Clues from the Universe Put Us on a Path to Career and Personal Happiness

I recently reconnected with an old friend, Michael. He and I met probably a decade ago while I was the editor of a green design and construction magazine and he held a leadership position in a sustainably focused association. I always appreciated Michael’s wisdom regarding the industry and life in general. Although he’s only a few years older than I, Michael is what I believe to be the definition of an “old soul”.

Michael and I changed jobs and at least two years had passed since we last chatted. It was social media—a LinkedIn anniversary notice about Michael’s consulting business—that reconnected us. I sent him a congratulatory message through LinkedIn, and he immediately called me. During the conversation, I learned Michael recently had been very ill. He spent weeks in the hospital, undergoing a battery of tests and worrying about his wife and children and their future. He believed his illness was a signal from the universe that he needed to make some changes in his life. When he recovered, Michael quit his job; moved his family across the country closer to their roots on the East Coast; and started his own environmental consulting firm, which has kept him busy doing what he loves. He is happier—and healthier—than he has ever been.

Michael said as he was lying in his hospital bed, he realized the universe had been sending him clues for a long time that he needed to make changes to his life, but he ignored them. “We can always talk ourselves out of something,” he told me. “There’s never enough time or money, and there are always responsibilities that seem to take precedence.” However, Michael thinks ignoring the universe and trudging forth ultimately resulted in his health issue, which was the wake-up call he needed to finally transform his life.

I’ve thought a lot about this conversation and was reminded of it again when I interviewed Bruce Diederich, president of Waukegan Roofing Co. Inc., Waukegan, Ill., for “Spotlight”. Waukegan Roofing is celebrating 100 years in business this year, an amazing feat for any company. Diederich, who has owned Waukegan Roofing for the past 16 years, started digging into the company’s past in anticipation of this year’s celebration. He discovered some astonishing coincidences in his own life and Waukegan Roofing’s history that—as Michael would say—suggest Diederich was destined to lead the company all along. I know it may sound unbelievable, but I think once you read “Spotlight” you too will find the coincidences and clues are difficult to ignore. These days, I’m making a conscious effort to recognize when the universe is telling me something. In fact, I now believe there’s a reason I spoke to these gentlemen recently.

I know it won’t always be easy to ascertain what the clues are telling me or how exactly to follow them but, based on Michael and Bruce Diederich’s experiences, I’m open to the possibilities.

The Stars Align as Waukegan Roofing Celebrates 100 Years in Business

Waukegan Roofing Co. Inc., Waukegan, Ill., is celebrating 100 years in business in 2014.

Waukegan Roofing Co. Inc., Waukegan, Ill., is celebrating 100 years in business in 2014.

The universe seems to be telling Bruce Diederich he is following the right path. Diederich is president of Waukegan Roofing Co. Inc., located in Waukegan, Ill., a suburb 32-miles north of Chicago. As the roofing-contracting firm enters its 100th year in business, it’s difficult to ignore the coincidences Diederich, who has owned the company for 16 years, has uncovered while researching Waukegan Roofing’s long history.

One hundred years ago, M.C. DeThorne established Waukegan Roofing on Philippa Avenue in Waukegan. Although Waukegan Roofing no longer is located on Philippa Avenue, Diederich is grooming his son Philip to someday take over the business. Strange? It gets better: DeThorne included his company’s telephone number—1625—on advertisements discovered by a local historian. Today, Waukegan Roofing’s phone number is (847) 623-1625.

An early location of Waukegan Roofing.

An early location of Waukegan Roofing.

If that isn’t enough, it seems as though Diederich was always meant to own a roofing business. His father owned a shingles-only roofing-contracting firm for 32 years. While he was growing up, Diederich worked for the company but opted to sell roofing materials instead and went to work for Bradco Supply, now Beloit, Wis.-based ABC Supply Co. Inc. Diederich happened to sell materials to Waukegan Roofing, which at that time was owned by Ed and Dave Hiner. The Hiners’ father had bought Waukegan Roofing from the DeThorne family in 1951. When Ed Hiner mentioned in 1998 they were planning to retire, Diederich pulled $5 out of his pocket and jokingly told Ed not to sell before he could speak to his youngest brother who was interested in returning to roofing. The next day Dave Hiner invited Diederich for coffee.

