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Coffee Conversations - Let's Talk Non-Traditional Recruitment - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

Coffee Conversations - Wendy - Post Show
April 30, 2021 at 11:00 a.m.

 

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Wendy Marvin, CEO and owner of Matrix Roofing. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Good morning, and welcome to Coffee Conversations. My name is Heidi Ellsworth. This is part of RoofersCoffeeShop. You have to see, I am pretty excited about things this morning because I've got my friend, Wendy Marvin, here. Good morning, Wendy.

Wendy Marvin:
Good morning, Heidi. So nice to be here with you.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I know. We got coffee going, we're ready.

Wendy Marvin:
Got it.

Heidi Ellsworth:
This Coffee Conversations going to be on, as it should be, nontraditional, with you and I visiting. It's also about recruitment. Before we get started, so everyone knows, this is being recorded. It will be available on demand later on today. You can share it with anyone out there. We want you to engage. This is going to be all about brainstorming, Wendy is going to share some of the things that she's doing, and then we're going to be bringing people on with questions and ideas. We're going to get to that, about the ideas part here in just two seconds.

I want to make sure that you understand. In the control panel to your right, I guess it's to the right, wherever it is on your screen, you're going to please ask questions. We've got Megan Ellsworth in the background. She's going to be chatting with everybody and bringing you on to the show, so you can ask questions. Remember, do you want to come on video? Great. If you only want to do audio, that's awesome. If you just want to write your questions in there and have me ask them, we can do that too. Whatever your comfort zone is, at 6:00 in the morning, Pacific Time.

Wendy Marvin is the owner of Matrix Roofing out of Vancouver, Washington. We're both on the 6:00 schedule this morning, which is ... Thank you, Wendy for doing that. Wendy is also on the board of Western States. She is very involved with national women and roofing with RCAW and RT3.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wendy, welcome to the show.

Wendy Marvin:
Thank you. Thank you. Great to be here, appreciate you having me.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Well, this whole thing started, this Coffee Conversations started when you and I were visiting about recruitment, and how we're a little tired of talking about it, and not doing anything about it. The only way we really can continue to take this initiative of getting more people, and I'm going to say people, because we need, overall, across the board, more people into roofing. We need to start sharing some of our thoughts. We need to share what we're doing and what's working. That's why I was just like you're doing such amazing things. I would love for you to share with everybody, we've got some slides here, we'll have the links and some of the resources. Let's just start off with that. Maybe talk about your company, and what you're doing on recruiting.

Wendy Marvin:
Oh my goodness, that's a lot. I have a roofing company. We were around 13 years, and we're facing a lot of the same things that a lot of people are facing right now. We're having a hard time recruiting roofers, we're having a hard time keeping roofers, we are dealing with things in the industry that are unprecedented. All of us are facing this pandemic stuff and trying to figure out how to swim through jello and herd cats and all the other funny euphemisms we're using. It's like it's just we've never been here before. We've been in a lot of conversations over the years.

You and I have, and then I have in other industry places, not just construction, just talking about, how do you bring people to the table? How do you get the right people in your company? We've really gone outside the box. I think that that's what really sparked you and I to start to have this is, first and foremost, I'm willing to talk about it. I'm going to give you resources from the state of Washington and all the other contractors from the state of Washington are going to be able to look at those resources. I don't care, because I really just want to help us lift the industry up.

I think that that's one of the places where you come from, Heidi, that I've always respected and definitely a place that I believe in, is just you got to give back. An industry who holds things so tight and just doesn't share and doesn't support each other, it's just not as successful as one that really lifts everybody up. We've got a great community that does that in general. You mentioned being frustrated about people not getting things done. It's like that stuff, that these things aren't moving fast enough. You and I are both grassroots people. It's like, if it's not moving fast enough, let's find a way to kick it in the butt. That's what I think we're trying to do.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Wendy, that's what I've loved. Because you've really taken it to that next level on a local basis of getting involved. You said something this week that I absolutely love, you said, "I'll share everything I'm doing because this takes years, this takes time to get involved." Some of the ideas that you're going to be talking about today, just so everybody out there listening, this is not a quick fix. There may be are a few quick fixes out there, I haven't seen a whole lot.

This is something that we went for so many years with telling our kids to go to college and not supporting the trades, taking shop out of the schools, all those different things. This is going to take that same amount of time getting back involved. Maybe let's start off, let's go. Megan will split the slide. Let's talk about some of the things that you're doing, especially with Washington Workforce.

Wendy Marvin:
Okay. The story all starts with the fact that we've been involved with our community. I think that we get caught up in an industry of, excuse me, construction, where we start thinking about ourselves as contractors and that has stigmas and things attached to it and stuff. Bigger than life is to just be out there talking to other business owners. Doesn't matter what you do. You're a business owner. We work with people who do skincare, and we work with people who own coffee shops, and we work with people who run the local PepsiCo distribution center.

Businesses, businesses, business, and if you can get your mind wrapped around that, then you can start engaging in the community. For me, it started grassroots level as really being involved in the chamber, our local business chamber. Then I got involved in volunteering, then I got involved in being on some local boards, and then the Workforce Southwest Washington group came to us because one of my directors is a similar minded person. She is on the board of Workforce Southwest Washington has met these people.
When we started really having some in-depth conversations about ... We're just running into brick walls everywhere we turn with traditional recruiting methods, with having your roofers talk to their family members. There's only so many cousins that we can hire. She brought that forward.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Or kids.

