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S2:E5 Coffee Conversations- Meredith, Casey and Justin- PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

Coffee Conversations Meredith, Casey, and Justin
November 12, 2020 at 7:31 a.m.

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an interview with Justin Jennings and Casey and Meredith Marsh-Shaevitz with TAMKO. You can read the interview below or listen to the conversation here.

Heidi Ellsworth: Good morning and welcome to Coffee Conversations. My name is Heidi Ellsworth and I'm a partner with RoofersCoffeeShop®. We are so excited that, every other week, bring you this live Q and A where contractors get to talk to contractors, and manufacturers, and distributors, and everyone else in roofing to see what's going on, what's happening, what are some of the top conversations that we need to be having as an industry. Today, we are really excited about this one. This is all about our military veterans. You know, when you really think about this week, election week, we're going into November, which we celebrate our veterans, and Veteran's Day coming on, it's just so important that as an industry, we really give back. We have brought on some guests this week who are doing that above and beyond. I'm really excited to start talking about that. Before we get going, it's, also, we have some really cool ... A really cool initiative this week. We are thanking our partners at TAMKO, because they are celebrating veterans every single day. In fact, we've been getting pictures from TAMKO of all of the veterans that they hire and all the contractors they've worked with. In fact, one of the contractors today, Justin, is a lead TAMKO contractor that works with them all the time. They recommended that he would be a great person to talk to. Again, we keep building this network of excellent roofing professionals. TAMKO, thank you so much for sponsoring this Coffee Conversations today, and also thank you for what you do in hiring and empowering our military veterans into roofing. That is what makes us so strong. Let's get started with a few introductions. First of all, I would like to introduce Casey and Meredith Marsh-Shaevitz. Sorry, I thought I was going to get it right.

Meredith Marsh-Shaevitz: Good job.

Heidi Ellsworth: They are with Pitch Perfect out of Oklahoma City. I have to tell you, I met Meredith four years ago when she came to National Women in Roofing Day. We've just been best friends ever since, and now, I've gotten to know Casey. Casey, thank you, as a veteran, and thank you for everything you've given to our country and for being here today.

Heidi Ellsworth: Casey is here to talk about her experiences and then Casey and Meredith together have a veteran-owned business and women-owned business, Pitch Perfect. Good morning, ladies.

Meredith Marsh-Shaevitz: Good morning.

Casey Marsh-Shaevitz: Good morning.

Heidi Ellsworth: Thank you for being here.

Meredith Marsh-Shaevitz: Sure.

Heidi Ellsworth: We're going to come back to this slide and talk a little bit about what Meredith and Casey are doing in their community because it's very cool. We're going to get through some introductions first. Next, as I mentioned just a little bit earlier, I would like to introduce Justin Jennings. He's with Main Street Roofing and Construction out of Texas. Justin, you're going to have to tell me the city again, in Texas.

Justin Jennings: Oh, that's okay. You can blink and miss it. [inaudible 00:03:22]

Heidi Ellsworth: That's all right, because I come from the same small town in Oregon. Thank you so much for being here today and for everything you're doing as a veteran and bringing veterans into roofing. I'm really excited to hear and for you to share with the industry all that you have going on.

Justin Jennings: Thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it. I'm blessed.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah. I feel the same way. Very excited about having ya'll on here. What we want to do today is we have some questions already that have come in ahead of time for Casey, and Meredith, and Justin, but we have a little bit of a special thing here that we wanted to do right up front. Megan is going to bring on two guests, two additional guests that no one's really knew we were going to do, and that is Wayne Heironimus and Dave Winters. Dave Winters is with the Black Dagger Hunt Club out of Tampa, Florida. Wayne Heironimus is with Delta Rep Group. Both veterans and doing some amazing things in Florida, and they wanted to just share up front with Meredith, and Casey, and Justin, and all of you, what's happening in Florida with the hunt club and with Black Dagger. Good morning, Dave. I'm not sure we can hear you. We may need to work on the mute, Megan.

Megan: You are unmuted from my end, Dave. And, Wayne, you are also unmuted.

Wayne Heironimus: Okay. Good morning.

Heidi Ellsworth: Perfect. Wayne, you also might want to turn your video on.

Wayne Heironimus: Oh, can you hear me?

Heidi Ellsworth: Yes.

Megan: Yes.

Wayne Heironimus: Good, good. Is Dave there?

Heidi Ellsworth: Yes, he is.

Megan: Yes.

Wayne Heironimus: Oh, I see him. Dave knows a lot more about this than I do.

Heidi Ellsworth: We may be having some audio difficulties with Dave, so maybe, Wayne, can you start out and tell us what ... I know you do this all the time. Can you share what's happening in Florida with the veterans and your veterans programs?

