Columbia’s Dirty Jobs: Roofer

Saturday, November 10, 2007 | 12:00 p.m. CST; updated 6:38 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Gollaher is the co-owner of a new roofing business. She began the yet-to-be-named business with her fiance, Ricardo Filva, in June when he moved from Texas to Missouri. Filva networked through his company back home to establish a clientele base in Missouri. Gollaher arranges the jobs, times and prices, “which makes me the boss, I guess,” she said. Along with acting as the sub-contractor in charge of organizing the roofing gigs, Gollaher gets her hands dirty on the job.

“I get on the roof and tear off the shingles. I don’t put them on, that’s not something I’m good at, but I do tear them off.”


Name: Tonya Gollaher Age: 37 Occupation: Roofer

Just how do you tear off a shingle?

“Pitchfork or roofing spade. There can be more than one layer of shingles. If there’s one, it’s easy; if there’s three layers, they are really hard to get off. It’s not a clean job at all. You get all the asphalt stuff on ya.”

And then what do you do?

“When they’re putting shingles on, I’m cleaning up everything that was dropped on the ground. I’m cleaning up dirt and dust that was swept off the roof, the pieces of shingles and trash that have been pushed to the ground.”

What happens to old shingles?

“They’re all put into a trailer or dump truck and taken to APAC. They have an area just for dumping shingles. They reuse it to make asphalt for the road.”

“I usually take it and dump it. I do a lot of the running.”

Why do you do your job?

“So I can be with my fiance all of the time. It’s better for both of us. Also I have a couple medical conditions and doing this I can take a break, sit down when I need to. I work at my own pace.”

What do you do when the weather is bad?

“We save money,” Gollaher laughed.

She said they’re constantly saving money for those stretches of time when bad weather prevents any roofing work.

“The longest we’ve been without work is a week and a half.”

Do you fix your own roof?

“I live in a mobile home, so we don’t have to do anything but put a little tar on it every once in a while.”

Most memorable moment on the job?

“I think the first time I got on a roof.”

What was that like?

“It was actually fun. When we first started, my main job was clean up, and he (Filva) didn’t want me on the roof. One day I climbed the ladder, and he turned around, and I surprised him. That’s when I started helping them out.”

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