Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an live interview with Mandy McIntyre, owner and CEO of Level Up Consultants and Paul Reed, co-founder of Roofers in Recovery. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast here.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Good morning. Welcome to Coffee Conversations from RoofersCoffeeShop®. My name is Heidi Ellsworth. Wow, this is going to be a big conversation today. I am so excited to have you all here and to be talking about something that a lot of people just don't want to talk about, and that is mental health. We have some amazing panelists today. So we're going to get started right at the top of the hour because I want to have every minute of this day.
So we have Mandy McIntyre, Paul Reed, and Kim Reed here today, and we're going to have them introduce themselves in just a minute. But first I want to remind everyone that this is being recorded and it will be on demand in the next 24 hours. This is something you should share with everyone out there, and I'll bring that up again at the end because this is something that the whole industry needs to be aware of.
Also, I want to let everyone know that the chat is open, so I would really love for everyone to say hello in the chat, tell us where you're from, name of your company, just let us know who you are out there, and please feel free to ask questions, make comments, insightful thoughts throughout the entire hour. This is all about a conversation, so we want everyone involved. Thank you so much for being here today.
I really want to say thank you to Beacon. Beacon Building Products is just a leader in everything. When you talked about thought leadership and what they've done across the industry to help all roofing professionals, including people as we have this conversation around mental health, Beacon has been a true leader and we are very honored to have them as our sponsor for this special coffee conversations today. Thank you, Beacon.
Okay, let's get going. So first I would love to introduce Mandy McIntyre, who I have to say I'm somewhat of a fan girl. She is absolutely amazing and has really taken a step to bring so much to light in the industry. So Mandy, thank you so much for being here today. Can you introduce yourself?
Mandy McIntyre: Yes, thank you so much for having me, Heidi. And I am an equal fan girl, right back at you.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Mutual.
Mandy McIntyre: So hi everyone. I'm Mandy McIntyre. I am the owner of Level Up Consultants in Cleveland, Ohio. What my company does is it's company culture and leadership consulting to help roofing and construction companies recruit, engage, and retain employees. A lot of that has to do with mental health. I'm a mental health first aid instructor. A lot of that has to do with diversity, equity, and inclusion, and I have trainings in that. So my focus is to just really elevate the industry as a whole so that we can attract more people into our industry and keep them here.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's fun.
Mandy McIntyre: And I was with the roofing contractor for 10 years. So my background is roofing and construction.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: When you read this bio, you, you're involved in so many different things. So thank you so much for being here today and to helping us really bring this conversation in front of everyone. I mean, it's so important. So next, I am so honored to introduce Paul and Kimberly Reed. I've met them at Western States. We're on the board together. They've done something that has just, I tell you, is saving lives, changing and saving lives in the roofing industry. Paul and Kim, thank you so much for being here today. Please introduce yourselves. So let's start with Paul and then go to Kim.
Paul Reed: Thank you, Heidi. I too am a fanboy of the whole thing with RoofersCoffeeShop®. I've been following this for many, many years. So I've been in the roofing industry for 31 years. My background started out in installing shingles and all types of different roofing systems and been kind of on the ownership side the last 16 years. So the first 15 years was out in the field every single day, which led me to where I am at today through a personal addiction issue that I had, from being in rehab 16 years ago, to starting Roofers In Recovery. I think we're on our fourth year, I believe. And I'll kick it over to Kim.
Kim Reed: Good morning. And Heidi, thank you so much for having us and I too am a fan. So a little bit about my background. I've been in construction for probably I would say 30 years easily, been in roofing for about 10. And yes, Paul's correct. We've had Roofers In Recovery going on four years. We have Roofers In Recovery and Contractors In Recovery. We initially started with the Roofers In Recovery and we felt that we needed to expand into the contractor network as well because it's all blue collar America and we wanted to be able to reach everybody. And currently, there isn't really a facility out there that is designated just for construction and for roofing to put people in and let them know that there is an outlet specifically for this industry. So that's what we've worked very hard on putting together and we are in the process of a lot of exciting things, which we'll get into further in the conversation. So thanks so much for having us and I'm looking forward to the rest of this.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: This is great. Thank you so much. Really, everybody just get ready for some goosebumps because this the things we're going to talk about today are so important. So I want to start with and going a little bit further into Roofers and Contractors In Recovery. So Kim, you were kind of starting there. Can you talk a little bit about the history of Roofers? And Paul, you two can kind of go back and forth. But how did it start? What really brought this idea? I know you have another partner who is not here today, so maybe give us a little bit of the history of the organization.