Wendy Marvin:
Yeah, right. She brought that forward, and so we started talking to. Well, then the pandemic hit. This group's got federal funds available to retrain workers who are in the field and are in an industry. Hospitality was really struggling for a long time. A lot of these people are looking to retrain and go into other industries. That was how we found them. We've met, we've done some planning with them. We've done some advertising with them. We've had a couple of recruits.

What ends up happening with the federal fund level is that when you hire one of their workers, they pay the wages of that worker for a period of time. Talk about a double-edged gift is, first and foremost, you've got somebody eager to learn and retrain. Secondly, you've got a break to be able to give somebody a chance that maybe isn't traditional for our industry.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's cool. A lot of stuff that what we're going to talk about, we're going to have these resources here. Wendy, you said to me, these kind of programs are in every state. It's just a matter of reaching out and finding out where it is and how to plug in.

Wendy Marvin:
Yup, yup, absolutely. All 50 states, all 51.

Heidi Ellsworth:
All 50, there [inaudible 00:08:45]. Okay. Then really looking at non-tradition, when we flip to this next group on ... This is really outside the box of getting involved out there and finding people.

Wendy Marvin:
Yeah. Met another person through EOCF with the Workforce Southwest Washington people. Just again, another person who knows a person, who knows a person, EOCF itself really doesn't do that kind of work. They don't supply workers and things. They've put us in touch with resources. Through somebody we met through EOCF, we met another group, and that's how we got plugged into Cascadia Tech, which is the local organization that helps. Even though EOCF is not necessarily the organization that could help us, it's a bridge.

People connecting people to each other is really what this is about. Now we are having never known about that group before. We're now getting ready to participate in a charitable fundraiser that they're doing. Now they've met a funder that maybe they didn't have before.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Like you just said or it started out with ... It's about community, getting involved in your community. How much do we talk about that? All the time. It just leads you from one thing to the next. Okay. One of my favorite things. I want you to tell ... This is actually where you and I met. For many reasons, I just love this, but ...

Wendy Marvin:
Just a couple of years ago.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Just a couple of years ago. The Oregon Tradeswomen, these kind of groups are across the country. They train and they bring in ... Free, at least in Oregon, it's free. They bring in young women, and they train them in the trades, so they can pick what they want to do, whether engineering, plumbing, electrical. Roofing wasn't really big with that. The National Women in Roofing of Southwest Washington, Oregon, tell them what you did, and that's where I met you. I love this so much.

Wendy Marvin:
Oh, it's so funny. The NWIR out of Oregon is actually the one that scheduled this, and I ended up volunteering with them. It was a ... Because this is more of an adult organization that retrains women, what they do is they have a trade fair every year, and they bring these students from these alternative schools who are in, basically, the construction trade things. They have a job fair. We had a table there. I'm pretty sure it was Stephanie from Bliss that got that one going for us. They had a job fair, and we manned a table there.

What was really fun is just to be there. I'm an owner, and I'm a unicorn in our industry anyway. When we were there talking with these young women from these trade schools, and they were from St. Helens and there were some from Washington as well that came in and everything. We met with them. Then what we did is we partnered with another organization where they were making ... It was a framing group and they were making birdhouses. We partnered with them and had them bring the birdhouses over and we roofed the birdhouse with them.

It's just a neat opportunity to just personalize an industry that people don't ... Everybody has this, like you think about roofers. We joke about plumbers, what do you think about guys bending over a plumber? Do you ever think about a woman doing a plumbing job? You don't. We think about women in roofing very, very rarely. It just was really cool to be in front of all those young people and having this huge fare. I mean, it's construction. They've got big construction vehicles in the parking lot that the kids get to get in and drive, and I don't know about drive. Can I just [inaudible 00:12:37] and then ...

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. They got to go up. They went up in the cranes and on the roofing union from Portland was there and they were doing heat welding and they were doing different types of ... They had flame. I mean, the girls were all over it. They loved it. I think setting those kind of examples, but when it goes back to recruitment, now you have how many? I know before COVID, that the Oregon Council did a couple times, and now you have all these girls out there seeing you, seeing Shelly from interstate who own roofing businesses, seeing other women who are working in the trade, and they're like, "I can do that," and so the long term strategy.

Wendy Marvin:
Consider the possibilities, is really what we're looking for, to just have them even have that on their radar is, hey, that might be something cool.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Now, one of the things that Wendy and I talked about before this is we want takeaways. We're not just talking we want takeaways. On this, if you check in with your National Women in Roofing Council, locally, they may already be doing some job fairs with young women or build camps. Or I know in Pennsylvania, they're doing let's build with young women. There's all kinds of things going on. If you Google this, which is what I did, you will find these trades women organizations all over the country.
It's an opportunity for you to get involved with them to bring roofing to their focus, because a lot of them do not have roofing. They have all the other trades, but not roofing. It's a great long term strategy to look through. Next, Megan, we have the ... Oh yeah, this one, we have women's build this coming up. This was one of yours things that Habitat ... Again, the whole giving back and Women's Ville. Wendy, how have you used this for recruiting?

Wendy Marvin:
Again, it's just the opportunity to meet people. The Women Build, in general ... The Habitat organization, just in general, I just love. It's a charitable organization, but it really engages the families that are receiving the homes. It really engages the community and gets them behind building these homes. Obviously, the way we started with them as they asked us for a donation. We've done five or six habitat houses now where we donate the labor, the materials donated, or sometimes we coordinate that. Then the next level is getting involved in the Women's Build.

