ATAS National Sales Manager Receives Award

Mark Bus, national sales manager of ATAS International, received a Metal Construction Association Triumph Award at METALCON in Baltimore.  He was recognized as being someone who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in his or her business or profession.
 
Jim Bush, vice president of Sales and Marketing states, “I have had the pleasure of watching Mark mature over the years to a young and emerging professional; not only within ATAS but also in the industry.  He has earned the respect of the ATAS sales team, as well as peers and management, through hard work and a sound decision making process.  Mark is also aware of industry initiatives and association activities and brings those into daily communications with staff and customers.”
 
An ATAS distributor, Allan Brock of Brock Associates, says, “During my forty year tenure in the commercial metal roofing and siding industry, I have rarely crossed paths with a young professional like Mark Bus.  I have seen Mark evolve from an inside technical sales person, to a regional product representative, to management.  At each level, he radiated professionalism along with product and technical knowledge.  It’s been a pleasure dealing with an individual as capable as Mark.”
 
Robert J. Bailey, AIA, CSI, CCS, LEED AP, specifications and constructability specialist with IKM Inc., also recommended Mark Bus for this award.  “Mark makes it a point to understand the people who are specifying and purchasing ATAS products.  As a new product rep in western Pennsylvania, he became involved in various CSI (Construction Specifications Institute) chapters.  It was clear to me that Mark knew in order to be prepared for a leadership role in ATAS, he first needed to understand the industry itself and establish important contacts and relationships there.  Mark is an example for other young sales professionals.”

The High Roofer: Recognize Whether Drug Abuse Is Occurring in Your Workplace

Drug abuse in the workplace is a great threat to the health and safety of American
workers, and roofers are no exception. Roofers have the fifth-highest work-related death rate in construction—about twice the average for all construction (about 50 roofers are killed on the job each year, most by falls). According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the construction industry, including the roofing trade, has the second highest level of alcohol abuse and sixth highest level of drug abuse. (The survey is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.)

Signs and symptoms of drug abuse in the workplace are absenteeism, staff turnover, lower productivity, poor work quality and overall poor morale. These can lead to increased accidents and near misses, theft of equipment and materials, and equipment breakdowns.

In addition, behavioral issues commonly are associated with substance abuse. For example, addicted workers may exhibit a change in attitude or work performance, erratic performance, hangover symptoms and secretive behavior. Other signs include isolation, forgetfulness, indecision, erratic judgment, impulsive and temperamental behavior, changes in personal appearance and hygiene, jitters, hand tremors, hyper-excitability, carelessness, sleeping on the job, trouble with police, aggression and constant illnesses.

If your employees are using, some common sites for drug abuse while at work are lunchrooms and lounge areas, parking lots and cars, remote areas of a worksite, equipment and storage rooms, and restrooms.

Read on to learn about today’s common drugs and identify whether your employees have addictions to these drugs:

Marijuana

Marijuana, also known as weed, reefer, pot, etc., comes from the hemp plant (cannabis sativa). About 10 percent of roofing workers claim to use marijuana. In 1974, marijuana had an approximate 1 percent content of THC (the chemical responsible for marijuana’s high). Depending on the grower, today’s marijuana’s THC content can be between 15 and 22 percent.

Marijuana is highly carcinogenic. One joint is equivalent to 25 cigarettes. It can be smoked, eaten or vaped. Marijuana affects the user’s mental function. Feelings include a sense of well-being, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, depression, apathy, diminished concentration, delayed decision-making, impaired short- term memory, erratic cognitive functions and distortions in time estimation.

Signs and symptoms of marijuana use include impaired tracking, distinctive odor on clothing, decrease in visual functioning and other ophthalmic problems, reddened eyes, slowed speech, chronic fatigue and a lack of motivation. Acute/overdose effects are aggressive urges, anxiety, confusion, fearfulness, hallucinations and heavy sedation.

Withdrawal comes with a loss of appetite, restlessness, chronic fatigue and a lack of motivation.

