Margaret Mead was quoted as saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
And years later, her words ring true for the members of the Rosemont, Ill.-based Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress.
On the cusp of its 20th anniversary, the alliance is growing at a rapid pace in members and projects and proving itself to be stronger than ever. Since its inception in 1996, the alliance continues to unite leaders throughout the roofing industry while funding high-quality re- search, providing forward-thinking responses to major economic and techno- logical issues, and advancing education and training to enhance the long-term viability of the roofing industry to current and future workers.
“The advances the alliance has made, particularly in the last few years, are a testimonial to how successful we can be when everyone commits to work together to improve and shape this great industry,” says Robert McNamara, president of F.J.A. Christiansen Roofing Co. Inc., a Tecta America company based in Milwaukee. “We have made some remarkable progress, and I encourage those who are not a part of the alliance to seriously consider getting involved.”
With a keen focus on raising awareness about careers in the roofing industry, the alliance approved substantial project funding to advance ongoing educational initiatives with three well-known construction management schools in the U.S.: The Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University, Fort Collins; the McWhorter School of Building Science at Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.; and the M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Construction Management at the University of Florida, Gainesville.
In February, the alliance also sponsored its second annual Construction Management Student Design Competition, a hallmark competition to promote careers in roofing industry management. The competition featured teams from Auburn University; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.; and the University of Florida. In addition to providing a significant learning opportunity, the competition fostered camaraderie, dialogue among the students and team spirit. Students were challenged to demonstrate their roofing knowledge in the areas of estimating, project management, safety and related areas for their project on the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, which also was the site for the 2016 International Roofing Expo (IRE).
Their final portion of the project, an oral presentation, was judged by a panel of five roofing professionals during IRE. The winning team from the University of Florida, which included members Eddie San Juan, Nick Loewenthal, Caleb Strauss and Drew Winant, received a school trophy and individual trophies during NRCA’s Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Reception on Feb. 18.
The alliance also awarded its second Construction Management Faculty Scholarship to James Sullivan, director of undergraduate programs, M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Construction Management at the University of Florida. With the $15,000 scholarship, Sullivan developed a detailed intern program guide- line that can be customized to meet the requirements of various construction management schools and fulfill students required credits. A pilot program is expected to be launched by the summer of 2017.
“It’s important we are visible as an organization, as well as an industry, and in front of as many students as possible,” says Dennis Conway, principal and vice president of Commercial Roofers Inc., Las Vegas. “We all need good, well-trained people and this exposure is invaluable.”
ADVANCING EDUCATION AND TRAINING
The alliance continued to support educational efforts and offer students financial aid through the Melvin Kruger Endowed Scholarship Program by approving funding to renew five scholar- ships totaling $25,000, as well as five new ones at $5,000 each. The new 2015-16 recipients included Brittany Beldon, San Antonio; Christian Bole, Dallas, Ga.; Jonah Manson, Solon, Iowa; Ivy Rivas, Tujunga, Calif.; and Adam Stackpole, Saginaw, Mich.
Named for Melvin Kruger, NRCA former president and chief executive officer of L.E. Schwartz & Son Inc., Macon, Ga., the alliance’s first scholarship was awarded in 1986. Since its inception, the program has distributed $630,000 in scholarship funds to 115 students. The program is open to NRCA contractor and supplier members, their families and their employees who plan to pursue careers in the roofing industry or building construction.