In 2009, in the midst of a recession, Dena and Jay Elie reached out to help others. The owners of Ridgecon Construction in Shelby Township, Mich., decided to do what they did best and provide a free roof to a deserving family. The idea wasn’t a new one, but their twist on it was so successful and attracted so much attention from other contractors that Dena and Jay decided to share what they knew. After years of refining the process, they launched No Roof Left Behind™ — a unique, cost-effective marketing program that is helping contractors across North America become their own hometown heroes.

No Roof Left Behind offers contractors the opportunity to secure exclusive rights to the program in their local community. According to Dena and Jay, the program provides the tools contractors need to help a deserving family or organization while building their brand and generating more business at the same time. It’s a concept that is catching on. “More than 100 roofs have been installed in North America due to this process,” Jay said. “And it’s all due to the generosity of our sponsors and our big-hearted contractors. They deserve all of the credit.”

Launched in the United States and Canada in mid-2013, No Roof Left Behind now has 76 participating contractors in 29 states and provinces. “It’s grown organically because people wanted it,” Jay said. “There are a lot of good contractors out there who are sick of bad contractors blocking their view. No Roof Left Behind was designed to put them in the forefront — to show that there are good guys out there and let the community know what they are doing.”

The Birth of the Program

In 2009, the Detroit area was hard hit by the recession, and business was down at Ridgecon, a family-run roofing firm that has served the community for more than 20 years. “We ran into so many people who needed a new roof but just didn’t have the money to pay for it,” Jay remembered. “We’ve volunteered for community service projects before, so we thought, ‘Let’s give a free roof away.’”

The company had so many deserving nominees the employees didn’t want to pick the winner themselves. “We wanted the public to vote,” Jay said. “We had an idea. We took ‘Extreme Home Makeover’ and ‘American Idol’ and just put them together.”

Dena and Jay set up a website and had people vote for the family that would receive the free roof. Social media catapulted the attention level. “We got so much interest,” Dena said. “We had nominations from seven different states.”

The process also generated a lot of referrals. “I can’t tell you how many jobs we got from that, and from the people who voted,” Jay said. “It was exciting. The event was great for building company morale, and it became our best marketing program.”

The website and social media coverage also attracted the attention of other roofing contractors, who contacted Dena and Jay to ask them how they could join in. They had the same conversation so many times they decided to streamline the process. “We got a clear message,” Jay said. “We said, ‘We should bottle this up and let other contractors do this across the country.’”

Engaging the Community

No Roof Left Behind was developed to help both contractors who had given away free roofs before and those that were new to the concept do it efficiently and effectively — and take advantage of the positive public relations that result. According to Dena and Jay, what contractors like most about the system is the way it engages the community in the entire process.

“There are a lot of great organizations that do a lot to help low-income families that align the contractor with someone who needs a new roof,” Jay noted. “The contractor donates his labor and feels good, but it seldom results in new business. NRLB’s five-phase approach allows you to truly involve your community in your giving from start to finish.”

The five phases of the process include:

  1. The contractor invites the public to nominate a deserving local resident in need of a new roof.
  2. The contractor narrows down the nominees and chooses four finalists.
  3. The public is invited to vote for the most deserving finalists.
  4. The contractor announces the winner.
  5. The contractor hosts a family-friendly installation celebration for the winner.

Major corporate sponsors include GAF, which donates materials, and Allied Building Products, which gets them to the site. “GAF supplies all of the system components for a System Plus Roof,” said Dena. “Our sponsors are committed to helping contractors and the community.”

Participating contractors can customize the system and run the program as they see fit. Contractors can choose who to help, how many people they want to help, and set the dates to best fit their schedule. No Roof Left Behind offers training and ongoing support, as well as a set of digital tools to help with each stage of the process.

When contractors sign up and agree to an exclusive territory, they are given a full tutorial on the system. “We set up a time for the orientation and go through the back end,” said Dena. “We share a computer screen and set up the microsite. We coach them through the entire process. It’s not just a technical orientation; we provide advice about every stage of the process. We don’t just show you how to upload a sponsor’s logo, but how to find sponsors and encourage them to join the program.”

Each contractor’s microsite is personalized with a company logo and specific information. Contractors have login access and can run the process from start to finish. The system automatically tabulates the votes and chooses the winner.

Everything is easily accessed by smart phone. “Today it is so important that everything be mobile friendly,” Jay said. “People can show up at the house, take photos with their phone, fill out the nomination form and upload the pictures right there at the site.”

The digital file cabinet has customizable templates for each stage of the process, including media press releases, flyers, letters to help attract sponsors and thank you notes. Marketing materials include business cards with the company’s information and a QR code that finalists can pass out to encourage voters. “It’s very easy,” said Jay. “We provide everything you need to successfully run the program.”

The system is constantly changing and evolving based on feedback from participating contractors. Dena and Jay are always improving the playbook, adding features that participating contractors have immediate access to. “This is built by a contractor, and it will be fully formed and completed by contractors,” Jay said. “We have 60,000 visitors to the site every month. People are energized. We want the public to look for No Roof Left Behind installers because they are the best of the best.”

No Roof Left Behind gives contractors a great way to break the ice when approaching potential customers and sponsors, noted Dena. “It’s a great two-part message,” she said. “As a contractor, you can start with ‘I live here. I work here. I raise my family here.’ The second part is, ‘I’m giving a free roof away to someone who really deserves it. Do you want to help?’”

After all, helping people is really what it’s all about. Dena and Jay look forward to the installation of the free roof every year, and this year marked the company’s seventh No Roof Left Behind installation celebration. “Everyone checks their egos at the door and works hand in hand,” Jay said. “Good things happen when people come together.”

For more information about No Roof Left Behind, call Dena and Jay Elie at 888-328-9338 or visit

Free NRLB Webinar Available on Demand

For more information on No Roof Left Behind, check out the free webinar titled “No Roof Left Behind — Don’t Just Make a Buck, Make a Difference.”