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Coffee Conversations LIVE from IRE 2024 Sponsored by SRS! Day 1 - PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Coffee Conversations LIVE from IRE 2024 Sponsored by SRS - PODCAST TRANSCRIPT
February 1, 2024 at 12:00 p.m.

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Renee Urso from O'Hara's Son Roofing, Samuel Brokenshire of Ace Roofing and Josh Sparks from Infinity Home Services. You can read the interview below, listen to the podcast or watch the recording.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Hello, and welcome back to the live soundstage at the International Roofing Show here in Las Vegas. I'm Heidi Ellsworth, and like I said, this is Coffee Conversations Live, sponsored by SRS.

I love this. This is my favorite part, when we bring a panel of experts, contractors to talk about what's happening, what's happening at the show, what's happening in the industry, what's happening in their markets. This is the fun part for Coffee Conversations, so thank you for joining us.

This is going to be on-demand, as it always is, and if you have comments and you're watching, be sure to type them in. We'll be checking them out on our YouTube channel. So we're going to get started with this live Coffee Conversations with this very distinguished panel and we're going to start out with some introductions.

So first of all, Renee, I would love for you to introduce yourself. Tell us about your company.

Renee Urso: Okay. So I'm Renee Urso and I'm with O'Hara's Son Roofing. I'm the Texas branch manager and I'm just excited to be here.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know. We're excited to have you here.

Renee Urso: Thank you.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And in our club member, just saying.

Renee Urso: Yes.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Sam, please introduce yourself.

Samuel Brokenshire: Yeah. I'm Samuel Brokenshire with Ace Roofing out of Montana, and I work on the sales and business development side.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it, I love it. And Josh?

Josh Sparks: My name is Josh Sparks. I am a 44-year-old father of five, count them, five beautiful young children.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Love that.

Josh Sparks: I'm a former United States Marine and I am the current CEO and Founder of Infinity Home Services.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Awesome.

Josh Sparks: Which is a roofing, siding and window company. It's on a mission to save our communities from unscrupulous contractors.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it.

Josh Sparks: That's who I am.
directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/29845213I love it. Awesome. And Peter?

Peter Horch: That's great. My name's Peter Horch, Horch Roofing. I'm the CEO of my company. I have two offices located in Maine.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Awesome. So as you can tell, all over the country, really we want to talk about what's happening out there. So we're going to start out with the show because I just went in and I just walked in for the first time. Since we're out here, we're out in the lobby, and it's been awesome. We get to see everybody. Walked into the show, I almost feel like one of those commercials where it just kind of blows you back because there were so many signs, hanging signs, big, huge booths and stuff.

So I'd love to get all of your impressions just on what you're seeing so far with the classes, with the exhibit hall. Renee, what do you think? And National Women in Roofing Day.

Renee Urso: Right. So we were here already on Sunday with the National Women in Roofing and that was huge, 500 attendees, and it was just amazing. But yeah. I'm just learning to walk through here, and go visit everybody, and check in with everybody. We have a lot of team members from our branch as well are from our company so it's awesome.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Awesome. Yeah, it's really packed, isn't it?

Renee Urso: Yeah. It's a time also that we get to meet up because all of us are spread out. So we're Chicago, we're New Jersey, we're Florida, we're Texas, so now this is the place where we all get to meet up.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it.

Renee Urso: Which is awesome, yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it. Samuel, what do you think?

Samuel Brokenshire: Oh, it's a great show. I haven't been to the IRE for about four years and there's a lot going on there. Haven't had too much time in there but-

Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's pretty-

Samuel Brokenshire: I'm excited to look more, yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's big, it's big. It's probably the biggest I've seen in a very long time. Josh?

Josh Sparks: Yeah. Like Sam, I've only been to... This is my second IRE I've been to.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Okay, wow.

Josh Sparks: So, the first one in Dallas was a little bit of a disaster getting in. I think it took us three hours or more the first time.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: It was, it was, it was.

Josh Sparks: Yeah, this was nice that we're over here at the hotel. We got in right away, but I spent the majority of today at the booth. So we have a booth here, IHS does.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Oh, that's right.

Josh Sparks: So, I've been meeting contractors, telling about our story, about what we're doing, how we're trying to up-level the industry.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it.

Josh Sparks: Trying to create a little more professionalism in this space, which could always use it.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Always. Yeah, roofing respect, right?

Josh Sparks: Exactly, exactly.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love that. I love that. And Peter, what do you think so far?

Peter Horch: Yeah. The door's opened at 11:00 so it's a little bit early to check out anything new, but yesterday I was part of the NRCA board meeting. I'm a board member of the National Roofing Contractors Association.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yep, we see you there.

Peter Horch: And I was notified that this is 188,000 square feet, so over four acres this building is.

Josh Sparks: Wow.

Peter Horch: So, when you say it's big, it's huge, right?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's huge.

Peter Horch: It is huge. And so to tell people what's new, I don't even... We can't even get to everything that's new.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know.

Peter Horch: It's all things roofing. It's just an amazing show.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's been amazing. And that's one of the reasons we have our soundstage out here in the lobby is so we can bring folks out and they're telling us what's new and then giving it the booth number so people can go see them because it's just been jam-packed.

Josh Sparks: I was about to say, what's interesting is that this is a roofing conference.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right, right.

Josh Sparks: I actually live here in Las Vegas and it almost never rains. It rains yesterday.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know.

Josh Sparks: And there's leaks everywhere. Our booth was damaged and needed to be fixed.

Renee Urso: Really?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Really?

Josh Sparks: They were fixing it this morning last minute, so it's kind of funny that we have all these roofing experts at this show-

Peter Horch: And the roof's leaking.

Josh Sparks: ... and the roof's leaking.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And everybody's kind of going, "Who roofed it?"

Josh Sparks: Yeah, right?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: We aren't going to say. We're not going to say. We're not going to embarrass.

Josh Sparks: All these coating manufacturers, I'm walking around saying, "Hey, give me some of those buckets. Let's go, let's go."

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, "Let's go. Let's go fix it. It's raining on us inside."

Peter Horch: Yeah, last year's attendance was 14,000 people. There was 14,000 registrants to this already where that's without walk-ins. So we're going to well exceed what we did last year. So it's awesome.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, and we always get a lot of walk-ins, especially like you said, you live right here. I mean, there's people coming from all over the West driving in. Wow, okay.

