After four decades in the roofing industry, delivering excellence is second nature for this second-generation firm. At Godfrey Roofing, Inc. being a trusted industry partner means taking the lead in providing the best craftsmanship and a quality product that lasts. All of which takes second place only to safety.
Bill Godfrey, founder of Godfrey Roofing in 1984 and fearless entrepreneur, personally fitted residential roofs in Ottawa, Ontario’s East End and downtown areas from the back of his iconic big bus for the first year. While those days are gone and Bill Godfrey has stepped back somewhat, the company he built still observes in every way the values of integrity and thoroughness on which he founded it.
However, true to his character, quitting the job entirely is not quite what Godfrey Sr. has in mind just yet as he winds down his involvement in the day-to-day running of the company. His sons, Mike Godfrey, now President, and Bob Godfrey, Vice President, are both aboard, taking the company into the future.
A new generation takes the helm
Mike Godfrey stepped into his leadership position in 2016, following a well-structured succession plan that stretched over several years. Joining the Godfrey Roofing office in 2010, he first spent six years in the field building hands-on experience and relationships. Set to take over as President of the Ontario Industrial Roofing Contractors Association in 2025, Mike is fully committed to continue building the company’s reputation for excellence.
Still based in the 9,000-square-foot Ottawa facility it has called home since the early ‘90s, the company deploys its highly developed skills in flat roofing, shingles, and siding as part of its roof installations, maintenance, and service offering on buildings in condominium communities, small and large commercial roofing including warehouses, and private homes.
Godfrey Roofing serves customers as far afield as Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec, where it focuses mainly on maintenance. Its most current project is a condominium siding replacement project throughout 16 blocks of townhouses, a testament to the team’s capabilities. Godfrey Roofing is also a proud service provider to many real estate investment trusts, local school boards, an international airport, a local university, and several condominium management companies in the region, among others. Business is growing.
While COVID-19 changed the market significantly some four years ago, Mike notes a sudden revival in large projects as companies that had their property development schedules curtailed in that time can now complete much-needed upgrades to their roofs.
Projects and people
The company has had many proud moments in its time. One such occasion was a 4,000-square-foot green roof installed for Ottawa’s Ashbury College, which has received acknowledgment from publications like greenroofs.com as one of the few pioneering outdoor classrooms in the country.
As a complex structure that incorporated many new design elements and safety measures, the project was a test of the team’s skills. Now this roof serves as a beacon of quality modern-day education and a way to bring future generations closer to nature and its ecosystems.
As a leader in product and service excellence, Godfrey Roofing is especially proud of its people. The feeling appears to be mutual as most staff here have significant tenures, often exceeding 30 years. Of course, such exemplary stability in a workforce means that skills and knowledge are retained and passed to the next generation of roofing experts to continue the legacy. In a sense, the team also grows when employees are so obviously content in their jobs because family members are often keen to join its ranks, too.
Mike is gratified and proud: “It’s pretty great, and a good show of faith when our people bring their family members to work here,” he says.
Safety in high places
The company ascribes its high staff retention to taking genuinely good care of its people, which naturally includes taking their safety to heart in a big way.
For this reason, safety protocols are so well established and integrated into Godfrey’s activities that the company reports zero labour time lost to injuries—a notable accomplishment and a sign of high competence in this industry. That naturally requires substantial training, something Godfrey Roofing spends a lot of time on. Much of this training happens during the winter season when suppliers and other contributors visit its warehouse to educate their staff on safety practices and other valuable topics.
Product knowledge is a large part of Godfrey’s training schedule, ensuring everyone is on the same page when the roofing season picks up in spring. It is also an opportunity for staff to sharpen their skills and swap notes on their experiences in the field from the past year, to take part in question-and-answer sessions and establish their confidence with new products.
While some of the company’s staff is seasonal, Godfrey Roofing maintains a large enough team during the low season to service existing customers with repairs and other support like rooftop snow and ice removal. During peak season, the team comprises around 75 people, and Mike is visibly proud of them. “They are great. A lot of them have been with us for a long time and they do excellent work. It’s a hard, labour-intensive, difficult job and we really appreciate them.” he adds.
He mentions, of course, what a mission it is to find new people willing and able to work in the industry. That only adds to the company’s commitment to the job satisfaction of its teams and their well-being.
As a result of all the work Godfrey does to build relationships within and outside its own ranks, the company also maintains strong industry affiliations, particularly with the Canadian Roofing Contractors Association (CRCA) and Ontario Industrial Roofing Contractors Association (OIRCA), of which Mike is currently Vice President.
“I’m looking forward to the responsibility of presidency. I’m also looking forward to working with the OIRCA in the direction it’s taking,” Mike says. Alongside its membership in these groups, Godfrey Roofing is certified with the International Standards Organization (ISO 9001:2015), ensuring adherence to state-of-the-art global quality standards. Finally, the company is a proud member of the GAF President’s Club as a Master Elite® and Master Select contractor, and is recognized as a premium contractor by one of its longstanding, trusted suppliers.
Efficiency, of course, is an important driver of its success. Here, being as efficient as possible means having a complete GPS system always lined up with clear visibility of the exact whereabouts of all its vehicles. That translates into faster response times, especially on urgent callouts.
In addition, a modern customer relations management system allows crews, and the office, real-time access to detailed information on customer callouts via their smartphones—complete with job notes and images. The system also employs aerial measurement software for project data collected via satellite, together with drones used to photograph project areas for quoting and to identify damaged areas using thermal imaging.
Working for others
At Godfrey, it’s not only roofs that are raised. The company also raises much-needed aid for charity.
Helping to raise well over $10,000 annually through its participation in an annual golf tournament that it hosts alongside other industry players, the team considers it a privilege to support the sterling work of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
In addition, the company supports the Canadian Kidney Foundation, the Diabetes Association, and the YMCA. Its giving also extends to the natural environment, with large amounts of steel and office materials avoiding landfill thanks to the firm’s conscientious recycling habits.
High aspirations, high standards
The Godfrey Roofing commitment to continued growth is inspiring. “I would like to think that we’ve grown through our commitment to craftsmanship, safety, and providing efficient roofing and siding solutions to our clients,” Mike says. Expansion plans include staying up to date with technology that can keep humans safe and make the job easier.
The company has indeed come a long way from the early days of lugging heavy equipment and materials to and from an old bus parked at precarious angles on site. Yet, while Bill’s big bus is now just a historic image pictured on a video screen welcoming customers to the company, something more important remains from those days: the company’s reputation for excellence in all it does.