Through the community that I have met, I met a woman in our area, Andy Costello, who was the chairman at the time of the Women's Build organization. I, honestly, have never joined them in the Women's Build. That's always hits on weird ... During Western States when we're out of town or something. I've never, honestly, been on site with them, but we've supported them. My people have been out there. It's just an amazing organization. Even in the events that they go for fundraising, we have at lunch or we've had a casino night, different things, the people who are working there are at these events.
They're like, I've seen you, you're that roofing lady, and what do you ... Oh my gosh, how's business and everything? I don't know. I don't apologize for being a roofer. You know what I mean? I still get the crap about, oh, you've been on a roof or whatever. It's like, yeah, I have. I'm a business owner, and I'm out there representing my business. I don't apologize for that. I think that's a different mentality.

You're out there. It's like if you're coming and you're new to an event, you're feeling like, oh, I'm just a construction company or I'm just a roofer, it's like you don't have to be that. You're a business owner, and you're inspiring people by being there and telling people the stories about what it's like to have a house that's leaking that you were able to help fix. In these instances, we get to talk to these young women or these women in general. Sometimes it's 60-plus-year-old ladies that are out there swinging a hammer for the first time and some of the stories we've heard about people that have spouses have passed away. They never had that experience. Now they're out there swinging hammers with their tool belt on. I just love that stuff.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I've heard from people across the country to, and like you said, at the beginning, it's not just about Women's Build, it's about Habitat for humanity overall, and that they have with their teams going out there and meeting people. I've heard people who have been sitting there working together, and this person next to him, they're like, "Hey, you're interested in a job?" They've hired. They've hired. They've gotten networked and found people who are already out there already working, who may have this love for the trades, and are interested in coming to work. Again ...

Wendy Marvin:
Yeah. Maybe they work at a dental office at the moment, but this is what they really love doing. They didn't even know they could consider it to be a career.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Now they can, yes.
I mean, they're always good, but we're trying to make it easier. I just want to remind everybody, we do have a couple questions coming in, we're going to get to those next. If you'd like to come online, talk to me again, and we'll get you set up as a panelist. If you want me just to read the question, we can. Please put your questions in here. We're going to have just a couple more slides on different ideas, and then we're going to start getting everybody coming on here and talking about things. Megan, next. Okay, this is the tech academy.

This is what you're talking about earlier. Just real quick, I'm going to put out there that this is what I'm hearing across the country also, from NRCA, from members everywhere, that they are getting involved in the vocational schools and the tech academy. How did this work for you, Wendy?

Wendy Marvin:
For people who don't know what these are, they've removed shop classes from the high schools. That came as the funding starts to go towards pushing people into college and doing those things. There isn't that much need, what's the general thing. Then it's that perception of like the kids that are interested in nontraditional schooling that aren't really thriving in a high school environment, that aren't really going to be those people that would want to go to college initially, there's a lot of them. There's a lot of them. Cascadia Tech is our local high school.

I wish I could do better at describing all of the different realms, but construction is just one facet of this. It preps kids for healthcare. It preps kids for construction. Some of the kids can graduate with a construction certificate. Most of the seniors that graduate at this school are already hired into local construction companies. Again, through work for Southwest Washington, we met the man that used to be a big part of this, and he's now the representative in the field. They ended up having a conversation with us.
We had to get on a waiting list last year in order to be considered for this next year's classes. When you talk about those long term strategies, we're really excited. Yes, we want to graduate. What's really cool about this, and I don't twist it around a little bit, but these kids graduate with not only the technical knowledge that you need for construction, they understand measuring, they understand blueprints, they understand that they have welding and plumbing and electrical and different tax that they can take. These kids are also skilled in life learning.

They have specific classes for how to meet and greet, how to make eye contact, how to shake somebody's hand professionally. I just interviewed a young lady from the Cascadia Tech a couple weeks ago with my director, Darcy, and this 17-year-old girl who's a first generation from, I think, her family was from the Ukraine area, first generation, stood up when we walked up to her, shook our hand, spoke to us like an adult. She was more poised than some of the adults that we've met in interview processes. It was crazy.
It's all a big part of this understanding, preparing them for the world is really what they're doing. The kids that graduate from this academy, graduate in general, with jobs in the $20 to $30 an hour range. It's an entry level job. They're not flipping burgers. They're skilled. Even if that particular line of work doesn't work for them, they're skilled and ready to go into a field of learning that is limitless, basically. Construction, you can go so many different ways. Cascadia is overflowing.

We've been on boards and meetings, and I'm not trying to bash anybody, but back to our point of grassroots. We've been on boards with the local colleges, this Cascadia Tech. Some of the local CREDC groups or economic development council groups, and whatever, and it's like, when you're working from the high level, the 10,000-foot level, the colleges interested in retraining kids to go to college. The Economic Development Council is retraining kids for their ... Everybody has their own version of what they want this to be.

I just want to get kids out into the field and have them consider construction. That meeting was the springboard for me reaching out to you about this whole concept. It's just like ... Because I went back to my person and I said, "How long has this been going on?" She goes, "Oh, they've been having these conversations for three-and-a-half years." I'm like, "Man, this is going on all over the world in terms of people are trying to find solutions, but we're caught in that bureaucracy that doesn't allow things to move like it should." One of the beautiful things is, how do you do it?

