New owners of Emmons Roofing and Siding see nothing but blue skies ahead
When you purchase a business, you don’t simply invest your money in the equipment, buildings and operational infrastructure. You are also taking on the responsibility of overseeing the working lives of all the people who are the heart and soul of the organization.
Customer relationships established by the previous ownership are also a vital part of the health of the business to consider. Additionally, the company’s standing in the community will give insight into how well those relationships have been maintained and the work done to earn such a reputation.
Matt and Stephanee Kelly took these things into consideration before deciding to purchase Emmons Roofing and Siding last year. The company, located in Williamstown, New Jersey, specializes in installing roofing, siding, gutters, windows and doors. It is licensed and insured in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and serves the South Jersey and Jersey Shore areas as well as parts of Pennsylvania. Additionally, the organization is part of the Owens Corning Roofing Platinum Preferred Contractor network.
The Customer Experience
The Kellys did their due diligence in researching the organization to ensure that its values aligned with theirs. “We found that the company had an impeccable reputation, which was really important to us because we are very customer-driven,” Stephanee explains.
Some evidence of the company’s character was found in customer feedback. Stephanee was not expecting the numerous videos of customers expressing their delight in the experience they had while working with Emmons Roofing and Siding.
Stephanee says, “In my head, I had a stereotype of what a roofing company would be like. And then when I saw those testimonials, I thought ‘Wow, I was wrong. They care.’ ”
These clients didn’t simply speak about the quality and speed of the work. They also talked about the people who were part of the process, their professionalism and the help they provided working with insurance companies.
It was clear that the staff members don’t merely complete a job. Rather, they are all about creating a customer journey that not only addresses the buyer’s needs but also ensures the customer has a good experience throughout the process.
As a new owner, Stephanee knows the community relationships already established by the team at Emmons Roofing and Siding are a great benefit. “I love that we are beginning with this, and now we get to just build on that. It’s an amazing place for Matt and me to start,” she says.
More Than a Name
The organization’s reputation was built over 30 years under the leadership of the previous owner, Keith Emmons. In 1988, Keith began providing home improvement services as part of Emmons Brothers Construction. Eight years later, he ventured out and established his own company, Keith Emmons Home Improvement. By 2004, the organization expanded and was renamed Emmons Construction and Management. In 2014, the business transitioned to focus on roofing and siding.
If the name “Emmons” is synonymous with caring people in the industry, it is also reflective of Keith’s demeanor based on the Kellys’ experience. “He was very personable,” Stephanee recalls about first meeting Keith. “I really felt so comfortable with him. It felt really like we were talking to an honest person.”
Keith’s commitment to the business didn’t abruptly end once the ownership was transferred in June 2019. He stayed on with the company for six weeks to help ensure the new owners were successful and that their customers experienced a smooth transition. “He wanted to make sure we knew all the ins and outs and could maintain the entire staff. It’s the same exact staff, but with a new owner,” Stephanee says.
History of Leadership
Although Matt and Stephanee are no strangers to the industry or entrepreneurship, they welcomed Keith’s guidance. Since they are also the founders and owners of a general contracting company, they know what it takes to build a company from the ground up.
Over the past 20 years, Matt has gained a wealth of facility and project management experience through a variety of roles, including his positions as Senior Project Manager at Extra Space Storage and Vice President of Facilities at Campus Apartments, one of the nation’s largest providers of student housing. In addition to his general contracting firm, which gives him valuable exposure to the construction industry, he has owned a real estate company. He also has a bachelor’s degree in commerce and engineering sciences from Drexel University.
Stephanee, the daughter of a construction entrepreneur, has been exposed to the industry and business mindset her whole life. She has two decades of operations experience through her previous positions in property management, including her role as a regional manager responsible for overseeing multiple residential facilities throughout the country.
The Kellys have leveraged their complementary skill sets to build on the foundation that Keith established. Stephanee describes her position at Emmons Roofing and Siding: “I develop and implement our marketing strategy, conduct sales meetings, oversee some of the administrative tasks and work to ensure everyone is empowered to do their jobs. I also work with Matt to ensure that we have the best systems in place that enable us to work well and efficiently.”
Matt not only manages the company’s overall production, but as a hands-on Owner, he also enjoys overseeing the day-to-day field operations. “He’s all over New Jersey and Pennsylvania, driving around making sure that the jobs are going well and that our teams in the field are getting the resources they need,” Stephanee says. Additionally, he works with vendors to ensure the best products are being used on each job, and at the right price.
"If our mission is our employees and our employees’ mission is our customers, I know everything else is going to work out.” Stephanee Kelly, Co-Owner, Emmons Roofing and Siding
The husband-and-wife team know the staff of 18 people is key to the company’s success—and therefore, it’s important that the workforce is well-equipped. Stephanee recognizes these employees are talented individuals who are experts in the field, love what they do and work hard every day for their customers.
Although the ownership has changed hands, Keith’s blood still flows through the company’s veins. “Our bookkeeper, who is also our office manager, is Keith’s daughter,” Stephanee explains. “Our lead estimator is Keith’s son-in-law. And one of our other salesmen is Keith’s brother. So, with all his family here, we feel he’s still here.”
Emmons Roofing and Siding has two foremen, with over 40 years of industry expertise collectively, who make sure the projects are successful from beginning to end. Additionally, the firm’s sales consulting team has over 50 years of home improvement knowledge, customer service and sales management experience.
From the front office to the field crews, everyone goes above and beyond to please their clients.
Focused on the Vision
Stephanee believes the staff’s level of dedication to achieving customer satisfaction can sometimes be hard to find. To maintain this high degree of commitment, she seeks to cultivate, encourage and empower employees to keep pursuing their best.
“I’m definitely chief cheerleader,” Stephanee says, “and like to be the one to tell people what they’re capable of doing, help them set goals and be their advocate for getting there. I want everybody to love coming to work because we spend so much time here.”
Staff members create vision boards that capture their goals. They are also challenged to think about why they are motivated to be so devoted to their jobs. They put these things on paper so they can monitor their progress and make sure they have a daily reminder of what is driving them to work so hard.
It’s important to keep your eye on the goal when purchasing a business, Stephanee advises. She understands that when you purchase a company and transition into the organization’s leadership role, you may encounter many obstacles throughout the process, and it can be easy to get lost along the way.
However, she believes in staying focused on the mission and recognizing that all problems are manageable. “If our mission is our employees and our employees’ mission is our customers, I know everything else is going to work out,” Stephanee says. “Stay focused, keep your team focused and don’t let the rocks that are going to get thrown do any damage.”
Looking ahead, Stephanee sees exponential growth. The Kellys’ plan for the next five years is to become a company with multiple divisions—repairs, retail, commercial—that each has a team of people dedicated to that area of focus.
She also sees the value in having The Blue Book Network® by their side on the road ahead. “When we first met our sales rep [Kimberly Maguire], she was so passionate about how The Blue Book Network could serve our needs. And I agree with her,” Stephanee explains. “Now we have access to a slew of major projects that we can bid on. And it has already opened up the doors to new opportunities that we wouldn’t have known about if it weren’t for The Blue Book Network.”
Matt and Stephanee want to continue to grow their workforce and eventually open another location. When Stephanee speaks of the future, she catches herself saying, “I think we can…” and immediately changes to “I know we will...” to align her words with their vision.