“We were parked next to each other and Dave opened his trunk and said, ‘Ed and I want you to buy our company. Here are the last 10 years of financials,’” Diederich recalls. “I put them in my car and called my wife, telling her she’d never believe what just occurred. She thought they were really serious and urged me to call our attorney and accountant. Thirty days later, I owned Waukegan Roofing.”

Owner Bruce Diederich credits his 55 union employees with his company’s success.

Owner Bruce Diederich credits his 55 union employees with his company’s success.

The Hiners had followed DeThorne’s lead and focused their business on low-slope commercial and industrial roofs. Diederich realized he could offer his shingle heritage to the business. “I looked around and there were all these retail centers being built and they all had a shingle-mansard roof of some form,” he says. “I approached Waukegan Roofing’s top-five contracts and asked what they thought about me starting a shingle division. Every one of them said it would be a great idea because they could come to Waukegan Roofing for everything, not just the flat part of the roof.”

Waukegan Roofing’s shingle division has been very successful since Diederich established it in 1998. Today, the firm constructs all types of low- and steep-slope roofs, along with roof-related sheet metal. In addition, in 2007, Diederich started a commercial service and maintenance division, which kept Waukegan Roofing busy through the economic downturn and benefitted the company’s growth overall.

Waukegan Roofing constructs all types of low- and steep-slope roofs, along with roof-related sheet metal, as well as operates a commercial service and maintenance division.

Waukegan Roofing constructs all types of low- and steep-slope roofs, along with roof-related sheet metal, as well as operates a commercial service and maintenance division.

Diederich credits his 55 union employees with his company’s success. “We stick by them through thick and thin,” he says. “We just believe in the people who work for the firm and in the quality of the product we put out. Our motto is ‘Installing roofs you can rely on’, and we believe in that wholeheartedly.”

All the clues that Diederich’s chosen profession was meant to be are there, and he agrees his life has come full circle—from working in his dad’s roofing business to helming a successful roofing contracting company of his own into its 100th year. “People ask me whether I regret buying a roofing company and I say, ‘Yeah, I wish I would’ve done it 10 years earlier’,” he chuckles.

INVOLVEMENT

Bruce Diederich is immediate past president of the Chicago Roofing Contractors Association. He also is an active member of the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association and National Roofing Contractors Association.

A Design Firm Trusts Its Regular Roofing Contractor to Install a New-to-him Insulated Metal Panel on its Office

David Miller, owner of Alpine Roofing LLC, Durham, N.C., has been in business since 2008. He specializes in what he calls the “complete roofing package”—making sure that all the areas of a roof are properly installed so the roof system lasts for 30 years or more without any problems. Miller and his crew’s attention to detail has made him the chosen roofing contractor of Durham-based BuildSense Inc., a residential design and construction firm that has a sustainability emphasis.

BuildSense Inc. is a Durham, N.C.-based residential design and construction firm that has a sustainability emphasis. PHOTO: Catherine Wilborne Photography

BuildSense Inc. is a Durham, N.C.-based residential design and construction firm that has a sustainability emphasis. PHOTO: Catherine Wilborne Photography

Miller knew he was doing good work for BuildSense, but he was assured of this fact when BuildSense’s owners—Randall Lanou, LEED AP, MCGP, and Erik Van Mehlman, AIA, CGP—asked him to reroof the existing building that would become the firm’s new office. Not only did they trust Miller enough to reroof their practice’s new home, but they also entrusted him with a roof cover he had never installed before.

“They knew I hadn’t worked with this insulated metal panel product before,” Miller recalls. “But they said I had always done them right and they wanted to give me the opportunity to look at this type of project. It seemed like it was up our alley. We handle things we haven’t done before with attention to detail and an understanding of how water causes problems. We try to do the best job we can.”

Sustainability Focus

BuildSense’s new office at 502 Rigsbee in Durham was built in 1945 as a farm-equipment-maintenance building. The structure had spent its last 30 years as various automotive service centers. The 1-story, 6,000-square-foot solid masonry building had optimal orientation to achieve Lanou and Mehlman’s daylighting and solarpower goals. By adding a second story in which BuildSense and tenants (occupied today by a marketing firm and a yoga studio) could operate, Clear-Vue Glass, BuildSense’s partner in the building’s purchase, could maintain an office, fabrication facility and showroom at pedestrian level.