Paul Reed: I mentioned earlier, in this August, 16 years ago, I found myself actually in a mental health hospital and went into rehab a few days after that from a meth addiction and walking through the steps and trying to get sober and start to live life like it was designed to begin with. I quickly learned that one of the best ways to be good with myself and have that life was to be in service and to help other people because the truth in reality was someone had helped me get into rehab. Back then, it was my family had put me into a rehab. And granted it was probably a little nicer rehab than most, but it was $30,000 even back 16 years ago, which is very expensive. Even to today's standard it's still very expensive. But a lot of people came together and maxed out credit cards and sold things and did things to help me to give me a new start on life. And so I knew at some point it was really my duty and our duty to give back and to help other people.
So it really started with talking with my wife and another friend Eric, and going, "Hey, we really need to do this." And our intention was like, "Let's help one person, because roofing had been very, very good to us. It provided us the life that we have today." And so it started out with like, "Let's help one person. Let's pull some money together and do this." The results were phenomenal and the guy got a new start on life. It was just the natural thing to do was to go into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, a true nonprofit. Kim has been unbelievable with running all this and putting everything together. And that was really the start.
And so today, because of this foundation, on average year we get to help between 20 to 40 different contractors throughout the whole country. It's not just state specific. Throughout the whole country, we get to send about 20 to 40 different people to rehab center.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: And so yeah, we can go on Kim and talk about, like you said, that approach to how you're doing this. So there may be people out there even listening right now who are thinking, "I know somebody" or maybe themselves. As business owners, how do you interact with Roofers In Recovery to start that process?
Kim Reed: So right now we just have it set up where they give us a call... I'm so sorry. They give us a call. Our phone numbers on our website. It goes directly to Paul or myself. And we take the call regardless of the time of day or night and we get them set up. There's a process we kind of go through. We go through the process and ask them a lot of questions and then we set a date and a time for them to go into a facility or get set up with a counselor or whatever is needed.
Paul Reed: The biggest thing, while Kim grabs our dog.... Sorry but our dog is barking. There must be a mailman outside. But one of the biggest things for us is to actually really get to just get the word out that, "Hey, there is a potential for help and there are people like you or people that you may know that are struggling with these deals." And as you'll always hear me say, Heidi, is we want to break that stigma of addiction and that, "Hey, it happens and it's not the end of the world" and there are people like us that have recovered and work every day to help people. So our biggest goal is just, "Let's get the message out and to break that stigma." I know it ties so much into the mental health and all of those things that I'm so looking forward to talking about today with Mandy.
Heidi J. Ellsworth:
Thank you. That's good. And we're going to get into more of it. We're going to kind of talk about how to help, what the steps are and everything. But before we do that, Mandy, I would love for you to talk about Level Up. You mentioned a little bit in your introduction, but what was your inspiration and what do you see, really what is your company able to do to help the industry?
Mandy McIntyre: Yes, thank you. So when I was with the roofing contractor, I saw a lot of mental health issues. I think if you're in the industry, you've just kind of become jaded. It's just part of the culture of construction. I had a foreman that I was very close to. He was a great guy, just such a great guy, and he just happened to have a substance use disorder. At one time we had to do an intervention. I had to go to the job site, get him off the roof, did the whole thing. But he made some poor decisions, he ended up in jail.
