Ep. 21: Developing a Culture of Giving
Charles Antis, founder and CEO of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing, became a roofer quite by accident. In fact, at first he was only a re-roofer. He then made the leap to full-time roofer. Established in Orange County, California, 30 years ago, the company promises to keep families safe and dry.
Years ago, after an intense and awakening experience with poverty in Thailand and one in this country, he felt impelled to begin his philanthropic activities. He provides free roofing to Habitat for Humanity and Ronald McDonald houses in Orange County. He also serves on the board of Habitat for Humanity.
His need to serve and live with purpose permeates his entire business, which resulted in his philosophy of people before profits. That combined with his goal of striving for excellence led to a 93 percent retention rate, unheard of in the roofing business. His employees share his feelings and work toward improving their community through service and excellent roofing.
Listen to him on Specified for more on his story.
Tats: Hi guys, it’s Tats here from Castagra, and you’re listening to Specified: the Building Materials Innovation Podcast. The goal of this podcast is to help the entrepreneurs, and the innovators who are making a positive difference in the building materials, coding, and construction industry. Each episode will tap leaders and experts from inside and outside the industry to provide the mental tools, skills, and insights to make an impact.
Tats: Today’s guest is Charles Antis, who is the founder and CEO of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing. Charles is the Director at the National Roofing Contractors Association, and has a foundation that seeks to help people in their community have safe and dry roofs over their heads. Charles, thanks for coming on the show.
Charles Antis: My pleasure, Tats. I’m excited.
Tats: Yeah. Tell us a bit about your background.
Charles Antis: Wow, so how far do we go back? I think, well, we’re going to get to purpose today a lot, right?
Tats: Absolutely. I mean, we connected because I saw on your Instagram feed, you were talking about how you had difficulty talking about what you did, and how you evolved from there. Is that a good starting point?
Charles Antis: Yeah. Well, that’s fine. Yeah, so you’re saying how I had difficulty in the beginning in the company?
Tats: You were talking about difficulty talking about your profession and how you discovered purpose. That’s a video I saw.
Charles Antis: Yeah, okay. Yeah, okay. All right, well let me … I’m going to start with the story here that has nothing to do with my profession, which is roofing. But I think we have to get real, we have to be awakened. We can go to work and grind every day. I’m very good at that. I’m not happy when I do it, but what is that awakens us? And sometimes, those things awaken us are happening all around us, but we’re just not noticing, or sometimes they already happened in our past. So, I’m going to go back to my past, before I knew the meaning of what happened. And I’m going to tell you something that happened to me that was very purposeful, and that was, I don’t consider myself a religious person anymore. I consider myself spiritual. But I grew up, I was Mormon. So, I went on a Mormon mission, and I didn’t really want to go on a Mormon mission because I didn’t want to dedicate those two years. I didn’t want to tell people that their god was wrong, or whatever. I just … my own thing. But I knew I needed to go on a Mormon mission, because that was the religion I belonged to.
Charles Antis: And I was really fortunate, because I got asked to go to Thailand, and I didn’t know anything about Thailand, except I found out right away it was against the law to knock on doors.
Charles Antis: And I was really glad. So, I went over there really scared, not knowing what to do. And what I found is, Thailand was like a service mission. So, it really was much more like a Peace Corps experience, and that was awesome. Except I got to tell you that when I got started in that, I wasn’t really loving service. I mean, service, to me, growing up, was helping somebody move every weekend, and I did not enjoy that. It was not fun. So, I go into Thailand, and we started doing all this service. I mean, some of it was okay. Like helping somebody clean up a park, or teaching English. I mean, I was an expert at English. That was great. But one day, we got a call, and all of us missionaries were going to go to this orphanage, and we were going to work with these under privileged kids. And that, sounded okay. And then, one of the other missionaries said, “Yeah, but hey Antis, let me tell you what’s going to happen. It’s going to be smelly in there, they’re going to mix the physically and mentally handicapped kids, it’s going to be hot.”
Charles Antis: So, I went there with a low expectation. I arrived at about 11:00 a.m., and I was assigned to this room. And I walked into a little room about the size of my office that had maybe 12 kids on the ground. And they were all sitting there like they were just taking a nap. And as I walked in the room, a little girl looked up at me that looked like she was about nine years old, and as she arose from her nap, she smiled at me, and I noticed something about her. Her cheeks had clown rose cheeks painted on her. Like maybe there was another visitor there earlier, and she had these little rose cheeks. And she put her really long arms out to me to pick her up. And I was super excited, I went to pick her up because she looked so cute. B
Charles Antis: ut as I lifted her, I was shocked. Because I was expecting to pick up 30, 40 pounds, and this girl weighed about a dozen pounds because she had severe curvature of the spine. And so, when I grabbed her, I was in an awkward position. I wanted to set her down immediately. So, I kind of bounced her a couple times, like you would with your neighbors kids when you don’t want to hold them, and as I went to put her down, something happened. She dug her fingernails in my back, and that was odd, and I didn’t know what to do with that. I was in shock. And I bounced her for 60 more seconds. As I went to throw her off my hip the second time, two things happened. She looked at me in the eyes and she smiled, and then her fingernails dug deeper into my back. And so that’s where I held her. And I held that girl for four hours until they told me it was time to go.
Tats: Oh wow.
Charles Antis: And it was the weirdest thing because I look back on that experience, something happened in me that had never happened before, ever, when I did service. When I help people move, I never got a warm tingly. I just didn’t. I mean, I’m not saying it wasn’t good that I helped people move, but it didn’t work for me. It didn’t fulfill me. So, when I held that girl, I mean, it was like … I grew up in Oregon, and Grandma had a simple wooden stove that she cooked on. And I remember she’d stir this big pot on top of that wood stove with this big ladle, and it was like Grandma was stirring something up inside me, that I didn’t know what I was feeling. And I felt emotional, and I felt connected, and I felt useful. And that, was a powerful experience. I thought for the longest time, that I had, had that experience because I was supposed to adopt that girl or something, and that never worked out. But no, that experience was me, pausing to realize that there was something bigger. It was me, seeing that I could make an impact, and feel fulfilled. And this little girl gave me that gift.
