As I was saying …

The roofing foreman

Back in ancient times—the 1970s—NRCA published a study about roofing industry safety. One of the study's conclusions was a roofing crew's safety could be more or less predicted by the crew's foreman. Some foremen run safe jobs all the time; some simply don't.

Later, in the mid-1990s, The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress commissioned a study of the industry's work force. One of its principal findings indicated roofing foremen play a key role in determining whether a new hire will stay with a company. Too many foremen, the study reported, won't invest time with new hires until they are sure the new hires will stay. And without proper attention and training, those new hires will leave.

These and other studies reiterate what those in the industry always have known intrinsically: Good foremen can make or break a job—and a company.

NRCA's current foreman training programs scarcely talk about roofing; instead, they talk about customer relations, communications skills, leadership skills and team-building skills. The 21st century foreman is a manager in every sense of the word—responsible not only for job-site management but also for crew management and customer management.