A Letter from the Chair

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

What an exciting summer for National Women in Roofing! We launched membership during the WSRCA and FRSA shows with great excitement. In July we welcomed our 100th member and we are still adding members daily. All of the amazing women and men working on NWIR committees feel a great sense of accomplishment but it is definitely accompanied by a greater sense of urgency to deliver ongoing education, mentoring, networking and recruiting.

Throughout this newsletter you will read about the activity of our committees. It is all driven by volunteer time and commitment of women and men who are simply amazing. We have councils that are beginning to form around the country. They are focused on getting more roofing professionals involved with this great initiative while growing the four foundational pillars of NWIR; education, mentoring, networking and recruiting.

Some results we are seeing from the committees’ hard work are NWIR toolkits which will come available by the end of the summer. We are interested in early feedback on what we have developed especially on councils. If you are interested in helping with the beta of the tool kit, please email us at info@nationalwomeninroofing.com. We want as much feedback as possible.

Also, please take the time to register for membership. We want to have everyone involved. There have been some questions on what the membership dues will support. Fifty percent of dues will go back to local councils to support their grassroots efforts. How that will work will be in the upcoming Council tool kit. The other fifty percent is being used to develop educational, mentoring, networking and recruiting initiatives. This is what the committees are working on right now so if you have ideas or would like to help, please email us.

Finally, if for any reason you have emailed in the past and have not received a response, please do not give up on us. We are all volunteers and our day jobs can get a bit crazy. But with our great executive director, Ellen Thorp, we are getting better and we want you to be involved. Our next gathering will be at the MRCA show in October so if you are planning on attending the convention, join us for one of our ongoing benefits, a great mentoring program! See you there!

Community Service

Great things are happening this month at GoodWill! I have been invited to participate in their Job-C workshop for their job seekers. My teaching session will touch on the importance of dressing appropriately in the workplace and the benefits to oneself and your new employer. I will be ending my session by assisting with mock interviews. I am really excited with all the great work GoodWill contributes to all communities. – Fran Nichols, Committee Chair


The Council Committee is finalizing details for its Council Charter and Scope so that we can formally launch by early Fall. We, as women, must empower one another by working together, fostering relationships, leading by example, offering encouragement and support, and sharing what works for us. And, we hope that the Councils will provide us a place to do just that on a local and state level. – Alison LaValley, Committee Chair

“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.” – Kofi Annan


The Education Committee held their first strategic planning meeting on July 18th. Heather Estes was elected as our committee secretary and we welcomed new committee member Lorna Mendez of Flynn Building Company to the group. Lorna Mendez agreed to work as our liaison for recruitment, Heather Estes will coordinate presentations and planning, Hannah Safren will manage the outreach assignment, and Thea Davis will coordinate events and our speakers bureau.

The Committee is working on a master document which will outline all career paths for women within the Roofing Industry. We will be developing one hour monthly Webinars highlighting a potential career path. Our first production, will be Roofing Careers 101 which will not only highlight jobs within the industry but also key terms and definitions all with the goal of empowering women in the roofing industry. This will ultimately serve as the foundation for our library of educational webinars for 2016.

Our program on Career Paths for Women in Roofing has been chosen as an education feature at IRE 2017! – Shelly Duhaime, Committee Chair


Roofing contractors are all too familiar with the current shortage of skilled labor. Approximately 56% of employers seeking to fill roofing positions report having trouble filling those positions, according to a survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America. The shortage, however, is an opportunity for women to increase their market share in the roofing industry and for roofing contractors to utilize a valuable untapped workforce segment.

In order to capitalize on this win-win opportunity, roofing contractors can take the following steps to lay the groundwork for hiring women:

  • Ensure that job postings are gender neutral;
  • Ensure that job and workplace facilities are gender appropriate;
  • Provide regular gender diversity awareness training; or
  • Develop in-house training programs to prepare women for the job.

Additionally, women in the roofing profession can help by increasing visibility so that female students are aware of opportunities within the roofing industry. For decades, women have occupied a mere 3% of the construction workforce according to the National Women’s Law Center. Roofing contractors have the opportunity to help change this static statistic while meeting the needs of their companies. – Hilary Morgan, Committee Member


New membership registrations are coming in everyday as word of our new association spreads far and wide to all corners of the roofing industry. Women and men have commented, “What a great idea. I wonder why nobody thought of this before!”

Women and men who work in any facet of the roofing industry can join for just $60 per year and be part of supporting this emerging Association. Over the next few months the membership committee will be strategizing ways to grow the membership, more clearly delineate member benefits, and developing the committee with varied representation from across the country. Please contact Buffy Upchurch (chair) bupchurch@srsdistribution.com or Mardee Billingsley (vice-chair) mbillingsley@tremcoinc.com for more information on joining the committee. To register for membership, please visit the NWIR website at www.nationalwomeninroofing.com

“One woman can make a difference but together we can rock the world!”


The National Women in Roofing (NWIR) Mentorship Committee is excited to announce that our first official event will be held at the 2016 MRCA Conference in November in Columbus, OH. NWIR will be hosting a Mentoring Circles Event & Cocktail Reception. We have asked 3 very impressive speakers to share their stories and experience in the roofing industry and afterwards answer any questions in a roundtable setting. Our first speaker will be none other than the founder of the National Women in Roofing Council, Heidi Ellsworth. Please take a moment to read her bio below, and watch for more information about this event and sign up. – Mallory Payne, Committee Chair

Heidi J. Ellsworth, a graduate of University of Portland, has been working in the roofing industry since 1993. Having held positions with Malarkey Roofing, Carlisle Construction and EagleView Technologies, Heidi is best known as the founder of the roofing-focused marketing firm, HJE Marketing.

After recently leading marketing initiatives for EagleView Technology Corp and Pictometry along with overseeing EagleView’s construction sales division, she now runs HJE Consulting Group. This sales and marketing consulting firm focuses on supporting overall marketing strategies and implementation along with providing consulting to build strong collaboration between sales and marketing teams for business profitability and success.

Ellsworth is a contributor to Professional Roofing and Western Roofing, Siding & Insulation Magazine that focuses on marketing tactics for roofing contractors. She is also a regular contributor to Midwest Roofer and Roofing Florida Magazine. She serves on the boards of Western States Roofing Contractors Association and Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association and recently helped found the national Women in Roofing Council where she now serves as chairperson for the organization.