To create the most energy-efficient building possible, Lanou and Mehlman opted to take the existing structure down to its skeleton, leaving only the masonry shell and primary steel columns and girders. Originally, they planned to maintain the existing roof and build the second story on top. However, the roof sloped from north to south about 3 inches for drainage. The partners decided to remove the wood framing, add more steel and a metal deck, and pour a new level composite concrete slab for the second story.

BuildSense pursued a tight, well-insulated building envelope. For the roof, Lanou and Mehlman specified an insulated metal panel featuring a 6-inch urethane core that boasts an R-value of 42. “It’s also painted white, which significantly helps us reduce our cooling loads in the summer—the predominant loads in a commercial building in our climate,” Lanou explains. “It’s very well air-sealed, very well insulated and it’s reflective.” In addition, the roof cover, insulation and finished ceiling are provided in one component.

Roof Install

A crane was required to lift all panels to the roof from one side of the building because power lines impeded the other sides. “The crane would grab the bundle of panels, which were staged on the high side of the building, and lift them up and over the building to place them on the low side,” Miller says. “It would’ve been so much easier if we had access completely around the building but we had to have a big crane come out there and do that lift.”

The roof cover, insulation and finished ceiling are provided in one component. PHOTO: Barrett Hahn

The roof cover, insulation and finished ceiling are provided in one component. PHOTO: Barrett Hahn

Once the panels were on the building near where they would be installed, manlifts further assisted with situating the panels on the roof. “The larger panel sections were 400 pounds each and 42-inches wide,” Miller explains. “They were awkward to handle. You also had to make sure when you were moving them around on top of the steel trusses that you didn’t scratch the finished paint on the underside of the panels, which would serve as the second-floor ceiling.”

Miller says safety was the biggest challenge on the project. His crew was tied to steel beams or apparatus that bolts onto the standing seam once they were past the leading edge. “We also made sure no one got hurt while we were moving the 400-pound panels. You don’t want a 400-pound panel on one man and he’s trying to hold the thing up without his knowledge. Honestly, a 400-pound panel once it is in motion may end up being 2,000 pounds of live load so we had to work in unison. We had one crew leader who would call out the play, saying ‘1, 2, 3, we’re going down’ or ‘1, 2, 3, we’re moving the panel over’.”

The coordination among the crew helped because the panels weren’t packaged exactly as they would be installed on the roof. “Some of them were upside down and we had to rotate,” Miller notes. “Without a lift there fulltime, it would’ve been even more challenging. Plus, we were working about 35 feet above the ground and 15 feet above the concrete floor of the building. We had to stay safe, stay tied off.”

Once the lifting and maneuvering were handled, Miller says the installation, which took about a week, was similar to any standing-seam roof, except each panel is 8-inches tall. “The top of the lock must be engaged while the panel is rotated so the tongue at the bottom of the panel engages with the lock,” he says. “Once you are engaged at the top and bottom, then you manually seam the locks together at the top. When you’re all finished you take a massive power seamer and run down the seam and it locks that joint together, so you have all kinds of wind-uplift value.” [Read more…]

The Great Melt of 2014 Means Buildings Are in Need of Repairs

Thank goodness it’s spring! The entire country battled a tough winter, so I’m sure you’re all breathing the same sigh of relief I am. Although the end of winter was a great thing, here in Chicago it caused what I like to call the “Great Melt of 2014”. For me, the snow, ice and extreme cold were bad; the resulting Great Melt of 2014 was much worse.

A little background: In 2007, I bought a second-floor two-bedroom condo on Chicago’s northwest side. The three-floor, 15-unit building had recently been gut rehabbed and I was among the first owners. For seven years, my neighbors and I have dealt with numerous construction defects; the board even passed a special assessment soon after we all moved in to deal with masonry issues. I still believe the developer is laughing on a beach somewhere with my money and I’d love to sue my inspector, but those are stories for another day.

When the Great Melt of 2014 began, as you can imagine, new problem areas arose. I couldn’t catch all the water pouring into my unit—through the back door’s frame, around a ceiling HVAC vent, through the HVAC ductwork in the utility closet and even through the microwave. Yes, you read that right. Through the microwave. The management company brought a contractor out who claimed water pouring through a duct is just condensation. Really? Even if it was condensation—which I vehemently disagreed with—who considers it OK for water to pour into their home?

After some aggressive emails and phone calls from yours truly, the management company sent another contractor to the building who diagnosed problems with the masonry (again), inappropriate mortar used on the steps leading out of our back doors onto the typical Chicago-style wraparound porch, poor incorporation of our outside-facing doors with the masonry, bad caulking around my exhaust vent (the kitchen exhaust fan is integrated with my microwave above the stove), gutter and downspout problems, and ice dams.

