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New Braunfels women find rewarding new careers in roofing

Roofing has a lot of perks. Fritz said she found it appealing that no degree or apprenticeship was required to get started.

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — A company in New Braunfels is shattering industry trends with a new, all-women roofing crew.

Nationwide, the career field is 98% male.

One of the women says the new job is changing her life.

Bright and early on a Thursday morning in October, a neighborhood in New Braunfels started buzzing with excitement.

That day, a family got a much-needed new roof and the crew got much-needed experience.

The group of roofers was unique. You’ll notice a lot of pink at the work site. The laborers were all women, which is rare in the industry. 

In the construction field, about 9% of workers are women.

In roofing, women make up 2% of the workforce.

But those numbers, hard work and the heights, didn’t scare off Sarah Fritz.

“You're outside, you're lifting things, you're using a nail gun," said Fritz. “It's awesome. The physicality of it is totally doable.”

She is a foreman with Feller Roofing of New Braunfels.

Her boss is the one who got the group together.

“I see so many other women out there, whether they're single or even if they don't have kids, that struggle to make ends meet and they don't have to live like that,” said Ami Feller Wells, the owner of Feller Roofing of New Braunfels. “I have found that [roofing is] a great career and I think they don't realize that they can do it.”

With 15 years in the industry, Ami Feller Wells has seen a slow increase of women on the job.

To foster more gender diversity, she recruited the team of women to join her company.

Roofing has a lot of perks. Fritz said she found it appealing that no degree or apprenticeship was required to get started.

Nationally, entry level pay is roughly $40,000 a year.

Fritz says that’s just the beginning.

“I can go into sales, I can go into project management, there's no gatekeeping,” said Fritz. “You get your foot in the door and you can just run with it. The opportunity is limitless.” 

Just a few weeks ago, Fritz and the other women completed the GAF Roofing Academy, which is a free training program. The company notes this was their first all-women class. The program graduates are already hard at work, improving homes for their neighbors.

Fritz knows she’ll work with men on other crews, but she’s enjoying this project with the ladies.

“We're learning together, we're growing together and we're helping support each other,” said Fritz.