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Nenny Chavarria, a Safety Manager at Illinois Roofing, a Tecta America Company, started off as an assistant to a Service Technician. She had no prior experience as a roofer and learned skills on the job. Chavarria is no stranger to learning challenging jobs. She worked as a truck driver and in manufacturing– industries typically dominated by men. At Tecta America, she was paired with an experienced Service Technician who shared all of his knowledge with her. “I didn’t know a lot about roofing in the beginning, but Martin [the Service Technician] was patient with me,” she said.

As an assistant, she inspected rooftops and looked for leaks and signs of deterioration from the elements. “I learned to find problems on roof tops and in roof systems,” she said. Service technicians and their assistants diagnose rooftops and try to identify the root of problems in roofing systems. At the beginning, she had some trouble assimilating with her crew. “I’m the only woman out on the field in the company. I think it was a different experience for the crew and for me. They all got used to me and showed me what they knew about roofing. The crew [at Illinois Roofing] has really supported me,” said Chavarria.

Nenny became a safety manager after a year and a half at Tecta America. She travels to multiple job sites to perform safety inspections. She checks that equipment is connected properly to outlets. She ensures the crewmen are wearing the appropriate safety gear and assists with major parts of projects, like the removal of debris on rooftops. On a recent morning, Nenny strapped herself to a safety harness to direct a crane as it removed materials from the rooftop. She stood near the edge of the building and with a series of hand movements guided the direction of the crane.

She double checks her safety harness to make sure it’s connected properly and checks up on her teammates to see if they are wearing knee pads and appropriate work boots. Her eyes scope every inch of the work site.

“At the end of the day, I want to make sure all employees get back to their families,” she said. “There is no room for mistakes.”