Charles Antis: And so, I tell you that story because that’s the type of thing that, as a company today, which we’ll get to, which we try to have, we try to build into the experience of all of our stakeholders. So, I have those experiences on a regular basis. And again, we’ll talk about it. But I want to create that experience where all of my people can feel fulfilled at work, where all of my distribution channel, all of our stakeholders, whether it’s our clients, or our peers in the community, anybody that partners with us in any way, we want to build toward that. So that’s where I start with my first purpose experience.
Charles Antis: But then, we move forward a couple of years later, I end up in California, because I always wanted to live in California, being from this little logging town in Oregon, and I always wanted to live in the big city, and I came to California, I was recruited out of BYU for a sales job, which happens a lot at BYU, because BYU is all these returned missionaries come, and they have all this sales experience. And so, I got recruited as underclassmen to go sell something in southern California.
Charles Antis: And a couple months in, I found out the family that I sold wouldn’t speak to me because I had ripped them off, and it broke my heart that this family that I really connected with wouldn’t speak to me. And I looked into their accusations, and I felt that they were warranted, so I quit the company the next day, and I looked for a job. I had very little money. I had a car that was kind of broken down. It broke down, actually, when I drove right over the San Fernando Valley when I came into southern California. And the only job I could see was in roofing, and that’s how I started in roofing. And I got a few years experience, and then I was forced into starting my own company because I just didn’t have enough work at the company I was working. So with no business plan, I started my own business. And this was exactly 30 years ago and one month ago.
Tats: Oh wow.
Charles Antis: And so, that’s when the business was started, in this desperate need to settle enough work to pay the mortgage payment. And I didn’t have the ability to do re-roofing yet, because we were just … it was me, and I was there, and I developed this skill that I could solve anything that leaked from rain. And if I couldn’t, I wouldn’t give up until I found out.
Charles Antis: So that was my thing. That was my one skill. “If you have a leak from rain, let me fix it for free if no one else can, and then you’ll know I do good work. And then, you’ll hire us to do more roofing.” And so, that was how we started the business.
Charles Antis: And I’m going to run into the other story. And this is my origin story, which really took the shape of Antis Roofing. And so, under this condition of meeting every phone call, I got so few calls that I spent one week just soundproofing the home office converted bedroom so no one would hear my daughter cry if they called. And then, not long after that, I had a call one day, and it was from a lady and she had leaks. And she had leaks in every room, and to me, that is a big deal if I’m a leak repair guy, because I can make a few hundred dollars a leak. And so, I’m heading out to her house the next day in a very good mood, until I started noticing, as I get closer to this home in L.A., that the homes are getting a little more disheveled. Until finally, I turn into the street where the address would have the home be, and I just see this dead grass, and this four-walled small home, and it looks pretty beat up.
Charles Antis: And I didn’t know what to do, but dad always taught me to show up no matter what, so I knocked on the door, and then three things happened that really shifted me. And the first was, this lady answers the door. She’s middle aged, but she’s got this hard look on her face like this has not been a good day, or a good week. And immediately, before I could even say hello, I’m hit with the smell of mildew that knocked me off my socks. And it caused a recoil in me where I just wanted to get out of there.
Charles Antis: And as I took a step back, I felt a tug at my finger. And the third that happened was, I looked down and there was a little six year old blonde girl with the biggest grin on her face, who was just so stoked to have a visitor to her home. And she doesn’t notice the expression on her mom’s face or mine. And she just assumes we’re like her, and she pulls me through this crowded living room into a really tiny hallway, until finally, she pulls me into her room. I know it’s her room because she points to this unicorn poster on the wall. But immediately, my eyes drop to the floor, where I see four mattresses with messed up and moldy bedding. And then, there was just this moment where I just, “God, this is how this family lives, and they need a new roof, and they don’t have any money.” It’s all hitting me.
Charles Antis: And what I want to do at that moment, is I want to run. I think this is an important part of CSR, if you’re really making an impact, that there’s a lot of counterintuitive moments in there, and this is the way it is today, still, but at that moment, I thought, “I have to get out of this house. That’s a cute little girl. But she represents trouble for me because I can’t help her in her house, because I need to make a mortgage payment in a couple of weeks.”
Charles Antis: And as I sit there with this conversation in my head, the mom walks in again. And I don’t know why, but when I looked at her face, it was just like, something came up and I said, “I’m going to take care of your roof.” And that’s the first time that we ever put people before profit. But I went up on the roof, and unfortunately, it was shot, and needed a new roof. And so, I spent the next few days on the phone, got a bunch of volunteers. I got a bunch of [inaudible] roofing material at Home Depot. We went up on that roof and we gave them a dry roof, and they stayed in their home.
Charles Antis: And that, was a great experience, but I didn’t know why. It was a great experience because I felt I did good by this family. But some things happened. Every time I ran into any of the volunteers on that build, it was like, “High five.” We were like brothers back from the wilderness, high-fiving each other. Every time I ran into one of those siblings, it was the same thing. So, this give changed everything, but we didn’t know it.
Charles Antis: What happened was, we kept our employees. Because we were struck with this condition. We could never let anybody have a leaky roof just because they didn’t have the money to pay. And I’m going to say it again because it’s really the heart of what happened to us. No matter what happened, when somebody called in and a family had a leaky home, and their fortress was being invaded by water, we couldn’t just leave them abandoned. We never could let anybody have a leaky roof just because they didn’t have the money to pay. And that, became what we did.
Charles Antis: And it’s no different than, I would see it today like a doctor on an airplane. That was my doctor on an airplane moment. If a doctor on an airplane, there’s a heart attack, I think that most of us believe that, that doctor raises his hand and offers his service. And I doubt that those doctors ever submit a bill for that. And I think that, if not me at that moment, then who? And that’s where CSR is today. What do you have in the world that you do, that you could give back at the same rate that you produce to do better in the world?
