Six women from GAF have teamed up to teach other women how to make roof repairs.
Deidra Johnson is a Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence (CARE) Regional Training Manager at GAF serving Texas and the Ozarks. At NWIR Day, she will be using her roofing skills to train other women how to make basic repairs on a roof following a storm or weather incident.
I had the chance to talk to Deidra right before Christmas to learn more about her and how she came to work in roofing. Her journey into the roofing industry is an interesting story. Deidra’s first taste of construction came from her grandfather. “I was his sidekick and when I was little, I went everywhere with him,” explained Deidra. “That meant every Saturday we would go to the building supply store to get materials he needed to maintain his rental properties. Then I would help him make repairs.”
After high school, Deidra went to college and earned her degree in business, landing her first full-time job working as the manager of a Target. “I love Target, but I hated the job,” she said. “I was never able to be outside.” After moving back to her hometown, she began looking for a career change. “I saw a job on Monster for a property adjuster. As I read the requirements of a business degree and basic knowledge of construction, I looked at my dog and said, ‘this sounds perfect for me!’”
She got the job and spent two years in south Texas inspecting houses and working Hurricane Dolly. Deidra transferred to Oklahoma where she worked to recover stolen vehicles from Mexico. She eventually found herself working for a roofing company in Oklahoma after the Moore, Oklahoma tornado hit, estimating jobs and selling roofs. She was pretty good at it too, quickly becoming the top salesperson.
When an opportunity to lead a disaster response prep team with the Red Cross came up, she took it. It was just a one-year role, but it allowed her to do what she really enjoys – teach people. “I led a disaster prep team for a year, teaching business continuity planning, disaster preparation and response to schools, nonprofits, etc.,” explained Deidra.
After that, Deidra joined the catastrophe response team for a major insurance company. She worked the Sonoma County and Napa County fires in California, she was on cleanup for Superstorm Sandy and she worked hurricanes in Florida and tornados along the I-35 corridor. Deidra shared that while she was on the ‘management track’ and was a top performer, she was never offered that management role. “I took that as a sign and decided to pray about it,” she said. Her prayers were answered when she saw the training position with GAF.
Deidra trains contractors on commercial and residential roofing as well as all things related to storms and insurance work – an area she knows very well. She will be leading the training at this year’s NWIR Day, February 2, 2020 in Dallas, Texas.
“My colleagues and I are going to teach attendees how to patch a roof – to hold you over until you can get a contractor out. I want to give people something they can use,” explained Deidra. “I am a single female homeowner, and sometimes you just need to handle stuff on your own, do something to hold you over until you can get the help you need.”
The class description states that the class “will train attendees on how to conduct basic repairs on their shingle roofs, which will include making and installing a temporary tarp to keep water out until the weather cooperates and you have time to make repairs. Attendees will have opportunities to put on their work gloves, fabricate a tarp and make repairs.”
The GAF Team also includes the following members:
- Jennifer Keegan, Director of Building and Roofing Science
- Lynn Picone, Director of Inside Sales
- Jennifer Long, National Manager Commercial Contractor Programs
- Jamaca Berman, Senior Commercial Territory Manager
- JoAnn Moreno, Territory Manager