Recently Bob Contraguerro Jr. was featured in the State Journal’s annual 40 Under 40 award for his achievement at Panhandle CR. The award highlights individuals under 40 in West Virginia who have shown leadership in their communities. This includes those who have started their own businesses, helped other companies grow, and provided valuable service to community organizations that help transform the lives of others.

Bob Jr. was featured as one of the individuals honored by this Generation Next recognition for his dedication to the success of Panhandle CR over the past 10 years. Bob began working alongside his father at Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration when he was a boy. By the time he entered high school, Bob exhibited a determination to learn everything he could about the business. As he says, “this was my first paying job. As a high school student, I went out and actually learned the business from the ground up.” This dedication led Bob to continue working at Panhandle through college and eventually work his way up through the company to the position he has today as Company Vice President.

His achievements at Panhandle go beyond his years of experience at the company. Bob Jr. was the youngest ever Certified Restorer at age 22. He also became the youngest mold professional at 22 and was a member of the first graduating class of mold specialists at the same age. In an industry that is rapidly transitioning to more scientific and specialized cleanup and restoration methods, having a certified restoration specialist leading Panhandle really sets the company apart in terms of commitment to service and industry expertise.

“Restoration has become a lot different than it used to be…it’s more scientific now and there are a lot of skills and training. That’s what sets our company apart and has allowed us to grow in the last 10-15 years.” Because of this, says Bob, Panhandle is one company that is constantly working to achieve more expertise in the industry by sending people out to take courses and earn certifications. He says, “we fly all over the country to do our courses.”

Of course the biggest measure of success for Bob and the company go beyond state recognition and awards. Discussing what he loves most about the business, Bob said, “there’s really a gratification of seeing customers and seeing the entire process of putting their life back on track, getting their house back or cleaned after a fire…I like seeing it from beginning to end and seeing what they get back that they thought they lost forever.”