Roofing entrepreneur and business owner Letitia Hanke has been awarded the Small Business of the Year Award for the Northern Region by the California Black Chamber.
The award was presented on Aug. 27 at the Ron Brown Business and Economic Summit, held at the Sheraton Gateway in Los Angeles.
Hanke started ARS Roofing Solutions Inc. in 2004 and currently employs 20 full-time employees. ARS services most of the North Bay.
ARS, based in Santa Rosa, specializes in commercial and residential roofing, particularly HOA (homeowner association) communities, apartment and industrial and commercial buildings. The company also provides round-the-clock emergency repair service.
The company also provides philanthropy within the community. In 2012, ARS started a program that donates 1 percent of every reroof and gutter replacement to the school or college of their client’s choice
In 2013, Hanke founded The Lime Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that advocates for the disadvantaged by offering programs that provide housing repair and vocational training to those in need.
The Lime Foundation also runs a vocational program which offers home repair services and specifically roofing to the underserved, which allowing seniors, veterans, the disabled and low income families to stay in their own homes.
Another program within the Foundation is The Turner Arts Initiative, designed to bring positive, structured activities to disadvantaged youth, while preventing or reducing negative influences such as substance abuse, teen pregnancy, truancy, obesity, and bullying. Youth participants learn new technology, musical instruments, and use music and dance as a means of expression.
The Lime Foundation also includes a senior activities program designed to provide a venue for seniors to remain active and create new friends. The program promotes healthy eating, exercise through dance, bowling, hiking and many other activities in order to prevent or reverse heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Hanke is currently the president of the North Bay Black Chamber of Commerce, which serves Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Lake Counties, and serves as vice president of the California Black Council of Chambers, which encompasses 19 Black Chambers throughout California.
Hanke was awarded the Business of the Year award from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2014, a Women in Business award from the Business Journal this year and in 2008 earned a Spirit of Sonoma honor.