In February, more than 7,400 roofing professionals flocked to the dazzling city of Las Vegas to attend NRCA's 122nd Annual Convention and Dallas-based Hanley Wood Exhibitions' 2009 International Roofing Expo® (IRE). There, surrounded by booths featuring products, services and ideas presented by 359 exhibiting companies, participants were able to share invaluable wisdom and explore the roofing industry's latest trends.
The current economic downturn didn't significantly reduce the events' number of attendees. According to Hanley Wood, there were only 367 fewer attendees at this year's IRE than at the 2008 expo. And the events successfully brought together professionals from all roofing industry segments and all 50 states, as well as numerous international attendees from Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, Columbia, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Mongolia and the Philippines.
Convention events began Monday, Feb. 2, with the National Roofing Legal Resource Center's annual breakfast during which Mark Graham, NRCA's associate executive director of technical services, and Stephen Phillips, a partner with the Atlanta-based law firm Hendrick, Phillips, Salzman & Flatt, discussed roofing industry technical issues that pose liability risks to roofing contracting companies.
About 100 attendees listened to Graham and Phillips discuss project specifications and contracts concerning compliance with FM Global guidelines. The presentation also focused on such topics as manufacturers' wind warranties, cover-board concerns, water-damage claims, and E-Verify and other immigration concerns.
Also on Monday, ROOFPAC, NRCA's political action committee, held its annual sporting events to raise funds to support pro-business candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who support NRCA's legislative agenda.
ROOFPAC's annual golf tournament once again was held at Angel Park Golf Club. First-place winners in the best ball competition were Ashley DeWitt, secretary/treasurer for Freeze Maxwell Roofing, Edmonton, Alberta; Sandee DeWitt; Lawrence Yaremchuk, operations manager for Freeze Maxwell Roofing; and Arthur Valentz, president of PHP Systems/Design, Houston.
First-place winners for the scramble competition were Brian Dembowski, territory sales manager for Johns Manville, Denver; Don Barris, project manager for Commercial Roofers Inc., Las Vegas; Tom Griffin, architectural sales manager for Roofing Supply Group, Dallas; and Gene Smith, president of AAA Roofing by Gene, Riverside, Calif.
This year, for the first time, ROOFPAC supporters participated in the Richard Petty Rookie Experience and High-performance Kart Racing event.
Held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the event's participants had the opportunity to drive eight laps around the Super Speedway in a 600-horsepower NASCAR-style stock car; get a three-lap high-speed passenger ride around the Super Speedway; and compete in go-kart racing on Las Vegas Motor Speedway's karting track.
On Tuesday, Feb. 3, Hanley Wood opened IRE events with a panel discussion among industry leaders focusing on important, timely roofing industry topics.
The panel included Keith Rozolis, senior vice president of marketing and planning for ABC Supply Co. Inc., Beloit, Wis.; Mike Vall, president of Firestone Building Products Co. LLC, Indianapolis; Bob Tafaro, president and chief executive officer of GAF Materials Corp., Wayne, N.J.; Fred Stephan, vice president and general manager of roofing systems for Johns Manville; and Marcelino Susas, vice president and general manager—Americas for UNI-SOLAR,® Auburn Hills, Mich. The panel was moderated by Bill Good, NRCA's executive vice president.
The discussion began with expectations for the year ahead, including roofing industry trends and how to remain profitable in a troubled economy. The panelists maintained their optimism and explained how they plan to face upcoming challenges.
"We're planning for a difficult year, but we're hoping for the best," Tafaro said. "We're investing heavily in training and education and doing more with less."
The panelists also discussed qualities roofing contractors need to help them survive the economic downturn.
Stephan said "finding out ways to deliver more value to customers" will be key to remaining profitable.
The panelists also took time to examine roofing-related environmental opportunities, including such issues as solar power generation, insulation, reflectivity and vegetative roof systems. And the panel agreed all roofing industry segments must work together.
"I see much more of a lining-up among manufacturers, distributors and contractors to the point where we are essentially partners," Rozolis said.
A day of honor
As part of the week's events, NRCA held its annual luncheon Wednesday, Feb. 4. During the luncheon, which is sponsored by CNA, Chicago, attendees witnessed the presentation of NRCA's J.A. Piper Award and an inspiring keynote address given by Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger.
NRCA's J.A. Piper Award was established in 1947 and is named for former NRCA President J.A. Piper, who is credited with holding the association together during the Great Depression. Each year, the honor is awarded to an individual who has dedicated his or her life to the roofing industry. Previous J.A. Piper Award winners include NRCA presidents and other celebrated industry experts.