The point of writing about my experience—other than the therapeutic process of writing about nerve-racking problems—is condo boards and management companies could use construction partners who provide regular maintenance, make them aware of issues spotted during maintenance visits and ultimately minimize unit owners’ stress. In “Business Sense”, page 23, Scott Otey, vice president and managing partner of West Coast Florida Enterprises Inc., Naples and Fort Myers, writes about how his business has partnered with condo associations and management companies and has even joined the Falls Church, Va.-based Community Associations Institute.

The partnership not only helps the condo residents, but also keeps Otey’s team busy. I’m sure you’ll glean some ideas from him about how to network with these groups and make yourself invaluable to them.

Despite the ongoing issues with my building, I have many friends who live in multifamily buildings in Chicago that also experienced leaks during the Great Melt of 2014. Feel free to use our experiences to prove how indispensable partnerships between contractors and condo associations/management companies can be.

If you enjoy reading the magazine, please consider submitting something for the next one. Let’s talk about ideas! Call me at (630) 308-4602; email me; post a comment below; and/or Facebook and tweet us. This magazine—and your peers—are counting on you!

Professional Roofing Contractors Donates a New Roof and So Much More

Matt Brinck (left) and Jonathan Price plan Professional Roofing Contractors’ Facebook roof giveaway with Dawn Holley of United Way of Bedford County. The giveaway would not only provide a free roof to a family in need, but also would contribute funds to United Way of Bedford County for every Facebook “like” on Professional Roofing Contractors’ page during the promotion.

Matt Brinck (left) and Jonathan Price plan Professional Roofing Contractors’ Facebook roof giveaway with Dawn Holley of United Way of Bedford County. The giveaway would not only provide a free roof to a family in need, but also would contribute funds to United Way of Bedford County for every Facebook “like” on Professional Roofing Contractors’ page during the promotion.

Everyone should have the charitable spirit of Jonathan Price, vice president of Professional Roofing Contractors, Shelbyville, Tenn. Price prides himself in giving back to the community he grew up in and that supports his business. His roofing contracting company, which was established in 1996 and has a 70 percent commercial focus, has donated roofs to charitable entities like Habitat for Humanity, and Price is a member of the local Rotary Club and United Way of Bedford County’s board of directors.

Shelbyville is not a large town—20,105 residents per the 2010 census—and Price, who manages the contracting company’s marketing, found Facebook easily facilitates conversation between Professional Roofing Contractors and the community. “I hear daily from people in the community who say it was awesome that we did this or that,” Price says. “They’re picking up our activities from Facebook.”

In 2013, Price decided to take the lead on a charitable roofing giveaway that he would run through Facebook. “We basically asked for a photo of the existing roof and a 100- to 200-word explanation about what was going on, why they needed a roof and why they should win,” Price recalls. He enlisted United Way of Bedford County to help with promoting the giveaway and offered the organization $5 for each Facebook “like” Professional Roofing Contractors received during the promotion.

John Morris (left), the local rep for Atlas Roofing, and Matt Brinck, residential sales for Professional Roofing Contractors, congratulate Jo Gentle, winner of Professional Roofing Contractors’ roof giveaway. Based on the success of the contest, Professional Roofing Contractors plans to make the roof giveaway an annual event.

John Morris (left), the local rep for Atlas Roofing, and Matt Brinck, residential sales for Professional Roofing Contractors, congratulate Jo Gentle, winner of Professional Roofing Contractors’ roof giveaway. Based on the success of the contest, Professional Roofing Contractors plans to make the roof giveaway an annual event.

“We were excited about the opportunity,” says Dawn Holley, United Way of Bedford County’s executive director. “Not only would there be a family that truly needed but couldn’t afford a new roof, but contributions from the ‘likes’ would come back to United Way to be divvied out among 20 agencies that provide valuable services throughout the area.”

In addition to promoting the giveaway on Facebook and their websites, Price and Holley recorded commercials for a local radio station; the station’s hosts also talked about the giveaway on air. Holley promoted the giveaway to United Way of Bedford County’s 20 partner agencies, and the local newspaper wrote several articles about the giveaway before and after the winner was chosen.

