The below article was written by Roofing Contractor
NMC Exteriors & Remodeling President Molly Mortenson admits she is small in stature, but don’t let that fool you — she has become a powerhouse in the roofing industry.
Ever since she joined her husband, Nick, at the Plymouth, Minn.-based business, the duo have elevated their company to be more than just a roofing contractor, but a trusted business that boasts an A+ Better Business Bureau Rating, a 4.8 out of 5 stars for Google reviews, has appeared on RC’s Top 100 List and won back-to-back Product Excellence Awards from Owens Corning.
Most recently, Mortenson became the first female to join the Owens Corning Roofing Platinum Advisory Board. But this road to success hasn’t always been an easy one for NMC Exteriors’ president.
“I grew up in construction, I love the build process, I love all that stuff,” Mortenson said. “My dad totally drove me super-hard to be hands-on — business-minded, analytical, I was in front of the numbers — but he also taught me that I want to treat people way better than I was ever treated, even in my own dad’s company.”
Mortenson’s love of construction began when working for her father’s concrete company from the ages of 14 to 19, doing everything from concrete work to driving a Bobcat and a 2-ton dump truck. While she could work with the best of them, she had the misfortune of experiencing sexism and disrespect from the other workers.
While in college, her father split his concrete company, inspiring her to one day own a business and have a workforce that embraced unity and respect, so she quit and set off on her own. She became a project coordinator for Lifetime Fitness, a position that sent her around the country. Nick and Molly met in 2007 and married in 2008. When she gave birth to their twins, she decided to stay home with them instead of traveling for work while Nick continued to operate NMC Exteriors.
Nick founded the company in 1999 right out of high school and grew it to host a wide range of services, including custom home building and land development. When the recession hit in 2008, the company revised its business model to focus on exterior products. Around two years later, Mortenson realized she couldn’t sit by idly any longer, so she began working part-time at Nick’s company.
In 2013, they became business partners. Mortenson became president of NMC Exteriors and Nick the COO. The company has since been recognized as a Certified Women-Owned Small Business.
“Molly has brought the feelings into our business,” Nick said. “She also brings in a different type of leadership style than the normal male-run operation, which in turn I attribute to our retention of our employees. There is typically some turnover on the sales side in this industry and she has helped build a different type of culture that attracts people, builds value, and creates a moral high throughout our company.”
Working with a spouse and business partner every day hasn’t hindered the couple either. Nick said about the only thing they don’t do together is drive to work, as they even share office space. He said thanks to reliable co-workers, they are able to strike a successful work/life balance.
“Most people look at us and comment, ‘I don't know how you do it?’ For us it is different. I don't think we would have it any other way,” Nick said.
“I manage most of the office staff and sales, and he will do the production half. It’s a very good line of respect — you run that side, I run this side — and we meet in the middle all the time,” Mortenson added.
Defined work roles go beyond the husband and wife duo. Mortenson is proud to have helped organize the entire company through written documentation, whether it’s a job description or process. In fact, NMC Exteriors wrote its own workflows for its system and uses multiple tools to keep everything structured.
“Everybody has their own job descriptions, tasks, and workflows through our CRM, and it was written for our company to achieve customer satisfaction,” she said.
Another critical area for NMC Exteriors is creating a great culture. As a family-owned business, the company prides itself not only on delivering high-quality service but giving back to its communities. This includes supporting a long list of charities, including breast cancer awareness, the Rising Hope Foundation to fight human trafficking, and its own NMC Roof Donation program. As a result of this culture, in 2019, the company saw 112 referrals from one sales representative alone.
“We built a culture that is just really built around loyalty, commitment, branding, and we always say ‘the NMC Difference,’ because I truly feel like we’re not just a roofing company, we are a business, and by being a business we hold so many more values as a group,” Mortenson said. “For Nick and me it’s always putting employees first before us.”
This customer-focused approach hasn’t stopped with the pandemic either, though it has changed. Mortenson said thanks to its affiliates, the company went virtual fairly quickly, including communications, cloud uploads, and DocuSign to keep person-to-person interactions minimal. Due to adapting quickly, the company is actually seeing higher numbers than last year.
“We have learned a tremendous amount of stuff that we would have never had to learn before, which will benefit us in the end,” she said.
The Owens Corning Platinum Advisory Board is a group of contractors who share their expertise with the roofing manufacturer. As the first female Platinum Advisory Board Member, Mortenson attended her first meeting in March just before the pandemic took root in the U.S. She admitted she was a bit nervous going in, but drew on her experiences in the industry for strength.
“My first meeting was so awesome,” she said. “It was just such a cool accomplishment and just such a fun thing sitting there with a bunch of successful men. I share my opinion, good or bad, but I don’t have a problem speaking my mind, so I actually fit right in.”
Since her company excels in its own branding, Mortenson said her hope is to provide new insights into brand awareness and marketing as a board member. She also hopes to learn about new software and technology that can further improve roofing companies.
NMC Exteriors' marketing and branding has paid off. On top of being a Platinum Preferred Contractor, NMC Exteriors won Owens Corning Product Excellence Awards in 2019 and 2020 for the company’s contributions to roofing. The recognition reflects NMC Exteriors’ focus on its customer-driven approach as well as being a dependable and trustworthy company.
“We are honored to welcome Molly to the Owens Corning Platinum Advisory Board,” said Gunner Smith, president of Owens Corning Roofing. “Her experience as a roofing contractor, business owner and leader in the roofing industry make her a valuable addition to this group. We look forward to her partnership and contribution to the Platinum Advisory Board.”
Having been in the roofing industry for nearly 10 years, Mortenson said the work environment for women in construction has improved since her days working for her father, but there is still work to be done.
“It’s gotten better, but you probably haven’t earned someone’s respect and trust until they’ve talked with you for a few minutes and you can actually answer questions,” she said. “People still assume that you’re just somebody that just pushes papers or just does the marketing.”
That hasn’t deterred the Mortenson's from encouraging others to join the industry, including their three children, who have already safely experienced being on roofs.
“A lot of our marketing has me in it, which I would hope would encourage younger people,” she said. “I think it’s encouraging the younger generation that the trade industry is still alive and profitable.”
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