So let's talk, I really want to kind of talk about what we're looking at for 2024 as what's really you're seeing for your businesses, and also a little bit of comparison. How is it comparing to 2023? I know we were only one month in, January, but as you're looking at things, Renee, let's start with you, what are you seeing with your... You have several divisions, several areas. Yeah.

Renee Urso: So 2024, I think what we're looking at is it's going to be the technology. So the AI, the technology. You have new systems where you have sensors on your roof that you're going to be able to measure the moisture, the structure, everything. And for big manufacturing plants and things like that, that's going to be very important.

But it's also the AI because the AI is going to help streamline. We have many portal systems, especially with service departments because they're servicing Walmart, Sam's, whoever it might be, so you're going to have to connect with them. And I think AI is coming along so well because you can automate a lot of that and it's so important because then you don't have to repeat yourself every day or repeat the same email. Everything could be automated and streamlined. That's important. And that-

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Did you go to the keynote?

Renee Urso: I did not, I did not.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Okay. The keynote was on AI, so I'm just saying you're right on with the trends.

Renee Urso: One of our members did, so I'm going to catch up with him on that, exactly where that comes from. But also in 2023, I think the big thing for 2023 was metal roofing, it just took off. And then the roof restorations, so a lot of that. And then a lot of drone use. So everybody has a drone now. Everybody's doing these inspections.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Everybody's using it? Yeah.

Renee Urso: Yeah. So we all learn in our office how to work the drone and excited to use it for marketing videos too.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's cool. What you're saying there, that's what we're hearing at Roofer's Coffee Shop too. Technology, technology.

Renee Urso: Absolutely.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And metal roofing. With our new Metal Coffee Shop, we're seeing a lot. I mean, people are just going, "Okay, we're adding this in no matter what. We're making it happen."

Renee Urso: Yeah, they said it's going to expand like 3.5% by 2030. So, it's insane.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yes, I know. It's crazy. Samuel, what are you seeing up in Montana?

Samuel Brokenshire: I think for us in Montana, the big thing this year is people.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Ah.

Samuel Brokenshire: I think it's really important as we work to raise the bar of offerings that we can bring to the consumers, also looking at raising the bar of offerings we can bring to good people who can make our organizations better.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, yeah. And labor and skills. When we were up at the Montana show, I wasn't actually there. Our team was there this year. I was there last year, but that was the big topic last year too. Montana, everywhere there is a labor shortage, but Montana really has been fighting it.

Samuel Brokenshire: Yeah, we're still very much a frontier state in a lot of ways.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, I know. I love it there.

Samuel Brokenshire: We really appreciate you guys coming up to the show.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: A great show, just saying.

Samuel Brokenshire: But we have to work pretty hard to bring people up from other states, bring crews up from other states, but also finding the good project managers and salespeople that are willing to tough out the weather. I mean, it's rough in sales when you can't sell for 12 weeks out of the year.

Josh Sparks: Plus, they're probably hunting most of the time, so that's probably how they spend their time, you know?

Samuel Brokenshire: Exactly. So you got to get the right person, right?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. They'd like those 12 weeks to go hunting.

Samuel Brokenshire: Oh, yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, I know. Josh, what are you seeing as trends with your business?

Josh Sparks: Well, you talked about AI. One of the best things I think AI has done is in ChatGPT and having project managers actually be able to compile an email back to customers that's engaging and that is not somewhat disrespectful, right?

Peter Horch: It makes sense.

Josh Sparks: Yeah, some will have that, but I think you'd have to be living under a rock, if you own a roofing company, not that I've been approached by about 5,000 different private equity companies trying to buy your business these days. So there's hundreds of millions of dollars flooding into our space right now. I think people aren't quite sure what to make of it. I think 2024 is going to be another year of heavy investment for private equity.

So yeah, I think it's going to be important for people to understand what it's going to do to the industry. Hopefully, it helps up-level the professionalism in the industry. That's the idea. But there are going to be some winners and losers, and so making sure that you kind of understand what's going to happen is important if you own a company.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: You know, and I think it's really hard. When you are looking at succession plans, is it going to be generational? Are you going to sell? Are you going to go to private equity? What makes sense? Who's good? Who's not so good? I think you're right. That was a huge topic last year and it just seems to be growing even more.

Josh Sparks: Yeah, it's growing. I'm getting calls literally every single day from different consulting firms, new PE firms coming into the space. And one of the dirty little secrets is there's a lot of money coming in and the money doesn't know what to do. They don't know our space. And so they're trying to find people to understand the space, but they're buying companies without knowing the space.

And I know this because my inbox is littered. My LinkedIn is littered with CEO opportunities for these folks that just don't have a captain for their ship, but they're buying companies. And I'm thinking to myself, "Man, if I'm one of these companies that are going to subject my people, my culture, what I built, my blood, sweat and tears into a business or potentially partner with somebody, I want to know who the captain of that ship is."

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, and you want to like them.

Josh Sparks: And you want to like them. Yeah, you want to know their strategy because maybe their strategy's not aligned with what your strategy is.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Well, and really, the roofing industry is about relationships. I mean, just from here, you can tell. People know each other. We're excited to see each other. And I think that, I'm sure that happens in other industries, but I've been in other industries and roofing is kind of a special unique animal and so-

Samuel Brokenshire: Very much so.

Josh Sparks: It really is. It is a people business.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, it is a people-

Josh Sparks: And a lot of folks don't understand that. All the folks who run businesses and are part of businesses know that, that it's a people business. But yeah, that's the most important part.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: It is. It's so important. Peter, what are you seeing in Maine?

Peter Horch: Yeah, to what they said. They took all the good answers. There's technology. Yes, metal roofing is increasing. There's people issues in the country and private equity's everywhere. So those are the trends.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. We're missing one big one that I know you know very much about, and I would love your thoughts on it.

Peter Horch: Which?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Sustainability.

Peter Horch: Sustainability? Oh, yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And recycling.