During the month-and-a-half-long promotion, Professional Roofing Contractors received 20 entries on its Facebook page. Price chose a panel of judges—Holley; Laurrie Batey, Professional Roofing Contractors’ accountant; and John Morris, the local Atlas Roofing rep—to narrow the entries to three finalists. “We kept narrowing them down; it was a challenge because we could see the need in every one of the entries,” Holley notes.

Dawn Holley, executive director of United Way of Bedford County, receives a check for $500 from Larry Price (middle), president, and Jonathan Price, vice president of Professional Roofing Contractors, Shelbyville, Tenn. The roofing contracting company donated $5 to United Way of Bedford County for each “like” added to its Facebook page while collecting entries for a charitable roof giveaway.

Dawn Holley, executive director of United Way of Bedford County, receives a check for $500 from Larry Price (middle), president, and Jonathan Price, vice president, of Professional Roofing Contractors. The roofing contracting company donated $5 to United Way of Bedford County for each “like” added to its Facebook page while collecting entries for a charitable roof giveaway.

“After the three finalists were chosen, we opened the contest up to a vote on Facebook,” Price says. “To vote, visitors had to ‘like’ our page. Then we counted up the votes.” The winner of the free roof—valued at $5,000 with materials donated by Atlas Roofing Corp., Atlanta, and labor provided by Professional Roofing Contractors—was Jo Gentle of Brownsboro, Ala. (The other two finalists also received prizes donated by the local Sears, United Grocery Outlet and Victory Nissan.)

Professional Roofing Contractors’ giveaway not only gave Gentle the roof her family’s home desperately needed, but it also provided $500 to United Way of Bedford County based on 100 likes added to the roofing contracting company’s Facebook page during the promotion. That money was distributed among United Way of Bedford County’s 20 partner agencies.

“When you have a small United Way like ours, partnerships like the one with Professional Roofing Contractors are vital,” Holley says. “When you give to United Way, those dollars are going to so many different organizations and touching so many lives. This promotion did so much more in our community beyond helping the family that received the roof. I just want to give a big thank you to Jonathan and Professional Roofing Contractors for including us in the promotion.”

Jo Gentle’s roof was about 20 years old and had many leaks, resulting in rotten decking. In her Facebook entry, Gentle uploaded a photo of a giant hole in her ceiling’s sheetrock, with which Professional Roofing Contractors’ Facebook followers obviously sympathized when they selected her the winner of a new roof.

Jo Gentle’s roof was about 20 years old and had many leaks, resulting in rotten decking. In her Facebook entry, Gentle uploaded a photo of a giant hole in her ceiling’s sheetrock, with which Professional Roofing Contractors’ Facebook followers obviously sympathized when they selected her the winner of a new roof.

Jo Gentle's new roof with materials donated by Atlas Roofing and labor donated by Professional Roofing Contractors.

Jo Gentle’s new roof with materials donated by Atlas Roofing and labor donated by Professional Roofing Contractors.

PHOTOS: Professional Roofing Contractors

Roof It Right’s Famous Roofing Dogs

Roofis was Roof It Right's original roofing dog.

Roofis was Roof It Right’s original roofing dog.

James Guindon and his husky, Roofis, moved to Las Vegas from Palm Springs, Calif., in 1994 for the construction boom. Guindon was accustomed to bringing Roofis—who actually climbed ladders to join crews on the roof—to work, but he met some resistance from Las Vegas roofing contractors when he sought a job. “Some companies wouldn’t hire me because of Roofis, saying there were insurance reasons or they can’t bring their kids to work so I should play with my dog at home,” Guindon remembers. “I finally was hired by a company that only cared that I showed up and was a good roofer, and some of their customers thought Roofis on a roof was the cutest thing they ever saw.” Those customers called the local media outlets and suddenly Roofis was famous.

In 1997, Guindon established Roof It Right, which has five human employees and focuses 70 percent of its efforts on residential projects. Naturally, Guindon made Roofis the star of the company. Roofing spoke with Guindon about Roofis (who passed away in 2006) and Roofis’ son, Bullet, who has taken over as Roof It Right’s resident roofing dog.

Roofing: How did Roofis and Bullet become comfortable with ladders and on roofs?

Guindon: Roofis would follow me around wherever I would go. When he was 4-months old, I went up on my house’s roof and he climbed up the ladder behind me.

Roof It Right's owner James Guindon, who is also an artist, includes his dogs in marketing materials, including this Christmas card.

