Interview With Gregg Bowler
Ten years ago last month, Gregg Bowler joined Sunrock Group Holdings. Since, he has served the company as executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
Just a few weeks ago, Bowler was named president of the company. Now based in Raleigh, Sunrock is a construction materials supplier that traces its roots back to 1949, when the Pfohl brothers established Pfohl Brothers Sand & Gravel in Buffalo, New York. Bryan Pfohl now serves as chairman and CEO.
As president, Bowler will oversee all of Sunrock’s associated operating entities. Triangle Business Journal caught up with him to see what he envisions for the future of the company.
Tell us a little about Sunrock Group. Sunrock is a locally owned, vertically integrated construction materials company that produces and sells aggregate, asphalt, concrete and heavy highway construction division. We have approximately 450 employees with three quarries, six concrete plants, six asphalt plants and a large construction division.
You’ve been at Sunrock Group for about a decade. How has the transition to president been? I have worked closely with our owner, Chairman and CEO Bryan Pfohl, for 10 years to gain an understanding of the unique characteristics of this industry. After working as CFO and moving into other areas of the business, this winter the board, Mr. Pfohl and I decided it was time for me to assume the day-to-day responsibilities of president. Moving to president has been enjoyable yet challenging as we have had to deal with the many challenges Covid-19 presents daily.
What are your goals for Sunrock? Short term: guiding our leadership team to ensure our employees are kept safe and healthy through this pandemic.
Long term: focus on utilizing the vast aggregate reserves the Pfohl family has accumulated over the past 35 years in the Triangle region and developing our aggregate business in Ontario, Canada, while focusing on developing the next generation.
How has the company fared during the pandemic so far? Our business has remained relatively steady over the past four months. We have been following the CDC and Gov. Roy Cooper’s guidelines, including social distancing, implemented Zoom meetings, restricted outside access to our facilities, face coverings, relentless reminders about hand-washing and supporting our employees who have been impacted by Covid-19.
What has been your biggest professional challenge? Prior to working at Sunrock, the recessions of 2001 and 2009 were exceedingly difficult. Business levels declined more than 25 percent. The sharp downturn in activity led to many difficult conversations and decisions, which I did not take lightly.
What has been your biggest professional triumph? My most satisfying achievement is when people who work with me develop and successfully take on more responsibility. Investing in my team is very important to me. One of my personal long-term goals was to be president of a company, which I recently accomplished. It was a significant milestone for me personally and professionally.
How would you describe your management style? Team-focused with open dialogue while following an overall business plan. At the end of a complex discussion, the team has to be on the same page before we move forward and implement items.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given and who gave it? “Without customers we don’t need accountants.” – Ralph Sandle Jr., president of Mayville Metal Products.
“Always ask for the order.” – William F. Connell, founder of Connell Limited Partnership.
“Without the employees who do the hard work we would not have a successful business.” – Bryan M. Pfohl, owner of Sunrock Group Holdings.
What do you do to relax? I am an avid sports fan who enjoys working out so I’m able to eat the types of food I enjoy. My son plays college football and I have attended every game with my wife. When it is not football season, I golf most weekends with a group of friends – with my cellphone off.
What books are currently on your nightstand? I am currently reading “I am Pilgrim” by Terry Hayes, and am an avid reader of Vince Flynn books.