Latinos in the roofing industry were provided with custom-tailored educational and networking opportunities at the International Roofing Expo (IRE) this year in New Orleans, thanks to the Para Latinos booth hosted by SRS Distribution.
Julissa Chavez, the Latino program manager for SRS Distribution, said it is known that Latinos make up most of the labor force in the roofing industry.
“What we focus on is resources and connecting people to help them start a business,” she said.
Chavez said the programs at the SRS Para Latino booth were geared towards laborers who wanted to make the switch over to owning a business and working for themselves. They also focused on existing business owners who wanted training to develop their professional skills.
“If you already have a company that’s accomplished and established and now you’re like, ‘well, you know what, how do I diversify the services that my company can provide?’ We’re here to help you grow to that third level,” Chavez said.
She said more Latino businesses owners will mean more Latino mentors in the roofing industry.
“We’re looking forward to starting a mentorship program in 2023, where we can connect people who are very successful to other people who want to grow their companies but just don’t know how,” she said. “There’s this competitiveness between Latinos that we know.”
She said the program will try to eliminate existing sentiments that prevent the sharing of successful business models.
Spanish-speaking IRE attendees were able to enjoy education sessions offered in Spanish at the SRS Para Latinos booth, which were offered by top vendors. According to the company’s website, classes offered at the booth included “Sales 101,” offered by IKO, and an introduction to TopShield Products.
Other classes offered included “Technically Selling Roofing,” offered by GAF, and “Three Secrets for Success in 2022,” offered by CertainTeed. Tamko also offered a “Prepare for Storm Season” class at the booth.
Chavez said she has been in the roofing industry since 2014 and she began to notice that Spanish-speaking customers had few resources available. She said many of her customers didn’t understand what it meant to get certified with a manufacturer, offer financing, or sell roofing systems, or what to do if an insurance claim gets denied.
“We’ve evolved, absolutely, when it comes to bringing the resources together through this program, which was started in June 2020,” Chavez said. “So from 2014 until June 2020, there weren't many resources until we started this.”
She said nowadays, many large manufacturers are partnered with SRS Distribution to support programs for Latinos in the roofing industry.
“Through our vendor partnerships we’ve been able to do education, we’ve been able to do this booth,” Chavez said. “And it's been beautiful because I think everybody wanted to, there just was somebody that needed to kickstart the movement.”
Chavez said she now considers the movement to lift Latinos in the roofing industry as kickstarted.
“This is the first booth that we have here and we’re planning on coming back,” she said.
Chavez said the SRS Distribution Para Latino booth would be bigger and better at the 2023 IRE show in Dallas.
“We’re just excited to be able to continue to progress the movement for the Spanish-speaking roofing community,” she said.