Peter Horch: Yeah, yeah. Solar, recycling, green roofs, yeah. So my company recycles 100% of its waste. We've been doing that since 2011, and it's been a real benefit for our company and for the environment. I think we're at 20 million tons, something like 20 million pounds since we started. So it's a lot of waste that we keep out of the landfill. So I'm looking into actually new ways to do that and new ways to incorporate other roofers in my state and the region to encourage them to recycle as well. So that's one of my new initiatives for 2024, but yeah, lots going on.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Well, I know you and I spent a long time talking about that, and NRCA is doing a lot with sustainability, EPDs, environmental product descriptions or data. But one of the things I think's really interesting because tomorrow, we're going to be having our manufacturers and technology companies on here seeing if they answer the questions the same, but one of the things I think is really interesting is what many of the shingle manufacturers are bringing recycling in. And you're starting to hear that topic. What are you seeing there? Because you've done it organically, but they're starting to trying to get programs out there across the country.

Peter Horch: They're going to have a challenge, and the challenge is going to be it's basically reverse distribution. So they get new material in a clean bundle packaged up to an installer, and they've got that figured out. Now how do you take a pile of waste and do the reverse of that, which is to get it back to a main point to be recycled?

So it's basically reverse distribution, and that's going to be the hardest part. How do you get trucking? How do you have locations, land, processing plants, grinders, all that? There's got to be a way to do it, but it's just basically taking the material back in an unpackaged fashion, which is going to be very, very challenging.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right. It sounds like an opportunity.

Peter Horch: It's an opportunity, yes.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Maybe those private equity people should be looking at that.

Peter Horch: Yeah, that's a good idea.

Renee Urso: That's a good idea.

Josh Sparks: There's a big paving company in Milwaukee called Wolf Paving, and we dealt with a waste hauler that we are not used to. We still do recycle all the material as well. Basically, they dump those out in the yard, they filter out all the debris and then they grind up that product that they would sell it to the paving companies. But it's different in every market. Not every market has the folks that want to do that, spend the time and investment.

Peter Horch: And every state... It's a state-by-state law of whether or not you can use recycled asphalt shingles, which is RAS, they call it, if you can use that in paving materials. Each state is different, and each town is different depending on a state road versus a town road. And so there's a lot of logistics behind how to actually use the recycled material because recycled asphalt shingles is literally mud. There's no value to that. When you grind up a shingle, it doesn't bring anybody any value. You have to mix it with something or do something else with it after that, which causes even more complication.

So it can be done and we can figure it out, it's just that we got to get the right people on the right team and be-

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And maybe some of the right motivation.

Peter Horch: Mm-hmm.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. I mean, I think motivation.

Samuel Brokenshire: Yeah, I think you're right. I think you're right. Really getting that infrastructure in place is important. We had a job in Gardner, right in Yellowstone National Park. We did the school there, and part of the contract stipulation due to the grant was that all 500 squares had to be recycled, two layers, 500 squares had to be recycled, and that was a condition of award. But the problem is there's zero recycling infrastructure for asphalt shingles in the state of Montana.

And so we ended up having to load it all on semi-trucks and truck it deep into Rapid City, South Dakota form Yellowstone National Park. And it was great, and I'm glad that that happened, but then you also have to look at, okay, well, how much diesel did we burn-

Josh Sparks: The exhaust.

Samuel Brokenshire: ... and all of that to go there? So I think it's important to push for these things, but we also have to be really practical on our milestones and set realistic targets that we can all hit.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, and our infrastructure.

Samuel Brokenshire: The infrastructure's massive.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I think that's so true. I know. So I love that. And first of all, kudos to all of you because you're kind of hitting all the hot spots.

So I guess one of my questions would be, as you're looking into '24, I'm a little curious too about the economy because we keep hearing so many things about, "The economy, this economy that," but I mean, you look at that show floor, we have a good economy going right now. So what are some of the things you're seeing, as in backlog, looking into the new year, and just economy overall?

Renee Urso: Well, everybody's complaining about the inflation and interest and everything. Inflation's going to drop, but that doesn't mean that pricing is going to drop. That just means the pricing is going to stay stable, it's not going to rise very much. But the interest rates are always going to... It's not going to go back to the pandemic time. So we're going to have to get used to this is our new normal.

But roofing is recession-proof. You have to have a roof. So now you have to learn where do I diversify? Do I build up my maintenance department? Do I build up that service department? Do I keep taking care of these customers and do that re-roof later on down the road?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right. And there's a lot of that going on. Roof restoration is playing a lot into that too as they're going through.

Renee Urso: Absolutely, absolutely. You need to have that in your toolbox and ready to deliver it to a client that knows that they can't do a re-roof anytime soon. Plus, you have empty buildings. They don't want to invest into it until they have tenants in there.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right. And that's a big change in the economy too-

Renee Urso: It's huge.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: ... with what we're looking at.

Renee Urso: Yep.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Samuel, you talked about people, and that is a real challenge for you. Wages have gone up, which I think is a good thing, right? We had to do the right things and wages have gone up, but that's a little bit of a challenge too.

Samuel Brokenshire: Yeah, we've had really good success by offering really good benefits, paying really well and having a high bar of culture, and we've been able to attract really good people. Yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. And how does Montana look for this year roofing-wise?

Samuel Brokenshire: I think it's looking good. We got a lot of diversity in our different things going on for recreational, estate, a lot of second homes, a lot of people come there to spend money to do activities. Our number-one driver is tourism. So a very interesting outlook, but I think we feel pretty positive.

We're in a unique place where our business model, we have a number of different segments. We've got residential, we have some insurance work, we have a lot of commercial, service, state work and so we tend to find that when one thing dips, the other gets a bit stronger-

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Comes up.

Samuel Brokenshire: ... so we're able to pivot.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's kind of that recession... I agree that they need roofs one way or the other.

Samuel Brokenshire: It's just what type and where you can pivot within the industry.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And where you can get through in it.

Renee Urso: Absolutely.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know. Okay. Talk about an absolute explosion of building and things in the Las Vegas area. And I know you have many, you're in many areas, but what are you seeing, Josh? I mean, with the economy?

Josh Sparks: Oh, across?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah.

