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Episode 55: All With Love; The Center of a Family Business

In this episode of the Family Biz Show, host Michael Palumbos interviews members of the Wright family, Bill Wright Jr. and Steve Wright, from William C. Wright and Son in Buffalo, New York. The Wright family has been running their roofing and home improvement business since 1909, showcasing a deep-rooted commitment to quality, integrity, and customer service that spans generations.

Bill Wright Jr. reflects on his entry into the family business, influenced by his father's involvement since his childhood during World War II. His narrative includes a vivid memory of working on a roof at the age of 10, which solidified his desire to follow in his father's footsteps. This early experience, coupled with his tenure of over 50 years in the business, underscores the family's dedication to the craft and their clients.

Steve Wright shares his journey in the business, detailing his progression from a roofer's helper to the general manager. He emphasizes the importance of understanding all aspects of the business, from carpentry to sales, to ensure the company's enduring success and customer satisfaction.

The episode delves into the company's core values, notably the inclusion of 'love' as a foundational principle. This unique value speaks to the family's approach to business, prioritizing meaningful relationships and genuine care for clients and community over mere transactions.

Michael Palumbos explores the company's transition planning, highlighting the thoughtful approach the Wrights are taking to ensure the business's longevity and maintain its legacy. The family's commitment to continuous learning, adaptation, and collaboration with external advisors exemplifies their proactive stance on succession planning.

The conversation also touches on the challenges and rewards of working in a family business. The Wrights discuss the importance of clear communication, shared values, and mutual respect in navigating the complexities of family dynamics in a business context.

Listeners are given a glimpse into the Wright family's traditions and the sense of pride they derive from their long-standing business. The episode concludes with insights into the future of William C. Wright and Son, as the family contemplates the next phase of their business journey, emphasizing their unwavering commitment to quality, integrity, and the communities they serve.

This episode offers valuable lessons on the interplay between family values, business ethics, and the importance of planning for the future, providing inspiration and guidance for other family-owned businesses.

Episode 55 Transcript


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Steven Rott: Okay.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Well, welcome everybody to the family biz show I am your host Michael Columbus with family wealth and legacy in Rochester New York, and today we are really, really blessed we have.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Two guys from William see rotten son in buffalo New York joining us bill right jr and Steve right, welcome to both of you.

 

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Steven Rott: Thank you, thank you.

 

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Michael Palumbos: lead the the tradition of our show is to just kind of ask each of you to introduce yourselves tell us about your background and how you ended up getting involved in the family business so.

 

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Michael Palumbos: bill Would you mind.

 

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Michael Palumbos: giving us the the nickel tour of your journey into the family business.

 

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Steven Rott: Okay, well, the reality is I was born in the business okay my earliest memories, is my dad was in the business.

 

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Steven Rott: And all I wanted to do should tell us a little boy that was like during World War Two was, I wanted to grow up and I wanted to be like my dad and work for my dad and I was, but for 50 years working with my dad.

 

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Michael Palumbos: that's awesome hello, so how did you work summers were you as a teenager in the business or.

 

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Steven Rott: Well i'm.

 

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Steven Rott: The most significantly, a pretty significant event took place when I was 10 years old.

 

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Steven Rott: We were working on a house in buffalo putting a roof on, and it was a little side porch over adore.

 

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Steven Rott: And, and my dad let me put the shingles on that little site for about eight eight played by five foot deep.

 

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Steven Rott: And I was so proud at 10 years old, to actually be working doing what my dad did.

 

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Steven Rott: And they had these hook knife.

 

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Steven Rott: At the time, and I remember cutting my hand with it hook knife and have to go to hospital and get several stitches.

 

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Steven Rott: I love the worst and the best part was I had this blue winter suit on.

 

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Steven Rott: And when I got home, it was covered in blood.

 

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Steven Rott: And I was pretty sure that my water was gonna killed my.

 

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phone.

 

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Michael Palumbos: right if you if you didn't kill yourself your mom your mom's gonna have it out with your dad what are you doing putting them on the job that's.

 

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Steven Rott: So that's my earliest remembrance.

 

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Steven Rott: of actually working with the family business.

 

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Steven Rott: Now.

 

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Steven Rott: Is it time to share what I know about our history of our business.

 

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Michael Palumbos: i'm going to i'm going to jump back to that, but I can't want a couple quick questions for you, about your history in the business.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Did you say you started off, you know, did you work all the different facets of the business through the years.

 

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Steven Rott: Yes, for many, many years our family actually build houses, besides remodeling.

 

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Okay, we build.

 

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Steven Rott: Probably 12 1500 houses in western New York.

 

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Oh wow.

 

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Steven Rott: And so.

 

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Steven Rott: As time went on, we were in the 50s and early 60s, we build a lot of homes in.

 

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Steven Rott: Her and check the walk.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Nice, so you will probably a project manager and a format on the jobs and did you do all that kind of work.

 

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Steven Rott: What we were all carpenters.

 

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Michael Palumbos: There you go.

 

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Steven Rott: and carpenters get everything.

 

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Steven Rott: Okay luxuriously we did the woodwork we laid the black for the chimneys.

 

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Steven Rott: All of that work that we did.

