Roof Raisers: Aqua Seal Roofing Initiates Roofing Academy Training Class

By Karen L Edwards 11-29-2021
QUICK SHARE
Tag Icon

Although the GAF Master Select contractor Aqua Seal Manufacturing and Roofing Inc. has a robust team of 100 employees, the workload in the Columbia, South Carolina, metro area always has them looking for more help. As one of the top commercial roofing contractors in their market, they do everything from new construction to reroofing—and their leak detection skills have kept them in high demand for years.

Aqua Seal COO Mills Snell heads up recruiting efforts and says it can be a challenge to find strong candidates. "There's truly not that many experienced roofers out there. And if they are out there, they're not in the job market."

Hosting a Roofing Academy Training

When Snell learned about the GAF Roofing Academy, he knew he could change his recruiting approach to make finding team members easier. Rather than hiring only experienced roofers, he worked on expanding Aqua Seal's recruitment efforts to those who were eager to learn the ins and outs of the trade and who were willing to apply themselves by working hard.

Snell worked with the GAF Roofing Academy to provide an intensive five-day training in spring 2021 designed to teach students roofing skills. The first class of 20 students fully completed the training within a week—afterward, 15 students were interviewed and four ended up getting hired. Snell was impressed with the training and the knowledge that the students took away from the week.

"It subsidizes our onboarding process," says Snell. "We typically do a lot of on-the-job training and hope that they learn quickly. The students that went through the Roofing Academy learned as much in five days as they would after spending six months in the field. My foremen are fighting over who gets these new hires on their crews."

He worked with GAF to help refine the pool of students coming through the training program in his market, ultimately hosting a second Roofing Academy training week. Snell even recruited his own student after encountering great service while picking up a curbside order at a local store.

"I gave him my card and invited him to the Roofing Academy. He was one of the top guys in the class, and he's been a very good employee," says Snell.

Four students completed the second Roofing Academy week, and the company hired three of those graduates. Plans are in place to host a third training this winter.

Aqua Seal Roofing

Helping Graduates Succeed

Once a student completes the Roofing Academy training and gets hired, they are plugged into what Snell refers to as a very transparent framework. The GAF Roofing Academy graduates hired by Snell's team have a clear understanding of how ongoing training and wage progression will fit into their career at Aqua Seal.

Snell said that Aqua Seal has also recently become registered by the US Department of Labor to provide apprenticeships for commercial roofing, which adds to the benefits the company can offer to the academy graduates.

"We can provide $2,500 per apprentice in scholarships to attend our technical college network in the state," he says. "We've partnered with the schools to be able to offer continuing education classes like forklift certification, OSHA 10, and OSHA 30 at no cost to the employee."

Aqua Seal Roofing

Using WorkBelt as a Recruiting Tool

GAF is committed to addressing the labor shortages in the roofing industry by giving contractors tools to help them train and recruit workers. In addition to the Roofing Academy program, the company is also focused on connecting current and prospective roofing workers with GAF-certified contractors* who are hiring through the GAF WorkBelt platform.

Roofers can create a custom WorkBelt profile for free to highlight their unique qualifications and complete GAF online learning courses, which will display on the profile upon completion. GAF-certified contractors who are looking for workers can access the platform after logging in to their Certified Contractor Zone account and selecting the GAF WorkBelt tab.

Snell says that Aqua Seal has yet to use WorkBelt since it began hiring through the Roofing Academy—however, the team notes the platform's potential to help move the company forward in its recruiting efforts.

Ready to host your own GAF Roofing Academy program and hire expertly trained workers? Get started by learning more about the GAF Roofing Academy.


*Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program and offering GAF enhanced warranties, which require the use of a minimum amount of GAF products.

Don't miss another GAF RoofViews post!
LATEST UPDATES
Ventilation is defined by the U.S. Department of Energy as "the exchange of indoor and outdoor air." This sounds simple enough, but if your home's attic is not properly ventilated, excess heat and moisture cannot escape and can lead to a plethora of concerns for your home, your roof, and your wallet.
You can change the world by helping your neighbor, and the folks at JF Lopez Roofing are living proof. In partnership with the GAF Habitat for Humanity Contractor program, the company — based in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin — pledged what it calls the Legacy 100: the goal of installing 100 roofs on Habitat for Humanity homes over 10 years. With roof number 55 completed by the close of 2022 and more slated for 2023, these roofing heroes are already more than halfway there.
Think that your roof doesn't need protection against hail? Think again. Severe hail events are increasing in geographic footprint and are no longer just in hail alley. The geographic region that experiences 1 inch or larger hailstones has expanded to be nearly two-thirds of the United States. Nearly 10 percent more U.S. properties, more than 6.8 million, were affected by hail in 2021 than in 2020. Coinciding with the increase in properties affected by a damaging hail event in 2021, there was also an increase in insurance claims, which rose to $16.5 billion from $14.2 billion in 2020.
To get a firsthand account of what it's like to be a roofer, GAF spoke with Trenton Wisecup, president of Arrow Roofing Services in Michigan, and David Laurain, Arrow Roofing's vice president, to learn about their experiences in the roofing industry.
Historically, commercial skylights have gotten a bad rap. "The old joke was: 'if it's not leaking now, it will be soon,'" says Brian Grohe, a 13-year vet of the skylight industry and a commercial sales manager at industry leader VELUX. Fortunately, technology has changed that old tune for the better, turning commercial skylights into a golden opportunity for roofing contractors.
Around the globe, excess heat collects in urban areas and can contribute to increased heat-related death and illness, diminished quality of life, and reduced economic opportunities. Such areas are known as "urban heat islands." Fortunately, cooling strategies are now available and being used in initiatives like the GAF Cool Community project to help mitigate urban heat island effects. Such cooling strategies are supported by products such as such as GAF StreetBond® pavement coatings with Invisible Shade™ — named by TIME magazine as one of its Best Inventions of 2022.
This blog contains information created by a variety of sources, including internal and third party writers. The opinions and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of GAF. The content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute financial, accounting, tax or legal advice. GAF does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the information. In no event shall GAF be held responsible or liable for errors or omissions in the content or for the results, damages or losses caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the content.

Interested in sharing or republishing our content? We kindly ask you to adhere to our guidelines.