When Ethelmae Humphreys took the reins at TAMKO Building Products Inc. in the early 1950s, she was probably the only female executive in the roofing industry. Thankfully, today, that’s no longer true.
“The thought that I was in over my head must have entered my mind at some point, but the situation didn’t frustrate me because I’d always been told and believed that I really could do anything that I set my mind to; so I went about doing it,” says Ethelmae, 92, longtime chairman of the
TAMKO board and second-generation family leadership of the company, about her entry into the roofing business.
The roofing industry has come a long way from the workforce disparity of the 1950s, and that’s thanks in part to trailblazers like Ethelmae and the work of organizations like National Women In Roofing (NWIR).
TAMKO was one of the first manufacturers to sponsor NWIR as a Founding Sponsor when the trade group started two years ago. TAMKO has deepened its relationship with the organization, pledging its support of NWIR at the Diamond Sponsor level.
“NWIR was a natural fit for TAMKO,” says Kim Eckerman, TAMKO director of communications and member of the national NWIR Communications Committee. “Our company is built on a deeply-held belief in the freedom of all people, regardless of gender, race or religion, to be as successful as they choose to be, pursuing their passions in business and life.”
NWIR is volunteer-based, and its focus is on supporting and advancing the careers of women in the roofing industry, whether on the jobsite, or as executives, and everything in between. NWIR membership includes men in the roofing industry who support the inclusion of women, and since forming in 2017, the group has grown to more than 1,100 members.
“Our focus is on connecting and empowering women so that their training and leadership skills can help drive the overall betterment and professionalism of the roofing industry,” states NWIR Chair Shari Carlozzi. “We are bringing the industry to a new level of excellence by supporting and promoting the contributions of women as an essential component of the future of roofing.”
As a Diamond Sponsor, a TAMKO representative will speak during the upcoming National Women In Roofing Day, Feb. 9, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. This is the second year for the event that leads into the International Roofing Expo days later and serves as an annual connection point for hundreds of NWIR members who attend.