 

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Steven Rott: love it and I know it was a Union apprentice.

 

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Steven Rott: And as apprentice.

 

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Steven Rott: carpenter apprentice, you had to learn everything.

 

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yep.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Well, thank you appreciate it Steve tell us about your journey into the family business.

 

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Steven Rott: Well, I will just add my dad's thing he by the time I was involved.

 

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Steven Rott: You know, he had been already the chief cook and bottle washer doing everything but in charge of running the business from soup to nuts, so he mentioned he forgot to mention that part of it, but.

 

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Steven Rott: When I get in I was just I was a helper to my roofers helper to my brother, actually, then I got moved up to be a roofer than a roofing.

 

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Steven Rott: manager and then into sales management as far as setting up jobs and getting things run to customers and sales and in production now currently a general manager so that's.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah so you came came right out and just like your dad came right out of high school and into the business or.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah I worked a couple of summers from when I started at 1516 and then then when I get hit the ground running my first winner, I actually hated the work because there wasn't ready for us, not the brightest.

 

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Steven Rott: bulb in the box, but over time we figured out that dress for darn it and it's not bad, it could be fun.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Right that's right Oh well, congratulations and again prevent he booked joining us.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So yeah I would love what generation are you who started the business and what generation are you guys, you know as your as you're looking at this and how many other family members are involved in the business today.

 

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Steven Rott: Well, I my my dad's.

 

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Steven Rott: Third Generation i'm forth.

 

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Steven Rott: We have about six people their family working in in the business still, so we are still truly a family business, you know.

 

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Steven Rott: I founded.

 

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Steven Rott: The family business with founded by my grandpa.

 

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Steven Rott: Okay Jay.

 

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Steven Rott: Jay right in North county in 1909 In fact I lived in school road.

 

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Steven Rott: And one of the reasons I know this is because one of our customers told me the story that.

 

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Steven Rott: My grandpa was supposed to remodel his mother's kitchen and and and they had a big snowstorm and the tool shed caved in.

 

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Steven Rott: So they had to rebuild the to shed and so his his mother didn't get her kitchen remodel by my grandpa for several years.

 

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So she was ticked.

 

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Steven Rott: and

 

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Steven Rott: So I mean it's kind of cool in.

 

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Steven Rott: That story was related to me about 15 years ago from a man who lived down the road from our family where they were running the business, and we have a Brown and white picture.

 

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Steven Rott: The 1911 and it shows my grandpa and my thing and we out in front of their house and the caption is carpenters farmer yeah school road and school road in.

 

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Steven Rott: North node couch.

 

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Michael Palumbos: love it.

 

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Steven Rott: mean that that you know you think about how how how cool is that to actually run into people just substantiate your longevity.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Right it's it's phenomenal and and that's.

 

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Steven Rott: You know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You guys are living proof that a lot of times when there is a family business.

 

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Michael Palumbos: The the kids growing up in it, you like you said I got to see my father and I was really proud of my father wanted to be like my father or want to be like my mother and so it's you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: there's just this draw to be part of the family business, and here we are four generations later and that's still going Steve do you or any of your siblings have kids in the business.

 

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Steven Rott: We do not ah, I I, I have a younger crowd I get married later, so my my five kids my oldest is just finished college, but she's a teacher so.

 

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Steven Rott: She actually worked a little bit inside the business helping us train do a little more organizational stuff but she's out teaching Spanish and Massachusetts now so.

 

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Steven Rott: and actually she went to you have our University of Rochester.

 

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Michael Palumbos: that's where I went to school.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Oh.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Yes, all world.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah so but yeah my rest of my kids are the oldest pass that 16 and two girls 1615 and then two boys are 13 and nine so it'll be a minute before they jump in so.

 

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Michael Palumbos: you're you're in the thick of shuttling from sporting events and other events and trying to run a business and and I get it yeah.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah yeah no we're we're thankful, we got you know and we'll we'll see how it goes, you know my brothers have some bright kids that are.

 

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Steven Rott: doing a lot of stuff and who knows that we have at least one of them that he's he's capable enough he could come back around and actually join in and and add a ton to the business so we're recording him so he he graduated from engineering school you'll be no.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Okay that's That would be a nice one to have coming coming aboard I got it.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Sir.

 

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Steven Rott: And I think it's appropriate to.

 

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Steven Rott: to share that we actually have Steve have two other brothers that are physically partners in the business.

 

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Steven Rott: And my wife Julie.

 

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Steven Rott: Okay they're they're equal owners of the business today.

 

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Steven Rott: And they also one is a salesman a.

 

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Steven Rott: really successful salesman we have a sales force.

 

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Steven Rott: In and then the other one of mark he he maintains all of our equipment in their vehicles and stuff but it's so when we talk about a family business and my wife Julia is the office manager.

 

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Steven Rott: So with.

 

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Steven Rott: The families of running the business continuing to run a business altogether.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I love it a lot.

 

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Steven Rott: And a lot of people say a lot of things get your money.

 

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Michael Palumbos: say that again.

 

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Steven Rott: A lot of people say allows things to get your money.

