National Women in Roofing Taps Into a Powerful Force

Photos: National Women in Roofing

In 2014, an organization devoted to helping advance the careers of women in the roofing industry was just an idea. Since then, the idea has become a movement. National Women in Roofing (NWIR) was officially launched at the International Roofing Expo (IRE) in 2016. The volunteer-based organization focuses on connecting and empowering women, and it has the support of more than 1,000 members — many of them men — and nearly two dozen sponsors. They all share the goal of working together to raise the professionalism of the roofing industry, bring more people into the field, and provide the education and training necessary to ensure its future success.

This February, Heidi Ellsworth handed over the position of NWIR chair to Shari Carlozzi. The two women shared their insights on the founding of NWIR with Roofing, detailing its current initiatives and plans for the future.

A Movement Is Born

Carlozzi and Ellsworth first discussed the idea of an organization to support women during a break at a meeting of the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association in 2014. As they shared their thoughts about working in a male-dominated industry,

Officers and directors of National Women in Roofing include (from left) Jennifer Stone, vice chair, executive committee; Jennifer Ford-Smith, secretary; Ellen Thorp, executive director; Shari Carlozzi, chair, executive committee; and Heidi Ellsworth, past chair, executive committee. Photos: National Women in Roofing

a light bulb went on. “We started talking, and we realized there are a lot more women in this industry than people give it credit for,” Carlozzi says. “There’s a lot of women! And we said, ‘We should start an organization where women can gather to network, to learn from each other, to mentor one another, and to help empower each other’ — because we are in an industry that we love.”

Ellsworth and Carlozzi shared the concept with Steve Little of Dallas-based KPost, who was then MRCA president. “He said, ‘That’s a great idea! We’ll help incubate you.’ And that’s how we got started,” Carlozzi remembers. “It went viral.”

As they traveled the country in their respective work roles — Ellsworth as a partner in RoofersCoffeeShop.com and Carlozzi as national sales manager for HAPCO Inc. — they soon realized that a lot of other women had the same needs. Many were even exploring the same idea. “At every trade show we went to, both of us would hear this from so many women,” Ellsworth says. “They would say, ‘We need to spend time together. We need to network.’ And networking is a big one because it’s sometimes a lot easier for guys to get together to network and women are left out. It was something that a lot of women truly believed in.”

Shari Carlozzi thanks the founding sponsors of the organization at NWIR Day. Photos: National Women in Roofing

After talking to others in the industry, it became clear the organization had to have a national presence. “We looked ahead to the IRE in New Orleans in 2015 and decided to have a little get-together and see if people are truly interested,” Ellsworth recalls. “We had 75 women show up. It just grew from there.”

The group formed a leadership committee and held meetings at industry trade shows throughout 2015. “It was at IRE in 2016 that we officially launched National Women in Roofing,” Ellsworth says. “We realized very quickly that there was a tidal wave — a tsunami — of women behind us who really needed this. We realized we had to take this to a national level, and we did.”

The Four Pillars

Overarching goals of the organization are exemplified by its four pillars: networking, mentoring, education and recruitment.

Heidi Ellsworth welcomes attendees to the inaugural NWIR Day, held February 4, 2018. Photos: National Women in Roofing

“Our four pillars we started with — networking, mentoring, education and recruitment — have been the focus of what we’ve wanted to do from the start,” Carlozzi says. “Some people are a little bit more involved in education, some people are a little bit more involved in networking — it all depends on what works for you. We’ve stayed true to our four pillars, and that has been extremely helpful in giving women opportunities to engage in what’s most important to them.”

Ellsworth agrees, pointing out that networking events and mentoring initiatives developed hand in hand. “Our first events were networking events,” she says. “One of our themes is ‘from the rooftop to the boardroom,’ and we had top leaders at companies including GAF, ABC, Owens Corning, Johns Manville — all of these ladies showed up early and then stayed on and helped to drive this. We partnered with 28 founding sponsors that first year.”

Mentoring relationships seemed to blossom. “I wish we could all take credit for it, but it just happened so naturally,” Ellsworth says.

Kelly Wade, CEO of North American Roofing, gives the keynote address at the National Women in Roofing’s Mentor Reception during the 2018 International Roofing Expo. Photos: National Women in Roofing

NWIR is launching a mentoring program this year, under the leadership of Mallory Payne and Melissa Walker, who head up the mentoring committee. “Mentoring has always been a big part of what we do,” Carlozzi says. “Men have more mentors than women do, and we want to change that.”