First, you get involved. You know what the program is. You start to get the people involved that are graduating from that in your company. Then we just do things like this. They start to give people to consider the resources.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I think, too, part of that is you are hiring. Even if you don't hire that person you just interviewed or maybe the next person, but you're hiring and you're giving them opportunities, and you're finding out what they're interested in. I've been seeing that a lot with mostly young women coming into the industry saying, I'm looking for a job, I'm interested in roofing, who do I talk to? Okay, here, do, do, do, do. Talk to all these people. That network of not just holding it tight, but sending it out and sending all these young people and older people who are wanting to do something different or have been in hospitality. I love what you're doing, Wendy. I think it's so important.

Wendy Marvin:
Thanks. Thanks. Yeah, so we've been really blessed. We've been very blessed.

Heidi Ellsworth:
We want to put some kudos out to our dear friend at RCAW.

Wendy Marvin:
Yeah. Along with the community involvement is you've got to get involved in your associations, your local associations. You mentioned I'm on the board of Western States, but Western States is regional. It's not just my state. Tracey's group for Washington, RCAW is with our state, and what's really cool about the pandemic is I feel like it really bubbled up the people who are interested, like you and I, more in helping people than they are in generating revenue. What happened during the pandemic when it first hit?
Tracey came out with just a boatload of free resources. Anything we can do to help you guys stay in business, because we were all just like deer in the headlights. None of us knew what was going on. Tracey came out ... Kottke Construction lawyers is another one that Trent's group came out. Trent saved us during a time when we had ... We were at Washington State, one of the few states that got locked down for construction. We were considered non-essential.

Because of Trent, I had letters in my vehicles showing the loopholes that allowed my guys to continue working during that time. That came directly from my membership in RT3 and RCAW and you and meeting those people. Sometimes it seems like it's a lot of money, but it is absolutely priceless to be plugged into these organizations. Again, when I need workers or I need something special, I reach out to you, I reach out to Tracey, I reach out to Western ... Where do you go? You go everywhere, because you never know where you're going to hook those people. I'm not just looking for a body, I'm looking for the right people for my company. That limits the pool even further. These are just great resources that you can't ... You just can't bypass.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Well, and every state organization out there is working on this, every local association is working on this. They have recruitment. They're working with the trade schools. They can help plug people in. Again, a long term strategy, but ... Some of them have just like RoofersCoffeeShop, and we're going to talk about this in a minute, have classified ads. I know Tracey did. I know RCAW. They just started some classified ads. What a great way to stay local right there in Washington and look for people. I am huge fan. Tracey, I know you're out there. Megan is going to be ...

Wendy Marvin:
Hi, Tracey.

Heidi Ellsworth:
... chatting you right now to see if you want to come on. I know it's 6:00 in Washington too. It's alright if you don't. Okay. Megan, now, of course the one that I get a little ...

Wendy Marvin:
Tracey said, you are so awesome, thanks for the shout out. She's so cute.

Heidi Ellsworth:
She's so cool, I know. National Women in Roofing. This is one, and I think we may have Brenna out there. Brenna is the chair of the recruitment committee on National Women in Roofing. We want to talk about nontraditional ways. Brenna came out. Brenna in the committee, this great recruiting committee, and they said, who spreads the word better than women? I mean, let's be honest about that. We are really good at that, social media, on the phone, right now, whatever we're doing, we can spread the word.

I'm going to say this is another nugget for everyone to take away, they have put together a recruitment program on National Women in Roofing, you go to National Women in Roofing, look for this ad, click it, that's the easiest way to do it. You, as companies, if you can place ads on there, you can ... So everyone knows, then this goes to RoofersCoffeeShop. RoofersCoffeeShop, as part of our donation back to things, we place those ads for National Women in Roofing, and so those ads are out there where people can look for jobs. They can look for people.

Even bigger than that, is this whole social media campaign of saying roofing is cool. I mean, I think everybody's seen it, roofing is. They're just making it cool. I think those kind of things that are out of the box, no one would have thought of that, even five years ago to say to women, roofing is cool, but it is and we know it is. Megan, go ahead and flip that up one more, just so people can see ... I think the ... It's going to come up here in a minute, but the ads. I want to go into that, Wendy, looking for these kinds of things.
I know you're involved with your local council and you've been involved ... We go to all the things together. Here it is. This is the kind of stuff that's a little bit out of the box that people don't even know about. Your ads up there, we got National Women in there. This is right to roofing and that's a new and different thing too, even though we've been doing it for a while, but really focusing in on the roofing part of it. How are you doing that?

Wendy Marvin:
I'm meeting people like you. You don't tell yourself enough and you never will, but it's like you're the connector. Heidi, you're a glue in this industry, and doing things like this for all of us. Because I may not find the right fit for my people in Washington. Now we've got an ad out there that's going to, hopefully, draw people looking for a different kind of a roofing company to work with. Again, you can indeed dotcom till your cows come home and monster and all the other things, and it's expensive. It typically doesn't hit the market that we want.

This is so just bring the target into working with the center and not wasting our time. Again, you're so interested in giving back to the world and the organizations and the groups that we're with that you're doing free ads for NWIR and I know that's a passion project of yours. You would do that even if you hadn't done that, if that wasn't your ... Because you founded this. You were part of that group. We're so proud of that.

Heidi Ellsworth:
We do love that.

Wendy Marvin:
You would do that even if you hadn't. I know that about you. Again, you've been around forever. Out there, how many of you out there have really connected with Heidi and her team, have really looked at what RoofersCoffeeShop has to offer you, have really looked at. It's not just about what they can give you, how do you give back? Because that's the other piece that you and I've spent a lot of 6:00 a.m.s together. It's not about trying to see our faces on Zoom again, because I'm, frankly, sick of that, like my face at least.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thanks for having me.