Charles Antis: And so, the reason it was good, though … I’m getting off track. The reason it was good is it changed our culture without even knowing it. People had purpose that work at Antis. And so, one of the stats that we tout today that we didn’t even track then is our retention rate. And we’re in an industry, in the roofing industry, where there’s over a 50% [inaudible 00:13:11], because it’s over a 50% attrition rate. And last time we measured last year, we were at a 93% retention rate.
Charles Antis: And so, that’s a huge difference in every part of the company. And a typical roof that we install on condo is a 200,000 part roof. There is nothing the same about retained employees that live with purpose, compared to a roofing company laying down the same product, hiring half of their labor new, that they haven’t supervised before. And so, there’s a lot of wins that we got, that we didn’t know why we got. So often, when I talk about the success of Antis, we want to be the best company. Not the best roofing company, we want to be the best company, period. We want to have the best CSR, we want to have the best marketing, we want to have the best brand, we want to have the best service, the best customer care, but we are … I’m sorry. I forgot where I was going with that. I had a finale, and I completely lost it. I warned you, I get carried away fast. So, I’ll let you pull me back on track.
Tats: Sure. No problem. You were talking about retention rate, but what do you say to someone that’s afraid to take this counterintuitive step? Do you give them ideas on how to start small? How do you get people warmed up to the idea if they’ve never done it before?
Charles Antis: Yeah so, I think that’s a great point. I’m going to make the point for all of us out there, those that are listening, are from small business to medium-size business. The way it is in the world, that I’ve learned just by running my head against the wall, is we don’t understand the discipline of why the social strategy of giving back, and what it does internally. Large billion dollar companies have a huge spin where they understand this, and that’s why you see these huge philanthropic funds from the … locally here, the Edwards Lifesciences, the PEMCO, or Chevron, Taco Bell, they understand. But when you’re a small, mid-market company, it’s very counterintuitive.
Charles Antis: On the one hand, the way it feels like … the way Baby Boomers, the way we were raised, it feels kind of like an old biblical expression, “Don’t let the left hand know what the right hand’s doing.” And so, in other words, I struggle with, across the country where I consult with a lot of businesses, sometimes a business will say, “Hey, I’ll donate the roof, but I don’t want to talk about it.” Because it feels wrong to talk about it. And so, that’s a bias, and that’s an intuition I’ve got to change. We have to mind-shift people.
Charles Antis: And I have a very compelling argument for that person. When they say it’s wrong to talk about it, I’m able to show them this. If we don’t talk about it, then how’s it going to grow? Habitat for Humanity is the largest home builder in the world, and they’re solving one of the biggest crisis’s in the world, but they do it by pausing to take that photograph, and they do it in a relatively inefficient build model. Now, I am on the board of Habitat, and I don’t mean that in any disrespectful way. But if you count the re-engineering you have to do behind the work of the volunteers sometimes, one might say it’s not efficient. But in the end, it’s so efficient because by talking about it, by emulating it, it grows.
Charles Antis: And so, one of the things I need to tell people is, you have to get over the bias of talking about it. We’re all emulating the younger generation, and we’re starting to take selfies, we’re starting to learn that. You’ve got to flow with it. This is a new world. It’s also incredibly important in this new world, to brand yourself with authentic, purposeful branding. And if you have something that shows you who you are, that shows you … there’s almost a currency of social good. And I’ll get back to that in a minute, but I want to go back to how we do this.
Charles Antis: The other thing is that there’s not enough. There’s not enough time, there’s not enough money to do this, but I think that I want to show people how they can start tip-toeing into philanthropy. So, I’m going to give you a couple quick rules if you want to tip-toe into philanthropy of your construction company.
Tats: Okay, perfect.
Charles Antis: First of all, you have to have social media. And a lot of people don’t still. I’m just telling you, you have to have social media. That’s the way the world is communicating, that’s the way the world is shifting. That’s where it starts to show up first. And it also is very forgiving. It doesn’t demand perfection, so you can’t go wrong by getting involved in social media. And if you don’t have … you have relatives that can help you. You have sons, daughters, and nephews, and nieces that can help you do that, because it will be a lot easier for them.
Charles Antis: And so, I’m going to say, if you have some kind of way of social media … So, I have five channels here. We have … Well, five channels we regularly do. We have Facebook, we have LinkedIn, we have Instagram, we have … I want to say Twitter, and maybe Snapchat and a couple others. But I stay active on LinkedIn. We have to talk about what we do. So, let’s suppose that you have a cause that is near and dear to your heart. And by the way, that’s another requirement. So, I’m going to start there. I’m going to back up. The first thing you need to have is a cause that’s near and dear to your heart. You can’t go emulate what someone else is doing unless it works for you, too. If it works for you, if you resonate, if you could talk about it, and if it could almost take you to that point of vulnerability and emotion, then that’s probably a cause that’s near and dear to your heart. And it also has to model well with your brand. Antis Roofing developed our non-profit brand by donating Habitat for Humanity roofs. Antis Roofing has donated every Orange County Habitat roof over the last 10 years. We just hit the million dollar milestone, along with Eagle Roofing Products, donated all of the tile.
Charles Antis: But you don’t have to start off that big. I got off track again. You just have to start that … what’s that thing? Let’s suppose that your thing is Habitat. Or like with Ronald McDonald House that models well. We keep families safe and dry, and near their sick kids. And we’ll talk about, hopefully, a little later, our national push with the National Roofing Contractors Association, where we’re donating all of the roofs for all of the Ronald McDonald houses across the country. But so, you have to have a cause that’s near and dear to your heart, and you have to talk about it. You don’t have to donate a roof every week. But if it’s not real, it will smack you in the face. People can sniff out authenticity today, so you have to have the cause that’s real, you need to talk about it every week on your social media, and then you need to get involved. And how does involvement look? Well it’s a lot easier than you think, because these business owners out here are very good candidates for board memberships on their local non-profit. And that’s very scary to me, 10 years ago, before I filled my first board position, I would’ve thought, “Oh my god, I’m not board material.” But you are. You are.
