All in the Family

Chris King

Chris King

As I attended the 2017 International Roofing Expo with the team at Roofing, I thought back to my first roofing trade show. I had covered plumbing and HVAC for six years, but I had just joined a roofing publication and was looking to make a good first impression. Just a few minutes into my time on the trade show floor, I found myself talking with a group that included an NRCA executive officer, a regional sales director for a national distributor, and a marketing manager with a major manufacturer. After I introduced myself, they asked if I had any experience covering roofing, and I was forced to admit that I was new to the industry.

They could not have been more helpful. They all welcomed me warmly, asked about my previous experience, and told me how they entered the field. They all gave me their business cards and told me to feel free to call them any time if I had any questions.

As the conversation began to break up, the distributor shook my hand. “Welcome to the roofing industry,” he said. “You see, people enter the roofing industry, but they never leave it. There’s something about it that keeps people hanging around. It’s like a family. You might see someone with a different color shirt at a different booth at the next trade show. People might move around, but they almost never leave the roofing industry—and when they do, they usually come back.”

The roofing industry is amazingly close-knit, and it has been an honor to be a small part of it for the past 12 years. It has been inspiring to share stories about people, companies, products and services that have improved the lives of families and building owners. It has been a pleasure to document the improvements in an industry that continues to raise the bar on professionalism and safety.

It’s rare in the business world to encounter genuine feel-good stories, but they are easy to find in the roofing industry. How about products that are better for the environment, provide a better value to the building owner, and a bigger profit margin for the installing contractor—a true win-win. In this issue, we share the story of a manufacturer and contractors who teamed up to help people in need and profile a contractor who makes philanthropic work the cornerstone of his company’s mission.

When I was in college, I had no idea about the world of business-to-business publishing. I thought journalists just covered politics or sports. At that time, I never dreamed I’d cover the construction industry for 18 years, and that I’d hope to cover it for many more. As the reputations of politicians and athletes have declined over the last couple of decades, the reputation of roofing contractors has been elevated, one roof at a time. There is something so elemental, so important in the concept of the roof—what is the goal of working, after all, but to “put a roof over your head.”

I know what an excellent job my predecessor, Christina Koch, has done here because I watched her do it. I’ll do my best to live up to her expectations. After all, she’s still in the family as editor in chief of retrofit. Like me, she’ll just be wearing a different color shirt.

Life Choices

I have a younger brother who makes choices I don’t always understand. I’m quite a bit older than he is, so I like to share my experiences in the hopes of guiding him toward more productive options. Meanwhile, I wondered why my parents weren’t doing more to steer their youngest child and, in a moment of exasperation, I asked them. My mom responded that she and my dad believe we need to figure our lives out on our own. If we ask for help, they are willing to give it but they don’t want to micromanage our lives and decisions.

I started thinking about what she said in relation to my own life choices. I remember when I decided to double major in English and history in college, my dad asked: “What are you going to do with that? Teach?” I said: “No. I’m going to write.” I knew, based on the look on his face, he was certain I’d never find gainful employment but he never said another word about it—not even on graduation day when I didn’t have a job or a place to live.

It was the roofing industry that gave me my first opportunity. After applying for a job I found online, I moved from my home state of Iowa to the Chicago suburbs to begin writing for Professional Roofing magazine in late 2000. Writing about roofing wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I dreamt of my career but, here I am, almost 17 years later and couldn’t be more grateful to this industry for all it has given me.

Unfortunately, at this point in my career, I’m faced with another life choice. Those of you who have worked directly with me probably have noticed I rarely return phone calls or emails the same week, much less the same day! During the past five years, I’ve not only edited Roofing but also have been editing retrofit, a nationally circulated trade publication that focuses on the renovation of existing commercial, industrial and institutional buildings. Within the past year, both magazines have grown so much (a fantastic problem) that I’ve been having trouble keeping up.

