Steve Hecht - Celebrating 50 years at CentiMark on September 27, 2021
Today is the sixth in our eight part blog series featuring our 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.
After 50 years at CentiMark, Steve Hecht has a photographic memory of his years in sales, customers, co-workers, successes and challenges. He remains as energized about his job, as dedicated to his customers and as willing to mentor younger sales representatives as he was 50 years ago.
Steve was the second salesman hired, trained and mentored by CentiMark Founder and Chairman, Ed Dunlap. [Alex Wojdanowski was the first salesman that Ed Dunlap hired at CentiMark. Alex always said: ‘Any good salesman can make a sale over lunch with a chipped ham sandwich and a glass of lemonade.’ Alex died on October 23, 2005.]
These first three salesmen - Ed Dunlap, Alex Wojdanowski and Steve Hecht - took turns sharing one typewriter in the office as they typed their sales proposals! Together, they were CentiMark Sales!
Steve had success in sales, started CentiMark’s National Account Program in 1983, created the first Marketing & Advertising Department and opened offices for CentiMark in Chicago, IL, Northern California and reset the sales management of Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa, FL offices. He has held many positions at CentiMark, mentored many sales representatives and relocated numerous times.
Steve did what it took to work hard, succeed in sales and management and contribute significantly to the growth of CentiMark from 1971 sales of less than $1 million to 2021 sales of $800,000 million. Steve’s footprint is on every success and growth over the past 50 years.
Steve received scores of awards over the years. In 1984, Steve increased his sales from the previous year by 59% to $2,485,286. In June 1987, he received his first million dollar sales contract from a customer and in October 1996, he sold a million dollars in flooring sales in one month. Both are a first for the company. Steve says his favorite award was a Certificate of Appreciation in 1990: For Outstanding and Dedicated Service - National Accounts.
How would you describe Ed Dunlap?
Steve gets very emotional talking about his mentor, leader and lifelong friend. Steve had experience in the manufacturing side of roofing when he joined CentiMark - Ed Dunlap taught him everything that he knew about sales. Steve says:”Ed Dunlap is the BEST salesman ever. He taught me how to sell roofing and flooring.”
“‘There will never be another salesman like Ed Dunlap”, adds Steve. “He was so smooth - always asked the right questions; always had an answer for customers’ questions; always ready to close the deal. And in the middle of a conversation, he would always ask: ‘So, what do you like about CentiMark so far and what don’t you like?’
“Our initial sales and marketing strategy was to go through an industrial list that we purchased and mail out flyers with return postcards. Every Monday, Ed Dunlap would distribute the returned cards to Alex and me for those potential customers who indicated an interest in our services. We had one week to get in touch with the customer and ascertain their needs. If we hadn’t made the contact in a week, Ed Dunlap would take the information and call on the customer himself’!”
Let’s talk about CentiMark’s “Mark” on National Accounts:
“In the early 1980s, Ed Dunlap realized that he was selling to large customers with a regional or national footprint in the eastern Ohio market and other CentiMark sales representatives were selling to the same customers in the Pittsburgh, PA, Buffalo, NY, Harrisburg, PA and other markets. So he said to me, ‘Consolidate these individual accounts and start a National Accounts Program. Just figure out how to do it so that one person is in charge of the account on CentiMark’s end and one person on the customer’s end’.
“On July 6, 1983, I signed an agreement with CentiMark’s first National Account customer - U-Haul. Today, CentiMark’s National Accounts Program has grown to a comprehensive Partnership with thousands of national customers to help them understand their multiple properties and make informed business decisions about their roofing and flooring needs.”
Let’s talk about CentiMark’s “Mark” on the technology of EPDM Roofing:
“CentiMark turned the corner in 1977-1978. Ed Dunlap learned about a new roofing membrane called EPDM - rubber roofing.
Because he is a visionary, he took a huge chance with EPDM roofing membranes. I sold the first EPDM job to St. Mary’s School, St. Mary’s, PA in 1978. CentiMark’s President and CEO, Tim Dunlap, was just starting his career with the company in 1978 and he was working on the crew of that first EPDM roof job!
“EPDM roofing - and the National Accounts Program - changed everything for CentiMark. Our sales jumped from $1 million in 1974 to $10 million in 1984 to $100 million in 1994… and that was just the beginning.”
Thank you Steve for your hard work and dedication over the past 50 years at CentiMark! Let’s celebrate once again when we achieve our goal of One Billion dollars in sales!
A Grateful Thank You Message from Steve Hecht to CentiMark Associates:
I want to personally thank Ed & Anna Dunlap and Tim & Teri Dunlap for their support throughout my entire career in working for the greatest company ever. I also want to thank John Rudzik (past CFO) for his financial management that helped lead us reach #1 in financial security during those tough early years.
I would like to reach out to all those Associates in Sales Management, the Senior Project Managers and Service Sales Reps, the Executive Personnel that manage our Regional and National Account Groups, Corporate Departments, the Regional & National Account Sales Managers (which have a special place in my heart) and the Office Managers and their staffs. And, of course, never forget our field personnel and crews that labor everyday installing our roofs and floors.
I want to give special appreciation to the Associates that have come and gone over the years that assisted me in the beginning years (Alex Wojdanowski & Ron Camel) and the unsung heroes in the Help Desk, Advertising and TeleMarketing Departments. But I want to encourage all the current CentiMark & QuestMark Associates - let’s continue to give our best efforts together and help each other reach our "Ultimate CentiMark Billion Dollar Sales Goal" - a well deserved tribute to Ed & Anna Dunlap, Tim & Teri Dunlap and all CentiMark Associates!!