Northwest Oklahoma City-based Saratoga Roofing & Construction has been based in Oklahoma less than two years. But in that short time, the 13-year-old firm has grown from 12 full-time employees to 48 and, according to the company, realized more than $11.5 million in revenues last year alone.
Much of that growth can be attributed to the “can-do” attitude of founder and chief executive Chris Green. As a girl, Green and her sisters regularly were read “The Little Engine That Could” by their father, she said. As a mom, she instilled the same work ethic in her sons, two of whom work alongside her at Saratoga, she said. And today, Green or “Grammy,” said she repeatedly tells the Little Engine story to her grandsons.
“The words ‘I can't' have never been allowed in this family,” she said.
Saratoga specializes in thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) single-ply roofing membranes. The popular poured surfaces — which look like white rubber roofs — provide resistance to ultraviolet, ozone and chemical exposure.
Last year, the company worked jobs in seven states, Green said, including roofs for Sears and Kmart stores and Kansas State University. Local jobs include Lakehurst Shopping Center in Oklahoma City, the IMAX at Warren Theatres in Moore, Oakdale Public Schools in Edmond and Embassy Suites and Norman Regional Hospital in Norman.
From Saratoga's office and warehouse at 209 NW 132, Green, 49, sat down Tuesday with The Oklahoman to talk about her professional and personal life. This is an edited transcript:
A: I grew up in the southeast corner of the state of Washington, in the city of Pasco. My paternal grandparents not only had an asphalt roofing and paving company, in which my father worked and my construction company background is rooted, but also a 250-acre quarter horse ranch and abutting racetrack. I can still hear my grandmother — who was a charter member of the Emmanuel Baptist Church — start in on my grandfather when he'd head over to the track on Sunday afternoons. It made for some interesting Sunday dinners.
A: Yes. I was the oldest of four girls. My youngest sister — who we lost in 2006 to skin cancer — was six years younger. I remember always being with family and always working together. My father worked as a supervisor on jobs and he would take us with him. I started second grade in Montana and, my first year after college, helped on a paving job in Alaska. We'd do everything from answer phones to wave road construction flags to work on the ranch.
A: I did. I was very academic, but also showed and raced quarter horses and remember coming to Oklahoma City for the national finals.
A: After college — at Pepperdine, which I loved — I worked for a short time as chief financial officer and part owner of a quarter horse racing magazine. The publication was based in Fort Worth, which is where my husband grew up and was living. But I didn't meet him in Fort Worth — but at a horse sale in Boise, Idaho, where my family was selling horses and he was the auctioneer.
A: We formed it in 1999 in Texas and named it after the racetrack in New York, where my husband has worked as an auction
We like the state's central location, its low unemployment rate, business-friendly practices and the fact that people are very real here. Plus, my daughter-in-law's parents live in Broken Arrow. For me, home has always been where my family is.