Once upon a time there was a roofing contractor named Marcus Eytcheson, owner of Local Roofing LLC in Fairmont, Minn. Eytcheson received an invitation from his daughter’s elementary school to read to her class, but when he went to choose a book, found the selection to be lacking.
“I really couldn’t find anything that resonated with me,” Eytcheson said. “They’ve got the basic police officer, firefighter, astronaut books, the ‘this is what I want to be when I grow up,’ but there really isn’t much out there for the trades.”
That’s when Eytcheson decided to fill that void and wrote “Up on the Rooftop,” a children’s book explaining a typical day in the life of a roofer. The book follows Marcos the Roofer as he takes care of everything from rolling out tarps to the tear-off of the roof and nailing on shingles.
He said the story itself didn’t take much time to write, but he had to go back through and edit it so that children would have an easier time reading it.
“That might have been the hardest part of the whole thing,” he said. “Some of it is not worded the way I would if I’m talking to my guys, but at least a kid can read it.”
Eytcheson has been in the roofing industry for most of his life, with brothers and his father in the roofing and carpentry industries. He worked for roofing companies until deciding to branch out on his own in 2015. His company consists of four locations: Fairmont Roofing in Fairmont, Becker Roofing in Becker, Folie Roofing in Waseca, and Hayward Roofing in Hayward, Wis.
Thanks to the solid work his roofing company performs, Eytcheson had an easy time finding someone who could illustrate the book. Around a year ago, after shingling a customer’s roof, that customer’s son — a cartoonist named Joe Engesser — sent a thank you card featuring a drawing he did of Eytcheson. Fast forward to Eytcheson writing the book, and when it came time to illustrate it, he remembered that special card.
“I always kept the card, it was hanging on the fridge, kind of like a trophy,” he said. “So I reached out to him … and he agreed to do it, it all worked out awesome.”
The book is written in English and Spanish. Eytcheson said with a lot of his workers being Latino, he wanted the book to be bilingual so they could read it to their kids and teach them about the work they do. A friend of Eytcheson’s from church helped translate it into Spanish.
Originally, “Up on the Rooftop” was going to be limited as a gift for workers and customers, but due to demand, Eytcheson reached out to the company that handles Local Roofing's yard signs to print the book. Eytcheson said the book is just one aspect of his company’s larger goal of improving the reputation of the roofing industry, and perhaps even inspire future generations into entering the industry.
“I feel like we’re doing the right thing, and we’re heading in the right direction,” he said. “It’s an uphill battle recruiting as a roofing company because nobody looks at roofing as a legitimate business. I don’t think people realize the money that can be made in the roofing industry and that it can be a real business, it’s not just guys roofing on the weekend for beer.”
“Up on the Rooftop" is available for purchase here.