July 3, 2014

Featured business person: Frank Novascone

You can’t get much more entrenched in the roofing supply business than Frank Novascone.

Frank Novascone, Managing partner, ABC Supply

You can’t get much more entrenched in the roofing supply business than Frank Novascone.

Novascone’s grandfather, who was known as F.L. Novascone, started Wichita Builders Supply in the late 1940s. Frank’s father, who goes by Larry, ran it with three relatives before the business was sold to a group of investors.

It was eventually acquired by ABC Supply, the nation’s largest wholesale distributor of roofing and one of the biggest distributors of other exterior building products, with almost 500 locations.

Novascone himself has been around the business since grade school.

“My grandfather would take me down there when I was 6 or 7 years old, every Saturday,” he said. “It was my job to clean out the pop machine of nickels and quarters, and separate them all. It was a good job.”

By high school, Novascone had moved up to operating a forklift and loading customers’ orders during weekends and summers. He earned a marketing degree from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, then returned to “the only adult full-time job I’ve ever had.”

Today, Novascone manages a workforce that peaks at about 42 employees during the summer. His branch, at 1321 E. First St., sells roofing materials, mostly to contractors. The city’s other branch, on South Sheridan, sells windows, siding and gutters.

“It’s always evolving,” Novascone said. “Like anything else, the Internet has changed our work. People are becoming more aware of different products that are offered. We’ve got to stay on our ‘A’ game.”

Last month, ABC Supply announced that Novascone had won its Ken Hendricks Award, named for the Wisconsin-based company’s founder. “It’s based on criteria like safety, community involvement and financial results, of course,” Novascone said.

Novascone, 49, and his wife, Denise, have a son, Larry, who’s a senior at Kansas State University, and a daughter, Blu Gulsby, who lives with her husband and infant daughter in Tennessee. Novascone enjoys golfing, attending “just about any sporting event” and spending time with an “empty nesters” group of friends.

And he is by no means tired of the job at which he’s spent nearly his whole life.

“My day is never the same. I’ll help on sales calls, or if it’s extremely busy in the yard, I’ll go out there and drive a forklift, unload inbound material, work the sales counter. That’s why I love it.”

Joe Stumpe

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