As the CFO of family-owned Palmetto State Roofing and Sheet Metal, Jon Swift is well aware of what most people think when they hear the word “roofing.”
“When you say roofing I know a lot of people visualize a pickup truck and nail gun and some shingles,” he said. “Well, to that I usually tell people what we do is a little different. For example, we did a 31-acre roof back in 2020.”
For reference, one acre is about the size of a standard football field, meaning the distribution center for which Swift and his team put in a new roof was the size of 31 football fields.
Or as Swift puts it: “Big enough to put a nine-hole golf course on top.”
Now celebrating its 50th year in the Upstate, Palmetto State Roofing and Sheet Metal has laid thousands of acres of roofs across the Southeast, from massive industrial and commercial projects to smaller, residential ones.
Founded in 1972 by brothers Jerry and Steve Lister, the company was purchased by Swift and his family in 2017, which came as somewhat of a surprise even to Swift himself, who had just retired from his lifelong career as a banker.
His roofing experience up to that point? Practically zero.
“My team, those guys are the real experts. But I like to say I know just enough to be dangerous,” he said, laughing.
Swift gives most of the credit to the team helmed by his son-in-law, Robert Johnson, and their knowledge across the company’s service areas: industrial, commercial, residential and maintenance.
For roofs that can span the size of neighborhoods, granular details are key in order to ensure the industry humming beneath it is protected and secure. Each roof must be specialized depending upon what it is protecting. Different materials are used — thermoplastic polyolefin, polyvinyl chloride, ethylene propylene diene monomer or modified bitumen, to name a few — all of which are arguably a bit more difficult to pronounce than “shingles.”
Then there is the simple fact of withstanding the whims of mother nature.
“Think of it like an interstate highway,” Swift said. “It gets cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and then cracks form, asphalt chips — the same thing happens to roofs. Maintenance is key, because if you don’t get up there and reseal and maintain it, little cracks can start forming, and before you know it, you’ve got yourself a real problem.”
Now as the company looks ahead, it is expanding its services to include emergency response teams, which can head out at a moment’s notice to disaster areas to restore the roofs of its customers that have …….