“If you can dream it, you can have it.”
Each year, RT3 receives so many great nominations for its Innovator of the Year award, but ultimately there can only be one winner. This is why we decided to spotlight some of those who should be recognized with an honorable mention.
John Kiesel began roofing at the age of 17 working for his father’s roofing business. He worked his way up from field worker to superintendent to general manager and today is president of Division 7 Roofing. “I feel the pain of roofing and recognize that when innovation or technology is able to disrupt the barbaric nature of roofing, I embrace that and I want to see roofing be a more accommodating career,” he said.
The innovation and technology that John went on to create to improve the industry almost didn’t happen. When he was in need of a superintendent, a very bright individual applied and was hired. They had a roofing background and also shared some ideas on 3D models and visualization. It turned out that this bright individual wasn’t suited for the field, but rather than terminate their employment, John decided to give them a chance to see if the 3D modeling idea could help his roofing company. They thought that maybe flying a drone and creatively creating a scene could deliver value to their business and to their customers.
John invested in this idea for a year to develop resources, the technology platform, and whatever else was needed in order to get this from what seemed sketchy at first to an awesome deliverable. And once they saw the deliverable, and how it was improving their processes, reducing time, improving estimating, saving them from safety infractions, they knew they needed to make this a product and share it with the rest of the industry.
John wanted to deliver a tool to contractors where they could hire intellectual people and bring them into the industry with a starting point that wasn’t as difficult as his own. This is how Imagine Technologies was born.
The company uses photogrammetry and 3D models to enable more accurate everything across a roofing contractor’s business. It’s able to be put into an augmented reality environment as well that really helps customers understand their roof and what is happening on it.
John says that the development and implementation of this technology has shifted the culture in their company. They look at problems and now ask themselves if technology can fix it.
He is also taking this technology into the trade schools to change their mindsets about careers in roofing. Many youth never thought of it as an option but after seeing the technology, they are clamoring for summer internships with the company.
John believes in giving back to his community and supporting industry organizations like National Women in Roofing. They sponsor a local minor league baseball team and arranged for their local NWiR council to throw out the first pitch. They also organized a diaper drive for a nonprofit where people would get a ‘buy one get one free’ ticket to the game if they brought a pack of diapers. The minor league team also uses the technology John developed to power their virtual seating chart which allows fans to see the view from their seat before purchasing a ticket.
John truly believes that the roofing industry is a blue ocean for technology change and says, “if you can dream it, you can have it.”