This is What Happens When You Don’t Have a Plan Dad!!!

This is What Happens When You Don’t Have a Plan Dad!!!
This is a Father’s Day tribute to my Dad, Jim McNamara, always and of course the best Dad ever.

My Dad, Jim McNamara
Wow, as a child I never knew just how special my parents were, shocking I know! Now, at my age, I think about just how lucky my siblings and I were to have two loving parents who encouraged us to do whatever we wanted and try anything. Maybe, perhaps, even have a plan!

My Dad and his choices of careers had an enormous effect on my life. My Dad was a CPA in Michigan from the time he left college until he was 50 years old. Unusual for those days, he made a huge career change going to work for my uncle, Don McNamara’s roofing company, FJA Christiansen Roofing, in their Chicago offices. The year was 1978 and I was going into my senior year of high school and this would be the fifth time during high school that I switched schools. While this was hard on many kids, it was exciting for me. Moving to Chicago sounded kind of cool.

Kansas City Commercial Roofing Commercial Sheet MetalMy Dad would come home with stories about work and he would study at home in the evenings learning all about roofing. He was so very happy. Over time, he would talk more and more about the projects he worked on, equipment that broke down and, of course, the people he worked with and met. Over the years the business thrived, and my Dad just loved it.

Large Commercial Roofing Contractors Kansas City Kansas City Cmmercial Roofing Commercial Custom Sheet Metal company Kansas CityLooking at pictures, I remember my Dad talked a lot about McCormick Place around 1985. It was always McCormick, McCormick, McCormick. By then, I was married and living in Kansas City. As it turned out, McCormick Place was a pretty big job and that was putting it mildly. Actually, it was one of the largest jobs in the country. Back then it was a $3.7 million-dollar job. In today’s world, it would be close to $10 million! After finishing that job, Dad spent time speaking to other groups of roofers about the logistics of a job that size.

Late 1987 came rolling along and I had been whining about my job (No Plan), to my Dad in Chicago. He told me to “send this guy your resume”. I knew it was for a job but I had no clue what the job was, where it was, what it paid, etc., I just knew it was in Kansas City.

Somehow I got the job (Shocking), so in the first week of 1988, I started my career in roofing. The building was an old shuttered facility that was dirty, no phones, and no clean bathrooms. I thought, Hmm, out of this we are going to build a factory that will make roofing materials? Thanks Dad, it was the best advice you ever gave me.

By 2007 I had purchased a roofing company that I could call my own and have grown it to a respectable size and with a good reputation for our work. I can only hope my work at Cornell Roofing & Sheet Metal will continue to grow into the kind of legacy you created with your work Dad.

Somehow, we both graduated from college with accounting degrees and ended up as Roofing Contractors. For me, it has been the best years ever. Thank you for your guidance through the years and confidence that I could do whatever I wanted to – Even when you don’t have a plan!

Happy Father’s Day Dad!!!

Happy Father’s Day to all you Father’s out there as well! Please share your best Father’s day story with us by commenting here or posting to our Facebook page:

Mary McNamara at the Leadership exChange

Fountain in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas

Mary McNamara at the Leadership exChange

This past week, Owner and President of Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, Mary McNamara, had the opportunity to take part in the Leadership exChange in Bentonville, Arkansas, along with other members of the Independence Economic Development Council. The group spent a total of two days learning from Bentonville city officials on how they have had their own success through a number of varying strategies and efforts to grow the city into what it is today.

This program was put on by the Independence EDC, a group Mary McNamara has been involved with for many years, presently serving as Chair of the Independence EDC. Established as a non-profit in the early 80s, the Independence EDC works to support the economic growth of Independence, Missouri, the home of Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, along with over 130 other private sector investors.

As a dynamic member of the Independence community, Mary takes her involvement in groups like this seriously, continuously working to improve Cornell’s home community.  Which is exactly why she participated in the Leadership exChange program in Bentonville last week. The Leadership exChange itself is a separate program that seeks to empower the next generation of leaders and global citizens. It brings together like-minded communities to learn and share with each other.

And that’s just what happened in Bentonville, a mutual exchange of new and fresh ideas to improve Independence, over 40 local community leaders in attendance! Presentations included:

  • Downtown Redevelopment / Housing
  • Bentonville Parks and Recreation
  • Bentonville / Belle Vista Chamber of Commerce
  • Tourism
  • Downtown Bentonville, Inc.
  • RopeSwing Hospitality Group
  • Bentonville Public Schools Ignite program

There were also plenty of walking and bus tours, where participants could enjoy local culture and redevelopment projects, like the former Kraft plant currently being converted to a contemporary art space as well as downtown housing examples.

Our own Independence area civic leaders got a first-hand look at growing a successful community, and then they brought that new knowledge home. All that’s left now is to wait and see how they utilize it to strategically plan exciting new developments in Independence for a future, bright with opportunity!

Leadership exChange logo     Independence EDC logo


Mary McNamara Completes Tuck-KC Executive Education Program

Tuck Exec Ed
Mary McNamara Completes Tuck-KC Executive Education Program

Our Executive Leadership team is always on the hunt for new opportunities to not only grow Cornell as a leader in the commercial roofing and sheet metal industry, but also to further their own continuing education. Just last month, Mary McNamara completed the inaugural Tuck-KC Education program entitled Strategy and Business Development for Minority Business Entrepreneurs. Burns & McDonnell, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, DST Systems, Hallmark Cards, Kansas City Power & Light and Sprint sponsored the program.

The Tuck Executive Education Programs at Dartmouth has hosted continuing learning programs around the nation since 1980 with over 7,000 minority executive, successful alumni. Tuck Executive Education offers classes that cover varying aspects of businesses and industries, including: Brand and Reputation, Growing the Minority Business Scale and Leading Innovation: From Idea to Impact.

This particular program of two and half days focused on the managerial tools to become more successful growing enterprises. Topics included: Strategy Overview, Finance and Accounting, Understanding the Value Chain, Organizational Development and Strategic Marketing. The two and half days was filled with discussions and presentations on small business covering each topic, giving participants insight to capitalize on opportunities at their own companies and organizations.

Over 25 local Kansas City business leaders attended the program, including our own Mary McNamara. Congrats to each and every one, and looking forward to continued success through the knowledge gained from this world-class program through Tuck Executive Education. Learn more about the Tuck Executive Education program here,