Dan Worstell of Pyramid Roofing Creates Positive Change in His Community

Dan Worstell (right) is pictured with his dad Jerry (center) and his brother Dave (left).

Dan Worstell (right) is pictured with his dad Jerry (center) and his brother Dave (left).

Dan Worstell, president of Pyramid Roofing, which has offices in Newport News, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg, Va., believes the biggest changes can be made with small efforts. Worstell lives his belief every day.

For example, after signing up as a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Williamsburg, he was quickly paired with 7-year-old Jordan. The plan as to spend a few hours a month with the boy over the course of a year, sharing activities and generally being a positive male role model for Jordan. Recently, the pair celebrated 10 years as “Big” and “Little,” and both their lives have changed for the better as a result of their relationship. Jordan is a smart, popular teen in his senior year of high school. He works after school and on weekends, has his own bank account and buys presents for the Worstell family at Christmas.

Meanwhile Worstell and his family—wife Tammy and sons Derek and Drew—include Jordan in family activities, from holiday celebrations to just hanging out around the house. Worstell also attends Jordan’s sporting events and hangs photos of Jordan along with his own sons on the walls of his office.

Through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Williamsburg, Wortsell has mentored Jordan for the past 10 years.

Through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Williamsburg, Wortsell has mentored Jordan for the past 10 years.

Worstell is not only one of the most prominent roofing contractors in the Hampton Roads area, he’s also a stand-up guy who cares about his employees and community.

For example, Worstell roofed the home of a disabled veteran for free and also supplied the labor to install roofing shingles (donated by Atlanta-based Atlas Roofing Corp.) at the Jamestown 4-H Center. On rain and snow days, Worstell keeps his crews working by posting on Facebook that the roofers are available to do odd jobs around the house. All Worstell asks in return is a $15 minimum donation to the Grove Christian Outreach Center.

On rainy mornings, Worstell often can be found in his company truck in the Chick-fil-A drive-thru in Hampton Roads. He hands his credit card to the cashier and moves to the end of the line, paying for breakfast for everyone originally behind him. Along with the free breakfast, the cashier passes out a chip clip with the Pyramid Roofing name and logo on it. This small investment has led to new business and positive feedback about Pyramid Roofing.

Photos: Atlas Roofing Corp.

Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress Announces 2016 – 2017 Board of Trustees

The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress announces its board of trustees for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

James Patterson, senior vice president—procurement for Centimark Corp., Canonsburg, Pa., is elected president of the Alliance; Thomas Saeli, CEO of Duro-Last Inc., Saginaw, Mich., is elected vice president and Jim Barr, president of Barr Roofing Co., Abilene, Texas, is elected secretary-treasurer.

Additionally, the following are approved to serve on the board of trustees:

Bob Bechtoldt, president and chief executive officer of Douglas Colony Group, Commerce City, Colo.
Nelson Braddy, chief executive officer of King of Texas Roofing Company LP, Grand Prairie, Texas
Dane Bradford, president of Bradford Roof Management Inc.., Billings, Mont.
Bob Daly, president of Kaw Roofing and Sheet Metal Inc., Kansas City
Naomi Dupre, president and CEO of Kirby Fiberglass, Pueblo West, Colo.
Ken Farrish, president of Atlas Roofing Corp., Atlanta
Josh Kelly, president of OMG Roofing Products, Agawam, Mass.
John Massarelli, vice president of sales and marketing for Beacon Roofing Supply Inc., Herndon, Va.
Paul Mitchell, strategic initiatives and alliances for Tremco Roofing and Building Maintenance, Beachwood, Ohio
Rod Petrick, president of Ridgeworth Roofing Co. Inc., Frankfort, Ill.
Chris Schmidt, director of sales for USG Securock Roofing Systems, Chicago
Tom Walker, executive director of commercial roofing for ABC Supply Co. Inc., Beloit, Wis.
David Workman, president and chief executive officer of RoofConnect, Sheridan, Ark.

Manufacturer Donates Roofing Materials and More to Camp that Assists Veterans Suffering from Brain Trauma

Rick Briggs is in his element. The retired Air Force major has just spent the better part of the afternoon chatting with a steady stream of military veterans and their families, all of whom have come to get a closer look at Camp Liberty, a rehab facility of sorts designed to help wounded soldiers and those suffering from brain trauma.

Camp Liberty, Brooklyn, Mich., is a rehab facility designed to help wounded soldiers and those suffering from brain trauma.

Camp Liberty, Brooklyn, Mich., is a rehab facility designed to help wounded soldiers and those suffering from brain trauma.