To make matters worse, I never have time to think through new ideas or accomplish the aspirations on my list that I know would make the magazines better. I suddenly realized I was doing a disservice to these magazines and to you, the readers. (Not to mention, having recently gotten married, I’m trying to establish a better work-life balance than I had while I was building my career.)

Therefore, this is my last issue as editor in chief of Roofing. I’m thrilled my successor is Christopher K. King, a well-known writer in this industry who previously served as editor of Roofing Contractor magazine and has been writing articles for Roofing since 2015. (Read his “Special Report”, page 58, about how a community came together at the prompting of a roofing contractor to help a deserving couple restore their home.) I know Chris will do an excellent job taking Roofing to the next level and giving it the undivided attention it deserves.

Again, I’m so thankful for the opportunities the roofing industry has given me. Consequently, I’ve decided to dedicate my final issue to the wonderful people and initiatives that make this industry so special. Enjoy!

International Roofing Expo Is Seeking Presentation Proposals

The 2018 International Roofing Expo [IRE] is seeking researchers, educators, consultants, technical experts and industry leaders to share their knowledge and business expertise as presenters for the educational conference program.
 
Taking place Feb. 6-8, 2018, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, the educational program conference presents trends in the roofing industry designed to help attendees increase their bottom line and expand their technical knowledge. 
 
Seeking expert speakers with proven presentation skills and in-depth knowledge, sessions are 90 minutes in length and should contain information that can be immediately implemented in the workplace.  
 
“We are looking for presentations across a variety of roofing topics to fill the three-day program,” says Brandi McElhaney, senior conference manager. “We encourage industry experts to submit a proposal that offers material on relevant topics and issues facing roofing professionals today.”
 
Topic submissions should focus on applications-oriented, real world, problem-solving topics and be free of promotional materials to sell a product or service. 
 
The multi-track educational program includes technical and workplace safety classes, as well as business-related sessions including leadership/management, green building, legal/HR, money matters, sales/service and general business.  
 
The primary audience of the educational conference program includes commercial and residential roofing contractors, architects, designers, consultants, building owners, facility managers, manufacturers, suppliers, owners, CEOs, general managers, sales professionals, estimators, superintendents and foremen. 
 
“The IRE is an opportunity for experts from the roofing industry to share their knowledge of roofing industry trends with fellow roofing professionals,” says Reid Ribble, CEO of NRCA, the show’s official sponsor. “NRCA members and other roofing industry experts are urged to take advantage of this opportunity and submit their proposals as soon as possible.”
 
The deadline for submitting Call for Presentations proposals is April 3, 2017. Session proposals should be submitted via the automated submission form. Questions should be directed to Brandi McElhaney, senior conference manager, at Brandi.McElhaney@informa.com or (972) 536-6392.
 

Reid Ribble Succeeds Bill Good as NRCA CEO

Former NRCA member and chairman of the board, Reid Ribble, is serving as NRCA CEO.

Former NRCA member and chairman of the board, Reid Ribble, is serving as NRCA CEO.

Bill Good retired from NRCA Dec. 31, 2016, after 28 years as the organization’s CEO and 41 years of service. Former NRCA member and chairman of the board Reid Ribble officially succeeded Good as CEO Jan. 3.

A roofing contractor by trade, Ribble joined Kaukauna, Wis.-based The Ribble Group Inc., a family business, in 1975 and became company president in 1980. Ribble served as NRCA chairman of the board from 2005-06 and NRCA’s senior vice chairman from 2004-05. He also was president of The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress’ Board of Trustees from 2008-10. Ribble also has served as a member or chairman of several NRCA committees.

In 2010, Ribble was elected to the U.S. Congress serving Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District and was re-elected twice. Ribble earned the reputation of being honest and able to work with representatives from both sides of the aisle.

“I am looking forward to service and representing those who set the standard for professionalism in the roofing industry and working with NRCA’s staff on initiatives that will help add even more to that value,” Ribble says.

Good will remain with NRCA in a part-time capacity during a five month transition period. He officially will retire May 31.

National Roofing Contractors Association CEO Releases 2016 Elections Statement

William Good, CEO, National Roofing Contractors Association, has released a statement about the 2016 elections.

