A couple months ago, my associate, Liz Obloy, told me I should consider attending a roofing related event in nearby Atlanta. All she knew was that it was for Latino roofing contractors and would be all in Spanish. I do not know how to speak Spanish, but Roofing Contractor has followed the progression of Latinos in roofing for years and I thought it might be important to check it out.
And Liz has never led me astray. No, that is not exactly right. Let me just say she has never referred me to any event that was not legit.
I arrived early, which was fortunate because it gave me a chance to get a feel for the event and what to expect. The first person I encountered was Alan Lopez, lead CARE training manger for GAF. Lopez leads GAF’s efforts in supporting and connecting with Latino roofing contractors. GAF, along with SRS Distribution, and a number of other companies, were sponsoring the event, Empoderandos Latinos en Roofing and Construction, which translates to "Empowering Latinos in Roofing and Construction."
Any decent reporter would want to speak with the person or persons in charge, so I asked Lopez and others to help me find them. I encountered a number of roofing contractors from all over the country. I met Luis from Connecticut and Daniel from Texas. I ran into Julissa Chavez with SRS Distribution. Chavez was a territory manager for SRS in Atlanta and moved to their corporate office to head their efforts in supporting and connecting with Latino roofing contractors.
At last, I met Amparo Sancen with Sancen Roofing, who was leading the conference. She explained that the Empoderandos events have been happening on a regular basis and that the next one is planned for Dallas, Texas, on Sept. 9. Lopez told me that GAF is holding a Spanish-language contractor event in Dallas on Sept. 10 in Dallas. It’s expected that the two events will draw contractors from the Dallas Metroplex as well as other parts of the country.
Topics covered in this seminar included insurance, sales, marketing, business planning, building a winning culture, and others, all presented in Spanish. The presenters were a mixture of topic experts and contractors, not unlike our own Best of Success Conference. The fact that I did not speak the language was a bit of a challenge for me, but the attendees were all fully engaged. Held on a Saturday, the usual distractions for these business owners were not an issue. Question and answer portions of the day were lively.
Delighted to have attended this event. Roofing Contractor will continue to follow and report on the efforts of this group. We have been covering Latinos in roofing since just after the turn of the century. At first, it was all about how U.S. roofing contractors should connect with their Latino roofers. We had Ricardo Gonzalez speak and write about Latino cultures as well as giving advice on instructions on how to learn Spanish.
Today, more and more Latino roofers from 20 years ago are taking off their tool belt and looking to own and operate their own roofing business. The transition, as many roofing contractors know, is not an easy one. Having a forum where these contractors can learn from experts and other contractors, as well as the excellent networking opportunity, is going to be key to their success.