 

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Steven Rott: tongue approval so.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Fair enough um you guys, one of the things that I noticed number one is on your website you do put it out there, that your family business and I love that I think you should it's a lot to be proud of.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And, and we, and we should be you know, putting it out there, I went through you know you have your core values from the business out on the website.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And I have to tell you they're a little different than most of the core values that I see a lot of times and i'm I thought it was pretty you know pretty amazing or you know would be that would be a look at and say.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know what is our purpose being dependable okay I got that but love is a core value of the business that seemed a little you know I think I think a lot of business owners would have a hard time putting love, as one of their core values on there, can you talk about that at all.

 

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Steven Rott: Well, I mean.

 

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Steven Rott: It is one of those things that you probably most people probably have those core value, possibly, but they didn't put on there, we chose to do.

 

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Steven Rott: That because it's like what one of the things that we've gotten help over the years, to help us focus on what's true what's true about you and.

 

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Steven Rott: What do you want to be true by you and so that's that's part of what how that ended up there's like yeah we like this to be true about us so it helps us draws us back to.

 

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Steven Rott: You know who who do you not just who are you or who do you seem to be, but who do you want to be, and that that represents, obviously.

 

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Steven Rott: For anybody at the I don't say the end all you know if you if you don't have love you don't have much you know I mean you're alive, but are you living, you know so that's that's I guess an attempt at explaining that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah no I think that's I think that's awesome man, a big kudos to you guys for putting that up there, how many people do you does the company employ today.

 

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Steven Rott: You know it varies a little bit you know.

 

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Steven Rott: But but 2627.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah so I mean it's you know, and that all of those 27 or family members.

 

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Steven Rott: No, no, no it's a you know we've you know we've we've gotten probably as much as since i've been around as much as a.

 

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Steven Rott: And you know, probably as low as you know, 15 you know, over the years, so we were kind of in the middle there.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I love.

 

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Steven Rott: And 50 employees with too much.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah, especially with government being involved, but.

 

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Michael Palumbos: i've heard that from other companies before it's it's one thing when you're doing it for when like you said when the government's involved in your decision making and gets a little difficult.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah yeah well cool you're back in here free a little bit.

 

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Michael Palumbos: tell it tell us some more.

 

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Steven Rott: Well, here we have we have several people in the office today.

 

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Steven Rott: Girls and guys right and there was a time when in in the late 40s that I remember my dad the account would come over once a month.

 

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Steven Rott: With a with a.

 

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Steven Rott: book.

 

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Steven Rott: Right and dad would give him the papers that he had he had to check one check book and he wrote the check and he got the bills and he paid the bills and once a month at a company came into her house.

 

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Steven Rott: And that was the extent.

 

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Steven Rott: of everything to do.

 

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yeah.

 

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Steven Rott: If there's paperwork in management to run the company and at that time, and I think in 49 he had.

 

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Steven Rott: He had 47 men working for.

 

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Steven Rott: wow and he won the entire, can you imagine running the entire business without any full time off with people.

 

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Steven Rott: Right and not now, we got all these people.

 

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Steven Rott: In one would ask how is that.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah well, the reality is that most of this is required by some brains of the government.

 

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Steven Rott: And it costs enormous amount of money that of course is paid for by our customers and it just doesn't it doesn't seem fair, but it is what it is, so we would we look at our shows, but.

 

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Steven Rott: they've all.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Agreed agreed we didn't have to have HR departments, and you know the and safety departments were just you know that was just natural we wanted to protect our employees right.

 

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Steven Rott: And thank you for that that's right yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: It goes back to because you love, because you love that you know you not just your plot your customers, but your.

 

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Michael Palumbos: people that are working for you and your family and so it's just those are you know things that come natural to some people, unfortunately, we live in a world where not everybody.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Not everybody is thinking, the same way as you are so just because you guys are doing the right thing you know because somebody else isn't doing the right thing you're stuck with having you know the same regulations as they do.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah and again, one of the things that we've partnered with other people, my father was Chairman home from the Council on ethics committees for years and years.

 

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Steven Rott: And the home prob Council us New York and that you know that's giving that that's you get some I was a lot of it's giving back end or supporting other people that are the same as you to try and.

 

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Steven Rott: Not just know we're amazing know it, so there are amazing people out there that want to do the right thing it's if you can support each other more of that gets done so we're heavily involved still to to try and promote that.

 

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Steven Rott: agree and.

 

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Steven Rott: And we feel that our customers.

 

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Steven Rott: Also, have have the opportunity to do business with other people and in and being in the home improvement Council, which has been around for 6070 years.

 

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Steven Rott: Being friends with your competitors and realizing that they're good people to for the most part.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah it's a great opportunity, you talk about love well love expands to help your competitors be successful, so they don't go broke.

 

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Steven Rott: and their customers still have a company to go back to when they have a problem.

 

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Steven Rott: agree, I love as part of that love thing.

 

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Michael Palumbos: 100% right, you know we always say is that there's you know the the universe, is this ever expanding place and that there's enough work for all of us out here, you know there's no reason to there's no reason to have to.

 

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Michael Palumbos: play you know underhanded rules or do things you know unethically you need to be helped they're doing the right thing all the time.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And and be as thought tilde toward your competitor, as you are towards your as your customer think and sounds like you guys believe I believe the same thing.

