Helping to keep a family roofing business going since he arrived on the scene nearly two decades ago is the reason Mike Elsensohn, an outside sales associate for ABC Supply Co. Inc., is the Roofing Contractor Most Valuable Partner for 2008.

ABC Supply Co. Inc. sales associate Mike Elsensohn (far right) is joined by Herrick Roofing Inc. foreman Thomas Pearcy (left), superintendent Stephen Grzelinski and president Doug Herrick (second from right).

Helping to keep a family roofing business going since he arrived on the scene nearly two decades ago is the reason Mike Elsensohn, an outside sales associate for ABC Supply Co. Inc., is the Roofing Contractor Most Valuable Partner for 2008.

Douglas Herrick, president of Herrick Roofing Inc. of Phoenix, said he nominated Elsensohn because of a relationship that has improved with every year.

“Mike has been our sales rep for about 18 years,” Douglas Herrick said. “He has kept our mom and pop company abreast on all facets of the industry, including cost of materials, product information, educational courses on metal or torch-applied systems.”

Herrick said he is currently looking into solar applications for all types of roofs and Elsensohn is helping him look into the market.

“From getting our very first credit line to setting up liens and special accounts for certain projects, Michael has been with us,” Herrick said. “Around 1995 I asked Mike to get us information and certification to install metal roof systems. From blueprinting roofs for takeoffs and pricing entire metal jobs, from single family homes to schools, we’ve become seasoned veterans.”

Herrick said Elsensohn and his wife, Sandy, have also become good friends of the Herrick family and Herrick Roofing Inc.

“We are sure other roofing companies - large and small - he deals with will agree with us,” Herrick said. “Too often people and companies behind the scenes don’t get any credit or consideration for their efforts.”

Helping Customers

Mike Elsensohn works out of the ABC Supply office Glendale, Ariz., and has been servicing Herrick Roofing since 1991.

In becoming a respected sales representative, Elsensohn said he has followed the principles of the late Ken Hendricks, who started ABC Supply Co. in 1982. “Ken didn’t care for the lack of respect shown by the vendors toward his father and other contractors,” Elsensohn said. “He decided that his company would be built on a different principle: treat the contractor with respect and honesty. He treated each of his employees in this manner and made this a way of doing business.”

Elsensohn said the ABC store in Phoenix began in 1989 with the purchase of A&H Supply Co. “We moved from Phoenix to Glendale, opened a branch in Mesa, and have since grown to eight branches in Arizona,” Elsensohn said. “My customers buy primarily through the Glendale and Mesa branches. At times I supply customers through the Tucson and Prescott Valley branches, and am available to help where needed in any of the branches.”

Elsensohn said first started work at ABC in March of 1990. “I came from a background in the heavy equipment industry and was given an opportunity to learn and grow in the roofing industry,” he said. “I worked counter sales and was the dispatcher and warehouse manager for a time before moving to outside sales.”

Elsensohn said the Glendale branch currently has 38 employees, which includes the manager, several salesmen, inside sales associates, warehouse and delivery personnel and other office staff.

“As a sales associate for ABC Supply, I try to develop a good relationship with my customer and try to learn about their business: what they want to do and how they want to grow,” Elsensohn said. “I provide them with competitive pricing and resources to promote their business. I also try to be a good resource person for the customer, including researching new products they may ask about; providing information on new products that come to the marketplace and new products we may decide to handle as we diversify; organizing training which the contractor may want for himself or his customers; and presenting tools to the customer to grow his business.”

“I provide them with referrals as I learn about various jobs,” he continued. “Along the way, I get to know the customer as a person. Many times this includes getting to know his family.”

A Good Partner

Elsensohn said ABC Supply has been a good partner for Herrick Roofing and other contractors because the associates of ABC care about the contractor and the success of their company.

“We provide quality products, competitive pricing and the best service in the industry,” Elsensohn said. “We have a specialized customer service delivery system in place that allows tracking of the deliveries, more accurate delivery times and a means to verify the delivery was made and loaded properly.”

He said a photographic record is kept of each delivery and if a problem occurs, ABC can verify what was on the delivery within a matter of minutes after the delivery is complete. “We also provide the contractor with opportunities for additional training about products and installation procedures,” Elsensohn said. “We provide promotional material for the contractor to use to promote his business. We provide continuous training for our associates to keep them up to date and knowledgeable about new products. We continue to diversify our product offerings to provide more opportunities for the contractor. As we have diversified in our product offerings, ABC Supply has emerged from being a roofing material supplier to being an one of the largest external building material suppliers.”

Elsensohn said he partners with the manufacturers reps to provide the best pricing for his customers, special pricing for special projects, training for the contractors and their crews, and the promotional material needed to present the products to their customers.

“As a representative for ABC Supply, it is important for me to present myself with integrity, honesty and in a professional manner to my customers,” he said. “I am to be accessible to my customers and to address the needs to help them grow their business. I should be the ‘go-to guy’ for my customers.”

Herrick Roofing’s History

Herrick Roofing opened its business in 1991 and specializes in metal, shingles, rubber modified, tile and coatings.

“Most of our work is from referrals,” said Herrick, who noted his company is listed as one of the Encanto/Phoenix Historic Preservations preferred contractors.

“Herrick Roofing uses the old school rule of thumb: Do it right the first time or not at all,” he said. “Manufacturers’ specs are critical - venting, flashings, valleys - for homeowner as well as us contractors.”

Herrick said he has four full-time employees who all wear “a lot of different hats.”

“Along with various laborers, we seem to keep everyone working in these difficult economic times,” Herrick said. “Mike is our sales rep, as well as our competitor’s, so I’m sure they will agree that he does whatever it takes to get our products and information to us.”