Mike Feazel of Roof Maxx: Five Strategies Our Company Is Using To Become More Sustainable

I would like to inspire a movement where people, before getting rid of things, stop and ask, “Can I fix this instead of discarding and replacing it?”. At Roof Maxx, we educate our customers on the possibility of roofing maintenance as opposed to ripping it off and replacing it. Roofing maintenance and restoration are the […]

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I would like to inspire a movement where people, before getting rid of things, stop and ask, “Can I fix this instead of discarding and replacing it?”. At Roof Maxx, we educate our customers on the possibility of roofing maintenance as opposed to ripping it off and replacing it. Roofing maintenance and restoration are the ecological and economical solution.

As part of my series about companies who are helping to battle climate change, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Feazel, co-Founder and CEO at Roof Maxx.

Mike Feazel is the co-Founder and CEO at Roof Maxx — a U.S.-based network of new-breed roofing restoration experts. Roof Maxx is the fastest-growing roofing company in the United States with dealers in 48 states servicing over 700 cities.

For over three decades, Mike has been an industry leader, co-founding Roofers Success International, the nation’s #1 roofing contractor university. Mike’s popular monthly column, “A View from the Top,” written for Roofing Contractor Magazine, advocated positive change for the industry.

To find the nearest Roof Maxx dealer or to get more information about becoming a dealer, visit www.roofmaxx.com.

Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

For 25 years, my brother, Todd Feazel, and I were roofers. I began my career straight out of high school building and roofing spec homes with my stepfather. Not long after that, I landed a contract with a national homebuilder and convinced my brother to help me grow the company. We led a booming business as one of the nation’s largest residential roofing contractors and enjoyed a solid reputation as quality providers and experts.

During those 25 years, we saw the roofing and asphalt manufacturing industry change dramatically beginning in the early 2000s. Engineers created a new process for oil refining to yield more gasoline and less waste byproduct (asphalt). The change was great for the production of gasoline but disastrous for the production of asphalt. It caused asphalt shingles to nearly triple in price within a couple of years. As a result, many manufacturers moved to lower levels of asphalt in their shingles and combined it with crushed limestone fillers, with disastrous results. Over time, the shift has caused roofs to fail in as little as 10 to 15 years. In addition to the damage faulty roofing causes within the home, it can also result in attic mold or cause faulty wiring to spark.

In 2013, we sold the business and shifted our focus. Today, we lead Roof Maxx, a business with an opposite model — roofing sustainability and restoration — with a presence in 48 states and 700 cities. We’ve become “un-roofers.” We no longer replace roofs. We restore them.

Roof Maxx has developed an all-natural, plant-based shingle rejuvenator spray to extend the life of aging roofs. When used every five years, it can extend the life of a roof by as many as 15 additional years (in contrast, the average replacement cost of an asphalt roof is about $12,000, with restoration costing typically only 15–20 percent of the cost of replacing a roof). Roof Maxx is a sustainable technology that significantly reduces the need to manufacture, dispose of and replace asphalt roofing.

What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?

Roof Maxx offers an eco-friendly, sustainable technology for roofing restoration to keep roofs out of the landfill and more money in homeowner’s pockets.

Roof Maxx has developed an all-natural, plant-based shingle rejuvenator spray to extend the life of aging roofs. Roof Maxx is a scientifically formulated, and 100% safe, roof rejuvenating spray that was developed in partnership with Battelle Labs, the world’s largest private research and development company.

The company is dedicated to the sustainability movement — educating the company’s dealers and their customers. Roof Maxx expects to protect 350,000 homes by 2021, amounting to the elimination of 1,341,667 tons of waste.

Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?

According to a recent Ohio State University research study conducted by Dr. Juliana Vasco-Correa, asphalt shingles account for 80 percent of U.S. roofs, and approximately 7 percent of U.S. roofs are replaced every year. If even 1 percent of single-family homes (about 15 percent of yearly replacements) applied a SMEE (Soy Methyl Ester Emulsion) formula instead of replacing the roof, we could avoid 2.8 million tons of landfill waste and 1.1 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents in emissions.

Ohio State University holds a gold ranking within Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), placing the university among the top in the nation for its commitment and excellence in sustainability-focused research.