And so the last time I talked to him, I said, "Ryan, please take care of yourself. I never want to get the phone call that you're dead." And three months later, I got that phone call that he had overdosed in a car with friends and they left him on the side of the road and he died. And so it was at that time that I really started researching, looking into mental health more as a company culture aspect to do mental health toolbox talks, to just have an open discussion with my team. And that's where I started learning about mental health first aid. I did the training, did the instructor training. Excuse me.
So when I started my business, I knew I wanted to focus on company culture and leadership for the industry as a whole. So I was thinking of all the things that I had done with the company that I was with at the time, what was successful, what wasn't, what's needed, what's missing. And here we are with Level Up Consultants focusing on company culture and leadership.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it.
Mandy McIntyre: So that's the backstory, yeah.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's inspiration. Okay, as you're talking about that, let's talk a little bit about some of your experience and then how... I mean, look at the stats for the industry overall. So can you walk everybody through this great handout? If anybody wants it, we'll be able to get it to you from Mandy. But kind of talk about this.
Mandy McIntyre: So I did so much research. When I did my mental health first aid training through the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and became an instructor for Mental Health First Aid, I wanted to offer something that was construction and roofing specific. So I did a ton of research and came up... The more research I did, the more I was like, "What is happening?"
So these are the highlights of what's happening. This is our workforce, all right? These are the people that we are employing, these are the people that are here. So when we talk about labor shortages, it's like these are important to keep these people engaged. So the biggest thing that I like to let everyone know is that we focus as an industry on safety, you always have your fall protection, all that. But you are more likely to die in construction and roofing from suicide or an overdose than every other workplace related fatality combined, which includes the OSHA Fatal Four; falls, struck by, caught in betweens, and electrocution. And no one's talking about this. Well, we are today. So that's a good first step.
And then 83% of construction workers have experienced a mental health issue. We have twice the rate of substance use disorder as a national average, higher alcohol use disorders. And then highest suicide rates than any other industry. If you break down construction, technically mining has higher. But depending on the research, if you do construction as a whole, construction has the highest. Whereas every 12 minutes, a construction worker dies by suicide. And then we have... Yeah, it's so alarming. And then seven times more likely to die from opioid. And highest, heroin related overdose death than any other industry.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: So as you saw this and you saw these statistics, I mean, I know everybody out there has to be going, "Holy cow," because we never talk about it. We never talk about it out there at all. And so as you've shared these statistics and started getting them out there, what has been the response that you've been hearing?
Mandy McIntyre: Well, it's interesting because I do different trainings and I do just different workshops and speaking engagements. Generationally, people that are older in roofing and construction, at first there's a little... You know, it's uncomfortable. But I always, always get somebody that says, "I've seen this. I probably could've helped somebody or talked to someone a little differently instead of just looking the other way." And then with younger generation workers and employees, they're like, "Yeah, yeah, I see this. We've all seen it. We just haven't talked about it." So I'm trying to break that stigma and say, "It's okay to talk about these things because it's going to help us."
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and talking about things, Kim, you and Paul both provided these stats, which are the same thing that we just don't talk about, but we're changing that. Kim, can you walk us through some of these statistics that you all have found?
Kim Reed: So we were doing a lot of research. These statistics here are a little bit older. Currently for '23, these stats are kind of doubled. And then fentanyl's not on here either. And as you guys all know, that's really, really bad in the industry, outside of the industry, just in society in general. So as it says here, I mean half of people are 12 years and older, 50% of people 12 years and older have some kind of an addiction. Paul, do you want to finish this off?
Paul Reed: Yeah, absolutely. I'm going to throw out something that's maybe a little bit unpopular. I have a personal belief that marijuana is a gateway drug. I just do. There's some people that push up against that and say whatever. But the difference between marijuana today than marijuana 10 years ago or 20 years ago or however long ago is it's a different drug. There's a lot more synthetics involved in it. It's generally what we've seen and found, that's generally the first drug that most people try. Most people at 12 years old don't jump into cocaine. Most of it starts at marijuana. And so that's my personal opinion.
