From humble beginnings as a roofing company, The Bulldog Group Inc. has grown into a significant collection of independently operated companies providing superior commercial roofing and waterproofing, canopy and awning installation, and storefront glass framing and installation.
Sharing both ownership and goals, companies of The Bulldog Group have decades of combined industry experience, mutually respectful relationships with suppliers and manufacturers, and sheer strength in numbers. Its size gives it the ability to deploy as many workers and resources as needed to take on massive roofing projects that others are simply unable to handle on time and within budget.
“Our employees are our greatest asset. Many of our competitors subcontract the labor work to independent contractors and have very few employees of their own. We don’t believe this is in the best interest of our clients,” says Roger Trute, Bulldog’s Chief Operating Officer, with the company since 1999. “We go to great lengths and expense to train our associates. We have in-house training programs that consist of classroom and hands-on modules. We believe this allows us to deliver a higher quality product.”
Among some of The Bulldog Group’s many safety initiatives required of all employees are ten-hour Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification, weekly safety meetings, annual safety meetings, drug testing, background checks, and motor vehicle reports for all drivers.
“Our product is field-installed and is only as good as the folks entrusted to install it. Our clients can rest assured that the crew members on their projects have passed rigorous criteria,” comments Trute.
The Winston-Salem-based business calls North Carolina home, yet is licensed to work in over ten states across the Southeastern United States: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, and D.C.
In 1989, Triad Roofing Company was founded in Winston-Salem by Chief Executive Officer Ken Gwyn. A decade later, he and Roger Trute established Allied Roofing Company in the neighboring city of Kernersville. From there, growth continued to include other roofing companies, namely Triangle Roofing Services in 2001, Coastal Commercial Roofing in 2002, and CityScape Roofing in 2004.
With so much growth and success, the owners realized another entity was needed to handle the equipment needs of all the companies and founded Allied Equipment Company in 2007. From there, The Bulldog Group was created in 2008, followed by CSC Awnings, States Commercial Roofing, Encompass Roofing & Waterproofing, Applied Roofing Solutions, Envision Glass, and Reliance Roofing & Waterproofing. The decision was made in 2014 for Gwyn and Trute to transition from Triad Roofing and Allied Roofing, respectively, to The Bulldog Group headquarters to focus on all corporate matters.
“Throughout the years, our paths have crossed with some very good people – highly qualified people – who were either in a company where they couldn’t achieve their potential or were hitting a glass ceiling,” says Trute. “We provide mutual opportunity for those folks to establish and operate a company using the proven model we’ve developed and without financial risk. Success at this level leads to the opportunity to be a shareholder of the entire organization.”
The growth and success of The Bulldog Group has been undeniably evident over the years. In 1999, Triad Roofing had approximately $5 million of revenue; last year The Bulldog Group’s revenue exceeded $52 million. In 1999 the organization had eighteen employees. Today, there are in excess of 300 staff with diverse skill sets in multiple states.
The group built its reputation by handling commercial roofing projects ranging from small repairs to single projects that have exceeded $5 million and earned repeat and new business largely through word-of-mouth. The company is known for taking on massive roofs for commercial and industrial clients that measure their roofs not in square feet but in acres.
One of these is the nineteen-acre roof for the plant of well-known construction machinery and equipment company Caterpillar (CAT). Triad Roofing Company – with assistance from other Bulldog Companies –installed the mechanically attached roof system within ninety days.
Other large works include many projects for a multinational internet giant, which were completed quickly, professionally, and in keeping the client’s needs to protect costly and sensitive electronic components. “They trusted our expertise,” says Trute of the projects, which totaled several million dollars over several years.
Another example of The Bulldog Group’s capabilities was a project for Dell Computers. This new construction project totaled about twelve acres – 526,000 square feet of roofing system. With just over a month to complete, the fast-tracked project saw the installation of a fully adhered membrane system. In addition, there were one hundred HVAC curbs and one hundred smoke vents. Revised plans arrived almost daily with changes needing to be made immediately. In the end, the company installed the roof as promised in just forty days, often pulling in up to eighty workers in a single day to get the job completed on time.
“That is one of the strong points of our organization, that we can rely on resources,” says Gwyn. “Any one single company alone probably wouldn’t have been qualified to do that or been able to put the roof on in forty days. With the resources of our group, we were able to pull in a couple of other companies and make it happen. And these were all our own people.”
The company states that the majority of its business comes from repeat customers and is relationship driven. As a result of doing the job right, first-time customers soon turn into repeat clients. “We’ve achieved this growth with virtually no advertising,” says Trute. “We realize in order to support our continued growth, we need to get our name out there. Not only to future clients – but to good people that are looking for career opportunities as well.”
The Bulldog Group continues to foster relationships with customers and staff as well as its many respected suppliers, vendors, distributors, and manufacturers, including Firestone Building Products, ABC supply, and Carlisle. “We believe in partnerships with our suppliers,” comments Trute. “This business is relationship-driven, not only the relationship between us and our customers but also between us and our vendors and suppliers. We value our partnerships with them greatly because if we couldn’t count on them to do their jobs, we wouldn’t be able to deliver on our promises to our customers. There are a handful of vendors, distributors, and manufacturers that we do large volume of business with, and they earn it.”
The Bulldog Group is always looking toward the future and believes in succession planning. Through several years of researching options and the services of Beacon Exit Planning, they’ve developed a unique process that allows dedicated, talented, and qualified candidates to become shareholders of the organization while their predecessors exit. Staff can work their way into ownership positions throughout the organization, proving themselves while building the company.
“That’s pretty much the way we have grown The Bulldog Group, by putting people in positions to open up and start a company, and letting them buy in with the profits that they generate along the way,” says Gwyn.
The Bulldog Group handles anything from a small roof leak to re-roofing acres of commercial buildings. Projects are completed with the utmost respect to professionalism, budgets, and deadlines by highly trained employees. “We have a huge focus on safety, the quality of our people, installations, and our resources,” states Trute.