Now, he’s enjoying a drive through the property’s northwest end in a Polaris multi-seat ATV. He is away from the crowds. Away from the rumblings of the nearby roads. Away from the jack-hammering of the nearby construction. All that can be heard now is the gurgling of the nearby Raisin River and the wind gently bending the wildflowers in a vast field within the 137-acre complex. Briggs points to a landmark in the distance and begins to tell one of his favorite stories. It’s apparent that he’s told this tale many times in the past year.

Just last year, Briggs recalls, Britani Lafferty, a 29-year-old veteran who spent time in Iraq as a combat medic, visited the Camp Liberty site. Suffering from debilitating physical and mental wounds from her tour, Lafferty tried countless medical treatments to no avail. Desperate for something that might work, Lafferty turned to the healing power of nature. Invited to spend time at Camp Liberty, Lafferty tried her hand at deer hunting. From a blind overlooking the Raisin River, Lafferty bagged her very first buck. And for Camp Liberty, it marked the first successful hunt for their program.

To Briggs, the moment symbolized that Lafferty could overcome her own afflictions, that she was still able to do things without the help of others. This is the sort of therapy Briggs and the Camp Liberty project hope to impart. “I know vets who are really dealing with severe difficulties,” Briggs says. “They don’t want to be around people. They won’t go to a mall. They won’t go to a movie. We have actually gotten them out here and back to where they can get out and start doing stuff.”

And that’s Camp Liberty’s ultimate goal. “When we get out here doing recreation with guys, it gives them the opportunity to listen and realize that PTSD is treatable,” Briggs adds. “These guys don’t want to believe it. They don’t want to think about it. They don’t want to admit they’re dealing with it. ”

The story of Lafferty is just one example of what Briggs thinks could be a new way to tackle the effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) to the body and mind. With the construction of a new program facility, scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, the full vision of Briggs and his childhood friend Allan Lutes is within reach.

Lutes and Briggs aim to construct a wilderness recreation facility focused on helping military veterans recover from debilitating injuries, brain trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Frustrated by the lack of attention paid to veterans (just two years ago, Michigan ranked dead last in the U.S. in military spending on vets), the two vowed to make a difference. And after years of planning, preparation and fundraising, the project, which is located just a few miles from the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, is nearly complete.

From hunting to fishing to kayaking, Camp Liberty offers veterans a quiet, tranquil location where rehabilitation can flourish.

From hunting to fishing to kayaking, Camp Liberty offers veterans a quiet, tranquil location where rehabilitation can flourish.

With the help of volunteer crews, Lutes and Briggs are overseeing one of the last steps of the project, the construction of a 2,880-square-foot, handicapped accessible lodge that has taken shape over the past five months. Upon completion, the three-bedroom, two-bathroom structure will allow injured veterans and their families to lengthen their stay and take advantage of all of the outdoor activities the massive site has to offer—and it won’t cost them a cent.

Amidst this huge habitat stand 10 state-of-the-art hunting blinds and wildlife observation towers, all fully handicapped accessible. Along with guided hunting expeditions, the veterans can fish in the nearby Raisin River, hike along numerous nature trails, and enjoy the serenity of a reflection area and outdoor chapel. From hunting to fishing to kayaking, Camp Liberty offers veterans—particularly those who have suffered injuries in combat or are challenged by traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder—a quiet, tranquil location where rehabilitation can flourish.

“Hunting is just a small part of what we offer here,” Lutes notes. “Every inch of this facility has been thought through as a way of something that is going to make someone feel comfortable, feel at peace, feel part of nature, and be able to reflect on their life.”

An ambitious project like this doesn’t just happen, of course. The financial barriers would be too daunting for most people, even if they were smart enough to come up with such a unique vision. Briggs, Lutes and the Camp Liberty team have raised close to $300,000 toward their building projects and have recruited volunteers to help with completing the site’s projects. The primary contributor, Lutes adds, has been the Eisenhower Center, the country’s leading brain injury facility, which has donated more than $200,000 to the project. Among a bevy of donors, Atlas Roofing Corp. has provided almost $30,000 in building products for the construction of the program facility, including the ThermalStar Radiant Comfort in-floor heat panels that will regulate heating within the complex, ThermalStar LCI-SS insulated structural sheathing, AC Foam Crossvent Insulation roofing product, WeatherMaster Ice and Water Shield, Gorilla Guard EverFelt Underlayment and Pinnacle Pristine Green Shingles.

“I think the right word [to describe his reaction to the financial support] would be overjoyed,” Lutes says. “Overjoyed that other people have bought into our vision, that other people have seen the value and need for helping our veterans and to help people who have mobility issues enjoy the outdoors. I mean, that is really heartwarming.”

Atlas Roofing Corp. has provided almost $30,000 in building products for the construction of the program facility.