Charles Antis: So, the way you start is, you have your non-profit that’s near and dear to your heart. You’re talking about it, you’re sharing some of the things that they’re doing, and they’re showing up you’re getting your people to volunteer.
Charles Antis: And then, you, as a leader in your company, maybe the passion-holder, maybe it’s the founder, maybe it’s the executive, maybe it’s … we have a Director of Cause at Antis Roofing. Maybe it’s somebody over HR, but this person gets more involved, and maybe joins a committee at the non-profit. Now you have the connection with the relationships, now you have your audience understanding what you are. And by the way, people can’t trust you in this world. We’re so full of inauthenticity. When you identify with a non-profit, you create brand identity like never before, because now people not only know what you do, but they know that they can align with you and trust, because they know because you take care of Habitat roofs that you believe that everyone has a decent place to live. Or they know because you donate Ronald McDonald House, that you believe that it is unimaginable to ignore sick children.
Charles Antis: I mean, these messages come out without words. They come out with photos. And so, you have to develop your passion. The other thing that the critics might say, “Well, listen to him. He’s on a pulpit, he sounds like a preacher,” well, I’m going to tell you this. I didn’t used to talk like this. I’ve only been talking like this the last few years, but I’m have to talk about it all the time. I can tell you that compassion is like a muscle. It’s the weirdest thing. I can’t tell you how many times I felt so insincere, starting with the give. And feeling completely insincere in talking about our giving. And yet, because we try, it’s like it just opens up, and we have trust that I’ve never thought we could have.
Charles Antis: I mean, I used to walk into board meetings to sell executives and board members with condos, and even though they knew who we were, they’d treat us like we were going to rip them off, or they would accuse us of things that was not even, “How are you accusing me of that?” But that doesn’t happen anymore. We go to board meetings now because people trust our brand, because they know what we stand for, they giggle, they flirt. I’ll ask them, “Why are you happy with us?” And they’ll say things like … this is the ultimate compliment. They don’t say, “Because your customer care is the best,” necessarily. They do sometimes. They don’t say, “Because your performance is the best.” Sometimes, they say things like, “I don’t know, we just feel good when we think about you.” That was a unique compliment. And the first time I heard that, I didn’t know how to take it. But that means your brand is resonating, and there’s trust. And what that means is your insulated, and you don’t get picked off. Things don’t hit you like they used to, in a highly litigious field.
Charles Antis: And so, there’s a lot of wins here that happen, if you get started. And so, I think the reason I’m so hot on this, and the reason I talk about it so much is I really have a vision of the world we’re moving into. And the world we’re moving into is all about your why. And I know it’s a painful question when we hear the Simon Sinek question, “What’s your why?” And I know that some days it’s easier to answer than others, and other days, it’s like, “God, I can’t even formulate an answer at all.” But that’s the world we’re moving into. If you exist to make money, good luck. You are not going to be in town. You better have a why, it better be clear to all of your employees.
Charles Antis: At Antis Roofing, you hit it [inaudible 00:22:39], we exist to keep families safe and dry. And everybody in my company knows that. And all of our stakeholders know that. And it makes a tremendous difference in the way that we’re trusted as a brand.
Tats: That makes a lot of sense. Now you’re saying that there’s a turning point where people started to believe it. Or you started to believe it yourself, fully. Or at least not as uncomfortable. When was that point? When is that transition for you, when you started to do it, and then when you built that momentum, or built that muscle up?
Charles Antis: I think the difference to me was really, it was always tedious. It was always like, “Ah, somebody else,” but I learned that sacrifice is part of this. And I don’t like to sound spiritual, or tie it into anything. I like to make it practical, “Well, this makes sense. You do this,” … for example, when you give something and you talk about it, people share it. That’s practical. It makes sense. That’s how things are marketed today. But there is almost a spiritual component. And I don’t know a better word. That’s not the right word. But something really personal that happens in fulfillment, that when that happens, I think that you can have, kind of, a mind-shift as an adult, or younger, when you start to really feel fulfilled in your work, you become really happy, and you attract people.
Charles Antis: I can remember … I’m the founder of this company, and I remember a lot of years that founders syndrome was really noticeable. I mean, I hovered over people. And I hadn’t paused yet. And something in this … one of the things that happened is, as we started to formalize the idea, then maybe when people started talking about it, is maybe eventually, I started to pause and feel grateful that we were being considered at a higher regard.
Charles Antis: I think that one of the things in roofing is I think that some of us hold ourselves in a lower regard. Some of us, consciously, some of us subconsciously, we hold ourselves in lower regard. And there’s something powerful about when you realize how valuable your trade is. I talk about I used to be ashamed of my hands because they had scars on them, and I had bloody nails, and I thought that made me less than other people that I was around. And now, I’m so proud. When I talk, I use my hands a lot, and I find that I have beautiful hands. And that sounds odd to say, but I say it because these hands are creative hands that have solved thousands of leaks, and kept a lot of families safe and dry. I have a really important skill that protects this basic need that we have. All of our stuff, and all of the families in this country. And I’m quite proud of this trade we have today.
Charles Antis: And so, I think when you get to purpose, you’re able to pause and see yourself as much more. We see ourselves at Antis Roofing as superheroes that will go out there when no one else will, and will solve that problem. And we’ll do it with a smile on our face because we really are fulfilled when we’re able to solve that problem. And we’re able to feel it so much more since our give started getting formalized. The way it got formalized, though, was what I said earlier, getting involved in Habitat for Humanity, I was called to be on the board after we started donating all the roofs. And then, I just started noticing they started. I didn’t talk about what we did. They said, “Antis Roofing, thank you. You’re donating roofs and you’re transforming lives.”