 

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Steven Rott: We do.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What are some of the things historically that you're most proud of you know, the work that the company has done or the work that you know the some of the family members have done through the years what would you say, are some of the things you're most proud of.

 

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Steven Rott: I.

 

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Steven Rott: just say a couple quick things my dad's got probably tons of things that he could point to I, I think, for me, though, the continued to hold on to doing what's right, you know for people filling that kind of that void that you know.

 

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Steven Rott: gets run run out on a rail to.

 

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Steven Rott: Two people just trying to compete on low price, because you can't really take care of people if if all you're doing is trying to be the lowest price and, unfortunately, our people become convinced that that is the only way to work.

 

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Steven Rott: And then they end up messing up to a point where customers get credit work and they have to redo it or they can't redo it, but they should.

 

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Steven Rott: So we're trying to fill that that void of doing quality all the time and that's that came from my grandfather from my dad and and that's just a commitment we have.

 

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Steven Rott: And the other pieces I think we're ridiculously good at thankfully it's really from the experience over the years that we've got there is we're really good at figuring out and solving problems.

 

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Steven Rott: And is more thankful for that then proud and thankful that we have that background, you know, because for anybody you make all the mistakes when you're younger and.

 

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Steven Rott: problem is is that if you have a family business of generations neck is lost, and everybody starts fresh but we we didn't need to be let's that's a good thing.

 

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Steven Rott: A beautiful experience happened about oh 30 years ago, maybe 35 years ago with Channel four news which is is a buffalo TV station.

 

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Steven Rott: Here we met and maybe we'll drive and Ken word suburb of buffalo.

 

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Steven Rott: And he were interviewing my dad in in the guy asked him well how long what why were you successful it here you are all these years later, three generations.

 

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Steven Rott: And he had, I thought, which is very simple answer to that he said well when you work for customers that years later.

 

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Steven Rott: You can go back and have a cup of coffee and a friend yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: it's early.

 

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Steven Rott: In where where are we standing when he was telling that he was standing at 100 maple driving kenmore as cecil's purpose in touch.

 

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Steven Rott: Across the street from Mrs Ruth Strauss in a legal.

 

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Steven Rott: Well, the fact is, and we actually have this factual is that in 1934 we first worked for these people and them out.

 

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Steven Rott: And we were back 40 years later, doing another job for the same people.

 

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Michael Palumbos: wow it's.

 

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Just.

 

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Steven Rott: A circle right keep it simple and do the right thing first.

 

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Michael Palumbos: it's already run a business that way right.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah and I and our guarantee was for 20 years and it was 40 years later, that the same people could real people that could call the same family back that we're still running the business, the same way.

 

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Michael Palumbos: love it.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah yeah.

 

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Steven Rott: it's pretty cool.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah when you talk about you know today a little bit when you, you know when people say you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Who is William see rotten some What would you know there's there's other home developers out there there's other refers out there, what would it what are some of the things that are your differentiating factors today what would you say you know what would you say about that I know.

 

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Steven Rott: well.

 

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Steven Rott: One of the things that my dad's matching training and that's what we're heavily focused on we've actually built some training.

 

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Steven Rott: structures to build as we bring people in to bring them along even before they get on the job, and after they've been out there to bring them along so.

 

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Steven Rott: When we're holding on to the level of quality, which is.

 

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Steven Rott: As simple as putting nails in the right place most guys even been doing for years don't do that they don't step them off properly, I mean, these are simple, as you can get there, I never ashamed a rapper and whatnot but the other thing that differentiates us again going back to the experience.

 

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Steven Rott: Is we actually know enough to solve problems that other people don't even realize our issues or problems or don't don't have a clue how to do that again from a years of experience and one of the big things is is for homes is is.

 

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Steven Rott: ventilation, which is really the the breathing of a home most homes are stopped up just like if you had a bad cold, you can never get rid of it.

 

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Steven Rott: Most homes like they're like no overhangs like Cape cod's and stuff.

 

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Steven Rott: we've found ways to effectively, efficiently solve problems that make it like all of a sudden, he had some neo sniffer and only it was whimsy right that you change it from.

 

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Steven Rott: This our worst circumstance literally from to the best now through furring strips building small overhangs and creating the proper intake outtake so.

 

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Steven Rott: that's literally something that most people haven't even thought of no less consider doing, because it does cost a bit more to accomplish that it's usually best if somebody already has.

 

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Steven Rott: A lot of times I escapes they have rotted wood because of lack and good venting and bad insulating so by the time.

 

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Steven Rott: we're there it's got to get redirect anyway, so we can actually add in a few items like the small overhangs and free trips and we can.

 

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Steven Rott: actually get better venting, then you can even get in a brand new hunks and we've we've accomplished that.

 

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Steven Rott: Just a small job in North kind of wander that we did that the customer column is 2015 and she had her neighbors all terrible eyes, just like she used to, and we had done the system for her and she had no no ice on her house and I was amazed I didn't think would be that good but.

 

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Steven Rott: I was like wow this is cool let's keep doing this because so.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Anyway, no, no it's funny that you talk about that, because my daughter just called me up you know they bought their first house they got married in 21 they bought their house.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And she's like dad i've got ice build up and what do I do i'm like well right now in the middle of winter is can be a little tough to do anything.