Roof Maxx has also made a conscious decision to be a virtual business. Except for the manufacturing plant, all Roof Maxx employees work from home to reduce the company’s carbon footprint — less commuting, less waste, less energy.

How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?

Roof Maxx is saving solar deals by saving roofs. Many solar companies face the challenge of homeowners’ reluctance to install solar panels over a roof that may fail in the years ahead. Progressive solar professionals have added Roof Maxx’s technology to their business services, so homeowners feel more comfortable investing in solar. Roof Maxx’s plant-based spray provides flexibility and waterproofing protection that can extend the life of an asphalt roof at a price that is a fraction of new.

Nate Anderson started the first Roof Maxx dealership in Grand Junction, Colorado April of 2019. Anderson has partnered with a local solar company to provide a value add that accelerates sales for the solar company as well as Roof Maxx.

When attending the World Bio Markets conference last year, many of the vendors said their biggest challenge was competing in price with the petrochemical market. Bio-based companies have pricier overhead and production costs, making their product more expensive. How can we educate a market, so they are willing to pay more? Roof Maxx is fortunate to be able to offer affordable pricing while also being good for the earth. That makes Roof Maxx unique and has driven our growth.

The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.

Have frequent conversations about sustainably as a family — If you know better, you do better.

  1. Travel frequently to national parks and other countries — In 2009, I participated in a tour of the Inca Trail with Peruvian tour guides. The guides explained that because of climate change, within a few short years, the snow caps on the mountaintops as well as the Urubamba river would dry up, which would be detrimental to many surrounding people that relied on the river as a water source. Seeing this firsthand had a significant impact on me and prompted me to adopt a greener mentality.
  2. Lead by example — Install solar in your home, install a smart meter, switch to LED bulbs, use fewer paper towels
  3. Volunteer in local sustainability groups — Get involved with your children.
  4. Get outside — I grew up in the country where I frequently went camping, played in the woods and went rafting in the in the creek. From an early age, I developed a love for the outdoors and our earth.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Disrupting an industry is an uphill battle.

When an innovation seems so clearly better than the traditional method, you assume that the consumer will instantly agree. I have quickly learned that’s just not how things work. It takes time and effort to educate an industry about new solutions, to build a channel and to work your vision into reality.

Success is built on the back of failure.

Failure is a strange thing and realizing the importance of embracing failure — which is just one step closer to success — isn’t always the most natural and obvious path. The roofing business has experienced many chapters, some of them challenging as the quality of asphalt shingles has periodically gone through decline. But the ability to answer these challenges in new ways is the impetus for something far better and, in our case, much more ecologically beneficial as well.

Doing something right, fast and inexpensive isn’t possible.

When you start a new business, it’s natural to think you can achieve things quicker and at a lower cost, because you’re highly optimistic about your vision. The reality is that things take much longer and are considerably more expensive if you’re to do them right.

You have to get sales right before anything else.

The sales team is the ultimate driver of all business. It’s critical to get that right from the start, or you won’t have enough money to continue moving forward.

It’s going to take longer than you think.

Back to being optimistic. All entrepreneurs think they can achieve things at a much quicker pace than they can realistically. You must stay positive when you’re two, three or even four years into a project, and things are moving slower than you anticipated. This is when the rubber meets the road. At this point, most give up when success is only a short way down the road.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Peter Diamandis and his book Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think impacted me deeply. I was first introduced to Diamandis’ work via his TedTalk. Abundance discusses the key technological trends that could save our planet. The book woke me up and gave me hope.

I am now a member of Diamandis’ Abundance Digital 360 community — a curated global community of executives and investors committed to understanding and leveraging exponential technologies to transform their businesses. My business wouldn’t be where it is without his contributions.

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would like to inspire a movement where people, before getting rid of things, stop and ask, “Can I fix this instead of discarding and replacing it?”. At Roof Maxx, we educate our customers on the possibility of roofing maintenance as opposed to ripping it off and replacing it. Roofing maintenance and restoration are the ecological and economical solution.

Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?

“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs — and that is the risk of doing nothing.”- Denis Waitley

When my brother and I sold our roofing company in 2013, we were content and financially comfortable. We decided to take a risk in starting Roof Maxx, because there was a need and demand for sustainable roofing. When breaking out of comfort zones and conventional thinking, innovation follows.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

Follow Roof Maxx on FacebookLinkedIn and YouTube.

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