Josh Sparks: Well, first of all, to your point, Renee, earlier, roofs are going to fail, they're going to degrade over time. And so to the extent you don't replace them with a full roof, you're going to do repairs. That just creates deferred maintenance later on. So if you're taking care of your customers and you're running a good business, an agile business, you're going to be able to navigate that potential downtick a little bit to come out the other side much, much stronger because you'll have serviced your customer well, and then you're going to get the full [inaudible 00:18:31] later.

From a total economic perspective, I mean, interest rates are talking about potentially dropping those down to a four point, which should be interesting. Inflation's down to, I think, like 3.4% or so. So a little off what the Fed wants it to be, which is gauged by the Consumer Pricing Index, which I think is a basket of tricks. Government, they could play games, you know? But for our industry, it's about housing. It's about affordability in housing. It's about whether people are moving or not. A lot of times when folks move, that's what triggers the roof inspection. That's what triggers the elucidation of whether we need to replace the roof or not.

So I was doing some reading and ARMA is projecting the industry to be roughly flat, maybe down a little bit this year, overall shingles into distribution. We're a residential retail-focused company, so that's what we're focused on. But on the R&R side, I think it's going to be strong. Our folks, our brands have great people. They deliver a world-class customer experience of competitive prices. Anytime you do that and over 40% of your business is referral or repeat customer, you can continue to grow, so we feel good about this year.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I've been hearing that a lot. The contractors, roofing companies that have really put the time and effort into knowing their numbers, understanding their customers, putting customer service first are doing well, and there's a lot of backlogs. If you're not doing those things, that's when it softens. You can get a little bit... Are you seeing it in the Northeast too? I mean, I love all the different regions because everything, like Pacific Northwest right now, just a little soft, but with contractors still doing great. How's the Northeast?

Peter Horch: It's fine.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah?

Peter Horch: It's still there.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's still there?

Peter Horch: Yeah, it's still the last-

Renee Urso: It's not going anywhere.

Peter Horch: It's still the last stop before Iceland. But anyway, the thing that I'm noticing across the country is the different weather patterns. Everybody's getting a different type of storm. We're getting rain in Vegas, which we don't hear of. We're getting huge flooding along the coast in some of these areas. Hail storms and tornadoes and just there's a different weather pattern.

So like you said, we're kind of recession-proof and with this addition, we're going to have work. But what I'm noticing is that we did about the similar amount of revenue as we did in 2022 in 2023. We did it with 210 more contracts. So that tells me that people are doing smaller projects, which means that there's a little bit of an unrest and uneasiness right now in the country, probably because of our political situation, which is what's going to happen and what's going to happen with our money? And so they're doing smaller projects and deferring a little bit of this until they have to do it, instead of doing it proactively.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right, yeah. And 30 years of being involved in the roofing industry, and every election year, I'm just like...

Peter Horch: "Oh, God."

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I don't even care who, but it's an election year, it's always going to throw it up in the air a little bit. But so far this year, it seems to be going pretty dang good.

Along that, I would love to talk a little bit. Right after we had COVID, right after COVID, it was material shortages, then we really started talking a lot about the labor shortage, and we've had all these pain points. I'm curious, are those still the pain points for our industry or are we seeing ourselves kind of new pain points coming in that we're dealing with? So Renee, I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Renee Urso: Okay. So there's no shortages. What it is an increase in demand and pricing. So that's what it is. But on the labor side, that one's a little more complicated because to retain your people, if you're doing subcontractors or if you're having your service technicians, you got to keep them busy. And if there are those times that they're down or they're not getting their hours, this is when you need to concentrate on your people and bringing them in, doing the training, the certifications, whatever you need to do to take care of them. And with the subcontractors too, you need to give them the tools to be successful, you need to assist them along the way and build those relationships because they're going to leave you if they don't have the next job to go to.

So that relationship-building, again, just like you're doing with your clients, you got to bring that to your people as well.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's about culture.

Renee Urso: Yep, that's all it is.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. It's really interesting. We just had a Coffee Conversations on the dark side of the labor shortage and talking a lot about the sub-crews or installation crews that are out there and how that has grown. We are using so many more crews than 20, 30 years ago.

Renee Urso: And this is where you can team up with your manufacturers too. If you're not using them as a resource, you're losing a whole field right there.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And everything, yeah. And that is, that's really becoming the pain point. What pain points are you seeing?

Samuel Brokenshire: You know, material and labor have always been an issue in Montana. It probably always will. We're the last stop on the supply chain line and the people of sparse. So I think for us, there's not a lot new. We're kind of back to what normal was for us in terms of the issues that we deal with.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: So, it's not the new normal anymore. It's the where we were normal.

Samuel Brokenshire: It's kind of back to where it was, but I think that it has definitely positioned us well to be able to capitalize on the situation that's going on because we're pretty used to dealing with these issues.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, yeah, you're right there. Josh, what are you seeing as a pain point for your companies?

Josh Sparks: Yeah, nothing on the distribution side. I mean, pretty much that's leveled itself out primarily. Obviously, we're seeing increased costs still to this day, increased demand, which seems pretty wild given the economic conditions. But it is what it is, I suppose. We do some siding and windows as well. We really haven't had a lot of problems there.

On the sub-labor side, it's an interesting dynamic. First of all, one of our three core pillars of Infinity and our growth is people, and we really take our culture seriously. I always say that I think maybe 10 years ago, McKinsey did a study with all the big bankers in the world and said, "Culture equals profit," and so now everybody talks about culture, but how many people actually work through it?

Our company, Infinity Home Services, is owned 45% by the management team. And so we have equity holders in our company that take advantage of the upside of their hard work. So, we drive a culture of owners and ownership mentality. You get them telling their friends and their family about the business, and we have more people that want to come to work for us now than we ever have before, which is great.

So that's on kind of the install, and the install side with the subcontractors, we do use some subcontractors for our field installation. We just treat them so well. I remember being a small contractor when I started my business, I did one job for a GC, a general contractor, and he didn't pay me for 60 days and then he didn't pay me for 90 days and 120 days. And he's kicking me around because I'm this little guy that can't really do much about it, and I just got to sit there and wait. Well, unfortunately, some contractors in our space treat their subs that way, and when you treat them that way, you are not going to have a good reputation.