Charles Antis: And so, that was a … when they started saying that, I still didn’t take it in. It took me a while to really see myself there, but they at least gave me the language that we learned to talk about our gift. Let me tell you, the first time I paid for advertising that said, “Antis Roofing. Donating roofs, transforming lives,” I felt like I was getting struck by lightning. It felt wrong. It was fingernails on chalkboards for me.
Charles Antis: But that’s how I had to learn message it. And I definitely over claimed it sometimes, and other times, you don’t talk about it. But I mean, we learned to talk about our give. And then eventually, I think when it really started to work, is when it started to work with the employees. In the beginning, I’m just like, “Hey, we’ll donate a roof,” and then people in marketing are looking at me like, “You just gave up my Saturday,” or people in production are going, “I just got another roof to do, and we’re not even getting paid at the company.” And so, I really got overly enthused about crap. I joked, I remind myself of Will Ferrell in Old School when he’s streaking down the road and his wife comes up and he’s all alone and he’s like, “Come on, honey. Everybody’s doing it.” I mean, that was my enthusiasm, but it wasn’t mirrored by the team initially.
Charles Antis: But after Habitat mirrored it, and we started talking about it, and then when we started learning and we started getting all of our people involved, and having them choose on how we give, and bringing them to the build sites, and giving everybody the chance to volunteer, then it started to take on a team give feel. And that’s the way this works, philanthropy. If it’s just the owner, and he’s pushing it, it doesn’t work. If it’s not the owner, it doesn’t work either. It needs to be owners, all the way down, all the way through the organization. And I like to use this expression, real giving and good philanthropy has to be an inside-out play. It can’t go from the outside-in. You can’t start on the community. I know, because I tried that. I didn’t know any better when I started. And for it to really work, we had to pause, listen to the employees, get them involved, and have them help create the models of giving. And then, it really took off and became powerful.
Tats: Very nice. You touched on something earlier. I think with Ronald McDonald House you have some sort of milestone that you wanted to talk about?
Charles Antis: Yeah, well, so three years ago, Bill Good, who is CEO of the National Roofing Contractors Association, came to me, and because we had just won an award, the first place philanthropy award for the NRCA’s annual award at the International Roofing Expo, and he said, “Charles, what can we do to lift our industry?”
Charles Antis: And so, I started looking for partnerships. And I actually pushed a few that were really for … Well, I pushed Habitat, and Bill, very confidently, looked at me and said, “It’s a great idea, but it’s impossible.” He was right, because it’s a billion dollars of roofing, just domestically, and there’s no way we could get that product donated. That’s all they’d do, that’s all they’d make.
Charles Antis: So we pushed some other things, and finally I just started getting involved locally at the Ronald McDonald House. And I just talked to somebody who went to Nationals, and they just met this Rob Parker, who was a really amazing … he’s not their person anymore there, but he was the guy at Ronald McDonald House International that really fronted it.
Charles Antis: And so, they had met with him and I said, “Hey, can we do this?” And he said, “That’s a great concept.” So, I pushed that to Bill Good, and that became, about nine months later, at the Roofing Alliance meeting in San Diego, we had a unanimous vote where 80 roofers raised their hand, and we created our first ever non-profit partnership in the 130 year trade history.
Charles Antis: And that, was really awesome. And because what happened is, is we started learning across the country, as roofing professionals, that we can talk about it. And being from the west coast, I realize that there’s times that, “God, I just live in the right location.” The whole country wants California to front social good ideas, because it bounces and echoes really good here. It doesn’t necessarily always echo in every community well, so we love pushing that here. And so, this is great. We’ve got this whole momentum going, we’ve got all of this stuff going. But the challenge is, is we’ve got 165 houses.
Charles Antis: So, the last three months, we’ve been trying to adopt these last seven houses. And I found out this morning that we have only one home left to adopt, and it’s in Salt Lake City. So, if you know a roofing company in Salt Lake City, or you’re a construction company that also does roofing, and I want you to have an NRCA membership, but if you don’t, I’ll float the first year. I’ll pay your first year. If you’ll adopt that Salt Lake House, now we’ll have every home in the country, where every family with sick kids don’t have to worry about having a safe, dry home when they go visit their kids. That’s the exciting thing, is I was actually going to do a post on that today on my LinkedIn.
Charles Antis: Which by the way, think about this. So, back to what we were talking about, this is a great thing. So, I’m involved here. Even if I wasn’t involved, I have an interest. I have information that we have one house left. So, I’m going to post that in an effort to grab one of the roofers, or someone around the country to call somebody, or grab somebody to make it … Now, think about what that does. That takes very little effort. It costs me nothing, unless I boost the post. And that, is also good for my salesmen who are out selling. It’s just another reminder to all of our stakeholders out there, that this really what we do. We eat, sleep, and breathe this. I’ve been doing this long enough that I’ve been able to build bandwidth in my company, and I’ve spent a lot of my time on this. And I’ve built out the doers around me.
Charles Antis: In the beginning, though, I couldn’t do that. So, I’m sorry. That was the thing. Thank you for bringing it up. We have one house left. I have a feeling it’s getting adopted this week. And I’m excited. Now, we have the teams set to keep these families safe and dry moving forward. And this is a really good … What this has done for the roofing industry, I’m going to just give you one thing that I see. And if there’s some roofers out there, hopefully they would see this. Because of some of the biases I mentioned before, we didn’t talk about it a lot. And so much good, I mean, when my COO came, Karen Inman, to work here, she said this thing that’s so true. “Oh my god, they have the biggest hearts in this profession.” And they do. But there wasn’t a lot of talking about it.