Methamphetamine

Amphetamine, methamphetamine, uppers, speed, crank and ice are similar in makeup and effect. The second-most widely used drug (after marijuana), meth can come in different colors: white, brown, pink. It can be taken orally as tablets or capsules. Its liquid form can be injected or mixed with other fluids and drank. It can also be snorted as a powder. In its rock form, it can be smoked.

Within minutes after being smoked or injected, users experience an intense “rush”, which is said to be very pleasurable. Although the rush only lasts a few minutes, the effects can last for up to 12 hours and keep users awake and moving for several days at a time. Meth users build up a tolerance, which forces them to have a strong desire for more.

Visible signs and symptoms of meth use are hyper-excitability, dilated pupils, profuse sweating, confusion, panic, talkativeness and an inability to concentrate. Regular use produces strong psycho- logical dependence and increased drug tolerance. High doses may cause toxic psychosis, resembling schizophrenia. Intoxication may induce heart attack or stroke. Chronic users experience increased impulsive or risk-taking behaviors.

Withdrawal causes severe depression. The effects of meth are so potent that there is a 95 percent relapse rate.

Cocaine

Cocaine was once called the “Rich Man’s Drug” because of its short-lived effects. Regular use can upset chemical balance in the brain. It also causes the heart to beat faster and harder. Deaths caused by overdose can occur when taken with depressants.

Signs and symptoms of cocaine use in the workplace include financial problems; frequent absences from work; increased physical activity followed by fatigue, isolation and withdrawal.

Cocaine users usually show increasing secretive behaviors and unusual defensiveness. Other symptoms include wide mood swings, nose problems, difficulty in concentration and dilated pupils. Cocaine addicts exhibit the strongest mental dependency of all drugs, and the treatment success rates are lower than all other addictive drugs.

Opioids

One of the worst drug problems in the U.S. today is the opiate/opioid epidemic. Natural opiates are derived from resin of the poppy plant. However, synthetic opioids are increasingly replacing natural opiates.

Addiction to opioid medications has impacted every level of society. Many people blame the addiction prevalence on health-care providers who are quick to write a prescription for help with chronic pain. An estimated 210 million prescriptions for opiates were dispensed in 2010 alone. According to DrugAbuse.com, examples of opiates include heroin, morphine, oxycodone (trade names are OxyContin and Percocet), hydrocodone (trade names are Vicodin and Lortab), codeine and fentanyl. Frighteningly, prescription opiate abusers are far more likely to eventually develop a heroin addiction than a non-opiate abuser because heroin will offer a similar high at a cheaper price.

Any long-term use puts a person at risk of addiction, even if the substance is used as prescribed. Many people who use opiates will develop a tolerance to them—a phenomenon that can trigger the cycle of addiction. When this occurs, people routinely take more of the substance to elicit the desired response. This ever-increasing dosing places one at great risk for overdose.

Physical signs that someone may be abusing an opiate include noticeable elation/euphoria, marked sedation/ drowsiness, confusion, constricted pupils, slowed breathing, and intermittent nodding off or loss of consciousness. Other signs of opiate abuse include shifting or dramatically changing moods, extra pill bottles turning up in the trash, social withdrawal/isolation, and sudden financial problems.

Withdrawal symptoms from opiates can be extremely severe. The symptoms mimic the flu and include headache, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, fatigue, anxiety and inability to sleep. These symptoms can be so severe that the addict will do anything to feel better.

Don’t Mix Roofing and Drugs

Because falls from roof edges account for half or three-fourths of roofers’ deaths, it’s not difficult to understand why drug use on the job would be concerning. For roofers in residential construction, falls from roof edges accounted for 70 percent of work-related fall deaths and 90 percent of roof fall deaths. These statistics coupled with the statistics on drug abuse in the construction industry suggest that drug abuse possibly may be a contributor to falls.

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Train Employees In-house about Low- and Steep-slope Roofing

NRCA’s Roof Application Training Program Package can help you train employees in-house at your convenience regarding the basics of low- and steep-slope roofing, as well as roofing equipment and setup and tear-off procedures and techniques. The package includes Roof Application Training Program: Foundations of Roofing and Roof Application Training Program: Equipment, Setup and Tear-off.

Roof Application Training Program: Foundations of Roofing includes roofing terminology, roof system components, company operations and roof safety.

