Hillary McPartlon, CEO of McPartlon Roofing, has made it one of her missions to be an integral part in transforming the construction industry. She is an ambassador for professionalizing roofing and empowering women in roofing.
The roofing sector has historically been dominated by a male workforce. Today, women make up less than one percent of the roofing industry’s total workforce, and around 0.011 percent of people employed in all areas of construction. Many factors contribute to the low number of employed women roofers, but most of them are based on misconceptions and long-standing gender biases.
McPartlon Roofing’s sights are set on changing these misconceptions and proving that women are just as competent as their male peers in their abilities to excel in the roofing industry. In 2018, in one of her first jobs at the helm of McPartlon Roofing, Hillary recruited and trained a predominantly female crew to re-roof the activity center at Girls Inc. In an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican, when asked whether this was a calculated move, Hillary is quoted as having said “It was part of my push to really make it visible to girls, to women, to the community, that this is what we have been working on and pushing for…” Visible representation is sometimes the pivotal thing that alters how a person may see themselves in a role they may not have previously considered.
With the global roofing market poised for growth over the next decade, there is opportunity and demand to bring more women into the industry at all levels. Roofing offers multiple career paths through non-traditional and traditional routes. McPartlon Roofing offers an in-house certified training program through the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). Trainees participate in classes, demonstrations, and on-the-job training. At the end of each training participants receive an NRCA certificate and official ID card verifying their mastery of installation techniques. NRCA also promotes the participation in other volunteer organizations that offer additional training, mentorship and support like National Women in Roofing (NWiR).
The New Mexico Council of National Women in Roofing was founded in 2017 by Hillary and a coworker. Hillary is the current chair of the state council, and she says they exist to mentor, educate, network, and recruit women in a roofing career. The growing council has open meetings to anyone interested in learning more about NWiR or who want to know how to support the advancement, empowerment, and inclusion of women.
The main obstacle that women face when stepping into the industry is not the challenges presented on the job, but the longstanding stigmas centered around women in manual labor. Whether a person wants to work with their hands and be outside in the fresh air surrounded by breathtaking views, fly a drone, use chemistry and math in real-world applications, or work in an fast-paced office environment. Careers in roofing are for people who take pride in knowing they provide protection. It is more than just a roof. It is a shelter made of solid lines, and beautiful details that speak to its quality. It is art.