Charles Antis: But what I see now, if you look at posts that came over my newsfeed from the same company, I see colorful t-shirts with cause messaging on it. That builds. I see all this smiles, and they’re showing their smiles, they’re showing their teams. In the roofing industry, we’re showing the good that we’re doing on an ever increasing basis, and what’s happening is we’re starting to see ourselves higher than we did before. And for me, it’s huge. But I think that’s true across the board. And we’re realizing that we have … Well also, there’s some other shift going on. The fact that brick and mortar stores don’t thrive the way they used to, and the threats that are out there, having the trade today, is a really awesome thing. Even though, we’re in a super adapted market, we have a trade, and people are always going to need their roofs, or concrete, or whatever. I know that this is a broad construction broadcast. It covers all aspects.
Charles Antis: But we’re fortunate that we have this trade. And I love that. There’s so many things that feel good about being in a trade today. And I love this push where the trades are getting more and more excited about their give, nationally.
Charles Antis: I told you earlier that this is not vetted information on my part, but I know of two other companies that are modeling, just within Ronald McDonald House, to provide services nationally. This is the one I don’t have verification of, that the HVAC industry is looking to do the same thing the roofing industry is doing. Rumor has it, I just don’t have verification.
Charles Antis: The other is there’s a very [inaudible 00:33:14], I’m going to use their name, which is a cosmetics company with 300,000 agents worldwide. They are looking to create … They’ve already done a National Day of Beauty at some of the Ronald McDonald Houses. They’re looking to do this. So, it’s really exciting to see what’s possible when you look at the give portion. And by the way, we wouldn’t do this if it also wasn’t good for business. And that’s the thing, I’m not doing this because I’m this bleeding heart. I mean, I have a big compassion muscle, because I keep growing it. But I’m doing this because it’s good business. I’m doing this because we just celebrated a 30 year anniversary. Because we’re so insulated and involved with the community, I’m confident we’ll be around 30 more years in an industry where three out of five fail every three years.
Tats: Makes sense.
Charles Antis: I forgot … You know what I want to talk about? One other thing, and I know this is kind of weird, and this is something I warned you about. This is where I don’t know how it’s going to come out, but I want to explain why this is so important. This world we’re moving into. This world where purpose matters more than everything else. I want you to just think about something. I’m not going to make a political statement, because I’m very Centrist, like probably most of the listeners. But if you look at what happens politically, you see something unlike we’ve ever seen before, or way worse. We’ve seen mislabeling, we see self-labeling that’s so far off, we see across the aisle labeling that’s so far off, we see propaganda unlike we ever thought we’d … I don’t think we ever saw this coming. The propaganda out there. So what does that mean? People, all of us, are craving something on this basic survival, emotional, intelligent level. And that is, we’re craving authenticity. I have to know where you stand, you need to know where I stand. And that’s why this is so important today.
Charles Antis: So, we’re in a world right now where you hear of things like cryptocurrency, and cryptocurrency to me, and to the people that I really trust, is kinda bullshit. Now, I don’t want to put that down for those that are invested in it heavily, or those … But I mean, it doesn’t really make sense to most of us. There is a currency that is changing the world, and it’s not cryptocurrency. It’s the currency of social good.
Charles Antis: About four months ago, China, there was a lot of news from China. They’re actually creating this social good score. And they call it something different. I’m misquoting it, but it’s going to get you to the front of the line, get you a bigger house, if you live life in China’s Communist version of good. So, we see the same thing happening here. You read about it some. I have some people that are working on this. Some friends of mine that are working to build better algorithms that can build the most important thing. Authenticity.
Charles Antis: The way that will show up right now, but we don’t get these algorithms, it seems to me, those people … and I’ve been told those that are verified good, doing socially good things, are going to get a higher … going to come to the head of the search more. I can’t verify that, but I’m going to tell you it the way I see it. I see things very visually. And so, imagine … and what people crave is to be seen. We need to be heard. This is the world we’re moving into. Everything’s being seen, being heard.
Charles Antis: So imagine, I’m looking at my PC right now. I’m looking at a PC that’s roughly 18 inches by 12 inches. And that’s the world. And here we are. We’re little pin dots. Our little faces just zooming across that screen, about the size of your little LinkedIn dot. Everybody’s cruising across that screen. Blip, it’s gone. Blip, it’s gone. Forward, backwards. But if you have a high social good score, instead of that blip, imagine a saucer that you’re copied on, slowly moving up from the bottom with your face on it, and it takes 30 seconds to drag off that screen. That’s the visual of the world we’re going into. I mean literally, currency in the way we spend it’s going to change. It’s already changing. We can’t completely adapt to that, but the currency of social good is the currency that’s going to move the world, the way I see it.
Charles Antis: And I’ve been betting on this for about four years, and it’s the smartest decision I ever made in the marketing of our company. The currency of social good.
Tats: That’s very nice.
Charles Antis: Did that make sense, though? Tell me the truth.
Tats: It does. It does make sense.
Charles Antis: Is that completely out there? Or did it make any sense?
Tats: It makes sense. I mean, basically, it’s everything is more public. People know what people are doing. There’s a big effort to understand what’s authentic and what’s not. And there’s just a lot of people looking into it. So, if you’re looking-
Charles Antis: Okay, I’m going to get weirder. I’m going to give you one more 30 second one just to get more weird, because at least when you’re weird, the stories are remembered.
Tats: Yep. You can go all in.
Charles Antis: I’ve had friends that have gone to prison. And when you’re in prison, you have to join a gang. And I really debated it. “You don’t have to join a gang.” No, you have to join a gang, because until you join a gang, you are a threat to everyone. And once you join a gang, people know who you are, they know how it’s all aligned. And so, we’re craving, we need that thing. There’s less trust in our society today. But I’m involved in … I’m on about eight boards, and a few other advisory boards. And I belong to gangs where I’m verified. And it creates trust. Without that trust, I couldn’t do the things we’re doing at Antis Roofing. We have some amazing things we’re working on, but it’s because of that trust, because I understand how the rules exist today, and I make sure that I have everyone on my team have an opportunity to be known for the good people that they are. And there’s certain ways that we can do that.
