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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

MEET THE ALLIANCE

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

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

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

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

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

EDUCATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS

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

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

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

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Safety Today Websites Offer Safety Training Information

Safety Today's new sites provide overviews of available safety training initiatives.

Safety Today’s new sites provide overviews of available safety training initiatives.

Safety Today Inc. has launched websites for U.S. customers and Canadian customers. Product libraries deliver results in line with relative national standards, including ANSI and CSA International. The new sites provide overviews of available safety training initiatives. The sites’ product libraries are comprised of leading vendor-supported safety products, as well as the company’s own manufactured brands marketed under the Brass Knuckle and Body Armor trade names.

Upgrade to a Learning Management System

The first stone tools were made and used by early humans nearly 2.5 million years ago. As man evolved, so did the tools, transforming from blunt objects to precision equipment capable of greater rates of productivity and improved craftsmanship.

These days, tools aren’t the only advancements helping us do our jobs. During the past 10 years, safety training and compliance have evolved into a Learning Management System (LMS). An LMS is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of training programs.

BENEFITS

Learning Management System

Click to view larger.


To better demonstrate the strategic value of an LMS, let’s look at the competitive profile comparing instructor-led training to LMS training. In the figure, the horizontal axis of the competitive profile captures the range of factors on which LMS and instructor-led training solutions compete. There are six principle factors:

    ▪▪ PRICE: The cost to set up and deliver an employee training solution.
    ▪▪ PERFORMANCE: Training that goes beyond introducing knowledge and generates behavior change, driving improved individual, team and organizational performance.
    ▪▪ ENGAGEMENT: Instructionally sound, visually appealing and interactive training programs that engage individuals throughout the learning.
    ▪▪ EASE OF USE: Easy set up and maintenance of the training and delivery system.
    ▪▪ CONVENIENCE: Easy employee access to the training, anytime and anywhere. This includes the office, the job site or even at home. Management can access records from mobile workstations without having to be in the office.
    ▪▪ MEASUREMENT: Easy and cost-effective learner tracking, measurement and reporting.

The figure shows LMS and instructor-led training score high for Performance, Engagement and Ease of Use. However, instructor-led training, relatively speaking and largely due to its inherent lack of convenience, is expensive (in addition to paying the training company, think travel and/or time away from the job for the trainees) and, therefore, it gets a low score on Convenience and Price.

In addition, LMS allows the employer the opportunity to automate the training process, deliver offline training and ensure continued compliance. To automate training, the employer creates a list of trainings needed by job description. These lists are then used to create a learning plan. When the employer puts a new employee into the system, the LMS will automatically assign the training content via the job description. The employer then monitors the system to ensure the employee is completing his or her training.

If the employer chooses not to use automation to assign training inside of the LMS, he or she can manually assign training courses one at a time through the system. This may be done to reissue a training course because of a workplace incident.

DID YOU KNOW?

More than 40 percent of global
Fortune 500 companies are
using some form of a Learning
Management System.

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Bluebeam Assists Future Construction Industry Professionals

Bluebeam Software, a developer of PDF-based markup, measurement and collaboration solutions for design, construction and other technical professionals, recently exhibited at the 27th Annual Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Student Competition and Construction Management Conference in Sparks, Nev. ASC, an association dedicated to promoting excellence in construction education, is becoming an increasingly important resource contributing to the development of Bluebeam’s academic outreach program.

While Bluebeam is attending the conference to show students and educational professionals how the company’s flagship solution, Revu, streamlines project communication, company representatives will also be looking to learn more about the challenges that construction management students and academic professionals face. Bluebeam attributes a sharp increase in students and professors inquiring about Revu licenses for school labs and competitions to a renewed commitment by institutions to engage with the industry, define the essential skills graduates will need to be competitive and to provide the critical tools that will enhance those skills.

The ASC Competition provides university students with the unique and highly competitive opportunity to partner with top design and construction firms. Student teams apply their skills in solving the types of problems that they would face during the bidding and procurement phases of real-world construction projects.

“During the 2013 Associated Schools of Construction competition, my team was able to simultaneously and in real time work on marking up the construction drawings with all of the amazing features in Bluebeam Revu,” says Boris Morales, a San Diego State University student. “In this competition, time is very limited; therefore, Bluebeam Revu was an integral part of our team securing 2nd place.”

“More and more students are requesting Revu to gain a competitive edge in competitions like ASC’s,” says Sasha Reed, Director of Strategic Alliances at Bluebeam. “And we’re inspired when we hear from educators who want to incorporate Revu into their curriculum so that their students can push the limits of project communication when they graduate into the workforce.”

In addition to providing Revu licenses for student competitions, Bluebeam is investing in the future of the industry by furnishing university labs with Revu licenses, offering hands-on training and providing opportunities for Revu to be incorporated into the curriculum.

“I was blown away with what Bluebeam Revu could do when our group went through the training—so much more than Acrobat ever did!” says Clark Cory, associate professor of Computer Graphics Technology – BIM Specialty at Purdue University. “I am still experimenting with most of the features, but anticipate utilizing 3D PDFs soon in coursework! Revu is simply amazing!”

Gulf Coast Supply and Manufacturing Opens South Florida Facility

Gulf Coast Supply and Manufacturing has announced the grand opening of its 110,000-square-foot South Florida metal roofing manufacturing facility at 8200 Haywood Taylor Boulevard in Sebring, Fla. The opening comes a little more than two years after the company’s expansions to Alachua in North Central Florida and Stuart along the Southeast Coast.

The new centrally located South Florida Metal Roofing facility should prove to bring advantages to Gulf Coast Supply and Manufacturing’s strong Florida presence, especially as it relates to immediate product availability and improved delivery options. “Shipping from the middle of the state puts us in a position to be under two hours from either coastline, greatly enhancing our routes and flexibility,” says Vice President of Sales and Marketing Ray Bowen.

Gulf Coast Supply and Manufacturing will offer same-day pick up for metal roof panel orders in its 2-foot-wide traditional 5V Crimp and 3-foot-wide Gulf Rib Strong Panel. Metal roof trims, fasteners and accessories will also be available for all of its metal roof systems, just as they are in the company’s other locations.

Additionally, the company will now be able to offer its Gulf Coast Certified Hands-On-Training seminars for South Florida metal roofing contractors in a dedicated classroom on site at the new facility.