How I became a family firm’s first non-family president

How I became a family firm’s first non-family president

How I became a family firm’s first non-family president… Wagner Roofing has been around for 100 years, 99 spent under Wagner family leadership, most recently owners Chuck and Sheila Wagner. That changed this year when Dean Jagusch, a nonfamily member and New Zealander, was tapped for the president’s job. Now he plans to build on the company’s century-old groundwork — with touches of his own leadership style. What did you do before Wagner? I spent 11 years with a local operating unit of a large roofing consolidation. I worked there in various roles — estimator, project manager. I became the local operating unit president and then, most recently, was working on the corporate side running a region of 12 offices for them. Why did you choose Wagner? I had an interest in getting back closer to the core business. Chuck Wagner and I had connected, and it was obviously very appealing that he had a 100-year-old, family-owned business that’s been well established in the Washington area. Wagner works on a lot of unique and very interesting buildings, and I definitely had an interest in that side of the business. Since I’ve been here, some of the more significant buildings that we’ve worked on have been the DAR Constitution Hall, the National Shrine, obviously the Cathedral — we’ve done some stuff on there — and the U.S. Naval Academy. Were those unique projects part of the reason you were attracted to Wagner? Absolutely. It’s trying to create your own kind of marketplace or really distinguish yourself from the pack. I think Wagner’s done a tremendous job of that, and obviously...

“The goal is to grow. We don’t want to stagnate.”

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Triathlete competes in a new event — running a roofing company

Triathlete competes in a new event — running a roofing company

Triathlete competes in a new event — running a roofing company I grew up in New Zealand. At an early age, I really took an interest in working with my hands and building things. I would often help my father around the house. We also had a family friend with a successful plumbing business and I would tag along with him on weekends or holidays. I thought that profession made for a great lifestyle, so instead of going the university route I decided to do a four-year plumbing apprenticeship. Plumbing in New Zealand includes the roofing trade, hence the tie to what I do today. When I was finished with my apprenticeship, I immediately went to get a business degree and became a craftsman plumber. I took a job with a large commercial plumber in Auckland. We were working on a large hotel and I ran a $3 million job for them as the on-site project manager with 12 plumbers working under me. I did that for 18 months. During that time, I was also racing in triathlons at an elite level. I was very disciplined about my running, swimming and biking. We Kiwis like to travel, so I saw triathlons as my ticket to go places. I came to the States in 1999 for six months. I raced in a pro series race and later a few World Cup races. I met my future wife, who was in graduate school in Wisconsin, where I was based. I quickly realized that getting free running shoes and bikes doesn’t really pay the bills. So I got back into the business....