 

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Because.

 

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Michael Palumbos: we're gonna have to deal with that and so that's exactly that's a really good point, thank you.

 

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Michael Palumbos: um.

 

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Michael Palumbos: When you go back through you know the business has now been transitioned three times or four times, it sounds sounds like it so bill, do you own any in the business any longer.

 

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Steven Rott: No, they kicked me out several years ago.

 

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Steven Rott: that's that's not accurate you still owner and again we benefit from his.

 

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Steven Rott: is important and that he did he he's such a worker, he would not let let necessarily go even though, and again we actually Julie came back to the business and provided that.

 

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Steven Rott: needed piece that actually my brother's ny the financial end we needed, we need somebody that had more sense that we did on that into things.

 

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Steven Rott: And it's worked really well and so thankful to be able to my dad actually not have to have all that stress on, for you know, two days or something so and he's out there, doing all kinds of volunteer work, not necessarily lady not just doing different things so.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Here, so how did you I mean how long ago did that trend, you know some of that transition have.

 

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Michael Palumbos: make those decisions.

 

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Steven Rott: 14 years ago, is it now, I believe that took place and previous to that my grandfather was probably the MID 70s early 70s 68 years old, my dad retired and 68 okay.

 

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Steven Rott: dad i'm dead.

 

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Steven Rott: The company name was William three right and fun well my dad retired and 68.

 

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Steven Rott: But um I i'd like to I think this is a good point for anybody that's ever been in the family business that.

 

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Steven Rott: I was very knowledgeable and how did build houses, how to remodel houses to put in roof, since it, and especially a high energy efficient windows, to help people in her home, but what I wasn't knowledgeable on and I came to be confronted with the reality that I was getting a little older.

 

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Steven Rott: And how do you transition in, and I was told because I availed myself too many business management schools.

 

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Steven Rott: So I learned how to run the business, so that you stay in business and that go broke.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah like most guys do eventually.

 

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Steven Rott: And one of the things that a Stephen was going to be in and we got in touch with the guy That was a business consultant.

 

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Steven Rott: It was the blessing a blessing, because what he led me through, it is true, was the transition from me legally to.

 

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Steven Rott: My son.

 

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Steven Rott: And how to do it legally and who was going to run because there was a problem, having these three sons in the vino about family businesses, historically, the oldest son or daughter takes over.

 

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Steven Rott: But he visited the state with, and he spent hours on end with the different people in the company.

 

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Steven Rott: Over a year meeting going out to lunch and working and going on the job, and then we finally met with his conclusion.

 

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Steven Rott: And it was it was it was different.

 

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Steven Rott: But he was right.

 

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Steven Rott: He evaluated all the people in this company family members and non family members did I say it was a blessing.

 

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Steven Rott: Because it was it, it was his opinion, and he shared it in such a way, with all the family members, everybody was an agreement.

 

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Steven Rott: No one was smoker or anything else but the particular town takes to manage a family business is unique.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah and it was his opinion that was Stephen.

 

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Steven Rott: And just worked out well, well, I mean again probably if.

 

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Steven Rott: If I have any gift is to to be somewhat diplomatic and and we all have those pieces and parts of that if we can work together, you know that works it wasn't it wasn't me it was like.

 

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Steven Rott: just a matter of okay somebody's got to be in that spot and, to a degree, these people have these talents and.

 

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Steven Rott: You know, I was more focused on production, but I could you know kind of marry the two bring bring that together in such a way that.

 

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Steven Rott: We you know it wasn't me ronnie thanks so much as we're all sharing that load I was just kind of like more of a facilitator and and that's worked out, thankfully, over the years, so.

 

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Michael Palumbos: isn't that the Center for entrepreneurial leaders you'll be is that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: would be used.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah yeah.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Lots lots of places have used them and had had a lot of luck utilizing their services over there in the buffalo area so i've heard many, many good things from.

 

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Steven Rott: angel base little chevrolet is one of them.

 

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Michael Palumbos: it's okay.

 

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Steven Rott: To fail family business sales garbage.

 

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Steven Rott: You know, there were there were supporters of the program and.

 

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Steven Rott: So you know counselors in the midst of it, you know the in the system that they had so.

 

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Michael Palumbos: that's again another person that was on the show spoke highly of them, the.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Oh, I can't remember the name of their business right now, it doesn't matter but another buffalo family lockport actually that utilize their services that really well Dan judge was.

 

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Michael Palumbos: The owner of the business and he just transition, the business to his daughter.

 

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Michael Palumbos: and

 

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Michael Palumbos: i'm having one of those moments, where you get over 50 and you don't remember everything as quick as you as you.

 

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Steven Rott: know, are you talking about the attorneys.

 

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Steven Rott: No, no okay.

 

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Michael Palumbos: that's right so when we talk about having family in the business what are some of the what are some of the best parts of working with your family and what are some of the things that make it difficult to have the family, working together.

 

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Steven Rott: well.

 

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Steven Rott: that's a tough question to answer, but I think.

 

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Steven Rott: best parts is that you know you're all committed to the same thing it's not there's not.