The education committee, led by Shelly Duhaime and Jennifer Keegan, is working on a full slate of educational sessions at industry events, as well as a series of webinars on topics such as networking, safety and business management. “Our education committee is on fire this year,” says Carlozzi. “People crave information. The only way we can excel in what we do is to keep learning.”

Carlozzi points to the NRCA’s ProCertification program as a model for educating the industry’s workforce and boosting professionalism. “We have to elevate the perception of the roofing industry,” she says. “We share the same values as the NRCA, and we want to speak with one voice to get the message across to people that this is a viable career option for you, whether you are a man or a woman in the trade, or whether you are looking for a career as a chemist, or an engineer, or a salesperson, or in data entry. It is a solid, reputable industry.”

It’s also an industry facing a worker shortage, so recruiting a new generation of workers is essential. The recruitment committee, led by Michelle Boykin and Chelsea Welsh, is active at employment fairs and career days, and NWIR is reaching out to other trade groups across the country to increase the visibility of the industry.

Part of the recruitment effort includes a commitment to helping women in crisis find employment and pursue a true career path.

Memberships and Sponsorships

The organization might be national, but it is also active at the local level. NWIR is developing councils across the country to cater to local educational needs and reach out to area community service opportunities. There are 29 local councils now, with a goal of reaching 50 by the end of 2018.

NWIR members participate in a breakout session at a mentoring workshop. Photos: National Women in Roofing

“It’s the best of both worlds for everybody because they get that national input through our epicenter — our newsletter and our website — and they can apply the information to what they are doing locally,” Carlozzi says. “We give local councils a lot of latitude to put together what works for them as long as they stay true to our four pillars and our national outreach program with women in crisis.”

Carlozzi and Ellsworth encourage all women and men to join the association. The membership fee is $60 per year. Half of the membership fee goes to develop and support local councils. “We made a very conscious decision to keep our membership dues very reasonable, and they are owned by the member,” Ellsworth notes. “If your career path takes you to another company, the membership goes along with you.”

Companies can help NWIR as sponsors. There are four levels of sponsorships. “We are also in the middle of our sponsorship drive, and that is a great way to get involved as a company,” Ellsworth says. “The value to the company — and its employees — is incredible.”

A Bright Future

Looking back at her tenure as the first chair of the organization, Ellsworth is proud of the group’s achievements and thankful for the friendships she’s made along the way. “It’s one of the greatest experiences I’ve had in my life,” she says. “The women I have met and the experiences we’ve had have been so empowering.”

Networking and mentoring have always been key areas of focus for NWIR members. Photos: National Women in Roofing

As Carlozzi takes the helm, she plans to lean on the talented team of women ready to take the organization into the future. “It’s a little overwhelming when you look at it at first because we came so far, so fast, and we have to keep that momentum going,” says Carlozzi. “In the process, we’ve had some exceptional, outstanding women who have stepped up and taken on the leadership roles that are needed to develop and maintain a national organization like this.”

When the industry taps into everyone’s talents, everyone wins. Carlozzi sees that spirit every day at NWIR. “Everyone comes up with new ideas of how to make things better,” she says. “Everyone is open to new ideas and assistance, and everyone is freely offering it. No one feels threatened — we’re all empowered. That’s the beauty of it.”

For more information about NWIR, visit www.nationalwomeninroofing.com.

SPRI Elects Sukle as President for 2018-2020 Term

SPRI has selected Zebonie Sukle as President for the 2018-2020 term. SPRI’s members elected Sukle at the association’s 36th Annual Conference and Business Meeting, held Jan. 13-15 in Clearwater Beach, FL.

Sukle currently serves as Director of Technology Roofing Systems Group at Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway Company in Denver, CO.

“I am honored and excited to enter such a role at SPRI and I look forward to working with all of our members to continue SPRI’s work of developing industry standards and expanding our technical reach.” says Sukle.

During the meeting, SPRI’s membership also elected the following slate of officers and directors for the association’s 2018-2020 membership years:

  • President, Zebonie Sukle, Johns Manville
  • President-elect, Michael Hubbard, Firestone Building Products Co, LLC
  • Treasurer, Brad Van Dam, Metal-Era Inc.

Associate Directors

  • Bob Reel, Royal Adhesives (third term)
  • CJ Sharp, Georgia-Pacific (second term)
  • Brad Van Dam (second term)
  • Chris Mader, OMG Roofing Products

SPRI also recognized two of its members for outstanding contributions to the industry. Peter C. Garrigus, Vice President Engineering at Altenloh Brink & Co., Inc., was recognized for his thought-leadership and dedication in facilitating the development of an industry coalition charged with determining the impact on wind loads on flexible roofs systems and to develop appropriate load factors to apply to wind loads calculated by ASCE7. Garrigus was also recognized for his service on the SPRI Board of Directors.

