VETERANS IN ROOFING
Veterans have found employment in many industries as a result of Hiring Our Heroes, and the roofing industry is a prime example in which skills learned in the military are not only relevant, but transferable. “Engineering is a vast field in the military,” Morton says.Muth knows this to be true. He has always been a huge supporter of the military, owing in part to having been raised in a military family. In addition, he saw firsthand the struggles his brother had when re-entering civilian life.
When Muth read in the newspaper there were going to be thousands of returning veterans seeking jobs, he immediately jumped on the bandwagon, reaching out to local military bases and eventually attending the job fair in Columbus where he met Smith.
Although Smith had no real experience in construction or roofing, Muth wasn’t concerned. Muth says the best way to learn to be a roofer is to just get out there and do it. Muth really valued Smith’s work ethic, self-discipline and motivation, which came from the military.
Muth explains: “Here’s the No. 1 thing: They are self-reliant. They don’t need someone to tell them what to do. You can give them a task, and they’ll do it. If they have questions, they won’t just stop and sit there. Everyone is trying to complete a project in a timely manner. You need that in the construction industry, and they understand that. It’s a natural fit, in my opinion.”
Smith, now 26, is already on his way to establishing a career within the company. A short time after working in installation, he became an unofficial supervisor and was promoted to field supervisor after about a year and a half, in keeping with Muth’s company practice of promoting from within when at all possible.
Like many veterans transitioning into civilian work, Smith had concerns about finding his career path, especially because he was still in the active reserves and had the potential to be deployed. Smith found Muth not only understood, but was extremely supportive.
Smith was, in fact, called up for about a month soon after he joined Muth & Co. Roofing, but he came back and picked up right where he left off. Smith said despite never having swung a hammer before, he felt the company was looking for a valuable quality he learned in the Marines: leadership.
“We’re always taught you have to adapt and overcome,” Smith says. “That helped when it came to the challenge of taking on something new I’ve never done before.”
In general, Muth believes roofing is a good industry for veterans returning from deployment, and this was proven by Smith’s success. Muth notes: “There are a lot of opportunities. The pay is good. Roofing in general has a high turnover ratio because it’s harder labor. So the ability to move up quickly is there if you take the job and run with it. In our industry, from that standpoint, anytime someone can move from a basic labor/installer to a field supervisor, it is a pretty good jump.”
Muth would love to hire more veterans, but he believes many people have the impression roofing is not a long-term career. He is determined to convey there are real career opportunities to be had. “Construction is a tough industry to sell. A lot of these guys are looking for a home. They don’t want to bounce into one job and into another in six months,” he observes. “We’re hoping we can hire more of these people and showcase what we have to offer them for the long-term future.”
“For me it was a real painless process. I ended up finding a great job for a great company,” Smith remarks.
PARTICIPATE IN HIRING OUR HEROES
In addition to boosting staff with loyal and dedicated team players, roofing contractors, architects and other employers in the construction field are able to participate in Hiring Our Heroes job fairs at no cost. If there isn’t an upcoming fair, the program offers online tools for locating veteran job seekers. View additional information can be found on the Hiring Our Heroes web page or by calling (202) 463-5807.
PHOTO: MUTH & CO. ROOFING
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