Every year the top executives in Columbus, OH, compete for the title of Smart 50 based on their innovation, impact, and sustainability. This year we are proud to announce that our president, Jim Ziminski, has been given the honor of being recognized as one of Columbus’ Smart 50 with a focus on his impact within the Crane Renovation Group and our communities.
A Little Bit About Jim’s Leadership
Jim Ziminski creates a dynamic vision for Able Roof and implements innovative strategies and processes to achieve that vision. He has developed a culture internally and externally that focuses on three customers; employees, consumers, and subcontracting partners. With these customers in mind, Jim drives growth and innovation while developing and protecting a unique company culture that supports the Crane core values:
- Treat our customers and fellow employees with respect and dignity.
- Ensure that communications are honest and open, upwards and downwards, providing ample avenues of communication.
- Encourage teamwork and a sense of family within the workplace.
- Share the company’s success through profit sharing.
- Strive to be the best place our employees have ever worked.
- Provide leadership in being stewards to our community.
He empowers, develops, and challenges emerging leaders around him to think critically and implement improved ways to serve and engage with customers.
Keeping up with the Company Pulse
One of the biggest challenges of leading a rapidly growing business is keeping a pulse on the company as a whole. Jim does this by utilizing a third party, called GLINT, to benchmark Able Roof to industry standards. In the most recent GLINT survey for Able Roof, scores were above the national average in all 20 categories, with the highest score being “employees would recommend joining the company to friends and/or family.” These ratings have proven to be top predictors of employee engagement and fulfillment.
How Innovation Plays a Role in Leadership
Jim has developed a company culture that is centered on curiosity. He empowers employees at every level to seek improved and innovative ways of servicing all three customers; our employees, consumers, and sub-contracting partners. He leans on the strengths of those around him as well as reaching outside the contracting industry for modern tools and processes we can adapt to better meet our customer’s needs. For example, Jim met with Safelite and adapted some of their customer experience practices that have already been proven to be successful and well received by customers.
Another example of innovation would be Jim’s pursuit of the latest technologies. He invested in an innovative new application that originated in the military. It’s a 3D modeling program Able Roof now uses on all residential and commercial projects to help business and homeowners visualize their projects before committing to the major expense of the renovation. This program creates an accurate model of the consumer’s building, including measurements and design options from our product offerings. It ultimately saves the consumer time and money by assisting them in making the right decision the first time. It also helps us on the production side by having better accuracy of material usage and helping our production people see the finished product before the job starts. This all happens via an app in our smartphones. With Jim’s leadership, we were the first major company in the nation to adopt this unique technology.
The Impact of Good Leadership
Giving back to the community
Being stewards of the community is one of our core values, but core values are meaningless unless they are acted upon. At Able Roof, Jim lives and leads by example as a steward of the community and in turn, this core value is lived and breathed throughout our organization. Under his leadership and guidance, we partner with nonprofits all over the country including but not limited to United Way, Operation BBQ, Rebuilding Together, and many more.
To celebrate the end of 2018 and to ramp up for a monumental year in 2019 Able Roof had an all-in meeting where employees from all of our locations were invited to come together. For our last day, we lived out our core values by spending the day volunteering together at LifeCare Alliance. We were honored to run the entire Meal’s on Wheels route in Central Ohio and we served the elderly in Carrie’s café. The Crane Core values are more than just words, these core values are intrinsic to every interaction we have in the community, inspired from the top down.
Use of technology as a business tool
Jim has fully embraced the use of technology as a business tool. Not only does Able Roof use 3D modeling technology and drone imagery, but we have an innovative marketing team focused on modernizing the contracting space through digital media, social media, graphic design, video, and data mapping. We have a G.I.S. expert on staff to help us stay on the leading edge of technology. Jim guides Able Roof into the future by inspiring and supporting every department to be innovative, efficient, and consistent so we can provide the best possible customer experience from start to finish at every location.
New building construction & expansion
In order to recruit and retain fresh, innovative talent and continue to lead the way in the contracting industry, there was a need to modernize our workspace. We have already upgraded some of our space and we are about to undergo a major renovation. We allow flexible work hours to support individuals and their work-life balance, and we even offer working remotely for positions that allow it. In the office, we create a creative, fun atmosphere by hosting “bring your dog to work” days, team bonding lunches, and we bring everyone together to celebrate holidays with clever games and delicious, home-cooked meals. We are even looking at flexible office space to provide a creative work environment for employees to work remotely to stay motivated and fresh vs. coming to the same space every workday.
Talent Management & Development
We have a Leadership Development VP on board at Crane Group and we make use of that resource for personal and professional training and development. Our employees are hungry for growth and after reinstituting our VAL (value added leadership) program we have a waiting list of employees who are eager to join the next class. The VAL class lasts 4-6 weeks and culminates with a capstone presentation on a real business issue or initiative that is presented to our entire leadership team. We invest in our employees and equip them with the tools they need to grow and use their individual strengths at work. As a result of Jim’s investment in talent management and development, he is retaining happier, more satisfied, and more successful employees, which is measured by the GLINT survey.
Differentiation from the competition
We realize most consumers aren’t excited about construction projects, and in particular, roofing. Typically, having your roof replaced is a need not a want and consumers simply don’t expect to have a great experience from stories they have heard from friends or past experiences with contractors. We go out of our way to make their experience as user-friendly as possible from the time we first meet them to the time we complete their project. That’s why Jim has invested in the position of Director of Customer Experience. We will provide our customers with the type of customer experience they want and expect as the consumer landscape continues to transform and develop.
We are set apart by our family-oriented and curious team culture. We find this sense of community and freedom to experiment fairly unique in today’s marketplace. Our employees truly care about one another and our customers, and as we continue to grow and expand, we are 100% committed to focus on developing and protecting this culture. We challenge our employees and customers to keep us honest and they do! It’s in our core values and we stand behind them with every decision we make. Our core values are published, shared, and talked about frequently with all of our employees and those we recruit. We hear things like, “you can feel the passion in this place”, or “it feels like one big family”, and it’s moments like those when we know we are doing something right. We aren’t perfect, but we are curious to keep getting better!
One of Columbus’ Smart 50
A huge congratulations to Jim Ziminski for being awarded one of Columbus’ Smart 50 honorees. We are proud to follow his lead as we continue to revolutionize the way things are done, and we couldn’t do it without the transformational and inspirational leadership Jim provides.