June 2017 Newsletter

A Letter From The Chair

Heidi J. Ellsworth, President, HJE Consulting Group & Current NWIR Chair 

Wow!  It is amazing what can happen in one year!  As of May 31, 2017, we celebrated one year as the National Women in Roofing Association.  When I look back at the many conversations we had together, planning and believing in this idea of expanded diversity for the roofing industry, I am blown away at the support that we have seen.

Let me recap some pretty amazing statistics for year one.  500 plus Founding Members, 28 Founding Sponsors, 17 Councils, 21 members of the Board of Directors.  Yes, those numbers are amazing but more so are the experiences that I have had the honor of experiencing the last year.  The women and men that I have met through this amazing journey has been astonishing.  500 men and women took the time to pay $60 and be a part of something so much bigger than any one woman or man.  They believed that we can make a difference in our own way in an industry that we all love, roofing.

28 leading companies including major manufacturers, distributors and roofing contractors believed in this initiative so much that they gave $10,000 plus extra event sponsorships, creativity and board and council participation to make it happen.  Think about that.  In a supposedly “male dominated” industry, we have the support of the largest and most influential companies saying we need to empower women to be a part of the industry.  We need the talent and we need the professionalism!  That is amazing.

I recently attended both the WSRCA and FRSA shows.  This movement is viral.  Women and men are making it happen with networking and mentoring events at both shows that were incredible.  Women and men talking about career paths, labor shortages and work/life balance.  They were engaged in how we can recruit more women while empowering the women who are in roofing now with increasing levels of respect and professionalism.

Our goal is that NWIR will be a source of networking, mentoring, education and recruitment long after many of us are retired and it is happening.  But what now?  Now is the time to be involved.  If you are not a member sign up at www.nationalwomeninroofing.com.  Join a council or if you do not have one locally, start one.  The thing you cannot do is wait.  Even if you have already reached out, reach out again.  I can be very honest, the last year has been crazy.  We have all had to come together and accept that we have a tiger by the tail so each and every person has to be tenacious to start that council, take advantage of the networking, find a mentor and strive for continuing education.  Go to the website, make a phone call or reach out to the amazing group of women who are currently involved.

Year two has started.  What is our next big thing?  Updated website with membership directories for members only.  A National Women in Roofing Day February 4, 2018 in New Orleans.  Save the Date!  Recruitment, Community Service, Mentoring, Education; it is all coming your way and we can’t wait to meet each and every woman in this amazing roofing industry!

Events Recap

SRS DistriubutionIt was a busy month for NWIR events at both the Western Roofing Expo and the Florida Roofing & Sheet Metal Convention.  We are grateful to SRS Distribution Inc. for sponsoring the Mentoring & Networking Reception at the WRE and to Trent Cotney Construction Law Group for sponsoring the Mentoring & Networking Reception at the FRSA Convention.


OSHA has delayed enforcement of the tightened respirable crystalline silica standard for construction which aims to prevent employees from breathing silica dust. Enforcement was originally planned to begin June 23, 2017 but will now begin on September 23, 2017. The rule faced substantial opposition because of the increased costs employers will be forced to bear. The rule reduced the permissible exposure limit for silica to an amount that is five times lower than what was previously required. Under the rule, roofers are required to stay within the limits by using engineering controls (such as wetting or vacuuming) or, if those means cannot adequately limit exposure, provide employees with respirators to keep workers from breathing silica dust. The rule also requires employers to develop a written exposure control plan and offer medical exams to highly exposed workers.

For more  information, see the two part article:


Cynthia Lang, SRS Distribution


NWIR Carolina Council has formed and held their first web meeting on 6/3!  They followed up their web meeting with a Meet & Greet was held on June 21st, 2017.  Before the event, all council members met at the Carolinas Roofing & Sheet Metal Association office and completed all open items to finalize the structure of the Council. The meet & greet was sponsored by Certainteed and was held at the Three Spirits Brewery in Charlotte, NC.

To divide and conquer the Carolinas, the officers are listed below; with a Vice Chair in each State to drive localized activities to build the chapter!

Chair: Ellisha McLaughlin, Alpha Construction

Chair NC: Candice Beck, Best Distributing

Chair SC: Courtney Bynum, Guardian Building Products

Secretary: Kena Fumey, Guardian Building Products

Treasurer: Julie Hughes, Rike Roofing Charlotte NC

Recruiting Chair: Melissa Gentry, Superior Distribution

Historian: Tara Nelson, Radco

Front Row: Treasurer Julie Hughes from Rike Roofing and Vice Chair of North Carolina Candice Beck with Best Distributing. Back Row: Historian Tara Nelson with Radco, Secretary Kena Fumey with Guardian Building Products, Recruiting Chair Melissa Gentry with Superior Distribution, Chair Ellisha McLaughlin with Alpha Construction and Vice Chair of South Carolina Courtney Bynum with Guardian Building Products

Thanks to these amazing women who have stepped up to come together to give back to our communities, empower, support, and mentor the women in the roofing industry!  For more information about joining NWIR Carolina Council, email ellisha.mclaughlin@alphaconstructionwv.com .



The Houston NWIR Council is diligently working at establishing its board of directors.  They have reached out to some suppliers/manufacturers and associations.  If there is anyone in the Houston area that would enjoy being a part of our initiative, contact Leticia Elias at 832-339-2865 or leticia@ecroofsystems.com.



The Michigan Council of the National Women in Roofing organization (NWIR) had its first meeting May 24 at the offices of BNP Media, RC’s corporate owner. Read all the details.



Council Meeting with Lunch provided by The Apex Group
Tuesday, July 25th from 11:30am – 1:00pm
The Crichton Group
3011 Armory Drive, Suite 250,  Nashville, TX  37204
RSVP by 7/21/17 to michelle@rackleyroofing.com

NWIR is growing and growing local councils.  Are you looking for a council to join?  Check our website for a list of current councils.   If you didn’t find a council in your area and would like to help start a new council, please reach out to Cynthia Lang our Councils Chair via email.

Women in Roofing Storyboard

Leticia Elias

Meet Leticia Elias of Elias Commercial Roof Systems in Northside.  Leticia started in the roofing industry with her family in 1988 and in 2010 started Elias Commercial Roof Systems.  Read her story.

Call for Photos & Stories

We love collecting and featuring your photos and stories.  For the next couple months we’d like to focus on second (or greater) generation roofers – those who grew up in the roofing industry or were introduced to it by a family member.
Submit high res photos and stories to  info@nationalwomeninroofing.com.