This year in honor of Women’s History Month, Roofing Is Celebrating Women. Let’s not just celebrate the women who are written in the history books but let’s also celebrate ourselves.
This month, you will see highlights of women to be celebrated within our industry.
Heather Estes, GAF
- How did you get involved in the roofing industry?
I started in the chemistry lab. I fell in love with analytical chemistry while researching biodiesel made from algae. As I learned more about biodiesel, I slowly fell in love with the complexity of crude oil and asphalt chemistry. I began working at a testing lab, and enjoyed the fast-paced world of test standards, product specifications, and forensic failures in the field.
- What is one of the key things you’ve learned about yourself that you wish you would’ve known when you first entered the roofing industry?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure can open so many doors because it forces you to look at things in a different perspective and to ask about new opportunities. The only real failure is when you stop learning and growing.
- In the spirit of Women’s History Month, who in your life has been an inspiring female figure that has helped you get to where you are today, physically, emotionally, intellectually and/or spiritually?
I have some pretty awesome aunts in my life. My Aunt Harriett has taught me how to love my own voice, value honesty, and never put up with someone else’s negativity. And my Aunt Nancy has taught me how to be more confident and how to live life to the fullest.
- Who is one of your favorite Women in History?
Maya Angelou. The ability to use the human language and poetry to impact so many is inspiring to me.
- As we know, many of the women in our industry are always juggling multiple responsibilities. How do you manage a work-life balance?
I constantly struggle with this balance, but I think I am getting better. I am very career oriented and my family has always supported me in my endeavors. But I try to ask for help when I need it, take help when it’s offered, and give help when I see someone struggling. I have also learned the benefits of rest and relaxation. And then there is the power of laughter. My family and I cannot get through most things without cracking a joke or a room full of smiles.
- Share an example of a time when you realized you were one of the first women at your job, school, family, or social organization to do something that had a meaningful impact or caused a positive change?
When I did field research. We used to joke that the best part of being a female in the field is that you never have to wait in line for a bathroom. But beyond the bathroom logistics, I rarely felt like my gender changed how I did my job (or how I was perceived to do my job). I have always been willing to jump on to a roof, run out into a storm to measure hail, and spend endless weeks trying to figure out why. Where my gender seemed to make an impact was when I started to talk to others about the “male-dominated roofing industry”. I really enjoy being a 5-foot nothing, introverted, yet passionate woman who shatters career stereotypes and make you say, “Wow, I didn’t know women did that for a job!”
- Share something that you have been a part of that other women can follow in your footsteps and pave new trails in the industry?
Not to sound cheesy, but NWiR is where I have found my “shingle lady” tribe. We have done some pretty events and welcomed many new faces into the industry. I am really excited to see what changes come during the next few years!
NWiR is so grateful to Heather for her tireless efforts as a member of the Board of Directors and the Education Committee.
We are also grateful to her company, GAF, for their support of the association as a Founding Sponsor and now a Diamond Sponsor.