Women in Construction

In March, we not only celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day (March 8), we also take time to recognize Women in Construction Week (March 6-12). This is a week sponsored by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to celebrate the contributions and achievements of women in our industry, as well as the enormous opportunities for growth.

Being a certified Woman-Owned Business Enterprise, Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal understands the important role women have in our industry. Our Owner and President, Mary McNamara has paved the way for many – women and men – in our rapidly growing industry. Under Mary’s leadership, Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal has broken records for revenue growth year over year – a huge accomplishment for a company that is nearly 100 years old.

While women make up 47% of the entire employed population, they represent just 10.9% of the workforce in the construction industry. However, we see that tide changing, not only in commercial roofing, but across the construction industry in general. Industry analysts are predicting an additional 2 million jobs will be added in construction in 2022 alone. This is a prime opportunity for women seeking positions in the skilled trades, management, and executive leadership. Women are encouraged to consider construction as a rewarding career path with an abundance of opportunities.

To learn more about Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal and our team, visit www.CornellRoofing.com or call 816-252-8300.

Celebrating 95 Years in Business

This year marks Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal’s 95th year of business in Kansas City. When we were founded in 1927, a lot was happening in the world that would change the course of history:

  • Charles Lindbergh completed the first solo flight across the Atlantic
  • The film, The Jazz Singer opened, ending the era of silent movies
  • Work began on the Mount Rushmore Sculpture of Presidents 
  • Ford Motor Company unveiled the Model A

It appears Cornell is in good company with those who set out to make history and start something great in 1927! 

While much has changed over the years, the values that our company was founded upon remain the cornerstones of our success. Cornell’s dedication to operating with integrity, staying innovative, taking care of our people and our customers, and delivering top-quality commercial roofing projects was, is and will always be what sets us apart. 

We may be in our 95th year, but Cornell is not slowing down anytime soon. In fact, our team has recently expanded by over 250% and we are continuing to break records for growth. With solid leadership and our amazing professional staff and highly skilled crews, we are excited for all the future holds – and the next 95 years ahead for Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal.

To learn more about Cornell, visit www.CornellRoofing.com or call 816-252-8300.

Getting “Schooled” in Commercial Roofing

Since Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal was founded in 1927, we’ve completed thousands of commercial roofing and building projects for diverse purposes and industries. In addition to a wide range of various general commercial, healthcare and government buildings, Cornell has developed strong expertise in projects within the educational and academic institution building space.

Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal has partnered with multiple school districts, colleges and university systems across the Kansas City region. Our crews are skilled in new construction, re-roofing and specialized projects for educational facilities from elementary, middle and high schools to housing, learning, recreational and research buildings on university campuses.

We are extremely proud of our work with these institutions of learning. To learn more about Cornell’s portfolio of work, check out our gallery of some recent projects here, visit www.CornellRoofing.com or call 816-252-8300.

Cornell Roofing Leadership Feature: Meet The Owner

Mary McNamara, Owner and President of Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal is from a family of leaders within the roofing industry. In fact, the McNamara name has been a force for three generations, starting with her father, Jim and uncle, Don. But don’t get the idea that Mary had it easy coming up in the industry. She has earned her spot as leader in the commercial roofing space and Kansas City-area commercial construction.

Mary grew up in Michigan and Illinois, earning her BS in Accounting from Northern Illinois University and later her MBA from Rockhurst University in Kansas City. She started in the industry assisting her dad and uncle in their partnership with multiple roofing contractors across the United States to manufacture high-end roofing material. From there, she applied for and earned a key role in launching the company in Kansas City, KS.

In 2007, Cornell Roofing was a customer of Mary’s. When presented with the opportunity to buy the business, she took it. It was a risky move and pushed Mary to her financial limits at the time. With grit, determination, sharp business acumen, and surrounding herself with a rock-solid team, Mary forged ahead to grow the business from 26 to 92 employees.

Cornell was originally established in 1927 and, under Mary’s leadership, is breaking records as they approach 100 years in business. Being a women-owned business in this industry has both challenges and advantages, but in the end, the company must still perform and deliver top-notch quality to succeed.

