“Our goal is to provide quality craftsmanship at competitive prices,” says Herb Paynter of Colony Construction and Colony Roofing. Paynter has 20 years of experience in construction and has built homes in Ford’s Colony, Kingsmill and Governor’s Landing. He also keeps up with manufacturer certifications and new products on the market.
Paynter began his businesses in 1995 and has been in the current location for five years. About 35 percent of his business is roofing. Most of his projects are residential. Paynter spends half of his time outside of the office, overseeing projects. His wife Tina works with him. “She is the numbers person and cracks the whip on me,” he says with a grin. The Paynters have been married for 24 years. “I credit my success to my beautiful wife,” he adds. Their two daughters and son also work with them.
Paynter was born in Hampton and went to work in the shipyard as a welder after graduation. “I actually had two jobs. I also worked in construction. I was a workaholic,” he says. At age 20, he had a crew of eight men working with him, building houses in Ford’s Colony. He saw other builders just “slapping up” houses, he says. To improve his skills, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in project management and construction development. “It is important to stay on top of things,” he says.
Paynter admits it is hard to find qualified employees. So, he provides lots of training and emphasizes earning certifications. “The industry continually changes and it is important to keep up,” he says. He is proud of the platinum certification the company has earned from Owens Corning (OC). It is the highest award given by OC. “I only hire employees who are willing to learn.,” Paynter says. “ My motto is: ‘If I don’t know it, I’ll learn it.’”
Paynter has built a training safety center, and companies come to him to provide instruction for employees. “We are also changing from paper records to digital. Less paper saves trees,” he says. Paynter also sees to the safety and comfort of his employees. For example, hydration is important so water coolers have been installed in all trucks.
Last year, Paynter bought a beach house on the water in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. He also bought a boat. “I enjoy fishing,” he says. He likes deep water/100 miles out (Gulf Stream) fishing and has caught a marlin and a sailfish, both mounted on his office wall. “My goal is to catch a swordfish,” he says.
Paynter loves to cook and calls himself a “grillmaster.” “No one leaves my house hungry,” he boasts. He has a freezer stocked with fish and meat. Recently he harvested 70 pounds of shrimp from the North Carolina Sound. Another pastime he enjoys is hunting for deer, ducks, geese and turkeys. He has also killed an alligator. “The meat is delicious. You should try it,” he says.
Paynter also believes in sharing with others. On his birthday, November 11, Veterans Day, he donates a free roof installation to a disabled veteran. He supports two charities a year: CHKD and another that is different each year. He has participated in “Extreme Home Makeover” (and met Ty Pennington).
“I don’t climb around on roofs so much anymore,” Paynter says. “And I have cut back from the 60 to 70 hour weeks I used to work.” He has 19 “in-house” employees and 30 to 40 part-time workers, all of whom are licensed in a particular trade. Once a month he takes everybody to a restaurant for dinner. “I’m a foodie,” he says with a laugh. “And I make it a practice to support local businesses.”
TO THE POINT:
Colony Construction/Colony Roofing
Address: 11715 Jefferson Ave., Ste. A2, Newport News VA 23606
Contact: Herb Paynter, owner