Wayne Heironimus: Sure. My name's Wayne Heironimus. I'm one of the managing members of Delta Rep Group. We're manufactured reps covering the state of Florida for commercial roofing products and systems. This is my 30th year. My military experience, the way I got through college, was Army ROTC, University of South Florida. I spent eight years in the Army as an officer, and when I got out, I joined the roofing industry. I've been in the roofing industry ever since. Several years ago, I felt compelled to give back and I met Dave Winters, whose picture on the screen there, I guess to the left, with the sunglasses on. He has a non-profit called Black Dagger Military Hunt Club, whose mission is total non-profit to provide hunting, fishing, and other outdoor opportunities for wounded veterans to bring them back into the community. Just bring them back as part of the healing process. I also am on the Board of Directors of the FRSA. I'm active in my local- Which is the Florida Roof and Sheet Metal Association, and very active in the West Coast Roofing Contractors Association, our local affiliate here in Tampa. We connected the Black Dagger Military Hunt Club with the West Coast Roofing Contractors Association and we've been putting on a lot of events to benefit both organizations, to promote what Black Dagger does for the veterans and what the West Coast Roofing Contractors Association does for our industry. A third component that came into it was National Women in Roofing, to turn out to be the real heroes. That seemed to make all of this gel together. To really get it going, this picture happened to be taken yesterday at MacDill Air Force Base. It just happened to happen it was yesterday. It was a beautiful day. Black Dagger Military Hunt Club is presenting Charlie Belcher, of Fox 13 News, the Tampa Bay affiliate, with a nice memento, a picture of 42 Medal of Honor winners on the ice at the Tampa Bay Lightening game, of which 32 were able to sign the picture. Charlie's a huge fan. What Charlie's done for us, our last two West Coast Roofing Contractors Association meetings, he's been able to broadcast his TV show live from the events from the last two years, which has given the local community the ability to see what our wounded veterans can do out on the sporting clays range and get back into the community, and also what big parts roofers have, and what good people we are. Without Charlie spearheading that, it wouldn't have happened. The least we could do ... So we went to the ... Yesterday at noon, we went to the Special Operations Command Memorial, which you can see all the names of the fallen operators on the back wall. There's a soldier patrolling, minding behind us, and we had a nice little photo op. I thought, "Wow." 10:00 last night, Heidi ought to see this, and I sent it. That's what we do to give back. Military did a lot for me and I'm trying to do a lot for them. Dave, are you able to talk? My brain is empty.

Heidi Ellsworth: Oh, well, Dave, we have no audio. We see you, but we can't hear you, my friend. I'm sorry. I know. Let's ... You know what? I just-

Wayne Heironimus: [inaudible 00:10:07] And then, something else. Dave does a wonderful, wonderful job, besides fishing, taking guys out fishing, and shooting sporting clays, and ... We've taken paraplegic guys, quadriplegics skydiving. Hunts, we've actually been able to take some people out on the safari to Africa. Just some really unique things. The big goal is to connect the veterans back to the community in our area. We're a small organization and we want to eliminate two of the big negative factors, which a lot of veterans face that come back. One is isolation and the other is loneliness, how they fit back into the community. A lot of these things that we mentioned are the things that they did in the military. It brings them back in.

Heidi Ellsworth: Wayne, you know what? That's exactly one of the things that Casey and Justin, both having served and come back into the private sector, and just what you're saying, that is something that roofing contractors need to really be aware of when they're hiring veterans. It seems like you're already doing it. You're bringing them together. I know ... Casey, can you speak to what Wayne is talking about there? That isolation-

Dave Winter: Can you guys hear me now?

Heidi Ellsworth: Oh, sorry-

Dave Winter: Can you guys hear me now?

Heidi Ellsworth: We can hear you, Dave. Yes. Thank you.

Dave Winter: I was never a Marine, but they always say, "Adapt and overcome." I've went ahead and dialed in. I'm sorry about that. A little bit about myself, and thanks for having us on today. I hate COVID, but this is how a lot of us are meeting now. Thank you very much. I am actually in my truck because I am retired Air Force. I retired 21 years ago. I've actually been retired longer than I served. I work for the United States Special Operations Command. No affiliation with Black Dagger. I'm a government civilian, so that's why I can't do anything from work. I have to come out and sit in my truck to do this. Thanks for having me. A little bit about myself. Air Force. I come from a Gold Star family. Back in 2009, we started seeing a lot of the guys at So Comm come back and our starting point was a double amputee named Brian Brennan. He came to us and wanted just to get back outdoors. If you do a quick Google search or after the phone call, interesting young man. He was in a coma and General Petraeus shouted the word, "Currahee" and woke him out of that coma at Walter Reed.A super young man and we still work with him today. In fact, if it wasn't for COVID, he would have been going to Africa this year with one of the Horse soldiers that was in Afghanistan in 2001. We started in 2009 and became a non-profit in 2012 because we couldn't afford to do it out of our pockets anymore. We just saw such a great need. Tampa has one of the largest poly trauma units in the United States. We were getting folks out of the spinal cord injury unit, paralyzed from the neck, down. All they could do is move their head, wanting to know, "Hey, can I still shoot?" That's all they know. Or, "Can I still hunt?" We actually can hunt with full quadriplegics, veterans that have lost their eyes. Shooting competitions. Now, we actually have quadriplegic sky-diving. We do adaptive sports. As we meet veterans that have a certain need- In fact, tomorrow, we're meeting with a veteran that's non-verbal and he has a severe traumatic brain injury, but we are going to equip him and allow him to be able to shoot, hunt, do whatever he wants to do. That's what we do. All volunteer, non-profit. What we couldn't do is, I work all day. All our board members, besides one, work all day. If you go to our website and hit the board, you can read about all of us. We've all served, all served over 20 years in the military, and we just want to give back. All volunteer, non-profit. We don't take a dime. For the past nine years, we set up our non-profit just like that because there was a lot of scrutiny about certain non-profits, and we never talk bad about any one of them, but we just believe ourselves that we shouldn't take a penny of the money that's being donated to us. We should give it right back to veterans. For the past nine years, almost 10 years, 97% of all funds taken in go back to the veteran, 3% overhead.

