The National Bring Your Child to Work Day started in the 1990s as a strategy to expose kids to the working world, and to pique interest in possible career paths with a glimpse of their parents’ professions. It worked quite well with Stephanie Pouse.
The co-owner of Brahma Roofing and Construction was in a different profession just four years ago, but couldn’t shake her love for construction jobsites and borderline obsession for completing things. Both traits that were ingrained in her as a child.
“I grew up on construction sites, shadowing my father (and now business partner, Roy Pouse) since hard hats were bigger than my head,” she said. “In the era of Bring Your Child to Work Day, I loved having another opportunity to visit the projects my father worked on.”
Pouse remembers sitting in the trailer, reviewing the sharp lines of blueprints, and the markings of precise measurements crew members followed to bring projects to life. She didn’t realize it until much later, but it was during those visits where Pouse grew to appreciate the hard work and overall impact skilled tradespeople had in the field. Witnessing how a project started and what it evolved into just resonated in her core.
She took that interest to the next level, turning her passion into practice by leading rehabilitation trips abroad to help underserved communities in Mexico and Costa Rica. Those experiences brought another aspect of construction to light — the true ability to impact people’s lives for the better.
That led to the formation of Brahma Roofing — a name based on a deity in Hinduism known as “The Creator.” Pouse said the company strives to create a new level of trust and customer service that, arguably, couldn’t be more important in today’s environment for construction. And it’s particularly important amid the sea of competition in the robust roofing markets Brahma serves along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and in greater Chicago.
“When the roots of this business began, my father and I were both working full-time for other companies,” Pouse recalled. “Oftentimes people forget, or don’t necessarily realize the risk associated with starting something from the ground-up. Just like in construction, you don’t always know what you’ll find until you jump in with both feet. So, my favorite milestone will always be when we both did that; jumped in with both feet, dedicated to this dream with no option of looking back.”
That attitude and early results started to gain traction in Brahma’s markets, where like everywhere else, workforce and the availability of materials continue to be the biggest challenges. The key, the father/daughter duo says, was treating all clients equally, reflecting passion and purpose when educating clients and in answering all their questions before the final walkthrough of the installation.
“There are too many people out there with horror stories of contractors, which has shifted their perspective of contractors as a whole,” the elder Pouse said. “If you can clearly communicate with your client, setting clear and realistic expectations, you’ll set yourself and your client up for success.”
The commitment and unique success story resonated with officials at Beacon and other roofing industry stakeholders across the continent. Earlier this year, Beacon launched its annual North American Female Roofing Professional of the Year contest and named Pouse a finalist with four other candidates. After roughly a month of public online voting, Pouse was named the inaugural award winner in June.
Company officials said the contest is a way to recognize women for their contributions to the industry, and hone in on their ability to inspire and attract other women to the industry.
“Stephanie is a perfect example of the roofing professional we sought to highlight in this competition,” said Beacon President and CEO Julian Francis in a written statement. “Combining her passion for building with business ownership will bring innovation to our industry that exceeds expectations.”
Hope Hartman, founder of the Colorado-based Girls in the Spotlight nonprofit, said she approached Pouse to join her board of directors after a chance social meeting swayed her to stay in touch.
“I can’t speak to the intricacies of what she brings to the roofing industry… but she’s the type of person that I seek out. She has all these positive qualities,” said Hartman, whose organization sets out to inspire girls to be world-class leaders.
Hartman was among dozens of community members that helped Pouse celebrate the award during a special ceremony over the summer. The company responded by donating a roof to the Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity, in partnership with GAF.
“She’s just one of those people who is really present … and she brings the best to the table. Every time,” Hartman said.
Humbled by the attention and the overall meaning of the award, Pouse said she hopes her story empowers other women to bring their diverse backgrounds, talents and experiences to a roofing industry thirsty for talent.
“Through this process I was able to connect with other women in the industry, hear their stories, their challenges and how they overcame them,” she said. “That alone was an incredible experience. I’m thrilled about the kind of opportunities this initiative will present for women in the roofing industry or will consider this space if it’s a place where they can be heard and actually succeed.”
It’s not uncommon for clients to say they were treated like family in company testimonials. It’s a natural extension of the company foundation. In addition to her father, Pouse gets to work alongside husband Dean Giesel, director of sales; brother Kyle, senior estimator; and Business Development Manager Lisa Rayburg, a dear friend who Pouse said is essentially family.
“If we can’t bump into one of our former clients at an event, local restaurant, favorite coffee shop or whatever it may be, and have it feel like we’re running into an old friend, we missed the target,” Pouse said. “As a family-owned and-operated business, we strive to extend the meaning of family through our partners, clients and colleagues.”
Like family, getting on the same page all the time can be difficult. But being open minded and keeping the focus on the customer brings clarity to those situations.
“Because of the belief that learning is a lifelong process, we’ve created a space for questions to be asked, information to be shared and resources to be available. Ultimately, allowing our team the space to grow,” Pouse said.
They’re also hardly staying stagnant. When customers seek Brahma out they’re led through a sales process that’s continuously evolving. Each client interaction is evaluated to mark areas of improvement, and has led to innovations including visual timelines, product reviews and other customer service tools to enhance the customer experience.
Company leaders believe how customers perceive the Brahma brand starts long before they reach out for a roof inspection. Creating positive digital marketing content across multiple social media platforms is working, and they continue to invest in the business development and sales teams.
Giesel acknowledged that the social media legwork also helped with Beacon’s online voting campaign, though it’s hard not to “Like” posts about someone making their dreams come true.
“We had a lot of family members, friends and customers take time out to vote as many times as they could and it clearly paid off,” he said during the ceremony. “Ever since she was young she wanted to build something unique and different in the construction industry, and she’s doing just that. She pours her heart and soul into everything she does.”