Three of the Top 10 Women in Roofing in Florida share a key common quality: They all work at R&R Industries, a Daytona Beach-area industrial, commercial and institutional roofing contractor in business since 1948.
They also appreciate their differences in occupations and years of employment, while sharing their employer’s and colleagues’ common perspectives of achievement and mutual respect.
“The R&R family strives for excellence in everything we do in pursuit of their purpose to: protect our customers, protect their assets, and make a positive difference in our community,” CEO Guy Beasley said.
Rhonda Rzeczka – roofer
Rhonda Rzeczka is exceptional in that she is the only female employee among R&R Industries’ more than 70 office and field staff who is up on the roofs each day.
She says her husband Tom encouraged her to help him out on job sites, initially as a helper, before they joined R&R. Now she can handle a diversity of roof-top tasks safely and effectively.
They’ve been a couple since 1992. He’s been a roofer for 40 years; she’s been on the job full-time for four.
“It’s a good job to me,” she says in an interview after a day’s work. “I think I’m pretty good at what I’m supposed to be doing.”
“Every now and then I get a bit tired of it and want to take a little time off, but I see the money coming in and it’s not a bad job.”
“We’re in Florida and it’s good to work outside,” she says. “What better job could you have, instead of sitting inside all day?”
She says she knows only a few women work in the trade, but she sees no reason why more can’t handle the work even though she has the exceptional advantage of her spouse as mentor and trainer. And she acknowledges not many women want to make roofing their
career. “It all depends on what they are comfortable doing,” she said.
For her, learning how to do roofing work has paid off well. She says her employer will be happy if other women want to join her atop buildings, properly secured for safety where required, and earning the same as the men on the crews.
“If you are going to learn how to fix a roof, you’ll be making money as you enjoy the outdoors,” she said.
Sherri Wilkie – purchasing manager
Sherri Wilkie worked for decades in the construction industry before joining R&R Industries about two years ago. Both with her former employers and for a period of self-employment,
she handled office/administrative responsibilities and helped out with field crews, measuring and estimating jobs and running projects.
While women are not uncommon in roofing industry office jobs, not many have senior responsibilities. “It’s very unusual to have females in these lead roles,” she said, describing herself and Angie Masini, the company’s vice-president of operations.
“It’s refreshing,” she said. “We do the work. We get the work done.”
Wilkie’s responsibilities include all purchasing, making sure all the permits and inspections are in place, and coordinating logistics including ensuring materials and equipment are always in the right place at the right times. The work can be quite a juggling act.
In normal times, she says, there are 50 or more projects on the go. After severe storms and hurricanes, things are even more hectic. After a major hurricane, “we could be handling 200 to 300 active jobs.”
She enjoys the intensity and challenge. “This is an ever-evolving industry,” she says. “There’s safety, and the diversity of project types – from a single story shopping plaza to a 30 story hotel.
“The work isn’t rote. Everyday is different. Every project is different, every owner is different.”
She says the roofing industry is growing rapidly, and she is happy that R&R’s owners are doing “a great job in maintaining a high level of quality and professionalism and making sure the job is done right.”
Angie Masini – Vice-president of operations
Although Angie Masini is a relative newcomer to the roofing industry, she is no stranger to running large-scale operations. Her senior responsibilities demonstrate that R&R Industries is committed to encouraging women to handle business leadership roles.
“My career spans about 25 years in IT operations, process engineering, finance, and HR,” she says. “Primarily I’ve worked in the financial industry in both internal operational
roles as well as external consulting, technology automation and streamlined processes transcend all industries.”
Masini has set out to modernize the company. “In the past six months, we’ve digitized and automated most of our back office operations,” she says.
The process of switching from paper-based and ad-hoc systems to integrated processes has been successful because Masini says employees at all levels were encouraged to outline their challenges and priorities of their jobs.
“It was important to understand each job, its challenges, and what would make that job easier.” Input from everyone enabled us to provide automation, systems and processes that make us more efficient, and profitable as a company.”
The web-based systems also make the company much more disaster- resistant. If a major storm or other disaster destroyed our building, “we’ll be fully operational, and ready to serve our customers almost immediately.”
Beyond technology, Masini says she has worked hard to encourage goodwill and cooperation among R&R Industries’ employees. These include programs that encourage
workers to acknowledge colleagues who help them out beyond their regular duties, as well as a monthly Golden Hammer award to recognize employees who go beyond to help others.
“There’s a great level of camaraderie here,” she said, “People are really looking out for each other.”
“This work is very rewarding for me personally – because every day I know I am making a difference.” Effective technology and well thought out processes “can increase productivity
and profitability and make a better work environment, Masini says. “Happy employees make for happy customers.”