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Coffee Conversations - Celebrating Female Veterans in Roofing - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

ABC - CC - Female Veterans - Watch now
November 21, 2021 at 9:54 a.m.

 

 

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an live interview with Elizabeth Evans, Mandy McItyre and Angelica Brager. You can read the interview below or watch/listen to the Coffee Conversations here.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Good morning, and welcome to Coffee Conversations from Roofers Coffee Shop. My name is Heidi Ellsworth. We are here today celebrating Veteran's Day. So before I say anything else, I just want to say thank you to all of the veterans out there who protect our country, who serve, who give us so much of our freedom, all of our freedom. And we are just honored today to be able to honor all the veterans who not just in roofing, but everywhere. So thank you so much. And Coffee Conversations, we like to do things a little bit different as you all know. In fact, before we get too far into it, I want to also do a shout out to Midwest Roofing Contractors Association who just awarded Coffee Conversations the Innovation Award yesterday at their show. So [inaudible 00:01:00] of folks still at the MRCA show. You guys are awesome. It's a great show if you want to get on to see what they're doing. There's so much going on there.

Heidi Ellsworth:
And so this Coffee Conversations, we're bringing together a group of ladies, women, two amazing veterans who are now in roofing and doing amazing roofing careers. We want to talk about that today. And we're going to talk about how this whole initiative, reaching out and the future of it, is going. So let's get started.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Before we go too far, I want to thank our sponsor, ABC Supply. ABC Supply has been amazing. Well, we'll talk about this a little bit at the end, but they support Home For Our Troops. They are very strong on hiring and supporting veterans and they are also a great, great supporter of obviously the roofing industry and Roofers Coffee Shop. So ABC Supply, thank you so much for sponsoring this very special addition of Coffee Conversations.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I would like to start out with introducing our panelists. I am really, really excited about this group today. And I think you all are going to be just blown away. Remember, this is being recorded and it will be available on demand afterwards. So be sure to share all this great information we talked about today. Also, this is a Q&A. We want your questions. We want to have interactions. So please use the chat if you like something you hear, if you want to ask a question, if you just want to make a comment. We really want that engagement.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So I'd like to start out with introducing our first guest, Elizabeth Evans, who is the owner of E2 Roofing out of Nashville, Tennessee. Elizabeth, I am so excited for you to be here. You are currently in the National Guard. You're a colonel. You have just had such a distinguished career. Can you please share with everybody an introduction about you and your story?

Elizabeth Evans:
Yeah, for sure. Thanks so much for having me, Heidi. This is going to be a great conversation. My company, actually, we take Veterans Day as a holiday. A lot of my employees are veterans, and so I want them to have this special day that their family and friends get to celebrate them. But they all said, "Oh, you're going to be on this podcast. We're signing in. This is going to be so cool." Hopefully. Shout out to the E2 team in Jacksonville and here in Nashville. Thanks for being with us.

Elizabeth Evans:
But a short story on me. I was recruited by West Point to play tennis. So once I figured out that West Point was the army, I went there for a visit and fell in love with the tradition. And always being an athletic person, it seemed very exciting, and along the way, fell in love with the army. And so, 21 years later, after about nine years active duty in the Balance, in the National Guard, I am a colonel, I command Camp Blanding Joint Training Center in Stark, Florida. So I split time between Nashville and Florida. I have companies, locations in both air.

Elizabeth Evans:
About four years ago, about four and a half years ago, hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys. And I led the recovery efforts for that with the National Guard. And just to see the devastation in the Keys, it really inspired me to say, "Hey, instead of working for other construction companies, why not start something of my own where I can employ veterans and serve people in their time of need?" And that's where E2 Roofing and Elizabeth Evans Custom Homes came to be. And so, we branched into Nashville, Tennessee about six months ago. My general manager in each location is a veteran and about 50% of my employees are veterans.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow.

Elizabeth Evans:
And so, we're really excited to serve the community and help people restore their home after significant weather events.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Elizabeth, that just kind of gives me chills. Wow. Thank you. That is so-

Elizabeth Evans:
It's amazing.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. I mean, we've been talking about this and I still am excited. Wow. That is so cool. I'm really excited for you to share more of this because I know there are tons of contractors and companies out there who are like, "We want to do that. We want to do that." So this is going to be a big part of this conversation today is, how can you bring more veterans into your business?

Elizabeth Evans:
Sure.

Heidi Ellsworth:
How can we get more veterans into roofing? Our next guest is Angelica Brager, and she is a senior estimator with Young Construction out of Iowa. She has been in the National Guard for 15 years. Angelica, welcome to the show. Please introduce yourself. Tell us your story.

Angelica Brager:
Well, like you said, I've been in the National Guard now for about 15 years. I've been very fortunate within my military career. I work in logistics, so I've started off in a maintenance unit and I was there for a couple of years. And then I went to a tracking unit for transportation. And then I kind of dabble a little bit with the instructor world in the military at the schoolhouse here in Camp Dodge. And shortly after that, I went on a deployment with the aviation unit and I did a tour in Iraq with them. There is just not enough to be said as far as what a soldier can bring to the roofing industry. It's just kind of instilled with us to have that teamwork and also have that leadership skills as well.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. And a little bit about what you're doing now?

Angelica Brager:
I'm with Young Construction. I've been here for about two years. I started off as the business development manager and I did the marketing. And then the opportunity, I came to grow within the company to be an estimator. So I work with the homeowners to help them process their claims with their insurance as far as being able to make sure that they're getting the coverage that they need.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Very cool. We're going to talk more about that too. Women in estimating, that's a barrier that we're breaking a lot. I love that, Angelica. That's very cool. And our last guest is an RCS influencer. Mandy McIntyre is just, as you all know out there, so inspirational. We've worked together on National Women in Roofing. Mandy is with 1st Choice out of Cleveland.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Mandy, I'd like you to introduce yourself. And then I'd really like you to talk about this initiative by National Women in Roofing and the DEI Committee on getting more veterans, really reaching out. Because when I saw this on Facebook, social media of course, I was just like, "Oh my gosh, Mandy, you are so dang smart. I'm calling you right now. Let's find out what's happening." So tell us the story and your story.

