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A Self-Made Champion

This local roofing contractor pulls no punches in quality, customer satisfaction, or charity

“Every company claims to be the best,” says Champion Roofing owner, Eddie Walker. “My goal isn’t to be the best; it’s to be the most trustworthy.”

With that in mind, Eddie launched his company two years ago, using his own money, sometimes making less on a job in order to make sure his contractors were paid. Champion has no brick and mortar headquarters; Eddie works out of Buford and moves from one work site to another keeping in touch with customers the 21st century way––online.

“I can bring my personal experience to your home,” says Eddie. “It’s about convenience.”

It’s a modern and somewhat ironic approach: low overhead for himself so that he can help meet that most basic need for others––a roof over someone’s head.

He learned the trade working for someone else, so he and his contractors are well-equipped for any type of roofing job from residential to commercial. Gutter installation and roof repair? That’s all part of Champion’s repertoire. Though Eddie worked in sales, he learned the ins and outs of what goes into repairing a roof, but he also saw what he didn’t want to become.

“The roofing industry doesn’t have the greatest reputation,” says Eddie, referring to a few of the bad apples that have made customers leery. “I want to leave a client feeling 100% right in seeing that we’ve done what we said we’d do. I want to become the most trusted roofing company in Georgia.”

It’s been a long journey for this 37 year-old Georgia native. Without a father at home or a stable family to nurture him or teach him necessary life skills as a young man, he earned his degree in the school of hard knocks.

“I learned a lot of things earlier than I needed to,” he says looking back on his formative years.

While most kids his age were headed to college, Eddie was at a paper recycling plant where he worked for fifteen years eventually moving from what he calls the bare bottom of the food chain to overseeing safety training. He earned enough to finance a different dream altogether––and it had nothing to do with cardboard or shingles and definitely nothing to do with safety.

He stepped into the ring as a Muay Thai boxer. You’ve never heard of Muay Thai boxing? It’s only considered Thailand’s national sport, also referred to as the “art of eight limbs” for its involvement with fists, elbows, knees, and shins. Eddie became proficient enough in this form of combat sport to achieve the number three ranking in the world. Curious customers can find videos online of Eddie doing battle in Las Vegas, Eddie with massive championship belts with buckles the size of hubcaps, Eddie bringing opponents to their knees.

While that last part could be a metaphor for what he hopes to do as a businessman in a competitive industry, that’s not Eddie Walker’s style. He prefers to think of his martial arts champion days as inspiration for the future moving forward. He’s got a family to support after all.

“It’s more than a belt around your waist,” says Eddie about what his Muay Thai boxing experience gave him. “It’s about hard work and dedication. If you short-change yourself in training you pay for it in the ring.”

It’s more than a belt around your waist. It’s about hard work and dedication.

That’s what he hopes to bring to every job––perseverance to get the work done properly while always looking out for his customer’s best interest over his own.

Being an athletic champion has given Eddie a perspective unlike most others. He’s been the man in the arena, his face marred by dust and sweat and blood, as Theodore Roosevelt described the high achiever. It’s led to a deep-seated need to contribute to his community in a way others can’t.

So every Tuesday night Eddie can be found in a mixed martial arts gym in Smyrna. Not to beat someone down but to build someone up. He is an instructor at MVP, a program called Merging Vets and Players. It’s part workout, part mentoring and is open to military veterans and retired professional athletes who have fought the fights their neighbors and families can’t relate to. The mission for this brotherhood is simple and reflects the motto of Champion Roofing: “Champion Supporting Champions.”

“I enjoy seeing the excitement in their eyes when they’re with their brothers-in- arms,” says Eddie. “They had that camaraderie at one time and now they don’t, and we’re helping to fill the void. We’re helping them to see their value as a person.”

The altruism doesn’t end in a sweaty Cobb County gym. Champion has teamed up with the Gwinnett Stripers and contributes $100––matched by the team––for every Striper home run hit at Cool Ray Field. The money goes into a jackpot that’s donated to a local youth sports program at the end of the season. Last year, Mill Creek Athletic Association got a boost in their mission to “provide the county’s finest sports venue and to operate successfully in an ethical manner…to provide a safe, clean park and to foster both individual and team concepts.”

There’s something else that Eddie and Champion Roofing give their customers: the chance to be benefactors of benevolence themselves. For every roof they build, Champion donates a percentage to a youth sports program of the homeowner’s choosing or to the MVP program.

And you thought roofing was all about shingles and nails.

And he’s not done. This winter Eddie was inducted into the National Fighting Championship Hall of Fame. Not bad for a kid who never knew his dad but found a bride and became a dad himself to two boys and a girl.

Integrity, perseverance, hard work, and a lot of giving back go a long way. Just ask Eddie Walker, who took life’s blows early on, got up off the mat, and made himself a champion.