By Lauren White.
Final day of IRE 2023 and we’re kicking off our day, right before the show starts, with a session presented by the Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3) about Finding Your Future Workforce. RT3 members represent leaders who are passionate about advancing the roofing industry through technology. And this panel of speakers is nothing but passionate about roofing, giving back and the future generations.
The session was moderated by our very own Heidi J. Ellsworth, and panelists include:
Whether you’re organizing blood drives, delivering food and clothing to people in need, donating a roof to a family so they are safe and dry or organizing events for students to actually feel a piece of lumber and use construction equipment and technology, there are a plethora of ways to get involved with your local community. This involvement not only improves the lives of those in your local area, but it also proves the mission of your company.
You might think to yourself, “How do I have the time to get involved?” Christee’s response, “How do you not have the time?” Everyone is busy and has a lot on their plates, but it’s important to make the time to give back because it will only further your business and help your employees feel a sense of purpose and
The resonating message is, “Get involved.” You can start small by visiting your local intercity school, which Josey urges people to do. His giving back efforts were sparked by a brief visit to the intercity school near him. Now he donates backpacks with school supplies to the students, seeks out students to be interns for his company, and it started with a walk around a school.
Panelists were asked, how are you tapping into your communities?
START EARLY! You can get kids interested in roofing and technology early. Christee takes coloring pages representing the trades to her local elementary schools.
John Kiesel introduces technology to students in middle and high school. The key he has found is to bring in people who are closer to their age, people they are going to listen to who feel more like their peers.
And PB Roofing has found a way to reach people through their phones. PB University was designed for the next generation of roofers and entrepreneurs to provide professional development and personal growth. This approach to job and career education in the industry works similarly as online college curriculum. But, the approach has been gamification. “The gamification side of it, everyone is used to playing video games, everyone likes competition, so let’s make it interactive and incentivize people to learn,” John shares. There’s even a podium board, so you can see your progress and the progress of your peers, it’s entirely transparent AND you get rewarded for your learning. Participants are able to redeem points to get items that are useful to them in their careers – Red Wing boots, a heated Milwaukie jacket, tools, etc.
Reach students and kids where they are at – in the classroom, on their phones, in the community.
We’ve all heard it said before, “Work smarter, not harder.” Utilizing technology can help you work smarter; you just have to be willing to try it. Which is what John Peck did. He found ChatGPT, tried it and saved himself hours of time by using AI to write a job description. He even used it to create the handouts for this very presentation and all he had to do was enter a sentence and ChatGPT took care of the rest.
But Josey shares that it’s important to remember, “Technology advances strategy. If you don’t have a strategy, it’s worthless. It doesn’t matter how fast you’re running or where you’re running if you’re running the wrong direction.”
So where do you start with introducing technology to your company?
Lauren is the editor for RoofersCoffeeShop®, MetalCoffeeShop™ and AskARoofer™. When she’s not writing or reading articles, she's adventuring with her puppy Kira and trying new recipes.
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