Roof Application Training Program: Equipment, Setup and Tear-off offers information about safe and efficient roofing project setup and tear- off procedures and techniques; guidelines for setting up jobs for maximum efficiency; and tools and equipment used for low- and steep-slope roofing work, specifically for job setup and tear-off.

The DVD-based programs provide all the necessary tools to conduct effective training for your employees, including two-part DVD programs; instructors’ guides; and student hand-outs and exams, among other resources. The programs help new employees learn the basics and facilitate discussion with existing employees. The programs include English and Spanish training materials.

You can save by purchasing the package, which is $325 for members and $650 for nonmembers. Programs also can be purchased separately. For more information, visit NRCA’s website.

Garland Co. Awarded 2016 Top Workplace

For the fifth consecutive year, the Garland Co. has been awarded the 2016 Top Workplace honor by The Plain Dealer. This year, Garland placed fifth in the Small Companies category.

This year’s announcement, the seventh annual ranking from The Plain Dealer, ranked 100 companies in northeast Ohio. Garland is proud to be recognized among its peers for one of the company’s greatest priorities and most valuable assets—its people.

“Even as we have grown over the past 120 years, we have been able to maintain—and even improve—our culture of a hardworking family. I think a large part of that is our employee-ownership program, which makes each and every one of our employees an invested stakeholder in our success,” says Scott Craft, Garland’s vice president and general manager.

The Top Workplace list is based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics LLC, a research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. Several aspects of workplace culture were measured, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

“The Top Workplaces award is not a popularity contest. And oftentimes, people assume it’s all about fancy perks and benefits.” says Doug Claffey, CEO of WorkplaceDynamics. “But to be a Top Workplace, organizations must meet our strict standards for organizational health. And who better to ask about work life than the people who live the culture every day—the employees.”

Construction Software Automates Complex Processes into Simple Tasks

Dexter + Chaney, developer of Spectrum Construction Software, introduces its Spectrum Workflow functionality, which streamlines construction and business management operations by automating complex processes into simple, user-definable tasks.

Dexter + Chaney, developer of Spectrum Construction Software, introduces its Spectrum Workflow functionality, which streamlines construction and business management operations by automating complex processes into simple, user-definable tasks.

Dexter + Chaney, developer of Spectrum Construction Software, introduces its Spectrum Workflow functionality, which streamlines construction and business management operations by automating complex processes into simple, user-definable tasks. Dexter + Chaney unveiled the new technology at its 19th annual Connect 2015 Users’ Conference.

The Spectrum Workflow feature, fully integrated throughout Spectrum, allows users to define and enforce specific rules and tasks—creating automated, simple, streamlined processes for their organization. Spectrum Workflow utilizes intelligent workflow technology, allowing tasks and approvals to be routed to specific people, groups, or even defined roles within the organization. Tasks can be sequential or parallel, meaning that they can be sent to one person before being sent on to the next person, or to an entire group where one member or all members need to complete the task, depending on how the workflow step is defined.

Users can quickly approve, reject or mark each step that has been completed. The full history of each transaction processed is tracked and stored, creating a detailed audit trail. Setting up workflow definitions is simple and once in place, they guide tasks efficiently from creation to conclusion. All people involved with a particular task or process are alerted when their attention or action is needed. This provides a smooth movement of data within the organization, along with a powerful added layer of oversight to ensure that no data is overlooked and no tasks fall through the cracks.

Spectrum Workflow integrates with the powerful Info Bar in Spectrum, giving users their own Workflow section where their tasks and processes can be addressed, while providing the ability to drill deep into data without the need to utilize multiple screens or menu systems. Spectrum users also have their own My Current Workflow Assignments app on the intuitive Spectrum Dashboard where they can access assigned tasks and drill down into data.

Perhaps most important is that Spectrum Workflow is completely customizable to each organization’s specific needs. Workflows can be easily changed to address special needs or situations as they arise. Authorized users can also override predefined workflows or re-route tasks and approvals when necessary.

