Faces of HR

Faces of HR: Nina Lucas on Persistence, Possibility, and Progress

Meet Nina Lucas, Chief People Officer (CPO) at Omnia Exterior Solutions, a CCMP Growth Advisors, LP portfolio company, which helps support and grow high-potential residential roofing and remodeling businesses. Lucas brings more than 25 years of HR management experience to her role, including leading significant company transformations.

Nina Lucas

Prior to joining Omnia Exterior Services, Lucas served as CPO at Houston-based D&H United Fueling where she streamlined HR operations across more than 40 locations made up of eight acquisitions.

Before that, she served as Chief Human Resources Officer at Artisan Design Group. “I played a pivotal role in leading crucial HR initiatives, helping drive the company’s expansion from 350 to over 3,600 team members,” Lucas shared with HR Daily Advisor. “This resulted in revenue growth from $350 million to over $2 billion within a span of five years. This achievement was realized through strategic centralization of HR functions and seamless integration of HR operations across 23 acquisitions.”

So, how did Lucas get her start in the human resources industry? After earning her B.A. with dual political science and psychology majors from Southern Methodist University, she became a benefits analyst at CIGNA.

I am deeply committed to advocating for HR Business Partnership as a career choice and actively contribute to integrating human resources into business education by serving as a guest lecturer at Texas Christian University (TCU) graduate school,” says Lucas.

In our latest Faces, meet Nina Lucas.

How did you get your start in the field?

During my senior year, I participated in a school job fair where CIGNA sought individuals with diplomacy and people skills to adjudicate and communicate claims. My academic focus was political science and psychology, which heavily emphasize understanding human relations. Following two interview rounds, I received a job offer from CIGNA to be a benefits analyst—that was my entry into HR.

Who is/was your biggest influence in the industry?

My greatest influencers are my parents. We moved to the U.S. when I was 5 years old, aiming to embrace and achieve the American dream. The journey here was challenging—we spent two years in a refugee camp before arriving in the States. This taught me a powerful lesson: anything is possible if you persistently pursue it. We came with nothing, started with nothing, and took advantage of every opportunity that was presented to us. The example of persistence from my parents continues to influence me today. I have seized every opportunity to learn from mistakes, gather experiences, progress, succeed, and make a positive impact. I am truly living the American dream.

As a result of this experience, how a company treats, engages, and motivates people is at the core of my philosophy. If an employee really wants something, it’s my job to help them achieve their desired career path. I am persistent and relentless in discovering whatever roadblocks or barriers might be limiting their success, and then helping to overcome them.

What’s your best mistake and what did you learn from it?

Early in my career, I tended to solve problems directly for my HR team and business leaders instead of guiding them. I realized this limited their development. Now, I prioritize asking insightful questions that help them navigate challenges themselves. I love this part of the HR business partnership.

What’s your favorite part about working in the industry? What’s your least favorite part, and how would you change it?

What I love about this industry is it’s made up of dedicated entrepreneurs and team members who’ve honed their careers with deep industry knowledge. Their commitment is to consistently deliver top-notch service to homeowners, going beyond just aesthetics. Sometimes, it’s about ensuring a safe roof for families to sleep under at night by making essential repairs. The drive for success here is truly remarkable! I can’t think of a “least favorite,” but as for challenges, one aspect that continues to be a hurdle for us and the industry at large is recruitment. One way we plan to address this is to develop a multifaceted recruitment strategy.

It sounds like through your experience you really care about people, and you want to help them feel safe and comfortable, which is important in the industry. Please elaborate here.

At our core, we’re in the people business rather than manufacturing products. That’s why prioritizing people is fundamental to us. Safety is a cornerstone of our culture—we’re dedicated to ensuring a secure work environment for our team, allowing them to return home safely to their families each day. As our company expands, we’re thrilled about the potential to create more career prospects and pathways for advancement within our team. It’s an incredibly exciting phase for Omnia, focusing on people’s well-being and professional growth.

How can HR most effectively demonstrate its value to the leadership team?

Aligning our HR policies and programs to our business goals, following the necessary laws, and contributing to our company culture are key to reaching our overall objectives. This HR business partnership approach directly impacts the company in achieving its goals. If you are always mindful of the business, identifying and understanding its challenges, you can build the appropriate HR infrastructure to help it achieve what’s necessary to move the business forward.

Where do you see the industry heading in five years? Or are you seeing any current trends?  

The influence of private equity within the building products category, especially roofing, is prevalent and growing. Omnia Exterior Solutions is another example of this and how the industry is changing. What we are committed to doing however, which we believe is much different than anyone else, is creating a model where all three primary influences—contractors, manufacturers, and distributors—all benefit and grow equally and not one over another. In addition, as these larger companies form, the use of technology is coming even more to the forefront faster than it would under individual companies.

What are you most proud of?

Knowing that along the way, I have provided many co-workers and direct reports with a foundation that created opportunities for them to grow, navigate, and advance along their chosen career path. To see them become VPs or Chief People Officers is so humbling and rewarding. And their success is not just about their HR or business role, I’ve seen them become the best of themselves as individuals too.

Do you have any advice for people entering the profession? 

The HR profession isn’t solely about policies but driving value-added HR programs to the business and the people, like benefits that drive enrollment, development opportunities that align with business needs, and promotion of health, wellness, and safety for the workforce, and so much more. It extends far beyond simply creating and administering policies.

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