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The payback for a principles-based business

David Pastore learned a lot of what he needed to know about making Upstate Roofing and Painting Inc. a success from his mom and dad.

"Their five guiding principles are the foundation we built our success on," he said. "The first rule is to put family first. Treat everyone like a family member. When you think of teammates, customers, vendors and suppliers as brothers or sisters, you tend to treat them very differently. You put their needs first.

"The next thing to remember is that you’re only as good as your word. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it."

Another of those principles is the old adage to treat others as you would like to be treated. If you treat others with respect and care, you will find that is what you will enjoy in business too, he said.

"Another principle is to never forget who butters your bread. It’s easy to think this applies to just customers alone, but we try hard to embrace a much larger group than that. Teammates, suppliers and vendors matter just as much," Pastore said.

"Finally, my parents always told me to never get too big for my britches. I have to be careful with this one. While I’m not big on boasting, I am surrounded by some of the greatest people in this business and I need to boast about them more."

Upstate Roofing and Painting is a contracting firm that specializes in commercial and industrial work.

Upstate Waterproofing, as it originally was called, was founded in 1973 by local architect Tom Hamilton. Pastore joined in 1974. Both men worked out of the same architectural office, and the company was created to solve some roofing challenges for a few of their projects.

For a while Pastore worked as an architectural draftsman by day and a roofer by night to support his growing family. Over the first 18 months, the roofing business grew into a full-time job.

Pastore bought it from Hamilton in 1998 and has since doubled its size-adding painting and wallpapering in 2006. Over the years, the firm’s successes have included being honored as Roofing Contractor of the Year by the Single Ply Roofing Institute. Its work has been showcased in national magazines.

Both Chief Operating Officer Bob Morgan and Pastore have served on national boards, such as the National Roofing Contractors Association and RoofConnect, as well as local committees for the Builders Exchange and Al Sigl Community of Agencies.

But Pastore says the personal highlight of running Upstate Roofing and Painting is sharing in the lives of employees.

"We’re there at their weddings. We’re part of their lives when their children are born. And then sometimes we see those children grow up and become fellow Upstate team members themselves. This part of Upstate is priceless to me," he said.

Pastore sees his company’s offerings as greater than just roofing and painting.

"We just try to make life a little better for others," he said. "Helping customers solve their problems, treating partners and suppliers fairly and providing opportunities for our teammates to be all that they can be-that’s what we’re all about. It’s what we call integrity in action."

Pastore also thanks his family for his success: "My wife has supported me throughout the years, and my children and my grandchildren have provided me with tremendous joy, or what I call ‘fuel for the tank.’"

9/28/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email [email protected].

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