Local roofing CEO Letitia Hanke surprised with $61,000 in tools, $35,000 check on ’Returning the Favor’
Letitia Hanke, CEO of her own roofing company in Santa Rosa and charitable founder, was featured in Returning the Favor, a Facebook watch series that recognizes and rewards benefactors across the country.
Hanke appeared in the episode that was released on Tuesday. The show was filmed in February, as presenter Mike Rowe noted: “2020 BC. BC – before COVID ”, when interactions like handshakes and high fives were the norm.
On the program, Rowe gifted Hanke a $ 5,000 Yamaha drum kit, $ 61,000 worth of tools and accessories, and a check for $ 35,000 to her NextGen Trades Academy, a program she founded to help students learn trading skills.
Hanke, the executive director of ARS Roofing, started the nonprofit at Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park in 2015 after struggling to find young people for her company and noticing a labor shortage in general.
“They don’t know what an amazing career they can have in construction until someone tells them about it,” Hanke told Rowe.
Hanke studied music education at Sonoma State University and started a job with a roofing company to make some extra money. And although much of her time is devoted to running her own company, she still finds time to play in her church band and practice drums at home.
Only three percent of skilled jobs are held by women, according to the show, but Hanke said she encourages minority women and youth to consider jobs in the construction industry.
“We looked after some of our female students who were hired for the program. We just want to give them a little real talk so they know how it was for us but how we made it through, ”she said.
Hanke received a North Bay Spirit Award earlier this year for helping youth find careers in construction and for overcoming barriers to sexism and racism in the industry.
Those featured in the series are nominated in the Facebook group “Returning the Favor Effect”.
Watch the episode here: