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Sandra McGlothlin
Co-Founder

Dallas Business Journal
Empire Roofing, LTD. has found success by focusing on the basics quality work and reliability
BY Shashanna Pearson-Hormillosa

When Sandra and Ronnie McGlothlin started Empire Roofing Ltd., they were too young to have the credit they needed to buy supplies, so they couldn’t bid on traditional contracting projects. Instead, the couple worked as subcontractors, building their reputation for quality work until clients tapped them to take on projects of their own.

As a young couple in their early 20s, Sandra and Ronnie McGlothlin worked for Ronnie’s family’s roofing business. She helped in the office and ran the books; he worked out in the field. Before long, the couple figured they’d learned enough in the family business to go out on their own.

So in 1982, Ronnie and Sandra welcomed a bouncing new business to the world and called it Empire Roofing Ltd. It specialized in commercial roofing, maintenance and repair.

With a toddler at home and a baby on the way, the company quickly became like a third child to them, the McGlothlins say.

From the start, the couple looked to well-established organizations for inspiration and as business role models. Like UPS, they wanted Empire to be known for safety and cleanliness in what can by a grimy industry, and like Maytag, they wanted their work to be reliable.

“That’s one of the things we pride ourselves on,” Sandra McGlothlin says. “We have the best equipment for our employees and the safest vehicles on the street.”

Last year, Empire Roofing raked in $29.5 million in revenue; this year, it expects to hit $40 million. But back when they were just getting started, the McGlothlins had trouble getting clients — and credit. Without credit, they couldn’t bid on work as lead contractors, because they couldn’t purchase supplies for the jobs. So Ronnie took on work as a subcontractor, getting paid weekly by the contractor so he could make his own company’s payroll.

“We had confidence in ourselves, but people weren’t sure we could accomplish what we had promised,” McGlothlin says.

Once they were able to persuade companies to give them a chance, she says, the business took off.

Empire was hired as a subcontractor by the five major roofing companies in the Metroplex, and it had no overhead. Ronnie managed the workers in the field, production and equipment, while Sandra managed the money and the internal facets of the business.

Though the system worked well, for the first three or four years, the couple took in just about half of what they had previously earned before going out on their own.

“We questioned it a little bit,” McGlothlin says. “But between running the business, working the business and raising two little ones, we were too busy to analyze anything.”

Media

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Amarillo Globe News
Empire in the Amarillo Globe-News.

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NBC5 News
El Puente Story

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Dallas Business Journal
Built to last

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Fort Worth Business Press
Family Business Finalist

Awards

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2008 – 2013 – 2015
Firestone Master
Contractors Award

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2007
NRCA
Gold Service Award

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1994
National Roofing Contractors Association
Gold Circle Award

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1989
Roofing/Siding and Insulation Magazine
Outstanding Contractors Award