Heidi Ellsworth: Dave, how did you get-

Dave Winter: No salaries ... Go ahead.

Heidi Ellsworth: How did you get involved with the roofing industry?

Dave Winter: Here's an interesting ... We did a Giving Tuesday, which is coming up 1, December. Trent Cotney, I don't know if you know Trent Cotney, the lawyer, found us. I said ... I just, out of the blue, emailed him. It was a $50 donation. I said, "Sir, thank you very much for your donation. I don't know how you heard about us." He said, "Through Giving Tuesday." I said, "Well, you know what? Check us out and see what kind of non-profit is." He said, "You don't understand, Dave. I wouldn't have given you $50 if I didn't already check you out." He connected us to the West Coast Roofing Contracting Association, has connected us to wonderful ... There's a lot of veteran-owned companies. A lot of just great companies. They reached out to us. A lot of our non-profit peers, they chase after defense companies and the big name, Glock. We have found the roofing industry loves veterans and the roofing industry, they're great Americans. We have gotten a lot of support from the roofing industry. Unbelievable. The neat thing is, about being an all volunteer non-profit, you can run a lean organization if you're not paying salaries. We get to do a whole bunch of stuff. The help of West Coast Roofing Contractors Association, Aderhold Roofing, Tubos Pipe Extensions, a lot of those great groups, local, and many, many more. Trent Cotney. We're able to send ... Just in November ... October, November, December, we're sending over 40 veterans and their children on deer hunts. We're sending 10 Gold Star family members, mostly fathers and couple family members that have lost their loved ones, on a deer hunt. We're able to do a lot. Next March, COVID, if it allows us, we will get 20 veterans sky-diving, tandem sky-diving, for our third year. Last year, they ... Complete Parachute Solutions designed a platform for jumping full quadriplegics, paralyzed from the neck, down. They have a rig they've designed and they lift the legs up at the very last minute. The key thing in all this is seeing the veterans' eyes. We have a Marine that's non-verbal. He never can tell us thank you. He can never tell us what is, but I look into his eyes, and you can see the joy that's there. It's unbelievable. A lot of people say, "Why do you do it?" I look to my brother, he died, he was killed in the Army. Gold Star family. My son-in-law was blown up in Iraq. I work with so many amazing, wonderful, special operators that ... There's guys down the hall that have two Purple Hearts. They're still serving. You know? A lot of folks don't realize, we have triple amputees in our group that still serve and fight.

Heidi Ellsworth: Wow.

Dave Winter: A lot of people are like, "Oh my goodness." Yep, they're still over at Syria and Afghanistan, missing three limbs, still fighting.

Heidi Ellsworth: Dave, wow.

Dave Winter: If I can do my little bit ... What I encourage, and I talked to Wayne earlier, I'm not asking for support of all the folks across the United States that do roofing, but find a group in your area, find some veterans ... One of the neat things Brian Aderhold did a couple years ago, he reached out and he said, "Dave, we've got a couple open slots. Can we bring some veterans hunting?" Find a group you can just reach out and say, "Hey, do you have a couple of veterans?" We've done a couple roofs with companies, West Coast Roofing, veterans who really can't afford it, and they're too proud to ask. Go out and do a roof for them or just do a repair. Most importantly, develop a friendship. Our whole thing is, if we meet roofing company and we get someone out and connect to that roofing company, we don't want them only to meet when we're there. We want them to develop a friendship, a relationship, so they can do things on their own. They can call and say, "Hey, we're going fishing. You want to come with us?" That's the key. What I've seen is when veterans get out ... We have a ton of veterans here. You know how it is. You miss that comradery, you miss that ... Your buds, and everything else. That connection is the cure. We supported a paddle boarder, the paddle boarder from Galveston, Texas, on a stand up paddle board, to the Statue of Liberty in 2016 or '17. 3,500 miles. He had never paddle boarded any distance over 50 miles. From March to July 4, 2016, he paddled. We still support him now. Nine traumatic brain injuries, had already planned on killing himself, and he was in the hospital at Tampa, poly trauma unit, and they said, "Hey, you want to go on a hunt with Black Dagger?" He did not want to go but he found a big old hog. He named it Regret, put a 50 cal bullet in it, and he moved forward after that. He said, "Dave, that was a pivotal point." I'm not shooting ... I'm not sounding off our horn. That's what anybody can do. I encourage you all, reach out, find a veteran group in your area. We would always love your support but we have one saying: "It's not about us, the non-profit, it's about the veterans." We give back. We probably give 15 to $20,000 to other non-profits that we see struggling. This year, we're going to give $10,000 back to a group where their ... Gold Star Teen Adventures, where their dads have all been killed in a war. They struggled with fundraising this year. We've already committed $10,000 to them. Our mission is to help military members and their families. That's what we're doing when we do that. If there's any group out there that can benefit from us, if you find a blind veteran and you want to bring him hunting, please call us. We'll ship you the equipment to use. We have the technology to see ... I encourage you to go to our YouTube channel. If you want to be encouraged, see Michael Jernigan. He's the first service member to lose both eyes in the global war on terror, shooting in a shooting competition, hitting a moving man target, moving five miles an hour at 50 yards, blowing it up the first time.

Heidi Ellsworth: Wow. Dave- Oh.

Dave Winter: You can tell I'm passionate about what I do. I'm sorry if I talked too long or too much time. If we could save one life- And that's what you're doing. You don't know it. You don't know the Josh Collins. You can reach out, just say, "You know what? I made a difference in one veteran's life and maybe they will hang on and, through tough times, they won't decide to choose the alternative to end their life. That's what we all can do.