What's happened in, I believe in society, most states now it's legal to use marijuana, to purchase marijuana, dispensaries and grow houses all over the place. To me, that's where it starts. But it's a very scary stat when you look at it and you go, "The national average that most people that have used illicit drugs or currently use illicit drugs is 8%. But when you get into a construction related, it's a blue collar world, that stat is literally doubled," right? And that does tie into a lot of the mental health issues because when you can't get a normal job, I'm talking your 8:00 to 5:00 jobs, where do you go? You go into the construction world because I think we're a little more lax than most industries. Sometimes I believe that we are just so happy to get somebody that we overlook a lot of the issues and you're just glad that they're there so you just let a lot of things slide.
And also tying into that, and maybe Mandy you might know this stat, but I have the percentage of men versus women in construction. It's probably 90% men, or that would be my guess.
Mandy McIntyre: I don't have the exact number, but it's predominantly men, yeah.
Paul Reed: Predominantly men. So my thought behind that, most men have a very hard time talking about their feelings, right? We really compartmentalize most of our feelings. And then you get into the blue collar side, and I believe it even goes a little bit further because that's the stigma. You're supposed to be the big tough guy out there working blue collar, doing construction, and you're darn sure not going to talk about your feelings with people. It is an issue and it's really sad the way that we're going.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, Paul, I think that's so true because we grew up, especially when you look at the generations, from my generation of X, how we grew up and how we were told, "This is how you're supposed to act," right? We had very huge stereotypes of what you're supposed to do. And now we're trying to break so many of those down and the younger generation, Gen Z's kind of looking at as like, "You guys are kind of crazy." But as we try to work through this, there's a lot going on. When you look at this... And thank you for sharing these stats because we all know there's a problem, but we aren't talking about it.
So I want to encourage everyone to please ask your questions. We're going to keep going through. I'm going to take off our PowerPoint for this moment. Please ask your questions, anything. I have questions here that have come in before, and we're going to start working through those. But this is the kind of stuff we wanted to lay some groundwork to really see what the huge problem is out there. And so I'm going to start out with something that's kind of interesting. And Mandy, I'm going to ask you, because this I learned during the practice and I feel like I'm constantly learning. But you just referred to it as substance use disorder, okay?
Mandy McIntyre: Yes.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: From an older generation or from maybe the rest people out there, I've always been like, "Well, substance abuse," and you said, No, that's not how we say anymore." Tell us why.
Mandy McIntyre: All right, words have power, right? We all grew up with like, "Sticks and stones can hurt my bones, but words can never hurt me." I believe that's opposite. A wound will heal, but those words, they stay with you. Someone can tell you a thousand compliments. The one thing you're going to remember is the one negative thing they told you, right?
So the clinical term is substance use disorder, because it is a medical, clinically diagnosed condition, illness. So when you say abuse, it's stigmatizing the person that almost like you are blaming the person or just making the person act as if they have no control. Now, you can go into a whole debate of willpower and all of this, but when you get into substance use disorder, your brain changes and it becomes hard to get off of that addiction. So I'd like to make it very clear, this is an illness like anything else. It's hereditary, it can be induced by trauma, it can be induced by your brain chemistry. Lots of factors with that. So words matter. And so that's why I say substance use disorder instead of substance abuse.
The other is with suicide. If you've noticed lately in publications or journal write-ups, when somebody dies by suicide, they say died by suicide. Now we're used to saying commit suicide. Now, the reason for that is you commit a crime, right? When somebody dies by suicide, that is the result of a severe mental illness. To get to the point where the only way that you can see out of your illness is by ending your life, it's not just some simple choice. That's an illness that usually stems from depression. It can stem from trauma. So to maintain the integrity of a person with substance use disorder who has died by suicide, it's important to use our words correctly so that we maintain the humanity here with mental illness.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's why we're having that conversation. And Paul, you talk about this. You've been on our podcast before. You and I have talked about this. You are very much about exactly what Mandy's just saying and stopping the stigma. One of the things that I know you do at trade shows, at board meetings, at all the things you go to is you offer, and forgive me if I say it wrong, but I think of it as safe havens for people who are fighting or in recovery. Can you talk a little bit about breaking the stigma and also supporting each other?
