Tim Dunlap invests in the employees at CentiMark for a big payoff


Tim Dunlap has been a part of CentiMark Corp. since the company was founded by his father, Ed, in 1968. Dunlap was only eight years old at the time, but he was still right there at his dad’s side every weekend.

“He paid me 50 cents an hour — that was $2 every Saturday. I would sweep in the warehouse, label cans for flooring products and eventually go on sales calls with him. We would have lunch and he would explain everything going on with starting and growing the business,” Dunlap says.

That was the beginning of Dunlap’s education in business.

Dunlap worked on the roofing and flooring crews, and then as an estimator, technical representative, sales manager, branch manager, regional manager and group director, before becoming the president and COO. He often had to work harder than other employees and wait longer for opportunities because his dad wanted to make sure he was ready for the next step.

When Dunlap stepped into his current role in 2003, CentiMark was not even a $250 million company. Today, the commercial roofing and flooring company has 85 offices across the United States and Canada. It employs more than 3,500 people and is close to $700 million in annual revenue.

The growth over the past decade has come through an emphasis on sales and marketing initiatives, technology, customer service, national accounts and flooring sales, Dunlap says.

“We project ourselves as the McDonald’s of the roofing industry — where everything is the same,” he says. “The training methods are the same, our methodologies are the same and people get ingrained with that or trained around that. It’s a formula that works.”

For example, Dunlap says new employees wear green vests, rather than orange vests, for a period of time, so the guys on the roof can watch them closely and pay attention to training them.

Dunlap has added to the foundation his dad built — an entrepreneurial spirit — and used the company’s scale to make it into the industry powerhouse it is today.

Reward promising employees

To stay at the forefront of your industry, you have to make a constant investment in the growth of your employees — and the development of your infrastructure — to continue to perform at peak levels, Dunlap says.

“We need to foster the growth and development of our existing associates to move into roles of increased responsibility. As the president and COO of the organization, my goal is to empower associates at all levels,” he says.

Because it wasn’t only Dunlap who began his career on a roof — CentiMark has a history of promoting its roofing and flooring crews into management.