Wendy Marvin:
It's about, how do you give back to the organizations and the people and the community, and what can you plug in? Then, again, I'm volunteering on the Habitat team, and I met this event. I meet this woman who knows a bookkeeper. That's how I found my bookkeeper, you know what I mean. That's the kind of stuff that you never know what you're going to connect with. You are just invaluable in our organization and you will never stand up and hold your hand up and say that. You and this RoofersCoffeeShop team and the young professionals that you have brought in and that are bringing this completely fresh mind to things, I love it, love it.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you so much, Wendy. I think that's what we're seeing. We're seeing this groundswell, and just like you said, grassroots out there. On that, I want to bring Brenna on. I'm not sure she's coming on just audio or video. Brenna, are you there?

Megan:
Brenna, you should be able to unmute.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you, Megan.

Wendy Marvin:
I want that coffee cup that says, you're muted.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it. Okay, we may not have Brenna yet. Okay, like I said, Brenna Driver is the chair person for the recruiting committee on National Women in Roofing. She was the brains on her committee and a bunch of awesome women behind working on this and working with us to really put that out there.

Brenna Driver:
Good morning. Apparently, I didn't know how to unmute myself. [inaudible 00:32:23] muted my computer, but I couldn't figure out on the thing. Sorry about that.

Wendy Marvin:
Good morning

Brenna Driver:
Good morning. What great content this morning. Thank you for inviting me on to talk just briefly about what ... and WIR is doing, and you did a great recap of some of the successes we've had with our partnership with RoofersCoffeeShop. We're sharing this link socially. Please follow RoofersCoffeeShop, please follow National Women In Roofing, and share this link. That's how we continue to get the word out. That's how we'll spread the word. That's how we'll drive more people within our social networks, back to the value of being within the roofing industry.

There's so much opportunity out there and I think this just showcases just a sliver of what there is to be captured as far as opportunity. We're also doing some really cool partnerships with NCCER. We've just established a partnership with them and they create educational content for the construction industry. They are creating along with NRCA roofers curriculum. We're going to partner with them to empower the councils to be able to go into the NCCER affiliate schools and go and teach these courses and give these courses.
The folks within the school and the students will see women in front of them giving these courses and draw more opportunity for roofing and women within the industry back into the industry. We're also putting together some really cool content on summer internships and how to get involved locally with your VoTech schools and your colleges and how to bring folks in for the summer and just check out our industry. You should be seeing that coming out in the May newsletter, hopefully. Keep an eye out for that as well.

Wendy Marvin:
That is so cool, Brenna. Okay, so NCCER, Megan, just put it on chat, so there we check it out. NRCA is doing great things, but I think you are brilliant connecting all the folks to be able to go in those vocational schools with the roofing courses. I mean, that's awesome.

Brenna Driver:
Yeah, we're pretty excited about it. We're pretty excited about it.

Wendy Marvin:
It's a win-win. That's the other case. They're getting trainers, you're getting the exposure. That's awesome.

Brenna Driver:
Yeah, yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth:
To get involved with the councils, just again ... There's a lot of different ... Like I said, all the state associations, but National Women in Roofing, that's a great place to go to just get involved, find out where your council is, and share ideas. That's one of the things that I've been seeing talking to so many people, is that they start sharing all these ideas. Would you've ever known about NCCER or about Southwest Washington, woo, Workforce. Those kinds of things is coming from this. Brenna, before you go. I'd like to talk real quick about internships.

We are doing a lot of internships right now. We have, I think, four, four of our team, and one of them just started with us. Her dad is a contractor out of on Hood River. I think you know Travis on Nelson and with Brown Roofing out of Hood River, his daughter, Molly, now working for the RoofersCoffeeShop, doing a little bit of internship, but she's looking for a job in roofing. If anybody wants a brilliant young lady who's interested in green roofing and sustainability on the roof, send me an email because this young lady is amazing. She comes from the roofing industry.

I think by offering internships like Christie did with Graham roofing, so many of us are doing these internships. It brings them in. How is that working, Brenna? What are you doing to help people with these internships?

Brenna Driver:
We're coming out with a kind of toolkit and how to get involved with your local schools. How to even start the conversation and where to start, and also really identifying the difference between an internship and a summer job. Both are really, really good things for our industry, both are important. An internship, typically, has a start and end and certain milestones and achievables that you have to communicate to the school that you're going to help that intern achieve to help cultivate their education, where a summer job is like, hey, we're just going to immerse you into the industry and see if you like it, want to come back for more.
Just empowering our members and folks who utilize the toolkit with some of those talking points to help them understand what they're going to schools to ask for. Then also, key things to look for in schools, are they close to public transportation, so it's easily accessible for people? Do they have diversity within their campus? We're making sure that we're able to be inclusive of all students as we expand on our summer internship and summer jobs.

Wendy Marvin:
Heidi, let me jump in really quick, too, just to say that the internships, it's internal. When you start to look at internships, especially under 18, on the external, where you're looking at potentially working in the field or working on the roof, that's a big exclusion from all of our liability contracts and our liability insurance. What's really interesting is when you spin it around and you work with a place like Columbia Tech Academy, that's not a state run organization, but a privately held organization.