Paul Reed: Yeah, I think it's important because in the roofing industry, obviously I had a second life in the roofing. The first 15 years, I'm the guy on the roof. I am that guy we're talking about that's up there on drugs, drinking the whole time. I was that guy. And I say by the grace of God, I got sober coming on 16 years ago. Somehow I've been put in this position to really have massive success in the roofing industry and today I get to be on a lot of different boards and a lot of different leadership roles in this community. And so I feel that I have to get the message out like, at one point I was literally in the gutter. I was that guy that was basically homeless living out of my vehicle. I wasn't sleeping under a bridge by any means, but I was living in my pickup. I mean, that was one step closer to living under the bridge. But I think it's important to where I'm at today to say, "If I can do it, you can do it. Anybody can."
And today, [inaudible 00:25:55] people what they want to see. When you're in that situation and you're struggling with your mental health, a lot of times you're struggling with your drug or alcohol addiction, one thing that you need is you need some hope. And to me, where do I get hope from? That's maybe seeing somebody that understands where I am right now because they were there at one point and somehow they were able to get out of it. And so I feel that it's my calling to be like... I don't think I was put in this position because I'm the smartest, best looking guy in the room. I was put in this position to help other people. And that's because some people need to grasp onto that hope and go, "Man, if that guy can do that, so can I."
Sometimes it's just that little sliver of hope that saves your life. You were like, "Man, that guy was... He gets it. And look at him today." And that's why I'm supposed to be where I'm at today is because I had to grasp onto something as well and see somebody going, "Man, I want to be there and I want to follow in their footprints. How did they do it?" Maybe that will help start the conversation of how you could move up, right?
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. I'm just overwhelmed, Paul. Thank you. We have a lot of business owners who are also listening here. I think we want to talk about that exactly what you just said. You are putting yourself out there to say, "Look, this is what you can do." So as business owners when they... Let's talk a little bit about signs and symptoms. And Mandy, let's start with you. Just across the board, depression, suicidal, substance use disorder, what are some of the signs and how can business owners help their employees to help them get back?
Mandy McIntyre: Yeah. So this is why I think it is a responsibility of an employer to look out for their employee's mental health because they're at work majority of their day. So you know the people that you work with. So what you're looking for with signs and symptoms is changes in behaviors and that pattern of changes. So say someone starts showing up late and it's really not their normal behavior. Instead of just chastising or punishing that person for repeatedly being tardy, asking the question, "What's going on? Is everything okay?" Because that's usually an indicator, like tardiness and when people stop showing up for work. Usually if that's not their normal behavior, typically something wrong. Changes in mood, changes in appearance. Someone starts looking disheveled, they look like they haven't been sleeping. Changes in their attitudes and behavior. Maybe they're more agitated. Maybe they're more hyper. Maybe they're more just manically happy or manically sad.
So it's just looking for these behavioral changes and then questioning it. I feel like people are afraid to dig into these hard conversations because they feel like it's a personal violation, and it's not. I mean, if you're employing somebody and you see something that is out of the norm, that question could help save their life. So theoretically, it's your responsibility to make sure that person is healthy, happy, and safe. So we have to ask these questions and look for changes.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: So same thing. Paul and Kim, go ahead.
Paul Reed: Yeah, I want to add to that. I think the one thing, you have to be willing to have that hard conversation. In our own company, we have to have that hard conversation sometimes with people, and it's not easy. It's scary. And you know. Generally, you know because as Mandy was saying, you're really with your people at work more than you are anybody else. You're there 8, 10, 12 hours a day so you're with them more than your own family. And so you see these patterns and you see these signs.
