, Orange County and Orange County, Ronald McDonald House, in addition to several other local boards and several national boards in the roofing industry.

Charles Antis:
And this is the most awesome thing. And it all kind of started from just not saying no. It’s kind of that ask that you don’t think you can do and you somehow do it. Like my dad’s voice, my mom and dad, their voices ringing in my ear. Like, we do the right thing., son. It’s like my dad always did the right thing.

Matt Watson:
Yeah.

Charles Antis:
I mean, annoyingly, my dad did the right thing. I mean, it was like, why are we doing this? And I did the right thing most of the time, but out of this fear of God thing. And now, I don’t have that anymore. I do it because it’s awesome.

Matt Watson:
Yeah.

Charles Antis:
Because I’m happier, because I could be a better version of me. And it kind of all started from this really thing where I just couldn’t let anybody have a leaky roof because they didn’t have the money to pay, so. That was a long spiel, man. I’m going to let steer me a little tighter here.

Matt Watson:
No. I think that sets the foundation for really what we’re hoping to talk about. But it is an amazing story. And it really, I think… once this is all over, we’ll do the podcast eventually in person the way that we wanted to, which was, how do you be a profitable business and yet, give back to the community. And I think you could speak a lot on that. And I think we could have a great conversation around-

Matt Watson:
The community. And I think you could speak a lot on that, and I think we could have a great conversation around, and it just encouraging other business founders, owners, CEOs to be more philanthropic in what they do. And I think that’d be a great conversation for us to have.

Matt Watson:
But today we’re day two, so it’s April 2nd, right after a few laws were passed April 1st around COVID-19, right in the middle of that crisis. You guys are still up and running, but you were just showing me prior to this kind of giving me a tour of some of the offices. It doesn’t look the same, right? Because hardly anyone’s in the office, but you guys are still operating probably almost if not completely at full capacity, just a little more remote than normal.

Matt Watson:
But really what I was hoping to get out of you is your experience around leading, and how to lead an organization in what I would call a crisis like this. Is there something that comes to mind that you guys are doing that you really feel is a powerful way to lead your organization in a time like this?

Charles Antis:
Well, there’s a lot of things, and I don’t have experience talking about this, so we might swim a little bit. However, two weeks ago, Roofing Technology Think Tank, a national play that we’re original founding members of, because it’s the only roofing technology and innovation platform that really exists. And I was watching this, and they came up two weeks ago with like the first national podcast that was well known by an entity nationally.

Charles Antis:
And they were really championing staying focused and doing best practices in this crisis. And as it emerged, I tuned in, and Steve Little who owns a roofing company, [KPost 00:21:44], and Ken Kelly from Kelly Roofing in Florida, they’re two good friends of mine, fellow servants of the roofing industry and board members, they spoke. And I think that sometimes I can say it better from somebody else.

Charles Antis:
And I remember both of them said this, but I remember in particular Steve, and Steve said, “Our job right now is to lead. Our job is to be steady in the moment. Our job, we’ve been through things, we have more experience.” And so to that end, I would say the same thing.

Charles Antis:
It is really critical for those of us in any business especially at the senior management level, but I would take that down to your managers. I think it’s hitting people this way, but it’s really critical that we are steady in the moment. Because the news hits us every which way, and it swings or what looks like good news or bad news. And our job is to steady both. And so my rule with one of my executive teams, and we meet daily right now is that our rule, it’s not my rule, it’s our rule, is that no messaging goes out, no messaging external, internally without that review.

Charles Antis:
And so there’s times when we hear one of these news stories, “Oh my God, we’re going to shut down or whatever.”

Charles Antis:
And, okay, calm down. And I’m able to, in the moment say, “Hey, there’s everybody’s digesting this. There’s no urgency. Let’s meet in two hours. And I’m going to call the CEO of this national company, and I’m going to call this Congress. We’re going to figure it out.” And this is how we figure it out and it’s been really beautiful.

Charles Antis:
It’s been beautiful, and this is not the right word. I’m not, I’d love it if you could edit that, but I get it [inaudible 00:00:23:36]. It’s the wrong word for the moment. In this difficult times, there are some good stories. There’s some good [inaudible 00:00:23:44], we [inaudible] merging right now. There are apps emerging like, “Oh we know the apps and the people that are really making things happen!” That’s the fascinating thing to me.