So we pay our subs on time, we pay them to do the job they're supposed to do. I don't want to be too long-winded, but I remember when I was subbing back in the day, I'd go and tear off a house, it'd be three layers, and then they say, "Oh, well, the sales guy said it was only one layer. We can only pay you one layer." And I'm like, "Well, I had to tear off three layers. Can you pay me the extra layers?"

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, come on!

Josh Sparks: "It's not in the job." So we don't play these games with our folks. We treat them fairly and honestly, and they're trying to run businesses just like we are.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: You know, I think that's so important. And when I think about it, it's supply and demand, right? Supply and demand. You have only so much supply of labor in the field and there's higher demand. So where are people going to go? They're going to go to the companies that treat them right, that pay them fairly, that do have safety, make sure they get home safe at night.

Josh Sparks: I hear people in our market saying they're having a hard time finding labor, and I'm like... I have project managers that have access to 20 crews. They can only put three to work a day. I'm like, "That's..." It's just different values.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Because they want to work where they're at.

Josh Sparks: Because we take care of our people, yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah.

Renee Urso: 100%.

Samuel Brokenshire: I think it's easy to forget that what makes all of this work is the guys out there putting bales and shingles and screwing down panels, and I think it's really a lot of companies out there, you're right, they really look at it top down like, "These guys exist to serve us."

Josh Sparks: That's right.

Samuel Brokenshire: Instead of looking at, "Okay, our job is to facilitate an opportunity for these guys doing the work and putting these roofs on."

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right. I love that, changing around how are we looking at it? And that's what I'm hearing from really good contractors that they have this mentality shift, and whether it's with their sub-crews or with their employees, it doesn't matter. It's like this is how... Because people will leave. There's other opportunities. It's just a given.

Renee Urso: It's a very competitive market out there, especially in Texas. So they're wanting to switch around. For $2, they'll go to another company.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: You got to make it right.

Renee Urso: You got to take care of your people, like he was saying.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: So good. Peter, what are pain points?

Peter Horch: Same thing.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Same thing?

Peter Horch: You guys take all the good answers.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I'm going to start with you next time.

Josh Sparks: Yeah, we've got to come back, reverse order.

Peter Horch: So for me, I'm kind of a math dork, right? I like numbers. And the reason why I start with that is because this comment is not about politics. It's about common sense. And if you go back a few generations, people in America were having families of three, four or five kids that were having families of three, four or five kids. And those numbers-

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Well, some still have five kids.

Peter Horch: Some still, right. So that number means that the country grew by population, correct? But now, if we are having less children in America and we don't want to open the border legally to anyone coming in, we cannot continue to grow an economy. That's math. That's not politics.

And so I feel passionate about making sure that we are doing the same thing that we did how many years ago, 200 years ago, which is to open up our borders, but do it legally. Give people a social security number, get them to work, get them paying taxes faster, help them get on their feet so that we can grow an economy because if Americans are not having babies, it's really hard to grow a country. That's math.

So I think I agree with making sure that we treat our people right, but I also think there's a bigger issue with how do we get more people here that are producing and helping our economy?

Renee Urso: Absolutely.

Josh Sparks: Just to add to that point. And part of the problem is that the babies that we are having that are going to high school, that are graduating are told, "You have to go to college and you have to get a degree in college." And the trades is almost shunned because I've got friends that'll say, "Oh, the trades. Josh, you started the business. It's a good thing to do." I'm like, "Where your kids?" "Well, my kids are going to college." It's like, "Okay."

This is a great industry where kids can make great money. They can have a long career. I don't have a college education. I started a business when I was 18, and it gives you so much career mobility. If you have... I always say if you're a hard worker, you're humble and you have drive, you can be very, very successful in this business and you can set your own destiny.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, I love that.

Josh Sparks: And I think we need to be teaching our kids that.

Peter Horch: I'm in the same boat. I didn't go to college. I went into the trades right away. And one of the reasons why I was able to grow my business quickly was because I didn't have debt. The profit from my first job could buy a compressor, so I didn't have to hand-nail my first roof on. So that's where you have to get momentum. And so it is, it's about coming out of the gate with a different mentality about working in the trades.

Samuel Brokenshire: I think to your point, what NRCA is doing with a lot of the training programs, it's great. I grew up in Australia where we still have very robust trade apprenticeship programs. And so when I hit 16, I took the vocational route and went from school into a four-year trade apprenticeship and gained those different skills. And then eventually, I followed a girl back to America and I went through the immigration process. And I look at it and I'm like, "Man, I married a U.S citizen. I come from an economically comfortable country. I had assets and good income, and it still took years and tens of thousands of dollars." It was very cumbersome and expensive.

And to do, with all of those things stacked in my favor, what I hope the guys that are just coming across the border are looking to earn a decent living have.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right. Well, so there's two topics here that I want to dive on to. One is the CTE and vocational schools, and I want to come back to that one because I want to hit first advocacy because I think about what NRCA has done for working for legal immigration, and I know that we have some really disappointed people who have worked so hard. When we go to Roofing Day, we're talking about legal immigration and to have things... Well, hopefully the sun will come out and it will get its way through, but it's not looking very positive.

So how important, Peter, is that that, that we continue? You're on the NRCA board. I know you support ROOFPAC, I support ROOFPAC. We were there last night at the auction. How important is that to get the whole industry continuing to talk to their congressmen and women and legislators to say, "Hey, we need this"?

Peter Horch: Yeah, so Roofing Day, if anybody isn't familiar, is an opportunity for all of us roofers to get together in Washington, D.C. It happens every March or April. It's all organized by the NRCA, so you don't have to do anything. You just have to show up, right? Get hotel rooms, show up and they handhold you through the whole process, and you have an opportunity to meet with your congresspeople from your state.

There are some advocacy groups that have thousands of people show up, and last year, we had about four to 500 people. If we could have thousands of people, for lack of a better term, storm the Capitol...

Josh Sparks: Yeah, yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, let's be careful there.

Peter Horch: Sorry. I couldn't help it, I couldn't help it. If we could have thousands of roofers come into Washington and Congress would see that and we had a unified message about the importance of this, there will be changes. When they have huge groups come in, and there are many that come in, they have an influence over Congress. And so us tradespeople, who need immigration reform and need people to work in the trades, if we can have one unified voice and get to Congress, it will shift. It doesn't happen overnight, but it will move. It will move.