Charles Antis: And by the way, LinkedIn … Dude, LinkedIn, to me, is so critical. And most people are not on LinkedIn, or active on it. And you don’t have to be super active on it, but that’s your calling card in business, more than anything else. LinkedIn today, is of critical importance. And fill it out. What you’re involved in. If you have an interest in Habitat for Humanity, then make sure you plug that into the bottom of your LinkedIn profile. If you do anymore involvement, then you’ll have an opportunity to talk about that in your community section.
Charles Antis: So I mean, things like that are critically important today, because this currency of social good is going to be what defines you in the next decade.
Tats: Awesome. You have so much energy, which is awesome. And passion.
Charles Antis: I know, I’m sorry. I warned you. You almost need to be there to … you should see my hands. You’d be slapping them down right now.
Tats: Let’s see. What should I ask you here? Habits or routines, daily, that keep you going? I mean, you’re involved in a ton of stuff.
Charles Antis: Yeah. Oh, I’m glad you asked that. Yeah, I’m glad you asked that. I think that is a critical importance. And so, I’m just going to tell you this, and if you can relate, fine. I think some people will at least kind of relate. I wake up almost every day, for some reason, with a sense … not a sense of doom, but a sense of, “I’m a caretaker with everything to lose, and I have to hold onto all this stuff, or I’m going to lose it.” And it’s kind of like that. Or maybe I’m having bad dreams or something. I don’t even remember them. But I don’t wake up with this cheery disposition as I can get. So, the most critically important time of the day for me is those first couple hours, so I often get up really early. This morning, I got up at 4:30. I didn’t have a meeting until 9:00, so I spent a lot of time doing this. And other times, I spend less time.
Charles Antis: But I get up, and I do a few things. The most important thing I do is I journal. And I’ll write … I use a tool called, The Five Minute Journal. I gladly plug that, because in five minutes, I do this. I write three things I’m grateful for, three things that will make the day great, and then who I am. And I don’t know why that works. I don’t understand the science. Again, like I said, I’m not a religious guy, but by gosh, whatever I write in whatever makes that day great, always happens. And I write stuff that’s good stuff. I write stuff like, “I lift everybody I touch today, and wake certain ripples,” or I’ll write, “To be in the moment and feel connected to everybody,” or I’ll write, “To awaken people to their highest self,” or whatever. I’ll write stuff like that, and I get a chance to do that. I don’t write, “A million dollars.” I think I do better not focusing there. I’m not saying it wouldn’t work, but that’s not how I use the book.
Charles Antis: And I think that journaling is critically important. And those of you have done a gratitude list any time in your life, you’ll remember how you felt better. But doing it your first five minutes, it gives you a chance to start the day fresh. And then, I go out, and I do a really Tai Chi form of exercise. I either swim or bike. I go really slow. This morning, on my bike ride at 4:30, I saw an owl on a chimney, which was there probably one out of every 40 mornings. I always look for him. I also saw a coyote, and saw … I got to see all this nature stuff. I saw the world wake up, and that does something for me.
Charles Antis: And then, I also did a little weird Tai Chi type thing. I don’t even know what it is. It’s a combination of a few yoga things. But it’s just my way of centering and awakening myself. Because like I said, I wake up thinking I’m a caretaker, but I awaken myself to something like, “I am a creator, and we’re going to create amazing stuff today.” And that’s my … So, how I start the day is critically important. And that is, maybe it’s spiritual thought. I have a daily reading I do from The Universe Talks with TUT.com. T, U, T.com. Monday through Friday, if you sign up, they’ll send you a free email. It’ll say things like this. I got this thing from it that changed my life. “Whenever you speak to another human being, whether live, in your mind, local, whatever, always speak to their highest self.” And so, I take things like that, and if it works, I plug it in.
Charles Antis: So I have three or four things I do in the morning, and I can do in an hour, or I could stretch out to a couple hours. And then, that makes a tremendous difference for me in the day. If I go in the day, not finding my authentic self, then I become this tape recorder guy, playing messages. And I just get angry and frustrated. And so, for me, how I start the day is of critical importance. And I’m able to … I have more bandwidth than I used to. I can spend more time on that than I used to. But I would at least say, get up, do a five minute journal, and then do a meditation. I do a form of meditation where I don’t really … it would be like praying for those that are religious. And I only say I’m not religious because I like to call myself … I don’t … this sounds weird. I told you I wouldn’t get weird. But I want to say that I like to … I always refer to God as the Universe. And the reason I do that, living in California, is I never offend anybody, because we have so many different religions here.
Charles Antis: So, I always talk about stuff as being the Universe, because I don’t offend somebody. I just sound weird, especially when I’m in the south. So, my whole morning ritual is a critical importance to get me to a point in the day that I feel like I can contribute everywhere I’m going, and not disintegrate. If that makes any sense.
Tats: It does. No, it’s good. It sounds like you have a good process.
Charles Antis: I don’t know, I think I’m falling apart there, Tats. I don’t know. That was not my best work. Sorry.
Tats: I think you’re doing fine. That five minute journaling sounds awesome. I’ll definitely give it a try. I do some journaling, but-
Charles Antis: And in fact, if anybody’s ever in southern California, and you want to drop by Antis Roofing, I’ll give you a tour, and I’ll give you a five minute journal.
Tats: Awesome. Sounds great.
Charles Antis: I hand them out, because it’s life-changing.
Tats: Nice. Is there anything that I should’ve asked you, but didn’t?
Charles Antis: Wow, man. I don’t know. I was so all over the board. I don’t know. God, I mean, if you want to ask me other questions, you know I’ll go down it. I don’t know. I’m looking at a board. I have this wall in my office that is kind of my inspiration wall, or my-
Tats: Oh. What does that look like? What is that board?
