Harry Yeatman – Gulf Coast Supply & Manufacturing
- Written by: David Harry
- Produced by: Andrew Wright & Bill Parkison
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
For more than 25 years, Gulf Coast Supply & Manufacturing has made its name covering Florida with metal roofing panels, trims and accessories primarily for residential construction and re-roofing.
While supplying contractors from mom-and-pop operations to large-scale roofing contractors, the company made its reputation by delivering on its promises, says company President Harry Yeatman.
Although he defers credit to Gulf Coast Supply & Manufacturing’s employees and executive leadership, Yeatman has helped guide a new era of expansion as the company has opened two new manufacturing and distribution facilities outside Florida. He’s also overseen adding automation to the manufacturing process.
But he says his real strength comes in building relationships inside the company as well as with the contractors who buy the metal roofing products.
“I’m a four-decade professional in the construction and manufacturing industries,” Yeatman says. “I’ve been in every aspect of production, sales and executive leadership. I’ve always worked closely with contractors and have a deep understanding of their work, as well as how to help increase their profits.”
Making the cut
Gulf Coast Supply & Manufacturing was founded in Horseshoe Beach, Florida, in 1996. In 2001, the company opened a new manufacturing plant in the same city. In 2010, the company was sold to a private investor and continued to expand throughout the Sunshine State.
New manufacturing plants were opened in Alachua and Sebring in 2012 and 2014, respectively. In 2015, the company opened its corporate headquarters in Jonesville, Florida.
Gulf Coast Supply & Manufacturing specializes in “high slope” roofing—meaning its custom-cut panels and trim can be made for complex roofs with angles and gables, Yeatman says.
The panels, which can be 12 to 36 inches wide, are cut and shaped from coils, working from the longest to shortest pieces to reduce waste. One roof can require hundreds of panels in varied lengths, and Yeatman says the company also bundles panels in shipping crates for the sections of roof they’ll cover to add efficiency for the operations and contractors.
In the past three years, Yeatman has led an important upgrade to the roll-forming machinery by integrating controllers from Beck Automation. The controllers automate the cutting process by using information from digital shop orders to cut the lengths and dimensions—which eliminates human error that can occur when manually entering the panel lengths.
Yeatman says manufacturing plant sizes range from 7,000 square feet in Alachua to 110,000 square feet at the Sebring, Florida, facility.
“We’ve invested heavily in manufacturing to make roofing, but it’s about customer service and providing quick estimates based on basic designs using aerial Pictometry that helps set us apart,” Yeatman says.
When Yeatman joined Gulf Coast Supply & Manufacturing in April 2017, he was tasked with expanding the company’s footprint and customer base. Though Florida has a population of more than 23 million people and a strong housing market, Yeatman says the company was not reaching potential customers in the Florida Panhandle, let alone other areas in the Southeast with strong housing markets.
First, Yeatman commissioned a consultant to look at areas where the company could grow without compromising the logistics services it provides. While Gulf Coast Supply & Manufacturing’s delivery drivers typically arrive for work at 6 a.m., the company also tries to keep its delivery range within a 200-mile radius of its manufacturing sites so drivers can go home each night.
Yeatman says the company also needs interstate highways to be close by, not only to speed up delivery times, but because smaller and more rural roads aren’t well suited for large trucks carrying stacked roofing panels.
e company’s first expansion outside Florida occurred in Montgomery, Alabama, in 2017, where it opened a 30,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center. The city’s location in the center of the state and the two interstates that run through it make easy connections to other cities including Birmingham, Huntsville and Atlanta, as well as the Florida Panhandle, Yeatman says.
In 2021, Gulf Coast Supply & Manufacturing opened a facility in Columbia, South Carolina. Yeatman says it was originally a delivery depot with limited manufacturing capability. However, the company’s success in markets in the Palmetto State as well as neighboring southeastern Georgia led to tripling the size to 9,500 square feet in 2022. About 40 percent of the roofing products and materials needed by contractors in the Carolinas and Georgia are currently made there.
Yeatman also leads bi-monthly executive meetings on the company’s performance using its DIFOT acronym, which stands for “delivery in full on time,” as the benchmark. He says he and his management team review operations and issues that arise using more than a dozen factors. Those include delivery times and deliveries that may have been delayed because a driver has reached the hourly driving limits set by the U.S. Department of Transportation (11 hours per day after 10 consecutive hours off duty), as well as damage to roofing materials during deliveries.
Yeatman was born in Huntsville and grew up in Birmingham. He earned his bachelor’s degree in building science from Auburn University in 1983. Though he expected he’d have a career in construction, he says he has preferred working in manufacturing sites.
“I enjoy working with machinery,” he says. “I like the challenge of creating processes to create a manufacturing operation that is safe, efficient and customer centric.”
Most of Yeatman’s career was spent working at Butler Manufacturing, although he did work as a project manager for its construction division in Birmingham from 1984 to 1988.
He then became a regional construction consultant in the Birmingham area until November 1991, when he was named an area manager in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, Metroplex. In 1995, Yeatman moved north to become general manager of the Butler Insulation Group in Kansas City.
His next move was east as he became regional sales manager in Laurinburg, North Carolina, in July 1996. He was promoted to regional general manager in August 2004. In 2010, he moved back to Kansas City to become executive vice president for sales and strategy, the position he held until joining Gulf Coast Supply & Manufacturing.
The company’s services remain in high demand in Florida as cleanup and reconstruction from damage caused by Hurricane Ian in 2022 continues, but Yeatman says there’s great promise in the rest of the Southeast and he’s enjoyed helping tap into it.
“At the end of the day, I can say we employ some of the most professional people from end-to-end. We have great teams here and I see myself mainly as an overall adviser,” Yeatman says. “I like getting up and coming to work to help my people grow and become successful. I enjoy it every day.”
View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. V 2023 Edition here.
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