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RT3 Member Mycocycle Named a Finalist for 1871 Momentum Award as an Industry Disrupter

The 1871 Momentum Awards is the celebration of tech innovation in Chicago.

Mycocycle, Inc., a leader in using mycoremediation to process toxins out of waste, was named a finalist for 1871’s Momentum Award in the Industry Disrupter category. The award is presented to a company that has developed or introduced an ingenious, non-traditional, and innovative product or service that has significantly disrupted the industry.

“Having participated in the LatinX+IHCC Incubator at 1871 as one of my very first organizational experiences as a startup, I am delighted to be in contention for this award,” said Joanne Rodriguez, Mycocycle founder and CEO. “It is an exciting time to have a growing company in Chicago and the Midwest. The startup ecosystem is supportive, passionate, and always serves as a source of inspiration for me. We look forward to participating in the 2021 Momentum Awards and can’t wait to celebrate with all of our fellow founders!”

“The finalists for this year’s Industry Disrupter Award are leading the path forward through ingenuity and determination, and we’re thrilled to include Mycocycle among this impressive group,” said 1871 CEO Betsy Ziegler. “Their innovative solutions are transforming old waste practices into eco-friendly market opportunities and building a necessary picture of a potential world without waste. We wish them the best of luck as voting begins.”

The 14th annual 1871 Momentum Awards celebrate tech innovation in Chicago, recognizing outstanding CEOs, rising stars and game-changing companies across seven different award categories. Award winners are chosen through a combination of scores from 1871 judges and public votes. Voting opens August 16 and runs through September 1. Winners will be announced on September 23 at a hybrid awards ceremony.

Place your vote for Mycocycle at  

About Mycocycle

Mycocycle, Inc. was founded in October 2018. It is a woman-owned, early stage cleantech company using mycoremediation to process toxins out of waste. Mycocycle was recognized as a Finalist in FastCompany’s “2020 World Changing Ideas” Awards issue, a presenter for NREL’s 2020 Industry Growth Forum, a 2020 Innovation selection in the EPA’s Innovation and America Recycle’s Fair, and the winner of the Cleantech Open National 2020 Resiliency Challenge.  Mycocycle has been named a 2021 Illinois Qualified New Business Venture under the Angel Investment Tax Credit Program. This program provides Illinois-based investors a state tax credit of 25 percent of their investment up to $2 million. For more information visit

About 1871

1871 exists to inspire, equip, and support the early stage, growth stage, and corporate innovators that are building extraordinary businesses in their communities. We are the convenor of changemakers, bringing together the right resources, support, and connections that drive growth for businesses across the entire maturity curve, from idea to Fortune 50. Our community is rooted in Chicago with a reach that spans the globe, with over 1,500 members and an expansive network of mentors, corporate sponsors, university partners, VCs, alumni, and policymakers. Learn more at  

RT3 Members Present on Data and AI at METALCON

By Karen L. Edwards.

METALCON 2019 took place in Steel City – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and RT3 members were well represented at the show, exhibiting and speaking.  On the first day of the show, RT3 hosted a discussion on the importance of artificial intelligence and utilizing data for contractors.

Bill Wilkins of Pointivo spoke about AI and explained that there are a number of companies that offer AI-assisted approaches to roof evaluations.  His company has been working with another RT3 member to develop a system that will do just that. Bill explained asking a person to try to look at an image and identify drains, equipment, ponding water, areas of membrane splits, etc. can be a very time-consuming process.  Ai is a great opportunity to help augment a younger , more inexperienced work force in identifying rooftop conditions and problem areas.

AI can tell you what it thinks is on the roof and provide a confidence level in its identification. How you help is by looking at what it found and either confirming it or correcting it. Each time you provide confirmation or correction, it will learn from the information and keep getting better at what it does. Bill explained that they feel pretty confident that the tool they are introducing next year will be able to reduce the amount of time spent on evaluations by 80 percent through the use of drones and AI.