Also recognized was Michelle Miller, Marketing Manager at FiberTite Roofing Solutions, for the guidance she provided in development of SPRI’s new website with an eye toward content relevance and the next generation of users. Michelle started from the design base and applied her marketing skills to shape the site into a vehicle to educate and promote our industry partners

For more information, visit www.spri.org.

NRCA Announces First Partner Member

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has announced that FiberTite Roofing Systems Seaman Corp., Wooster, Ohio, has become the first manufacturer to upgrade its associate membership to partner member.

In February, NRCA launched its One Voice initiative aimed at collectively recognizing threats to the industry and the opportunities they may present. To do so, NRCA has undertaken a campaign to unite the roofing industry and speak with one voice on matters of industry importance. To ensure all industry sectors are given an opportunity to participate, NRCA amended its bylaws to allow manufacturers, distributors, architects, engineers and consultants that choose to participate to become full members of the association, meaning they will be granted voting rights and eligible for leadership roles within the association. Previously, such rights were reserved only for contractor members.

“Our chances for success in many areas improve when we row in the same direction, and I saw this firsthand during my time in Congress,” says NRCA CEO Reid Ribble. “Industries that spoke with a single voice in Washington were more effective at moving legislation in their direction, and I believe we can accomplish the same when we foster relationships that are more inclusive and collaborative.”

FiberTite is the first company to commit to NRCA’s One Voice initiative, which initially will focus on developing a national worker training and certification program, legislative efforts and advocacy.

“Clearly, it is important to stakeholders throughout the roofing industry that we align ourselves around the challenges affecting the growth of our business,” says FiberTite Vice President and General Manager Scott Gipson. “Channeling the breadth of NRCA members in speaking with one voice provides clarity to policy makers who may otherwise guide decisions critical to our success. It was an easy decision for us to get on board with this initiative.”

For more information about NRCA and its One Voice initiative, go to the website.

MBMA Welcomes New Membership

The membership ranks of the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) are continuing to expand. MBMA recently welcomed Panasonic Corp. of North America (Panasonic) as its 60th Associate member, and Package Steel Systems Inc. as a Building Systems member.
 
Panasonic will be represented by Jon Downey, who serves as the company’s housing and construction market development manager. Package Steel Systems will be represented by Bob Fisette, who serves as the company’s president.
 
“Our members are vital to MBMA’s continued success and influence in the building and construction industry,” says Dan Walker, PE, associate general manager of MBMA. “Each company’s unique contributions help us to advance the acceptance of metal building systems as the building solution within the low-rise commercial construction market.”
 
Based in Newark, N.J., Panasonic Corporation of North America manufactures consumer and industrial products, including building insulation solutions and products for metal roofs and gutters. The company is a subsidiary of Osaka, Japan-based Panasonic Corp., founded in 1918.
 
Package Steel Systems is located in Sutton, Mass. The metal building manufacturer serves customers in the Northeastern region of the U.S.
 
The MBMA is comprised of metal building system manufacturers and their suppliers who fabricate or manufacture materials for the industry, as well as architecture and engineering firms and service providers.

Green Building Consortium Welcomes New Members

The green building industry’s consortium of program operators announced at Greenbuild the addition of two new members and an enhanced technical advisory board. CSA Group is now a member, while thinkstep is the group’s affiliate member.
 
This marks the first anniversary of the Program Operator Consortium, which launched last year to provide environmental-product transparency solutions and to reduce complexity in the marketplace. The consortium serves as a resource and advocate for creating product category rules (PCRs), reviewing life cycle assessment reports (LCA), and verifying and publishing environmental product declarations (EPDs).
 
CSA Group, a Canadian standards development organization, joins existing members of the consortium: ASTM International, ICC-Evaluation Service, NSF Sustainability, SCS Global Services and Sustainable Minds. “CSA Group is pleased to be joining the Program Operator Consortium and working together to ensure EPDs and PCRs are developed in a consistent fashion, following ISO standards and industry best practice, in order to showcase a product’s environmental impact,” said Michael Leering, the organization’s director of sustainability.
 
