Michael Testa - Celebrating 38 years at CentiMark
Today is the second day in our eight part blog series featuring memories from several of CentiMark’s longest term associates and a focus on the “Mark” that CentiMark and the Dunlap’s have contributed to the commercial roofing and flooring industries. We’re celebrating CentiMark’s 53rd anniversary on April 19, 2021.
Michael Testa is an estimator in the Stow, OH office of CentiMark. He has the unique experience as Ed Dunlap’s first Technical Representative when Ed Dunlap was also selling roofing in the 1970s to his customers in the Cleveland, OH and eastern OH markets and managing the company as President out of Pittsburgh, PA. When he was selling roofs, his customers did not know he owned the company! He was the Senior Salesman.
Here’s how that worked: Ed Dunlap lived in Pittsburgh, PA. He would give Michael assignments to look at customers’ roofs, “tech” the roofs, draw the roof on graph paper, take polaroid photos and prepare a proposal. Ed Dunlap would drive to different locations in Ohio within his territory. He liked to work one county at a time and meet with Michael at a diner, review proposals and together they delivered the proposals to their customers.
Ed Dunlap had complete confidence in Michael. A few times, as they were presenting a proposal, the customer would say: ‘that’s not my roof.’ Ed Dunlap would say: ‘Michael, take this customer up on his roof’. And of course, the roof drawing and assessment were correct. For Michael, this showed the confidence that Ed Dunlap had in his abilities and the support of knowing he had his back.
How would you describe Ed Dunlap? “Ed Dunlap is a visionary. A man who I have admired for 38 years. He took a big gamble.
“He was the consummate salesman. He always thinks on his feet. If a customer had a question, Ed would not even blink - he had an answer. Most important, he was my mentor. And he was an expert in time management. He would always say: ‘Get it started; get it done.’ We all worked together. He didn't tell us how to accomplish the work; he just gave us assignments and deadlines and expected the work to be completed on time.
“When we were a small group in the Ohio office, Ed and his wife Anna would take the office staff, the foreman and the spouses out to dinner. We were a family and those relationships are still strong. Ed Dunlap and his family can be described as ‘Good People’.”
Let’s talk about CentiMark’s “Mark” from a Financial/ESOP perspective:
“One thing about Ed Dunlap, he always puts money back in the company to invest in his associates with raises and bonuses and the business to update and expand. He buys the necessary equipment and vehicles. He has made our safety program the best in the industry by investing in extensive training, staff and state-of-the-art equipment. In 1989, he gave us stock in the company through our ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). That program has provided all of us with a better retirement. I love telling people: ‘I own part of CentiMark’.”
Let’s talk about CentiMark’s “Mark” from a Geographical Expansion perspective: “CentiMark started in Pittsburgh, PA and started opening offices: Akron, OH and Harrisburg, PA and continued to expand south, west, north and east. Ed Dunlap was very methodical about the cities he picked to open up an office and even more deliberate in the CentiMark associate that he picked to open and manage the office. And he never bit off more than he could handle”.
Let’s talk about CentiMark’s “Mark” in Customer Service:
“Customer service is always a high priority for Ed Dunlap. The customer always came first. The customer is always right. It is important to him that a customer can always talk to a real person. He believes it’s a sign of respect. When I worked directly with Ed Dunlap, he made it clear to the customer that in his absence, I had the authority to make some of the decisions on behalf of him. That was also reassuring to our customers.”
Let’s talk about CentiMark’s “Mark” in Technology:
“Ed Dunlap is a visionary and started in the 1980s making investments in technology that continue today. He understands that technology is great as long as it works. However, he is a person who prefers face-to-face contact, a phone call and a pen and paper note. He always has been that person!
“Ed saw dynamic growth potential in EPDM (rubber roofing). He took a big gamble with the development of this new product and service in the 1970s. It changed the company.
“In January, he called me and the other people at CentiMark with 35+ years of tenure to thank us for our service and reminisce about old times! That’s who he is! And that’s why I continue to work at CentiMark after 38 years!”
Congratulations to Mike Testa on his 38 years at CentiMark!