Mandy McIntyre:
Well, thank you. Thank you so much, Heidi, for putting this together. And thank you, Elizabeth and Angelica. I mean, well Veterans Day is near and dear to my heart because I come from a military family. My grandpa, dad, and my brother are all vets. So this is a big day for me. But just my story in roofing, I've been with 1st Choice Roofing for eight years now. I'm the operations officer here. I started just answering the phones and scheduling estimates, doing customer service. And that moved into project management and then production management, service manager. And today I'm involved with a little bit of everything here at our company. And I have fallen in love with the roofing industry. Never intended to do so, but I really did. And honestly, I think National Women in Roofing had a lot to do with that. Just meeting different women in the industry has really fueled my passion for this industry and for my career.

Mandy McIntyre:
And then with National Women in Roofing, with the DEI committee, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, we just really want to get the word out that there's diversity within diversity. So within the women in our industry, there's veterans, there's black women, there's Hispanic women. So we've been really trying to focus on who has been underrepresented or underconsidered to have that recognition that they deserve. So this month with Veterans Day, I was... Or we, I should say, the committee was like, "Women veterans in roofing, where are they? How do we attract them? How do we know who they are?" So I put the Facebook post out there, and Elizabeth and Angelica answered. It's such an honor to have them here today and to be involved with spreading that word of acknowledging female veterans especially in the roofing industry.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. I want to bring up these pictures because they're just great pictures that you guys sent over to us. What we found since the very beginning of National Women in Roofing is once we reach out, once we say, "Hey, we care. We want everybody ultra inclusiveness," it [inaudible 00:10:46] things that we've been. Some people don't know. "Yeah, I served" or "I did this" or "I did that" or "This is my family heritage." It's really made a huge difference. I would love to talk a little bit about that. Elizabeth, maybe I'll start with you. I know you talked to us about how you got into roofing. What have you seen in the roofing industry that is really... I mean, kind of fits with veterans? I mean, with 50% of your team as veterans, how do you see that overall connection?

Elizabeth Evans:
It's interesting because we do custom homes, we do renovations, and then the roofing division is the largest for our company. You think about construction, and it is a natural progression from the military because you're following a process. You're developing a standard operating procedure. You have things that come in sequence. You're leading a team. You're motivating people to do things that they wouldn't otherwise do if you weren't influencing them to do so. And so, the more that you can systemize your business or your process, veterans are extremely attracted to that because they like order. They like following rules and following guidelines. And the great thing for our customers is when we have veterans assigned to a project, they show up on time, they're clean, they're orderly, they're respectful. Yes, we're in the south. I mean, we say "Yes, sir" and "Yes, ma'am" to everyone, but a veteran does that no matter where they come from. And so it's just that extra touch.

Elizabeth Evans:
And it's also a connection point for us because there's so many of our homeowners that either serve themselves or have a relative that served. So it's immediately that connection point that they're connecting with you. And it gives a level of trust to the homeowner. I have a veteran, they innately respect a military service member. And that's the person that's taking care of my roof. So it just works great for us and it's like we have our own tribe, you know?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah.

Elizabeth Evans:
You're part of the E2 family. Whether you served or you knew someone or you were related to someone that served, you feel that sense of service being part of our team, which is what I love so much.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Well, I have to tell you, your team just did a shout out and they said, "E2 Jacksonville is here and we are so proud."

Elizabeth Evans:
They're awesome. They're awesome.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it. I love it. And I have to say Angelica, you also... [Kativa 00:13:11] said, "Lucky to have Angelica here in North Iowa. Such a powerhouse woman." You guys are already getting some shout outs. I love it. I love it. Thank you all for being on. Keep the comments coming. We really want those.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Angelica, what have you seen... I mean, making that shift and then being on the Reserve for so long and working... So two things. One, the shift from the army services into the private sector, and especially roofing, how did that go? Kind of following up on what Elizabeth was talking about. And then I kind of want to go back into that balance thing too.

Angelica Brager:
So going into that... I apologize. Can you repeat that question? [inaudible 00:13:50].

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, no, sorry. I kind of diluted that whole thing. How was the transit from coming out of the army services into like a tour of Iraq, everything, and then coming back and working in roofing and kind of getting into the roofing industry?

Angelica Brager:
I've been in the roofing industry for now two years. Something that I really enjoyed seeing and what the military is kind of going through too is that glass ceiling being broken for women. We're able to hold those leadership roles that at one point in time we weren't able to do that. And also... I apologize. It's breaking up.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Okay. Can you hear us now? Oh, okay. Don't worry. Angelica will be back. Megan's got her. And oh, I didn't mention. Megan Ellsworth is in the background chatting. I should have said that right upfront, but...

Heidi Ellsworth:
Elizabeth, one of the things that we had kind of talked about before that I think we talk about all the time, just with women overall we balance so many different things, but it's men and women balancing families, balancing the Reserves, balancing a business. How does that work for you to still be so involved? And like you said, half your time is in the Reserve, working in the Military Reserves, and then half the time in the business. How do you balance that?

Elizabeth Evans:
It's insane to be honest with you. Thank God for calendar. We have a family calendar that has the kids events. I've got my calendar with E2. I own another company, a mitigation company. So I've got calendar items with them.

Heidi Ellsworth:
[inaudible 00:15:33].

Elizabeth Evans:
As a colonel in the National Guard, I've got a separate phone, computer system, and calendar there too. And so it is a constant balance of the calendar. But one thing that my team does absolutely excellent is that because of my service in the National Guard, when a hurricane happens in Florida or a tornado in Nashville, I get activated, I'm gone.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow.

