Amanda Wigchert is, to put it mildly, a busy person. Working inside sales at Elite Roofing Supply’s Gilbert, Ariz. location is plenty of work, and on top of that, she is earning a bachelor’s degree while raising two children with her husband.
But, with admirable honesty and self-awareness, she admits she enjoys the hustle of it all.
“Deep down, I am an addict, and I love chaos,” she says, adding with a laugh, “I love chaos.”
It’s the life she wants to lead – one forged from a battle with substance abuse. This year marks the sixth that Wigchert has been sober. As she has in previous years, she celebrated the milestone on LinkedIn, providing evidence to others that people can change. In her most recent post, she shared the following:
“Life is hard, but being lost in addiction is harder. In six years, I’ve managed to turn a relationship into a marriage, have two beautiful children, keep a full-time job, and so much more. Just keep going- it will always be worth it.”
Making a Change
Originally from New Jersey, Wigchert moved to Arizona in 2012. Years later, she sought help for her struggles with substance abuse. After achieving 60 days of sobriety, Wigchert volunteered at the treatment facility, where she picked up a passion for behavioral health.
The milestone transitioned into a paid position where she helped others manage their recovery. As much as she enjoyed it, the stress eventually took a toll on her well-being, so after a year, she started looking elsewhere.
Her sister, who worked in sales at manufacturer APOC, passed along the opportunity to work in the industry at Elite Roofing Supply. Wigchert was hesitant since she had no background in roofing, but the roofing distributor saw her potential and hired her. That was just over two years ago.
“They took a huge risk on putting me at the front lines of the store,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d be in the roofing industry because it wasn’t my expertise.”
Despite her lack of experience, her knowledge base has been a boon for inside sales. She said her behavioral health background has helped establish and maintain customer relationships, ensuring they know they’re valued for more than just their business.
“The stereotype of salespeople is do what you can to make the sale, whether that be lying or this and that, and I don’t operate that way,” she said. “My perspective is getting to know the person as a person, not as someone who’s putting money in my pocket.”
She said this can take the form of asking customers how they’re doing or chatting about their family. Her background also allows her to ask motivating, open-ended questions that help customers when unsure of what they need.
In her role, which she calls a “jack of all trades,” she is among the first people customers meet. She handles will-call sales, supports outside sales, processes orders through the invoice phase, manages point-of-sale transactions, and more. In other words, making sure everything is flowing smoothly.
Like most others throughout the country, she said the biggest challenge has been communicating frequent price adjustments in the Arizona market. Conversely, she said the best thing about the job is learning something new every day.
“You can be in this industry in what feels like forever, but there is always room to learn more,” she said. “It’s a forever-changing, constantly changing environment, whether it’s the types of products or what’s being offered.”
As most people working in a branch will attest, things can become hectic — the phone is ringing, a customer is waiting at the counter, and an order must be processed — all simultaneously. What helps make the job easier, Wigchert said, is how her fellow employees, no matter the department or position, will lend a hand.
“Everybody makes sure the customers are taken care of, even working with dispatch to make sure so-and-so’s customer is on the board and making sure materials are delivered properly,” she said.
When faced with this frantic environment, Wigchert initially wasn’t sure she was cut out for the position. However, she said she didn’t want to run away from the job, so after seeking help for her mental health, she re-examined the job with fresh eyes. She discovered she enjoyed the camaraderie and could “be herself,” which she describes as “rough and tough, super New Jersey.”
“I actually feel like myself here; I feel like I can be myself in this industry, which I didn’t feel that way in behavioral health,” she said.
Onward and Upward
Wigchert is thankful for the support she has received along the way, including from her husband, John, whom she met while in recovery. They will be celebrating their first wedding anniversary this year. At Elite Roofing Supply, she credits Office Manager Sherri Kruser as her mentor and hopes to one day be in a similar role at the company.
“I really aspire to be what she is and the knowledge that she has in this industry,” Wigchert said.
Wigchert hasn’t lost her passion for behavioral studies, continuing her pursuit of a degree in behavioral science she began during her recovery. After taking a hiatus with the birth of her first daughter, she eventually re-enrolled, all while planning her wedding. Amidst all that, she became pregnant with her second daughter. It was mayhem — but welcomed mayhem.
“I wanted a second child, but I didn’t think that would be the time,” she said. “But we decided to keep her … and it has been nothing but chaos. But after I took the break and went back to school, I went back to accepting student loans, so I said if I’m going to open up student loans, I need to get a degree; I can’t quit.”
Except for two weeks of the year, she’s been in school, studying and cranking out papers on the weekends. That tenacity had paid off – she is on track to receiving a bachelor’s degree from Grand Canyon University in March.
Even when a degree is in hand, Wigchert said she envisions being with Elite Roofing Supply for a long while. She isn’t sure of her career path, but she fully intends to move up in the company.
“Even without experience in the roofing industry, you can absolutely enter and really create success for yourself,” she said. “I do finally feel that I am somewhere where I feel comfortable and I see potential.”