Charles Antis: Well, I write … it’s just chaos. But I use it for whatever’s working, I leave it. Let me tell you something that meant a lot to me. This is silly, but it’s powerful. There was a poet who died about two months ago, and I can’t remember her name, but she was really inspirational to me. And she wrote a poem called-
Charles Antis: When I am Among the Trees. And this is … So, I live my life, I want to live like this. And I’m going to butcher the poem when I’m trying to tell it to you. When I am among the trees, especially the honey locusts and the pines, they give out such shades of gladness. I would almost say they saved me in daily. I’m so distant from the hope of myself, in which I have goodness and discernment, and never hurry through the world, but walk slowly and bow often. Around me, the trees stir their leaves and say, ‘Stay awhile,’ and, ‘You, too, have come in the world to do this,’ they say, ‘To go easy, to be filled with light and to shine,’.”
Charles Antis: That’s an awesome poem to me, and maybe it doesn’t translate well-
Tats: No, it’s-
Charles Antis: When I do it on the podcast. But that’s my life. I want to go easy. I want to be filled with the right kind of light. And by that, I go out of the way to say I’m not religious sometimes, because I believe the bridge needs to be built all the way to everyone, no matter what. And I don’t think how they call God, or those type of things, matters in getting. And so, I think there’s a change happening in our country. And my parents are very religious. I love, I respect all religions. But there’s a shift where the younger people are doing their bidding differently, and they want to be 100% involved with every part, and have complete transparency. And with every part that they give. And so, what’s happening is, businesses, they’re not becoming like religion, but they’re becoming focused channels to fulfill cause. And when I was a kid, that was only fulfilled through church.
Charles Antis: And so, there’s a shift there that’s very exciting. And so, if you can be vulnerable and authentic at work, then you’re going to be keeping your employees longer, and you’re going to be fulfilLing part of this new dynamic. And that is that people get a lot of their spiritual fulfillment through their cause that they can do at work. And I think that’s a shift that we’re seeing right now. And I haven’t really talked about that yet, publicly, but just with those that are observing it. And so, I don’t know where that’s going to end up, but I’m very much watching that shift. And we’re a part of that. And it’s fun being there when you’re a leader in the revolution, and the way people are going to feel fulfillment at work.
Charles Antis: And by the way, only 30% of those that are in the world are fulfilled by work. I mean, it’s a drudgery for most people. And if we could shift that up, if we could bring that 30% to 60%, then that’s something that I’m really excited about.
Charles Antis: The one last thing I’ll say is this … I’m sorry, but you asked what else I could say. I’m really into assessments. If you want to shift yourself, you need to understand yourself. So, do the DISC analysis. You can do it for 20 bucks. You’ll find out, if you were an animal, how you would survive. Do you survive in the world by being popular, by being dominant, by being middle of the pack, or by being cautious? You’ve got to know how you’d survive, and these analyses will help you understand yourself, help you forgive yourself, and then align yourself better with the things you do. So, Emotional Intelligence, DISC, Briggs and Myers. We went and did a purpose assessment at the Imperative Purpose Lab in Seattle. It was very, very … it was a big, long deal. It’s expensive, it took a week. But man, I came out of there, understanding what it is that fulfills me. And we performed that model on over 30 of our people.
Charles Antis: And so, I know, for example, what fulfills me. It’s not tutoring people, it’s not managing people. I, quite frankly, am not talented in those areas. But I’m fulfilled by awakening people to their purpose. I am fulfilled by causing that shift in someone where suddenly, they are fulfilled, and they are creating impact in the world. So, I strongly recommend everybody understand who you are, understand who your people are, and you’ll find that you trust each other more. And when you understand who you are, now it’s easier to line out what those things that you are fulfilled in doing.
Charles Antis: I don’t know if that quite makes sense, but I strongly recommend, in any corporation, that you … If I had to recommend one thing to give you, Strength Finders is another great thing, but DISC analysis is the one that I know the best, so I trust it the most. I’m not saying it is the best. For a simple assessment to understand your strengths and weaknesses, it doesn’t go all the way to purpose, but you have to know who you are. Like, if you’re an accountant, you’re a very cautious person. You’re going to help the cause a lot different than if you’re a front sales guy who has a component that needs to be accepted by all people.
Charles Antis: So, I’m sorry. I went down a late wormhole there. But assessing yourself, and assessing your team is critically important in a world that we live in today, to line out and fill fulfillment.
Tats: Thank you, Charles. It was good. Definitely, I’m sure that anyone that hasn’t done those tools would definitely take advantage of those. And I loved your passion, and I’m sure that our listeners that haven’t taken a stab at social good, and how it could really transform their organizations, you’ve at least peaked their interest. So, I’ll definitely-
Charles Antis: Well, please follow us. Yeah, follow me. I’m Charles Antis, A, N, T, I, S on my LinkedIn. Antis Roofing Facebook, Antis Roofing. A, N, T, I, S, roofing. Yeah, it’s pretty easy to just look up in the channels. But feel free to follow us. And by the way, that’s how I do it. I follow the companies, we emulate what works. And by the way, not everything we do works. But there’s one other thing, when you’re doing social good … This is an ah-ha moment. I’ve got to give this last tidbit.
Charles Antis: When you mess it up. When you’re really trying, and you’re really doing something good, and you don’t do a good job of talking about it, your competition is going to call that out. And when they do, it’s the best gift you ever had. Because when you’re goofy and you’re clumsy, but you are doing it, and someone else says, “What are they doing right there?” What happens is everyone pauses and looks. They don’t tell the guy that just narked on you, they actually go, “Well I’ll be damned. I never noticed that these guys are really trying.” So, clumsy social media marketing of your social good is one of the best things that happens, where you can’t get that clumsy unless you’re talking about the good that you’re doing, so long as you’re doing it.
Charles Antis: That’s something we discovered accidentally.
Tats: Nice. Well, thank you so much.
Charles Antis: My pleasure. Any time.
Tats: So, I want to thank everyone for listening to Specified. And I also want to thank the listeners, specifically, that are working hard each day to change the world to make it a better place. If you know anyone that would benefit from this episode, please forward it along, and send me a note, or drop me a comment if you have any feedback or suggestions. Talk to you soon.