Elizabeth Evans:
And that's the time when my companies are the busiest. It is insanity, running a command center. They've got phones ringing, people calling "Need tarps. Need help." And so they're doing that. I'm on duty. I've got my military computer running, serving the citizens in the disaster. I've got my civilian computer running E2 and saying, "Oh my God, are they okay?" Touching base with them. Making sure everything's okay with them. And add the pandemic to that. So the pandemic happened. And on March 10th of last year, I get a phone call. "You need to report tomorrow and we don't know how long you're going to be here." And so I was gone from March 10th until June 26th of 2021.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Whoa.

Elizabeth Evans:
With no notice. Because from March to July of 2020, I was doing COVID duty, planning the response for that and executing it. And then they said, "Hey, you're going to go to the Joint War College in Norfolk, Virginia for a year." Okay. Gone for a year. So you talk about balance and your employees really stepping up and your family really stepping up and saying, "Hey, we're going to get through this," that's the thing about being a veteran and about continuing to serve. It's not you that's making the sacrifice. It's everyone around you that's constantly sacrificing to facilitate your ability to be successful.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's amazing. And talk about leadership. We've been having a lot of discussions lately about owners of roofing businesses and just overall in getting out of the way and really letting their teams go to that next level. So not on only have you allowed it, there's no choices when you're called.

Elizabeth Evans:
No. Yeah. Yeah, no, I mean, there's a lot of sacrifice. You have to have the right people on the team, right? If you don't have the right people that know this is going to happen... I've got an owner that she might not be here every day. I know I can call her. I know I can text her. And if there's a client that I'd really like her to meet, she'll be there, she'll make it happen. But day to day, I've got to do this on my own or we've got to do this on our own as a team. And each one of my employee steps up and does that.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. Wow. Angelica, welcome back.

Angelica Brager:
I'm back. Sorry. It started glitching out and I'm like, "Oh crap, I'm losing my connection." And then it was totally glitched out. So I apologize about that.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Well, you know what? If this would've been two years ago, I think everybody's so nervous two years ago, like, "Oh no, my connection." But now we're like, "Oh yeah, they would be back. It's no problem."

Angelica Brager:
It's a part of everyday life. We've been living in the Zoom world since 2020, the beginning of it.

Heidi Ellsworth:
We know. We know. So balance, so you are still active in the Reserve. You have your job and you're estimating. How are you balancing that? I mean, with Elizabeth, just how much she does is crazy.

Angelica Brager:
Yeah. I balance it honestly with a ton of support and to kind of have a plan to gauge off of, because like she said, we sacrifice a lot. My employer, I know, there are times that I'll have to be gone for weeks out of a time and someone will have to kind of have to fill into that place. Yeah, they might not be able to know the ins and outs of it, but somebody has to step in. The same thing for my kids and stuff like that. I do have two kids at home. I'm very fortunate to have that support to be able to allow to do what I do, because if it wasn't for the support, honestly I don't think I'd be able to serve because of the time commitment and the sacrifices that the other people around me have to make for me to be in the service.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Right. I'll mention what Elizabeth just said too. Do you find that your support system, they are very proud that you're doing this? I mean, because I know whether you're traveling on business or doing all these other things, family, you're always trying to juggle that, but there's kind of a whole new level with what you do.

Angelica Brager:
Yes. My employer is very proud to have... We have a couple of veterans on staff, to be able to support veterans as far as employing them. My kids are probably two of the most patriotic proud kids that you will see, that they have a mom that serves in the military.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's so cool. Kind of going back, Elizabeth, what is some of your advice to other employers? Much like what Angelica is talking about with her employer supporting veterans. I mean, how do you balance that? I mean, I don't know how much of your team is still in the Reserves, but with 50% of veterans, how do you balance that as a business owner?

Elizabeth Evans:
We had one employee a while back who is no longer with us, but he was still serving in the Guard. He was a Jumpmaster. He had this qualifications so he was constantly getting pulled out of work. And at this point, our employees that we have are no longer serving in the Guard and Reserve. It is a tough balance for an employer. There are a lot of support systems out there. There's a great program called ESGR, it's the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. And so that's a national organization that helps employers navigate the laws that protect soldiers from maintaining their employment, but also provides employers resources. And they also do great awards each year. They have a Patriot Award that they hand out to employers that are strong supporters of veterans. And they also help employers navigate the tax credits that exist out there.

Elizabeth Evans:
There's a significant tax credit if you hire a military veteran right out of the service. And so, they help kind of navigate those things. So there are great resources out there. It's just helping that employer that may not be familiar with understand how to navigate that and where to find the support to be able to employ more veterans.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Right. Angelica, you were nodding. Does Young Construction use the ESGR?

Angelica Brager:
Well, the ESGR Program is there for the soldiers to kind of help protect them and keep them knowledgeable in regards to whenever you are gone, like say, if I was to go on my deployment and come back and I wanted my old position back, they're there for that guidance for me to be able to bring to my employer saying, "Hey, these laws are in place" to protect me from losing that position." And it's also there to educate the employer themselves as far as how to have a soldier that is still active. What sort of rules and guidelines that they have to abide by? Because they do have to make the sacrifice and the company does suffer a little bit, but they're proud to have a veteran that's out there serving for our country.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, that's so cool.

Elizabeth Evans:
So

Heidi Ellsworth:
Go ahead. Yeah.

Elizabeth Evans:
Heidi, I'll just add to that. I started off earlier saying that I command Camp Blanding Joint Training Center down in Florida, which is a 76,000 acre base.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow.

Elizabeth Evans:
So it's kind of like being a mayor of a city. And one of the neat things that we do with ESGR is once a quarter, we reach out to the employers of Florida Guardsman and invite them to Camp Blanding for a day. We put them in a helicopter, give them an aerial tour of the base. We take them out to a firing range. We let them climb on the obstacle course. And so, it gives them an idea of what their guardsman goes through on a weekend or when they're away at training. And that's just one way we constantly try and connect our employers. That means so much to our guardsman. And allow them to see what they're doing when they're gone.

Heidi Ellsworth:
What kind of feedback do you get from those employers as they come in and kind of go through that? What do they say? Does it really get them motivated to do even more?

