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Casting the Net for the Future WorkforceCasting the Net for the Future Workforce

IRE panel session will cover how Roofing Technology Think Tank contractor members are building a pipeline for the future roofing workforce. They will also share what they are doing, how they got started and tips for success.

Anthony Locicero

January 21, 2022

6 Min Read
Concept of economic crisis, people unemployment and production

At the 2022 International Roofing Expo, Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3) contractor members will take part in a panel "Casting the Net for the Future Workforce" to share how they are working with schools, youth programs and communities to build a pipeline for the future roofing workforce. 

"This session highlights and provides insights to address the biggest challenge we are experiencing in our industry," said John Peck, CEO and co-founder of PB Roofing, and one of the panelists. "Our competition has grown. We are no longer competing with other contractors for sales, we are now competing with ALL companies, across ALL industries, for people."

The panel also includes Charles Antis, CEO and founder of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing; Christee Holbrook, owner of Graham Roofing, Inc.; Heidi Ellsworth, a partner at RoofersCoffeeShop; and Josey Parks, CEO of Cognitive Contractor.

From multi-organizational apprenticeship programs to working with youth from schools who don’t want to pursue college to getting involved in the community and developing in-house training opportunities, these contractors will share what they are doing, how they got started and tips for success.

"We have to ask ourselves the tough question—What are we doing to address this issue internally within our own businesses?" Peck told Roofing & Exteriors. "If we, as employers, are not engaging with the future workforce, some other company will. How can we be innovative and smart to become an employer of choice using technology and strategy to showcase a career in roofing versus other industries? This doesn’t apply to only our skilled tradespeople. This applies to any functional role within a company."

"It is our duty to mentor the future workforce. We do that by getting involved in education at all levels and in our communities," Holbrook told Roofing & Exteriors. "We are not only trying to recruit the next generation but we are also trying to change the perception of the construction/roofing industry/skill trades."

According to Holbrook, parents and school counselors are "some of our biggest hurdles to overcome."

"We are fighting the battle that society has cast that everyone needs to go to college or get a higher education," she said. "Skill trades is a higher education if you look at how it’s defined. Maybe it’s time WE as an industry start talking about skilled trades as a higher education versus 'an alternate pathway.' The construction industry invests tons of money and resources into our employees including numerous types of certifications."

Added Peck: "We will share some methods we used to help address this item, and also share in areas that we still may be struggling to solve."

Tuesday’s education schedule at IRE:

7:45–9:00 a.m.: Avoid Common Financial Pitfalls and Business Structure Mistakes

7:45–9:00 a.m.: State of the Industry Research – The Deep Dive

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Casting the Net for Your Future Workforce

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Coffee Is For CLOSERS

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Steep-slope Contractors Plug Into Integrated Photovoltaic Roof Systems

7:45–9:15 a.m.: How to Leverage Fluid Applied Roofing Systems to Scale your Commercial Business

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Protecting Yourself & Your Customers from Insurer Fraud

7:45–9:15 a.m.: The Business Case for Challenging the Status Quo – Improving Employee Recruitment, Retention, and Culture

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Top Safety Training/Certifications for the Roofing Industry

9:30 a.m.–10:50 a.m.: Keynote Session: Lessons. . . An insider’s look at 40 years of Learning, Falling, Failing, and Succeeding

11:15 a.m.–noon: The Science of Successful In-Home Selling

11:30 a.m.– 12:15 p.m.: Accounting Doesn’t Have to Suck!

Noon–12:45 p.m.: Navigating Payment Options

12:15 p.m.–1:15 p.m.: Vinyl Siding Institute Presents – The Basics of Vinyl Siding Installation

12:30–1:15 p.m.: Roofing Apprenticeship Program Certified by Department of Labor

1:30–2:15 p.m.: How to Sell More Effectively in the Home Using a Proven System

1:30–2:30 p.m.: Revolutionizing the Industry with Technology, Training & Drones

2:00–2:45 p.m.: Adhesives in Single Ply Roof Systems

2:45–3:30 p.m.: Run your Business More Efficiently and be More Profitable!