 

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Steven Rott: there's not going to be some backstabbing thing that might or might not happen in where people don't know or necessarily care about each other.

 

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Steven Rott: You know, and that you have the same vision that to take care of people, you know that's ours and.

 

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Steven Rott: And again there's not anybody in the midst of US that's not doesn't have that same sense and commitment so so that's that's the good side you know you guys each you know when you do have disagreements.

 

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Steven Rott: You know you don't necessarily.

 

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Steven Rott: You know, you know you gotta you know you gotta figure it out before the next holiday, or whatever you know, so you do.

 

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Steven Rott: know and that's.

 

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Steven Rott: Some ways it's actually a plus, but it makes it if you're in the middle of a disagreement makes holidays, maybe a little bit more tense but, but you know again that's life isn't it, you know, none of us are perfect and.

 

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Steven Rott: i'm getting a low power more thing on my phone here sorry but yeah no i'm Sir perfect, but we do.

 

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Steven Rott: It comes back around that we are, we are family and that's when the day.

 

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Steven Rott: sounds like we're all getting some some calls difficulty so anyway, so does that answer the question or.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah you do the best you can there's a there's a great book that i've utilized and I think you know family businesses, in particular, can really benefit from and the guy's name is Patrick Len sione I don't know if you have ever heard of the five dysfunctions of a team.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And it's it's really neat because what you hit on is you know Level one of he creates this pyramid when he talks about is, you have to have trust and as a family.

 

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Michael Palumbos: We get that we get that trust it's kind of built right into what to what we're doing.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And a lot of times we're really good at the conflict which he says, you know that's the next dysfunction is we don't want to sweep anything under the rug right, we want to be.

 

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Michael Palumbos: If we disagree, we want to tell people we disagree and deal with that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But what I found with a lot of the family businesses is they'll go they trust each other enough to have conflict they'll have the conflict and they'll be going back and forth on things, but then it's really hard to commit to where the next where the direction is.

 

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Michael Palumbos: One of the things that I, you know I teach people you know is that you know as a family it's Okay, making a commitment to go and direction to take a path.

 

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Michael Palumbos: doesn't necessarily mean that you know, I was right for you or wrong it's just what we're doing right now, and because we trust each other trust each other enough, we can you like you link arms and let's just go do this together make that commitment to go forward.

 

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Steven Rott: It takes out outside people to accomplish that we found over the years, if you if you're trying to do it yourself chances are there's too much in the way of.

 

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Steven Rott: Getting the final agreements at least like you said.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah you might have some family dynamics, or you know things things that have happened, remember that time when you stole my bicycle you didn't give it back to.

 

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Michael Palumbos: me right.

 

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Steven Rott: How was 40 years ago, yes.

 

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Steven Rott: never said sorry.

 

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Steven Rott: But as a blessing.

 

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Steven Rott: Another blessing that we've had over the years, just said.

 

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Steven Rott: We belong to a couple national co OPS.

 

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Steven Rott: Okay, of independent businessman.

 

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Steven Rott: In in in so you meet.

 

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Steven Rott: periodically with other businessmen of in the same home improvement business all around ether yet states.

 

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Steven Rott: As management and you share with each other of what's going on.

 

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Steven Rott: Where they're becoming buying products which we bought collaborative we still by our window through a Co op that we started and the life experience of other family businesses that are in business today.

 

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Steven Rott: In talking to each other, you can pick up the phone.

 

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Steven Rott: and talk to each other and your net competitors right.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Right right.

 

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Steven Rott: Is is.

 

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Steven Rott: It an invaluable.

 

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Steven Rott: invaluable.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah so that's a huge thing, whether it's local or national making connections with other people, you know that are in the same boat, you know, in a way.

 

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Michael Palumbos: it's a you just said, a magic word bill that really that saved me I was talking about the other, the other business that was from the buffalo area its net plus alliance and they are a Co op for.

 

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Michael Palumbos: The construction supply distributors and serve a lot of family businesses throughout the United States.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And that was Dan judge and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: his daughter than bought the business from them, and that was just that was a real fun conversation as well Jennifer Murphy bought the business from her father.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And so you guys are a lot of like you know you're talking about you know those associations are so important that you put together, working with you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Other non competitive people outside of your area that you know you can share ideas with is always just a great business practice lots to be lots to be proud of, when when you think about those things, speaking of you know, family and being proud.

 

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Michael Palumbos: When we look at the right family what are some of the what are some of your favorite family traditions.

 

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Steven Rott: Well, one thing we do is, we have a family reunion.

 

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Steven Rott: Okay, when we still have.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And how many people come to that reunion now.

 

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Steven Rott: Well, the Co op which you know that the communist.

 

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Steven Rott: conspiracy for.

 

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Steven Rott: That we're dealing with right now.

 

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Steven Rott: We didn't have one but there wasn't a lot, but the steam of that thing right the family business.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah and the family reunion this extension.

 

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Steven Rott: In you meet people nieces and nephews and cousins.

 

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Steven Rott: Almost every year that you didn't even know existed.

 

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Steven Rott: Right and and they and the share that the sheer that value.

 

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Steven Rott: right that family human value with each other is is is so precious and so rewarding.

