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In Your Community

Supporting Latino Roofing Professionals at the 2nd Annual Latinos in Roofing Expo

By Annie Crawford

January 17, 2024

A smiling group of men and women gather in front of a red expo backdrop for a photo.

Spirits were high at the second annual GAF Latinos in Roofing Expo, where more than 600 Latino roofing professionals gathered in Houston, Texas, for networking, business growth, and education seminars—all in Spanish. "To have a conference dedicated to Latinos, I love it," says Jorge Parada. "I'm sitting next to somebody that looks like me, that speaks the same language. It's a different experience from other conferences."

Empowering Attendees at the Latinos in Roofing Expo

The Latinos in Roofing Expo is one way GAF is working to level the playing field for Latino roofing professionals. Rather than take a one-size-fits-all approach, the expo provides education and resources that consider the Latino community's unique challenges. For example, industry experts taught classes in Spanish such as The Power of Latinos in Your Company's Culture, In-home Selling, Single Ply TPO, Coatings, and The Power of Content Creation for Roofing Companies.

In addition to networking with other top-tier contractors, attendees received education in Spanish about the newest GAF contractor products, programs, and trainings designed to help roofers run—and grow—their companies. According to several attendees, these "culturally intended" business growth sessions, offered in Spanish, were one of the most valuable aspects of the conference.

Many other conferences and training opportunities expect Latino roofing professionals to thrive with resources that cater to the non-Hispanic, English-speaking contractor community. In contrast, the Latinos in Roofing Expo empowered attendees through culturally intended offerings and shared language.

"The majority of these [Hispanic] contractors speak English, but it's also cultural. So, the way we do business has to feel culturally intended. Do business like Hispanics do business. Speak the language Hispanics speak," says Alan Lopez, GAF CARE training operations manager. Lopez has been a leading advocate for Latino roofing contractors at GAF and in the roofing industry as a whole.

A man stands at the head of a room to give a roofing presentation to a class in spenish.

Improving Latino Roofers' Access to Resources

Many Latino roofers have experienced disadvantages when rising in the roofing ranks because of language and/or cultural differences. For too long, the industry has pigeonholed Latinos into labor roles. As a result, Latinos are drastically underrepresented in roofing leadership, despite making up 57.7% of the roofing industry. Improving access to resources and cultural interactions is a sign of the roofing industry evolving.

"GAF is the front-runner in helping Latinos, because they have given us so many free resources and free seminars in Spanish," says conference attendee Junior Garcia, CEO. "They have allowed us to get to know what other [non-Hispanic] contractors already know." Some of the GAF culturally intended resources include:

  • Spanish-language GAF website with the same user-friendly features as the English-language GAF website.
  • Spanish-language GAF Document Library for Residential and Commercial GAF roofing products, including technical bulletins, warranty guarantees, data sheets, and more.
  • Spanish-language GAF CARE trainings and resources, including business development courses, hands-on-trainings, and more—all taught with the needs of Latino contractors in mind.
  • Spanish-language events, such as the 2023 GAF Latinos in Roofing Expo, designed to develop Hispanics in roofing leadership.

Connecting with Latino Consumers

Developing Latino contractors also creates a powerful financial opportunity to serve Latino consumers. This benefits Hispanics in roofing and the roofing industry as a whole.

Too often, Latino consumers are overlooked and underestimated. In fact, the Latino consumer base currently has unmet needs of more than $100 billion. Empowering Latino roofers to develop and grow as business leaders is one way to help bring change. "If you want to do business with the Latino community, you have to speak their language," says Hugo Saldaña, GAF territory manager in Houston, Texas.

Speaking as a Latino professional in the roofing industry, Saldaña explains that people are at the heart of increasing a consumer base and growing contractor opportunities. "My parents preferred to do business with people who also spoke Spanish, their native language," says Saldaña. "Every day, when I go into work with these guys, it's like helping my dad or my mom. I think when you do that, and these guys know there's a caring relationship there, it goes a long way."

A large gathering of LIR 2023 Attendees show their pride

Moving Towards the Future

Latinas in Roofing

While the Latinos in Roofing Expo is a huge win, GAF and the roofing industry still have opportunities to grow. For example, GAF recognizes that female Latina roofing professionals may experience more challenges than their male counterparts. "There are a lot of challenges we [women roofing professionals] face, but there are opportunities for leadership. Now there are more resources and training and more opportunities to build our skills and build our knowledge, and be able to have the same opportunities as men," says Valeria Avila of Servi Express Roofing. GAF provides opportunities to empower women in roofing and recognizes the benefit of forming better bridges between women and the roofing industry.

A group of 4 LIR Expo attendees smile at an event table together.

Resources for Growth

Although there is work to be done, the 2023 GAF Latinos in Roofing Expo is another step forward for the roofing industry. "Our company has done an amazing job—we now have a Spanish website and cater a lot to the Hispanic community, but there's still greater need," said Andres Beltran, a GAF CARE training manager based in Greenville, South Carolina.

As the industry continues to evolve, Beltran encourages Latino roofers to connect with the free, Spanish-language training services and business development opportunities at GAF CARE Contractor Training Centers. "Whether it be from a marketing standpoint, financing, business development, leadership, insurance, and restoration—we can help Latino contractors to elevate their game," says Beltran.

Learn more (in Spanish) about GAF resources and GAF certification opportunities today.

About the Author

Annie Crawford is a freelance writer in Oakland, CA, covering travel, style, and home improvement. Find more of her work at annielcrawford.com.

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