Sometimes it's so hard to have that conversation because the reality is when you do have that conversation, they're probably going to deny it to begin with. That's most people aren't just going to come out and be like, "Oh, you're right. I'm using heroin," or "I've been considering..." You have to have the hard conversation and just be brutally honest and be like, "Here's what I see" and offer that support. Because if they feel like they're being chastised and they're scared to lose their job, they're never going to open up to you and have that conversation. So you have to walk that line of like, "Hey, I've noticed it. I've seen it really, so as the whole company. We are here to help. Let's be honest with you. I get it. I understand we have resources."
So to be able to just be willing to have that hard conversation, knowing when you go into it that yes, they're going to be scared because they don't want to lose their job. And so they'll probably deny that anything's going on and try to make you feel crazy yourself. But just have a brutally honest conversation and don't just come with the problem, offer some solution with it too of like, "Hey, we have these resources. We have Level Up. We have Roofers In Recovery. We have resources for you. How can we help?" Don't just come in and be like, "If you do it again, we're going to fire you tomorrow" because you're not going to help them.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: And they're not going to say anything.
Kim Reed: Right.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Kim, go ahead.
Kim Reed: Well, and that's my part with Roofers In Recovery, is to raise awareness and make sure that everybody knows who we are and that we're out there and that it's a comfortable thing and that there's resources for them. So the more we put ourselves out there, the more it's widespread and people hear it and they're comfortable with it.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Well, and I think that's exactly... Again, I want to encourage everyone, if you have comments, thoughts, experiences, questions, please pop those into the chat and we'll share those with the panel. But I do want to Mandy start the same conversation because one of the things that you've said that really means something to me is that when you were at First Choice, you started the conversation during toolbox talks.
Mandy McIntyre: Yes.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: You actually started the conversation. Long before you had to address somebody directly, you started bringing this up. Talk about that a little bit and how you do that and how you're doing that with Level Up.
Mandy McIntyre: Yeah. So at the time, we didn't have any women in on our crews. It was all men. I wanted to change the culture. I wanted people to be able to talk about their feelings, talk about their struggles, because I would always say, "I care about you personally and professionally. If you're unhappy outside of work, you're going to be unhappy here, so let's help you." So I thought toolbox talks. What an easy segue to get the conversation.
So the first toolbox talk was called Owning Your Feelings. And all the guys, they were like, "Mandy, what are you doing?" But at the end of that, there was a little shift and I kept doing it. It was once a month I would do a mental health toolbox talk. I started doing yoga for the guys, because I'm a yoga instructor too. I would just talk to them and get to know them and know them personally to see how can I lead them professionally, because everyone has different motivators. So the toolbox talk really started to work. At one point I had one of the foreman say something. I forget the exact conversation, but they said, "That's not good for our mental health. That's not part of our company culture." And I was like, "I did it." So now with Level Up, that's what I consult on, is I do the mental health awareness workshops, training, speaking engagements. To introduce that, I offer toolbox talks because that is the easiest way to start changing the culture and breaking that stigma.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. Having that conversation out there. Kim and Paul, have you seen that also? Actually, I know you're there to help get people into recovery, but you're also, through what Kim said, that awareness up front of getting companies to start talking about it before the worst happens.
Paul Reed: Yeah, absolutely. On the roofing side, especially say on the restoration side of roofing, most of the industry is pretty type A personalities. They just are. It's type A personality and we don't like talking about our feelings. We don't like to do these things. We're trying to make all this money, millions of dollars and all of these things. And it's just they don't want to talk about it. I wanted to add one thing. It hit me, Mandy, that sometimes with the mental health stuff, what causes a lot of mental health issues a lot of times, and I think in our industry, I think sometimes it's the money involved. I think there is such a crazy up and down with finances because as the owner of a company, you have those ups and downs, but you also have the ups and downs with all the sales reps because you could come in, all of a sudden you get this big fat check for tens of thousands of dollars and then you don't have anything for months at a times. Those ups and downs of the industry, it causes you to be in dark places, right?
There's some of us that could go to a dark place very, very quick. And so as part of ownership of helping your guys understand what money is and how to manage their money and what it means like, "Hey, just because you've got a check for $10,000 or $20,000 doesn't mean you should go buy a brand new pickup right now." Let's take care of your bills for the next 3, 4, 5, 6 months. Because I've personally seen that in my own company of guys that got a little bit of money, and man, a few months later, they were in the darkest, deepest hole you've ever seen in your life.