Charles Antis:
But my job, number one, is to steady the flow of information and to be that ballast. And I think that I remember that. And then in our executive team we’re fortunate enough to be large enough to have executive team, we really got it evenly divided between finances, digging, digging daily and we’re applying for loans, we’re trying to understand every offering, this two and a half months employment reimbursement strategy. We are making sure we’re raising our hand for everything.

Charles Antis:
So I don’t know details, Audrey handled that. Audrey Schneider does a great job. HR is very busy. All of their time in HR and [inaudible 00:24:32]. Susan’s so busy with something entirely new that’s evolving constantly. And her knowledge, and her focus is, her experience, and her messaging is powerful.

Charles Antis:
Her and Aaron last night, I’ve been doing internal messages almost every day, and they’re from safety, from internal safety with this exposure, with all of this messaging that we’re all doing. But they gave a message last night, Aaron, my VP of Sales, and her that was highly specific on new things that we need to do. And I’m so grateful that I have them.

Charles Antis:
And then the other VP is Aaron [inaudible 00:25:05], my VP of Sales and man, he’s being very [inaudible 00:05:10], there’s a lot he has to do with health and messaging internally, because he oversees production in the field. But he’s also being very innovative in sales.

Charles Antis:
We’ve talked about the power of video for some time, but we’ve never really used it. Man, I’ve got videos to record today to people that I love in the industry that need to hear where we’re at.

Charles Antis:
And Aaron, I’ve watched him record hundreds of videos, and watching my sales team, we’re innovating in the moment. And so there are opportunities that I need to remind people that we we need to encourage, and we need to be positive about. We need to say, “Isn’t this exciting that this is working?”

Charles Antis:
And there’s also a big grace. My company, we’re fortunate that we’re able to be strong in the moment because we are prepared for a drought year. We have lots of ways to save money with tax planning that we could leak into a bad year. So we’re prepared for that. And that’s important. I forgot where I was going with that before-

Matt Watson:
No, you actually went exactly where I kind of wanted you to go because I followed you just on LinkedIn, and I’ve seen a lot of your messaging going out that you’ve put out there to the public. And I think that really ties into a key point, which is, I think it’s very important for every business leader, for every founder, every CEO out there more than ever, to keep that constant communication both to the public as well as your own internal team, your employees, those that work for you, and just have that consistent communication going out to them. Whether it’s filtered or not, as you said, whether it’s filtered through a team, I think that is probably the most key thing out there is whether you’ve laid off or furloughed your employees, or your employees are still working and they’re out in the field, they’re working remote, there has to be constant communication to them.

Charles Antis:
Those best communicators that I collaborate with are reminding me and I’m reminding everybody that I can that, and it’s hard to do this because it feels counterintuitive at times, but it’s a time to over-communicate. And not, you don’t have to be accurate. Just tell them where you’re at.

Charles Antis:
So you’ve see me do showing somebody, I’ve done a couple of videos showing the empty office. I think that gives a sense of reality to everybody, and it’s important externally that we understand that. And also it shows that we’re not here. In a 20,000 square foot building, there’s four people here that have to be here. And also there was another moment through this panic, and whether you’re a business, you know, like, “Are we in essential service?” And internally we didn’t all agree, and we had to break it down. What is essential?

Charles Antis:
Oh my gosh, there’s rain coming, and we have all these people, when every rain, we have rain coming again next week, and we have people that need their homes protected. And so we are being really responsible in the moment, and we have difference of opinions which [inaudible] together into safe protocol.

Charles Antis:
And so my C on a disc scale is low, and I don’t want to explain what that means to those who don’t understand, but I think in HR everyone knows what that means. And so I wouldn’t have had everybody out of here three weeks ago. I would’ve probably gone with the flow, which would have been a week and a half, two weeks ago. But no, my senior HR team argued really hard, two of them, and probably all three, but, “Hey, we need to get people out of here and now.” And I couldn’t conceive of what was happening yet.

Charles Antis:
But that’s the collaboration you need, collaborate, collaborate. So then the over-communication, you also asked for over-communication back. So in every video that I sent internally, I say, “Tell us, are you scared? Tell us! I get it!” And, and I think that they are, I think that they are, people are communicating. And everybody’s scared. Everything’s changing. There’s all, and it takes our brains a while to contextualize this.