Key things for AI to be successful is quality data, quantity of data. Bill shared the example of teaching AI to recognize on AC unit on a roof. Because an AC unit is so large, it might only need to ‘see’ 100 images to be able to accurately identify the AC unit every time. Trying to identify hail damage will be harder, because it’s much smaller in size.  The more data, imagery and confirmations it receives, the smarter and faster it becomes.

Josey Parks of Cognitive Contractor shared how AI and data can be a powerful lead and  sales tool for roofing businesses. Josey explained that if you take the records for 1,000 customers and run them through an AI program it will learn from the data. It will recognize patterns of the first 70 percent (or 700 records). Then it will take the next 300 records and predict their behavior based on what it learned from the first 700 and provide them a score.  Contractors should understand the data that they have in their business and how they can structure it to understand what drives your business and your customers.

Josey explained how when he started in metal roofing, he would keep track on a paper of what neighborhoods he had knocked doors in, then he advanced to using a bike trail app to track the locations where he and his sales team had been. They have advanced today to sending emails and plotting on a map (like Google Earth) the locations of the people who opened the email. This allows the canvassers to have an optimized route to work from.

Taking it one step further with the advancement in technology, Josey explained that he is able to use AI to score and predict his leads to the point that it knows which salesperson is the best one to assign that lead to, based on past performance of the sales person.  It’s important to optimize your business and not waste time and resources assigning the wrong leads to the wrong salesperson.

If you missed their talk at METALCON, you can watch it on our Facebook page under Videos.  Be sure to sign up for the Smart Brief e-newsletter to get the latest roofing tech news in your inbox.


How to Use 3D Models to Generate More Leads

By Dena Nejad, HOVER.

Before you can start thinking about closing a homeowner’s business, you first need to create awareness around your offering, generate interest, and pinpoint those interested people as leads. But identifying high-quality leads is not a walk in the park.

3D technology can help. Tools like those offered by HOVER transform a few smartphone photos of any property into an accurate, interactive 3D model. When you integrate this 3D model into your arsenal of sales and marketing tools, you have an instant advantage over your competitors. By showcasing the 3D model in your display at home shows, on your print ads, in your brochures, on your website, in social media feeds, and in your other marketing materials, you will be able to easily attract homeowners that your sales team can then turn into customers.

At Home Shows

Use the 3D model at home shows to attract homeowners who are identifying with which contractor they want to bring their next remodeling project to life. By showcasing the fully interactive 3D model of houses that your team has worked on, you can easily display your products and services in a powerful way.

Homeowners who attend home shows are actively thinking about their next project, so they will eagerly anticipate using the 3D model to experiment with potential exterior looks for their house. On top of that, they will realize that you’re a contractor who turns to today’s cutting-edge technology to provide best-in-class service that goes far beyond simply providing a quote for the project.

This modern approach to lead generation speaks volumes without the need for your sales team to use any high-pressure sales tactics.

In Online and Offline Advertisements

Make sure to incorporate the 3D model in your print and online ads as well as your other marketing materials. By highlighting the fact that your potential customers will see exactly what their finished project will look like before the contract is signed, you can pique the interest of even the most skeptical buyer. Homeowners enjoy the reassurance of being able to visualize and manipulate their home’s layout before it’s time to make a final decision. This in combination with the possibility of doing so in their own homes, without the need to come into a showroom or take time off work, will put your contracting business ahead of the competition.

On Your Website

On your website, showcasing video clips of interactive 3D models in motion, with the various changes and choices that can be visualized with a few keystrokes, is another persuasive way to generate more leads. The ability to show a customer a 3D model of what their home could look like is a great way to keep a customer excited about the project, while also helping build their trust from the very beginning. Which homeowner wouldn’t enjoy being able to show friends and family what their home improvement project will look like, long before construction is underway? They will feel completely comfortable in their material choices. Offering a 3D model of their house during the estimating process is a priceless perk that will help your business stand out against the competition.

