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Daily Journal
     April 2, 2020      #98-93 KDJ
Wendy Langlois is the owner of a new company, On Top Exteriors LLC, a Langlois Company which specializes in residential roofing needs.

Courtesy of Rachel Langlois Photography

Rising to the challenge of business

By Mike Frey

Women have become increasingly more involved with business ownership.

Wendy Langlois is now one of them, although her business venture is not one you would automatically associate with women. She has launched On Top Exteriors LLC, a company specializing in residential roofing needs.

She is well-versed in the roofing field as Langlois Roofing Inc. — a three-generation company now ran by Wendy’s husband, Rende — has served the Kankakee County region since 1962.

In recent years, the commercial side of Langlois Roofing had become so active it was increasingly hard to meet the residential needs of the business. Husband and wife talked about the situation for nearly two years, and it was eventually decided Wendy would take over the residential end. In order to start the new business, Wendy had to take a roofing license test required by Illinois.

Her motivation to take the leap can be traced back to her early days and advice from her father, Moe Burton, now 78.

“There is nothing you can’t do as long as you put your mind to it,’’ Wendy recalls her father saying.

“Although the roofing industry is not an obvious business choice for women to want to be involved in, I have always been a person that when told ‘you can’t do that,’ you better believe I’ll do whatever it takes to prove that person wrong,’’ she continued. “I love a challenge.’’

For displaying such a positive, can-do attitude, Wendy Langlois has been named Female Entrepreneur of the Year as part of the Progress Awards the Daily Journal bestows annually.

For homeowners who have had to replace a roof, the prospect of paying for the costly work also is a challenge. It’s also something On Top Exteriors is determined to help its customers handle as it offers a number of financing options.

“We always need options, especially in the world we live in today,’’ Wendy said. “Langlois Roofing has not been able to succeed in business for 58 years because they have done business one way and one way only. On Top Exteriors LLC wants to continue to provide our customers with options and always offer workable solutions for our customers.’’

The customers the company intends to serve cover the region, as On Top Exteriors is ready to perform work to the south into Iroquois County and the north into Will County. “We’ll go wherever the work is,’’ Wendy said.

That work will be performed by a team that is trained, licensed and insured for every job. They are employed by a family company, and Wendy said they are treated in that manner.

“They deserve the care and support a family member would have,’’ she said.

This is especially important, as Wendy admits she won’t be assuming a hands-on role in the work and it takes a team to succeed.

“I won’t be on top of the roof,’’ she said. “I want to be the same person, [but] I want to be the face people associate the company with.’’

Both Rende and Wendy are lifelong residents of the community, and the place they call home is in many ways an extension of the family. The couple is active at their place of worship, St. John Paul II Catholic Church in Kankakee, and in other community endeavors.

“We are a small community and we need to support each other and hold each other up,’’ she said. “In my opinion, it is better to give. Whether that be something as simple as a smile, a cup of coffee, or a donation for one of our local foundations, we are truly better together, than we are on our own.’’

The Wendy Langlois file

Occupation: Owner of On Top Exteriors LLC, a company specializing in residential roofing needs.

Contact information: Call 815-932-6000 or visit langloisroofing.com

Family: Wendy is married to husband Rende, owner of Langlois Roofing Inc., a three-generation company which will now specialize in commercial roofing needs. The couple have a combined five children and 13 grandchildren.

Outside interests: The couple are active members of St. John Paul II Catholic Church; supporters of the Kankakee County Humane Foundation; Physically active people who enjoy walks and recently adopted a sick 4-pound puppy, "Pappy.'' The dog has now grown to 25 pounds and is a consistent companion on the walks.

Favorite biblical quote: "Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more." (Luke 12:48)

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