Charles Antis:
You know, we’re not driven by our cognitive brain. It’s our reptilian brain. Our reptilian brain is driven by habit. We can’t contextualize, even economist that’s trying to understand where we’re going, they can’t contextualize it yet cause they haven’t lived anywhere near it. And so there’s a lot of adjusting going on. There’s a lot of sociology happening right now. And there’s fascinating stories. And this is a time you just have to be adaptive and curious.

Charles Antis:
I mean, Darwin was right. It’s not the strongest or the fastest that survive, it’s the most adaptive to change. And so play to the visionaries, the vision, played to the creativity, make failure a positive thing. Fail fast. Hey, fail, but fail fast, and let’s laugh about it. Let’s learn from this. This is the time we have to have that adaptive brain mentality, and we’re going to be okay.

Charles Antis:
And I’m fortunate enough that we are piled in a way to protect our people. We even put a half a million into our Donor Advised Fund, to pump that up so we can continue our giving. And our giving, it felt at first like, “Oh, we got to hang on.” But no! I’m like, “Oh no.” And this is that same moment. Like, how can I possibly, fix donate this [inaudible] for this little girl, it’s happening right now. I’m living it. I go to bed-

Charles Antis:
… this little girl is happening right now. I’m living it. I go to bed. I wake up early, and what are we going to do? You know what I’m coming into. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but this is going to be a big year of giving, and you know why? Because we can, and it just comes down to that because we’re going to walk into a bigger need gap than I’d ever experienced in my lifetime, very likely. I have to prepare for that, even though I’m an optimist. I’m very fortunate that we have almost a million dollars, I don’t remember, in our donor advised fund, and we are going to be able to make a significant contribution this year.

Matt Watson:
Yeah.

Charles Antis:
I’m paused right now, Matt, because I don’t understand the needs. It’s a new world, so it took me about a week of deer in the headlights and then I realized, oh, my God, shelter? Yeah, we donated roofing to keep the wooden floor and other local nonprofits dry in moment in the race, but no. The biggest need happening right now all around the country is food, food insecure people, elderly people that are locked in their homes. They’re sheltered, and they are so lonely, and they are so hungry, and so we got involved in food delivery because that was what we heard. I couldn’t get there myself. I’m not a food economist, but I have friends that are. They explained it to me.

Charles Antis:
Now, we’re getting involved there, but our involvement right now has been mostly, like I said, we’re donating the space next door, which is ours, 6,000 feet to American Red Cross on Monday and at least one other time. We’re doing everything we can to help, but we have not given up major value yet, but we will when we understand how we can help. I don’t know if it’s going to be more roofing donated here. I don’t know if it’s going to be money donated here, but it’s something that is part of our DNA, and I know that’s the reason we’re around.

Charles Antis:
I can just tell you story after story of being busted, having now way to do it, but not giving up that commitment. Just like Habitat, five or six years ago, we were going through a time and I couldn’t get another [inaudible] roof, and we just kept donating. I didn’t know how we were going to do it. I’ve got story after story after story that, when it gets tough, you say yes. I’ve never heard of anybody with a credible story that lost in any way from giving too much. I just … I don’t know that story.

Charles Antis:
I mean, you could hear somebody make up a story that wouldn’t be credible, but it’s not a credible story. It’s just the way you thrive. Whatever you give away comes back, and I said that. I’ve heard that. I never really believed it, but the essence. Not what exactly, but the essence of how you gave it. The essence comes back a hundred times. You know, I’m not driven for monetary things, except for helping others, so I don’t see myself as a rich person, but extremely rich in relationships and in compassion and in joy, and that’s a weird word that I would never use three years ago, but I mean, I’m a joyful person.

Charles Antis:
I’m a way more joyful person than I’ve ever been and, even in the moment, I can find happiness and a balance because of the giving, I think. I’m not saying that, “Oh, look at me! Like yeah! My God!” I’m like, oh, my God! Dude! Try this! I don’t know why this works! I don’t know why I’m happy! I don’t know why my people, in tough times, are happier than probably others, but it’s because we’re curious and it’s because we believe in happy endings for people and we believe that every person must be acknowledged and be seen as higher than they can see themselves so that they can grow into that and then be a flashlight for other people.