3:40–4:25 p.m.: Build Up Your Marketing Foundation and Increase Your ROI for 2022

4:00–4:45 p.m.: Why Supporting Your Community is Good for Business: From Volunteering to Recycling

Wednesday’s education schedule at IRE:

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Job Hazard Analysis: How can they help with your company’s safety?

7:45–9:15 a.m.: NRCA Update on Roofing Industry Technical Issues

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Production Mastery System

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Resilient Asphalt Shingle Roofs

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Stop Training, Start Coaching

7:45–9:15 a.m.: The Economics of Roofing: The Market Ahead

7:45–9:15 a.m.: The Four Ways Drone Technology Improves Your Bottom Line

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Understanding Metal Roofing: Part I

8:00–11:00 a.m.: The Roofing Alliance Construction Management Student Competition

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.:Estimating the Right Way

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: Financial Mastery and Key Performance Indicators

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: Fundamentals of Insulation Vapor Retarders, Air Barriers and Attic Ventilation

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: GEN Z: The Roofing Industry’s Future Has Arrived

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: How to Prevent Embezzling in Your Roofing Business

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: Killer Contract Clauses

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: Proven Durability, Natural Slate (Steep Slope)

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: Revolutionary Marketing - From NASCAR, to Football, to the Rackley Army

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: Understanding Metal Roofing: Part II

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: Why Roofers should be Installing Solar

11:15 a.m.–noon: The Keys to Rapid Growth and Profitability for Siding, Replacement Window and Roofing Contractors

11:30 a.m.– 12:15 p.m.: Stop FEELING & Start KNOWING

Noon–12:45 p.m.: Green Building Trends and Tools: What You Need to Know for Your Business

12:15 p.m.–1:15 p.m.: Vinyl Siding Institute Presents – The Basics of Vinyl Siding Installation

12:30–1:15 p.m.: Rooftop Equipment Securement: Codes and Solutions

1:30–2:15 p.m.: How to Grow your Roofing Business by Cross-Selling Siding & Windows

1:30–2:30 p.m.: Maximizing Efficiency with Polyglass Self-Adhered Roofing Membranes

2:00–2:45 p.m.: Navigating Material Substitutions for Low Slope Roofing Systems

2:30–3:15 p.m.: How Private Equity Investment will Change the Way Home Improvement Companies Go To Market

2:45–3:30 p.m.: What Leading Contractors are Doing Today to Stay Relevant and Competitive

4:00–4:45 p.m.: Blown Away by ASCE 7-16

Thursday’s education schedule at IRE:

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Adapting to Material Price Increases and Shortages

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Commercial Flat Roofing: Components and Damage Assessment

7:45–9:15 a.m.: How to Leverage your Distributor as a Partner for Success in Today’s Environment

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Managing Customer Expectations

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Metal Deck 101 - Metal Deck Replacement

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Tools and Techniques for Surviving an OSHA Inspection

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Tired of Losing Jobs Based on Price? Learn How to Make Your Proposals Stand Out

7:45–9:15 a.m.: Unlocking Service Growth - Live!

8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.: NRCA Foreman Leadership Training, Level 1

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: 2021 I-codes: Roofing-Related Changes

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: Blueprint for the Future: Building a Successful and Resilient Company

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.:Boot Camp for Field Leaders—Four Corners of Field Leadership Excellence

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: Building up Industry & Legacy Together: Watching Brand & Culture Soar!

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: How a Great Commercial Service Department Can Drive Your Entire Company

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: Making Your Business Better: Residential Contractors Committee Roundtable

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: Roofing with the Corps: Doing Roof Work in the Government Environment with US Army Corps of Engineers

9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: The Top 5 Mistakes Roofing Companies Make with Sales Data (and How to Earn Big by Fixing Them

About the Author(s)

Anthony Locicero

Associate Editor, Roofing & Exteriors

Anthony Locicero is an experienced journalist, editor and content creator who has covered breaking news, municipal news and sports before moving into the B2B space. 

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