They carry their own insurance, which then gives us the ability to bring under 18 kids into the sites and allow them to have an internship in the field. I'm not going to throw up 17-year-old up on the roof, typically. They even have them in the field or in our vehicles. Now we've got a mechanism to be able to do that where before it just is flat out, you can't do it. It's another way to be able to do those things. Internships are just invaluable. Agree with Brenna completely.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Okay, there's a nugget. I hope everybody caught that, what Wendy just said, asked about insurance.

Brenna Driver:
That's a good nugget.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Sure. Wow. The other thing that we saw now, this is more a lot on the college side. You're right, I mean, to be able to get those vocational schools and get them out there summer jobs, however, it works with insurance. On the college front, too, from a construction management viewpoint, it was, all of a sudden, we had these emails flying around and everybody is like, have you heard of Handshake? Have you heard of Handshake? AJ Gehley, who works at the coffee shop, she's the one who said, "Hey, Heidi, are we on Handshake, because RoofersCoffeeShop should be there." I'm like, "Okay, go get us on." Then Brenna came, "We're going to work with Handshake." think you can Google it, right? Wendy, have you done that with the Handshake.

Wendy Marvin:
Yeah. I've got two nuggets here I've never heard of before, NCCER and Handshake now and it's like, we're presenting, hello, I'm bringing some sound, too.

Heidi Ellsworth:
This is a brainstorming, right? This is about sharing. Handshake, if you Google it, this is a ... Well, it's a service, I guess, amongst all colleges. You go on, you put your information and your job, who you are, what you're looking for, and then you can select the colleges across the country that you would like to have top priority looking at. If you're looking for construction management skills, you can go click them. If you're looking for engineering or architecture, or in my case, I was looking for diversity, you can ... Those kinds of things are out there. Brenna, do we have that resource yet in National Women in Roofing? Is that out there yet?

Brenna Driver:
It's not out there. No, we're still digging into how we can partner with them.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Good, there's another one.

Brenna Driver:
It's a great school. I've heard good things from everyone that has instead, and in and out of our industry. Awesome.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I've had a great experience with it so far. Brenna, thank you. Thank you for all you're doing in the industry.

Brenna Driver:
Thank you.

Wendy Marvin:
Bye, Brenna.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thanks for coming on nice and early. Love it.

Brenna Driver:
Yeah, no problem. Have a good day.

Heidi Ellsworth:
You too. Okay, we have a question, Wendy. I want to make sure we get to some of these, and then Megan is going to let us know if there's anybody else out there ready. Okay, hold on. We have a question here. I'm going to get the question. This is from Megan McFadden. I'm not sure if Megan wanted to come on or not. Megan, if you do, get with the other Megan who's back there. She said, retention has been a huge issue for us.

We have onboarded subcontractors ready to work that we haven't had the jobs ready quick enough before they move on to another company, another within our office positions onboarded, too, a month ago, and they have already left. People still concerned with COVID and the supply chain. How do you keep everyone happy and retained? Wendy, and I know this is a favorite topic of yours.

Wendy Marvin:
Yeah, we've had a lot of conversations about this. First and foremost, I want to let you know that I'm losing people too. This is just a reality. I think there was an aha moment in a conversation you and I had a couple months back where we were talking about, is this the keeper or is this a jumper? I don't remember what the words we use. I was like, "Oh, yes. There will always be people out there chasing the next dollar raise." Those aren't your people. Because they're expensive to invest in.

The big ways that you want to try to get to those is interview well, try to ferret out those tendencies beforehand and try not to hire those people. Again, I could dope too. It happens to everybody. The other thing that we've touched on so much is culture. We talk a lot about benefits. Everybody wants to know, what benefits do I have? There are no golden benefits. There is no if you just give them this, they will stay, period. What do you do? You try to create an environment where work feels like a family. You try to create an environment where people feel heard.

If you want to talk about a number one thing that we have heard from especially younger professionals, I just want to feel valued. That seems like a silly thing to have to point out. Sometimes we're so busy on the treadmill doing, we're not creating an environment of those kinds of things. Make people want to stay with you. Give them a voice. Doesn't mean you have to share everything that you do. Give the people in your organization the opportunity to weigh in on some of the things that you're doing. Ask your people what they want.

I have a particular team of people, they don't really care about health care benefits. Some of my people do. Is health care what really is bringing people to the table? No. The fact that we had an in house, indoor snowball fight one year at Christmas time, with all of my roofers and all of my admin and all of my sales people made more culture benefit for me than most of the other benefits that we've offered. You got to keep your house clean. You've got to create a culture of people that you care about. We supply tools to our guys. Sometimes that that is a helpful way to do it.

We have trucks that our guys use. They don't have to supply their own trucks. It doesn't matter if you do or don't do any of those things, as long as you can normalize it and you can just explain what's going on to people. Because ultimately, they don't know what you're doing. Our employees don't know what we're doing as a company. When you talk to them about it or you share challenges, we spoke so openly about COVID. That was the first thing I had with my team is like, holy crap, I don't know what we're doing here.
Here's what I'm thinking, here's what I know, here's where we're headed for the moment. Thanks for hanging on and stay in the car with me kind of thing. I just feel like that culture thing is just priceless. Along with that is treating people like humans. That sounds like a really silly thing to have to say. Again, be cognizant of how you're interacting with people, be cognizant of how they're being treated by your community. My guys have had ... We've had customers that have been fired, because they made comments about the fact that some of my employees had darker skin than I do.