Mandy McIntyre: Oh, yeah.
Paul Reed: So I don't know. That just really came to me when I was thinking about the ebbs and flows of roofing and cash flow. It's never just steady. Boy, we're a rollercoaster.
Mandy McIntyre: No. When I do all my trainings and everything, one of the contributing factors for those statistics is it's usually hourly, it's seasonal, it depends on the weather. You're on a prevailing wage job for three months, money's great and then you go back to your regular wage and their lifestyle has changed. So it's basically setting them up to fail. If this is how the industry is with how we pay people, we need to also offer financial advisor advice.
Kim Reed: Absolutely true.
Mandy McIntyre: And offer budget classes, how do you manage your money so that it doesn't cause stress, which then causes bad coping mechanisms, which can lead to addiction, which could... It's a snowball effect.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Along with that is the... I mean, when you really look at the depression, what you guys just said just kind of really clicked, is that there is a culture or has been, and that we're trying to get away. And then Paul, I think you're 100% right. There's certain parts of the industry that are more so type A or more so seasonal and up and down, but being able to really start seeing that ahead of time for business owners, being able to see it by having these monthly toolbox talks and talking about financial, talking about bullying, talking about harassment on the roof, I think that kind of goes into one of the very first things you said, Mandy, is diversity. Do we have diversity of thought? Do we have diversity of culture? And how is that?
I love the direction of this conversation of backing up a little bit and what should we be looking for. What should we be doing upfront so that we don't always get to the worst case scenarios? We have those resources with all of you, but how can we get in front of that? So talk a little bit more. Let's start with Mandy and then I'd love to go to Paul and Kim. How do we get further in front of it?
Mandy McIntyre: So a lot of times people will call me for different things as a reactive approach. What I'm trying to do is be proactive, because it's not a matter of if a mental health challenge is going to come into your company, it's a matter of when, because that's the industry, it's there. So a proactive approach would be mental health first aid training, which is what I do. Do a mental health awareness workshop or webinar, that's what I do, to understand, learn the statistics, learn the reasons why, what's causing this, but then get the tools and resources to fix it. So it's pretty simple and basic, honestly. It's just something that most people don't think of. And it's your number one safety hazard. It truly is.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: [inaudible 00:40:21]-
Paul Reed: I believe... Oh, sorry, go ahead.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: No, go ahead, Paul.
Paul Reed: I believe we talk a lot about company culture. Everybody talks about company culture and what that is. And at one point, oh man, this was four or five years ago, we got really deep into company culture and we sat down, myself and my partner and a couple guys, other guys in leadership, we sat down and we were like, "We're going to develop this company culture." So we spent two or three days developing company culture, just four or five of us in the same room. We came out and we called the big company-wide meeting, and here we were like, "Here's our company culture." And it was an epic failure.
What we found out for us, what company culture meant to us was completely different what it meant to everybody else in the company, right? Because what one person... It's like, "Hey, let's all go to top golf." Well, this guy doesn't even top golf. So company culture sucks because he doesn't feel included with the rest of everybody else that wants to go to top golf and do these other activities. So what we found out that we had to do, for us, for our company, company culture is almost different to everybody in our company. And so that may sound a little weird, but what we've done is we literally set down everybody as an individual and we just talk to them about their wants, their needs, their desires, how's their family, how's their kids, how's their spouse. We kind of figure out what's important to them.
And so yes, we have kind of like a whole big shell of company culture, like family, that's our culture. And so what it's done is it's allowed people to have those hard conversations with us when we're not good. We've gotten to know them a lot better as the individual instead of a company. So we take our company culture and we kind of individualize it. I hope that makes sense. But we've been very successful doing that because it's allowed people to open up to us and we understand when they're having problems at home and how can we help. I could give an example of like, "I've been through that too. I've had that same issue with my wife," right Kim?