Running customer testimonials about how useful 3D models are throughout the home improvement process is another powerful way of showcasing the value of the 3D modeling feature. Prospects value the opinions expressed in reviews and testimonials. By placing other clients’ words front and center in your marketing efforts, you let your reputation speak for itself. Further, testimonials make fantastic social media content and can be used to prompt interaction with others online, creating buzz about your company and its services.

Throughout the Sales Process

Using the full capacity of a 3D model from the first point of contact all the way through contract closeout will surely streamline and simplify any job that your team needs to work on, leading to greater productivity and more satisfied clients. An added benefit of 3D models is that the homeowner is excited that they are able to see their project. This often leads to the customer sharing the project with their friends, families, and neighbors – which can ultimately help bring your business new leads (nothing more powerful than word of mouth).

Source: HOVER

How mushrooms can transform our roofs

By Joanne Rodriguez, GreenStructure

Every day the news has stories on plastic pollution in our oceans, bag taxes or elimination of straws.  As our population has increased so has our consumption.  Because many of us recognize these as issues within our control we can make choices that start to impact the amount of waste we generate.  But what about our industry: roofing?  Should we be looking to ways to reduce the burden of our footprint?

Manufacturers have started to consider utilizing recycled materials or bio-based products within their materials, while others have worked to upgrade durability or develop products that can be restored multiple times to contribute to longevity.  Within the shingle market, there are some advances in recycling roofing tear-off and reusing within paving projects.  But as an industry we have yet to develop a means to divert the majority of our 60-100 million tons of annual tear off debris from landfill.

With municipalities looking hard at the need to close landfills, incenting recycling of debris, or increasing fees and taxes on hard to recycle products—like roofing—there is need to consider how to handle our roofing waste more sustainably.  My partner, Liz Hart Morris and I have set out to take this challenge on.  We’ve been focused on landfill diversion strategies within the roofing industry for over 6 years now.  We’ve got archived presentations to NRCA members (May 2016) as well as a feature article in “Professional Roofing” magazine by Liz (November 2017) taking this topic on.  And as this dialogue evolved for us, we realized that the solution set might be growing right under our feet.

We have been innovating a new process called Mycocycle, which is a patent-pending engineered ecosystem intended to bioremediate asphalt roofing waste along with other roofing products.  These are some unusual terms for many of us in the industry, but essentially we are developing a means to biologically break down roofing tear-off waste utilizing fungi (mycelium) and plant species.  The by-product should be two-fold: a clean biomass and mushrooms.  We believe that both by-products can re-enter the manufacturing stream to develop a new bio-based product within the roofing industry: from the roof to the roof.

Currently we are in the initial testing phase of bioremediating roofing products.  We are pursuing asphalt-based products first since there is established success of a similar process breaking down asphalt (see Liz’s article in November). But it has never been applied to roofing and we are excited to be pioneering this innovation along side mycologist Peter McCoy (Radical Mycology).  Everyday we are encouraged by the growth of the product and the break down of the roofing material.  There should be photos and updates on our websites as we advance through the weeks.  We will be able to hone in on how long it takes to break down the roofing products and the most efficient ecosystem to take on the task.

If you want to learn more about the process, you might visit the RT3 Tech Talk I just completed.

Joanne Rodriguez is a founder of GreenStructure. Follow her on Twitter @greengirlnow.

5 Steps to Help Your Roofing Company Make Next Year’s Top 100 List

By Ryan Groth.

Roofing Contractor Magazine’s Top 100 Roofing Contractors List is a really special honor to achieve that indicates several aspects of your roofing business are successful. When looking up and down the list each year, I recognize market leaders who I know are doing certain things better than everyone else. To be fair, the top 10 or top five isn’t everyone’s measure of success for building their roofing business. However, if you’re looking to become the best operator you can possibly be, just look at this list and attend a Best of Success conference. You’ll notice a group of professionals inspired by the others on the list and are driven to innovate and share what they’ve learned to grow — which helps the industry grow. It’s a great honor to be on that list if you’re a roofing contractor. So, if you’re looking to find a way on the list or want to find yourself higher on the list, here are five steps you can take to help you get there and stay there.

