By Linda Schmid

Getting Started

Lorena Vargas Schultz grew up around construction sites; her parents were in roofing and she often accompanied her dad to the new construction job site and spent her time dreaming. She imagined her family was moving into the home, and she planned where her room would be and which room her brother would have.

Eventually, Schultz grew up and her dreams changed. Her family realized that there was a need for more roofing companies in the area who offered good service to their customers. With all the stormy weather in southwestern Florida where Schultz lived, there was a lot of roofing work; so much in fact that small roofing outfits would quickly grow big, and their service would suffer. The family decided they could do better, and in 2018 International Roofing opened its doors.

The local roofing industry was particularly busy at that time since they were feeling the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. It was a very challenging time according to Schultz, owner, as they were just getting started and they were an unknown entity. While they did have some connections from their years in the industry, initially many people were suspicious because they had had bad experiences with roofers or heard negative stories about area roofers. However, with so many damaged roofs, it didn’t take long before someone gave them a chance. Then the neighbor saw that they had done a good job and had offered good service, so they wanted International Roofing to fix their roof. They were growing a reputation as a company that did great work and was easy to work with and it got them lots of work, which was great, but they were still a very small enterprise… it was challenging to keep up with the work that was coming their way. What a wonderful challenge to have!

International Roofing has an IR Cares Event every year where everyone gets out and paints, does clean-up and helps out.

Five Years In

Word of mouth has made the company quite successful; they are beginning to market their services for the first time. They specialize in metal and composite roofing, but they do everything, tile, shakes, residential, commercial, and flat roofing. Their local service area is within a tri-county area: Collier, Lee, and Charlotte, but they cover the entire state of Florida for composite or metal roofing. 

The company was at Ground Zero for Hurricane Ian, and trying to keep up with the work was difficult; even maintaining their standards of communication became difficult. Schultz places a premium on efficient communication; it is part of their commitment to excellent customer service. 

Concrete tile is another challenge the company is navigating. The supply chain is lagging behind by 8-10 months; some customers have waited a year for their tile.

Reflecting On Success 

Schultz is proud that her family has been able to gel and become a team. Her mother handles the accounting and human resources, her dad handles production and directs the crews, and Schultz focuses on sales and marketing. 

“We are a small but mighty team,” Schultz said. “Every employee is an important cog in the machine. And while we work hard, we have a lot of fun too.”

Proof of their great teamwork is the reputation they have built as the “go-to” company for composite shingles Schultz said. They were one of the first contractors to do composite slate and shake in Florida.


Schultz’s advice to someone starting out in the industry is to refrain from stressing out that everything isn’t perfect from day one.

“Be okay with where you are,” Schultz said. “Work hard, but don’t stress out about what you aren’t doing or haven’t got yet. It will come in time; trust the process.”

Further, she believes that small business leaders can get caught up in focusing on sales at the expense of other equally important things. For example, when she prepared for maternity leave last year, she was working on getting business in the door. In retrospect, she said, “I should have been focused on structure; getting people in place to handle the day-to-day. Sometimes small business leaders fail to see how a good, solid structure can impact ROI, but long term they will see it.”

Good Business

The mission, Schultz said, is not just to install roofs, it’s to help people and to do it in the most respectful way possible. This means being reliable; showing up when you say you will. It means that when a mistake is made, contact the customer and explain what has happened, then fix it. It means being transparent.

IR Cares

Schultz is serious about wanting to help people; that’s what the “IR Cares” event is all about.  This year marks the fourth year of this event. It is held every August, Schultz’s birthday month, and it has encompassed everything from blood drives to helping in soup kitchens to backpack drives for kids going back to school.  Each year, Schultz has wanted to give away a free roof, but she ran into a lot of challenges. The government has a lot of rules regarding qualifying people for this type of give-away, but this year she partnered with a couple of local organizations and made it happen!

Builders Care vetted local families and found some qualifying folks who needed a roof. Beacon donated the materials needed, and International Roofing provided the labor. Everyone in the company was given time to participate and experience giving back. Office workers painted, some cleaned up the yard; the employees loved being of service. Schultz said the company plans to do this again every year; a great way to give back and something wonderful to look forward to.