Heidi Ellsworth: I think ... Wayne?

Wayne Heironimus: How many espressos did you have this morning?

Dave Winter: Actually, I'm not ... Not at all. I'm just ... We've got a big event Saturday. It's called Military Heroes Top Shot Competition. Wayne, there's several groups that are supporting it. Trent Cotney. What the neat thing is, it's fashioned after the History Channel's Top Shot. We get 20 veterans come in, and ... Like I said, we've had blind veterans, paralyzed veterans, they all get in a team. That's why we call ourselves Military Hunt Club. We're really not a club, but we want them to feel they belong to a club, like the club they miss, the United States military that they miss so much.

Heidi Ellsworth: Wow.

Dave Winter: That's why we chose that name.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:22:33]. Hold on just one second. I love all this stuff. This is so great, but I am watching Justin and he is smiling and nodding his head. Justin, you are doing similar things like this in Texas, I know, and you're working with a lot of different veterans. Different but similar. What do you think? Tell us a little bit about what you see here, as you're nodding with the Hunt Club, and what you've been doing?

Justin Jennings: I mean ... Hi, Dave. How's it going?

Dave Winter: Hey, Justin.

Justin Jennings: I'm new to this whole roofing industry, about two years old. I got out of the Marine Corp after 12 years active duty, 2018. Odd jobs here and there, and then roofing is just, I guess, where I was supposed to be. The veteran part, we've been trying to give back for the last two years. We've got goals put in place to where we're still so small in the Dallas area to where these bigger roofing companies, you see them doing a lot of work, but ... I like the work, but I don't care about the money. I want to give back. The veterans I see daily on the corners and the extra money, or buying them food, or we're trying to put roofs on for people that live on Social Security, and that own the home, and are willing to do ... Just three things, Social Security, own the home, and willing to do a video testimony. We're trying to raise the money for them to put a roof on at no cost. We're trying to just put a better roof over their head. We've only been able to do a few of them. We've been trying to push five or six this year, but of course, 2020 had its own path for everybody. We're trying to make the difference. You're saying you got ... I got out of the Marine Corp April of '18. I was in a wheelchair, July of '18, just from my back locking up. I sat at home for a few days, babied it, and then had a buddy He was at the gym when he called me, so I was like, I need to get up. At that point, I was like, "I've got to do something." I didn't have the roofing company before then. I tried the outreach programs here. They're just ... Well, there's not a lot in my small town, north of Dallas. You really had to travel. Veteran-owned companies here in Sherman, if you have them, they're not very known. There's a few, but they're not known. You've really got to search for them. This is just what led me to this and I'm dying to give back and figure out a way to give more, of course. Sometimes you've got to have money to start with those more topics and, coming from military salary, you didn't get to save very much.

Dave Winter: Amen to that.

Justin Jennings: I got a wife and three kids, so they're my priority.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah.

Justin Jennings: Of course. I appreciate everything you do, Dave. All the stuff you were saying is a huge heart-warmer, topic-wise.

Heidi Ellsworth: Crazy.

Justin Jennings: One of those things-

Dave Winter: Justin-

Justin Jennings: [crosstalk 00:25:42] Experience it.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah.

Dave Winter: Justin, please, I don't ever want you to diminish what you're doing. We have a saying in Black Dagger: "If we all do a little, a lot gets done." You touch one life, that's huge. That's huge for America. That's huge for veteran military community. Don't ever diminish what you do, just do a little and ... We have to crawl, walk, run. You've got to crawl at first, then you'll be able to walk, then you'll be able to run. Don't ever diminish. I sense that, in what you're saying, that you want to do more. What you're doing is wonderful. So, keep it up. If you can do more, do more. If not, you're doing all you can and that is a lot.

Heidi Ellsworth: We're going to talk more about that, too, how we can do more through this. Dave, before you leave, Casey and Meredith, I just wanted ... Casey, just real quick, remind everybody on your military experience. I know, as a company right now, you're doing some really cool things giving back to veterans in your community, too.

Casey Marsh-Shaevitz: Yeah. I was actually in the Navy. I, unfortunately, was injured so I am disabled. It ended my career early. Coming into the civilian world of roofing was not anywhere on my radar at all, to be honest with you.

Meredith Marsh-Shaevitz: Or mine.

Casey Marsh-Shaevitz: When I met her, she helped her brother basically develop his business plan, and I just jumped on that bandwagon and learned the ins and outs of what it takes to own and run a roofing company. We decided to go out on our own about three years ago. We're just like Justin. We're pretty new and trying to figure out ways that we can give back. Some things that we have down the pipeline that we would like to do is implement scholarships for veterans who are really wanting to learn a specific trade. We'd love to be able to offer those types of things to our veterans. But also, just trying to find more veterans that we can hire as subcontractors. This one here has her Masters in Business, so she is really good at helping people develop their own company, as even subcontractors, so they can get the most out of what they're doing. But, she can speak more to that.