Elizabeth Evans:
It's kind of mind blowing for them because they're like, "Hold on a second. John Smith leaves work on Friday afternoon. He reports to his unit. They drive to Camp Blanding. They do all this training. He finishes up Sunday night and comes home. And then he's in my office Monday morning, like standing around the water cooler, 'How was your weekend? What'd you get into'?" and he's like, "Oh, I was rappelling out of a helicopter all week." [crosstalk 00:24:40]. And so, they're significantly impressed with the time commitment and the sacrifice that their soldier makes. They're quite proud of their soldier service when they get to see those events.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. So that's one of my questions, and I've heard this a lot. In fact, I was just talking to a couple veterans yesterday at the Midwest Show. And they're like, "There is a disconnect as people are transitioning out of the military and trying to find jobs." And here we are in the roofing industry and we're like, "We can't find any labor. We can't find skilled labor." And as you said, Elizabeth, this is perfect already. So much training with leadership and discipline and all of that. Where are we missing that connection of getting in front of folks who are either leaving or going to be coming out in Reserves? How do we connect the industry to that better?

Elizabeth Evans:
I have a couple ideas. We absolutely advertise that we are veteran owned and operated. So when we do job postings on Indeed or through our social media, we say, "If you're a veteran, we'd love to have you. This is a veteran organization." Now, if you're not a veteran, that's okay too. But sometimes veterans are drawn to civilian life where the people look, act, talk like them, right? Because that camaraderie, that group, is the one thing that people miss so much when they leave the military. They're not familiar with civilian life. So that's been helpful for us.

Elizabeth Evans:
There's also, because both Jacksonville and Nashville are vicinity of military bases, every military base has job fairs for transitioning soldiers. And there's different people you can connect with there, career counselors. Because whenever someone leaves the military, they go through a Transition Assistance Program where they help them write a resume and they help connect them with resources, et cetera. And so if you can get in front of those career counselors and say, "Hey, here's who I am. Here's my company. We'd love to open a booth at your next career fair" or whatever, those are just little things that you can do. And there's military bases all around the country.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Okay. Mandy, it sounds like National Women in Roofing may need to have a booth at some of these.

Mandy McIntyre:
Yes. Yes, I love that idea.

Heidi Ellsworth:
And talk up about the roofing and what we can do, Mandy, I kind of want to bring back that part of it too. So as you're looking from a DEI, but just more overall, one of our big goals is recruitment of women into roofing.

Mandy McIntyre:
Right.

Heidi Ellsworth:
What are some of the things that you're hearing and that we're hoping to be able to do to get more veterans?

Mandy McIntyre:
Well, since my brother is a veteran, I asked him when he got out of the service, like, "How did you find..." He works for the VA. But it's like, "How did you find your job? What did you do?" So he connected me with someone through the state with Veteran Affairs and job and family services. So I would advise any contractor to check with their state programs. Like the state of Ohio, you can be registered as a veteran friendly employer. They have these job boards and you can put different recruiting flyers or information out. That it's like a monthly email that gets sent out to any veteran that's looking for a job. So I would highly advise everybody to look into whatever your state offers as far as job and family services because I'm sure there's a Veteran Affairs program as well. So we have been starting to do that.

Mandy McIntyre:
We actually have in our office, one of our project managers is active with the Reserves. Elizabeth, how you were talking about the weekend drills, he'll give me his schedule, like, "Okay, I'm going to be gone. I'm going to have to leave this Friday and I'll be gone this weekend." To any other contractor who's wondering how that would work, it's seamless. You really don't miss a beat. Last summer he was gone for a while during the pandemic. And you know what? We just all pitched in as team, and it was fine. I don't want anyone to ever think that that is a discouragement to hiring a veteran, because it's really not. Or hiring someone whose active duty still. So yeah, definitely check with your state and then just advertise that you are a military friendly company. You understand the challenges and you are inclusive of that.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Yeah. I keep hearing... Again, it's surfacing again. Today when we were in the meetings, we were like, "Please, if you're a veteran stand up." And all these people stood up and I was like, "Wow, I didn't know he was a veteran." So I think like we've always talked about, just asking. Just at least talk about it.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Angelica, one of the things I'm really interested in too is, what would be some of your advice to employers out there who are looking to hire veterans in active duty? What's some of your advice to them?

Angelica Brager:
Some of my advice to them would be to go actively out and seek those, because they're all spread out through the community. Honestly, being a soldier and a veteran, I'm looking for a friendly employee aspect of it. We're looking for a culture that is going to allow us to still have those core values as a soldier, because whenever we do go out to training... Your first intern in that basic training, you're broken down to basically nothing. And then we are instilled with the core values as far as loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity. That just carries on through you in as far as coming over into my civilian lifestyle. So my advice to them would be to go out there and hire them. They're going to be probably one of the biggest assets to your team because we are always looking to leveling up, because in the military you're accountable to level up. So we're going to bring that to the table here. So "Yes, I'm here, but I'm also going to look at self development and leveling that."

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. How did you find roofing?

Mandy McIntyre:
I love that.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, I love that. How did you find roofing, Angelica?

Angelica Brager:
The way I found roofing is I was able to... I've always been sort of attracted to the industries where I feel comfortable because I've always worked in a male dominant sort of... I guess, it's like, from every female, there's like 1 to 10 ratio. So I've always felt more comfortable in a male dominant industry. I've worked in restoration and I've worked into roofing. That's where I kind of feel comfortable. So that's what attracted me to being more in the roofing industry.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's cool. Wow. I just [inaudible 00:32:32]. So one of the things that we wanted talk about too, because with a lot of the contractors, the company roofing companies that are on watching this right now and who will watch this in the future, I would love to hear a little bit, Elizabeth, on what are some of the things that you recommend companies do not just for their own employees in hiring veterans, but also for the community? When you look out into the larger community, are there some things, some ways that they should be looking at getting involved?

