A Fierce Force: A Profile of Roofing Project Manager Melissa Hall
Roofing Project Manager Melissa Hall likes to joke that she’s not happy unless her hair is on fire. On any given day, her phone will start ringing at 5:30am. From that point, she’s off to the races, tracking down materials, making service calls, visiting job sites, tracking project finances, and loving every minute of it. “I don’t think a lot of people fully understand what a Project Manager does. My phone is ringing non-stop. I’m behind the scenes, pulling strings and making sure things are running smoothly,” shares Melissa. “I care a lot. I’m passionate about what I do; I want to make sure it’s done right. We all make mistakes. If I make a mistake, I own it and I find a solution. I hate excuses. Let’s find a solution and learn from it.” Hardworking and easy to get along with, Melissa has a great sense of humor and a vitality that is contagious. Her positive energy is backed up by her expertise and incredible attention to detail.
“She is a force,” says Roofing Vice President Jay Davis. “I’ve been in the business for 23 years and I’ve never seen a Project Manager as committed to the details as she is. Big projects get very complex, very fast. She digs in on a project and knows it inside and out. More than that, she is excited about every project.”
Melissa was in her early twenties when she found a job with a cement and concrete business and was exposed to the world of construction. “I immediately fell in love…the people, the fast-paced environment, how every day was different,” she shares. Over the years, her career in construction has evolved and she has had the opportunity to work on some massive projects. As a Documents Control Manager with Burns & McDonnell Engineering, Melissa worked on the $1.4 billion power grid upgrade, a role she was offered because of her work ethic and service attitude. On her client-oriented attitude, Melissa says, “People knew that when a client needed something, I did it.” Despite her work ethic and can-do attitude, Melissa found that without a college degree, there was a barrier in her career trajectory. So, in her mid-thirties, Melissa Hall went to college to get a degree in Project Management. She wasn’t able to follow a direct path to get her degree; raising three kids, working full time, and navigating a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) all demanded her attention at various points in her journey. But Melissa never gave up. Of her MS, Melissa shares. “I did my freaking out, but then I needed to prove to my kids that I was going to be fine. That nothing was going to stop me from pursuing my career dreams.”
After helping Burns & McDonnell with their $5 billion Energizing the Future project in Ohio, Melissa realized that all the travel was taking a toll on her life. However, a brief foray into the world outside of construction made it crystal clear to Melissa that her love of construction meant it was the career for her. She was hired by E.S.Boulos as a Project Coordinator and soon was working as a Project Engineer, a role that was essentially an Assistant Project Manager. Melissa was just six credits shy of her degree in Project Management and eager to get back on her dream career path. She learned that E.S. Boulos would reimburse her college tuition if she wanted to finish her degree. So, Melissa Hall went back to college in her early forties. “My oldest daughter was in college at the same time as me,” she shares. “We had a $100 bet on who would have the highest GPA. She’s a brainiac and she beat me by 3/10 of a point.”
Melissa earned her degree, but didn’t find the career opportunity she was looking for until a recruiter contacted her about a Project Manager position with a roofing company – W.H. Demmons. “I was upfront with them that I knew nothing about roofing. But after a two-hour lunch, I was offered a position. They saw what I could bring to the role and they were willing to let me learn,” says Melissa. Just as Melissa has done her whole career, she dove head first into learning everything she could about roofing. “We have such a great team in roofing,” she shares. According to Roofing VP Jay Davis, she now runs the day-to-day operations for the roofing division. “Melissa is fierce. She’s taken the bull by the horns. She’s extremely dedicated and very committed to every aspect of her job. She’s a huge asset for us.”
As one of the few women in the construction field, Melissa has learned to roll with things and not get offended, but find opportunities for leadership. “There is no other industry I’d want to be in. As far as we’ve come, though, we still have a ways to go.” On dealing with bias on a job site, Melissa has a no-nonsense attitude, “That’s their problem. Get over it. I’m here.” Not one to sit back and let someone else do the work, Melissa has taken on a leadership role with the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to provide a positive support system for other women in the field. Maine has two NAWIC chapters with 54 members. All chapters throughout the United States share the same three core values: “Believe in ourselves as women, persevere with the strength of our convictions, and dare to move into new horizons.”
These values sum up the drive and courage Melissa has demonstrated throughout her career and now brings to W.H. Demmons. Not only is she an asset to the roofing team, she’s an asset to our entire industry.