The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress: Committed to Securing the Future Excellence of the Roofing Industry

Margaret Mead was quoted as saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
And years later, her words ring true for the members of the Rosemont, Ill.-based Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress.

The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress holds two member meetings each year, including its annual meeting and another held during NRCA’s Fall Committee Meetings.

The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress holds two member meetings each year, including its annual meeting and another held during NRCA’s Fall Committee Meetings.

This diverse, thoughtful and dedicated forum of 148 roofing contractors, manufacturers, suppliers, service providers and industry professionals have united together to change the course of the roofing industry by committing more than $12.3 million to help preserve and enhance the U.S. roofing industry’s success.

On the cusp of its 20th anniversary, the alliance is growing at a rapid pace in members and projects and proving itself to be stronger than ever. Since its inception in 1996, the alliance continues to unite leaders throughout the roofing industry while funding high-quality re- search, providing forward-thinking responses to major economic and techno- logical issues, and advancing education and training to enhance the long-term viability of the roofing industry to current and future workers.

“The advances the alliance has made, particularly in the last few years, are a testimonial to how successful we can be when everyone commits to work together to improve and shape this great industry,” says Robert McNamara, president of F.J.A. Christiansen Roofing Co. Inc., a Tecta America company based in Milwaukee. “We have made some remarkable progress, and I encourage those who are not a part of the alliance to seriously consider getting involved.”

EFFECTING CHANGE

With a keen focus on raising awareness about careers in the roofing industry, the alliance approved substantial project funding to advance ongoing educational initiatives with three well-known construction management schools in the U.S.: The Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University, Fort Collins; the McWhorter School of Building Science at Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.; and the M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Construction Management at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

In February, the alliance also sponsored its second annual Construction Management Student Design Competition, a hallmark competition to promote careers in roofing industry management. The competition featured teams from Auburn University; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.; and the University of Florida. In addition to providing a significant learning opportunity, the competition fostered camaraderie, dialogue among the students and team spirit. Students were challenged to demonstrate their roofing knowledge in the areas of estimating, project management, safety and related areas for their project on the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, which also was the site for the 2016 International Roofing Expo (IRE).

Their final portion of the project, an oral presentation, was judged by a panel of five roofing professionals during IRE. The winning team from the University of Florida, which included members Eddie San Juan, Nick Loewenthal, Caleb Strauss and Drew Winant, received a school trophy and individual trophies during NRCA’s Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Reception on Feb. 18.

The alliance also awarded its second Construction Management Faculty Scholarship to James Sullivan, director of undergraduate programs, M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Construction Management at the University of Florida. With the $15,000 scholarship, Sullivan developed a detailed intern program guide- line that can be customized to meet the requirements of various construction management schools and fulfill students required credits. A pilot program is expected to be launched by the summer of 2017.

“It’s important we are visible as an organization, as well as an industry, and in front of as many students as possible,” says Dennis Conway, principal and vice president of Commercial Roofers Inc., Las Vegas. “We all need good, well-trained people and this exposure is invaluable.”

ADVANCING EDUCATION AND TRAINING

The alliance continued to support educational efforts and offer students financial aid through the Melvin Kruger Endowed Scholarship Program by approving funding to renew five scholar- ships totaling $25,000, as well as five new ones at $5,000 each. The new 2015-16 recipients included Brittany Beldon, San Antonio; Christian Bole, Dallas, Ga.; Jonah Manson, Solon, Iowa; Ivy Rivas, Tujunga, Calif.; and Adam Stackpole, Saginaw, Mich.

Named for Melvin Kruger, NRCA former president and chief executive officer of L.E. Schwartz & Son Inc., Macon, Ga., the alliance’s first scholarship was awarded in 1986. Since its inception, the program has distributed $630,000 in scholarship funds to 115 students. The program is open to NRCA contractor and supplier members, their families and their employees who plan to pursue careers in the roofing industry or building construction.

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The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress Secures the Future Excellence of the Roofing Industry

Maya Angelou once said, “To make a difference is not a matter of accident, a matter of casual occurrence of the tides. People choose to make a difference.” Since its inception, The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress, Rosemont, Ill., has not only made a difference within the roofing community, it has funded a number of critical industry initiatives, core programs and projects, and meaningful research that have contributed to securing the future excellence of the roofing industry.