Elizabeth Evans:
Yeah, definitely. I had a great conversation with a friend that works for a veteran organization earlier this week. It was a great week for us here in Nashville because we had a veteran homeowner. He was in Vietnam. He had struggled with PTSD ever since he came back from there. And about a year and a half ago, he and his wife purchased a home and they were looking to refinance the house because it needed a new roof. Unfortunately, it was not damaged enough that the insurance company would cover and they couldn't afford to put the new roof on themselves. And so, we got involved with it and pulled in a couple other organizations. We put on a new roof for free on Tuesday.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow.

Elizabeth Evans:
And so it was an amazing thing to be part of. It wasn't a large roof. A modest home. But what it did for that veteran and his family was absolutely worth it. And so, E2 probably puts on 200 to 300 roofs a year. If we can take one a year and say, "Let's find that most deserving person that really has fallen on hard times" and help them with a free roof, then that's something I look for us to do moving forward.

Elizabeth Evans:
And so, not every roofing company is in a position to be able to do that, but there are other things that you can do. When I was talking to my friend [Lyle 00:34:23], he said, "You can volunteer with the USO. They do lunch for soldiers once a month." So for $250, you can just bring lunch to a group of soldiers and say, "Hey, this is from me too." That's something you can do. GAF has a great program for veteran homeowners to get a rebate back on their roof. Educating your homeowners on that and navigating that process for them so they get that money back on their free roof. There's a ton of things that you can do to get involved. It's just kind of looking out there and saying, "Hey, what can I do to help?"

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Yeah. And on Roofers Coffee Shop, we have our caught doing good. And I have to tell you, so many of those caught doing good stories are about roofing companies helping veterans and helping... especially just like what you did this week. So we need that story. We want to run it.

Elizabeth Evans:
Okay. Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth:
[crosstalk 00:35:16].

Elizabeth Evans:
I talked to my marketing team last night and approved the press release. So I think it's coming out today.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Good.

Elizabeth Evans:
I'm hopeful it's on the TV stations here in Nashville.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Perfect. Send it our way. We'll get it out there.

Elizabeth Evans:
Great news story.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it. Angelica, what are you seeing with Young in just overall in your community for veterans?

Angelica Brager:
We also do the Veterans Roof Rescue. This year was our first year doing it. It was a huge success. We were able to help a local veteran here. And that was something that our company really enjoyed doing. It's going out and seeking that.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. I tell you, it's so good for the company culture overall, when you do what you're talking about. When you're doing those kind of things, it just builds... It's a beautiful thing for the community, but it's also a beautiful thing for employees to be able to be a part of that.

Angelica Brager:
It is. And then they get to hear other veterans stories. It's very humbling.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. I want to encourage everybody. If you have questions, please put them in because I see a lot of you out there. This is your chance. If you're looking to try to level up your game at your roofing company with really including veterans, these are the ladies to ask those kind of questions.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I'm kind of switching gears here. I have so many questions going my head. I feel little bit like all over the place, but one of the things that I hear from a lot of different people is, there is a transition between coming out of the military and going to work and working in the private sector where there's not as much discipline or possibly organization or process. Elizabeth, maybe you can start with that. As some of our roofing companies are hiring veterans that maybe they need to have some things top of mind, that might be a little challenging at first once they get going.

Elizabeth Evans:
You know, it's really interesting. I met with a homeowner here in Nashville a week ago, maybe 10 days ago. She was really intrigued by our story, that we're a veteran owned, woman owned, veteran employees, et cetera. And she said, "Now, how do you deal with your veteran employees since they all have PTSD?" And I was like, "That's a misnomer," right?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah.

Elizabeth Evans:
We came out of over almost two decades of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, all of us have been there. It's something to be sensitive too. You don't know who's struggling with something underneath the surface, right? But it's also you don't make the assumption that everyone is struggling with it, right?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah.

Elizabeth Evans:
So there's different things that a veteran misses, and most of it is that connection, that camaraderie, and that things are organized. So in the military, if I tell somebody to be at someplace at 10:00 AM, they're going to be there at 9:50, right? If you're dealing with a subcontractor or a supplier or a homeowner and you say, "Hey, I'm going to be there at 10:00 and they show up at 9:50 and the subcontractor doesn't show up, supplier is late, homeowner forgot that they had an appointment, the veteran gets very frustrated, like, "I do this. Why don't you?" And so that's something I'm working with my general manager here in Nashville on. He came out after 26 years of service in the Active Army.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow.

Elizabeth Evans:
He was a very decorated Command Sergeant Major, ranger, all the who of things. And it is taking him a transition period to realize that civilians are not soldiers. But he's transitioning through it. And so I'm working with him on it. But that's something that I would say to other employers, especially if the only thing the veteran has known is active duty service and they're coming to you right after that, then as much as you can focus that person on being process-oriented and set expectations high for them and show them that if they exceed those expectations there's an opportunity to move up, they'll challenge themselves and they will impress you more than you expect.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. And I would think because you understand and as the employer, you're able to work through this. But for companies that maybe do not understand that at the highest leadership levels, that can be really challenging.

Elizabeth Evans:
Absolutely. But that's where you have employees like Angelica and other veterans on your staff to tap into that resource. "Hey, we're hiring another veteran." Whether it's a mentorship program you're partnering up, right? This is your sponsor for the first six months that you're with the company. That's somebody that's already going to talk their language, that understands their mindset, where they're coming from. That could be a resource. And much larger companies definitely do that. You look at Citibank or USAA. Some of these larger companies, they all have micro networks of veterans. So even for a small business, like I consider us a small business, having that network or those people that you can tap into and partner up with is going to help that veteran transition that much quicker.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is great advice. I do want to just read one thing that came in from Lynn Johnston out of Florida also. I don't know if you know her, Elizabeth, but she says, "Wow, what a great lady Elizabeth is. To handle all that is remarkable." So this was from earlier on when you were talking about all the different things that you're working on. Lynne is an amazing lady, too. She was on Coffee Conversations a while ago. So thank you, Lynne, for sending that. We also had-

Elizabeth Evans:
And I'm sure...