Josh Sparks: We only had 400 people show up?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah.

Renee Urso: Yeah, you need bigger numbers.

Josh Sparks: That's pretty sad. I didn't know. I'll talk to you after this. That number is sad.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. We need you, Josh. We need you, Samuel. We need Renee. We all need to be at Roofing Day because to your point, they need to hear the voice. And I know I'm going to say this and people are going to be like, "Uh, it's not right Heidi," but I feel like legal immigration, when you're talking about construction and the trades, it is a bipartisan issue. People don't get wound up about where you're at. It's just like, "We need this for our country and for America and what we're talking about."

Josh Sparks: Just vote third party then. It's not my party but RFK for life.

Peter Horch: Careful. This isn't about politics!

Renee Urso: I know!

Heidi J. Ellsworth: No politics, no politics. But advocacy, yes. And we do need to, as a group, all get there. And so I think part of that too is when you're talking about NRCA and what they've been doing, but also on a local level, what you're talking about, there is so much going on with CTE, with SkillsUSA getting out in front of them, getting into the vocational schools. Let's talk a little bit about that. In fact, I told you I was going to start with you, Peter.

Peter Horch: Oh, this is the one I didn't want to get.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know, I know.

Peter Horch: Great.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Now I got him. Okay. But yeah, let's talk the importance of vocational schools.

Peter Horch: Yeah, no, we all have vocational schools around us and I think that we're all involved. The problem is, in my area at least, is that there is a lot of trades that are flocking to these schools and are basically vultures on like who's the next guy that's coming out of trade school that I can use?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And hire.

Peter Horch: But I know that Clemson has got a great program for a degree now, and there's other colleges across the country that are offering roofing programs. So there's momentum definitely on changing the stigma behind being in the trades. It is just a slow-turning ship. We can't flick a light switch and say, "Okay, we're going to think differently about this." We all have to be unified in trying to make sure that we're encouraging kids to go to trade schools and it'll turn around.

Renee Urso: Well, they say that 48% of high schoolers or 12th graders are walking out of there and saying, "I don't have anything for the real world. I'm not prepared. I don't know what I'm going to do," because they put them on this path. And I think also we need to start at middle school. I think that's where we definitely need to start with them and giving them those opportunities and guiding them along.

Josh Sparks: Talking on education, it could be a long talk if you talk about higher education, but yeah, it's quite interesting.

I have a good friend of mine who actually worked for a big business, lots of money, and when I was first starting out, I'd been hustling for a long time, he said, "Josh, do you know something about business? You'll find this out as you get older." He was like, "All the A students, like straight-A students, really smart kids that go to college, work for B students who manage the businesses that the C students own." I never thought about that.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's true.

Josh Sparks: I said, "You know what? That's kind of interesting to think about it that way."

But what we're doing at a local level is we're going into high schools, we're trying to talk to these kids who don't have any intention of going to college, who want to get out and start working with their hands right away, like a lot of us did. And we found a lot of traction in that because we think that you come out of high school, if you're humble, you're hungry, you're smart, you're honest, you can teach them how to be a project manager in the roofing space pretty quickly and give them a really good opportunity to learn how to manage and lead people and make a good career. And some of these folks go off and start their own businesses and then they work for themselves the rest of their lives and that's the American dream.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I just really love that because I think showing the career path is so important. A lot of times, people don't always think roofing. They're like, "Ah, are we doing roofing? Is that something we want to be involved in?" But it's changing with technology and the technology on the roof and everything that's going on, it's becoming more and more appealing, and especially both... Here we have two companies right here that you got started and are extremely successful. That story's not being told enough I think.

Renee Urso: That's true.

Josh Sparks: No, it's not. Part and parcel, it's our industry doing it to itself, shooting itself in the foot sometimes with some of the unscrupulous folks that hamper our industry. And so you see them on the news stations, you see them in the Better Business Bureau complaints, and you see all that. And so when you get that in the industry, it becomes hard to overshadow that.

But hopefully with technology, with Google, with Guild quality, with some of these elevating the reputation of brands to be a little more transparent, some of these folks can't hide as well as they used to.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I think it's important to talk about with parents too because I think as a parent, sometimes they don't realize what a great career this is for the future. Yeah.

Are you working with vocational schools?

Samuel Brokenshire: Yeah, we've done a little bit out there. It's a bit different up where we are, but I think this is a nationwide issue, I think, and what it comes back to is for training to be widely accepted and adopted, there has to be a level of certification. But for certification to be meaningful, there has to be accountability, but then no one wants any more regulation. And so it's a really interesting problem because unless the training is required, the barrier of entry to become a roofer is so low that anyone can just go buy a compressor, get a hammer and now they're a roofer.

You compare this to other industries like HVAC or plumbing or electrical, and there are some very rigid standards and guidelines that have to be met as a minimum bar of entry, and I think that maybe we're missing that in roofing.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. So pro certification, and what we're seeing with NRCA, that is in track, the track training to go into the schools.

Samuel Brokenshire: So, we put our guys through that program and we're heavily engaged in trying to see that happen.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it.

Josh Sparks: I used to use the HVAC business when I was selling jobs in the house because we'd have some competitors, some roofing competitors who would write ventilation as an option to the roofing replace. So literally it was like, "Replace your roof and if you want ventilation, it's an extra $500 bucks." And so I've always fundamentally installed building code-compliant roofs, and so I would always tell people, "That's like an electrician coming in to wire your house and optionally grounding your circuits. Everything is just live, and as an option, we'll ground your circuits." It's like, "Whoa, whoa."

Heidi J. Ellsworth: That is so true.

Josh Sparks: "Wait a second here." So yeah, that happens. So yes, training is important to make sure that folks know what they're doing.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love your comment about, "Let's start earlier." What are you all doing?

Renee Urso: Yes. So right now, I'm doing Career Fest and stuff like that to bring in people, but also I'm a director at NAWIC as well, the National Association of Women in Construction. And so they have scholarships and they're always doing different programs. And I've also learned to get with the GC and go to their events and piggyback off of that. Manufacturer reps, they're working out there for us, our manufacturing companies. They're working out there to bridge this gap as well. So I always try to piggyback and learn as much information from them and what I can do from there.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: The manufacturers are doing some great-

Renee Urso: They're doing great, yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: ... recruitment programs out there, and the technology. Yeah.

