Owner, Buck Roofing Co. Inc. Hawai`i
Selected as participant for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Enterprising Women of Color (EWOC) Business Center’s Inaugural Business Certification Training Cohort. Hina’s business has been recertified as of December 2021.
“Taking over the family business was a very unique process for me,” Hina explained. “My dad originally started the company. After working for my dad over the summers, he and I decided I would eventually take over, which is why I chose to study Construction Management. But during my second year in college, my dad passed away. That following summer, I came home to work with the company and take on more responsibility… There was a little overlap. I worked towards taking over the company and finishing school, but I stayed behind the scenes and concentrated on finishing school. The company hired some managers to run things while I finished school. In 2010, I got more involved with the company, and in 2012, I completely moved back home to Hawaii and took over Buck Roofing.”
Buck Roofing Company, Inc. brings expertise as an applicator of all types of roofing and waterproofing for both residential and commercial projects. The family business was founded in 1976 on Oahu, and now has an additional office on Hawaii Island and conducts business statewide.
“Our mission is to provide the community with quality roofs,” Hina said, noting that the company’s mission is displayed through her employees’ hard work because without them, the company’s brand and history wouldn’t be what it is today. “To continue, we need to take care of our employees because they’re the ones providing us with quality work.”
Buck Roofing is currently working on a large resort project on Hawaii Island—something Hina is grateful for and excited to be involved with because of the opportunities it’s provided for the company’s operations. Despite being in the industry for just over 10 years, Hina has already noticed how the industry has vastly changed for the better.
“Technology has been a big change for sure, but the biggest thing was seeing more women in the construction industry,” she said. “When I was in school, only three other women were obtaining a construction management degree. But now at job sites, I see a greater number of women there. This is so exciting and empowering to see.”
One of the biggest challenges Hina has faced is being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry. “The challenges I face when providing my services are the general challenges you often see in the construction industry—shortages in materials, delays in projects, and just accepting that challenges will always be there,” she explained. “The most significant challenge of them all is to avoid focusing on what could go wrong and what challenges may occur, and instead focus on how to overcome them as fast and efficiently as possible. Another challenge is being able to work as a cohesive group among the various trades and teams. It’s important to remember that we’re all working to finish the same project. I’d like to see more communication and collaboration. Some of the challenges I’ve faced stem from being a woman in the industry. There were times I found myself being ignored or unheard, and just sitting behind the scenes. This happened a lot when I first took over the family business, especially because I was young. My story was unique as I was left without a mentor and wasn’t prepared for the moment of taking over. But despite everything—with the assistance and support of my crew and other help and mentorship within the industry—I was able to push forward and I can say I’m very proud of the progress we’ve made as a company.” Hina finds that the most rewarding moments are when she drives around the island and gets to point out the roofing projects completed by her company. She expresses how exhilarating it can be when she notices their work in the community.
“Growing up, I loved pointing out which roofs were built by my dad when driving around my community, and I think that’s what actually got me passionate about working within this industry,” she said. “It’s rewarding to see the hard work your team has done throughout the community. We have an amazing team at Buck Roofing, and it's because of them that our business continues to flourish.” Hina learned about the inaugural Business Certification Training Cohort with the MBDA Enterprising Women of Color (EWOC) Business Center from the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership (MCBL), and knew it was the perfect opportunity for Buck Roofing. The company was self-certified as a woman-owned small business, but she knew that things had changed over the years and that certifications can help to expand the business. After completing the course in December 2020, she got her certification process started with Mari Villa and her team at Villa Business Consulting, Inc. (VBC). After about a year of going through the application process and responding to questions, Buck Roofing was officially recertified in December 2021. Hina is grateful for MCBL, the MBDA EWOC Business Center, and VBC for the opportunity to participate in such a one-of-a-kind opportunity to get educated on certifications and contracts.
“It took a while, since we’re a corporation and we’ve been around for so long.” Hina said. “There was a lot of paperwork and Mari pretty much handled all of that. Having VBC as a resource was great. Just being included in this program—I wouldn’t have known who to contact to be able to get recertified, so it came at the perfect time. I’m extremely grateful to have been part of that cohort and having Mari as a resource. It was a great opportunity for us.”
Hina is now looking forward to more corporate, state and federal contracting opportunities and taking advantage of seminars available to certified businesses through the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). As a piece of advice to women who are aspiring business owners, Hina said, “Don’t focus on the small challenges; instead take a step back and look at the big picture. Continue to push forward for whatever your goals and dreams may be because eventually, things will fall into place.”