Atlas Roofing Corp. has provided almost $30,000 in building products for the construction of the program facility.

To Charlene Zezawa, the project would have been stalled from the outset had it not been for Briggs’ uncanny ability to advocate for the camp’s vision. She was so taken by a presentation by Briggs at a golf fundraiser several years ago, Zezawa signed on to help out. Before she knew it, she was asked to serve on Camp Liberty’s board of directors as its secretary. Briggs’ passion is contagious, she said. “Rick is the best fundraising person I have ever met in my entire life,” Zezawa states. “He will go after it. You have to have heart and Rick has heart. That’s what drives him.”

Zezawa is among a steady stream of volunteers who have lent a hand. Throughout the summer, members of the Jackson County Habitat for Humanity jumped on board to lead the construction of the program facility’s foundation, structure and roof. The crew, ranging in age from 60 to 93, spent the better part of the summer in what crew chief David Behnke called “a wonderful experience”. “If you can’t get behind this project, you can’t get behind anything,” he says.

A.J. Mikulka is a 33-year old Army National Guard veteran who has been hunting since she was a kid, learning how to carry a shotgun from her father. She is not unlike many of the veterans that Lutes and Briggs hope to help. On Aug. 9, 2007, Mikulka, serving in Mosul, Iraq, was in the midst of helping to train Iraqi police when the station started taking enemy fire. When she stepped out from behind a barricade, insurgent forces launched a rocket-propelled grenade. “It was a direct hit. It took my leg clean off,” she recalls. Mikulka now walks with a prosthetic, which is attached to her leg just below the knee.

Her physical recovery didn’t take nearly as long as the emotional recovery, though. Mikulka believes the mental recuperation offered by Camp Liberty will have a “profound effect” on wounded veterans like herself. “There’s always going to be stuff that you deal with [emotionally],” she says. “I know a lot of [injured veterans] who are still dealing with it years later. The hard part for me was [dealing with] the loss of career.”

Lutes and Briggs hope that Camp Liberty will be a place that people like Mikulka can come to heal and feel “normal again.” Research supports their hunch. A 2013 study by the University of Michigan indicated that time spent in nature can improve cognitive abilities, particularly for those who suffer from post-deployment issues. “The research clearly shows that extended outdoor recreation helps combat-injured veterans,” Briggs notes. “And the more severe their injuries, the more significant the outcomes.”

It’s nearly impossible to not come away impressed by what has happened in this remote area in southeastern Michigan. Roger Barnett, a 66-year-old veteran, who was “in the mud” in Vietnam, spent an afternoon with his wife Dottie chatting with other visitors at a recent Camp Liberty open house. “It’s just really great to have for these guys with disabilities,” Barnett states. “It’s all set up for them. It’s all set up for recreation, for them [to have] some kind of an outlet and get together and spend time in front of the fireplace and relax. It’s great. It’s just what they need.”

Now, Briggs and Lutes are just antsy to get the construction completed. While they enjoy bringing attention to Camp Liberty, raising funds and chatting with the press, they’re eager for the property to begin hosting those who need it the most. “We hope to be able to help the veterans realize that they may have a TBI issue or a PTSD issue and that there is a treatment option that can improve it without them sacrificing their jobs, their military rating or their relationships,” Lutes says. “We’ve proven to ourselves that what we do can change lives for the better.”

Summer Safety Tips for Roofing Workers

Summer, the prime season for inspections and reroofing projects, is here. Before dropping the phone to drag out the ladders and survey the scene for broken flashing and missing shingles, here are five important summer safety rules every roofing contractor needs to respect before venturing out into the summer sun.

Before dropping the phone to drag out the ladders and survey the scene for broken flashing and missing shingles, here are five important summer safety rules every Florida roofing contractor needs to respect before venturing out into the summer sun.

Before dropping the phone to drag out the ladders and survey the scene for broken flashing and missing shingles, there are important summer safety rules every roofing contractor needs to respect.

Summer Safety Tips

1. Early To Rise
No one can control the weather, know how hot the day is going to get or predict with 100 percent accuracy when it will start to rain in the afternoon. However, contractors can control their day by getting an early morning start to avoid as much of the sun’s summer rays and afternoon rain as possible. Getting the bulk of the work done before the hottest point of the day is Roofing 101—and the key to surviving in summer heat.

2. Hydration Is Key
As reported by The New York Times, “Last year (2014) was the hottest on earth since record-keeping began.” The trend is continuing, with the warmest winter since 1880, according to the National Climatic Data Center. What does this mean for the summer of 2015? It probably means that a meteorology degree won’t be needed to predict the long heat wave that is undoubtedly in the forecast for this summer.

