Bryan Roof ’02
Bryan Roof ’02 made his decision to come to Radford University after falling in love with the campus during his first tour.
“I started off in criminal justice, but as I got into that program, I decided I was more interested in a career based in business than a career based in criminal justice,” explained Roof. “I picked business administration because I thought it could apply to so many different disciplines and industries.”
The summer after his junior year, Roof interned at Ryan Homes, a large home building company. The construction industry quickly captured his attention and became a career of interest. Roof decided that his goal after graduation would be to couple his interest in construction with his business education.
“I thought, if I can gain experience throughout every level of the industry, starting as a laborer and gradually moving up, applying all the things I learned at Radford from the business side to the construction side, I could do well,” said Roof.
After graduation, Roof participated in the assistant project manager training program at Toll Brothers, in which he learned about the construction and sales of new homes. After graduating from that program, Roof served as a project manager overseeing the construction and sales of a new home community.
After that, Roof transitioned to another home builder where he had an opportunity to be an area project manager overseeing multiple new home communities. It was during that time, from 2007 to 2008, that the real estate market began to turn. Roof saw the potential for his career path to be negatively impacted and was faced with a challenging decision: staying where he was or moving into a new arena.
He decided to transition from the residential side of construction, home building, to the commercial side. Though some of the practices and applications were the same, the two markets were vastly different, and Roof had to relearn much of what he knew about the industry. He then joined Hit Contracting as a project manager, and it didn’t take long for him to realize that he enjoyed the commercial market more than the residential market.
“The commercial side was unique because no two projects were the same. The intricacies of the construction and the scope of the projects were much larger,” explained Roof. “The transition was necessary in order for me to continue my career, but it was also like a renewed passion for what I really love.”
Following this, Roof had the opportunity to work for a general contractor, Dominion Construction, which focused primarily on health care and hospitals. With this came several new challenges.
“One thing I remember was building a new tower addition right next to the NICU and other existing services at Inova Alexandria Hospital,” recalled Roof. “You can imagine how careful and cautious we had to be with concrete, steel and utility interruptions when on the other side of the wall was the NICU. We built new operating rooms and tied them into the existing sterile core system while they were still doing operations in their OR suite . . . the challenge that came with that was tremendous. I found a renewed spirit for the industry.”
Roof had the opportunity to advance from a project manager to a project executive and vice president, overseeing multiple projects, and then to where he is now as an executive consultant. He says he wanted the opportunity to get more exposure in the industry and get a better understanding of what it takes to get the financing, jurisdictional approvals and permits as well as what goes into the design and large-scale planning efforts. In his current role, Roof helps clients in all of those areas.
In the September 2019 issue of Building Design + Construction magazine, Roof was featured in the 40 Under 40, recognized as one the top young leaders of the commercial design and construction industry.
“My supervisor at Cumming Corporation, Chris Whitley, made the submission and received support from several key clients. [He] recognized the value I brought to our clients but also to the Carolina market in managing projects and programs,” said Roof.
One of Roof’s many accomplishments has been managing Wake County Public School System’s seven-year, $2.5 billion Capital Improvements Plan. He also developed its Strategic Improvements Initiatives and created a new Strategic Projects Department.
Looking back, Roof recalls several classes at Radford University that helped him along the way, one being statistics.
“In my career now, one of the things we’re really focused on . . . is looking at performance trends with some of our major clients. A lot of that is statistically-based,” explained Roof. “That [statistics] class was one I’ve really been able to put in place and utilize.”
He also recalls his marketing classes and how they helped prepare him for working with his clients. In construction management, Roof helps clients figure out how to optimize their performance in the market and create a built environment that separates them from their competition.
Roof was also involved in extracurricular activities at Radford University that helped prepare him for his career. As a member of professional business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, Roof had the opportunity to meet with several local business leaders, which gave him a sense of what the business environment would be like after graduation and how to prepare for it.
“The biggest [takeaway] was knowing what to expect in that transition from college to career, figuring out what’s expected of you and how to maximize your experiences so that you can start off with a great trajectory of success,” said Roof.
He was also a member of the Radford men’s soccer team, where he walked on during the spring of his freshman year. Roof says it was a year-round commitment to training and preparing for each fall season.
“To be able to compete at that level and be a dependable teammate, you learn very quickly what dedication and commitment is,” said Roof. “It’s something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Roof also met his wife, Katie Sherwood Roof ’02, at Radford University where she played volleyball. Katie was the program’s only two-time Big South Player of the Year and was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016. Roof credits her with being an immensely positive influence in both his personal and professional life.
October 9, 2019