Brittany Get Your (Nail) Gun
Anything You Can Do, She Can Do BetterAngie Lewis, Writer
Brittany Cherup isn’t just breaking the glass ceiling — she’s taking a wrecking ball to it!
Women comprise only 2 percent to 10 percent of roofers in the U.S., according to the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). However, with organizations such as National Women in Roofing (NWIR), of which Cherup is a member, those statistics are slowly increasing.
Cherup got into the industry at the age of 15, when her dad was a salesperson for a roofing company. Aware of her fluency in Spanish, her dad’s business partner asked her to translate between his roofers and salespeople. The position eventually led to managing her own crews, which led to her selling a few jobs. Now, more than two decades later, she runs her own company, Pit Crew Roofing, and holds both a roofing license and a general contractor’s license.
“Listening to the guys always telling me I didn’t know what I was doing and that I was doing it wrong — I wanted to show them I could do it bigger, badder and better,” she says.
Taking Care Of Business
Pit Crew, which installs as many as 1,000 roofs a year, is based in Melbourne, FL, and recently opened a second location in Panama City Beach, FL. Cherup is the founding partner and majority owner of the company. Her husband, Adam, and business partner, Tom Priami, are co-owners. So technically, she’s the boss.
“As long as Adam and I are on separate job sites, it’s great,” she explains. “We’re both alpha dogs, so we can butt heads. Most of the time, we’ll take a two-out-of-three vote, provided it’s something that doesn’t go against core values. Whenever it does go against core values, we sit down, get the Nerf guns out and we shoot each other. Then it’s all better in a couple of hours.”
While her husband handles deliveries, purchasing, laborers, installations and quality control, Cherup takes care of financial reports, employees, vehicles and software. She also manages all of the strategic elements of the business.
“I’m not in the office, ever,” she says. “I’m meeting with advertisers and adjusters and making partnerships for our company. The fuel behind our growing company is those meetings. Partnerships in the community are the most important.
“We’ve been in Hurricane Francis, we’ve been through Irma, we’ve been through Matthew,” she explains. “So we understand what it’s like to wake up and your kids don’t have shoes to wear to school because they’re in somebody’s front yard three houses down.”
Pit Crew gives away one or two roofs a year to veterans — a cause that’s close to its owners' hearts because Adam Cherup is a former Marine. The company also budgets 1 percent of its sales to programs that give back the community.
She surprised project manager Mickey Fields with a custom caricature on his truck.
Atlas All The Way
When the time comes to repair or replace their neighbors’ roofs, Pit Crew uses only one manufacturer’s shingles: Atlas Roofing.
“I’ll tell homeowners, ‘If you’re absolutely dying to have a certain roof, I’ll go get it for you, but it’s not what I recommend,’” says Brittany Cherup, who is an Atlas Pro™ Plus Gold contractor. “I’ve never had someone take me up on that.”
Pit Crew’s loyal relationship with Atlas developed thanks to sales rep Adam Stanley.
“He’s just phenomenal,” Cherup says. “I can text him at 2 in the morning and he’ll respond. He’s constantly taking care of us.”
She also likes dealing with Stephanie Daniels, sales director, and Stan Bastek, director of marketing and sales development.
“I’m constantly texting them and sending them stuff and they’re always encouraging,” she says. “Whereas the other brands aren’t like that. They don’t have the family environment that Atlas does.”
Despite her great success in the roofing industry, Cherup still runs into plenty of male chauvinists.
“I was going to talk at a major roofing event and as we went behind the stage, there were 10 other CEOs and I was the only female,” she explains. “I extended my hand to one guy and he wouldn’t shake it. He said, ‘I’m not talking to a girl who got on the stage only because she’s a girl’ and he walked off.”
Even in the 21st century, some men still look down on smart, accomplished women like Cherup. She doesn’t give the haters a second thought. And she encourages other women to get into predominantly male fields.
“There are enough good people that, as long as you surround yourself with them, you’ll be fine,” she explains. “And if you’re successful in this industry, the other women in the industry want to help.
“There are so many opportunities for women. I never let a male-dominated industry bother me. Never crossed my mind. I just went charging right into it.”
All In The Family
Cherup is the youngest of three children. Her brothers, Justin and Brian, work with their dad at Hippo Roofing in Melbourne. Cherup started that business too and sold it to her family.
She’s a certified 3M Scotchgard™ Protector Sales Specialist and also has a bachelor’s degree in legal studies and a master’s degree in real estate and finance from the University of Central Florida.
In addition to her roofing company, Cherup owns a mobile home park and several other rental properties, as well as Roof Tarp 911, a division of Pit Crew that shrink wraps roofs after storms.
Besides running all of her businesses, she’s a mom of three kids — a 16-year-old daughter and 11- and 7-year-old sons — and three fur babies — two dogs (a chihuahua and a sheprador — German shepherd/Labrador mix) and a Hahn’s macaw (parrot).
Cherup is a member of the FRSA (Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association) and SCLRA (Space Coast Licensed Roofers Association). She and her husband are founding board members of the American Policyholder Association, a nonprofit watchdog organization for the insurance industry’s property loss adjustment sector.
In February 2019, she’ll be on the CEO Panel at Win the Storm, an annual conference and trade show that draws more than 2,500 general contractors, roofers, restoration companies and public adjusters.
About Atlas Roofing
Atlas Roofing Corporation is an innovative, customer-oriented manufacturer of residential and commercial building materials. Atlas has grown from a single shingle-manufacturing plant into an industry leader with 24 facilities across North America. For more information, visit atlasroofing.com. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.