Meredith Marsh-Shaevitz: Right. Hi, guys. As Casey was saying, I did help my brother start his business and built all of his infrastructure and standard operating procedures, and figured out the nuts and bolts of the roofing industry. My background is actually in the medical field and I did that for 20 years. This is just not, again, on my radar either. We just accidentally happened into it. We both are very passionate about real estate, and real estate development, and doing flip projects, and things like that, so it just melded together. I work a lot with our subcontractors that work for us and with us. A lot of them are really newbie companies. They don't really understand how to get their entities together, do their chart of accounts, or any of their QuickBooks, or anything about marketing, or anything that has to do with the business aspect of running a business. Everyone knows that if you don't have all of that down, you could be the best at quality and the best at customer service, but if you can't keep your business afloat because you don't know the ins and outs of it, then you're going to be dead in the water pretty quickly. I really want to try and give as much of my knowledge that I can to people so that they can also achieve their goals and their dreams. When we're all successful, everybody's doing better and that's the point.

Casey Marsh-Shaevitz: Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth: That ... You know, what I'm hearing too, what I just love is, the opportunities for veterans in the roofing industry. I want to move on to that topic. Dave, I know you have only a certain amount of time, but thank you. You inspired all of us this morning. Thank you for sharing that. As everyone saw, we had your website onscreen and I can share that again. If anybody has questions on how to find similar programs in their area, start programs in their area, or get involved with the Black Dagger, I know Trent, and Wayne, and all of the amazing roofing professionals in Florida are very involved with you. Thank you for all you do, Dave and Wayne. We so appreciate it.

Dave Winter: Hey, also, Oklahoma out there. We have a connection, I've been swimming in Vintage Raper Lake before. You know where that is? Awesome. One last ... I want to give you an encouraging thought. National Women in Roofing, they support us down here but you know what? Men are great, but women are even better. You know why? Because socially ... This is key. Socially, they're a lot more active than we are. My wife always says, "Hey, did you talk to your brother?" I said, "Yeah, about eight months ago." But ... Unlike women. Social media, we have raised over $40,000 on social media just through Facebook fundraisers. Facebook gives you everything. There's a thought for you guys. There's power for National Women in Roofing to do good for veterans and for other organizations on social media. As the Roofing Coffee Shop already knows, that social media is important.

Heidi Ellsworth: Thank you, Dave. Thank you for everything you do and being here this morning. We appreciate you so much.

Dave Winter: Hey, and a thought as we roll into Friday, always remember those deployed. We have folks deployed in Syria, and Afghanistan, Iraq, in harm's way right now. You guys know it, but please let people know. We can't forget about them, no matter what. Even with everything that's going, they're still out there, blood, sweat, and tears overseas.

Heidi Ellsworth: They are. That's awesome. Thank you, Dave. You-

Dave Winter: Any other veteran on right now, I salute you guys. You're awesome.

Heidi Ellsworth: I think we have a lot. I'm watching and we have a lot coming on. You know what? On what you just said, Dave, Meredith and Casey, you just told me at the beginning that you just did a commercial for Veteran's Day. Can you tell everybody about that?

Casey Marsh-Shaevitz: Yeah. We have a little snippet. It's a little commercial that plays on online radio. I took that and I put it ... Put a commercial together that I could post visually on social media and tag a couple of places that they could visit to just learn what they need to do to send care packages to the men and women that are still overseas. We're trying to get that going.

Heidi Ellsworth: At the same time, you gave discounts for veterans who needed roofs, right?

Casey Marsh-Shaevitz: Well, that's all day, every day. We do first responders, veterans, teachers, anybody that serves on the front lines daily. Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth: That is so cool. I really want to remind everybody who's listening to- Goodbye, Dave. Thank you. I want to remind everybody who's listening that you can chat and you can also ask questions in here. We can bring you on, which we would love to do. Miss Megan Ellsworth is in the background and she'll ... Just ask your question or put your chat in, and she will get right with you on bringing you in so you can ask questions of Casey, and Justin, and Meredith, or just share your veteran story, and what you're doing as a veteran business, or a veteran in roofing. Right now, I have a question and I wanted to get that to Justin. Justin, you've been working with Hire Military. That is an amazing program. The NRCA just came out with a program too, where they're working with an organization, and I'm going to say it wrong, so I'm not going to say it, but they're working with an organization, there's a press release on Roofers Coffee Shop. We might even get Allison on here to tell us about it. You're working with Hire Military. How does that work? How can people use that organization to hire more veterans into roofing?

Justin Jennings: Hire Military is a program that I found on Linked In. I actually linked up with a few individuals that are huge supporter of the military families, even first responders, police force. They do a lot of stuff, the people that I've met through their online chats. Hire Military came on Linked In, I want to say six, seven months ago. Fairly new program. It's been going on ... If you serve, you know the ... There used to be a program that used to put you out about six months out on TAD orders, and let you come home and do a special program to allow you to work your way into the workforce civilian life. Then, you go back, you check out ... You go back to that job. It's like being a ... What's the word I'm looking for? You're volunteering your time but you're still getting paid active duty.

Heidi Ellsworth: Okay.

Justin Jennings: Hire Military is like doing the vetting system for the companies that are hiring these people. You go online, go on hiremilitary ... I think it's dot US. Go on there, find them. Join the branch of companies. Go through, pick out what you're looking for. You put your name, the location, the position. What they'll do is, they'll actually start vetting that system through their system when they do all their checkouts, and their classes, and doing all their TAD orders. Those guys can get sent to you from three to six months prior to even getting out of the service. They're setting these military members up for success prior to even transitioning, completely transitioning. Then they go back, they check out like normal, and then after that, they can come back to you and start working as an employee. It's just they've made it easy. You look for people online. Hey, you looking for a job? They're doing the process for you. They're doing the first interview, making sure you're a good match. I haven't had any luck with anybody coming to my small town yet, but I've got to talk to people on the chats. I found a few here that knew what it was. I'm not totally deep into Hire Military yet. I want to be, but my location in Dallas is not ... Dallas is good, but I'm north of Dallas. I need somebody to be up towards my area a little bit, but it's great. Hire Military, wonderful program. If you own a company, go look them up. They'll help you out tremendously.

