"Every time it rained, our roof would leak. For many years, we got by putting on a ‘band aid' on a bigger issue, but that was no longer an option. We knew it would be a challenge to fund such a large project," said Ryan Osborn, president of Junior Achievement of Central Iowa.
"As a nonprofit organization, unanticipated and high-cost repairs such as this can have a big impact on our ability to maintain our programming for students," Osborn said. "We didn't want it to create a hurdle in serving young people."
JA has been serving central Iowa elementary, middle and high school students in Central Iowa for 62 years and serves as a location for hosting over 6,000 students at JA BizTown, JA BizTown Summer Camp, volunteer training and rental meeting space.
To continue to hold events for students such as JA BizTown and JA BizTown Summer Camp, JA would need to repair its roof, so they reached out to local businesses for help.
JA asked four local contractors — two union and two non-union companies —to consider an in-kind contribution for the repair. A week later, Academy Roofing, Bailey Roofing Contractors, Inc., Brockway Mechanical and Wood Roofing Company all agreed to work together to provide the new roof at no cost to JA.
"It was a great opportunity for Bailey Roofing Contractors, Inc. to give back to our community and support what Junior Achievement provides for young adults through their education program," Todd Matter, president of Bailey Roofing Contractors, Inc. said.
Though they were an unlikely team, the four competitors found it was not a challenge to work together for something they all believe in.
"It's not something you see every day," said Nick Parenza, vice president of Academy Roofing. "Four local roofing companies and competitors came together to support the JA roofing project, working together and sharing resources for a great cause."
Not only did the contractors want to give back to the community, but they see the value in JA and impact in their own families.
"While we as contractors are competitors, we are also parents and grandparents and want the best for our children," said Kevin Alderman, president of Wood Roofing and Sheet Metal. "I have a granddaughter that has benefitted from the JA program, so it brings me great delight to pay back a little to a great organization."
Nate Jenetten, Project Manager at Brockway Mechanical echoed the sentiment of his new and unexpected colleagues.
"Everyone stepped up to handle a piece of it and together we were able to provide a new roof that should last them for many years," Jenetten said.
The four companies worked together and completed the roofing project in 3 short weeks. With the new roof completed, JA can continue to work toward its mission without any disruption in programming, and with the renewed confidence that the community — including business competitors — can come together to support its youth population.
"A huge thank you goes not only to the roofers, but to the JA Building Committee of Mike Tousley, Dave White, Stuart Ruddy and Brett Bosworth. This is a project that will help JA in the long term," Osborn said. "To see the community collaborate to make sure our organization can support our young people for years to come, it's really special."