We had the good fortune of connecting with Russ Barber and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Russ, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My sister Janice and I talked about starting our own business for years, we were both with great companies but the commute was horrible. I was 32 miles from my door to the office and it would take 2-3 hours some days, on a good day it was an hour and half with stop and go traffic. We kicked around several business ideas, anything from indoor sports facilities, document storage, gyms and even vending machines. Ultimately we found Storm Guard Roofing and Construction which is part of a National Franchise System. With my 20+ years of construction experience and Janice’s background in finance it just made sense. As of March 2021 we have been in business for 5 years!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Storm Guard is not like other roofing companies! We practice our core values daily, Serve our Community, Deliver Excellence, Live up to our Commitments, Promote Safety and Have Fun! One of the biggest differences with Storm Guard vs the competition is our business model, we do NOT travel outside North Metro Denver. Most roofing companies will travel for hours within the state or even venture out of state to chase storms, not us! That way we can truly service our customers like no one else, if we have a customer with a leak we can be onsite within an hour vs the competition that may have to travel for hours before they can be onsite. I’ve heard the horror stories about out of state companies coming in to earn a quick buck and the homeowner never sees them again. Storm Guard will be here before the storm, during the storm and after the storm! We have built a strong customer base and great relationships by simply doing what we say we will do and always doing the right thing even if it costs us money. One challenge we have learned along the way is that not every homeowner will be a good customer for us. We operate our business by the book and never stray from that. Unfortunately some homeowners want to try and take advantage of the insurance restoration system and find loopholes to commit fraud and we simply will not do that. I always encourage a customer to refer us to their friends/family members, even if they live outside our service area, I can most likely refer them to another Storm Guard location across the US.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Downtown Denver is a great place to shop or maybe take in a Comedy show at the comedy works but I love the mountains! There are so many great places to visit in the Rocky Mountains, if its winter we have some of the best ski resorts in the country! My favorite ski resorts are probably Winter Park and Steamboat Springs. Although I am a Colorado Native, I prefer the Rockies in summer vs winter. I really enjoy a great hike or even a drive through the mountains, the options are endless! One of the best hikes we did recently was the Devils Causeway hike, it was about 12 miles with 1,800 feet of elevation gain…it was amazing. If hiking and biking aren’t your cup of tea its always a good time to catch a game! The Broncos, Rockies and Nuggets are my favorite sports teams!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost I have to thank my wife Jessica for always supporting me in everything I do. She has been by my side for nearly 22 years as the best mother and wife I could ask for. Jessica was a stay at home mom for 19 years raising our three sons Connor, Cameron and Carson and now is our Executive Administrative Assistant, she basically helps with anything that needs to get done! In October 2020 we also welcomed our daughter in law Mikah to the family after Connor and Mikah said “I do!” Mikah is an amazing person and my favorite daughter, although she wins by default since she is my only daughter. For me personally I was fortunate to have a great mentor when I started in the commercial heating and air conditioning (HVAC) business. It was 1996, I was barely 19 years old and didn’t even know what HVAC stood for so I had a lot to learn. I sort of fell into the commercial HVAC business by accident and stayed in that industry for 20 years. My first manager was Roland Leigh, he would show up to the jobsite and tell me “leave your tools there, its a learning day!” He took the time to show me every aspect of the business from reading blueprints to measuring complex fittings. I fell in love with the business and really liked working with my hands.I enrolled into a 4 year apprenticeship school and was a licensed HVAC Journeyman at the age of 24. I have known Roland for 25 years now and still talk to him on a regular basis. I stayed with A&L’s Sheetmetal for 10 years and had the opportunity to move into the service side of HVAC which opened a lot of doors and more opportunity for me. In 2006 I took a job with Haynes Mechanical Systems after a friend recruited me. I started with Haynes as a Project/Service Technician and had the chance to move into a sales role in 2009. Moving into sales was a big change for me, I personally always struggled in school so working with my hands was easy but doing sales was a tough transition. I turned to my friend and co-worker Joe Kilbourn for help and advice quite frequently. Joe is one of the smartest guys I know and always willing to help, he is one of the smartest guys I know. If I ever had a question Joe was always willing to take time to teach me. Even though I am a few years older than Joe he is definitely someone I look up to and am grateful for our friendship.
Facebook: Storm Guard Roofing and Construction – North Metro Denver, CO