Presented by CEI Group

Month: May 2019

50 Years and Counting!

George and John Cook are the founders of CEI Michigan, LLC. Their father Cecil Cook also worked in the roofing industry for most of his adult life. CEI slowly developed from a “weekend warrior” side job business into a staple in the commercial roofing and architectural sheet metal industry. This year, CEI is celebrating the 50th year in business.

After Cecil’s retirement from the roofing industry, he started to pick up small cash projects on the weekends. With the help of George and his wife Barbra, they coordinated crews and materials for both residential and small commercial projects. Over the years, these side jobs began to grow into a small business, which ultimately became the CEI we have today. In 1969, George set out to incorporate the company – making Cook Roofing, Inc. official in May of that year. Cook Roofing continued to run as a part-time operation out of the basement of the Cook home while George worked as a salesman during the week. However, after being incorporated, the business grew even faster, and it began to take up more and more time.

In 1972, John Cook moved home from Germany after being stationed there as an army officer. Upon his return, he joined in the Cook Roofing as its first full-time employee. As the business grew and took up more time, George began to focus his more of his efforts on the CEI; eventually leading to him losing his sales position. After that, Cook Roofing became a full-time job for the brothers. That same year, Cook Roofing established a relationship with Clark Construction.  They worked on the State Hospital in Howell – a re-roof and new addition project. This building was one of the first large projects that Cook Roofing accomplished in its early years. Following that in 1974, the brothers decided to eliminate residential work from their specialties. “We had a lot of trouble getting payment from residential customers. We could spend more time bidding and less time collecting if we got rid of it,” says George. Since then CEI has remained focused on commercial projects.

In 1978, Cook Roofing out grew the basement, and the company purchased its first office located on Industrial Road in Howell, MI. Cook Roofing also began to explore different types of roofing systems. The search for innovation brought them to Trocal, now known as Sika-Trocal. Trocal developed the first ever single-ply roofing system. After speaking with Trocal, George and John tested the product for themselves by installing the new system on their office roof.  Then Cook Roofing started offering this system to its customers as a way to cut costs and time spent on the job. Customers started to prefer the product, and Cook Roofing became pioneers in the single-ply market. Over the next couple of years, Cook Roofing was deployed by Trocal to install their product all over the country.

Beginning in Colorado, Cook Roofing bid a group of K-12 schools that were looking for a Trocal installer. After being awarded the job, Cook Roofing established relationships in the Denver area and started expanding across the country. At this time, Cook Roofing changed their name to Cook Enterprises Incorporated, eventually becoming simply CEI. From there CEI opened branches across the country. CEI West Roofing Company, Inc was started in Denver in 1977. CEI Southwest including the Texas and Arizona offices was launched in 1981. Last, in 1982, CEI developed CEI Florida, Inc., which included two offices in Florida. The Cook brothers remained actively involved in the company, but each office had their own partner and manager who ran the branch.

Throughout the ’80s Trocal became the preferred system by all general contractors. Being experienced in the system, CEI was able to create partnerships with more prominent companies such as GM. These partnerships helped CEI to become widely known for their high profile and intricate work and made all of the offices strong.  Along with the expansion into multiple offices across the country.  In the early 90’s CEI began adopting other modern roofing systems, including EPDM systems.  Also in the early 90’s CEI went through a reconsolidation period closing offices that had been in Iowa and Illinois as well as the Michigan operation which was reopened as a part of the Texas Company called CEI Southwest.

As the ’90s came to a close, many construction companies were participating in roll-ups. As roll-ups grew in popularity, the roofing industry began to adopt the model. By 1999, CEI was made up of three companies with six offices located in Florida (Debary and Jacksonville, FL), Texas (Dallas, TX and Howell, MI) and Colorado (Denver, CO and Sacramento, CA). These three companies were sold in a stock sale to generalRoofing (yes, spelled just like that). generalRoofing was one of the roofing roll-up companies that were buying up commercial roofing companies across the nation. CEI was a part of the company until 2005.

In 2005, Tecta America purchased generalRoofing’s assets.  Tecta America, another large roll-up was uninterested in the union companies, leaving out CEI and other Michigan offices. In that same year, CEI bought back the assets of the operation in Michigan via CEI Group, LLC. The buyback formed the partnership of George, John, Eric, Rob, and Kristine. They continued operations and grew the business. CEI has since strengthened its sheet metal department and service department to complement its commercial roofing work on large and complex projects. Unfortunately, John developed health problems that lead to his retirement in the fall of 2014. Since then the partnership of George, Eric, Rob, and Kristine remains strong and has continued to be able to grow the business and the long list of high profile customers that CEI works for.

