By Chris Gray
Skywalker Roofing in North Carolina is well aware of what its name implies. It also helps that the owner’s first name is Luke, but not the same Luke of "Star Wars" fame. Or is he?
In a short video released in May 2020 on the company’s YouTube channel, Owner Luke Wilson prepares for a day on the roof while a voiceover sounding conspicuously like Darth Vader explains that his destiny is to “fix the skies.” The video shows Wilson using the Force and brandishing a lightsaber that pops out of his roofing tool.
As fun as the video is, it also holds kernels of truth. Skywalker Roofing has been serving North Carolina communities since 2003, and much like how a Jedi lives by a code, the company has achieved great success by following three core values: Integrity, Endless Pursuit of Excellence, and Servant Hearts.
Thanks to these guiding principles, the company has achieved everything from winning multiple awards and expanding into Virginia to becoming one of RC’s Top 150 Roofing Contractors of 2020.
“We would like to think we are changing the world one roof at a time,” Wilson said.
This home in Browns Summit, N.C. shows off the custom metal roofing Skywalker Roofing offers to customers. Photos courtesy of Skywalker Roofing.
Wilson’s venture into the roofing industry began at the age of 15 when he worked for his father during the summers. He ended up working for another 10 years, during which he said he learned the value of hard work and to do what’s right no matter what.
“It was one of the hardest things I have ever done to have to sit down and explain I wanted to start my own business,” Wilson said. “With no college degree, and no business experience, all I knew was how to work hard and treat people right.”
At the table of his single-wide trailer’s kitchen, Wilson founded Skywalker Roofing. After a few years of successful business, the company purchased a small commercial building in Eden, N.C., and added key employees. The company continued to grow and eventually purchased land to build a larger facility. Three years later, it outgrew this facility and is looking for another.
To continue this growth, Wilson added new products, employees and locations. Most recently, the company expanded to serve Roanoke, Va., and has departments for residential, commercial, repairs, siding and windows. Employees enjoy benefits like 401k, paid vacations and company trips.
Throughout all this growth, the company maintained its integrity, proof of which is found in its A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
“We are a high-end retail company,” Wilson said. “We specialize in doing jobs nobody else wants or can do. We have roofed Virginia International Speedway, thousands of beautiful churches, apartment complexes, historical homes, but what I’m most proud of is all the hand-crafted round copper dormers and accents we’ve done through the years.”
Skywalker Roofing uses its state-of-the-art metal fabrication facility to create metal roofing systems.
Skywalker Roofing’s pursuit for excellence hasn’t been easy. Wilson points out that North Carolina doesn’t require a license to be a roofer for jobs under $30,000, nor does it require anyone with three or fewer employees to carry workers’ compensation, making competition for jobs tough.
“We have a huge expense carrying the proper insurance, making it an unfair advantage cost-wise to my competitors. I would love to see some better regulations in this area,” he said.
Going above and beyond includes safety as well. Skywalker Roofing requires subcontractors to obey OSHA safety laws, hired a full-time safety coordinator to help with training and inspections, and holds mandatory tailgate meetings every morning to discuss safety.
“We want it to be part of our culture, not just something to keep us from getting OSHA fines,” he said.
Skywalker Roofing’s excellence extends to its marketing. To enhance its TV, SEO and social media marketing, Skywalker Roofing produces various videos. From Wilson recording in his truck to a “Roof Mythbusters” series, the company ensures customers are educated and well aware of what it does in the community.
Of course, no contractor goes it alone. Wilson credits Owens Corning as helping grow the company as well as ABC Supply and N. B. Handy. As a result, Skywalker Roofing has received a long list of awards, including multiple Angie’s List Super Service awards, Go Triad Readers’ Choice Awards, and the 2019 Owens Corning Pinnacle Award for Community Impact.
Skywalker Roofing has earned multiple awards from Owens Corning, including the Pinnacle Award for Community Impact in 2019.
Skywalker Roofing is dedicated to giving back. To do so, the roofing contractor takes part in both the No Roof Left Behind initiative as well as the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project.
No Roof Left Behind works by having people nominate someone from their community that they believe deserves a new roof. Skywalker Roofing narrows down the selection, and from there, the community votes on which finalist receives the new roof.
In 2019, Skywalker Roofing fulfilled its promise by providing U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran Jerry Trent of Eden, N.C. with a new roof. However, after hearing the stories of all four finalists — another of whom was a veteran — Wilson decided to provide all of them with new roofs.
“I just knew that there was no way I could not help all four of these people, I just couldn’t figure out a way, but I knew in my heart I was going to find a way to help all these people,” Wilson said in a video.
Wilson accomplished this by working with the Roof Deployment Project, the Purple Heart Foundation and Gary Sinise Foundation. In addition to these homes, he teamed up with Owens Corning to provide a roof for another veteran located in Elkin, N.C.
“No Roof Left Behind is a community effort that continues to touch me and change me,” Wilson said. “It’s reminded me that this is why I’m here — to help grow and sustain a successful business through Skywalker Roofing so that we’ll be in a position to help as many people as possible.”
When the pandemic hit, Skywalker Roofing continued to serve its community. In May and late September of 2020, Skywalker Roofing helped veterans through the Roof Deployment Project. The company also used its YouTube channel to help promote local restaurants that were struggling due to the pandemic.
“Our mission at Skywalker is to truly help people,” Wilson said.