University of Florida Wins Student Construction Management Competition

For the second consecutive year, a team from University of Florida, Gainesville, was selected as the winner of The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress’ third student construction management competition, which took place during the National Roofing Contractors Association’s (NRCA’s) 130th Annual Convention held in Las Vegas.

Members of the winning team were Will Foster, Caleb Strauss (team captain), Schaffer Weeks, Forest Wilson and faculty advisor Jim Sullivan.

Six schools of construction management participated in this year’s competition: McWhorter School of Building Sciences at Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.; Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo.; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.; Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Ala.; the University of Cincinnati; and M.E. Ringer Sr. School of Building Construction at the University of Florida.

The goal of the outreach to the construction management schools is to raise awareness of the roofing industry by developing roofing-related curriculum that can be incorporated into existing construction management undergraduate degree programs, exploring scholarship programs for both students and faculty members and developing an internship program with interested Alliance members.

Teams participating in the competition were presented with a problem statement: Create a company to bid on installing a roof system on the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Each team was required to research the project, review the plans and specifications, and assemble a full estimate and proposal to submit a qualified bid package. All teams had to find a competitive edge in their estimate to beat their competition while still maintaining a reasonable margin. For this project, it was important to decide on the correct application methods, show overall roofing knowledge and illustrate a company team is prepared to undertake the project.

Each team submitted written proposals and supporting documents in December 2016, and gave oral presentations at the convention.

Orange County Construction, the University of Florida’s team company had the highest cumulative score. The team had a thorough understanding of the project; a safety plan which included planning, training and execution and a well-prepared presentation. In addition, they were well-prepared to answer judges’ questions.

The University of Florida received a team trophy, a $5,000 L.B. Conway scholarship for their school and individual prizes that were presented during NRCA’s Industry Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Reception.

Plans are now underway for the 2017-18 Alliance student competition at NRCA’s 131st annual convention in New Orleans Feb. 6-8, 2018.

For more information about the Alliance student competition, contact Bennett Judson, the Alliance’s executive director, at (800) 323-9545, ext. 7513 or bjudson@roofingindustryalliance.net.

Atas Receives Award at Canstruction Competition

The Monsters of Metal built a 1969 vintage race car for the canstruction competition, paying tribute to Nazareth Speedway.

The Monsters of Metal built a 1969 vintage race car for the canstruction competition, paying tribute to Nazareth Speedway.

The Monsters of Metal team, with members from ATAS International Inc. and the Architectural Studio, participated in the Canstruction competition recently held at the Lehigh Valley Mall.  They earned the Best Use of Labels award, utilizing a variety of canned vegetables, along with bags of white rice and black beans, to create their cansculpture.

For this year’s event, structures were built with a Lehigh Valley Heritage theme.  Eight teams competed using 38,000 cans of food (approximately 32,000 pounds). The Monsters of Metal built a 1969 vintage race car cansculpture, paying tribute to Nazareth Speedway and the drivers who raced on that local track.  All the food was donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank in the Lehigh Valley at the end of the competition.

MCA Announces Metal Roofing Championship Game Winners

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) has sponsored its 3rd annual Metal Roofing Championship Games at the Metalcon International tradeshow in Baltimore, Md. The event was sponsored by Triangle Fastener Corp., Roof Hugger LLC, D.I. Roof Seamers, S-5!, Drexel Metals Inc. and New Tech Machinery. Award sponsors were Akzo Nobel Coatings Inc., ATAS International Inc., Atlas Bolt & Screw Co., The Bradbury Group, Chicago Metal Supply and Fabrication Inc., Designandbuildwithmetal.com, Englert Inc., Modern Trade Communications Inc., Novagard Solutions, PAC-CLAD Petersen Aluminum Corp., SFS intec and Valspar.

Each day had five battles, inspired by this year’s theme ‘Battle Stars Over Baltimore’ in honor of the birthplace of our star-spangled banner. The battles were appropriately named the Triangle Fastener “Screwgun Challenge”, Roof Hugger’s “Hug-A-Roof”, New Tech Machinery/Drexel Metals’ “Install-A-SSR Roof”, D.I. Roof Seamers’ “Seam-it-Up” and the S-5! “Let-It-Snow”.

Ten teams of two contestants each pre-registered to compete during the two-day event. The contestants represented construction companies; Thomas Phoenix International of Easthampton, N.J.; DYMI Construction Inc. of Morrisville, Pa.; Hardin Construction LLC of Union Bridge, Md.; Intermountain Roof Advisors of Salt Lake City, Utah; Rosselli Roofing and Siding of Wantage, N.J.; William Molnar Roofing Inc. of Riverview, Mich.; ARCON of Vanceboro, N.C.; Mad Metal LLC of Arden, N.C.

