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Grell shows signs of growth

Erica Grell continues father’s roofing company

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Erica Grell, owner of Grell Roofing, left, poses with Laura Sanchez, office manager. The two Fort Dodgers are friends and coworkers.

Erica Grell understands that some people might be surprised to see that she owns a roofing company.

“It can be a little complicated sometimes,” Grell said from the office of Grell Roofing, 2125 Lainson Ave. “People see me in a male dominated field and judge and maybe assume I don’t know what I am talking about.”

But Grell, a St. Edmond High School graduate, has been involved in the business since 2008.

And since that time she’s done about everything the business requires, from installing roofing materials to completing sales.

By 2012, Grell was the manager. And effective Jan. 1 of 2018, she became the sole owner.

Chase Michehl, foreman at Grell Roofing, front, gets some measurements on a roof southwest of Fort Dodge. Erica Grell, owner, records the information.

Grell took over the company from her father, Kirk Grell, who started Grell Roofing in 1985.

She works with her best friend, Laura Sanchez, who manages the office.

“She has to prove herself a little more to set the record straight that she knows this business inside and out,” Sanchez said of Grell.

Grell is on call 24/7.

“If she gets an email at 3 a.m., she answers it,” Sanchez said. “If she gets called at 7 a.m., she answers it. She doesn’t just sit in the office. She gets on the roofs. She’s personally taking the phone calls and taking care of it. She prides herself on taking care of customers, if not right away, as soon as we can.”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Chase Michehl, foreman at Grell Roofing, answers a phone call.

Grell Roofing specializes in flat commercial roofs.

Roofs on shopping centers, schools and restaurant chains are some examples where Grell has worked.

The roofs on McClure Engineering, The Darriette, and Olde Boston’s Pub and Grub, are some local businesses where Grell has installed roofing.

One of the products Grell uses is called Duro-Last. Grell’s sales of that product have exceeded $1 million.

When a tornado tore through the city of Marshalltown in July of 2018, Grell responded.

“We were there,” Sanchez said. “Because Erica knew how badly they were hit, we rearranged things to get there quickly.”

Grell employs between 15 and 20 people.

The company, which does business throughout the U.S., also uses subcontractors.

One of Grell’s employees is Chase Michehl, who serves as foreman and estimating technician.

“He does a little of everything,” Grell said.

Sometimes the job takes him out of state.

Michehl recently flew to Ohio to measure a roof.

He was only on the ground for about two hours before flying back the same day.

Michehl has worked for Grell for 10 years.

“I am a problem solver,” Michehl said. “Fixing vehicles that break down, scheduling, logistics.”

In terms of equipment, Grell has six trucks, a crane, two dump trucks, and multiple trailers.

Grell said she enjoys the flexibility of the job, allowing her to schedule family time.

“The flexibility and make things work around some family time,” Grell said. “I can be on the go and I like meeting and interacting with new people. No one job is the same. Sometimes it’s hard to oversee it all while also being a mom.”

In terms of future plans, Grell is hoping to expand the business.

“We want to keep expanding and growing in Fort Dodge — employ people in the area,” Grell said. “Ideally we will move and build a bigger shop.”