Heidi Ellsworth:
Oh, go ahead.

Elizabeth Evans:
No, I was just going to say, I'm sure Lynne very distinctly remember hurricane Irma as well.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah.

Elizabeth Evans:
It hit all of Florida.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Yeah. We were down there after that and saw it. It blew my mind. It was crazy. Before we get off of this topic, I do want to go, Angelica, kind of the same thing. That transition from the military into private sector and that mentorship, I love that. Such a great thing. Have you been seeing that with, first, your transition back into civilian and also helping others?

Angelica Brager:
Well, I kind of have to balance that because I do still serve and I am working, but everybody here knows that I like a system. And it helps me. It grooves. It makes me feel good to know that there's something in place to kind of have accountability.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Did you have that conversation with the management and different folks kind of talking through that?

Angelica Brager:
Yes. And if there is in a system, I like to try to have something in place to kind of put my mind at ease to know that it's going to get taken care of in a timely manner.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. I love that.

Elizabeth Evans:
I mean, it's such a good point, Angelica, because I hired a new general manager in Jacksonville several months back. And he came in. He's a Navy veteran, and he is like, "All right. My first task is I am going to have written SOPs for everything. Process maps." So every month I'm getting a new process map that he's mapping out because he wants to make sure that as we continue to grow and expand, everybody has a process to follow. And I'm like, "This is perfect. This is exactly what I love to see." I think Angelica probably has the best macros anyone's ever seen, an exactimate, wanting to have the best system in place.

Angelica Brager:
Yeah. When I came in as a business development manager here, that role wasn't here, but you kind of build your own SOP so that when the next person comes in, they can fill in that spot. It's not like there's a ton of training behind it because there is that standing operating procedure that's kind of built there for the foundation for someone else to follow and fill in.

Elizabeth Evans:
Absolutely.

Heidi Ellsworth:
And to Elizabeth's point earlier on, then that puts you in a position to move up.

Angelica Brager:
Right. Yes. You're leveling up. You're always looking at that next level.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. We talk a lot about that in culture. People will say, "Oh, it's all about the pay or it's all about the benefits." But what I'm hearing both of you saying is for someone who's been in the military and now is there, it's also about the challenge, the opportunity for growth to go to that next level. That's a huge thing that employers should be talking about when they're recruiting, and in retention.

Elizabeth Evans:
Absolutely. Absolutely. Any company is going to expand over time, right? And I always want to expand from my internal nucleus. I've got my core group of people. Let's educate them, empower them, provide them the training that they need, the exposure that they need so they move up and then we're filling with new people underneath them. I kind of made it a charge to myself this year, I said, "Okay, last year we invested in brand new vehicles and get them wrapped and make them look good and people are driving around town." I said, "This year, my investment's going to be in my people. What training can I bring to them?" Because I have some of my managers that are like, "Should I go get my master's degree? Should I get my MBA? How am I going to balance that while working full-time and having young kids at home?"

Elizabeth Evans:
And so, I partnered with an organization called Crestcom, which is a leadership and management development company. And so, now my senior leadership is going through on a... It's a 12 month long program where they're target focused on, "How do you multitask? How do you mentor and develop employees?" All of these things where they do a round table once a month with other business leadership. And then they do private coaching sessions. And I'm like, "That's what we're going to do. We're going to invest in our people so that we can grow this organization from within."

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is cool. Angelica, do you find that same thing? Is this like the continuing education, constantly finding those things?

Angelica Brager:
Yep. Self development. I'm like, "Feed me. Feed me. Feed me training." If there's a big training coming up, I want to learn. I want to know more. I want to be good at what I do and also be looking at my future of where can I grow and how am I going to go to the next level.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I hope everyone is hearing this. This is stuff that doesn't always get... I don't think it gets messaged well. And this is excellent. Mandy, this is something too to think about, right, with [inaudible 00:45:26].

Mandy McIntyre:
Oh my gosh. I'm jumping up and down inside listening to Angelica and Elizabeth talk, because hearing the word like SOP, company culture, core values, we have those here at 1st Choice Roofing. I mean, we're very SOP centric. We have our core values. We try to make a very strong company culture. I think that is one of the biggest takeaways any contractor can get from this webinar, is how important that is to your overall operations. And so I think they're clearly demonstrating that the more... If you have a veteran in your company, how much better your company's going to operate?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Right.

Mandy McIntyre:
I mean, it's just like, yes, yes, yes to everything they say. I mean, really, I hope everyone's taking notes because it's great advice that every company should be doing. They should be having these procedures.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yes. Yes. I'm telling you right now we need these ladies at National Women in Roofing Day.

Mandy McIntyre:
Yes.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I'm already getting need to send the note out. So be careful you two. You're going to get... All right. Okay. We have some questions. I don't want to miss them here. One of the questions was, "Is there any way commercial roofing could assist in these volunteer efforts?" So when they're trying to find veterans, if they're doing mostly commercial, what are some of your thoughts on that? Elizabeth, maybe we start with you.

Elizabeth Evans:
Yeah, I think it's probably on the commercial side because the different government organizations are constrained by the FAR, which is the Federal Acquisition Regulation. So any of that commercial work is going to have to be... The government can't accept things for free, right? So it has to be bid out. But they need quality contractors that bid on their work because it's all low bid. So a lot of times when the military is looking to put a new roof on a facility, it goes to the lowest bidder, which isn't necessarily the highest quality.

Elizabeth Evans:
So getting your registration done with SAM, the System for Award Management, it's a challenging process, but getting it done so that you can bid on those commercial opportunities for the military, you're helping even though it's not a donation. But then there's certain things that you can do once you're already there on base. You can do those things like volunteering with the USO and providing lunch for soldiers and getting engaged in that's system. But that really on the commercial side, it would be what can you do within the community to support veterans that might not be putting a new roof on someone's home, but it's you contributing towards veterans within the community.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I would also recommend to look to some of your residential partners, some of the residential roofing contractors in that same community, and reach out to them and say, "Hey, we want to help you. We can send people over to help or to get involved" because sometimes you find that network and get... I mean, even across the board in the associations, but even in the councils. Look out to your National Women in Roofing councils because they may be able to get you involved that way too.