A total of $5,800 was awarded to the battle winners this year. The top awards for each day were a grand prize and a best quality. The first winner for both the grand prize and best quality awards was Joe Allen and Paul Kulb of Thomas Phoenix International and on the second day the same was awarded to Dennis Duce and Gonzolo Tellez of Intermountain Roof Advisors. Dennis Duce states “It was an honor to be part of this event and we are looking forward to competing next year again”.

Next year, the event will be held in Las Vegas on Oct. 18-20. The MCA Roofing Games Committee plans to make this event a hallmark to the Metalcon International Tradeshow by awarding a National Metal Roofing Championship. To present this award, the overall winner of each of the two days will return on the third day of the show for a competition to compete for the title of National Metal Roofing Champion. Next year’s teams will be able to pre-register for the event beginning in February 2017.

METALCON Announces Plans for MCA Metal Roofing Championship Games

METALCON announces plans for the Metal Construction Association’s (MCA) metal roofing championship games to take place during its show on Oct. 26 and 27 at the Baltimore Convention Center. 
            
The international event for the metal construction industry will capture construction professionals from metal roofing contractors nationwide to compete for cash prizes in a number of challenges known as Battle Stars over Baltimore, in recognition of our star-spangled banner birthplace. 
            
In this two-day competition, five teams with two contestants each compete to split a $400 cash award in each of the challenges, or $2,500 in total each day.  In addition, a grand prize of $500 will be awarded daily to the team who has accumulated the most points collectively from the five challenges. This represents a total of $5,000 to be awarded over the course of the competition. 
            
The Battles with each of their sponsoring MCA Members are:
 
1:00 p.m., Game 1:  Screw Gun Battle, sponsored by Triangle Fastener Corp.
Contestants install 24 self-drilling screws spaced four inches apart into eight-foot long steel purlins mounted on an eight-by-eight foot steel framework platform. 
 
2:00 p.m., Game 2: Hug a Roof Battle, sponsored by Roof Hugger Inc. 
Contestants install 40 lineal feet of factory-notched, zee-shaped sub-purlins on a mock-up existing ribbed metal roof paneled frame.  These games are designed to demonstrate that with the right techniques, tools and products, metal roofing can be accurately installed.   
 
3:00 p.m., Game 3: Standing Seam Battle, sponsored by New Tech Machinery and Drexel Metals
Contestant teams install six each, 16-inch wide metal roof panels over factory-notched sub-purlins.  
 
4:00 p.m., Game 4: Seam It Up Battle, sponsored by D.I. Roof Seamers
Contestants operate a standing seam roof seamer over 16-inch wide metal roof panel seams.  
                                                                                                    
5:00 p.m., Game 5: Let It Snow Battle, sponsored by S-5!
Contestants must install a mechanically attached snow retention system onto 16-inch metal roof panels.  
 
Each battle takes 15 to 30 minutes to complete.  Fastest time and accuracy are the two winning factors.  Judging the competition are members of the Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association
 
“The MCA Games Task Force has worked hard to make this a challenging event,” said games organizer, Mark James of the MCA and Roof Hugger Inc. 
 
METALCON attendees interested in forming a team for Battle Stars over Baltimore, can pre-register by contacting the games organizer at mjames@roofhugger.com

GAF Honored with 12 American Inhouse Design Awards

GAF has been honored with 12 American Inhouse Design Awards from Graphic Design USA magazine. For more than 50 years, Graphic Design USA has sponsored competitions to spotlight areas of excellence for creative professionals. The American Inhouse Design Awards is considered to be the premier showcase for outstanding work by in-house designers.

The GAF team won awards for work on categories, including Advertising, Announcements and Invitations, Brochures + Collateral, Corporate Identity Programs, Multimedia + Interactive, Packaging, and Logos + Symbols. The competition included almost 10,000 entries from corporations, publishing houses, nonprofits, universities, and government agencies, and only 15 percent were recognized with a Certificate of Excellence.

“It is an honor to be awarded recognition from such a prestigious competition in not just one, but a variety of categories across the marketing spectrum,” states Ted Marcopolus, vice president of marketing services at GAF. “I am proud that our Creative Design Services team continues to meet the challenges of new media, remaining focused on creating innovative and exceptional concepts to advance the GAF brand in support of our valued customers.”

Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress Is Accepting Entries for Its Construction Management Student Competition

The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress is accepting entries for its second annual Construction Management Student Competition, a hallmark competition that promotes careers in roofing industry management that will culminate with presentations at the 2016 International Roofing Expo.

Teams from undergraduate colleges and universities wishing to participate in the competition must submit an Intent to Compete form and additional documentation via email by Nov. 13, 2015.

In addition to providing a significant learning opportunity, the alliance’s 2016 Construction Management Student Competition fosters an environment that is meant to bring out the best in each team; encourage dialogue among the students; and foster team spirit as students rise to meet the challenge.

Teams from each competing school will be presented with a problem statement—they will be asked to bid on installing a roof system on the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando. Each team must research the project, review the plans and specifications, and assemble a full estimate and proposal to a qualified bid package.

A roofing contractor company will be assigned to each team to serve as an industry mentor.

Oral presentations will take place Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016 from 7:45 to 11:15 a.m. at NRCA’s 129th Annual Convention and the 2016 International Roofing Expo (IRE) at the Orange County Convention Center.

The winning team will receive a $5,000 L.B. Conway scholarship for the winning school, a team trophy and individual awards; and recognition in a press release, in Professional Roofing magazine and on the alliance’s website.

Lessons Learned During a Merger

In August 2014, I purchased the assets of a fourth-generation, 133-year-old roofing contracting company with which I had been competing locally for a few years. As a relatively new contractor in the area (I had been in business just under nine years), I wanted a larger share of the commercial roofing market. The clients I hoped to inherit with this acquisition would help me to accomplish that goal.

I had no formal business training, nor knowledge of how to make such a merger work. I started my company with very little industry experience back in 2005; I had a working knowledge of roofing and a desire to be my own boss. Things had gone well, so I trusted that my instincts would guide me through the merger. I was operating on nothing more than a gut feeling that this merger would be a good thing and a blind assumption that I would be able to handle whatever challenges might come my way.

I began the dialogue with the company’s owner in early 2013 and it took until August 2014 to close the deal. There were plenty of challenges created by this process—definitely some things I handled well and some I did not.

The primary goal of this acquisition was to retain the company’s customer base, thus growing my own. Relationships were in place that went back years, even generations, and maintaining those relationships was of utmost importance. I had a plan in place to personally visit with or reach out to all of these customers within the first two weeks. I thought this would be one of the main challenges—certainly the most important thing to get right—but, surprisingly, it was one of the easiest things to achieve. The previous owner assured these customers I would continue to take care of them well and I think these customers’ trust and loyalty already was so solid that the accounts transferred over to me almost without question. As planned, I personally met most of my new customers within the first couple weeks, continued to serve their needs with the same people and took care of them with the same high level of service to which they had become accustomed. I am proud to say, after six months, we have retained 100 percent of these customers.

I am fond of saying, “I don’t know much, but I know exactly what I don’t know.” It’s the tenet to which I attribute what modicum of success I have had. I knew that I did not know how to manage a process like this! It was definitely a good move on my part to work with a consultant. It did not answer all the questions, nor did it eliminate all mistakes, but the insight and advice of someone who had been through similar processes was invaluable.

Before we closed on the deal, I told myself that despite what problems, issues or frustrations might arise, I would treat the first five months as an observational period rather than a time to implement changes. I was patient and held true to that timeframe. Trust takes a while to establish and people take a while to know. I am glad I waited to learn what I needed to know before making any significant changes.

The biggest challenge the merger created was in dealing with the significant increase in my employee count and all the associated human-resource issues that resulted. I had kept my business pretty light on hourly employees in the field, whereas the company I purchased had close to 30 full-time roofers. I had written an employee handbook prior to the merger but many of the policies had not yet been questioned or tested. Of course, in the first few days after the merger, I had a wave of guys coming at me with issues and problems with the new systems to which they would be subjected. I modified a few policies based on legitimate concerns and to ease the transition while I held firm on others. I should have had clearly defined and time-tested policies in place, so I would have been better prepared for the questions I was asked.

In hindsight, I think the biggest mistake I made was to agree to keep this sale completely confidential until the deal was confirmed and I had officially taken over. This meant the first time I met any of the employees they were already on my payroll. There had been no opportunity to meet existing employees, interview the office staff, or gain any insight into systems and processes prior to the day of the merger. I basically had to jump right in! That could have been avoided and would have prevented a lot of stress and at least one early layoff I had to make.

I should definitely have hired, if only temporarily, an additional office person to assist with the mountain of paperwork that was created. We used a Small Business Administration loan to finance the purchase, which added significantly to an already overwhelming workload. A backlog of paperwork was created that took a few months to sort out.