Roof It Right’s owner James Guindon, who is also an artist, includes his dogs in marketing materials, like this Christmas card he illustrated.

I took Bullet to a job site when he was a puppy. We tried to get him to follow Roofis up the ladder but he wouldn’t do it. I kept bringing Bullet to job sites anyway. One day, I went up on a roof and I heard a dog coming up the ladder. I assumed it was Roofis but it was Bullet. Six months later, Roofis died. The day after Roofis died, Bullet filled Roofis’ “shoes”.

Roofing: How do you keep Bullet away from dangerous situations?

Guindon: I have been careful of what roofs I let him onto. If I think Bullet’s going to get hurt, I won’t let him up. We did a job on a 3-story building recently and Bullet was climbing up the 32-foot ladder to get to us. If the ladder is straight up and down, I won’t let him go up because he can fall backward.

Roofing: Do you use your dog(s) in your marketing materials?

Guindon: I’m an artist, so I created our logo with Roofis in it. The last three or four years, I’ve included Bullet on the custom Christmas cards I create and send to my clients. Both dogs are on the company website. My TV commercials include Bullet. My answering machine’s outgoing message starts out with ‘woof woof’. I’m having some fun with it.

Also, when people drive by and see a dog on the roof it’s definitely a headturner. They often stop and ask how the dog got up there. It blows their minds when they see him climb the ladder.

Bullet is Roof It Right's current roofing dog.

Bullet is Roof It Right’s current roofing dog.

Roofing: Do you get jobs specifically because of Bullet?

Guindon: I get calls from animal lovers. They don’t usually tell me they’re going to hire me right away because they’re afraid about how I might price the job. I’ve also been in business for 17 years, so I’m established around here, but I have to admit some of my business is probably because of the dogs.

Roofing: Do you plan to continue using dogs in your business?

Guindon: I got Roofis’ sperm frozen so when Bullet, who is 9 years old, goes to doggie heaven I’ll probably get one more roofing dog and after that I’m going to retire. Then I’ll have hunting dogs instead of roofing dogs.

View Bullet’s TV appearances on Roof It Right’s website.

IMAGES: Roof It Right

New Year, New Magazine

Happy New Year, and welcome to the first edition of Roofing!

Although we may be new to many of you, Roofing actually is the next iteration of a successful regional roofing magazine called Carolinas Roofing. (Check out our back issues in digital format.) Since the first issue of Carolinas Roofing mailed in March 2010, we were approached several times to bring the magazine to a broader audience. Last summer, we decided to evolve Carolinas Roofing into a national publication.

The magazine’s goal, which is highlighted in our tagline, “The Industry’s Voice”, is to provide insight from your peers (roofing contractors, architects, roof consultants, building owners and facility managers). We hope as you receive and read each issue of the magazine you feel like you’re having a conversation with other members of the roofing community. We hope their voices inspire, challenge and sometimes even irritate you. With each article and shared experience, Roofing hopes to drive the roofing industry forward.

Roofing will mail bimonthly, and we plan to keep in touch with you regularly. Our dynamic website is updated daily with news and product information. We’ll be posting online exclusives, as well. If you want to be made aware of these updates, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. And of course you can follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

We know everyone is busy these days, so we’ll strive to bring you the best content in the most efficient manner. You’ll notice the magazine contains many short columns that impart knowledge quickly. For example, did you know someone can be suffering from hypothermia but be fully alert? I didn’t until I read Michael Rich’s “Safety” column. James R. Kirby shares efforts by ASTM D08.24 to develop standards specifically related to sustainable roofing in “Environmental Trends”. Craig Dallas helps you brush up on leadership skills with four great tips in “Business Sense”. And an anonymous author reminds us why safety on the job site is of utmost importance in “It Happened to Me”.

Even our feature articles are short and sweet. Get to the gist of some amazing hospitality and entertainment projects, including the 8-acre Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn. Baker Roofing’s crew was challenged by rolling hills, 30-foot parapet walls and a vegetated section. “Tech Point” explains why penetrations in the roof in the form of skylights and rooftop monitors can be beneficial to buildings. And get Solar Installer Matthew Bennett’s perspective about why roofing contractors and solar installers make good partners in “Cool Roofing”.