This year, the honor was given to Dane Bradford, president of Bradford Roof Management, Billings, Mont., who served as NRCA president from 2004-05 and NRCA senior vice president from 2003-04. He also served as an NRCA vice president from 1996-98 and 2000-02 and was an NRCA director from 1992-95, 1998-2000 and 2002-05. Bradford was vice president liaison to NRCA's Technical Services Group from 1997-98 and 2000-02 and has served as chairman of numerous other committees, including the Affiliate Relations Committee, Budget & Finance Committee, Convention Committee and International Conference Task Force.
"Our recipient has dedicated his life to making our industry better," said 2008 J.A. Piper Award winner Rene Dupuis, president of SRI Consultants Inc., Middleton, Wis., during the award presentation. "He served NRCA in every capacity, including as its president, and his involvement continues—one of the key qualities shared by all our previous recipients."
Following the J.A. Piper Award presentation, Ruettiger addressed the crowd, using examples from his unique personal history to explain how a positive attitude can lead to success.
"Focus on your dream, and never quit," Ruettiger said. "It is always too soon to quit. If you quit, you can't succeed."
An eventful evening
On the evening of Feb. 4, NRCA held its cocktail and awards reception. The reception featured the presentation of numerous prestigious awards: NRCA's Gold Circle Awards and Charlie Raymond Award, the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing's Excellence in Design Awards and The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress' Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards.
NRCA's Gold Circle Awards annually recognize members for their outstanding contributions to the roofing industry. This year, 26 Gold Circle Award nominations were received and five companies and organizations were named winners.
Following are this year's winners:
Midland Engineering Co., South Bend, Ind., won the Gold Circle Safety Award for its work at The Ascent at Roebling's Bridge, Covington, Ky. This award is not a Gold Circle Award nomination category but a special honor given to an accident-free project where public protection challenges were in the forefront of job elements and dominated the scope of work.
NRCA's Charlie Raymond Award also was presented during the reception. Named for former NRCA President and J.A. Piper Award winner Charlie Raymond, the award is NRCA's most prestigious membership recruitment award. It is awarded annually to an individual and a manufacturer for their extraordinary efforts to recruit new NRCA members.
This year, Steven Kruse of RAMCON LLC, Tampa, Fla., won in the individual category, and GAF Materials won in the manufacturer category.
Also during the reception, the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing presented its Excellence in Design Awards to roofing contracting companies that have designed extraordinary long-lasting, high-efficiency, environmentally friendly roof systems according to industry-accepted practices.
Nations Roof LLC, Bridgeport, Conn., was named the overall Excellence in Design Award winner for its work at the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Baraboo, Wis.
Tremco Inc., Beachwood, Ohio, won the Excellence in Design Award in the Best Vegetative Roof category for its work at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Little Rock, Ark. Solar Integrated Technologies Inc., Los Angeles, and Sika Sarnafil, Canton, Mass., won in the Best Solar Roof category for their work at the Fresh & Easy warehouse in Riverside, Calif. Duke University Health System, Durham, N.C., won in the Best Roof Recycling category for Duke University Hospital—Heliport Roof, Durham, N.C.
MVP Award winners are chosen based on their efforts toward outstanding on-the-job performance; attracting new roofing workers and helping retain existing ones; contributions to a team effort; community service and volunteerism; and other noteworthy contributions and activities.
In addition, Madeley was awarded the second annual Best of the Best Award for her extraordinary contributions. Co-sponsored by Professional Roofing and OMG Roofing Products, Agawam, Mass., the Best of the Best Award is a special award given to one MVP Award winner for going above and beyond to improve the roofing industry.
Also during the reception, NRCA announced its 2009-10 slate of officers.
Robert McNamara, president of F.J.A. Christiansen Roofing Co. Inc., Milwaukee, a Tecta America company, was named NRCA president, and Allen Lancaster, president of Metalcrafts Inc., Savannah, Ga., was named NRCA senior vice president. Robert McReynolds, president of D & D Roofing Inc., Commerce City, Colo.; Richard M. Nugent, president of Nations Roof; and John Plescia, president of Star Roofing Inc., Phoenix, were named NRCA vice presidents. The officers will begin their terms June 1.
Additionally, the Alliance announced the winner of its Melvin Kruger Endowed Scholarship Sweepstakes during the reception. LeAnne Sanders, president of Thermo Manufacturing, Lindale, Texas, won the grand prize—a 2009 BMW 128i convertible. The sweepstakes generated more than $16,000 for the Alliance's Melvin Kruger Endowed Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to employees, immediate family members of employees and immediate family members of NRCA members.
A change of scenery
Las Vegas has been home to NRCA's convention and the IRE for the past four years. But next year, NRCA's 123rd Annual Convention and the 2010 IRE will be held in New Orleans. Be sure to join the thousands of roofing professionals who will gather in the Big Easy Feb. 20-24, 2010, for what are sure to be another successful convention and expo.
Kaylee Alberico is Professional Roofing's editorial assistant.