A Solar Technical Trainer’s Hands-On Work at GAF Energy
Juan Chavez’s story and impact on the company highlights what’s possible when skilled professionals meet compelling products. Chavez is a solar technical trainer with an interesting background — from insurance sales to woodworking, before entering the realm of roofing and solar. It may seem like an unlikely path, but for Juan Chavez, it all makes perfect sense.
At GAF Energy, Chavez calls his job “rewarding” and full of perks. “I travel and connect with contractors and installers, and show them how to install the Timberline Solar™ Energy Shingle. It’s amazing because one, I get to meet a lot of people and interact with them,” says Chavez. “Two, I get to travel. And three, I get to work with this product that’s revolutionizing the industry.”
But this wasn’t where Chavez envisioned himself just a few short years ago.
While working in insurance sales, Chavez knew early on that instead of communicating through phone calls and emails, he felt most fulfilled talking with people face to face. As he contemplated a career change, he started making and selling furniture in his free time.
“I was just trying to build a farm table for my family,” said Chavez. “And I posted it on social media, and all of a sudden I had a side hustle. I was not expecting that. But that experience, along with my enjoyment of face-to-face sales, clarified the type of path I needed: a job where I could be hands-on and in front of people.”
Eventually, Chavez cleverly funded his transition to a new career using income from what was once merely a hobby. He had family in roofing and had heard of what a bustling industry it was, so Chavez became interested in joining the trade where he could work more with his hands. But there was one problem: he didn’t have experience in the roofing industry.
This did not stop Chavez. He applied to every opening he found and within time, he scored his first roofing job. He soon found himself in sales once again, but this time for a roofing company in his area of Florida. Being the hands-on person he was, he wasn’t satisfied with the normal pitch typically made by sales people. He wanted to know all the ins and outs of roofing, so he started visiting job sites, scaling roofs, and helping the installers themselves.
“I remember the installers looked at me weird the first time I hopped on a roof,” Chavez recalled. “I had a polo shirt on and some jeans. They’re like, ‘What are you doing up here? You’re fancy, all dressed up.’ I was like ‘I’m here to help you.’ And I eventually became their right-hand man. And that’s how I started learning more about roofing and the actual installation.”
After that, when he talked to customers, he knew the details of what he was selling and was able to give better advice than most.
Chavez liked how his position required a lot of knowledge and the integrity he held with all his customers. But when he came across an open position at GAF Energy that had all of that, plus travel, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to apply. Chavez has loved to travel ever since he was a child playing on travel soccer teams. The GAF Energy opening described a combination of hands-on, face-to-face, and travel. For Chavez, it felt meant to be. The very next day, he had a request to interview.
Throughout the interview process, his future colleagues at GAF Energy could see his passion, honesty, and his teamwork mentality. Just as they were about to hire him, Florida’s proposed regulations flooded the solar industry with uncertainty. The position was delayed. However, at this point Chavez had learned so much about the company and knew that they were a perfect fit. So, as he has always done, he stuck with it and didn’t give up. Shortly after, he received the call he had been hoping for, and Chavez was officially invited to join the GAF Energy team.
Since joining the GAF Energy team, the position has been everything Chavez was looking for and more. A company that values camaraderie, teamwork, and problem solving as much as he does. He can now work from home around his family and when he travels, he is part of a team that has quickly welcomed him.
“I feel very grateful to be a part of this,” says Chavez. “I’m still in roofing, but it’s more than roofing. This product (Timberline Solar™) is disrupting the solar industry. And it’s beneficial for everyone.”
Chavez says he loves that customers don’t have to chance working with a company that only knows how to install solar panels and not roofs. Instead they deal with one company, one warranty, and he’s the one who trains them.
It’s an exciting time and a time Chavez feels is revolutionary. The best news for Chavez is that GAF Energy has the same energy he does and they are all excited to see what is next on the horizon.
If you’d like to be included in what’s on the horizon for GAF Energy, check out our open positions on the careers page.