Mary credits much of her success to her team at Cornell and her background as CFO with the materials manufacturer, “I met some of the best contractors across the nation. They were the leaders in the industry, and it was overwhelming in many ways. Today, I am working with new peers and many of our younger ‘family’ members, and enjoying watching the legacy of our industry move forward.”

In addition to leading Cornell Roofing & Sheet Metal to new levels of success, Mary has held many leadership positions on industry and community boards. Positions include, Director, Midwest Roofing Contractors Association (MRCA); Director, Greater Kansas City Builders Association; Director, Blue Ridge Bank & Trust; Trustee, Teamsters Local 541, Health & Welfare; and Trustee, Roofers Local 20, Pension.

For more information about Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, visit www.CornellRoofing.com and or call 816-252-8300.

Building Kansas City’s Skyline

Over the past 95 years, Kansas City’s skyline has seen a lot of changes. At Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, we are proud to have played a part in the growth and evolution of our City. Since our beginnings in 1927, Cornell has been roofing Kansas City commercial facilities, including some of KC’s most iconic buildings.

From Children’s Mercy to KCMO City Hall, One Light to UMKC, to the new KCI Terminal – and countless more projects, our Cornell crews literally go to new heights to deliver top-quality results for our customers. While we are constantly striving to improve by leveraging the most up-to-date, high-performance products, materials and processes, our philosophy for service has remained steadfast through the years. In addition to being the premier commercial roofing contractor in our region, we are dedicated to operating with integrity with all associates, customers and suppliers and become a leading voice in our industry for civic outreach and community involvement.

As we’ve helped build Kansas City’s skyline, we’ve grown our company along the way, by staying true to our core values:

– Operate with integrity with all customers and suppliers

– Offer opportunities for growth and development to our associates

– Deliver top quality products and services to the marketplace

– Develop strong community and civic outreach

– Build a strong and profitable company

To learn more about Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, our expertise and the projects we’ve completed, visit https://cornellroofing.com/projects/ or call 816-252-8300.

Careers in Construction Month

Careers in Construction Month is an annual month designated to increase public awareness and appreciation of the more than five million construction craft professionals working in the United States. Skilled trades professionals are in high demand, with some industry analysts predicting the construction industry will need one million new craft professionals by 2023.

Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal is proud to participate in efforts like this to honor the men and women working in skilled trades careers, and the critical role they play in the development of our local cities and nationwide economy. We also understand the importance of engaging students and job seekers to educate them on the vast employment opportunities in construction. Cornell supports scholarship programs leading to careers in construction, which can be long-term, lucrative and rewarding opportunities. 

Cornell’s nearly 95 years of success in Kansas City construction comes from the skilled craftsmanship and dedication to excellence that has carried through generations of Cornell crews. This month, and all year through, we celebrate our hard-working teams of skilled trades professionals. Thank you for your expertise and commitment to delivering unmatched quality for our customers. We appreciate you!

For more information on Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, visit www.CornellRoofing.com or call 816-252-8300.

Cornell Roofing Honored with 2021 Perfection Award

Since 1927 Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal has been striving for perfection on every project. Recently, we were honored to be granted the 2021 Perfection Award from Carlisle SynTec Systems in recognition of our commitment to excellence.

Carlisle SynTec Systems, based in Carlisle, PA, has been a leading manufacturer of roofing materials for over 50 years. Each year they recognize a distinguished few quality-oriented contractors across the United States. Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal was named as a recipient after meeting Carlisle’s stringent criteria for the award. To be selected, contractors must:

  • Maintain a minimum 7-year track record of exceptional installation quality
  • Maintain a minimum 7-year track record of excellent warranty claim performance
  • Complete a set minimum amount of warranted work
  • Complete a set minimum number of jobs annually

Mike DuCharme, Carlisle’s VP of Marketing notes, “Perfection Award winners demonstrate their dedication to excellence on every installation, and Cornell Roofing & Sheet Metal Co. exemplifies this mindset.”

Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal is proud to receive this converted industry honor recognizing our dedication to top-quality workmanship. For more information on Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, visit www.CornellRoofing.com or call 816-252-8300.

Above & Beyond: Cornell’s Commercial Sheet Metal Shop

Many folks know Cornell has been a leader in commercial roofing in Kansas City for nearly 95 years. Some may not know that we also operate a full-service commercial sheet metal shop. Our General Superintendent has over 40 years of experience bringing design and function into perfect harmony to deliver optimal results. Our sheet metal team is critical in ensuring our roofs stand up to the toughest conditions.


The Cornell sheet metal team has earned a reputation for providing innovative design and installation solutions. In fact, Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal received the prestigious AIS Award for Workmanship for our work on the Truman Medical Office Building in Kansas City.


Cornell’s sheet metal experts can design and construct any type of flashing, counterflashing, roof spouts or downspouts needed to make our roofing systems watertight and operating at peak performance. Our shop can also handle any type of metal wall panel design, construction and installation. 


For more information on Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, visit www.CornellRoofing.com or call 816-252-8300.

Cornell Roofing & Sheet Metal Partner Feature: Weather or Not, Inc.

At Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, we’re fortunate to work with many wonderful industry partners. Weather or Not, Inc. based in Shawnee, Kansas is one of our vendors who plays a key role in helping us achieve our high safety standards and deliver the best possible service to our customers. We recently sat down for a little Q&A with Weather or Not founder, Sara Croke.

Q: What services does Weather or Not provide?

A: We conduct Weather Operations Audits throughout the US and Canada. This is how we help outdoor businesses create a process for safe and profitable weather decision making. The audit includes in-depth case studies of when weather has hampered productivity, evaluation of all forecasting tools, communication protocols and data reporting. Recommendations are made including training options and assistance in hiring a weather company in their region of the country. We’ve managed those RFPs and helped with on-boarding the other weather company. We also provide:

  • Meteorological Consulting working with outdoor businesses in Eastern Kansas and throughout the state of Missouri. 
  • Mid-Range Forecasts: Designed as a decision making tool for the project manager or owner, our meteorologists prepare a 21-day weather trends outlook. By seeing upcoming projects through a lens of “workable” or “shut down” days, creating the right Plan B, helps keep jobs profitable.
  • Climate and Post Storm Reporting to provide professional and objective third-party weather analysis during “working day” mediations. 

Q: What types of clients and industries do you serve?

A: Our clients include the Kansas City Royals, along with numerous utilities, airports, construction, public works and schools.

Q: How long has Weather or Not been in business?

A: 35 years.

Q: How long have you worked with Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal as a vendor?

A: Six years.

Q: What are your service goals with Cornell and customers like us?

A: To be a resource for improving profits, safety and brand. Our meteorologists’ job is to answer the superintendents’ question before they even know they have one. We know where they’re working, if they’re open or performing maintenance, or simply pushing off rain from earlier in the day to get materials on the roof so they can increase productivity the next morning by having everything up on the roof and ready to work.

For example, when our meteorologists see that conditions are ripe for rain to develop, their first thoughts are, “Will that affect Wally’s job sites?” If so, they call him with an update. This may occur even before the rain appears on radar. The same thing happens with high winds which can be very dangerous, especially in those downtown wind tunnels on the tallest of buildings!  

Another example is when they call in about rain they see on radar and our meteorologists can explain why that won’t affect their job site so they can keep working safely and making money. Keep in mind, there may be some job sites affected in one part of town thereby shutting them down while jobs in other parts of town continue uninterrupted.

Q: What are some results you have helped deliver for your clients to improve their service, performance and safety?

