Early this year John Tsampas (Photo-R), Skyline’s longtime head of sales & business development, officially became the President of Greek-owned Skyline Restoration. As soon as the announcement was made, the response was immediate and strong – everyone rushed to offer the warmest congratulations and heartiest applause for the well-deserved elevation, which comes just in time to celebrate the company’s silver anniversary.
John was one of Skyline’s original founders in 1989, together with John Kalafatis and Bill Pierrakeas – a threesome he fondly refers to as “three guys from Queens.”
The immense pride he feels for the role he has played in the company’s phenomenal climb to success is clearly evident. He has helped Skyline grow from a small operation with a skeletal crew, performing $3000 – $4000 roof repairs and grossing roughly $500,000/yr., to one of the largest – “quite possibly the largest” — and most comprehensive full-service exterior restoration firms in the metro area, with revenues over $66M, a full-time staff of 70, plus a workforce that can grow to 700. Crain’s New York Business ranked Skyline one of the City’s “Fast 50” in 2013 based on three-year triple-digit growth rates topping 166%. Yet John is quick to point out that “this was and is completely a team effort – credit goes equally to the vision and hard work of John K. and Bill, and to the entire, incredibly talented and dedicated staff at Skyline.”
He will, though modestly, admit to having skills as a communicator. Yet his efforts to build the business by defining Skyline’s scope and expertise are based on hard facts and truth. John will not compromise “one inch” on quality and integrity and knows that one’s promise must be backed up by the quality of the deliverables. “Without that, you have nothing,” he says.
A double-major graduate of Stony Brook University (Business Administration and Economics), and an alumnus of the highly selective Stuyvesant High School, John came to Skyline from a career in real estate where he was named the number one seller in the nation by Century 21. His natural and dynamic business development skills gave Skyline a strong start and his talents were bolstered by his initial confidence in the mission of the firm.
“Because I believe in New York and in the need to preserve all of its magnificent buildings, I always believed in Skyline. We are all about restoring architecture to its former glory. Even in the darkest economic times, restoration is a necessity and Local Law 11 mandated various steps. New construction is boom and bust, much riskier and especially so in down times,” says John.
Combining the topnotch quality of the work, excellent management and John’s ability to build lasting relationships with existing customers and create new ones has led Skyline to grow at a geometric rate. “Each year our bottom line was better than the last, going from $1M to $3, $3 to $15M and so on.
Greater profit meant more and better equipment and the ability to take on larger jobs,” he says. “We’re at a point now where we are able to tackle the most complex megaprojects anywhere in New York.”
As for his role as a leader, he sees it as setting an example for others to follow. “I still close many deals myself,” he says.
One of Skyline’s most prestigious projects, a job which John secured, is the $5M complete exterior restoration of the Plaza Hotel which was finished on time and on budget. “To work on restoring one of the City’s most iconic buildings was tremendous,” he says.
Another major project was the CBS headquarters, known as the “Black Rock” building, also an immense accomplishment. Yet he qualifies these achievements by noting that hundreds of restorations are completed by Skyline each year and each one is handled with the same meticulous care and painstaking attention to detail as the most high profile jobs.
John’s family consists of his wife, an assistant principal in Queens, two daughters in high school and a son graduating college this spring. A great fan of nature, in the little spare time he has he enjoys chopping wood and fly fishing at a log cabin in the Catskills. “I come back recharged and invigorated each time,” he says.
When he speaks with passion about the future of Skyline it becomes clear how he is able to motivate the company’s employees. “We’re leading the pack in every aspect of this business – we’ve been setting the bar all along and will continue to do so.” And what makes this all possible? “There’s a synergy here – something great is happening. This company will not slow down,” he says. Certainly not with John Tsampas at the helm.