Quality Assurance

As all of us in the roofing industry are keenly aware, roofing work is fraught with exposure. If the installation quality is poor at any time, there is real risk that the entire structure and its contents can be damaged or destroyed. Depending on the size of the loss, the result could be absolutely crippling for any roofing contractor to absorb. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for quality; what works for one company may not work for another. I do feel strongly, though, that the emphasis on quality has to permeate your entire organization, top to bottom.

For our office, McHenry, Ill.-based Metalmaster Roofmaster, the process begins as early as the pre-award, bidding and estimating phase of the project. Our seasoned estimators carry years of industry experience and are always looking to identify, from the project plans and specifications, issues with the specified products or system, the effectiveness of which often depends on the season in which the roof is being installed. What frequently happens is that we end up recommending a change to the specified system type or installation method to better accommodate project or weather conditions, which will consequently result in a better installation in the end.

This review process does not end there. Post-award, the project moves to our submittal department, which serves as yet another set of eyes to review the plans and specifications for effectiveness of the specified roof system and installation. Our submittal technicians fulfill an office quality-control function to ensure the system products and installation are, in fact, best suited for that particular project. As part of the department’s review, the submittal department works closely with our valued manufacturing partners to elicit feedback and confirmation on the final submittal package. If changes to the plans and specifications are warranted, they are addressed timely and prior to roofing installation—during the submittal process.

The end result is that, by the time the project moves to our project management department for the actual installation, the groundwork for a quality installation has been laid because the products, manufacturers and installation methods have been carefully reviewed multiple times to ensure maximum effectiveness and applicability to the project. Unfortunately all system and
product changes have already been made and approved. All that is left is for our trained field crew to install.

Just prior to the actual field installation, our project managers and superintendents carefully review the plans, specifications and approved shop drawings. The site is reviewed to identify site issues that could potentially affect the quality of the installation. The project documents are furnished to the project foreman, who reviews and discusses the most effective means and methods with the superintendent and project manager. Throughout the course of the installation, open communication among the project manager, superintendent, foreman and field crew is encouraged to proactively discuss and address issues and concerns. At times, a third-party consultant is retained to perform an objective inspection of the roofing installation and to offer suggestions.

Once the installation is complete, we utilize our service department personnel to visit the site and perform any touch-up and detail work prior to the final manufacturer’s inspection. The manufacturer’s representative is accompanied during his inspection by one of our field staff, so that any and all concerns can be addressed and corrected on the spot and manufacturer
approval can be furnished and warranties issued in a timely manner. Owner and architect punchlists are dealt with similarly and, at that point, the owner and general contractor have assurances as to the quality of the roof installation.

It goes without saying, quality of installation is and always will be absolutely critical to the success of Metalmaster Roofmaster. Being able to point to a long history of quality installations has directly impacted our ability to earn new and repeat business, maintain and increase company profitability, build our reputation in the industry, gain manufacturer certification and recognition, reduce insurance premiums, achieve adequate bonding capacity and rates, and a litany of other items. Although we invest a substantial amount of time and resources into the process to ensure the quality of installations, the investment is small relative to the peace of mind and other tangible benefits achieved by maintaining a consistent record of quality roof installations.

NRCA Is Accepting Applications for Its Future Executives Institute

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) now is accepting applications for its Future Executives Institute (FEI), a comprehensive, powerful three-year program focused on leading and managing a successful roofing business. FEI’s first session is slated to be held Sept. 28 — Oct. 1. Classes will take place at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management campus in Chicago.

FEI, which is taught by Kellogg professors, industry leaders and field experts, offers participants an in-depth look at management theory and practice. Those who attend also benefit from unique industry networking opportunities while developing their leadership and communication skills.

“It is rare to have access to such accomplished and insightful minds in such a focused setting,” says 2013 FEI graduate, Marc Farrell, manager at A.W. Farrell & Son Inc., Salisbury, N.C. “NRCA has done an excellent job providing us with the opportunity to make improvements to ourselves, our companies and our industry.”

FEI provides basic business information, current industry topics, leadership and personal development opportunities, and team building exercises. Class size is limited to 30 roofing professionals to allow for in-depth conversations and class relationships during the three-year program.

The deadline for early-bird applications is June 1, 2014. Those who apply by this time will receive notice if they are accepted by June 16. The regular application deadline is Aug. 1.