1. Find Your Leader
The first step your company should take is to designate a leader to oversee sales — after all, the list is about the bottom-line number: revenue. The “sales manager” is one of the roofing industry’s most under filled positions, however, when occupied by the right person it can be like switching out a four cylinder for a V-8 engine for your company. Finding a good sales manager can be difficult, but with using the right tools you can identify the right competencies for the job. From my experience working with several top 100 roofing contractors, grabbing a sales leader from a different industry can serve very well because they are used to more-developed sales structures, which translates very well in roofing. However, be sure to screen them by using tools like I recommend. Candidate assessment tools, for example, from Objective Management Group based in Boston, Mass., is a great way to identify sales competencies. The greatest skills you seek in a sales manager are: desire for sales success; commitment to do whatever it takes — morally and ethically; the right outlook about themselves and your company’s future; willingness to take responsibility (the opposite of excuse making), accountability, motivation, recruiting and coaching. Roofing technicalities are the easy part and they can learn that over time. Chances are, you as the owner or experienced roofing contractor have plenty of technical expertise, what you likely lack is the sales competency — which is where the sales manager comes in.

2. Serve and Maintain
The second step you should take is making service and preventative maintenance a top priority. The reason I say this is that service repairs take the least amount of time to close, which makes the sale easier. When you can more easily sell to someone it’s more likely you’ll sell to many more people, which means you have a low barrier to entry to build many relationships. You also have a chance to provide a great experience for the client.
It’s only when someone has worked with you that they can refer you, and it’s only when you have referrals and repeat business that you build more and more trust in your market. If you know me already you’ll know that I preach that the big work comes naturally when you’re consistently focusing on the small work. As service revenue goes, construction revenue should go accordingly. Make sure that when you focus on service, also lock them into a preventative maintenance plan so that they only see your truck arriving at their property for years to come. At this point, you’ll be their trusted advisor and will be able to develop the scope and perhaps cut right through any red tape that could cause you to get your bid shopped out and must compete more heavily on price.

3. Prime the Pipeline
The third step you should take is to get a grip on your sales pipeline. Too often do I see in the roofing industry a “bid-it and forget-it” mentality. First, they jump right into the presentation of the bid upon invitation without slowing the process down to ask great questions and listen. The only question that most roofers ask when they get to a lead is “where’s your leak?” They don’t learn the real problem that’s a compelling reason to buy. The best management of the sales opportunity is when there’s urgency discussed before gathering the real qualification questions, like what they think a roof costs and their decision criteria and timeline.
Too many times I see the roofing industry have “happy ears,” which describes contractors getting all excited about an opportunity and not having healthy skepticism. In fact, Objective Management Group has data of over 3,000 specialty contractor sales people and the findings say that we are in the bottom 11 percent in consultative selling and qualifying competencies out of 1.8 million sales people around the world. Our industry really stinks at managing the pipeline, but if worked on it can pay huge dividends. I’ve seen it myself while working with many of the top 100 roofers on the list.

4. Time for a CRM
The fourth step you should take is to get a sales pipeline CRM program. Did I just say a curse word, CRM? AH!!! Yes, you need to be able to see what’s going on in your future sales opportunities anytime you want. However, if you really want to see revenue grow then you should score each deal in the pipeline and hold everyone accountable to the appropriate expectations to drive more business into the pipeline. Each deal should be followed up on until a decision is made along with a status of when the decision will be made. There are some great tools out there.

5. Goal Set
The fifth and final step you should take to help you get on the Top 100 List is to set goals. Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time sensitive. You should really consider what is it that you want to achieve and to reverse engineer what it’s going to take to achieve it. It would really help if you and your sales manager came up with a compensation plan that matched these goals and held your salespeople and estimators accountable for performance. I also want to be clear: just because you don’t have a true “salesperson” right now, doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate these things. One of my favorite lines from a mentor of mine — BEST Roofing President and CEO Gregg Wallick — is “on the way to perfect, you pass up a lot of good.” The principle that I take from this (and teach my clients) is to get started, and don’t expect perfection right away. Tiger Woods said recently in an interview when talking about Lebron James, “anyone can be great for a week, a month, a year. But can you be great for a decade, two decades? What Lebron is doing is unbelievable because he’s doing it for such a long time.” In closing, you should think about getting on the Top 100 and earning a spot with the top revenue-generating roofing contractors in the business. But do what Tiger says, be on there for a long time. Can you stay on there for five years, 10 years, 20 years? I hope you can.

Note: This article first published on Roofing Contractor magazine’s website and can be viewed here.


5 Takeaways for Contractor Marketing from the 2018 Internet Trends Report

By Shashi Bellamkonda

Each year, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ partner Mary Meeker releases an Internet Trends Report. This year, the report was released at the Code Conference on May 23rd.

Big Picture:

At 3.6B, the number of Internet users has surpassed half the world’s population. Internet usage is now mainstream. Internet users continue to increase time spent on Internet services based on the perceived value at 5.9 hours spent per day. According to Recode:

People, however, are still increasing the amount of time they spend online. U.S. adults spent 5.9 hours per day on digital media in 2017, up from 5.6 hours the year before. Some 3.3 of those hours were spent on mobile, which is responsible for overall growth in digital media consumption.


  1. Local – Offline connections are driven by online interactions. Example: Growth of Nextdoor with 17M neighbor recommendations on Nextdoor for local businesses
  2. Mobile video viewing is growing exponentially
  3. Voice technology is lifting off. Google’s machine learning word accuracy now equals the threshold for human accuracy
  4. Personalization with data improves engagement and provides better experiences for consumers. Examples: Facebook Newsfeed, 200MM Pinterest users pinning images, 100MM Waze users
  5. Offline businesses are using online payment systems and integrating purchase financing to close more business

Action Plan for Contractors

#1 – Offline to Online Interactions

#2 – Mobile Video

  • Create well-produced videos for your projects
  • Use quick videos to tell your company’s story by using your mobile phone

#3 – Voice Technology

You don’t have to do anything specifically for voice. You should create your website using structured data and schema and get your business listed in all the major directories

Create content around specific questions that homeowners ask your teams frequently

#4 – Personalization

Target very specific personas of customers using lookalike audiences on websites like Google, Facebook, etc.

#5 – Integrating Purchase Financing

If you have agreements with banks and other lenders, integrate that into your proposal process. Use online payment gateways to make it easier for homeowners to pay for the project

Watch the video presentation.

Note: This article first published on Surefire Local’s blog and can be viewed here.

Shashi Bellamkonda, Speaker and Digital Marketing Expert, is Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Surefire Local – Bellamkonda is also the Adjunct faculty member of Georgetown University. Shashi is passionate about helping small business and has spoken on Small Business and social media tools at conferences like SXSW, IABC, PRSA, Mid-Atlantic Summit, MarketingProfs and Affiliate Summit.

Shashi was honored with the Washington Business Journal’s Washington Minority Business Leader award. He was previously featured in Washingtonian’s Top 100 Tech Titans list in the Community and Thought leadership category of the Washington Tech Titans list and the Washington Business Journal called him the Social Listener. He has co-authored chapters in two books also been featured in 15 books on marketing and social media.

RT3 to Hold Live Meetup in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill

The meetup is set for March 6, 2018, prior to the start of NRCA’s Roofing Day.

More than 30 representatives from RT3 member companies will hold a live meetup on Capitol Hill, hosted by Senator Barbara Cantwell, D-WA on March 6. The day will feature tech talks from Congressman John Delaney, D-MD and Nicol Turner Lee, Ph.D., Fellow, Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution.

Senator Cantwell’s Legislative Aide, Sasha Bernhard and SmartBrief’s Senior Associate, Partner Development, Madeline Sarver will also present to the group.