I just very respectfully said, "I really hope that you find what you need, but we're just not going to be the right company for you to do that." The fact that I stood behind my guys at that point in the world, they rallied for me on a number of occasions. One, when we had our transition in leadership, although my guys stayed with our company. We didn't lose anybody during the COVID initial stuff. We've had a couple come and go since then. I just don't feel like at the end of the day, it's just about wages, or it's just about benefits, or it's just about culture either, but a combination of all that is just priceless. Taking care of your people.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. I think we just had Derman come on, Derman Ruiz, sorry. I hope I didn't say your name too bad. He's talking about he's hiring in Florida, too. He's looking to really find people and he's a little stymie, too, because the dollars are good. I agree with you, I think it's so much more. I mean, just even ... I know it's different from me hiring for publishing in the coffee shop and writers and account managers compared to hiring for the roof and thing. You're still working with the people and finding out what makes them excited to come to work every day and stay.

Wendy Marvin:
It's a lot of choices for people right now. That's the thing. I don't want to ... Statistically, I remember, and I want to say it was NRCA, AND I'm going to probably just blow this out of the water. I want to say one of our meetings, there was a comment about we are 80,000 roofer short nationwide. Think of the market that you're in right now. Think of the fact that your guys can pretty much go anywhere they want and make a little bit more money, probably. Why would they want to stay with you? Let them know. Caring about somebody.

I don't know, you just have to think back to your personal experience. I worked for a major health care organization for a long time. It's like, they didn't care about me. All they cared about was the dollars that I brought in, and the job that I did, that's fine. When you can show your employees that they really matter to you, that their families matter, you want to talk about me rounded my guys out on safety, when we started going south on that, I brought their spouses in. You want to have your wife pissed off at you for not wearing your harness on the job every day? You know what it did? It helped us get community together, it helped us meet the families, I know their kids. Those are just big deal. Those are a big deal.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. I'm just double checking our questions to make sure. I think we've gotten all the questions in here. Feel free. We have a few more minutes to ask questions, but I want to talk real quick about it, because we don't have as much time. I'd like to go for another hour, Wendy. I think it also, and a nontraditional recruiting strategy is to talk more about your company. I think every company is in serious competition to show that there are a great place to work. That is a great industry to work in.

I know through what we're doing right now with the art club, we're building out these directories for all of our contractors who are in the art club and trying to show the culture. There's so many different ways to do it. How are you? How do you share that matrix story out there?

Wendy Marvin:
Community involvement. Again, we're out there at these events. I know that the guys out there listening who are like, all I'm doing is installing roofs. How the hell am I going to have the time to get out there and go to these events? If you do one a month and your present, like we go to the Building Industry Association events, we go to Habitat events, we participate in fundraising locally, and we go to lunch and learn events through, again, building industry and stuff. Network while you're there, and get your name out. Let them know.

I can't tell you how many jobs that's brought to our company just because people know and will give us a try, because they've seen us out there. Just getting yourself out of your truck, throw a polo on, and attend some of these, even if a Christmas tree lighting. I met a customer to Christmas tree lighting. We met an employee at a Christmas tree lighting. It doesn't matter what it is. That's the thing, is there's just no, here's the ABC answer, except to generalize and say, get out of your truck, go meet the people in your community, offer to help as much as you can.

Maybe you're filling bags at the share house of foods for the community donation. You're sitting there on a line full of other business industry associates. We did that with an insurance broker with us. We've done bike builds at Christmas time. We've got local builders that are with us. We've had insurance industry professionals. We've had sales organizations, there's the coffee shop owner, there's the restaurant owner, but all those people know people. You get this culture of like, who is my company? Who is Matrix?
If you look on Facebook and you start to see open recommendations in this Boss Lady PDX group, they'll say, "Hey, I'm looking for a roofing company." 15 people that I don't even know will say, "Oh my gosh, Matrix Roofing, I've heard good things about them." You can't buy that.
You just can't buy that. [inaudible 00:51:28] culture that we've made too.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Recruiting and marketing really go together.

Wendy Marvin:
100%.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I mean, it's all the same thing. We have a couple questions here that I want to get in. One, I think this is a great one. This is also from Megan. She says, any ideas of places to look for commercial sales reps? I am working in networking with our suppliers as we are looking for reps with experience in Chicago land. Any other suggestions are welcome.

Wendy Marvin:
I would go back to the RCAWs of the world, the associations. Great to start with the reps. I would talk to your local reps because they do move around a little bit, but yeah, local associations and then again, what if maybe it's not a roofing guy? That's the thing. What are you looking for? I am looking for personality over roofing experience. I can teach roofing. I can teach estimating. They come on and they have both, great, that's even better. What's the priority of what you're looking for? If it's a good salesman, holy moly, or salesperson, sales is a huge market.

Maybe it's not just a roofing commercial salesman you're looking for. Maybe you have somebody that you can partner them with for the technical knowledge while, excuse me, they're onboarding and learning that side of it. They're incredible with people and they can bring people to the table. Those are outside of the box, I guess.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Megan, I would also say, look at BOMA, building owners, because a lot of times, the commercial roofing contractors are going there to meet with the building owners and to get customers and stuff like that. Guess what? There's a bunch of sales people there at the meetings who may be looking. They already understand the commercial market and all you have to do is teach them roofing to Wendy's point. I would truly recommend looking at some of those kinds of associations too, again, nontraditional. Also, Megan, please send your position in and we'll get it posted on the coffee shop. You never know ...

Wendy Marvin:
There you go.

Heidi Ellsworth:
... who is watching you in that. We have one more guest. We're going to bring on Morgan Greer. Morgan, are you there?

Morgan Greer:
Hi, everyone.

Wendy Marvin:
Hello, Morgan.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Hi, Morgan.