Heidi Ellsworth: Justin, too, talk about a little bit ... I'm just getting your site up here so people can see this. Talk a little bit about why roofing is such a good fit for veterans. Coming out, why does it work so well?

Justin Jennings: When you are in the military, you have this common bond. When you're coming back to civilian life, you really don't have that common bond with very many. You're very timid, you're very paranoid, in a sense, to where everybody's looking at you and they're really not. Everybody can relate. Sarah's shaking her head. It's just that you're not comfortable with the actions that you think are wrong, but they're not, they're just different. With roofers, when military come out to be in our contracting world, you figure out that you have direction. You have a set of systems you can put in place. I heard Meredith say earlier about standard operating procedures. We call them SOPs. It's the same thing, but you can lay your business structure out, like what we say in the S Shops. You have your administration, and then you have your orders processed, and then you have your training, and then you have your logistics. All that really relates to a background of being a military service member. Once you hit a roofing or construction, or home building, or any of those options, it ends up being something that's structured. People will stand there and look at you like they did in the military, waiting for orders. Like, hey man, you're free. You can go sell, you can go meet people. There's a huge factor in the construction world that really plays a part with military once you actually look at it and start matching and mirroring the process. When I first did it, it was just me in a garage with one of my buddies, and he now runs my office in San Antonio. He's my COO and he went from Marine Corp to Army. I think he's transitioning to whatever he's doing now. He's got that good transition point to where he came in and started doing paperwork, he started doing the HR role, and then he started doing the memorandums. I'm like, "This is how it's supposed to be." [inaudible 00:39:17] Worked in the military, getting out is a matter ... I won't be there forever. My goal is to leave a legacy, leave a mark somehow. With all that, it's mainly just leaving my mark and hopefully this thing's a legacy, not just a building and a name. I don't care who runs it, but I want it to live on. That's like the military. No matter who transitions out, there will always be somebody else to take your place. It all works because there's a system.

Heidi Ellsworth: Casey, you found the same thing, right? As you came transitioning back? Talk about that a little bit, because I think we really ... If we're using ... As we use Hire Military and we really look at hiring veterans in, I think from a cultural aspect, the roofing company needs to be aware that there are going to be some transitions. Casey, you saw that. Right?

Casey Marsh-Shaevitz: Yeah. I agree with everything that Justin said. I can see that still in some of the ways that I operate, even though it's been years since I've been in. Some other things to think about would be even just we're used to the chain of command and knowing that we have to talk to this person, and then they'll go up. One of the things that I noticed was not knowing who I was allowed to talk to. If I had to go through a chain of command or could I just go straight to whoever the owner was and talk to them. You just feel lost and really silly for even having to ask those questions, because people look at you and they're like, "What do you mean? Why are you even asking this?" Well, because I don't want to get in trouble. You know? But yeah, just really educating people who are hiring veterans on the military culture, the language that we use in the military. Something as simple as ... We could talk about the paperwork and stuff he was talking about, but something even as simple as hearing at least a sailor say, "Well, where's the head?" Well, what's the bathroom? That's what we're talking about. Yeah. The other thing, too, is I'm also a licensed professional counselor. I work with the mental health side of seeing veterans. Not just veterans, but that's one of my specialties. I think that it's just really important that the people continue to create space for veterans as they come into the workspace and give them time to adjust, because it's like walking into a whole new world. We go from being saluted and thanked, and just a certain way that people treat you when you have your uniform on. But then you take it off and it almost feels like people don't really know what to do with you. It's a really uncomfortable feeling. I think that the more that we just talk about being a veteran, normalize the experiences that we have, as much as we can, make it feel safe for people to ask questions when they need to, and let them know you're free to talk to anybody about anything, if that is indeed your policy.

Heidi Ellsworth: That is good. There is a huge push. I know that Beacon has been doing ... Beacon Building Products has been doing a lot with helping veteran-owned businesses in roofing and bringing veterans into roofing. TAMCO, obviously, is doing a lot. We're going to bring on ... I think what both of you are saying is so important for everyone to hear. It's one thing to say, "Oh yeah, we want to hire." But then how do you make your culture the right way? Exactly what you're talking about. I want to bring on Alison Levally from the NRCA, National Roofing Contractors Association. They just put that press release out yesterday, where they are partnering with Op Line to try to help hiring more veterans into roofing. You two, three, are going to be a great resource to Miss Allison as she comes on. Megan, are we able to bring Allison on? I think she's coming on with audio.

Megan: Yes. Allison, you should be unmuted.

Allison Lavalley: All right, can you hear me? It's Allison?

Heidi Ellsworth: Hi, Allison. We can hear you.

Allison Lavalley: Hi. Good morning.

Heidi Ellsworth: Good morning.