The meetup will include updates from each of RT3’s task teams, including:

  • Membership Task Team
  • Future Workforce Task Team
  • Organizational Task Team
  • Meetings Task Team
  • Communications Task Team
  • Technology Task Team

The RT3 members will tour the Capitol Building before wrapping up the meeting by discussing funding and their recent member technology survey. Following the meeting, the RT3 members will attend the NRCA Roofing Day reception to plan for their Roofing Day meetings on Wednesday, March 6.

If you are part of a forward-thinking, innovative company interested in promoting the use of technology in the roofing industry, complete a membership application in order to get involved and participate in future meetups.

Technology for the Future: How Having a CRM Gives You a Comprehensive View of Your Roofing Business

As the owner of a contracting business, it’s imperative to have a pulse on not only how your company is performing at any given moment, but historically as well.

Everything from leads, current job statuses, contracts, and finances gives you a comprehensive idea of how your company is performing – and comparing that to year over year or month over month historical data provides a snapshot of growth or stagnation.

Finding the right software for your business may seem daunting – there are a lot of options on the market, and none are guaranteed to be the silver bullet you need. When doing research, business owners should consider what they need or want to see when they think of the overall performance of their roofing company, and how a CRM might provide that overview.

Finances at a Glance:

CRM’s that include integrations to your accounting software, such as QuickBooks, can provide an immediate idea of your company’s financial performance. Comparing individual sales figures, having access to overhead, material orders, outstanding contracts, and commissions means that all of your data is compiled into an easy to digest dashboard, specific to owners who want to know where their money is – down to the penny.

Archived Data in Hand:

A business that has been around for a few years is going to have records – previous jobs, insurance forms, material orders… and all of that paperwork needs to be filed and stored so that it can be accessed by employees for reference in the future. Dealing with years of archived paperwork can be a logistical nightmare – for example – a project manager is at a job and the customer mentions work done during a previous storm. The PM would need to call the office, ask an office staff member to locate the previous files and reference the work, then relay that information back to them. All of this can take hours if your staff is busy or can’t locate the files.

Having your files stored digitally in a CRM means your staff doesn’t have to go on a paperwork expedition – your field staff can simply call up the customer’s file, right in front of them, and reference previous work – paperwork, photos, contracts, materials – it’s all there.

This immediate archive retrieval also goes a long way when it comes to personalization. A salesman can reference all of this even before creating the estimate. They can also reference notes that previous teams made – such as if the customer mentioned needing new siding, or potential gutter work “next time”.

None of this would be possible with physical paper documents back in the office.

Easier Employee Onboarding:

During times of high production, roofing companies may hire seasonal, specific trade or additional labor to supplement their increase in business. Having an easy to use, simple software program with pre-built templates ensures that these new employees are creating paperwork that adheres to your company’s protocol, as well as creating records that can be archived for future use.

Software that is intuitive means that there will be fewer mistakes, and new employees can learn quickly and hit the ground running.

Keeping Up with Technology Trends & Tools:

Technology is always changing, as the needs and tools for roofers and exterior contractors become more sophisticated. Software that provides integrations can make your job a lot easier.

Instead of maintaining several applications or accounts for all the different features you need, software that offers integrations within a single application means less toggling back and forth – ordering roofing measurements that immediately populate estimates, photos taken, annotated, shared and stored directly in the job files – these are features that save you time and money in the long run.

Inevitably, technology requires updating. CRM’s that are hosted and maintained by developers, and not your office staff, mean fewer outages, constant updates, and dedicated customer support – meaning one less thing for you to worry about.

CRM’s for Roofing Companies:

CRM’s, business management software – whatever you want to consider – is not a new technology – but the value they provide, in addition to new features being added all the time can help provide the overview roofing business owners need who are looking to make the jump from paper and Excel to an all-inclusive digital space.

Note: This article first appeared on the AccuLynx blog and can be viewed here.