When Stuart Ross, founder of Ross Construction, died suddenly in September 2001, his daughters, Victoria and Penelope, did not hesitate to pick up the reins of the family business. At the time of her father’s death, Victoria was working as an event manager for pharmaceutical clinical trials in London. Penelope was in New Zealand working as a research and marketing manager. They returned to Rialto, Calif., in January 2002 to take on the management of the company.
Stuart had revolutionized the self-storage industry by being the first to design and build metal self-storage facilities. He had built a solid foundation for the company and had a great team of loyal employees. Fortunately for the sisters, General Manager Eamon Lyons made the task of running this phenomenal enterprise much less daunting.
“We are very inspired by what our father has done for the self-storage industry,” Victoria says. “We hope to accomplish the same.” The company’s scope of activities includes design, engineering, manufacturing and installation of complete selfstorage systems, including structural steel, roofing and partitions, as well as metal buildings and architectural metal roofing.
“It took 22 years for my father to impact the selfstorage industry in the manner he has,” Victoria says. “We have been told time and time again what an innovator he had been in the industry, how he’d advanced the way the facilities are built.” Even today, Stuart’s innovations are an integral part of Ross Construction’s services and products.
The Experience of Four Generations
Although Ross Construction started as a family business in 1992, it has four generations of solid roofing and construction history behind it. Founded in New Zealand in 1946, Ross Roofing Ltd. remains a strong, family-owned business that manufactures and distributes steel-roofing products throughout the world
“My great-grandfather manufactured and installed concrete roofing tiles. Then my grandfather took over his father’s business and expanded it to manufacture for export,” Victoria explains. “My father and uncles worked with my grandfather for a number of years, then expanded the company to a variety of roofing materials for residential and commercial properties.”
Victoria and Penelope grew up around roofing and construction. “The majority of our cousins work for the family business in New Zealand. So, it truly is a fourth-generation company.”
In 1977, Stuart moved to California to help set up a concrete-tile manufacturing facility with a friend. The stay was supposed to be just for three months, but he saw other opportunities and made the move permanent. In 1979, a friend of Stuart’s—a storage owner—wanted to build a new facility. His current facilities were made with particleboard. Stuart suggested using steel instead, since it would be a more durable product. Shortly thereafter, he imported a long-run metal machine and started building facilities with it.
A new trend in self-storage construction was developed when Stuart launched Rib-Roof Industries in Rialto, Calif. He revolutionized the look of self-storage by introducing metal and light-gauge steel as a main component of storage buildings. He also designed the Klip- Rib system, a nonpenetrating roof-panel system that is held down by clips to withstand 90-mph winds.
Victoria and Penelope have been able to take on the responsibilities of the legacy left by their father—in part due to the support of their family. “Until my grandfather passed away nine months ago at 83, he would still phone from New Zealand offering to come and help us and reinforce how proud he was of us for having the confidence to manage the business without our father,” Victoria says.
Products and Services
Ross Construction, which has 25 full-time employees, provides in-house design and engineering, complete steel systems, singleand multistory construction, Zincalume UL90 standing-seam roofing, pre-finished trim and accessories, partition systems, climate-control systems, conversions and recovers. The company serves the United States and Canada, employing approximately 75 experienced installation crews across the country.
An in-house design team works closely with architects and engineers to produce full design-build packages based on the company’s industry experience. This ensures a cost-efficient solution for owners and enables the construction process to be considered from the start. Complete design and engineering services provide an economical, quality steel-roof system.
Ross provides several products to its clients:
- A light-weight, metal-chip-coated product is manufactured in Belgium, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.
- Standing-seam roofing is made of coldroll formed, long-run steel (60 feet plus) offering maximum design flexibility. It is adaptable from a near flat (minimum 1/4:12) to steep pitch. Installed directly over an existing roof, a Ross retrofit application does not disturb business during installation. The R-value of an existing roof system can be dramatically increased by use of batt-type insulation applied between the existing and new roof system.
- Beam-and-purlin steel-roofing design offers complete versatility of interior-unit arrangement, allowing for a variety of storage area sizes and shapes. Partitions for self-storage facilities and commercial or industrial installations provide for secure and economical interior-wall arrangement and versatility.
- Post-and-purlin steel-roofing design offers an economical alternative by eliminating the cost of beams, while providing easily rearranged partitions to allow versatility of interior units.
- A batten-seam system is designed to be installed over open framing. It snaps together with clips that hold firmly in place without exposed fasteners. This system allows a continuous appearance that is aesthetically pleasing as well as reliable.
- A standing-seam system is a waterproof, aesthetically pleasing roof system. It is available at a minimum pitch of 3:12, with UL580-Class 90 wind ratings. It is Class A fire tested, therefore extremely beneficial in areas where fire or wind is a concern. Available at a variety of widths, the standing-seam system is a favorite with clients.
- Partitions for self-storage facilities and commercial or industrial installations provide secure and economical interior-wall arrangement and versatility.
Victoria has a positive assessment of the self-storage industry. “Buildings are becoming more visually appealing and complex in their design. Increasingly, it is women who are renting units, and facilities are responding to their needs, including security and cleanliness,” she says.
Facilities have to adapt to meet new expectations, such as better lighting, security and aesthetics. Similarly, the growth of alternative storage for documents and wine has shifted the focus to more sophisticated facilities. The industry is responding by blending properties with the environment, which can only aid the growth of self-storage. Convenient, accessible storage will continue to be a drawing card for all communities, but particularly in areas where increasing population density and/or land prices are forcing families into smaller dwellings.
Ross’s marketing program is being developed to refresh the company’s brand, reflect the changes in the company and respond to the industry’s needs. Marketing is done principally through building and maintaining strong customer relationships with existing and new clients. Participation in all national tradeshows and advertising in various trade publications are also an integral part of the program. “Our aim is to make the projects as easy and seamless as possible so clients continue to work with us,” says Victoria. “We deliver what we promise and focus on providing the best service to them.”
Ross Construction wants to ensure it meets all of its customer’s needs and expectations. Recently, one of the company’s largest clients called and said he had been watching the company with a magnifying glass since the death of the founder. He wanted to congratulate Victoria and Penelope on their efforts. He let them know he and his project managers were more than satisfied with their work, and they have complete confidence Ross Construction can deliver a quality product, on time and within budget.
“We were more than thrilled with this call, as we knew it meant Ross Construction was exceeding expectations,” Victoria says. For more information, call 800.572.6993; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.rossconstruction.net.