Tony Rader of National Roofing Partners: “If I can help the industry move forward in a positive manner, someway, somehow, that’s what I want to do”
Whenever you get the opportunity to speak with and learn from a 37-year veteran in the construction industry, you should immediately take it. We knew going into this interview that we would learn a great deal from Tony Rader about his many skills in project management, negotiations, and his acclaimed leadership skills, and we definitely did. Yet after it was finished, we were astounded with how Tony’s character was so apparent in the way it positively influenced, not only his personal life, but his work life too. His success, therefore, is due not only to his strong work ethic & leadership skills, but also to his commitment to integrity, generosity, and grit.
If you were able to listen to the podcast, you heard from the beginning that we had technical difficulties with the podcast studio not being able to hear Tony’s audio. The ‘behind the scenes’ truth is that repairing the issue took over 20 minutes of our allocated time together. Most busy professionals with a schedule as busy as Tony’s would have politely, or maybe not so politely, rescheduled or canceled the interview — and we would not have judged him if he did. In all truth, we wanted to cancel ourselves at that moment! Instead Tony did the opposite — he showed us grace, understanding, patience, and kindness, and a living example of how and why he has become such an award-winning leader and manager. Throughout our troubleshooting, he demonstrated my favorite leadership trait – integrity! When no one else but the three of us would have known there ever was a problem, Tony gave us a tangible example of why so many people want to work for him!
Tony’s father instilled in him a strong work ethic from the age of 13, one that he never relinquished or forgot. In fact, just like any good manager, Tony’s father taught him to expect the best from his employees and emphasized the importance of honesty always being the best policy. Tony explains, “Whether it be a man or a woman, they respect you being up-front with them, as opposed to trying to hide something and do something dishonest because you’re not going to win at the end of the day, you’re just not. So, be upfront. I treat employees the same way. If you’re not meeting expectations, I’ll sit you down and talk to you and tell you and treat you like a man and treat you like a woman and be up front with you.” Tony has ingrained this work ethic and commitment to honesty in his three adult children throughout their life, and all those who know him best, talk about how important family is to him and how he allows for the work-life balance to exist with his employees too.
Tony has been a sought-after manager, a current integral part of National Roofing Partners (NRP), a speaker and leader in the industry for decades, and all of his hard work was validated when he was elected to be the Associated Builders and Contractors 2019 National Chair. Furthermore, he was invited to the White House to discuss the labor shortage problems in the construction industry. Tony does not receive these accolades without crediting his many mentors along the way, and now he is enjoying mentoring others along their journey’s too. One of Tony’s mentors nearly forced him to attend an Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) meeting, and without that counsel and leadership, he may not be where he is today, stating, “And when I came into the very first meeting, (he) said, you need to be involved with Associated Builders and Contractors of America. And I said, well why and he told me why. And I said I’ll try it and immediately fell in love. But not only their mission and statement of providing a free enterprise system for construction to work in but also the legislative side of it being part of the solution, not part of the outside looking in, that was critical for me.”
At US Construction Zone, along with our ‘In the Zone’ podcast, we are looking for change-makers and innovators in the construction industry and Tony Rader hit on both marks. His integrity and honest leadership style, willingness and desire to be mentored, and now his road to giving back to the industry that he has fallen in love with, is exactly what this industry needs more of! Tony encourages us all by reminding us that, “If I can help the industry move forward in a positive manner, someway, somehow, that’s what I want to do. And to help the younger generation see the footprint of a long-term career in the construction industry.” We congratulate Tony on his success in the construction industry, but more importantly, thank him for paving the way for others to follow in his exemplary footsteps!