Raising Expectations

Jottan, Inc.
Written by Claire Suttles

Jottan, Inc. launched in 1974 with nothing more than a pickup truck, a ladder, and a commitment to customer satisfaction and safety. Over time, the company’s emphasis on customer satisfaction, along with its exemplary safety record, won over a growing client base. As a result, Jottan was able to expand the business from maintenance and repairs in western Pennsylvania to roof replacements, coatings, maintenance, and repairs throughout all of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and is currently ranked by Roofing Contractor as one of the top 100 roofing contractors in all the United States, at 47th.

“It is a great story of a man with determination and a will to succeed,” says Territory Sales Representative Tony Guyer. “From that one pickup truck and ladder to a new, state-of-the-art building with a fleet of vehicles, Jottan, Inc. has grown exponentially.”

Jottan has skyrocketed from a half million dollar a year start up with five employees to a leader in the commercial roofing industry with over one hundred employees and an annual revenue in excess of thirty million dollars, all while emphasizing customer satisfaction and safety, the two hallmarks that allowed it to succeed over the past forty-seven years.

After rising to the position of industry leader from such humble beginnings, it is no surprise that the company tag line is ‘Raise your expectations.’ The phrase summarizes the team’s desire for customers to expect more from their commercial roofing contractor. “Things are done methodically and consistently,” Guyer says. “Everyone strives to do it properly from the jump. We want the customer to realize that and raise their expectations instead of settling.”

Project Coordinator Christine Mardino reiterates that customers should “raise your expectations and consider a quality company like Jottan instead of fly-by-night operations. From day one, I observed and was taught that there are certain protocols and steps that take extra effort, but it is in that extra effort that [everything] comes together and creates our strong foundation,” she says. “It is why we have and will continue to grow in this industry.”

Jottan’s company culture ensures employees have the support they need to meet the company’s high expectations. Leadership prides itself on providing a family environment where everyone is important and every voice matters. “I personally feel Jottan is my second family,” President Toby Chrostowski says.

Chrostowski and the rest of the company leadership want employees to enjoy coming to work each day. They achieve this by providing a relaxed atmosphere and dress code, monthly employee luncheons, monthly employee spotlight articles, annual bonuses, updated office spaces and equipment, ample time off, companywide events, contests, monthly get-togethers, and companywide year-end holiday parties with gifts. “We put much effort into supporting our coworkers in many ways,” Chrostowski says. “I have a philosophy of taking care of the people that take care of me.”

Office Manager Kelli Little, who has been with Jottan for around 10 years, agrees. “The company culture at Jottan, Inc., in my opinion, is one of a healthy family dynamic… positive, evolving, and welcoming,” she says. “Leadership is caring, personable, compassionate, friendly, and approachable, which has been largely displayed through their open-door policy… never have they made one feel unvalued, unheard, nor unappreciated.”

It is “effortless for employees to establish a sense of belonging within the company,” Little shares. “This open-door approach has allowed for Jottan Inc.’s leadership to assess and connect with their employee’s needs… in turn, causing them to feel heard, valued and accepted.”

In addition, Jottan rewards employee efforts through a bonus program “like no one else in the industry, giving back approximately twenty percent of profits to our employees,” says Marketing Manager Dustin Driesbach. And the company leadership is not stopping there. It is developing two new spaces within the office for employee use and enjoyment. The first is a 2,000-square-foot commercial-quality gym facility. The second is a 1,500-square-foot employee lounge complete with widescreen televisions, gaming systems, pool tables, couches, tables, and food and drink areas.

Not surprisingly, Jottan has earned a reputation as a great place to work, in large part due to the leadership’s commitment to employees and that close-knit company culture. “They care,” Mardino says. “You can knock on anyone’s office and ask for help. Anyone and everyone is willing to step in for the greater good. Our leaders do not view us as just employees; they treat you like family. When we gather, whether it is luncheons, a Christmas party, or other events, it makes a huge difference. You see that person outside of work, get to meet their significant other or their children, and you are no longer just an employee or a face you see in the hallway; you are someone that matters. That alone makes you want to be a part of the team and work hard to achieve even more. At the end of the day, it is a win. The customer gets a roof; it is done in the safest possible way, and they are left with the notion that this is a company that not only holds certain standards but stands behind them. I am not only lucky, but I am proud to work for Jottan roofing.”

Jottan’s retention rates showcase its high level of employee satisfaction. Fourteen employees have been with the company for over a decade, ten for over fifteen years, six for more than twenty years, and two employees have been with Jottan for over a quarter of a century. “Jottan, Inc., year-in and year-out, routinely takes care of its people,” Driesbach says. “We take pride in having employees stay here a long time.”

The company’s safety record is another key area that demonstrates a commitment to employees. Its experience modification rating (EMR) consistently falls beneath .6, which is considered superior within the industry. In fact, Jottan ranks as the safest commercial roofer in New Jersey.

“Safety is one of our core values here at Jottan, Inc.,” Guyer says. “It starts with the president and vice president and runs throughout the organization.”

“As an employee here, one of our biggest conversations we have is that everyone deserves the right to go home every night in the same condition we came in that morning,” Operations Manager George Gulla adds.

The team works together to achieve their stellar safety rating. The effort starts with a unified vision and a robust training program headed by a full-time safety coordinator. Every employee receives comprehensive new employee safety training followed up with yearly OSHA ten-hour and thirty-hour safety courses. “Safety is such an important component,” says Guyer, “that even salespeople go through OSHA training.”

Jottan’s staff is fully certified in areas such as asbestos, silica, fall protection, torch use, crane operation, scaffolding set-up, and COVID-19 precautions. And, the company’s safety staff conducts weekly inspections of all job sites to ensure compliance with all safety rules and guidelines.

With so much growth already accomplished, the company recently relocated from Florence, New Jersey to a new, 20,000-square-foot office space spanning eleven acres in Delran, New Jersey. “It was an enormous undertaking to say the least,” Controller Mary Pellechio says. “What made the move run as smoothly as it did was the fact that no task was too small or unimportant for the employees to take on. From the vice president moving furniture on the weekends to the estimating department setting up computers and printers all over the new office to the young office guys packing up trucks and hauling boxes in the pouring rain to the new office to the ladies boxing up the kitchen and supply cabinets and cleaning out the bathrooms and refrigerators, no one was above pitching in. A true ‘family’ operation!”

Armed with a collaborative team always ready to pitch in, Jottan’s future looks promising. The company’s five-year plan aims to increase yearly revenue figures to $70,000,000.00 through calculated expansion. As the company undergoes this exciting growth, one factor will always be the same. The team will continue to put customer satisfaction and safety first, as it has from the company’s first days as a humble, one-truck, one-ladder startup.

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