This FH series introduces readers to a few of the women who make up 11 percent of the construction workforce in the United States, spotlighting stories of their careers in the field.

Exterior contracting runs in Sarah Lechowich’s family. Though she loved to tinker in her dad’s shop as a kid, she hesitated following her father and grandfather into the trades as a career.

“When I was younger, I felt torn between helping Mom in the kitchen and wanting to help Dad out in the garage,” she says. “Like a lot of women, I was torn between cultural and societal expectations and what was pulling my interest.”

So she became a university professor, then got a gig at a community nonprofit teaching young people about trades and apprenticeships. It wasn’t until she helped one of her friends start a roofing business when the notion of entering the trades herself came about.

“I just fell in love with it,” she says. “I didn’t realize how rewarding it was.”

Five years later, Lechowich started a roofing company in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. At first, she did it as a hobby to help out friends and family. But soon it blossomed. Because she felt she finally found her direction in life, she named her company True North Roofing.

“I thought I had done everything I could to get away from my family trade background,” she says. “But eventually we start to listen to where our internal compass is pulling us. Apparently, mine led me to roofs and siding.

“I never would have expected it, but here I am. I’ve never been happier. It’s the best thing ever, and I love bringing other women into the trades.”

We asked Lechowich for her thoughts on the state of the roofing industry and how to attract more young people to the trades.

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