There’s a lot of good stuff in this issue but we couldn’t have put it together without help from roofing industry professionals. Therefore, I urge you to contact me with your stories. I know you’ve read that before and probably thought the editor doesn’t really mean it. I do! To live up to our tagline of “The Industry’s Voice”, Roofing depends on your wisdom and in-the-field experiences. If you enjoyed reading this issue, please submit something for the next one. Call me at (630) 308-4602; email me; post a comment on our website; and/or Facebook and tweet us your ideas. This magazine—and your peers—are counting on you!

Nashville, Tenn., Begins Revitalization of Its City Center with a New Convention Space that Features a Truly Unique Roof

It isn’t often that a nightmare becomes a pleasant reality. Andy Baker, vice president of Raleigh, N.C.- based Baker Roofing, recalls the year he spent as project manager for the roofing of the new Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn., as one of his most challenging jobs. “The logistics, a tight spot downtown, the size of the project and everything that goes along with that—thousands of people trying to work and everyone needs their material in that area at the same time. Even the unique shape of the building made it hard,” Baker remembers. “We’re glad it’s done and we can look back on it now and say: ‘Wow! We did that.’”

The Music City Center was built to be the catalyst for more development in the SoBro neighborhood of Nashville, Tenn. It is intended to create a diverse economy that won’t be affected if flooding occurs, like in May 2010.

The Music City Center was built to be the catalyst for more development in the SoBro neighborhood of Nashville, Tenn. It is intended to create a diverse economy that won’t be affected if flooding occurs, like in May 2010.

Baker and his crew of up to 50 roofing workers have much to be proud of. The completed project is the largest capital construction project in Nashville’s history and was designed to bring prosperity to the area known as SoBro, or South of Broadway, which was affected by massive flooding in May 2010. The Music City Center lies outside the flood-prone areas and hopefully will be the catalyst for more development, which will create a diverse economy that won’t be affected if another flood occurs.

In addition to the Music City Center’s imaginative design that resembles various musical instruments, the building boasts a number of features that are ideal for a high-profile project. Many of these features are located in the most opportune of places—the roof. An Energy Star-qualified thermoplastic PVC membrane covers the 643,752-squarefoot roof while a 186,700-square-foot vegetated roof literally mimics the rolling hills of Tennessee’s Highland Rim. The rooftop also hosts a 211-kilowatt solar-power system on the 1-acre area that is over the Grand Ballroom, a rooftop space that resembles an acoustic guitar in shape. Lastly, the roof collects rainwater that is funneled to a 360,000-gallon tank before it is used to irrigate the site and flush hundreds of toilets inside.

Construction Challenges

Baker and his colleagues knew the Music City Center would present many challenges even before work began. “We knew it was going to be a logistical nightmare going in but then you have to live it,” he recalls. “You would think four city blocks would be a large enough area to work from but there were thousands of contractors working and receiving materials at the same time. Trying to keep truck drivers and suppliers happy was difficult. The community was great though; there were a lot of police officers around to direct traffic.”

Baker Roofing's team of up to 50 roofing workers spent one year working on the Music City Center.

Baker Roofing’s team of up to 50 roofing workers spent one year working on the Music City Center.

Installation also proved perplexing because of the roof’s undulating slopes of 1/4:12 to 12:12. Baker likens the rolls to waves and points out in some places they were almost conical in shape. In the areas in which there was no vegetated roof, the crew fastened two layers of 1.7-inch polyisocyanurate insulation followed by 1/4-inch roof board. Then a 60-mil thermoplastic PVC membrane in a light gray color was fully adhered to the assembly. The membrane features a lacquer coating to reduce dirt pickup.

Photos: Keri Baker

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A Solar Installer Explains the Many Ways Roofing Contractors Can Be Involved in Solar Installations

The solar-power industry has changed dramatically in the past five years. Products and manufacturers have come and gone; tax incentives have become less attractive; and requirements for utilities to maintain a certain percentage of their energy portfolio from renewable sources are not enough to help the market in most places. Despite these negatives, unique financing mechanisms and the remarkable decrease in the cost of solar panels keep the industry booming. These ups and downs demonstrate why Matthew Bennett, vice president for design and engineering and founder of Dovetail Solar & Wind, Athens, Ohio, refers to the industry as the “solar coaster”.

Bennett’s business, which was established in 1995, installs solar on residential and commercial buildings. As such, he has worked with a number of roofing contractors over the years and sees synergies between the trades. Roofing asked Bennett how roofing contractors and solar installers can improve their relationship and achieve successful solar installations upon watertight roofs.