Learn more about FEI or apply for the program.

Four Tips for Great Leadership

In the past three and a half years, Saratoga Roofing & Construction of Oklahoma City has grown from $6.5 million in annual revenue and four employees to a company earning $50 million with 265 employees. To what do we attribute this phenomenal growth? Great leadership.

It has been said: “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader. A great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” Being a great leader takes commitment, confidence and clarity. The old-school method of employing scare tactics—“If you don’t do what I tell you to do, then there’s the door!”—doesn’t cut it anymore in today’s business world. Besides, if you still subscribe to the “It’s my way or the highway” way of thinking, you’re going to alienate everyone who works in your company or organization and nothing will be accomplished. During my career, I have experienced owners and/or leaders who used authoritarian leadership and, in my opinion, they will not make it during the next decade.

Denver Green, Saratoga Roofing & Construction’s president, shares four reasons why Saratoga will continue to be a successful company during the next decade:

1) We continuously work to set a clear direction for our teams. Clarity will always lead to desired results. If you aren’t clear about where you’re going, do you think your team will be? As a leader, my role is to be the visionary who paints the picture for them to follow. If our leaders aren’t clear about the necessary steps our staff needs to accomplish goal, then a lot of time is going to be wasted running around in circles. Our consultant, Masterthink, ensures every company executive has a clear goal with action plans tied to dates and people who are accountable for executing the goal. If needed, we draw a roadmap on paper outlining the full process, starting with the objective and detailing what each person is responsible to complete. The better your directions are, the easier it will be to meet the goal.

2) I work hard to make sure my actions match my intentions and visions. As the leader, I always need to know what I envision being the final outcome of the project/task we’re asking our employees to execute. Do you want to “wow” a client with an exceptional product presentation? Can you see the final project completed? What does it look like to you? Are you excited about this task? The level of my commitment and enthusiasm needs to come across loud and clear to our team. If I’m “ho hum” about the outcome, then guess what? That’s the attitude that will be adopted by members of my team. Some of us are “big picture” thinkers. We forget about all the details that lead to the big picture, but as the leader of Saratoga, I can’t allow myself to let those last-minute details slide. If I do, then the final outcome will definitely not be to our liking.

3) Creating a cohesive team has been a real key to our success but also a big challenge. I must have confidence in my team and their abilities. Knowing who fits in where on our team is crucial to creating success. We know it is critical to assign the “right” people to the “right” tasks. If one of our employees doesn’t like dispatching but loves to work on data entry, then we assign him or her that job. Knowing the strengths of each member of our team is crucial in achieving a successful end result. Forcing someone to take on duties he or she absolutely hates creates resentment, and resentment slows down the entire project or leads to poor performance. Our company utilizes the online assessment tool StrengthsFinder as a means to understand
the strengths of our employees so we can maximize their abilities and strengths to the fullest extent.

4) Work smarter, not harder. I know we have heard this phrase a million times, but it bears repeating. Learning to delegate the workload to the right person will lift some of the weight of turning in a top-notch end result off your own shoulders. My role is to be the visionary—not the micro-manager. I model what it means to be a leader and a follower and, in turn, I take great pride in inspiring and creating great leaders for the future.

As a member of the Saratoga Roofing & Construction team, I can truly say this is the “Saratoga Difference”.

Impacts of Substance Abuse

Studies show an estimated 10 percent of U.S. employees have a chemical dependency, costing employers upwards of $100 billion each year. The most basic losses are attributed to the fact that, on average, an employee who partakes in substance abuse provides approximately two-thirds of the productivity of a sober employee.

Look at it this way: A worker’s salary is the price a business pays for the worker’s contribution to the company. If his or her salary is, for example, $60,000 per year but he or she is only contributing two-thirds of what the employer is paying because of the impacts of substance abuse, the company is looking at a loss of $20,000 each year for a single employee.

In addition, the on-the-job productivity losses don’t include extended behaviors. Other statistics show employees with substance-abuse issues:

  • Leave work early twice as often
  • Are absent from work twice as often and are tardy three times as often
  • File workers’ comp claims five times as often
  • Have an increased likelihood of being the root cause of workplace accidents
  • Have an increased likelihood of stealing or damaging company property

Employees with chemical dependencies also affect their coworkers. One in five employees has had to work harder, redo finished work or has been injured (or nearly injured) as a result of the behavior of a coworker who is under the influence.

