The solar and roofing industries are converging — and GAF Energy is transforming both at once with Timberline Solar™, the first true solar roof on the market.
“Solar has been growing steadily for some time now, but there wasn’t a lot of innovation before GAF Energy and our roofing-centric approach,” says Roque Ortiz, product manager at GAF Energy.
Ortiz is a prime example of this dual transformation. Having begun his career with solar expertise, he transitioned to learn more about the roofing trade, ultimately combining the skill sets from both industries to help GAF Energy turn regular roofs into roofs that generate energy for use within the home.
This combination of skills was very much in demand, Ortiz recalls: “When GAF Energy reached out to me, they wanted somebody who could perform two important roles: someone who could teach others about solar if they had little to no experience with it, but also someone who could be out in the field, getting up on a roof, and physically instructing people on how to use the tools and install the system.”
Ortiz joined GAF Energy after spending years as a sales engineer for a solar distributor, where his role was educating customers about solar energy generation and storage. Entering a much more roofing-focused solar company meant he had some learning to do.
“I got to go to GAF and enroll in their roofing academy,” Ortiz says of his opportunity to learn from the leading manufacturers of roofing materials, our sister company GAF. The GAF Roofing Academy combines classroom and on-the-roof training, giving Ortiz the necessary skills for roof installations. “It was a two-week program and they taught me everything I needed to know about the basics of roofing. They trained me on GAF Energy products, too, so I learned more about solar that’s integrated with the roof. It was all new to me and getting into my new role, I needed a lot of hands-on experience.”
When he joined GAF Energy, Ortiz started out as a technical training manager, educating roofers on our existing products, how to install them, and how customers can benefit from them. He says the jump from working for a solar developer to working for GAF Energy was a positive experience. “It gave me more insight into the importance of the roof itself — the integrity and waterproof qualities of strong roofing. Working here opened my eyes to the alternatives to traditional retrofit solar, which was my prior experience. I now know the risks and benefits of traditional retrofit, versus having solar that is part of the roof.”
And there are plenty of benefits to know about, he says. “Along with the peace of mind that comes with installation through only one company, a GAF Energy project presents fewer issues with roof leaking and animals nesting, for example. These weren’t really things I was thinking about before. I just assumed that’s part of the norm — you get solar, you take those risks. But that’s not the case with GAF Energy. You get all the benefits of a roof with a strong warranty — that happens to produce energy.”
GAF Energy is hiring more individuals like Roque Ortiz who are passionate about solar roofing. Learn about the roles we’re looking to fill, and apply for a career driving energy from every roof at gaf.energy/careers.
Learn more about the GAF Roofing Academy, a tuition-free program focused on reaching underrepresented communities or those that need help transitioning into the workforce, including women, at-risk youth, recently incarcerated individuals, and former military members.