Elizabeth Evans:
Absolutely.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I just want to read a couple of these because they're just so nice. So Elizabeth had to leave. This is another Elizabeth. But she said, "This was a great webinar. Have to hop off for a client meeting, but I am so thankful for all of your service and example. All you ladies have a great day." It's just awesome. And then Lynn Johnston came back and said, "Yes, I do remember Irma and even all the way back to Andrew."

Elizabeth Evans:
Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I actually remember Andrew also. "Lots of love and thanks from the Memphis area." And then another question that just came in is, "Will you share a list of veteran resources for, one, recruiting, and two, volunteer opportunities?" Maybe that is something we can work with... Angelica and Elizabeth and Mandy, we can all work on maybe putting something together and we can get that on the site with resources that you recommend. Megan's been putting a lot of them out in the chat, but we can definitely work on that.

Elizabeth Evans:
Absolutely. And just to tie to that, every state has a National Guard, right?

Angelica Brager:
Yep.

Elizabeth Evans:
In Angelica in Iowa, and myself in Florida. Each National Guard has people on staff at the headquarters that specifically work with employers and facilitate job boards and postings for actively serving guardsmen. So that's another resource we can add as well.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, that would be great. Because I mean, everyone's looking for skilled labor and just everything you've said today shows this is the ultimate resource for the roofing industry, you know?

Elizabeth Evans:
Absolutely. Absolutely. And generally, somebody that's serving is fit, and like we talked about before the show today, are generally not scared of heights because the military will [crosstalk 00:50:07] you of that very quickly during base training.

Angelica Brager:
Right.

Heidi Ellsworth:
You got to share that story. Share that story.

Elizabeth Evans:
Oh gosh, it's so embarrassing. I show up at West Point. In our freshman year you're called a plebe. You had to take swimming class, which for me, I grew up a swimmer so that was no issue. But then one day they said, "Okay, well we're going to go up to the 10-meter board, the high dive. You're going to have all your military gear on. And you have to jump off, land in the water, hopefully, and swim to the other side with all your military gear on." And I am shaking like a leaf. I was like, "There is no way that I am going to go home because I got kicked out of West Point because I couldn't jump off the diving board." And so, I conquered the fear right there and pushed through that. But there's definitely been some times at some heights that I've been a little bit shaky, but it's certainly helped me out with my roofing career that that's not an issue anymore.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Well, if you're rappelling out of helicopters too, that probably helps a little bit.

Elizabeth Evans:
Yeah, that helps.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Angelica, kind of along that same lines. What are some of the things that you think you learned in the military? I know we talked about SOPs and stuff, but like scared of heights. Or the things that are kind of in roofing that scare a lot of people, what are some of the things that kind of made it just a natural for you?

Angelica Brager:
The heights thing, that is something that you can definitely get over if you're rappelling towers, you're up in Chinooks, things like that. So that's definitely not... Well, I can't speak for every veteran, but it's something that you learn to overcome. Those little fears, you learn to overcome those things. Like how Elizabeth was saying, you're not going to go home or you're not going to quit this over just this one thing. So you quickly learn to overcome any sort of little fear to stop you from doing something.

Elizabeth Evans:
Which I'll kind of add to that, Angelica. Sometimes Florida is hot, right? So you think about roofing in Florida in the summertime. And I've been up on a roof and guys are tired and this and that. I'm like, "It's not Baghdad. It's not that hot. It's hot, but it's not Baghdad."

Angelica Brager:
You don't know 130 degree hot [crosstalk 00:52:23].

Elizabeth Evans:
Yeah, you don't know heat. You're fine. Drink more water.

Angelica Brager:
Yeah, drink water. You'll be fine. You'll be fine.

Elizabeth Evans:
You're fine.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Okay. I think this is my favorite part so far. It does put a real sense of reality around everything, you know?

Elizabeth Evans:
Right.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. Okay, we're coming up to the end. And if you have any questions, please get them out there. We'll be sharing all this information. But I'd like to kind of wrap this up with... And I'm going to start with you, Angelica. Just again, what are some of the top takeaways that you would share with other roofing companies on, one, recruiting, and two, working with veterans? What are some of the things that you would, just to kind of wrap it up, say to them?

Angelica Brager:
As far as recruiting, every major city usually has an armory, not even major. There's a local armory. Reach out to the Readiness NCOs there and let them know that you're hiring and actively seeking veterans. They'd be more than happy to put it out to their troops, that, "Hey, we have a veteran supporting company here that is looking to hire a veteran." So that would be a huge step for them to take, is to reach out to their local armies.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Perfect. Have you, besides obviously the two of you meeting through this, how many other women veterans have you talked to in who are in roofing?

Angelica Brager:
Honestly, this would be the first, because I haven't gone out and asked [inaudible 00:54:05] other women that I have met are at the conferences and stuff. Just recently within this last year, I've been able to actually go to conferences since now it's safer for us to go out and see people.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Well, its-

Angelica Brager:
But I'm very honored to meet you, Elizabeth. You seem like an amazing leader. Your troops are very lucky to have you as a leader and also your employees.

Elizabeth Evans:
Oh, thank you so much. The feeling's mutual. If your employer wasn't on, I'd tell you, "Hey, Florida and Nashville are a great place to live. We need to talk" but it sounds like you're at a great company so I'm not going to say that.

Heidi Ellsworth:
They're like, "Oh no." Elizabeth, same thing. First, I want to ask. Do you know any other, because I saw you kind of going "No, not really", other women veterans in roofing?

Elizabeth Evans:
No, I don't. I don't. I read a statistic once from the National Association of Home Builders that said 5% of licensed contractors nationwide are women, right? And so then if you peel that onion back even further in how many are in the roofing industry, in the city of Jacksonville there's only one other woman roofer that I know. And Jacksonville has a million people that live there.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Right.

