The Secrets of Their Success: How Women Are Succeeding in the Roofing Industry

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of roofers will grow 11 percent by 2026. With the continued demand for roofing projects comes more job opportunities. We sat down with a handful of women working at ABC Supply to get their advice on how women can succeed in this growing industry.

From managing deliveries and branch operations to working with contractors and solving their business challenges, the roles and responsibilities are different for each of these women. However, they all have two things in common: Their love for construction and the belief that women can create successful, lucrative careers in the industry.

Here’s what they shared when we asked about women succeeding in roofing.

Tell us what a typical day looks like for you. What kinds of responsibilities do you have?

Cabrera: I’m scheduling deliveries, making sure trucks are loaded and keeping our drivers on track.

Morrison: I’m usually at the front counter, helping contractors order materials and working with our team.

Piper: I’m in outside sales and sell commercial roofing. In the morning I’m meeting with customers, and in the afternoon I’m back in the office to send quotes and follow up on emails.

Mortara: I love working with people, so I’m constantly meeting with customers, stopping by jobsites and talking with contractors. It helps me stay smart about the industry and build relationships.

O’Brien: I don’t really have a typical day, but the one constant is that I’m working closely with people from our team, as well as vendors and customers. I really enjoy connecting with people and having variety in my role.

When you look at women’s involvement in the industry, they make up just 0.5 percent of roofing professionals. Of the women in the industry, nearly 87 percent are in office positions and 13 percent are tradespeople. What are your reactions to those statistics?

O’Brien: The first thing that comes to mind is opportunity. The industry is going to be around for a long time—it’s not a trend or passing fad, so there’s opportunity for women to join this industry and have a full career in it.

Cabrera: With the labor shortage, companies can’t afford to not tap into 50 percent of the population. Women can do physically demanding jobs, and they are sometimes more detail oriented, a strength that is very valuable in the field.

Mortara: I’m seeing more women in the industry today than I did 25 years ago, which is great! I see the majority of women in office and sales roles, but do know of some women also doing a great job as laborers and crew foremen.

Piper: I do feel like there’s a misconception that this is an industry for men. The more women see other women participating, the more I think this will start to go away. It’s so important to keep sharing stories about how women are succeeding in all facets of the industry, because it’s happening—even in roles like roof loading and working in the yard.

Do you think it’s important for women to have mentors?

Morrison: Yes, I think it’s very valuable to find a mentor to bounce thoughts and ideas off of. It’s also important for women to tell their stories and talk about how they got to where they are today.

Cabrera: It can be really supportive to have a mentor to go to. And don’t feel like your mentor needs to be a woman!

How can women feel more confident as they pursue opportunities in roofing?

Cabrera: Set aside any preconceived notions you have about gender and what women and men are capable of. There are so many opportunities for everyone.

Mortara: Prove yourself by knowing your stuff. Learn all you can by asking questions, talking with contractors and getting on roofs. I didn’t know that much about the industry or management of the business, but I took advantage of the training and resources around me to learn them.

Morrison: Anything you can do to learn your craft, products and company will help you feel educated when you represent your company.

O’Brien: There aren’t Cliffs Notes for how to succeed, so that makes it so important to ask questions and listen to people.

What is your advice for women just starting out in the industry?

Cabrera: Consider joining a professional organization to connect with others in the industry and surround yourself with supportive people.

O’Brien: Enjoy it! There’s going to be a learning curve, but that happens with any job. You can learn something from every single person in this industry. There is usually some training available through organizations and companies like ABC Supply, but so much of what you learn happens on the job.

While these women have a variety of experiences, one thing is clear: There are so many opportunities for women in the roofing industry. Learn how you can join these women in building a successful career at ABC Supply by searching current opportunities here.

 


 

Jennifer Piper

o Outside sales representative in Columbus, Ohio
o Jennifer has been in the industry since college. She started in an administrative position with a roofing contractor before taking a role with ABC Supply. She’s been in the industry for over 26 years.

 


 

Kendra Cabrera

o Delivery services manager in Seattle, Washington
o Kendra was a stay-at-home-mom before deciding to go back to work. She started working a couple hours a week for a roofing contractor specializing in green roof remediation and quickly realized that she loved the work. She’s been in the industry for six years.

 


 

Juanita Morrison

o Branch manager in North Kansas City, Missouri
o Originally in banking, Juanita was looking for a role in a different industry when she found a position with a siding and window company nearly 25 years ago. She moved to Norandex, which was later acquired by ABC Supply.

 


 

Laura Mortara

o Branch manager in Lexington, Kentucky
o Laura was a freelance designer for a number of years before taking a customer service job with a distributor 25 years ago. When the company was acquired, she became an assistant manager and saw an opportunity to manage her own ABC Supply branch 18 years ago.

 


 

Kelley O’Brien

o Business manager focusing on low-slope roofing for ABC Supply’s Midwest Region
o After realizing something was missing during her 20-year IT career, Kelley took what she loved about her job—building things, project management, design, solving challenges—and found her fit in the construction industry.

 


About ABC Supply

ABC Supply Co. Inc. is the largest wholesale distributor of roofing in the United States and one of the nation’s largest wholesale distributors of select exterior and interior building products. It was founded in 1982 and today has nearly 15,000 associates at more than 760 locations throughout the country.

An “employee-first” company, ABC Supply is at 13-time Gallup Great Workplace Award winner and recipient of Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Award. Learn more about the company here.

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