‘Jump and open the parachute’

Matrix Roofing owner sees small changes bringing equity to the construction industry

Wendy Marvin
Courtesy of Matrix Roofing and Home Solutions. Wendy Marvin is on the job in Dallas, Texas, touring the city’s new baseball stadium with fellow Board members and KPost Roofing.

According to Wendy Marvin, owner of Matrix Roofing and Home Solutions: “2020 is shaping up to be an amazing year. The weather held for us and spring came early. Our new space will give us the ability to work with more customers, and our new computer program will streamline our processes. I just hope that the uncertainty with international trade doesn’t make too much of an impact on our materials cost in the next few months.”

Marvin answered some questions from the VBJ about herself and her business for this special edition of Women in Business.

VBJ: According to reports, you started Matrix with your husband and then bought out his share. What gave you the confidence to go it alone?

Marvin: Stubbornness is the honest answer. At the time of our split in early 2017, I honestly thought he’d be taking the company. After discussions, we determined that my role would be harder to fill than his. I didn’t realize how much I really had been doing behind the scenes for our company. Strategic planning, marketing, finance and more. He was the face, but I was the backbone. I was VERY fortunate that all of my staff stuck around after the change. That made things a lot easier.

VBJ: One of your peers called you a “shero” because of your success in a predominately male industry. Do you consider yourself a trailblazer? Why or why not?

Marvin: I think any time you look at an industry that has less than 10% female participation, we should all be considered trailblazers. As an owner, I’d bet I’m in more like a 3-4% range. In construction and roofing in particular the world is predominantly male. Women are often objectified. The sales reps look for males as decision makers, the manufacturers offer rewards that are geared only towards males. It’s been an adventure for sure. There are, however, a lot of good people, both male and female, who are trying to grow the industry as a whole. To bring more diversity in general to an aging industry. To get us away from that “good ol’ boys club” mentality. We still have a long way to go though. Equal pay is still an issue. Promotions are still an issue. Women are more likely to just leave the industry than take on the battles necessary to continue working in construction. It’s sad. I have my days when I’m tired of dumb conversations. Thank goodness my soul is fed by seeing small changes that I’m helping make happen.

VBJ: What do women bring to the construction industries that differentiates them in the business?

Marvin: I think women in general see things from a different perspective. The empathy behind a sale, the customer experience working with females is just different. They also bring a spirit of coordination that is different in my opinion. That coordination flows through most everything but especially communication.

VBJ: How have you differentiated Matrix Roofing in Clark County?

Marvin: Matrix was founded and continues to be run with the mindset that our customers are our foundation. That earning their trust is the most important thing we can do for them. The construction industry is like going to the doctor. It’s filled with words most people don’t understand, and by people who don’t really want you to know what they’re doing. We encourage our customers to ask questions, and we’re patient when they need things explained. I never see even a roofing customer as a one-time relationship. I see them as a means to earn a happy referral, and by creating a lot of happy referring customers, our company has grown.

VBJ: It sounds like you have moved into a new space. Tell us about the space, how it fits your needs and what led to the expansion.

Marvin: We’re really excited to be moving into a larger facility. We had people doubled up in offices, trying to be efficient, and it was working, but not well. We’re able to customize our new office. Every person will have their own space and the facility is designed to be more efficient to allow us to scale and grow. Hopefully the build goes quickly, we’re all working in temporary spaces for the moment. The plan for expanding has been in the works for months. The final push to make us move was when our current landlord wouldn’t renew our lease because of their expansion. At that point, we just had to jump and open the parachute.

VBJ: What advice would you give women (or anyone!) breaking into the construction business on their own?

Marvin: Construction is an amazing industry. There’s work for people who fill the needs of the customers. It’s not a trade that disappears in times of economical hardship. It allows for a lot of flexibility in how to serve, therefore it’s pretty recession proof. As a female, I’d say, you have to have thick skin. You have to be able to assert yourself in difficult situations. You have to know your own worth, as many others won’t acknowledge you. Lastly I’d say to everyone, don’t ever discount yourself for being in the trades. We’re not “just” a contractor, we’re a valuable part of the infrastructure of any community. You shouldn’t be embarrassed to stand next to any other company owner and know that you have a place in the line.

VBJ: What else would you like our readers to know?

Marvin: Remember the trades when talking to kids. Not everyone is cut out for college. Mostly for me? Remember to let your daughter try to use a hammer. Let your son bake. Skills are skills, regardless of gender. Be open to seeing the possibilities of any person. I was told in middle school that typing was more suited for me by my geometry teacher. Sad but true. Today I use geometry all the time to measure plans. Who knew my being stubborn would pay off like this? Me.

Matrix Roofing by the numbers

26 employees
756 customers
570 jobs completed
7% average growth per year

Wendy Marvin
Owner, Matrix Roofing and Home Solutions
www.matrixroof.com
360-474-5828

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