Local company that started small then exploded celebrates 80 years in business

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 5:18 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A locally owned roofing company with a rich family history in Waco dating back to the 1930′s is celebrating 80 years in business.

Johnson Roofing was officially founded in 1941 in Waco, but its origins date back to the 1930′s when Margaret and Jack Johnson owned a home-building, lumber, and cabinet shop business off South 11th Street.

Founders Margaret and Jack Johnson at a ribbon cutting for the company.
Founders Margaret and Jack Johnson at a ribbon cutting for the company.(Courtesy photo)

Johnson Roofing opened for business in 1941, the same year the company’s chairman of the board, Bill Johnson was born.

During his years as CEO, he’s credited with the company’s exponential growth, but he worked his way up.

Bill Johnson (right) on horseback with his parents in an undated photo.
Bill Johnson (right) on horseback with his parents in an undated photo.(Courtesy photo)

As a young boy, Bill helped his father by hauling shingles in a horse trailer.

When Bill graduated from Baylor in the late 1960′s, he took over the business and grew it into one of the largest roofing companies and one of the largest roofing contractors in Texas, with projects from border to border in Texas, and into Oklahoma and Louisiana.

“My dad instilled in me a strong work ethic from a young age and as the company evolved,” Bill said.

“I’m so proud of the direction that the Lord allowed me to take Johnson Roofing in the past and excited to see what it does in the future.”

In 2019 Bill passed the reins to his daughter, Sherri Johnson McDonald, but remained as the board chairman.

Bill Johnson with daughter Sherri Johnson McDonald, who has taken over the reins of the company.
Bill Johnson with daughter Sherri Johnson McDonald, who has taken over the reins of the company.(Courtesy photo)

Sherri was elected president of the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas or RCAT, only the second woman to hold the post, following in her father’s footsteps.

“My dad has been with RCAT since its inception, and he was the president two different times and then I was the president,” Sherri said.

“We are the only father child that have ever both been presidents of RCAT.”

Johnson Roofing crews have tackled everything from small residential projects to large commercial ones everywhere from Fort Hood to Baylor Scott & White and McLane Stadium at Baylor.

This past week, Johnson Roofing marked its 80 years by hosting a celebration for customers, friends, family, and dignitaries.

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Waco, State Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson, R-Waco, U.S. Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury and McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara were among those who joined the party.

“A big congratulations to Johnson Roofing on their 80th anniversary,” Sessions said.

“Central Texans and myself celebrate this momentous accomplishment. Bill Johnson is a lifetime Wacoan, a man of deep faith, and role model for the next generation. He has put his talents and skills to work for the benefit of many.”

Sherri says the company has been built on faith and family.

They start each Monday morning off with a prayer and the pledge at the company’s flagpole.

Johnson Roofing has supported many causes over the years, including the military.

Anderson said that type of generosity it’s one of the many things that sets the business apart.

“As a valued member of the community, Bill Johnson has put into place professional and ethical business standards that have set the standard for others, and Waco and McLennan County have benefitted from his leadership,” Anderson said.

“He has used his resources to help support officeholders, political candidates, and military personnel and their families. He has also contributed to the state’s ranching heritage.”

“We are so excited to be able to celebrate this great milestone both for our family, our Johnson Roofing family, all of the customers and friends who have made up these past 80 years,” Sherri said.

And she added as the third-generation president, the company has no plans to slow down anytime soon.

“We are beyond excited for the next 80 years.

My dad built Johnson, built this great company into what it is today and I’m excited to take it on to the next 80 years. We’ll see about that,” she said, laughing.

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