Roofing: When must you coordinate with roofing contractors?

Bennett: On almost every commercial roof where roof penetrations are required we’ll have a roofer come in and flash the penetrations and sometimes install a sleeve to get our conduit off the roof and into the building.commercial solar array

The other common reason for coordinating with a roofer is because the roof may be under warranty. Sometimes the warranty is held by the roof manufacturer, so we receive a list of roofers who can do the inspection. Usually there’s an inspection that needs to happen before and after the solar installation. We’re sometimes paying $1,000 to get inspections.

A lot of times we’re not fastening solar panels to flat commercial roofs; we’re installing what’s called a ballasted system where we may need to use an approved pad or put down an additional membrane to protect the roof from the pan that is holding ballast and keeping the array on the roof. Sometimes different roofing manufacturers are picky about what they allow on the roof and different kinds of roofs require different treatment, so it’s important to have a good roofing contractor available.

Roofing: When you hire contractors, what are you looking for?

Bennett: We’re looking for a roofing contractor that does quality work at a fair price because, I’ll be honest, we’ve been overcharged by roofers more than any other subcontractor. We take notes when we work with a roofing contractor: how easy they are to work with, how responsive they are to emails and phone calls, the quality of work and the price. We know roughly what to expect after being in business all these years. If we get a fair quote from a recommended contractor, we’ll often go with them without looking at other bids. We prefer to use a roofer who is familiar with the roof. A good relationship with the customer also is an important consideration.

Roofing: Are there situations in which you defer entirely to the roofing contractor?

Bennett: It’s a little unusual. We just put a system on a slate roof on a million-dollar home. The roof was very steep and we didn’t even want to get on the slate, so we hired the roofer to install the rails and solar panels. We did all the electrical work and procurement. We provided one of our crew leaders to be there the entire time to train the roofing crew and help them because they had no experience with solar. They knew how to get around on a slate roof and mount the solar flashing and they actually installed the whole array. They did it in not much more time than we would’ve done it. We were very impressed with them.

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Reinvention from Carolinas Roofing to Roofing

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that all of life is reinvention. Sometimes past and future can share the same time period. New just shows up sometimes. In show business it’s easy to understand. You can’t keep coming back with the same show. Unless you get offstage you can’t make another entrance.”

Lorne Michaels, a writer best known for producing Saturday Night Live, wrote this in Vanity Fair’s October issue, which celebrated its 100th year of publishing. Michaels knows a little something about reinvention; for 38 years, SNL has consistently been among the highest-rated late-night television programs. His words jumped out at me not only because they so appropriately explain SNL’s and Vanity Fair’s long and successful histories, but also because they are fitting for this the final issue of Carolinas Roofing.

In 2014, Carolinas Roofing will be reinventing itself as a national publication—Roofing—to remain relevant to the marketplace. Since our first issue mailed in March 2010, we’ve been approached several times to bring this magazine to a broader audience. We’ve been asked to start other regional roofing publications. A couple years ago, we seriously thought about expanding and re-branding Carolinas Roofing as an East Coast roofing magazine. Each time we crunched the numbers and discussed the ideas thoroughly but realized they didn’t make sense. This past summer, we were approached again but, this time, the idea was to make the magazine a national publication. This proposal finally made sense for every aspect of our small business and met our ultimate goal of educating the roofing industry.

In addition to a new name and a broader circulation that will include roofing contractors, architects, roof consultants, building owners and facility managers, Roofing will offer more opportunities for us to keep in touch with you, the reader. We’ll be launching a dynamic website, www.roofingmagazine.com, in January that constantly will be updated with news and product information, as well as a monthly e-newsletter to keep you informed between issues of the magazine, which will continue to mail on a bimonthly schedule.

We plan to remain true to our regional roots by offering a “Regional Report” each issue that will examine climatic challenges related to roofing in various parts of the country, including the Carolinas. And we have lots of other innovative ideas to maintain your loyal readership. We hope you opt to continue receiving the magazine. Please fill out the subscription card for Roofing and scan and email it to Publisher Barrett Hahn at barrett@roofingmagazine.com or mail it to 4711 Hope Valley Road, Box 202, Durham, NC 27707. (Subscriptions will not be duplicated.)

All of us at Carolinas Roofing would like to thank you for the past four years. We credit your engagement with the magazine for its success and, ultimately, taking us to the next level. We hope to see you when the curtain opens for our second act.