Sherri Miles is always hustling. While tackling customer expectations as president of a multi-generational family roofing business, or forging her own trailblazing legacy as a business owner may be enough for most, she still finds the time to balance a hectic family schedule and give back to the industry she loves.
Miles said she does it because she’s focused on constantly improving, regardless of perceived or real challenges in the way. As she’s told RC before, the COVID-19 pandemic created a vehicle for change and there’s a real need — and opportunity — to solidify the industry’s future right now.
“Roofing must be at the table and be a viable option for different populations. We cannot rely on the old ways of finding new employees,” she explained. “This disruption is an opportunity to find new and amazing employees and pay them appropriately so we are competitive and attractive places to work. We need to be thinking of roofing as an aspirational profession, not a fallback if nothing else pans out.”
To that end, Miles is working hard as a member of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) executive board and partnering with other industry leaders to support training and education initiatives that further uplift the industry.
Roofing Contractor: Will you tell us about the state of roofing in Virginia?
Sherri Miles: Like the rest of the country, roofing in Virginia is plagued by labor shortages, material shortages and delays, and constant price increases. We’re a bit unique and can usually weather economic downturns or disruptions because we’re so heavily reliant on military and government spending that is always robust. However, we’re not shielded from this perfect storm of labor and materials shortages. We constantly manage our customers’ expectations.
RC: What have you learned about the industry through your involvement with the NRCA during this crisis and COVID-19?
SM: The most important thing I’ve learned from all the industry organizations I’m involved with is that we are in this together, and the solution is to work together to collaborate. Major disruptions lead to innovation and creative new ways of doing business. It’s a perfect opportunity to try new things and learn better ways of doing things.
RC: How do we get more women on the roof?
SM: Hire women! Give them a chance. I find that if I can have more than one woman on a crew there is power in numbers. I encourage women to get involved with affinity groups like National Women in Roofing and the National Association of Women in Construction. Learn from others. Success leads to more success. Women can imagine themselves on the roof when they see other women already doing the work. I’m grateful for the women who have shown me the way, and I hope to be the model for those coming after me.
RC: What will you cover in your Best of Success presentation and what do you hope contractors take away?
SM: I’m speaking on how to find and utilize money for training in the skilled trades. I’m a huge proponent of education and uplifting the professionalism of our industry. I’ve found some programs that tap into various government funding and reimbursements for identifying a new pipeline of next generation workers from atypical sources, and have paired funding for skilling up these employees and introducing them to construction.
RC: When were you last in Dallas, and what do you love?
RG: I love Dallas! I love the diversity of the population. I love both the haute couture and dining experiences and a dive Mexican restaurant that I walked to at IRE (2020). I rode the light rail to the convention center from my hotel every day and learned a ton from watching and talking to fellow passengers. It’s important to understand what all people go through to get to work every day. It’s a huge opportunity to understand what roofing needs to focus on to get all types of people into our industry