Sharing Roofing with Students At The East Valley Institute of Technology


Sharing Roofing with Students at The

East Valley Institute of Technology

Henry Staggs, RRO

October 21, 2020

Anyone who is in the industry knows that we need more good roofers, more skilled workers, just more people period. If you need a job and can do the work. You should have no problem finding a job in roofing. This challenge effects everyone, believe it or not. The roof is perhaps the most important part of the building because it literally protects EVERYTHING and EVERYONE else. Do you really want undertrained and under skilled workers doing your roof? I think not!

A lot of great people

A lot of great people with huge hearts around the nation are working on ways to address this problem. Some people are starting their own training programs. Many contractors are developing their own inhouse training programs as well. There are apprenticeship programs opening and there seems to be more interest in the trades schools to include a more specific roofing program. Even one of the manufacturer's I work with is working on a recruiting program to attract new great people to our industry. This is a problem that people are either ignoring or stepping up to. Thank goodness for all the people around the nation who are stepping up.

No other industry

There is no doubt in my mind that Roofing is one of the most forgiving and upwardly mobile industries there is. This industry took me from the streets and gave me a purpose and a career. I am by far not the only one. What other industry can a person enter with nothing and in a few short years be earning a great living. Or even become a contractor. The roofing industry does in fact require skill but most importantly, and because we look at the person and their efforts. Educated or not, from a wealthy family, or a poorer family, no matter what your background is. In roofing you prove yourself by your work and that makes us all equal. 

Monday October 19th, 2020

On Monday and Tuesday, that's October 19th and 20th. The East Valley Institute of Technology let us come back out for the fifth time to talk to the students and demonstrate a few roof systems. They have been very receptive to us and our mission to seek out and train new roofers. There is even some discussion about there being a roofing specific program there. At this time though, there is nothing more to say about that except that I have my fingers crossed. 

On Monday I was joined by my wife Monica Staggs (who is a teacher that finds this is all extremely exciting). As well as Dave Skierkowski with Eagle Roofing Products (he has been tremendously helpful and supportive from the start). Dave brought his two guys Scott and Brian with him. Dave and I had a chance to speak before going outside where we demonstrated asphalt shingle and concrete roof tile. It was so much fun! Scott and Brian explained the concrete roofing system to the students. I did the same for asphalt shingles, and the students had a chance to get their own hands on it and help install the materials.

Tuesday October 20th, 2020

On Tuesday, Dave, Monica, and I all came back out along with a few others. Jesse Kinion with Gorman Roofing came out with three workers and a spray foam truck. Jesse has been on board with this effort from the first day, his natural ability to teach and passion for the industry is a true asset. Mr. Jim Covey from Gorman Roofing came out with Jesse for a few hours and helped us build the rest of the mockups and get everything ready. Thanks to Jim for coming out, it was his first time and I hope not his last. Tom Donnellan from Versico came  with a roll of TPO. To cut up and do some demonstrations with. Tom is a young man who I personally think will rise in this industry to become a very influential person. His work ethic and personality will take him a long way.

In the afternoon Jesse had to go to his "real job", but he left his installers and truck behind for the afternoon class (there is a morning class and another different group in the afternoon). We got a surprise visit from Mr. Willie Higgins, the Director of The Apprenticeship Office. He talked to the students for a few minutes about apprenticeship and employment opportunities here in Arizona. Mr. Higgins was the first person I met with when I decided this was my task to bear. He has been in the background advising and encouraging me. He has a heart for the youth and the trades. If you have heard him speak, you know what I mean.

Two guys from Five Guys

We also were joined by Jason and Justin Stowe, two of the owners at Five Guys Roofing. This was their first time as well, and the first time I had the pleasure of meeting these two gentlemen face to face. I have met some of their other people and been on a few roofs with people from their company. It was nice to meet the men who make it all happen there. They stepped in and took over for Jesse Kinion who could not be there in the afternoon. They did a great job!

What we did

We demonstrated polyurethane spray foam and coating and a Single Ply TPO roof system. In the morning Jesse Kinion led the foam demonstration. While Tom Donnellan led the TPO demonstration. In the afternoon Jason and Justin Stowell worked as a team and led the foam demonstration. Tom Donnellan once again led the single ply TPO demonstration. Tom did a great job explaining what a thermal plastic is and allowed the students to try their hand at heat welding the material.

That means that over the two days, two classes (the morning and the afternoon classes) consisting of more than 35 students. Got to see and help install a modified self-adhered rolled roofing. Composition asphalt shingles. Concrete roof tile with an arched baton system. Polyurethane spray foam and acrylic roof coating. And single ply TPO roofing. They got to hear myself, three contractors and Mr. Higgins speak and ask us all questions. And several of them expressed interest in entering the industry. Anyone of them who is 18 or older was offered the opportunity to apply for employment. 

It was a good day for the roofing industry in Arizona.


Would you like to get involved? Let me know, I am sure we can find something you can do. If you cannot participate in person, we are always collecting donations of tools, equipment, and materials. Especially safety gear. We donate the items we collect to places like EVIT to help encourage them to include roofing in their programs. And it works folks, bringing gifts makes a difference.


Henry Staggs, RRO

Roof Consultant and Roofing Industry Advocate

(480) 265-1613 (for your roof consulting needs)