We are pleased a majority of candidates supported by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and ROOFPAC, our political action committee, prevailed in the 2016 elections. We congratulate President-elect Donald Trump and all winning candidates on their victories and look forward to working with the incoming Trump administration and new and returning lawmakers to advance NRCA’s policy agenda. This includes pro-growth tax policies, relief from some regulations, legislation that addresses the workforce needs of our industry, and replacement of the Affordable Care Act with market-based reforms to our health care system.

ROOFPAC, the voice of the roofing industry in Washington, D.C., actively supported pro-growth candidates in the elections. ROOFPAC invested more than $340,000 in support of 67 candidates during the 2015-16 election cycle and achieved a winning percentage of nearly 90 percent of candidates supported.

NRCA and ROOFPAC will continue to support members of Congress and other candidates who support government policies that enable roofing industry entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses.

NRCA Releases 2015-16 Market Survey

NRCA has released its 2015-16 market survey, providing information about overall sales-volume trends in the roofing industry, roofing experiences, material usage and regional breakdowns. It is an important tool to measure the scope of the U.S. roofing industry, and the data provides a glimpse into which roof systems are trending in the low- and steep-slope roofing markets.

This year’s survey reports sales volumes for 2015 and 2016 projections averaged between $8 million and almost $9 million, respectively, and revealed a near-steady ratio of low- to steep-slope sales of 74 percent to 26 percent.

For low-slope roofs, TPO remains the market leader with a 40 percent share of the new construction market and 30 percent of the reroofing market for 2015. Asphalt shingles continue to dominate the steep-slope roofing market with a 47 percent market share for new construction and a 59 percent share for reroofing.

Polyisocyanurate insulation continues to lead its sector of the market with 80 percent of new construction and 73 percent of reroofing work. In addition, roof cover board installation for 2015 was reported as 22 percent in new construction, 42 percent in reroofing tear-offs and 36 percent in re-cover projects.

NRCA’s market survey enables roofing contractors to compare their material usage with contractors in other regions and provides manufacturers and distributors with data to analyze, which can affect future business decisions.

NRCA members may download a free electronic copy of the 2016 survey.

How to Deal With Winter Downtime

You worked hard all summer and made a lot of money. But now summer is over and winter is quickly approaching. With winter comes downtime.

When you’re young, temporary lay-offs can be fun: Parties, travel, music and sporting events make layoffs easier to handle. When you’re older, with bills to pay and mouths to feed, layoffs can be very worrisome. There are a few basic steps you can take to help deal with temporary layoffs.

If you’ve been laid off, you should file for unemployment insurance as soon as possible. The sooner you file, the sooner you can be deemed eligible and the sooner you can start receiving funds. The unemployment agency will verify with your employer the reason for you losing your job.

If you are not happy in the roofing industry you might be interested in retraining, not only to learn new job skills but also to keep your mind sharp. Consider the following:

  • Take some community college courses. Community colleges are relatively inexpensive and offer a wide variety of courses to improve work skills while earning valuable college credits that may lead to a possible degree.
  • Visit your local unemployment office. It will have lists of apprenticeship and training opportunities that can lead to a more secure position.
  • Select courses at a location vocational/technical school. These schools offer a wide variety of hands-on training at reasonable costs.
  • Purchase books or software to use on your own. There are many free and reasonably priced online training and education classes available.

See “Training Resources” below for some additional ideas.

If you love roofing and want to remain in the trade, there are steps you can take to keep your head above water—financially speaking.

John M. Grohol, Psy.D., writes in “7 Ways to Cope with a Layoff” that you need to take a realistic look at your finances and budget. Do not put this off longer than a week after you are laid off. Although we may not enjoy dealing with our finances, failure to do so could result in a far worse situation down the road (which always arrives sooner than you think). Dr. Grohol suggests: “Be creative in analyzing your budget for places to cut.” Most of us assume we need things like digital television and unlimited mobile calling plans. But most of us don’t. He adds, “Now’s the time to put aside your wants temporarily and focus exclusively on your and your family’s needs.”

