In his eleven years with Korellis Roofing, Brandon Reese has risen from a pre-apprentice to one of ten lead service technicians, running his own service truck and covering over 100 square miles for customers.
Just six months after September 11, 2001, Brandon joined the National Guard. He was sent on his first deployment in 2004, spending nine months in Kosovo. Upon his return, Brandon found himself struggling through the instability of working construction for non-union contractors. His cousin, a foreman for Korellis Roofing, enticed him to the company.
“My cousin had been with Korellis for three years at that time. He told me about the job security and opportunities for development,” Brandon said. “There was also structured training and development from the local roofer’s union.”
Brandon joined the organization in 2007, with another deployment shortly after. He spent nine months in Iraq. Supervisors saw a change in Brandon after this tour of duty. A once shy and timid Brandon was stepping up and putting his leadership skills to work. They added him to the service team, serving as a helper to a lead technician.
Then, in 2010, he spent a full year on a third deployment to Afghanistan. When he returned, Korellis Roofing had appointed a new manager in charge of scheduling manpower. He was eager to see Brandon prove himself deserving of the role in service.
“It became evident rather quickly that Brandon was indeed a leader,” says Dan Kiepura, Director of Roofing Operations. “He showed initiative and I promoted him to a lead technician, even though he was only a third-year apprentice at that time.”
Brandon has since spent the last seven years operating his truck and working independently to pinpoint and repair deficiencies, perform preventative maintenance, and address other emergencies.
Brandon attributes the longevity of his career, even at a young age, to being able to work outside and with his hands. He said, “The range of roofing systems, unique situations, and working with different customers keeps roofing interesting.” And according to Brandon, he’s not going anywhere. “In five years, ten years – I still see myself working for Korellis Roofing.”
The lack of rain during this past summer lent many service techs to assisting with projects. As a foreman, Brandon lead a six-man crew through his most memorable project to date, recoating nearly 200,000 square feet on a commercial property in Chicago’s south side. Other stand-out projects include the many historical buildings and churches that he has worked on over the years.
When he is not roofing, on drill, or hunting, Brandon is building a pole barn on his over 30 acres of land. “I purchased the property a few years ago,” Brandon explained. “I’ve been clearing the land myself. The barn will have an attached apartment where my wife Heather and I will live while our new home is built.” When asked about building the home, too, he laughed. “No way! I work too much. I’ll be contracting that out.”
Brandon’s accolades with the military include two Army accommodation medals, combat infantry badge, combat action badge, three overseas ribbons, an overseas training ribbon, and five army achievement badges. He is a member and honor guard at the American Legion, and a member of the VFW. He is an instructor of an advanced leaders’ course at Camp Atterbury, a National Guard training base in south-central Indiana. His current rank is Sargent First Class.
Bringing together his career life and military life, Brandon works with Helmets to Hardhats, a national nonprofit organization that connects National Guard, Reserve, and retired and transitioning active-duty members with opportunities in the construction industry.
“I can credit the military for my leadership skills, work ethic, and endurance in challenging situations,” said Brandon. “I can see how they translate to success in roofing.” He is a part of recruitment efforts to bring other soldiers to the program.
In July 2018, the International Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers brought Brandon to their headquarters in Washington, D.C. Having heard Brandon’s history, they knew his story could be one to inspire other military and other young people to join the union trade. He was interviewed for their video recruitment program; the completed productions should be released soon.
Korellis Roofing nominated Brandon for an industry award, the “Most Valuable Player” award, sponsored by the Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress. The MVP Awards are distributed in two categories, one for outstanding performance in the workplace and the other for outstanding contributions outside of work. Brandon is one of the winners for “Other Noteworthy Contributions” based on the work he does with the military.
The Roofing Alliance will be bringing him to Nashville in February to be recognized with the other winners at the annual International Roofing Expo, an annual roofing industry event. As an MVP winner, Brandon also has the opportunity to win the “Best of the Best” distinction, an elite recognition that receives additional awards and a feature in a national industry publication.
Whether it is on the roof or in uniform, Brandon carries himself with professionalism. Korellis Roofing is proud to have him representing the company as a well-qualified, safe, proficient, and considerate tradesman.
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