Charles Antis:
There’s a big opportunity time right now, so I try to be, as a leader, somebody that can offer that hope, and I do it internally the best I can, and I don’t think I’m the best there. I don’t. I’m good in some parts of it, and I do it externally for several nonprofits and for our industry, and I love doing that. I love being a beacon of hope for roofers who see themselves lowly, that hide their hands in their pocket, which some roofers do. I used to. I didn’t want you to see the caulking in my nails and that bloody thumbnail and now, look at me.

Charles Antis:
You see my hands in this. If you were to have a tracker, I’m 70% hands to 30% head. I mean, I use my hands all the time when I talk. I am proud of these hands. These are the hands that protect families and everything we love in this company and keeps them safe and dry, and that’s what I tell roofers. You know, that’s who we are. The roofing industry, by the way, is the most generous industry. I don’t know a roofer that has a different philosophy. I don’t know a roofer that … I mean, roofers donate roofs all the time. They just didn’t talk about it.

Charles Antis:
If any roofing professionals are listening to this or anybody that’s giving, I’m going to tell you, baby boomer with that broken brain where you think you’re not supposed to talk about it. You’re going to talk about it because, if you don’t talk about it, bro, I used to not talk about it and I hid it. It’s some weird thing. I don’t know. I don’t know why. I don’t want to get into that, but now I talk about it and I love to talk about it and mimicking companies that do the same thing and, because of it, we’re creating a network that’s giving hope and showing a path all the way to everybody.

Charles Antis:
Now, in this economy, what we’re in right now, I don’t know what that’s going to be like. I know that we can do better than most, but I’ll go further. I don’t know that we can’t thrive. I have to say that, even though what we’re looking at. I also see very, something that we’ve [inaudible] ten years ago, but I choose to see this side because it gives me power, and it gives me power to give better roofs, it gives me power to lift people up and lift people internally. All my stakeholders, all seven groups, employees to customers to my supply chain to the nonprofit partners, everyone, that’s our job.

Matt Watson:
Yeah, and I think that’s the best way for us to end the conversation really is just that now is the time more than ever to give to your local community, to give in any way that you can. If you find yourself with plenty, then there’s plenty of people out there that are in dire need, and then I think you also hit really well on that key point of just making sure that you’re communicating, and that would be externally, outside the company, as well as internally, as well.

Charles Antis:
I probably should do that more than what I do, and I tell myself every day how we got to externally, we still have other ways and then internally, but I think you should almost challenge yourself to do it every day. [inaudible 00:37:18]. I mean, everybody’s slipping on a banana peel every time they pull down their news feeds like, “How does that affect me?” I mean, you’re scared. You’re scared. Am I going to lose my job? So, communication. I need to do it more.

Matt Watson:
Absolutely. If someone wanted to reach out to you or to Antis and they need a roof repaired, most of my listeners are in Orange County, what should they do to reach out to you? What’s the best way to reach out to you?

Charles Antis:
You can email me at charles@antisroofing.com, and I would love a chance to keep you safe and dry, but even I got to admit I’m more excited if you link up with me on LinkedIn where we can help move the dial more in this way because we’re looked at across the country, in Orange County and in my space. Orange County shines well, so let’s get involved, and I know that a lot of your listeners are down here, but I know you have listeners everywhere.

Charles Antis:
Let’s connect and I would love to emulate, I would love to share with you, the people that talk about the social give good thing, it’s hard to talk about, but we’re connected, so we borrow ideas and sort of emulate each other. People in this space, we like to be copied. We don’t say, “You copied me!” We go, “Dude! Hey, high five!” It’s a cool deal. I didn’t know business could be so f-ing friendly instead of, “Rrr, let’s fight.” Now, I’m like, “Let’s hug. Well, let’s do an air hug.”

Matt Watson:
From six feet away, right? Excellent. Well, thanks for coming on the podcast, Charles. I appreciate your time, and …

Charles Antis:
Thanks.

Matt Watson:
… I’m excited to see what you guys are going to do and what Antis Roofing’s going to look like after this.

Charles Antis:
Awesome.

Matt Watson:
All right, man. Thank you. Looking forward to seeing this.

 

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