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Home | AUSTIN | Spotlight | Spotlight - Jim Whitten, Roof Consultants LLC, Austin, TX

Spotlight - Jim Whitten, Roof Consultants LLC, Austin, TX

image Robert Hernandez, President, Jim Whitten Roof Consultants LLC, Austin, TX

AUSTIN - From the top of a roof to the top of a company there is nowhere to go, but up. His career was formed through opportunities. Now the reigns are in his hands and he’s ready to continue.



Where are you from?
    I was born and raised in San Antonio.

What is your family’s background?

    My dad worked at Kelly Air Force Base and retired from there. He was also in the Texas Air National Guard and retired from there too. My mom stayed at home raising us kids until my youngest sister started school, then she went to work as a cook at an elementary school cafeteria.

How many siblings do you have?

    I have two younger sisters, who both live in San Antonio.

What were your early years like?

    I went to Jefferson High School. In 1990, I received a civil engineering degree from UTSA. After graduating I went to work for Brooks Air Force Base. That summer was the first year that the government started closing down military bases. I was a little nervous about all the rumors that were going around. I started looking for other opportunities and was able to get an offer from Law Engineering and Environmental Services in Austin. I moved to Austin in September 1990 and I’ve been in Central Texas since then.  

Did you do an internship while attending UTSA?
    I did a co-op with the Air Force for a couple of years. It was called San Antonio Real Property Maintenance Agency (SARPMA).

What were the takeaways from that experience?

    It gave me an opportunity to actually work with engineers and projects. It was a great experience meeting engineers that had been in the business for many years. It was new for UTSA and for SARPMA. I’m sure my co-op experience gave me an advantage and was a major factor in being offered a position at Brooks AFB right out of college.

What was your job experience like working at the Air Force Base?
    I was working in the environmental engineering department which was my initial chosen career – to be an environmental engineer. I gained valuable experience learning about managing environmental waste and hazardous materials at an Air Force base. There were good people willing to train and educate me as I was getting my career started. I was there for five or six months until I moved to Austin.

Are you married?
    Yes, I am married to Cindy. We’ve been married for over 25 years. She works at Jim Whitten Roof Consultants as our controller.

Do you have any children?

    We have four kids. Our oldest son graduated from UT with a mechanical engineering degree; our oldest daughter is a junior at Baylor; our youngest daughter is a sophomore in high school; and our youngest son is age 9 and in elementary school.

What activities do you and Cindy enjoy doing in your spare time?
    Whenever that comes around, we like going to the movies or more often than not renting movies. We try to make Fridays movie night when we can. We like to take winery and brewery tours when we can.

What activities do you do with your children?
    We enjoy camping, fishing and going to the beach. We try to stay involved with our church, St. William in Round Rock. We also like to involve them in church activities such as festivals and volunteering. Our youngest daughter is a Tiger Dancer at Stony Point High School, so we make sure we attend those types of school events too.

What are your hobbies and interests?
    When I can, I like to go kayak fishing down at the coast. I enjoy hunting and playing softball with the Knights of Columbus. I also have a 1983 Jeep CJ7 that I like to work on.

Has there been any recent traveling?
    Yes, Cindy and I have been traveling for the last couple years. For the first time, we did it without the kids, traveling to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, then to Cancun.

How did you and Jim Whitten meet?
    Jim and I were working for the same engineering company (Law Engineering) in 1990. I was working in their environmental department and Jim was in their buildings and facilities department. During that time the environmental consulting business in Texas was in a down turn due to some state and regulatory changes and work was getting slow. So I was asked to help out with the buildings and facilities department. I found that I enjoyed standing on top of buildings and assessing roofs, and hanging off the sides of buildings inspecting waterproofing (properly tied off, of course), and wound up never going back to environmental consulting. I worked under Jim for about eight years. Jim was my mentor in the roofing and waterproofing consulting business. He retired from Law in 2000.

What happened next?

    Most of us thought Jim retired and was taking it easy. We found out he had gone to work for a roofing company as a project manager. He eventually retired from that company and started doing consulting work out of his house. Fast-forward to 2001, I had left Law Engineering and was offered a position with a local roofing consultant. I worked for them for three years when I got the call from Jim out of the blue. I mentioned that I was considering a job change and was meeting someone for lunch to discuss an opportunity when Jim abruptly said, “Cancel your lunch date with that guy. I need you to come work for me.”  I asked him what he was talking about because I thought he was semi-retired. He said, “Oh, man I’m so busy I don’t know what do to.” He had built an office in his backyard. I went to meet with Jim and he offered me a job as a roof consultant in January 2005, while the painters were putting final touches on his office.

What happened in 2007?

    In 2007, Jim decided to incorporate and become an LLC. At that time, he made me vice president of the company.

How has the transition from vice president to president been for you?

    It’s been kind of a natural transition. It’s also been motivated by an increased awareness of opportunities in the business for minority-owned businesses.

What are you looking forward to?

    The Austin Independent School District is a major client of ours and over the years they’ve had Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) contracting goals, but never contracting requirements, until this past year. Since JWRC was not previously a HUB/MBE becoming certified went hand-in-hand with the transition of the ownership. We feel like the timing is right and we’re hopeful that becoming HUB/MBE certified will provide new business opportunities. Government contracts can be challenging, but very rewarding.

What’s been the response from the staff?

    They’ve all been positive. Everybody is excited about new opportunities for new projects and different types of clients.

Is there anything you would like to add?

    We are excited that the company is moving in this direction and to have the potential opportunities as a minority-owned business. We are looking forward to measured growth.
    In November 2017, Hernandez transitioned to the role as president of JWRC.
    In February, JWRC announced it had received its MBE certification from the city of Austin and its HUB certification from the state of Texas.  
    Jim Whitten Roof Consultants provides independent roofing and waterproofing consulting services for educational, institutional, governmental and private sector clients. –lv

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Lexie Velasquez lexie@constructionnews.net