The need for diversity in the workplace is especially important in the roofing industry, where women make up such a small percentage of the workforce. There is one woman in roofing who is trying to encourage more women to consider a career in the roofing industry.
Why Women Should Work in Roofing
A regional business manager for Weatherproofing Technologies, Inc. (WTI), Rebecca Welsh oversees the south Atlantic region of the U.S., including South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. She has a mission to try to recruit other women into the industry.
“The work that we do today, especially our work with coatings, is not the back-breaking work that it used to be. Now, we are using our intelligence,” explained Welsh. “Women tend to be better at the details because they have a better patience level for it. When I was in the field, I did all the details and flashing.”
Women can make a decent salary in roofing. She says that it provides a better wage than most other jobs and is appealing to single moms, which she was when returning to roofing work.
“It allowed me to make a nice income and support my two children as a single mom.”
Her Journey into the Roofing Industry
Her career in roofing began when she was 16. Her mom remarried and moved the family from Missouri to Arkansas. Rebecca found a job working in a fast food restaurant making a few dollars an hour. Her stepfather had a roofing company and encouraged her to come work for him, where she made double the money.
“I started working with him on weekends, after school and during summer. It was all commercial roofing and we did lots of BUR, modified and started to do EPDM when it was growing in popularity,” she said. “I had plenty of money for clothes, gas and even concert tickets. It was hard work, but also extremely rewarding.”
Welsh worked there on and off for the next 10 to 15 years, until she became pregnant and decided to stay home with her children. During that time, she obtained her college degree in construction management before later deciding it was time to return to work.
“I worked in general contracting, and they really liked my construction and roofing background,” Welsh said. “During my time working for the GC, I applied my roofing knowledge to try to solve problems and prevent issues.”
She joined the Tremco/WTI team in February 2019, after previously meeting Paul Hoogenboom, president of Tremco Construction Products Group, following a presentation she attended. When she was ready for a career change, he had connected her with the right people at WTI.
Changing Perceptions of the Roofing Trade
“Roofers are not always looked at in the best light, and I would like to change that,” Welsh explained. “Just because I work with my hands and get dirty doesn’t mean I am not intelligent. I can support my family working in the trades. We need to break the stigma.”
Though Tremco serves as a great example of a company with women in higher-up positions, Welsh still wants to see more women join the roofing field. She’s been working with Tremco’s marketing and recruiting teams to develop ads that are more diverse.
“They sent me some ads featuring women, but they were nicely made up with hair and makeup done, and really clean hard hats,” explained Rebecca. “I am hiring women for the field and want to represent that. We took some pictures of one of our female field techs at work, who came to us with no roofing experience, and she is rocking it.”
Welsh stressed that experience is not necessary.
“As long as you have the right attitude, I can teach you how to roof. I want problem solvers, people who pay attention to detail, who can be organized, be efficient, be neat, and who can communicate well,” she said. “Be ready and willing to work with a good attitude, and I can provide you a great career!”
Learn more about WTI’s roofing and skilled labor careers at careers.tremcocpg.com.
The original version of this article was published in October 2020 on Roofers Coffee Shop.