And so we're able to talk through a lot of things by individualizing our company culture. You may get to a certain point that your company's so darn big that there's too many people and you can't do that. But for the most part, most roofing companies and contracting companies, you are still able to do that because you only have 10 guys or 50 people in your company.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Your company culture is uplifting your employees. I mean, every single one individually. I love that. Go ahead, Mandy. Sorry.
Mandy McIntyre: No, I love everything you said, Paul, because I often see that what a leadership team thinks the company culture is not what people out in the field or in middle management are experiencing. So it's so important to do company culture assessments, do climate checks. Because you have your company culture, but the climate's always going to change with different things that are going on. So it's so important to have those conversations, to do anonymous surveys, which that's something I provide, but also to train your middle managers to be good leaders. Because often, the best leaders are at the top and they are not reaching the people at the bottom. It's the middle management that is the weakest link most often and they aren't trained to have the conversations like Paul was talking about in a larger company.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: You know what? I've experienced that in my career, middle management. That is such a good point. I do want to read some of the comments coming here. So thank you so much. So Tammy, love to see you. "Yes, I agree. Financial is a big part." And Sarah Panter also said, "100% common theme in construction industry." So we were talking about financial. It's not just roofing, it's construction overall.
Having grown up with a general contractor for a dad, I can tell you there was really rich times and there were really poor times. And as a family we just kind of like, "Eh, that's just how it is." But for the provider, that's hard. And Lorna. Hello Lorna, thank you. She said, "Firm believer in ERG for employees' mental health, offer guidance and create a peep network that results in employees wellness." I love that, Lorna, and we should talk about that, is getting networks, putting networks together. And so Paul, I'm actually going to start with you because you have put together an amazing network of people who help each other within the industry who have either gone through recovery or in recovery. Talk a little bit about that importance of that network.
Paul Reed: Man, I am a huge believer in the network. I mean, it's truly your net worth. Your network is your net worth. Community is unbelievable. It's unbelievable. You have to have community. I like to call it community. You have to have like-minded people that have kind of common goals. I think that most of my success in this industry, I really realized that... I'm going to say 10 years ago, I realized that I wasn't out there alone on the streets trying to get roofs and do what we do. I'm not the smartest guy, but I know people that know things. Everybody that I talk to, I truly just try to get things from everyone that I come across because everybody has a little gold nugget that I can take.
But the network, you've got to have it. And if you don't have a network, start somewhere. Start with any of us on this call. We all obviously are willing to give back. Look for somebody that had one thing and just hit them up, say hi. I promise we'll take time to sit down with you and talk to you on either phone calls, Zooms, or in person, whatever you need.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: You have a Facebook group, right?
Paul Reed: Yes, we do. So there's two Facebook groups, the Roofers In Recovery. There's one for the public. So everybody kind of see what we're doing. Then we have a private group because there are some people that are still... We have some company owners that may be leading companies that have issues and they don't want people to know that they're struggling. And so we really challenge them to get out front of that and be like, "Hey, it's okay to let your people know that you're going through this because I promise you there's other people in your company that are struggling too, and be a light in an example to them."
Kim Reed: Yeah. We also have meetings that we do every Tuesday night. You can find those on the Facebook groups. It's invite-only. So obviously if you send a request, they'll kind of screen you and let you in. But it's every Tuesday night that we have our similar to AA type meetings.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, I think that it's so important to have people around you who support you. And then being transparent, authentic, and real to share that, "Hey, this is where I screwed up." And maybe it's not a screw up, "This is what I'm dealing with. This is why I'm not..." We try to be very open about those kind of things in our company too. A lot of the same, talking to everybody, watching. But we had one question here that I think, Mandy, I'd like to get to you. What are your thoughts on companies providing medical insurance that also provides mental health services like therapy, et cetera?
Mandy McIntyre: I mean, it's your overall health. So if your health insurance only offers physical wellness, you're only treating half of a person. Your overall health include your mental health. Your mental health can create physical-
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