The best tip for surviving the extreme summer heat is staying hydrated. The human body is made up of 60 percent water, which is why the body is dependent on water to function. Water intake helps digest food, take nutrients and oxygen to all the cells of the body, and lubricate joints while cushioning organs.

Standing on the roof, directly in the path of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, causes the body to sweat. And while sweating regulates body temperature, excessive sweating without replenishment can lead to dehydration, fainting and many other serious ailments. Drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after every roofing project should be the plan of action for all contractors working in the heat.

3. Keep It Cool
Standing on top of a roof, there is usually no shade to protect a roofer from the sun’s rays. Taking an ample amount of breaks in the shade, or air conditioning if available, while working through the hot sun is an important part in staying hydrated throughout the day.

4. Dress Appropriately
Appropriate clothes are the body’s first line of defense against the sun. Shirts designed to keep you cool, such Dri-Fit or ClimaCool, are a great way to beat the heat in the summer. These fabrics are breathable and wick moisture from the body.

Don’t forget about the importance of a good pair of shoes. Finding shoes that have a great resistance to wear-and-tear and have a slip-resistant sole are two important features for roofing footwear attire.

Finally, sunscreen is a roofer’s best short-term defense against burns and long-term safeguard when it comes to preventing skin cancer. To aid in a roofer’s fight against dehydration and other ailments caused by the sun, a layer of sunscreen should cover all body parts not shielded by clothing—it is the final piece to every roofer’s summer uniform.

5. Rain, Rain, Go Away
Rain is a huge hindrance for roofers. Slipping and falling is just one reason why sites like BankRate.com and BusinessInsider.com rank roofing as one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. So although the heat is dangerous, working in the rain is also very risky.

Wet shingles are heavier to carry onto a roof, felt is more likely to bubble up or rip, and the dangers of tripping and falling are real. And while it may be tempting to try and save an hour or two, the risk is not worth the reward. Avoid all of these potential hazards and do not roof in the rain.

Safety in the Sunshine

Make the most of the summer weather, but don’t throw caution to the wind. Get an early start, stay hydrated, take plenty of breaks, dress appropriately and be careful in the rain. It’s every contractor’s guide to conquering summer.

PHOTO: HitchClip

Polyiso Insulation to Be Used in Innovative Apartment Complex for the Homeless

Polyiso roof insulation will be used in an innovative apartment building project that combines state-of-the-art environmental features with affordable rents for homeless families. The polyiso insulation, donated by the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Associations (PIMA), Hunter Panels and Atlas Roofing Co., will be used in the Transitional Housing Corp.’s Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Commons (Weinberg Commons).

The Washington, D.C., Weinberg Commons will reclaim three blighted buildings in Southeast D.C., using Passive House architectural principles that reduce the carbon footprint and the utility costs for low-income tenants.

When finished in mid-2015, the apartments will provide 36 low and moderate income families including 12 homeless or formerly homeless families with below-market rents, employment services and other support for youth and families. One-third of the units will be reserved for families with more intensive needs.

“Our goal is sustainability, not just in the environmental sense, but in an economic sense to keep these families in a stable, supportive situation,: said Polly Donaldson, executive director of the Transitional Housing Corporation, a D.C.-based nonprofit that functions as the co-developer, landlord and service provider on this project.

Generally considered the most stringent energy standard in the world, Passive House building is an innovative approach to net-zero building. Instead of relying on active energy reduction systems with high installation costs, Passive House buildings concentrate on energy use reduction. Passive House buildings work with natural systems to manage heat gain and loss, saving up to 90% of utility costs. In fact, the U.S. DOE recognizes the Passive House approach as the most efficient means of achieving net-zero building operations

“It is a privilege for our members to be part of a project that addresses both homelessness and sustainable housing,” said Jared Blum, President, PIMA. “Polyiso insulation is known for it high thermal performance and will be a key contributor for this net-zero building that is extremely insulated, heated by passive solar gains and requires ultra-low energy for space heating or cooling.”

The groundbreaking ceremony for Weinberg Commons was held in October and attended by Washington Mayor Vincent Gray.

Underlayment Suited for Metal-roof Applications

Atlas Roofing Corp. has unveiled WeatherMaster Film SE

Atlas Roofing Corp. has unveiled WeatherMaster Film SE.

Atlas Roofing Corp. has unveiled WeatherMaster Film SE, a high-temperature underlayment that is suited to metal roof applications. The underlayment gives continuous protection to the entire deck of a properly ventilated roof and mitigates problem areas where water can collect. The flexible product is easy to install in critical transition areas where the roofline elevation changes. It provides a secondary layer of waterproofing to prevent damage from windblown rain and meets ASTM D1970 for ice-dam underlayment. The SBS modified membrane features a textured surface for traction and skid-resistance.