CEI had long ago outgrown its original building in Howell, MI. The search for a new headquarters started in late 2013. In 2014 CEI found an office space with a large pole barn that it could renovate to meet its needs. CEI’s operations moved to the Whitmore Lake/Hamburg area and hosted the official open house on August 28th, 2015. Since the purchase of this building, CEI has continued to expand the yard. In 2016 a cold storage building on the far end of the property was added. And in late 2018 CEI started an addition to the warehouse to create additional space for the sheet metal shop. 

CEI continues to innovate and grow the company, focusing efforts on complex projects and developing entire building envelope expertise.

Celebrating National Roofing Week!

(Whitmore Lake, MI)-  To raise awareness of the significance of roofs to every home and business, stress the value of professional roofing contractors, and promote the good deeds of the industry, CEI Michigan, LLC will recognize National Roofing Week taking place June 2-8.

Organized by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), National Roofing Week is a reminder that the roof is one of the most critical components of every structure. It is the first line of defense against natural elements, such as rain, snow or wind, yet it is often taken for granted until it falls into disrepair.

National Roofing Week enables roofing professionals to engage with their communities and inform the public about the essential role roofs and professional roofing contractors play in every community, as well as the importance about making informed decisions about maintaining or replacing any roof system.

 CEI has been in the roofing industry for 50 years. National Roofing Week gives CEI the chance to celebrate the industry that supports the families that work in it. During National Roofing Week CEI Michigan, LLC will be creating awareness through social media. Viewers can see CEI’s post of the week on Facebook, Twitter, and its Roofing Madness Blog.  These posts will include focuses on how CEI trains their employees, charitable giving, signature projects, and celebration of the work that we do. Also on social media following the week viewers can see all the happening of our 50th-year festival including, games, music, food and our “Dunk for Duke” Charity Fundraiser in memory of John C. Cook, one of our founders who passed away two years ago from prostate cancer. Duke Medical Center was a massive part of his long and courageous journey battling cancer, and CEI is proud to support them.

“We think it’s important to recognize our employees and the hard work they do for CEI and CEI’s customers. This year’s roofing week is extra special because of our 50th year in business and celebrating the employees who have been with us for a long time.” – Eric C. Cook, President at CEI Michigan, LLC

Additional information about National Roofing Week can be found at www.nrca.net/National-Roofing-Week.

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 CEI Group has earned a reputation as one of the country’s most progressive roofing and architectural sheet metal firms. They pioneered single ply roofs in the late ’70s and ’80s, were one of the first roofing companies to maintain their sheet metal shop.  By the ’90s, CEI’s sheet metal department started to install metal wall panel projects. Today, CEI is leading the way in newer roofing and architectural sheet metal systems such as green roofing projects and composite and insulated wall panel projects. As a union-shop, CEI is also known for its trade craftsmanship. Some of the lost art and techniques for working on architecturally-challenging or historical elements have been preserved and passed down from experienced roofing and sheet metal pros. CEI customers appreciate the company’s disciplined project management, communication during the project, and the ability to meet challenging deadlines consistently.

Career Opportunities: Operating Engineers Local Union 324 Apprenticeship Application

CEI has and always will be a big supporter of the trades and career education in any of the trades field. Being a business that relies on these skilled workers to keep our business running we are constantly trying to promote job training, apprenticeship and career opportunities.

CEI is partnered with three unions in the southeastern Michigan area. Those three unions include Roofers Local Union 149, Metal Workers Local Union 80, and Operating Engineers Local Union 324. Local Union 324 supports heavy equipment operators and heavy equipment technicians. CEI uses this union to staff crane operators and semi-truck drivers to assist on the high profile and complex projects that CEI takes on.

An operator is a key role in CEI’s team. Without them, CEI would not be able to innovate and construct the highest of quality for there projects. Operators keep CEI’s jobs running smooth and on-time by allowing flexibility to the schedule. Having our own trucks and cranes allows CEI to be autonomous and not always having to worry about rentals and subcontractors to do the work. Along with owning our own equipment, credit goes to the well-trained operators that CEI hires from local 324. CEI is excited to promote a great opportunity for anyone looking into working in this trade.

June 10th- June 14th, 2019 Local Union 324 is taking applications for there Apprenticeship program. This opportunity is provided for anyone 17 or older with a high school diploma or GED certificate. Other requirements include a valid Michigan drivers license and reliable transportation. Applications are limited and are available on a first come, first serve basis.

For more information:
https://www.oe324.org/training/2019application/

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