S-5!, a metal roofing solutions manufacturer, has some crowing to do after the company’s Architectural & National Accounts Director, Shelly Higgins, was awarded the Construction Specifier Institute, Great Lakes Region, President’s Award.

Higgins, a member of the board of directors for CSI’s Cleveland chapter, was honored by the group for her “…dedication, hard work and mindfulness to the region,” according to a September 6 news release by S-5!. 

The company said Higgens helped plan, organize and run the Great Lakes Region Conference from ideas to implementation. She is also the founder and director of the “Let’s Build Construction Camp for Girls” in Northeast Ohio, a five-day summer camp for girls ages 12-16 to explore the construction world and learn about the various career pathways in the skilled trades. 

The camp partners with unions and trade associations and is run through the generosity of volunteers, mentors and sponsors, allowing the girls to attend at no cost.

The camp’s mission is to encourage girls “to consider a career in architecture, engineering, manufacturing or construction trades through education, hands-on experiences, mentoring and field trips” to manufacturing facilities, architectural firms, and even local permitting offices.

S-5!_Lets Build - Camp.jpg

Higgins is an active member of many associations and councils, including CSI, the Metal Construction Association and National Women in Roofing, among others. The company noted she has “…a special place in her heart for the future of the construction industry, supporting trade schools and encouraging young women to consider a career” in the trades.

“Shelly has significantly impacted the young girls in Northeastern Ohio by organizing and promoting such an amazing event,” said Rob Haddock, CEO and founder of S-5! “We often speak about the labor shortage and how to bring the next generation into the trades; thanks to Shelly’s hard work, these young girls have the chance to learn about the endless career opportunities in the construction industry.”

S-5! is a sponsor of the camp.

The company said that Higgins has spent her entire adult life working in various corners of the construction industry. Her father “flipped” houses, and she did whatever she could do to help. It was the best way for her to spend time with her dad. 

"I would help him, and being a young girl, I would end up threading pipe or doing whatever else I could,” Higgens said. “I really enjoyed that; I've always loved working with my hands."

That sense of satisfaction and accomplishment carried with her into adulthood and her career life. She spent time designing kitchens professionally, then exterior building products, and eventually, architectural sales, all while trying to stay connected to the job sites. 

 Working in a primarily male-dominated industry and constantly hearing about the labor shortage, Higgins identified the need to introduce and educate young girls in the trades. 

“I want them to know there are positions in the industry for them, and if they don’t want to go the traditional college route, there are opportunities to make a very good living in the construction trades,” Higgins said. 

“And if they don’t know the opportunities exist, how are they going to make a career out of it? We need to be proactive and encourage them,” she added.

This is the second year Higgins has organized the girls’ camp. Plans are underway for 2024, and Higgins welcomes the support of other industry professionals to volunteer their time and participate as sponsors. Click HERE to learn more about Let’s Build Construction Camp for Girls, 

For more information, visit S-5.com.