Diane Hendricks chairs ABC Supply – one of the largest wholesale distributors of roofing, siding, and windows in the USA. Under her leadership, the company made the two biggest acquisitions in its history . . . and they have over 700 locations and $9 billion in sales. But Diane didn’t come from money or have a fancy education. This is her story.
One of nine daughters, Diane grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm. She lived in a nice big farmhouse and had a quiet country life. But she always knew she wanted more. When Diane reminisces, she recalls dreaming of a move to the big city and longing to wear a business suit, even as a small girl.
An unexpected pregnancy
At 17-years old, Diane found herself in a bit of a predicament–she was pregnant. As an unwed mother in a smalltown school, she found herself shunned. She was forced to do her schoolwork at home, going to hand in assignments or take tests only after the other students had left for the day.
The start of a career (and a budding relationship)
Soon after having her baby, Diane started working: first for a pen manufacturer and later selling custom homes. It was at the latter that she met her future husband, Ken. As a high school dropout, Ken also came from humble beginnings – but the two had a dream and decided to go into business together.
Success on the horizon
Diane and Ken soon married and started up a successful business: she remodeled rentals with her father-in-law, while he concentrated on roofing. As the business grew, they added trucking and a wholesale store to the mix. By 1994, they had over 100 stores and over a billion dollars in sales.
In 2007, Ken tragically died in a roofing accident. Since then, Diane has continued to helm the company and give back to the community. As part of her mission, she routinely buys dilapidated buildings in their hometown of Beloit, revitalizing the city and providing new hope to her fellow citizens.