Allison Lavalley: Good morning, Heidi, and Justin, and Casey, and Meredith. I am in awe of your stories. Just so moved. I'll try to compose myself here. I am with the National Roofing Contractors Association. Heidi and I go way back. I'm also familiar with Black Dagger because we work with Trent. Thank you for sharing your stories and for all that you're doing. I can't say enough about, like I said, how in awe I am in what you're doing in your efforts. One thing that I'm excited about and trying to do from NRCA, and I'm so glad to meet you all here and see you, because I think you'll be wonderful resources. AS Heidi mentioned, NRCA just partnered with a company called Op Line. They are out of Virginia Beach, Virginia. What we're trying to do to partner with them is to enhance and support our members' efforts to recruit transitioning military personnel and veterans into the roofing industry. Op Line is owned also by all veterans, all military people. Everybody involved in that company has a military background. What Op Line does is they actually use market data analytics and artificial intelligence, and machine learning technologies. It's way over my head, but they try to explain it to me anyway, to align job applicants with job openings. What we're hoping to do is to provide these workforce recruitment resources, and educational tools, and training materials to members, so that they can identify and build an effective veteran recruitment and sourcing program. From that side is what we're trying to do for our members. Like I said, we don't have any data to share. We literally just launched this within the last week or so. Within Op Line, they have something called Vet Line. What their primary mission is, to get veterans working. They help veterans and transitioning military and their spouses because they feel that's an important part too, not just the transitioning military person to the veteran person, but also their families that are affected by this. They work with the spouses, too. Then, the right job opportunities without maybe going through some of the regular job searches that are out there. For the employers, they work with any company that already wants to accelerate or compliment their current hiring program. They try to understand and help you with knowledge gaps and understanding military skill sets, because sometimes the company hiring doesn't understand everything about all the different specialties. They try to make those connections and they go on ... They say they go beyond just military occupational specialty matching engines that are sometimes out there. They really, again, try to sync the jobs specific to the qualified military veteran and really talk to them and build that relationship, but using a lot of great technology. Again, some of that technology, way over my head, but I'm learning and NRCA is excited to get involved and your stories today just inspire me and all of us to do more. Thank you for that. I'm hoping maybe, if we talk again ... Well, hopefully less than a year, but if we're talking again around this time again next year, that we'll have many success stories to share and others to add to these conversations because it's really important. All the work you're doing is important. Again, we just appreciate all that you're doing. We're trying to do our part at NRCA.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah, I was going to say, Allison, NRCA has to spend [inaudible 00:48:10] and bringing in the different folks. I love, Roofers Coffee Shop loves where the industry meets and where everybody's together. Here are some awesome folks for you, Justin, Meredith, and Casey, to talk to as we are putting all of that together. I am so excited to hear more about Op Line and that press release is going to be on Roofers Coffee Shop today. Also, we'll have more information on NRCA directory, because Allison [inaudible 00:48:48] to make [inaudible 00:48:51] out to the industry.

Allison Lavalley: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for letting me be a part of this today.

Heidi Ellsworth: Thank you. That is awesome.

Megan: Doug Keller put in a question.

Heidi Ellsworth: Yes.

Megan: He says, "Over the years, we have done donations of time and material to various organizations and charities. We have wanted to get involved in this direction, also. What is a good resource to find vets that are really in need in areas? We are in Oakland, California, but a good resource for other areas would be good also for other people." Maybe, Casey, do you guys have any other organizations that you know of in the Oklahoma City area?

Casey Marsh-Shaevitz: Well, there are a lot of manufacturers that we partner with. Malarkey has an actual plant just around the corner from us. We've had a few people that aren't veterans necessarily, but we have manufacturers that want to donate their time- Or, sorry, their materials and then we find people to donate time. As far as community work, there are things available like that. I would say find a veteran-owned company, do some research, and just try and partner with a company nearby that is doing work with and for veterans.

Megan: Fabulous. How about you, Justin? Any other organizations in your area that you haven't mentioned already?

Justin Jennings: TAMKO's offered to help out quite a bit. Beacon Building Supply, another one. They just did a ... I believe they just did one for a roofer drawing, to put a new roof on.

Megan: Oh yes, I saw that.

Justin Jennings: I'm not sure how far nation-wide Beacon goes as a whole, but if they're out there in that California area, then I would definitely look them up. Get with one of the sales guys, sit down with one of the managers, get with one of the representatives from TAMKO or Malarkey, or those other companies, just to sit down and talk with them about rebate plans and how is there a way to give back? Sometimes they'll even donate a few pallets of shingles. It just depends on what they have readily available. Yeah, those are some really good options, though.

Megan: Great. Yeah. TAMKO's our sponsor for Coffee Conversations this morning, also. Love our TAMKO partners. We also have another question from Emory Smith for Casey, going back to what we were talking about a little bit ago. He says, "Casey, this is so good. Who do you talk to? Chain of command is daunting." I think going back to when you were talking about chain of command and re-entering the workforce, if you have anything to say on that.

Casey Marsh-Shaevitz: I think that it's going to be really up to veterans to feel like they can use their voice when they go into the workforce, the work center. I was fortunate enough to have a supervisor when I went back to a counseling center, who worked at the VA, so he already understood just the chain of command issues. Whenever I asked the question, who am I allowed to talk to, do I have to talk to you, those sorts of things, he wasn't out off by it because he understood, but not everybody's going to. If you are working anywhere, not just for a roofing company, but for anybody, and they look at you like you're crazy when you ask, just explain it to them. I think that people are hungry for knowledge and they don't know what they don't know. I think it's going to be up to us to help educate those around us who just don't have the answers.

Megan: Yeah, totally. We also have another comment from Emory Smith, saying, "I re-entered the workforce in 1978, went into a family business, but so good to see the programs and systems available to vets today." I think that's very true. There's lots of resource available, as you all have been saying, so thank you for sharing. It looks like Heidi's dialing in. Heidi?

