Locally owned Lakebay Roofing is undergoing some changes. Since 1985, owner Tom Rolfzen has been running the business. He has worked hard to build a great reputation for himself and his company.
For many fathers with their own business, the day will come to step aside and let one of their children take over. Usually, this changing of the guard takes place with the son. But this story has a slight twist.
For the past 10 years, Chantel Rolfzen has been working by her father’s side, learning the ins and outs of the roofing business. Originally, she went to school to learn about computers and business skills to be experienced to work in the office, maintain the books and so on, but she realized she craved the hands-on part of the job.
“I am not an office person, I have to do physical labor,” she says. “I like to work hard. After a day at the office I couldn’t wait to get home, put on my jeans, jump into my truck and drive off to the job site. That is when I began working with my dad, with him teaching me.” Her time as a helper then transitioned into an apprenticeship.
Rolfzen is not only a good roofer, she is also a single mom with two children. Vanessa is 17 years old and Joseph is 11. Between work and her kids, Rolfzen has her hands full.
“I come home sometimes and can hardly move after doing a tear-off, but I love the work,” she says with a smile.
She is also in the process of learning how to bid the jobs. To bid correctly takes many years of experience and can be a perplexing task. It requires much knowledge of the various types of roofs, materials, and labor involved. Rolfzen estimates it may take another five years before her father will retire, and then she can completely take over Lakebay Roofing. In the meantime, the small company works diligently for clients. Meeting their deadlines can be tough at times because there is only one other employee besides Chantel and her father. “It is difficult to find good workers,” she explains. They are still looking for one more reliable and experienced person. Though it is hard work, they find it very rewarding and exciting to climb off the roof, step back, and admire the job they have done.
UNDERWRITTEN BY NEWSMATCH/MIAMI FOUNDATION, THE ANGEL GUILD, ROTARY CLUB OF GIG HARBOR, ADVERTISERS, DONORS AND PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT LOCAL, INDEPENDENT NONPROFIT NEWS