At 144 members strong, the Alliance is a diverse and dedicated forum of roofing contractors, manufacturers, suppliers and industry professionals who have united to help preserve and enhance the performance of the U.S. roofing industry to support three primary objectives:

  • Supporting high-quality education programs.
  • Ensuring timely and forward-thinking industry responses to major economic and technological issues.
  • Enhancing the long-term viability and attractiveness of the roofing industry to current and future workers.

More than 105 members of the Alliance are professional roofing contractors and, with the help of more than 35 manufacturers and suppliers, the Alliance members have raised more than $11.5 million for a unique industry endowment fund in support of programs and research in four key areas: education and training, technology, sustainability and philanthropy.

During the past year alone, The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress developed partnerships with three of the leading schools of construction management; embarked on an innovative workforce program to create cultural and leadership training programs to educate Latino workers; and continued work on important roofing industry research projects, including RoofPoint, the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing’s comprehensive roof rating system for the assessment and selection of sustainable roof systems, and air retarder testing.

MEET THE ALLIANCE

The The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress was established in 1996 by the National Roofing Contractors Association, Rosemont, under the operations of the National Roofing Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization. A 16-member board of trustees manages the Alliance, overseeing existing projects and considering funding for projects addressing critical industry issues. The Alliance holds two member meetings each year, including its annual meeting, which will be held April 16-19 in San Francisco, and another held during NRCA’s Fall Committee Meetings.

Robert McNamara, president of F.J.A. Christiansen Roofing Co. Inc., a Tecta America company, Milwaukee, is the Alliance’s 2014-15 president; Ken Farrish, president of Atlas Roofing Corp., Atlanta, is vice president; and Jim Barr, president of Barr Roofing, Abilene, Texas, is secretary/treasurer.

Since June, the Alliance has welcomed eight new members: AAA Roofing Co. Inc., Indianapolis; Anderson and Shah Roofing Inc., Joliet, Ill.; Adler Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc., Joliet; Blue’s Roofing Co., Milpitas, Calif.; Bone Dry Roofing Co., Bogart, Ga.; EagleView Technologies, Bothell, Wash.; Polyglass U.S.A. Inc., Deerfield Beach, Fla.; and Roofing Solutions LLC, Prairieville, La. View a list of all Alliance members on the Alliance’s website.

The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress offers different levels of membership to encourage small-, medium- and large-sized firms to join and have a voice in determining the roofing industry’s future. Commitments to the Alliance can be pledged for three- to five-year periods. Public recognition is given in accordance with donors’ wishes and levels of commitment and include national public acknowledgement during NRCA’s annual convention and other special events and programs. Alliance members also are invited to participate in the project task forces established to guide the Alliance’s agenda and are invited to the semiannual meetings of the full Alliance.

“We decided to join the Alliance this year to support the industry at a higher level,” states Chad Collins, president of Bone Dry Roofing Co. “We have never measured the value of membership in dollars, so the financial commitment to support the Alliance was not perceived as an obstacle but rather as an opportunity. The enhanced avenues to further develop relationships and be a part of the advancements in this great industry moving forward are exciting.”

EDUCATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS

In 2014, The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress formed educational partnerships with the Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University, Fort Collins; McWhorter School of Building Science at Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.; and M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction at the University of Florida, Gainesville. The partnerships enhance college students’ experiences by exposing them academically and experientially to roofing as a career choice.

Through the partnerships, the universities have agreed to a three-pronged approach that includes incorporating more roofing-specific information and case studies into existing curricula; providing scholarships for construction management students and faculty; and developing industry internship programs with roofing contracting companies, manufacturers and distributors.

Three faculty members received scholarships of $5,000 each and were asked to collaborate as they developed their recommendations; the outcomes will serve as a model that can be used in other construction management schools throughout the U.S. Ultimately, the plan is to have roofing-specific materials incorporated in the construction management departments beginning in the fall of 2015.

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