Morgan Greer:
Thank you for taking the time today, and all the great advice. My question was, I know we recently just ... We have our quarterly meeting that we do. We made the decision to increase our employer coverage of benefits for employee only and then a portion of family plans too. Our thinking was really that that would attract more of the demographic we're looking for, the family oriented employees that value health insurance value their health. Beyond that, one thing we do not have, we don't have paid holidays. We do have paid vacation.

I guess I'm wondering, because I also know there's the select few that really don't prioritize health insurance. Maybe if they don't have children, it's not of great value to them. My question is, just what have you found personally with your employees do they value the most, in terms of retaining our current employees and also attracting maybe new employees?

Wendy Marvin:
Again, it's so hard because there's no golden egg out there. My guys, in general, just aren't really interested in health insurance and most of my guys are family. It's a cultural thing for them. They don't really plug into our systems. They use personal chiropractic visits and things. We've looked at ways to do health savings accounts, where they can put not pretax dollars into it, and then be able to use those for purchases where they want, which has been helpful. It's so hard because there just isn't a golden egg, Morgan. I think you're doing a great job talking about it.

I would say, start with your employees and ask them what's important to them. If you've got a good culture of people, especially trying to bring that in, I wish I had just the simple answer to that question, if you just. It's really hard, because it just vary so much. I would look outside the box. I know of a company that offered gym memberships to their people. I know of a company that just started supplying things like t-shirts and sweatshirts and sunscreen to their guys. It doesn't have to be super expensive and it doesn't have to be a traditional benefit.

That's the thing that's like ... We looked at 401(k)s for a while because I had a couple admin people that really wanted that. None of my company wanted that. When I'm looking for a job, when I worked for the big healthcare company, that was what I wanted. I wanted 401(k) matching and I want this and I want that. I think a lot of times, we get really caught up in what we think would be good. We need to start by asking the team that we have and seeing maybe what they value, and if you're trying to bring similar people to the table. I wish I had a better answer.

Morgan Greer:
That's a great answer. We have the 401(k). I know for some people, it may not matter as much. I think that's a great answer that it depends on where the value lies for them. Thank you.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you, Morgan. That is awesome. Thank you for being on here. You're out of Cleveland, right?

Morgan Greer:
Correct, yes. I have a list of bulleted places, thanks to you guys, where to look.

Wendy Marvin:
Awesome.

Morgan Greer:
There's Cleveland Tradeswomen, so many I didn't even know exist.

Wendy Marvin:
Yay!

Morgan Greer:
Very excellent.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Awesome. Thank you, thank you. Say hi to Mandy for us.
Okay, great. Mandy is an influencer just like Wendy right on, and where you can find out a lot about this too, on RoofersCoffeeShop on all the wisdom that these amazing professionals share with us. We are getting to the end of the hour. I want to put a call out to Paul. He wants to know where's the best place to start to get new crew members. I'm going to say go the classified ads, just because we have that much time. Start there and then start ... You can get a hold of us, Paul. We can connect you with Wendy. We can connect you with John Kenney, who is on here too. John just wants to say ...

Wendy Marvin:
Hey, John.

Heidi Ellsworth:
... 40% of current workforce is in roofing and construction held by baby boomers retiring this decade, making the workforce availability even tighter. I'm telling you right now, that is another huge resource, is Cattani Consulting. They are doing consulting across the country, helping contractors with these kind of issues and operations.

Wendy Marvin:
And most of it for free. That's the thing that's crazy ...

Heidi Ellsworth:
I know.

Wendy Marvin:
... is the seminars that they've done and so much giving back to the community.

Heidi Ellsworth:
It's huge.

Wendy Marvin:
That point too, again, is we are in a now mode of we need to make roofing sexy. We joked about that during our panel when I said that. It's like we need to get people interested in our industry. It's not getting easier, it's getting harder, and even according to John, talking about all the people that have owned companies that are retiring. Get to your high schools, meet the people, try to get people to consider this industry, not just construction, I'm open to that. Roofing, in general, how do we make it sexy and how do we make it accessible?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Those community colleges have entrepreneurship classes. To Megan's question earlier, how many of those kids coming out of this entrepreneur classes, may not be ready to start a business, but need to learn a business and maybe a great succession plan for companies out there who don't have one, so much. Wendy, we have one minute left. I can't believe this.

Wendy Marvin:
They always go by so fast, I know.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wendy, thank you. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for everything. Thank you for being here this morning so early. The comments here you've been reading, just this. We're going to have to do it again, because this is pretty popular.

Wendy Marvin:
Sounds like a plan.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Awesome. Two weeks from now, May 13th, I have to tell you, we have ... I'm really excited, we have Jared Ribble and Kelly Van Winkle, who are going to be on the Coffee Conversations talking about NRCA pro certification. When it comes to recruitment, this is another tool by getting your contractors and retention, by getting your crews certified and really giving them those resources huge. They're going to be on there, is sponsored by Johns Manville who is also doing some amazing things with training across the country and helping contractors to get the certifications done in an easier way.

They're just making this really cool. Please, please join us two weeks from now. Register to see. Kelly Van Winkle is amazing. If you don't know her, she owns her own business out of Texas. They have a network of women that are women owners that are doing great things. She also was very instrumental in pro certification work with the NRCA. It will be, and don't miss. Wendy, thank you again.

Wendy Marvin:
Appreciate you, Heidi. Have fun. Thank you, everybody.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Have fun. Have a great day, everybody. Bye-bye.



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