Although I do not consider the merger process completed, we are definitely over the hump and, despite a few challenges, it has turned out as I hoped it would. Our commercial revenues have increased as forecast and I feel good about the fact that, had I not purchased this business, the employees I gained would be unemployed right now. Instead, they are part of a growing company that aims to provide long-term security for them and their families.

Twice in the same day earlier this month I was asked, “What one thing have you learned from the process of buying another business?” I did not have a clue how to answer that question. Certainly I have learned a great many individual lessons and become the wiser for it, but I’m not sure how to boil it down to one thing. I guess it can be summed up with my favorite cliché:
“That which does not kill you makes you stronger.” Mistakes are inevitable, and they are good. If you are afraid to make them, you will accomplish nothing. You will learn way more from one mistake than you will from 10 good decisions. People will not notice your mistakes nearly as much as you think. So don’t hesitate; make the call; learn from it if you can; and move on.

On a personal note, I owe a very heartfelt and big thank you to Horace Thompson King III (Tommy) for being such a pleasure to work with and for making a difficult process much easier than it could have been.

Perseverance Will Keep You Ahead of the Competition

I have never climbed a ladder to inspect a job my company bids on, but that has never been an obstacle to winning roofing contracts. I know a great many roofers who have climbed the proverbial “ladder” to the top of a company they now run from the windowed corner office. A lack of hands-on experience has never been an obstacle for me. In fact, just ignore that I’m a woman working in a predominately male construction industry and I will also ask you to disregard that I’m paralyzed from the chest down. That has not been an impediment either—as difficult as that may be to believe.

No, I have not allowed this long list of potential challenges to be an obstacle (for long!) to my business success. Doing so would just not make good business sense.

When I see an obstacle in business, it’s a boulder in the road and my business sense shifts into full gear: Get over it, around it, smash through it or phone a friend with a crane. I never choose another path. I never give up. I simply don’t allow an obstacle to loom larger than my own determination.

The unwavering willingness to “get the job done” is a common thread I share with many hard-working roofers. However, there is a secret weapon that separates those who marginally succeed and those who are, well, let’s just say “comfortably successful”. I call it perseverance.

Many industry people are silently nodding their heads in agreement saying to themselves, “yeah, that’s me”. But are you too comfortable? It takes more than true grit to persevere in the highly competitive roofing business world of today.

Not only do we face the ever-present competition, there are increased regulations, greater safety standards, high costs for workers’ compensation, not to mention the shrinking pool of qualified professional roofers. We have a lot that challenges us!

Today, perseverance will cement your future success because if you don’t stay ahead of the curve, boulders, like the newest technology, higher industry standards in energy efficiency, new and improved environmentally responsible products and guaranteed safety standards, will stop you. These boulders require greater perseverance, as does meeting customer demands for knowledge and understanding their needs.

To persevere in the roofing business, you have to continue to challenge your team (and yourself) at every turn. Encourage learning and invest in employee training and professional development. As a business owner, I take the lifelong approach to learning in my business. When I had questions and was hungry to learn more about how to run a successful business, I reached out to the community for answers. I discovered allies, like The Women’s Business Development Center that provides workshops, business counseling, networking and access to knowledge that empowered me. No matter where you are in business, you have to keep learning and growing to persevere. Even the largest of boulders look small in the rearview mirror once you have overcome them.

In 1999, I was a young sailor in the U.S. Navy when Hurricane Floyd blew into Virginia where I was stationed and hurled me off a balcony that was just 1-story up. That gust changed my physical world forever. But I had something that storm could not steal from me: perseverance—a willingness to overcome challenges and a commitment to succeed. There are blockades up for each of us, but there are also ways around them, over them and through them if you refuse to accept failure as an option.

My military training has always helped me to stay “mission focused” with a commitment to excellence. The Navy also gave me a strong work ethic and the ability to work under pressure. It taught me to put an emphasis on teamwork and gave me the leadership skills to build a great business. I seek out opportunities to not only learn and grow, but also to become involved in communities of knowledge, such as The Bunker, the nation’s first veterans incubator for small businesses.

Although being a woman- and service- disabled veteran-owned business can bring advantages over many competitors, I still have to earn each and every opportunity. We have been successful at this by building relationships with our customers and earning their trust by performing projects on time, on budget, and with the quality and safety expected. In addition, just as importantly, we bring determination, knowledge and truckloads of professionals who gladly climb all kinds of ladders for me.