 

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Steven Rott: That they're not all in the same business, which again oh cousin retired, a professor at ub.

 

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Steven Rott: Day and before we came in, you know what we think alike, and we have those those values about humanity.

 

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Steven Rott: And what's going on and it actually it's a wonderful thing actually be able to talk and share, even with you today, you know it's cool.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Agreed agreed.

 

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Michael Palumbos: um what's the vision, you know of the future for the business, as you know, as you've been talking about it today what's the next 10 years look like for the business.

 

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Steven Rott: You know it's again we're we're honestly figuring that out where we're as we are getting some support and help from other people to do work through that process because it's.

 

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Steven Rott: it's a something that it's not super obvious at the moment we have a little bit of time to to accomplish that but we're not waiting until the day before the year before even take to get that line so.

 

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Steven Rott: Whether whether it's we get some family members in the business, ultimately, or whether we just set it up, so that this business will continue with the same.

 

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Steven Rott: Commitment and values to take care of people, you know, we want to we fill that void, we want to continue to fill that void of.

 

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Steven Rott: You know, doing the right thing and doing it all the time, so it's yeah so we're working progress there.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So it sounds like you know, the future of the business is probably is also right now, some of the current obstacles as well right is trying to.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Get all those things out.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yep so you said you're working with some outside people without names, what kind of you know what who's helping you with that what's the team that you're assembling to help you think through those things.

 

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Steven Rott: We have a you know actually some connections that we've had and other ones everything from our.

 

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Steven Rott: very capable.

 

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Steven Rott: Advertising into our business, who has introduced us to some people that locally, that their specialty is helping family businesses.

 

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Steven Rott: And you know in helping the individuals and assessing you know what is what, what are the, what are the individual things that are important to each individual and then.

 

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Steven Rott: For the company and and how to navigate to those those circumstances those waters and finally come out on the other side, where there's an understanding and they share commitment for the future, so yeah it's a yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: it's like a family business coach.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah yeah in it again a guy that's he's he's worked with a ton of family businesses that.

 

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Steven Rott: have benefited from that he's he's been around the block enough so we're actually child's play to him actually so that's good to have somebody like that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: that's right and it's you know I can't off and kudos to the family for realizing and knowing that you know you don't have to be.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You don't have to solve and be able to figure out every single problem that's in front of you, you just need to be able to go and reach out to somebody that can help.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And you guys have answered and figured out a lot of the problems like you said in your industry.

 

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Michael Palumbos: That maybe some of your competitors and other people haven't even thought about you know, addressing those problems when it comes to housing and rough thing, and you know and building whatnot.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But here you are, you know the the masters of you know home improvement and roofing and putting all those.

 

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Michael Palumbos: things together, but that transition stuff it's not always it's not evident when we're inside the system.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah yeah i've heard somebody say it's compared to being like inside the ketchup bottle you can't see your you know you can't see what's corner.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah, and so I think that's I give you a lot of credit, because I think a lot of families, we.

 

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Michael Palumbos: were so used to you know rugged entrepreneurs and individualists and we get it done and we know how to get it done we feel like we're supposed to be responsible to make all these things happen.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And you guys are smart enough to say you know what.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I want to be working in the business and on the business and make this stuff happen i'm going to get some some help from outside, to say hey you know, help us think through this so that we don't have to come up with all the solutions ourselves so.

 

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Steven Rott: we're not gonna be around.

 

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Michael Palumbos: forever right.

 

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Michael Palumbos: uh you know that's how.

 

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Steven Rott: We started that all the one of my favorite one of my favorite sayings i'll share it with you is that you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: We have to remember that is human beings, we are finite and we have an expiration date we don't know what it is, but it's going to happen, the business that we run.

 

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Michael Palumbos: It has its own he is number, it has its own identification number, and it could be infinite and so you know yours.

 

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Michael Palumbos: 1909 right was the the start start date of it, you guys are coming close to you know 125 years and there's not one person that's listening to this.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know podcast or that's going to be a guest on this podcast that probably was running you know around 125 years ago, you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And so, the sooner we address that and become good stewards of the business that you're running today, and if you're a good steward of it then you're doing the right thing.

 

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Michael Palumbos: By bringing in some professionals to help you think through those things so yeah.

 

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Steven Rott: we're thankful for that too.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Good well good anything else i've got one other two other questions for you, but anything that's on your you know that you want to make sure that I don't miss.

 

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Steven Rott: You know I you know, I think.

 

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Steven Rott: I mean, again, I think the things that we've talked about that you know, make a difference, or you know caring about people and training and, again, one of the things that we've learned is.

 

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Steven Rott: Creating systems that drive results, as opposed to just people, those are things we're trying to really get a hold on and make sure that as things go forward that.

 

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Steven Rott: Whether we're here or not, at this business survive, so we can continue all those people put their confidence in us that we can still support them and the warranties and someone that and honor honor that so.

 

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Steven Rott: Good one one particular thing that came to my mind with your question, there was.

 

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Steven Rott: My son danny's the oldest boy he he's he's a salesman true and true of people love them and he's so successful it's just unbelievable doesn't do our paperwork and timely basis but that's a good salesman.

 

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Steven Rott: He shared with me last year that well, he was working on a house in snyder a suburb near nightfall.