Your savings, rainy-day fund and even your 401(k) may offer you some temporary financial relief. Borrowing from your 401(k), for instance, is usually less expensive than adding to your credit-card debt because you are paying back the loan with interest to yourself (not a credit card company). However, borrowing from your 401(k) and other retirement accounts is usually recommended only as a last resort.

Take care of your insurance. We often don’t think about insurance until we’re faced with a layoff and find out just how expensive insurance really is. Your employer will likely offer you COBRA, which allows you to continue your employer’s health benefits with one catch: You now have to pay what your employer was paying for your benefits. Be prepared for sticker shock. Most people are amazed that a family of four’s health insurance on COBRA might be as high as $1,000 or even $1,500 a month; for a single person or couple, it can be anywhere from $500 to $800 per month. When paying bills is already going to be a challenge, COBRA might be out of reach.

Shop around. With the Affordable Care Act, there are a lot more health-insurance plans available at a wide range of costs. You may find other health insurance coverage for your family that is less expensive and won’t cut your benefits in any significant way. Weigh the costs with what you can afford. For example, you may have to pay a higher deductible for inpatient hospital stays to achieve a lower monthly premium.

If you want or need to keep working, hit the classifieds. Nearly all classified sections now are online, so searching through them is far easier than it was 10 years ago. Although it might seem like nobody is hiring (and in the construction profession, that may very well be true), you should keep an eye out anyway. Jobs sometimes become available as people retire or a company’s focus changes. Extend your search somewhat outside your trade, as well, just to see what else might be available. Check out your “dream job”, too. Some people use a layoff as an opening for a new opportunity.

Use the unemployment resources available to you, whether through your ex-employer or through your local government. Libraries, too, often offer a great set of employment and career resources (such as résumé writing services). Don’t be afraid to network. Make your situation known, build connections and, soon, unemployment will be a thing of the past!

Training Resources

The following are examples of free or low-cost training opportunities you may want to consider when you are laid off:
Free
College courses from American Standard University
Solar training in New Jersey from Information & Technology Management
Your state may offer free training, like New York

Low Cost
Penn Foster Career School

More Ideas
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration provides information and services to assist workers who have been or will be laid off.

Search for apprenticeships and youth education/training programs, like one in New York.

Interested in the safety profession? Check out Free-Training.com/osha/soshamenu.htm and Free-Training.com.

Tropical Roofing Products Announces New Regional, District, Territory Sales Managers

Tropical Roofing Products announces the addition of two new regional sales managers to cover the Central and West Coast regions. Steve Del’ Nero, appointed as West Coast regional sales manager, comes to Tropical Roofing Products with over 15 years of experience in the building and roofing industry, having previously worked as a regional sales manager for InterWrap Inc., and a territory manager for ACH Foam Technologies. Covering the Central Region as new regional sales manager is Christopher Arriaga. Christopher has spent the last decade in the roofing industry as regional and territory manager as well.

In addition, the West Coast Region has brought onboard three new sales managers to cover Southern and Northern California territories. Gabriel Gonzalez, district sales manager for Southern California, comes to Tropical Roofing Products with 14 plus years in the building and roofing industry, several as an outside sales rep for Allied Building Products. Matt DiSantis, district sales manager for Northern California, brings over 10 years of experience in the roofing industry primarily with Roofing Supply Group to Tropical Roofing Products. Jordan Stones, comes to Tropical Roofing Products with several years of experience in the building and roofing industry as well, having previously worked as a contractor sales specialist for InterWrap Inc. is covering Southern California as territory manager.

“We are excited about the new additions of Steve, Christopher, Gabriel, Matt and Jordan who bring a combined 60 plus years of roofing industry experience to allow Tropical Roofing Products to better service these regions,” said Michael King, vice president of sales.