Elizabeth Evans:
I don't know another woman roofer in Nashville. So the demographic is very, very small. It's a great network though for us to tap into, not just veteran women in roofing, but women in roofing. And so I'm super excited to be part of this. But you asked how does an employer maybe recruit veterans, et cetera. I would emphasize the values, the values of your company. Because if have values that are similar to the military values that Angelica listed off before, that's going to resonate with a veteran.

Elizabeth Evans:
It's not about the money, you know? Yeah. Money's part of it. You have to make a living and provide for your family, but you want to be part of an organization that's similar to your values. And innately anyone that serves in our military, it's a career of service. And what is roofing in construction, especially residential? It's a career of service. We are providing a service to a homeowner.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah.

Elizabeth Evans:
And so drawing those parallels is what is going to resonate with a veteran that says, "Yeah, I want to do this and not do Amazon." Not that Amazon's a bad company, right?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah.

Elizabeth Evans:
Amazon's great. But just in parallel, you're providing a service. And so, I think that would be very helpful for an employer.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I think that's amazing. I hope everybody's taking notes as Mandy said. Mandy, well, I just want to know. Jennifer Stone just came on, our past chair of National Women in Roofing, and she said, "Thank you, ladies. This sparks ideas for us all to find additional support opportunities. You're all representing powerfully." So again, another, thank you. I'm hoping that both of you will come to National Women in Roofing Day. It's going to be in New Orleans.

Mandy McIntyre:
Yes, please.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yes.

Elizabeth Evans:
Hey, yeah, there's no argument there. My sister lives in New Orleans.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Perfect.

Elizabeth Evans:
So all ways and excuse to go spend time with her, I'm all in.

Heidi Ellsworth:
And I'm going to put out there to Michelle and Renee and Jennifer and Anna and Jennifer, all the ladies on the executive team and who's working on National Women in Roofing Day, these two ladies right here, we need to have them speak and share their stories in New Orleans hopefully. I'll probably be in trouble now, but I'm always in trouble. So it's all right.

Heidi Ellsworth:
And then, I just want to say, [Lian Slatherday 00:57:34] also, "Great webinar! Thanks for your service as well as for any other veterans attending." And finally Beth said, "This is awesome. Thank you for your service. Thank you for providing such great information. It's great to connect with women in the roofing industry and women veterans." I mean, they're just flying in right now saying "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your service and thank you for being here today." I mean, I know you've inspired me. Mandy, you feel the same?

Mandy McIntyre:
Oh, I'm jacked right now. I can tell you that. Seriously, I have so many ideas. Yeah, this has been awesome. And I think it's really... I'm hoping it inspires everyone to like, we have to do more to support and to recruit and to acknowledge and honor, especially women veterans. I mean, I think a lot of people automatically assume you picture the guy in the uniform with his gun and it's like, no, times are different now. There are plenty of women veterans that need the recognition they deserve. So thank you.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yes. Thank you.

Elizabeth Evans:
Absolutely.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you so much.

Elizabeth Evans:
Heidi, if I could just add one thing.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yes.

Elizabeth Evans:
You started the conversation today with Homes For Our Troops.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yes.

Elizabeth Evans:
I was fortunate enough to build a home for a service member through Homes For Our Troops two years ago in Jacksonville. And it is an outstanding organization. I would love to build another home for another troop whether that's Nashville or Jacksonville. But if you're a roofer out there, connect with that organization. They'll connect you with who the builder is in your area. That's a great way to give back as well.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you so much, Elizabeth, because this is an organization that ABC Supply supports huge. And the fact that you were involved within that... And I didn't even know that because this was one of the things that I was trying to look for people who were involved with Homes For Our Troops. So again, another great resource to get involved. Thank you all, ladies. Thank you for your service. Thank you for being here and inspiring us so much today, and for what you're giving back to the roofing industry. It's just incredible. So thank you. And thank you, Mandy, for bringing us all together.

Mandy McIntyre:
Thank you.

Angelica Brager:
I really appreciate all of your guys' support, supporting all of our troops, and also the opportunity that you provided here today.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's awesome. Awesome.

Elizabeth Evans:
Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much. And Angelica, it's great to meet you. I hope we stay connected.

Angelica Brager:
Yes, let's connect after this, ma'am.

Elizabeth Evans:
All right.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Oh, once we connect, you guys, you're in trouble because I'm going to be reaching out to you all the time too, and so is Mandy. We're together now.

Elizabeth Evans:
Well, good.

Mandy McIntyre:
Yeah, you're stuck with us now.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it. I love it.

Elizabeth Evans:
Love it.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Well, I want to thank everybody again and I want to thank ABC Supply. I mean, what a great episode to sponsor, and they are so committed to Homes For Our Troops. So again, Elizabeth knows about that. So if you have questions, just keep them coming to us. We'll connect everybody through there.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I do want to say we're just on this train of feeling good on Coffee Conversations because on December 2nd, Trent Cotney is going to be on the show. He is matching foundations in the roofing industry again for a day of giving in roofing. So we're going to have representatives from Western States, from Florida, from Chicago and from the Roofing Alliance, talking about what foundations are doing in roofing to help to grow the professionalism, to get more people involved, to just give back. And Trent Cotney, if you all don't know him, Elizabeth, Trenton, Tampa, right in kind of your area, I guess, around there.

Elizabeth Evans:
Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So, great thing. Please join us December 2nd. And I'm going to say bring your wallet because Trent's going to be matching every dollar that's given that day, which is... Not every dollar, up to a certain limit, but it's going to be great. So join us on December 2nd. And again, I just want to thank everybody for being here today. This has been so amazing. And I want to thank all of you for watching. Coffee Conversations is here for you. It's here for the industry so that we continue to have these conversations and bring new things out. And we will see you in a couple weeks. Have a great day.

Elizabeth Evans:
Thank you.

Mandy McIntyre:
Thank you.

Angelica Brager:
Thank you.



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