Workplace substance abuse can have a stronger impact on small businesses that may not have the written policies or financial means to address accidents, injuries, and loss or damage of company property.

Spotting Substance Abuse

The signs of substance abuse range from vague to completely obvious and depend greatly on the degree to which an employee uses (from casually to compulsively). It is important supervisors are well-versed in recognizing signs so they can address the matter. Some signs to look for may include:

  • Perpetual tardiness or early departure
  • Unknown whereabouts in the middle of the day, doesn’t return after lunch
  • Constant complaints regarding health
  • Complaints from other employees regarding the abuser’s behavior
  • Irrational responses to constructive criticism, ranging from irritation to belligerence or aggression
  • Clear decrease in efficiency or a fluctuating level of performance
  • Repeated injuries on and off the worksite
  • Obvious financial problems (wage garnishment, loss of vehicle, borrowing money from coworkers)
  • Obvious alcohol or illegal drug odors

Keep in mind: Short of actually witnessing an employee drinking or using drugs at work, many of these signs could be attributed to problems that have nothing to do with substance abuse. Certain medications, for example, may present odors that are similar to that of alcohol. It’s vital to never use these signs to jump to conclusions because they’re merely a starting point from which to begin addressing a problem.

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Whether Hands-free, Handheld, Texting or Talking, Distracted Driving Is Deadly

The Washington, D.C.-based National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an independent safety agency, recently recommended a total ban of all mobile-device use while driving. According to Deborah Hersman, the chairman of the NTSB, distraction-related crashes killed 3,092 people in 2010, “the equivalent of a regional jet crash every week.”

Every year, drivers–distracted by the use of mobile devices–cause 636,000 crashes, 342,000 injuries and 2,600 deaths. The financial toll is staggering: $43 billion per annum. While some politicians argue about the science behind distracted driving, experts agree: mobile-device use impairs driving ability. According to a study at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, talking on a mobile device reduces the amount of brain activity related to driving by 37 percent. Further, recent studies show hands-free mobile devices are no safer to use while driving than handheld mobile devices. Distracted drivers have slower reaction times, and the odds of a crash are four times more likely when a driver uses a mobile device. Critically, many scientists believe these distractions make drivers as collision- prone as having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, the legal limit.

Legal Landscape

In the last 10 years, courts have seen an “explosion” of distracted-driving cases.

In the last 10 years, courts have seen an “explosion” of distracted-driving cases.

In the last 10 years, courts have seen an “explosion” of distracted-driving cases. In the last five years, juries–emboldened by a “profits over safety” trial theme–have rendered numerous multimillion dollar verdicts, as evidenced by the sample verdicts in Figure 1, left.

The claims in these cases are easy to allege but difficult to disprove. This is because the precise time of the accident often is not known and the telematics data and mobile-device records—once obtained—may show or suggest that the employee was talking on his mobile device, texting and/or emailing in close proximity to the time of the accident. Even if there was no actual distraction, a clever lawyer will argue there is “circumstantial evidence” of driver distraction.

The typical distracted-driving case involves multiple types of claims, including driver negligence, vicarious liability, direct negligence and punitive damages.

Driver Negligence

In states that ban texting and/or the use of handheld cell phones while driving, an employee who is involved in an accident while violating these laws will be negligent per se. Under this doctrine, the mere act of using a mobile device while driving automatically makes the driver negligent.

For states that do not have texting and/or cell-phone bans, courts look at the reasonableness of the driver’s accident-causing behavior. In evaluating behavior, courts will consider state laws, federal regulations, voluntary standards, recognized best practices and common sense. For example, in Scott v. Matlack Inc., the court explained, “it is permissible for a trial court to admit [OSHA] regulations as evidence of the standard of care in the industry in a negligence action.” Likewise, in Peal by Peal v. Smith, the court observed, “the breach of a voluntarily adopted safety rule is some evidence of a defendant’s negligence.”

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