Marian University Magazine – Fall 2015
Alumni Spotlight Ray Farmer ’03/’06
Marian Degrees Lead to Success in Entrepreneurship
It takes a motivated and dedicated individual to return to school to earn one degree, let alone go beyond and earn a master’s degree. It also takes courage, integrity and a hard work ethic to start a new business. For Ray Farmer ’03/’06, earning a degree and starting his own business, American Metal Roofs (AMR) of Northern Wisconsin, was a natural fit for his personal and professional goals.
“Out of high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do as far as a career.” said Farmer. “I attended community college for a few years, but it wasn’t what I expected. So instead I enlisted in the Marine Corp and served for about six years. When I got out in 1989, I began working in manufacturing, and knew going to college needed to be the next step for me.”
Farmer entered Marian’s adult accelerated undergraduate program in business, while continuing to work full-time.
“I needed it all to fit together – school, work and family,” said Farmer. “Marian’s program worked well for me, and the small class sizes and accelerated environment were what I needed to help me accomplish this goal. While working in manufacturing, the lessons learned in my Marian experience helped me as I worked my way up the ladder.” Following completion of his bachelor’s, Farmer continued to work in the field of manufacturing, where he served as quality manager. However it was his second degree from Marian that gave him a variety of experiences and pushed him to open American Metal Roofs of Northern Wisconsin.
“Getting my master’s in organizational leadership really helped me add a variety of skills to my toolbox. My thesis was able to be implemented at the organizations where I had worked, and it gave me the comfort to set out on my own. Although I enjoyed working for other organizations, entrepreneurship is in my blood and I knew I could do it.” said Farmer, who is the owner and president of American Metal Roofs of Northern Wisconsin.
“My brother owns American Metal Roofs of Michigan, and he assisted me in implementing his business model to form American Metal Roofs of Northern Wisconsin.” added Farmer. “The research was there – trends and data show there’s an interest and need in the industry, and AMR was born in 2007. We’ve grown quickly and I owe a lot of my success to the lessons learned through my business degrees.”
For Farmer, opening his business wasn’t just about profits and growth, but about fulfilling a mission-inspired business.
“At AMR, we put God and family first, and it really aligns with the mission and values that I learned while at Marian,” said Farmer. “Marian truly impacted my life in more ways that I could ever have imagined, and I’m thankful to be a two-time graduate of such a quality institution.”