Renee Urso: And training, everything.

Peter Horch: So don't laugh. You'll laugh. It's okay, laugh. I actually went to a preschool and I took NRCA's coloring book for kids and I read it to them during story time and I brought in my hard hat and my harness and I had them try and pull me over, these little three and four year olds. It was hilarious. First of all, it's a blast. If you haven't spent an hour with a bunch of... I don't have kids, so I had a blast, right?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah.

Peter Horch: But the funny thing is one little boy was so fascinated how I unbuckled my harness and how I put that on, he had me put it on and off like two or three times, and his eyes were this big. And I said, "You're going to be a little roofer, aren't you?"

Renee Urso: You planted it.

Peter Horch: This is the kid that's going to go home to his mom with a Horch Roofing hard hat and say, "I'm going to wear this around the house for forever." And so-

Heidi J. Ellsworth: "I'm going to be a roofer for Halloween."

Peter Horch: Yeah, when you say start early, it's like, why not?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Why not?

Peter Horch: Yeah, right?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: We should be talking about it. We talk about it in our family all the time, but of course that's because all of our families are in roofing, but we need to do more of that.

One of the things too that I wanted to, just as we're talking about both CTE, but also just labor overall, is the cultural... What we're seeing and I'm hoping is that cultural shift for diversity, that we are really recognizing our Latino and Hispanic communities. I mean, obviously we just went with National Women in Roofing. There are so many areas out there where we aren't looking as much as we should or not paying attention. And I think the bilingual, what we're seeing at the show, there's bilingual stations now for people registering. There's so much bilingual on the show floor. I think it's so important.

You all come from... Some of you, actually. I know it doesn't matter where you... Because in Oregon, we have a very strong, beautiful Latino community. What are you seeing with the language barriers and putting that together to change the cultures? I mean, in Texas, you're a beautiful... Talk about a beautiful culture.

Renee Urso: Exactly. And so if I'm bringing on a project manager, I'm always going to make sure they're bilingual. That's so important because they're going to be working directly with the crews. But I also extend that to our subcontractors. If they want to take OSHA, I get them in the Español OSHA course so that they can get that taken care of.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Love it.

Renee Urso: That's so important. And then also, the specifications, training manuals, certifications, they can do that in Spanish as well. So I make sure that I supply them everything that they need to be successful and to assist us. I mean, their success is making us look good.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: It feels like, to me, a shift, because it used to be, "Well, learn English. Here you go." And now it's like, "No, we're going to offer this in multiple languages," because when it's your first language, that's how you learn the best a lot of times. And so I think that's really important, and we're seeing the whole industry getting behind this.

Renee Urso: Oh, absolutely.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: You're seeing it from your manufacturers, right?

Renee Urso: Absolutely. They're bringing them on and they have their sections that they're bringing them in to train them as well, and they'll have bilingual teachers.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Bilingual?

Renee Urso: You have to, you have to.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know. What are you seeing in Montana with that?

Samuel Brokenshire: We're pretty far north.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know.

Samuel Brokenshire: So, most of the Hispanic people that we have to work bring up, we bring them from lower states, we provide housing, we provide a good situation for them to make sure that they can get integrated. And we're seeing a lot more diversity, a lot more within other trades, different businesses, food options, things starting.

But I think the biggest thing for us is there's still a bit of a stigma in our market and with homeowners and with business owners. And I think the most valuable thing that we can do is to very publicly have the back of our guys and fire clients that are not behaving in a way that's appropriate.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love that. Yeah, just start creating that. Yeah.

Renee Urso: I like that.

Peter Horch: I couldn't agree more. Maine is actually the oldest and the whitest state in America. So, we've had a real challenge with accessing Hispanic workforce, and the last statistic I believe I heard was over 80% of all roofs in America are put on by the Hispanic workforce. So we have to start to change the stigma if that exists in different regions. We have to start to embrace this community that helps us get this work done. They're integral to our industry and to our workforce.

Samuel Brokenshire: You got to shake up the good old boys.

Peter Horch: Yeah, thank you.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. Oh, we love that. We love that. Well, and here in Las, Vegas, again-

Josh Sparks: Yeah, that's interesting. I actually grew up in a pretty diverse background. I grew up in Oakland, California to a single mother addicted to heroin. She went to prison when I was 10. I lived in foster care. I was back and forth, went the 17 different schools. So a very diverse background.

So to me, it was always meritocratic. The guy who ran Infinity was Indian. My sales manager was African-American. My wife's brother was gay, and they all ran the company with me. It didn't matter to me what the background was, what their gender was, what matters is they came to work, they worked hard. And from the Hispanic side, I actually have a very good friend in another company that does low-slope roofing. He's Panamanian. So four or five years ago, I decided to spend some time and ahora, yo puedo hablar Español. So now I can speak Spanish and that helps in actually recruiting and talking about this. Yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know you kind of made me teary there. I love that story, but I love the diversity because I think that is one of the things I've seen, that the roofing industry, we still have a ways to go, but we are embracing diversity and we saw it.

Josh Sparks: One thing with the diversity, I would just add to that, it's really important that we have diversity of thought. And with social media and algorithms for social media, it's all about an echo chamber that keeps feeding you what you want to hear. Diversity of thought is just as important as diversity of skin color in my opinion.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, I agree. I agree. If we can't be inclusive and be okay... Sorry, you got me going. But I'm going to say I find that in the roofing industry, it's continually embracing that. And I am not going to cherry coat this and say, "Oh, it's all perfect," because it's not. But it is more and more and more. You can be who you are, whether we're from the West Coast, the East Coast, the southern states, Montana, which we take Montana in the Pacific Northwest. I know you guys think you're a little... But we like you. But I think that has really changed. I see a change in the industry and the conversations that we're having, and it's making a difference. And people want to come to the industry because they know they're welcome. And I think that's our biggest challenge.

And for kids, that next generation, and that's kind of where I wanted to end on is how are we going to get this next generation to be excited about roofing? And you've already answered a little bit, but I think also the Gen Zs that are out there right now, the millennials, I'm seeing we have a very young crew. Everybody sitting here can see our crew over here. We have a very young crew. We love it. But we need to get them to have the same passion about roofing that we all do.

