During most work days, you’ll find Nathan Wolcott wearing the standard-issue ‘Camco Roofing & Exterior Supply’ polo when visiting the supplier’s Memphis, Tenn. location. But catch him on a game day, and you’ll find him in a different uniform: a soccer jersey.
“Game days, you wear your kit,” he said. “People ask, ‘Why are you wearing that?’ ‘Because it’s game day, and this is what you do on game day.’”
Aside from showing his love of soccer, the outward display hints at Wolcott’s commitment to his customers as a sales specialist. Whether educating customers on what materials or products will best serve them or answering calls at late hours, Wolcott is there to help customers score a goal.
“Most of my [customers] have my cell phone number because they know they can reach me just about any point of the day,” he said. “They know that, for the most part, I’m going to answer the phone because I’m going to have the answer to the question they’ve got.”
Renovation to Distribution
Wolcott’s journey into construction began at age 16 when he began working for the renovation company his mother founded. The company specialized in turnkey renovations and repairs, going into apartments and rentals, applying fresh coats of paint, cleaning, and repairing siding and gutters.
He stayed on until about age 30 before striking out independently, working as a maintenance technician while coaching soccer on the side. That’s when his current boss at Camco Roofing & Exterior Supply — part of the NEMEON network of distributors — offered him a full-time position at the supply company.
“He gave me the ‘You’re from a renovation background, we deal with this stuff all the time’ [pitch],” Wolcott said, laughingly adding, “I dealt with very different aspects from the renovation than what I’m doing now. But they gave me time to settle in and understand the business.”
Like most people entering the roofing and construction industry, once you’re in, you’re in, and Wolcott is no one-off; he celebrates five years at Camco this October. It hasn’t always been easy. By his admission, he isn’t the typical ‘salesman,’ as he doesn’t like cold calls or door-to-door tactics. However, that hasn’t stopped him from succeeding.
For Wolcott, it’s all about educating his customers on the right products to use, which means he studies up to be prepared for any questions they may have.
“Off the top of my head, I can give them the answers … because I take the time to make sure I know and understand, and I know my customers and the questions they’re going to ask,” he said. “It’s not that I see myself as some sort of ‘really smart’ guy; I just make sure that I have the answer to the question.”
Wolcott has become the go-to on Camco’s team for any window-related issues but will help customers with whatever else they may need. Over the past few years, he has learned more about roofing — Camco’s primary source of business before expanding into siding, windows, gutters, doors and more — and its various components.
“It’s a lot of information to pull in and sink in,” he said. “Part of my job is not just doing sales, but educating the contractor so they can [make] better sales.”
Wolcott knows who to reach out to if he doesn't have the answers. When it comes to roofing, he points them about 100 yards down the road to Camco’s roofing division. Ever the salesman, he doesn’t let good opportunities pass by, informing customers looking for shingles of Camco’s other offerings.
“We have so many people coming in looking for shingles,” he said. “They’re like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you guys did that. Give me pricing on windows, give me pricing on doors.’”
Winning the Match
As busy as Camco’s Memphis location can be, it still suffers from some of the same issues affecting other distributors nationwide. Wolcott said in the Memphis market, theft has been a recurring problem. Material pricing has also been a pain point. Because of rising prices, Wolcott noted a lot of contractors are simply looking for the cheapest products to get the job done.
This is where his emphasis on education has helped turn around business for the distributor and contractors.
“They know that I’m not just going to sell them something; I’m going to take time, and I’m going to sit there, and I’m going to walk you through it, and I’m going to show you the options that you’re selecting and educate you so that you can educate your homeowner so that your homeowner can make the best decision,” he said.
Like any good team member — whether on or off the pitch — Wolcott readily acknowledges the contributions of his teammates to help the branch succeed. He credits them for providing fast and reliable customer service, even going so far as to run missing supplies out to someone.
“We’ve got three, four guys working on the inside … we’ve got seven warehouse guys, and as quickly as we’re pulling in orders, we’re throwing them outside, giving them to customers, and they’re on their way,” he said. “I think that’s what makes us so incredibly successful is that customer service of we’re going to get it right, we’re going to get it to you as quickly as we can, and you’re going to be happy with us.”
His gumption and commitment to work recently earned Wolcott a spot on a panel presentation during NEMEON’s 2023 NextGen event, held Sept. 17-19 in New Orleans. NextGen is a group of young adults who gather at annual meetings to further develop their skills in preparation for moving the industry forward.
When not at work, Wolcott is most likely on a soccer pitch in some form or another, having played for the past 30 years. If he isn’t playing in one of his leagues, he’s at a Memphis 901 FC game as part of the supporters group, cheering the United Soccer League team on from behind the goal. He was the president of the group last year.
“Anytime there’s a soccer field available, or somebody’s looking for an extra player, they’ll touch bases with me, and I can probably be there,” he said. “It’s a huge, huge part of my life.”
In those 30 years, Wolcott has coached for more than half — 18 — of those years. While acknowledging it’s not the same as encouraging his teammates to make a literal goal, his coaching has given him a leg up in helping his team at Camco Roofing & Exterior Supply.
“It has helped a ton … with employees, being able to lead them and teach them and help them to understand this is why we do what we do,” he said. “It’s all about hard work and really getting in there and pushing yourself to the hardest [to improve the company].”