Heidi Ellsworth: Hello? Can you hear me?

Megan: Hello. We can hear you.

Heidi Ellsworth: Awesome. Well, isn't this interesting. In the age of COVID, I have to dial in because my internet goes down. I don't even know if you can still see me or not. Thank you so much. I've been listening. You guys are rock stars and so are you, Megan. Very, very good. We are ... I just ... We are getting towards the end of our questions and we did have a lot of questions come in, but I think Megan got through them and some really awesome people out there. Let's get to last thought. Justin, I just want to get to you before we go, because I know you have an initiative that you are going forward, where you are going to be adding a little something to your company name, and also you're doing it in thoughts of helping veterans. Please, tell everybody about that next stop for you.

Justin Jennings: All right. We are changing our name. We are re-branding, pretty much mainly because construction, one, is a headache. I love it, but we're already on the roof as roofers and we've implemented a program for solar. We have 25 teams of five man crews to install, but the company we work with is called Power. They're based out of California. We are owner of Main Street Solar. What we're trying to produce to people out there anywhere in the US, roofing companies, we're not licensed in every state. You have about 22 states and I can post it on our website and go look at it. What it is, is it allows people to make money while still being active duty or non-active duty. They can be anybody, honestly. Our ambassador program allows you- It's free to join, but it's $1000 per install. If you send the four lines, fill it out, name, first and last name, email address, and phone number, and then we get the lead, we contact them. If the contact is underneath your lead, the lead underneath your contact name when you submitted it, when the system gets completely installed, we're actually getting $1000 per person. If you get 12 people a year, that's $12,000. If you get 30 people a year, it's $30,000. The goal is, is that you don't even have to do any of the work. You've just got to have the conversation. You have the conversation and then you put those four names in there, and we do all the work for you. That $1000 doesn't change whether we work eight hours on it or 25 days on it. That's all it is. We're actually offering this to anybody and everybody. I can post a website online. It'll be linked to everything. It's on our social media platform for Main Street Roofing. You can find us on Linked In, Instagram, Facebook. We have been trying to push the solar side, mainly because it's easy. We close all our interviews through Zoom. I can do our proposals through Zoom. I can share screen just like we are now, go through your whole proposal, go through your loan process, all on the computer. There's actually ways for roofers to love this program because there's ways to wrap other items into that cost without having them to come zero out of pocket. In a roof game, if you need a new roof because your solar is going to get installed but your roof is 10 years old, but your panels may last 34 years, you don't want to put a 40 year panel on with a 65 year roof. You know? We don't do that. We can actually get the roof replaced prior to the system going on. For roofers out there, look us up. Our website is power.com/mainstreen.solar, and then you can press find us on that. The ambassador program is just a backslash ambassador. If you're looking to get into the game to sell solar, you can also just do backslash and then put solar. It'll lead you to opportunities across the board. We've got people in Tampa Bay, Florida I'm talking to right now. They have a construction company, huge military ... They support hardcore there in Tampa, where she's at. Her and her husband run that company and she's looking into it. I've got guys in Oceanside, California that are signed up for ambassadors. I've got guys in Carolina that are signed up as ambassadors. My little brother's a Marine. He's signed up as an ambassador. It's just ... They can make money just by the referral game. It just opens up other contractors to have the opportunity to help individuals out by allowing them to invest in themselves. They're not really taking money away from anybody else, it's just they're investing, like a car.

Heidi Ellsworth: Wow. You know, Justin, I love the forward-thinking and the fact that you're bringing all these vets together, and veterans, and giving them opportunities. I just want to say thank you so much for all you do. Thank you for ... You know, just being so inspirational. I want to make sure, Casey and Meredith, we're right at the hour, but thank you. Any last thoughts?

Casey Marsh-Shaevitz: Not really, just thank you for letting us be here and be a part of this conversation. I've really enjoyed being able to share the things that I've experienced and hear that other people are right there in line with what I also have gone through. It was just really good meeting everybody and I appreciate being here. Thank you.

Heidi Ellsworth: Well, I'm going to ... Thank you. You know, we've done ... So many times, we've brought so many different people together through National Women in Roofing, through all the associations and stuff. I would just encourage ... I'm going to put up a forum on Roofers Coffee Shop for veterans today. Go to the forum section, there will be a place for veterans. Find each other. Let's start talking more about veteran-owned businesses, hiring veterans, getting more involved. I'll have that in there and I'm going to- Casey, Meredith, Justin, I'll be calling you. We'll get you in that forum so everyone can find you and ask questions, and know what's going on. We appreciate, first of all, your service to our country. We are humbled. And also, your great inspiration within the roofing industry. Thank you so much for being here today. Thank you everybody for listening and being a part of this Coffee Conversation.

Casey Marsh-Shaevitz: Thank you.

Heidi Ellsworth: Thank you all.

Justin Jennings: Thank you so much for having me. Pleasure meeting you all.

Heidi Ellsworth: Pleasure meeting you, Justin. I feel like new friends. Everybody, please, I'm sorry for the technical difficulties this morning, but in two weeks, we're going to be having Brad Belvin of Belvin Roofing, and Wendy Marvin of Matrix Roofing here talking about the roofing technology think tank, RT3. If you are interested in technology for your business and hearing about it from some of the leading contractors, and the think tank that is really doing some great things out there, join us two weeks from today, same time, hopefully without any technical difficulties. Have a great day everybody and thank you. Bye.

Megan: Thank you.



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