A: We have a solid track record of successes for clients. For Cornell specifically we have several instances, including comprehensive weather reporting that resulted in saving Cornell $23,000 on a potential weather delay penalty. Here is another scenario from as recently as last month:

Cornell’s Senior Field Superintendent made a decision to shift to his Plan B for workday operations and not open any roofs based on guidance from his Weather or Not meteorologist.  She reported that while storms with high winds and heavy rain should start between 2pm and 4pm, the atmosphere, as it had been all week, was unstable enough to trigger earlier storms with heavy rain. With this critical information, the Superintendent knew the instability was not a comfortable environment for opening roofs or staying on too long. At 11:30am he was alerted by Weather or Not that storms could move in sooner. By having all the information to make a knowledgeable, sound decision, Cornell was able to ensure all materials were secured and crews were off the roofs safely when the high winds kicked up and the heavy downpours began.

This type of knowledge and information is crucial to maintain safety and mitigate liability – which protects workers and ultimately supports profitability.

Q: What is the one thing you want people to know about your business and the value of your service?

A: You can’t change the weather, but you can change the way weather affects your business. 

We only have to save a construction client one day on one job site and they’ve made back the money they’ve spent with us all year!

Every other rain or storm threat, where our meteorologists find crews an extra half day of working or get them to shut down before the rain arrives, is additional profit they might not have seen because of false assumptions made when looking at radar or using an app that’s based on a computer model. It’s like an insurance policy that pays dividends all year long!

Q: How would you summarize your partnership with Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal?

A: Our meteorologists are like another member of the team because we discuss their scheduling and project progress with the field superintendents from sun-up to sundown. We alert the on-site crews whenever the stormy weather is coming in faster or holding off until later.  That is how we assist them in optimizing every possible working hour. Most importantly, we advise them when threatening weather will arrive sooner than expected so they can secure the roof and get all their personnel off the roof and into their trucks safely. The critical factor in working with Cornell was getting to know their daily operation and how the superintendents manage it.  

Q: In general, what should people know about how weather – and weather forecasting – can impact their business?

A: Free apps aren’t really free. Either the superintendents you’re paying high salaries to are looking at their phones guessing at what the radar means or comparing their favorite weather sites – an expensive use of their valuable time. Then, if they get caught in a bad situation, they may blame it on the weather as if nothing could’ve been done about it. If that is the case and your project lost tens of thousands of dollars that day and time (the day you got caught in the weather, plus the day or two to repair it) then that’s how much your “free app” really cost.

Many construction companies just “eat” the cost of getting caught by weather assuming that there’s nothing they can do about it. But there is plenty that companies can do to be proactive. It’s all about creating a process that improves safety and profits.
To learn more about Weather or Not, visit www.weatherornot.com or call 913-722-3955. For more information on Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, visit www.CornellRoofing.com or call 816-252-8300.

National Safety Month

June 2021 marks the 25th year for National Safety Month, sponsored by the National Safety Council. Safety is paramount in our line of work at Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal. Whether installing new roofing 10 stories high in Kansas City’s skyline or fabricating in our sheet metal shop, Cornell crews take safety seriously.

A lot has changed when it comes to safety since our company started in 1927. While there are many more protections in place, you can never take safety for granted. We continuously look for ways to maximize and enhance safety protocols for our crews. National Safety Month is a reminder for us – and all construction companies – about the importance of working toward our common goals of reducing workplace injuries and accidents, and improving safety on our job sites.

This year, the National Safety Council recommends a focus on the following safety topics to bolster Safety in the workplace:

  • Prevent Incidents Before They Start: Identifying risks and taking proactive safety measures to reduce hazard exposure on everything from ergonomics to chemical management is important in creating a safe workplace.


  • Address Ongoing COVID-19 Safety Concerns: While we are making strides against COVID-19, the pandemic remains. Employers play an important role in the return to physical workspaces, building trust around vaccines, mental health and much more.


  • Ensuring Individual Security on the Job: Being able to work without fear is necessary for an inclusive safety culture. Leading organizations focus not only on physical safety but psychological safety as well.


  • Ongoing Advancements to Your Safety Journey: Safety is all about continuous improvement. Whether organizationally or individually, the National Safety Council has resources to lend a hand. Visit NSC.org for more information.


To learn more about Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, visit www.CornellRoofing.com or call 816-252-8300.