Gustavo Guerrero: An Inherited Motivation
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
OAKLAND — When asked how he became involved with the roofing industry, Gustavo Guerrero cites the influence of his father. “My father started roofing in the early ’70s,” he explains. “When I was 10 years old, he realized that in order to provide me with a college education, he’d need to take his career to the next level, so he started his own roofing business. Thanks to his hard work, after high school I was able to attend the school of my choice—Santa Clara University—and become the first person in my family to earn a college degree.”
After graduating with a degree in business management, Gustavo decided to apply his newly acquired knowledge close to home and went to work for his father’s business. Over the next 13 years, he gained experience in both the hands-on and administrative aspects of the industry. Eventually, Gustavo felt the urge to strike out on his own, and in 2012, he started his own roofing company.
Today, as president of Ben’s Roofing, Inc. (named after his son, Benjamin), Gustavo says he shares the same motivation for success that drove his father before him. “I want to provide opportunities for my kids, particularly in regard to their education. In that way, my goal is no different than my father’s when he started his business two decades ago.”
A resident of San Leandro (where he lives with his wife, Rosario, and their children, Natalia and Benjamin), Gustavo says he appreciates the characteristic diversity of his Bay Area locale. “In addition to the diversity of the people, I appreciate the architectural diversity we have here in the Bay Area. We work on a variety of homes and buildings, which provides new challenges and makes our job a lot more interesting.”
Outside of work, Gustavo spends the majority of his free time with his family. “With the amount of hours I work, it can take a toll on the family, so we try to spend as much time together as we can,” he says. “The kids are really into swimming, so in the summer we spend a lot of time at the water park. We also enjoy going on trips to Southern California and Mexico, just to get away from it all.” In addition to family activities, Gustavo is an avid sports fan. “I support the local teams here in Oakland—the A’s, the Raiders and the Warriors. I try to attend a few games each year.”
In his professional life, Gustavo espouses the importance of operating with honesty and integrity. “In business, there are a few different ways to go about solving any given problem, each with its own risks, so it’s important to be able to choose the one that lines up with your philosophy and values,” he explains. “For us, our priority is to install quality roofs that last. If we get into a situation where a customer wants us to do things in a way that compromises quality, we’ll pass on the job, because that’s not how we operate.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Gustavo says he’d get involved in a new entrepreneurial field. “I probably get into owning and managing commercial properties. That’s one thing I’ve always been interested in doing, but it’s probably a few years down the road.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Ever read a book more than once?
A: “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson. It’s basically about dealing with changes in life and business. In the trades especially, things can change pretty rapidly, so it’s important to be able to adapt.
Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: I’d definitely go to the past. I think it’d be neat to relive some of my childhood and spend time with past relatives. Plus, going into the future is a little scary.
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: El Portal in San Leandro.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: It may sound crazy, but I love answering emergency calls and getting drenched while trying to solve a roof leak. Until you’ve done it, you can’t appreciate how much fun it is!
Q: What’s your favorite snack?