Right now, while millions of us have more time on our hands than we'd like, a small, valiant, and immensely talented army of healthcare workers has nearly no downtime at all. "A lot of folks who are quarantined right now have time to think about home improvement projects and things like that," said GAF Master Elite™ Contractor Josh Shupe, owner of Black Diamond Roofing and Construction of Richland, WA. "Healthcare workers don't. They're on the front lines. They're working 18 hour shifts. Some of them aren't even getting any family time at all."
Inspired by these front-line responders, Josh decided to partner with GAF and MacArthur Company to give a free roof to a deserving healthcare worker in his Washington State community. "There are people out there that really need a new roof," he said, "but they can't focus on that right now because they're on the front lines trying to fight through this thing. So we wanted to step up and partner with you guys to kind of take that burden off of people's shoulders a little bit."
Josh announced the roof giveaway on March 27, and had received more than 130 nominations by May 1, when he announced the recipient. Veronica Huerta of Benton City will receive a complete new roof, including materials, labor and a GAF Golden Pledge Limited Warranty. Veronica is a mother of four who works as a nurses' assistant and obstetrics technician at two local hospitals.
For their commitment to the healthcare workers in their community, GAF is proud to recognize Black Diamond Roofing and Construction as Roof Raisers — leaders who are raising the game in roofing and elevating the trade.
Inspired by Acts of Kindness
Josh credits his brother, Jake Shupe, with the inspiration for the roof giveaway. Jake, who owns the Barracuda Coffee Company in Richland, invited customers to help fuel health workers through their long hours by sponsoring cups of coffee.
It's really no wonder both brothers found inspiration to help during this crisis; they both come from a family tradition of community service. When Josh and Jake were children, their parents coordinated mission trips, mostly to Central America, to help build homes in regions struck by natural disasters. To help raise money for the mission trips, Mr. Shupe Sr. would install roofs in exchange for donations. That's where Josh learned how to roof, and how to take positive action for change.
The Journey to GAF Master Elite®
When Josh started his own company, Black Diamond Roofing and Construction Inc., he was committed to installing a particular manufacturer's product. Through the years, GAF Territory Manager Kory Kelly consistently reached out with an open invitation to start using GAF products and contractor programs. But it's hard to give up a brand you started installing with your dad at age 12.
Then, one day, Josh was invited to do roof inspections for some local realtors and he discovered something that changed his mind. He saw that his preferred brand was not holding up as well as he would hope on the roofs that he inspected. It was an eye-opener for the young perfectionist. "It really just started sounding alarm bells to me," he said, "because I pride myself on quality. I reached out to Kory Kelly and said, 'Hey, I'd be interested in talking to you guys.' That was late 2014, early 2015." Josh became a Master Elite® Contractor in December 2019.
The Black Diamond Roofing crew at work, installing a GAF Grand Sequoia roof in 2019.
"When I hear your guys' motto, 'We protect what matters most,' the first thing that comes to my mind is family," said Josh. "When you put a roof on, you're protecting what's inside and what's inside your home is what matters most, and that's your family. That's kind of what we do as a company. We tell people that we want to work on their home as if it were our mother's home or our grandma's home. And so that's why we choose GAF. We love the quality. We love what you guys stand for. And we've had a great experience with it. We know that when we put on a roof by GAF, we know that it will protect people's families."
"I am fortunate to work with a handful of contractors, such as Black Diamond Roofing, who give back to their communities," said Territory Manager Kory Kelly. "When Josh and I discussed his Healthcare worker roof giveaway, it was not a difficult decision to have GAF jump on board. These are unprecedented times and we all need to do our part in helping each other out."
Coping with COVID-19
Josh observed that, at the time of our interview, construction to "prevent spoilation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions1" was permitted in the state of Washington. "Nobody is changing their roof because they don't like the color," said Josh. "They're doing it because it's a structural necessity." As a result, Black Diamond has been able to continue to protect the homes of many of his customers. "We're operating at about 70 to 80 percent," he said.
To help protect his customers and crew, Josh and company have been using many of the distancing best practices listed in the GAF COVID-19 Response contractor advisory.
"We're big on EagleView and Hover (GAF e360). That's pretty contactless. We can field the call, get their name, address and phone number and order the report. We e-mail quotes, and if somebody does want to see us face to face, there's FaceTime. If somebody wants to look at colors, we can do a video call and show them our showroom here. We also provide links in the estimates and the quotes. Yeah. It's been pretty seamless."
But while Black Diamond is making much needed adjustments in order to thrive in this period, there are many aspects of the business that they miss. "You know, we are 'people persons.' We love to be around people," he said. "And so that's kind of a bummer about all this — not having contact with our customers. So, we realized we've got to do what we've got to do, but when you just look forward to things? Getting back to normal so we can be around people again."
"What matters most to me right now," Josh continued, "is people's health. That's why we decided to honor somebody in the healthcare field. I wanted to step up, partner with you guys, and take a burden off someone's shoulders.
"I wanted to say to someone who needs a roof but is focused on saving lives — I want to say, 'don't worry about this.'"
Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may have agreed that they will use GAF roofing products, and may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program.