The first affiliate member of the consortium is thinkstep, a software, data, and environmental-consulting services company that works with 40 percent of the Fortune 500. “Standardizing the PCR and EPD creation process will contribute to lowering costs and increasing the use of products that reduce environmental impact,” said Nuno da Silva, thinkstep’s director of product sustainability. “We’re delighted to contribute to this effort.”
 
The Affiliate Member Program was created for industry associations, government agencies, standards developers, consultants, and data providers to have access to expertise from a like-minded community.  The program also provides education, discounted rates, and the ability to contribute to creating uniformity across environmental reporting formats, data requirements, and communication.
 
Each consortium member is represented in the group’s Technical Advisory Board:

These LCA experts oversee the implementation of the consortium’s North American two-part PCR framework, which consortium members have aligned to use and maintain over the past year. PCRs created by any member will produce standardized environmental declarations, helping both manufacturers as well as decision-makers who specify green building materials and products. A catalog of North American PCRs and an aggregated catalog of EPDs from members’ programs are available at www.programoperators.org.
 
The consortium holds both in-person meetings and webinars with global manufacturers, LCA providers, and industry trade associations. Those interested in joining or learning more about the consortium are encouraged to contact info@programoperators.org.

MBMA Approves Additional Membership Category

The Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) has approved an additional membership category that welcomes architecture and engineering firms into its ranks. This decision adds a new element of expertise and leadership to the association’s existing network of professional metal building system manufacturers and suppliers.

“Architects and engineers are specifying metal buildings for all sorts of new uses to satisfy their customer needs, and we value their input into MBMA’s future direction,” says Brad Curtis, chair of MBMA. “Contributions from architecture and engineering experts will provide building fabricators and suppliers with much needed feedback about the products they produce to meet end users’ demands. In turn, member A/E firms will gain access to the knowledge and tools the building manufacturers and their suppliers have developed, in addition to networking with these companies.”

Professional A/E Firm partners will use MBMA’s networking and educational opportunities to leverage the design-build process more effectively to gain an advantage in the marketplace. Networking opportunities include interactions with industry engineers, CEOs, and other key decision-makers. Additional MBMA member benefits include attendance at association meetings, participation on committees, access to information, unique continuing education opportunities, networking and publication discounts.

MBMA’s Associate and A/E members will also receive industry news, updates and cutting-edge industry statistics that are only available through MBMA. These vital reports help professionals analyze the marketplace for better strategic business planning.

CIDAN Machinery Joins the Metal Construction Association

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) welcomes CIDAN Machinery to its membership roster. The company has joined the association’s ranks of about 75 member companies with specialties in the metal construction industry.

CIDAN Machinery has manufactured machines since 1907 and is a well-established company within the sheet metal industry. The company manufactures and markets the brands CIDAN and Göteneds at its factory in Götene, Sweden.

“CIDAN Machinery is excited to participate in networking and stay current with the metal construction industry,” says Larry Chandonnet, CIDAN’s president.

MCA member companies benefit from participation in association activities that focus on research, codes and standards, market development, and technical programs. The association works to increase the use of metal materials in construction by educating the building and design communities about the benefits of metal.

MCA members represent a broad scope of companies including metal roof, wall panel, shingles and coatings manufacturers, coil coaters and metal producers, distributors, equipment and accessories manufacturers, energy insulation system manufacturers, and MCM fabricators. Membership information kits for each industry segment are available on MCA’s website.

MCA Offers 50 Percent off New Membership Dues

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) announces that new members qualify to receive 50 percent off their first year’s dues if they sign up in 2015. MCA also revised its dues schedule in 2015, resulting in drastically lower dues for many member companies. MCA membership is now more affordable than ever, while providing the same valuable benefits it always has.

MCA member companies benefit from participation in association activities that focus on research, codes and standards, market development, and technical programs. The association works to increase the use of metal materials in construction through the education of the building and design communities about the benefits of metal. And, MCA members have access to an extensive network of leaders in the metal construction industry.

MCA members represent a broad scope of companies including metal roof, wall panel and coatings manufacturers, coil coaters and metal producers, distributors, equipment and accessories manufacturers, energy insulation system manufacturers and MCM fabricators. Membership information kits for each industry segment are available on the MCA website.

The association is also offering non-members the opportunity to attend a MCA meeting, at a special rate, to experience firsthand the value of membership. The event includes council and committee sessions to discuss projects and issues relevant to the industry, as well as socializing and networking.

MCA membership also provides valuable resources, such as a members-only web portal that includes exclusive news and events, statistical reports, market share and specification data, research studies, webinars, codes and standards, a member directory, council and committee reports, and more.