Women of Western Wake: Jackie Locklear

As the CEO of Locklear Roofing, Jackie Locklear has spent the last 26 years running and expanding one of the few 100% woman and minority-owned roofing companies in the United States. Founded in 1980 by her father, J.H. Locklear, the business has come a long way since its humble beginnings.

“My father was a great tradesman, and his contract was a handshake,” said Locklear, a member of the Lumbee Tribe. “When I started with my dad, his office was the garage, and my office was my third bedroom. Now we’re in a 10,000-plus-square-foot warehouse and office.”

Joshua Locklear, vice president of operations, is the third generation to join the family business. He watched his mother overcome countless challenges as both a single mother and a female leader in a predominantly male industry.

“She’s very, very determined,” said Joshua Locklear. “She’s always been my mother and father at the same time. I get her Father’s Day gifts and Mother’s Day cards. She doesn’t like people saying she can’t do something, because she’s going to do it.”

Locklear’s tenaciousness has led to many professional accolades, but she’s most proud of her involvement with the Frankie Lemmon School & Developmental Center.

The nonprofit serves children with and without disabilities between the ages of 3 and 6 years old. When they come to Frankie Lemmon, all children with a disability or who are part of the N.C. pre-K program receive their education and therapy at no cost to their families.

“Helping kids that can’t help themselves is something that I’m very passionate about,” said Locklear, who discovered Frankie Lemmon in 2002 at its largest fundraiser, The Triangle Wine & Food Experience.

“I’ve seen some kids go in and they couldn’t talk; they couldn’t feed themselves. With these programs, in six months to a year they are chatterboxes and talking and feeding themselves and all those types of things. To me, these are miracles,” she said.

Marsha Hargette, executive director of the Frankie Lemmon Foundation, says she is thrilled and honored to have Locklear as an active board member.

“Jackie bleeds Frankie Lemmon, so to speak,” said Hargette. “She’s the real deal.”

“Jackie not only serves us by participating, sponsoring and supporting, she has really helped us in the corporate world by introducing us to lots of folks.”

Locklear’s networking on Frankie Lemmon’s behalf has paid off. PulteGroup, a national home builder, recently held its 12th Annual Golf Tournament and made Frankie Lemmon its charity of choice. The event raised $50,000 for the nonprofit.

In addition to spreading the word about Frankie Lemmon and participating in events, Locklear took her support a step further when the school opened a new facility five years ago.

It’s impossible to talk about Locklear’s heart for children and education without mentioning one of the most influential women in her life — her grandmother, Berta Locklear.

“She was one of the first Native American teachers in North Carolina, and she was a travelling teacher,” said Locklear. “She was always my cheerleader, telling me that I could do anything I wanted to do.”

A supportive grandmother, paired with hard work and a love for the community, can go a long way.

Over the years, Locklear Roofing has supported Operation Coming Home, Habitat for Humanity, Flight of Hope, the American Indian Heritage Foundation, the Ronald McDonald House, and many more. In addition to her philanthropy, Locklear’s reputation for honesty and hard work has impressed many within her trade. Locklear Roofing has been named Contractor of the Year by Pulte Homes, Vendor of the Year by Meritage Homes, and was a 2020 recipient of the Community Involvement Award and People’s Choice Award from the National Roofing Contractors Association.

Chris Edwards, vice president of operations at Meritage Homes in Raleigh, met Locklear in 2006 when he was new to the Raleigh market. They have had a close business relationship ever since.

“What’s impressed me the most is that Jackie’s a businesswoman. She’s really not a contractor or roofer or whatever you want to call it,” he said. “And the first thing I learned is not to underestimate her. She’s really going for the long play, not the short play. She’s an expert at relationships, at keeping them, or getting rid of them if it doesn’t work out. But she’s really, really, really good at that.”

Close relationships with colleagues and employees is what sets Locklear Roofing apart. A strong family-based culture has kept employees feeling valued and cared for over decades.

“I’ve had guys here who have worked for me for 25 years plus. I’ve known their kids when they were born, and now they’re in college, and I get to attend college graduations,” said Locklear.

“We take what we do very seriously. You cannot buy your reputation, and once you lose your reputation, it’s almost impossible to regain. In my opinion, Locklear’s reputation means more than a dollar.”


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