As I was saying …

Welcome to the 2011 International Roofing Expo®

If it's true, as it surely is, that every large roofing project is a business-survival gamble, there is no better place for the industry to assemble than in Las Vegas.

This is especially true, it seems to me, in the context of the past two years, which have seen the industry go from robust to moribund without even a brief stop at mediocre. Or as a longtime member recently and much more succinctly described the state of the industry: "It sucks."

The roofing business is arguably less risky than, say, playing craps. But with the onslaught of new federal regulations and building code requirements, putting your company's assets on the come line doesn't seem all that crazy anymore.

By the end of 2011, the industry will have trained signalers and riggers how to use cranes, derricks and even roof hoists. It will have embarked on new fall-protection training programs for nearly all steep-slope applications, having been told slide guards no longer are acceptable. It will have continued its work in training "renovators" who may contact lead paint.