Barry McNamara  |  Published February 21, 2024

A Ferocious Entrepreneur

Morrow ’11 uses grit, ‘figure-it-out-iveness’ to keep raising Roof Tiger’s ceiling.

LOGOS COLLIDE: In addition to being the founder of Roof Tiger, Ben Morrow's Solar Panther operates under the same umbre... LOGOS COLLIDE: In addition to being the founder of Roof Tiger, Ben Morrow's Solar Panther operates under the same umbrella.MONMOUTH, Ill. – Right around the time of the start of the COVID pandemic, Ben Morrow decided a change was in order.

“I felt called to take a massive risk,” said Morrow, who graduated from Monmouth College in 2011 with a degree in communication while minoring in business.

That massive risk has turned into a massive success, as the company he founded, Roof Tiger in Peoria Heights, Illinois, has grown to $8 million in annual revenue between its roofing and solar panel divisions. In its first year, the company worked on 100 roofs. In 2023, that number rose to 340, servicing an area within 100 miles of Peoria.

Part of the massive risk of Morrow’s career change involved making a big splash with his company’s image, a story that students in the College’s new marketing program might want to note.

“When you think of roofing companies, you think of a logo that looks like this,” said Morrow, bringing his hands together in the shape of an inverted “V.”

“The logo looks like a regular roof. The unintended consequence of that is that no one remembers you.”

“My dad called me ‘Tiger’ when I was a kid. But I didn’t even go with Tiger Roofing. I chose Roof Tiger. It demands attention from the public, and then we wrapped our trucks in tiger stripes to stand out even more.” – Ben Morrow

So the Monmouth alum wasn’t having any part of that forgettable image, nor was he interested in going with the pedestrian name of Morrow Roofing.

“My dad called me ‘Tiger’ when I was a kid,” said Morrow. “But I didn’t even go with Tiger Roofing. I chose Roof Tiger. It demands attention from the public, and then we wrapped our trucks in tiger stripes to stand out even more.”

And on the day of his interview, Morrow himself was wrapped in a tiger-striped pair of zumba pants.

Similarly, the other division of his company goes by Solar Panther.

The reason? Reasoning

Morrow was more than a decade too early to pick up a marketing major from Monmouth, but he credits his education for learning how to reason and think.

“Monmouth taught me how to think about things, and that solving problems is about asking the right questions,” he said. “It gave me the ability to reason. I’m not a finance guy or a science guy – the technology of our shingles is not my forte. But I know how to take care of people and how to use the feedback we receive to keep reinventing ourselves.”

In a video on Roof Tiger’s website, Morrow tells potential customers that Roof Tiger is “a family-run, family-organized business that is committed to the best construction experience you’ve ever had.”

“Being an entrepreneur these last four years, I think the most important skills you can have are, number one, grit. And number two is what I’ll call ‘figure-it-out-iveness’ or resourcefulness.” – Ben Morrow

“Being an entrepreneur these last four years, I think the most important skills you can have are, number one, grit,” he said. “And number two is what I’ll call ‘figure-it-out-iveness’ or resourcefulness. At Monmouth, I played tennis, I traveled to India, I was in a fraternity (Sigma Phi Epsilon) – I was in a lot of things. That helped me to intersect with different social circles, which has led to helping me service our customers, which is the foundation of what we’ve built.”

RISK-TAKER: Morrow is shown skydiving during his senior year at Monmouth. RISK-TAKER: Morrow is shown skydiving during his senior year at Monmouth.And Morrow wasn’t merely a participant in his activities. In tennis, he is one of just eight Scots to win more than 100 matches. While in India, he took award-winning photos. As a senior, he helped organize a student skydiving trip. At the end of that academic year, he spoke to the senior class on the eve of Commencement.

“That was one of my first large-audience speaking opportunities,” said Morrow, who last year spoke to 1,000 people at a conference. “My confidence to speak began in my years at Monmouth. (Faculty members) Trudi Peterson and Dick Johnston and (alumnus and SigEp brother) Brad Nahrstadt ’89 were pivotal in my confidence to start that process.”

His early career path

Morrow so enjoyed his time in SigEp that he began his post-graduate career working as a regional director for its national organization and “sleeping on a lot of college couches” as he traveled to different schools.

Next was 3-1/2 years working at Verizon, and then a stint with The Bath Co., a bath remodeling business where, Morrow said, “I cut my teeth in construction, learning how to price jobs and do that type of work.” He also worked for a solar company for six months.

“When COVID happened, the construction world was very, very light,” he said. “I was actually unemployed for six months, but I used that time to reset and refocus.”

He came out of that time ready to put his knowledge of the construction industry to work, but with his own spin on a basic concept, being “ferocious about quality roof replacements.”

“We’re a very customer-facing company,” said Morrow. “As problems come up, we solve them. We’re a company of our word.”

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