“Tropical Roofing Products views these appointments as a sign of our supplier commitment to the industry. The growth of our Fluid Applied Restoration Systems and the demands of our customers led us to look for additions to our team who will fit in with our ethos of innovation and service.”

For more information on Tropical Roofing Products, or to find your closest representative, call (800)432-2855 or visit the website. Download the Tropical Roofing Products mobile app by texting “ROOFING” to 94502 or visit the app store for your mobile device.

NRCA Believes FAA Rules on Drones Will Benefit the Roofing Industry

The following statement was made by William A. Good, CAE, NRCA’s CEO:

“The National Roofing Contractors Association believes the new rules issued by the Federal Aviation Administration on the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems [UAS], commonly referred to as drones, will provide significant new opportunities for the use of such aircraft in the roofing industry.

“The new rule, which goes into effect in late August, will allow people with a ‘remote pilot in command’ certification to operate drones for commercial and educational purposes, provided the drones weigh less than 55 pounds, do not exceed 100-mph groundspeed and don’t fly more than 400-feet above ground level.

“NRCA believes the final rule is a reasonable one and is especially pleased the FAA listened to some of the concerns NRCA expressed during the rulemaking process.

“The FAA rule contains a provision for waivers to some of its rules that, for example, should allow drones to be flown at night in situations where they don’t pose any danger.

“NRCA believes drone use can be of enormous benefit to the roofing industry over time. Drones can be used to evaluate existing roofs, help prepare estimates for new roofs, conduct thermal imaging and even measure reflectivity performance. And the use of drones will mean fewer people will need to be exposed to rooftop hazards to conduct routine inspections.”

For more information on the rule, contact Harry Dietz, NRCA’s director of enterprise risk management.

The Roofing Industry Seeks to Protect Buildings from Storms

I used to love storms. I was never one to cower at the sound of thunder. I often found storms a good excuse to turn off the TV and lights, open the blinds and marvel at the sheer power of nature. If you read my January/February “Raise the Roof”, however, you know I have had a love-hate relationship with rain since moving in with my husband (we married in August 2015). I found myself awake on rainy nights, counting the seconds between pumps of our sump
pump. If less than 20 seconds passed, I knew the basement was flooding and dreaded the morning’s cleanup. (I work from home and my office is in the basement.)

In March, a waterproofing company spent two days installing its patented drain- age system and a new sump pump inside our basement. We monitored the system throughout the month of April, which was rainy, to ensure there were no leaks in the system. It worked like a charm! During April, we also hired contractors to create my new home office, a guestroom and walk-in closet within the basement. So far, we have new windows, lighting and insulation; the contractors are finishing up drywall and ceiling installation as I type.

I know what it’s like when you can’t trust your house to weather a storm. There’s nothing worse than feeling powerless, and seeing your belongings destroyed is gut-wrenching. As the nation braces against another summer of intense weather, it’s comforting to know the construction industry—specifically roofing—is researching and innovating to protect people’s homes and businesses from Mother Nature’s wrath.

For example, in “Business Sense”, Jared O. Blum, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association, writes about initiatives to improve the resiliency of our building stock and infrastructure through codes, standards and proactive design.

The Clinton, Ohio-based Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues Inc., better known as RICOWI, recently sent 30 researchers to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex after an April hailstorm. According to Joan Cook, RICOWI’s executive director, the 10 teams of three inspected 3 million square feet of low and steep-slope roofing during the investigation. The teams’ findings will result in a report to help the industry better understand what causes roofs to perform or fail in severe hail events, leading to overall improvements in roof system durability. Learn how RICOWI mobilizes and studies roofs in “Special Report”.

There are many other stories within this issue about roof systems working along- side other building components to create durable, sustainable and energy-efficient buildings. Humans have a long history of innovating and evolving to meet the needs of their current situation. I have no doubt that in my lifetime our buildings will be built to withstand nearly any catastrophic event. Meanwhile, I’m happy to report we received 4 1/2 inches of rain in three hours last week and our basement remained bone dry. Thanks to innovations in basement waterproofing, I may start to enjoy storms just a bit again!