Josh Sparks: That's why I love long-form podcasts. You got guys like Joe Rogan and David Goggins's talking about that. You Can't Hurt Me's a great book if you haven't read it. He was actually at one of the shows I was at not too long ago.

But I do think people are being revitalized and if we can show them the benefits of the hard work, you get out there and you work hard, you lay it all on the line, you can be successful in this world, especially in the roofing business. There's so much opportunity in this space. And so to teach little kids to be victors, not victims, teach them how important it is to... We're all diverse. And you were mentioned diversity. We're all diverse in our backgrounds. I never use my background as a crutch. I use it as that is what got me to be who I am today. Period.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, inspiration.

Josh Sparks: Yeah. My son asked me when he was like eight years old, my 18-year-old, to do an interview with me. And he asked me, "Dad, if you could change anything about your life, your past, your mom going to jail, all that stuff, what would you change?" I said, "Absolutely nothing. Nothing." You change nothing because who you are today, you are a product of your past.

And so I just think you just have to inspire young kids. That's what we have to do. You got to show them what's possible out here. And I think folks like us who are running these businesses and working hard every day should be inspiration. And also get them off of TikTok and Instagram. Get them out.

Peter Horch: Get them up there.

Renee Urso: Yeah, that's what it is. Yeah.

Josh Sparks: Get them out here talking to us. And I think the future's bright.

Peter Horch: So, my first salesman that I hired used to use this sales line. He said, "Roofing isn't sexy.' And now I really think that it is. Roofing is sexy, right?

Heidi J. Ellsworth: It is! It is.

Peter Horch: When I started my company, as I told you before, I was on a roof with a hammer and a pouch of nails and a bundle of shingles and a ladder, and that's how you got the work done. Now, there is equipment that does the work for you. There is drones that make it fun. There is technology that makes it fun. The business is just evolving and getting more exciting and more sexy. It's fun to be in the roofing business. It's not just a bunch of hard work and getting dirty by the end of the day.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. And you know on the show floor, there is a robot that is laying down shingles and it's-

Josh Sparks: Is there really? I didn't see that.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: There is. It is there. It's on robotics and Dylan Crow, so someone to check out in there. It's coming. It's coming our way and we're going to... We need to sing the song to that point that not only is it great to be outside, to be working, all the technology that's coming in, it's going to be a changing atmosphere or environment for the roofing industry. So I love it.

Okay. We're right at the end. I want to, just real quick, if you have something to share with everybody out there about the roofing industry, about the show, just a little kernel of wisdom for all the contractors and everybody who's watching, I'd like to finish up with some of your last final thoughts. So, Renee?

Renee Urso: Well, I just think that it's amazing that there's so many women involved in roofing. I didn't come from a roofing background. I'm real estate. I was a flight attendant for private jets for a while and then flipping properties. But when I got into roofing by accident, it's just amazing, the people. It's the people that I've met, the knowledge. I mean, I didn't realize there's so much in roofing that you need to know. And if you're working with the GCs, the specification, reading plans, estimating, that's a whole nother monster right there.

And it's just an amazing industry and it's so much support. I haven't received any negativity. I mean, even being a woman in roofing, sometimes they're like, "What are you doing here? Are you going up the elevator? Are you going up the ladder? What are you going to do?" And so I've seen an opening to that. And especially the men that came to the Women in Roofing event too.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yes, they were great.

Renee Urso: They received so much support. I was seeing all the ladies give them a hug. Thank you for supporting us. And that goes back to the diversity and supporting one another and that's how we bridge that gap. Yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right. Roofing, I'm telling you. Okay.

Renee Urso: That's crazy.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Samuel?

Samuel Brokenshire: Have an open mind. There's a lot of change. There's a lot of new innovation out there, and I think it's really easy to be a little closed in your mind and say, "Oh, well, that's not how we've done it. We don't need that." But the reality is the industry's changing, and if you want to grow with it, you have to keep an open mind to what it looks like.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Don't be left behind.

Samuel Brokenshire: Yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. That's so important. Josh?

Josh Sparks: I'm a big fan of personal, not just professional, development. I've worked with all my staff on that. I found stoic meditation probably 10 years ago. Marcus Aurelius is the last of the five great emperors in Rome. But he said, "The happiness of your life is dependent on the quality of your thoughts." I read a book called The Stoic Challenge by William Irvine, and it changed my life, and so I recommend everybody read that book. So anytime I get an opportunity to talk about it, I do. It is a fantastic book that helps you reframe the world around you, so The Stoic Challenge.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: The Stoic Challenge, it's on my reading list. I love that. Awesome. Peter, bring us home.

Peter Horch: I'm a roofer. I'm a roofer. I'm a roofer. I'm a roofer. And if we can say that, and if we can change the stigma around this industry, it is fun to be a roofer. We should be proud to be roofers, right? There are other countries that really hold tradespeople in high regard and much respect. And for whatever reason, our country has fallen into this little rut of saying, "Oh, I don't want to send my kids to a trade school. I want to send them to college." Right? I'm a roofer. And we should be proud to say that to everybody all the time, everywhere.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Can we take that as a clip?

Peter Horch: Sure.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love that. "I'm a roofer, I'm a roofer."

Renee Urso: And get a meme made out of that.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, I know. Yeah, watch out. That's social media back over here. It's coming out.

So all of you, thank you. I'm blown away. This has just been the best panel, the best discussion. Thank you for your passion. Thank you for your wisdom and for being a part of this today, and I hope your IRE is just absolutely spectacular from this point on. So thank you.

Peter Horch: Yep, thanks to you.

Samuel Brokenshire: Thanks, Heidi.

Renee Urso: No, thank you. Thank you so much.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Thank you. And I want to say thank you to all. I hope you enjoy this as much as I have. This will be on-demand and we're going to be sending it out there along with the Peter meme, "I'm a roofer." And we have so much great things. We have more interviews coming up. Stay tuned. We have a lot this afternoon. And then tomorrow at two o'clock, we will have Coffee Conversations from the other side with the distributors, manufacturers and we'll see how they answer these questions.

Thank you so much. We'll be back soon. Have a great day.



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