 

376

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Steven Rott: Debt when he and his cousin.

 

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Steven Rott: we're putting the roof on he remembered that.

 

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Steven Rott: And that was like 40 almost 40 years ago.

 

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Steven Rott: And he actually came back and sold, those people another roof.

 

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Steven Rott: wow and he and he physically worked on it for two years previous.

 

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Steven Rott: Right now, I mean that's that's happened to me several times, but when it when it's happening again in a championing now.

 

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Right.

 

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It is.

 

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Steven Rott: uh huh.

 

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Steven Rott: it's powerful and well effectual to.

 

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Steven Rott: Sure it's not somebody saying something to get your money.

 

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Right.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Good on you good good for you guys if you were talking to Steve if you had a room full of family business owners in front of you what you know what would be your words of wisdom to other family businesses that are out there, thinking about the same things.

 

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Steven Rott: Well, it can't go wrong with this mindset is to just do what's right.

 

390

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Steven Rott: You know it's kind of like what's easy because it's not always right in the end, like we had a one of the sayings of one of our previous consultants was the fixes that backfire you know.

 

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Steven Rott: You know, things will, in the short term, seemed to work, but they they don't it's not the right thing and that won't last so do things out with an eye towards what's right and things that will last and I think that's one of the best things anybody can commit to and the word integrity.

 

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Steven Rott: yeah we're done.

 

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Steven Rott: In Daddy 100% it's just you know no none of us, especially viewed that perfect but.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I got it I I I say the same thing might get out you don't know this, but my father was.

 

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Michael Palumbos: A family business coat you know worked with family businesses before me so i'm second generation myself, and so you know I am today.

 

396

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Michael Palumbos: Helping to transition businesses that he helped to transition, the first time, and now you know we're helping with the second transition.

 

397

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Michael Palumbos: And we got one where we're crossing our fingers there might be a third transition already that we're starting to you know to to work through.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And that's a lot of you know, like it's a lot of responsibility and it's a lot of pride too so like you know when you're talking about you know going and putting a new roof.

 

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Michael Palumbos: On somebody's house that you put a roof on 40 years ago number one you know a lot of times you know nowadays they say the rough doesn't even last 40 years you know.

 

400

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Steven Rott: They don't know the average will probably last anywhere from.

 

401

00:49:11.970 --> 00:49:19.260

Steven Rott: 10 to 12 years actually knock knock because the shingles necessarily break down that just not put on well, so you get a leak.

 

402

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Steven Rott: It doesn't matter if the channels in good shape, you still need to fix it and and a lot of roofers i've given up trying to repair job because once you're trying to repair it you own the whole roof.

 

403

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Steven Rott: Right so.

 

404

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Steven Rott: It so anyway that's a we do still repair things for people, but it is, it can be a losing battle, because they did one thing wrong is good chance to do a bunch of things.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And again it's like do it right, the first time right, you know have that integrity dirt right, the first time and it just goes a long ways to tell you two things so.

 

406

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Steven Rott: But there's another there's another thing they're.

 

407

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Steven Rott: recognizing that nobody's perfect.

 

408

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Steven Rott: yeah and recognizing that we live in western New York with some of the most out horrible winter weather that will literally break stuff apart.

 

409

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Steven Rott: yep that no matter how well you do it.

 

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Steven Rott: it's the ice break stuff apart breaks concrete well sure gonna break roofing material and in wood and stuff and so to to troubleshoot that sort of thing first right and then figure out how to solve the problem and there is those things that we've learned from painful experience.

 

411

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Steven Rott: Because we're still around and because our warranty and workmanship is for 20 years, not one by law we're 20 times.

 

412

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Steven Rott: More committed to our customers, and so we come back and we discovered these problems sometimes its Mother Nature, but on occasion it's something that we can improve on and we take care of it.

 

413

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Steven Rott: And we actually have the documentation the repair orders years and years and years that show we really do it.

 

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Michael Palumbos: love it.

 

415

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Steven Rott: And we're learning we're still learning.

 

416

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Steven Rott: And we have left we have less trouble trouble we do have we take care of so.

 

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Michael Palumbos: love it Gentlemen, I want to say thank.

 

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Steven Rott: You.

 

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Michael Palumbos: To both you Steve and bill you guys have been wonderful really appreciate having you on the show and learning all kinds of about the Williams, Iraq and son company.

 

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Michael Palumbos: really enjoyed our talk today, thank you for joining us.

 

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Steven Rott: Thank you Mike I really appreciate the chance.

 

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Michael Palumbos: My name is Michael Columbus and you've been listening to the family biz show.

 

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Michael Palumbos: With the company family wealth and legacy in Rochester New York and want to remind everybody make sure you subscribe, so that you can get future episodes from the family business show is we produce them have a great day and enjoy everybody.

 

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Steven Rott: Thank you.

If you’re a family business or a family business consultant and want to be on the show, share your story and help other family businesses, send us an email to producer@thefamilybizshow.com or fill out a contact form here!

*not affiliated with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp.

Michael Palumbos is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Family Wealth & Legacy, LLC is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and its representatives do not provide legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a legal or tax advisor regarding any legal or tax information as it relates to your personal circumstances.

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