Meet Our CEO
A small-town girl from Lake County, California, Letitia (LA-TISHA) Hanke (HANK-Y) grew up dreaming of a music career. Recognized from childhood for her musical talents, she attended Sonoma State University, envisioning a future in the performing and recording arts. When the opportunity arose, she took a position at a prominent roofing company and managed the business for 8 years. In 2004, she started her own roofing company, Alternative Roofing Solutions and Sonoma/Napa/Marin Seamless Gutters, now known as ARS Roofing, Gutters & Solar. As of June of 2019 she will celebrate 23 years in the industry, 15 as CEO. She currently employs 24 full-time, year-round employees servicing the North Bay.
Some of her accomplishments include:
- 2008 Spirit of Sonoma Honoree award winner
- 2014 Small Business of the Year award from Governor Gavin Newsome
- 2015 Entrepreneurial/Innovative Spirit Award winner by the North Baby Leadership Council
- 2015 Woman in Business award by the North Bay Business Journal
- 2016 Northern California Small Business Award by the California Black Chamber of Commerce
- 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year award by the National 100 Black Women Council
- 2018 North Bay Business Journal Non-Profit Leadership award
- 2018 4 C’s Champion of Children-Empowering Youth award
- 2018 Walmart Community Playmaker award by the Golden State Warriors
Letitia’s vision to advocate for the disadvantaged, inspired her to start the 501c3 nonprofit foundation called The LIME Foundation. Her goal is to spend the rest of her life encouraging others to never give up on their dreams.
“When I founded ARS Roofing, my most immediate motivation was to provide for my family.
That starts with my son Emil, born in 2002, who wants to be a structural engineer. When he gets to college, I want him to be able to focus on his studies without struggling to work two or three jobs as I did. Since he was little, he’s always built things with Legos and various things around the house. Instead of building the item shown on the Lego box, he’d build his own creations. Since age 6, Emil has also been exploring music, one of my lifelong interests. I heard him playing on the piano one day and asked him what instrument he’d like to learn. He now plays guitar and has often performed at Camp Fame, a performing arts day camp in Michigan. Music and the performing arts are very important to our vision at ARS, and we support programs in this area any way we can through the nonprofit LIME Foundation, which I founded as a way of helping our community and which I named for Emil, since LIME is E-M-I-L in reverse.”
ARS Roofing donates up to 5% of every job to The LIME Foundation, which, among other things, helps ease the burden our schools face in an era of budget cuts. The Foundation’s help to schools’ music and performing arts programs, in particular, is very important to me, personally, which is why I call it the Turner Arts Initiative – Turner is my maiden name. And the reason I’m passionate about this initiative is that after years of being bullied in school, I took up music as a way to boost my self-esteem.
I started learning the trumpet at 7 and was playing with the middle school band by age 8. By the time I was 10, while still in middle school, I was performing with the high school marching band. At 12 I taught myself to play piano and sing, and I’ve loved performing ever since.
Music not only kept me out of trouble, it helped me excel in academics too. Both of those successes helped end the bullying. I was able to skip the 11th grade and graduate a year early. That’s why I feel that if supporting schools helps a child explore music or excel in learning, then ARS Roofing is happy to do it. My hope is to create a positive, optimistic and encouraging atmosphere for kids – especially kids who have been bullied.
The LIME Foundation also supports a vocational training/construction apprenticeship program (the NextGen Trades Academy) and provides free construction services to low-income families and the elderly. This creates a double benefit for the community. It helps prepare people in disadvantaged communities for fulfilling careers while at the same time providing important services to people who otherwise couldn’t afford them.
The Foundation also runs bowling and nutritional programs for the elderly in an effort to address America’s obesity epidemic through light exercise and healthy eating. Heart disease, diabetes and obesity run in my family, and I really want to break the chain and do something about it.”