Committed to excellence

The Alliance shapes the future of the roofing industry with renewed momentum


On the cusp of its 20th anniversary, The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress (Alliance) is growing at a rapid pace and stronger than ever. Since its inception in 1996, the Alliance continues to unite leaders throughout the roofing industry while funding research, advancing education, honoring workers, and providing forward-thinking responses to major economic and technological issues.

At 145 members strong, including 10 new members this past year, the Alliance is in a unique position to unite roofing contractors, manufacturers, suppliers, service providers and industry professionals. To date, the group has committed more than $12.3 million to help preserve and enhance the U.S. roofing industry's success.

"There's a lot of momentum right now with the Alliance, which ultimately leads to an interest in funding new projects and attracting new members," says Robert McNamara, president of F.J.A. Christiansen Roofing Co. Inc., a Tecta America company, Milwaukee. "The advances we have made during the past few years are testimonials of how successful we can be when everyone within the industry works together."

Affecting change

With a keen focus on raising awareness about careers in the roofing industry, the Alliance recently approved $80,000 in additional 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.

Earlier this year, the Alliance also sponsored its first Construction Management Student Design Competition, a hallmark competition designed to promote careers in roofing industry management. In addition to providing a significant learning opportunity, the competition fostered camaraderie, dialogue and team spirit as students rose to meet the challenge of demonstrating their roofing knowledge in the areas of estimating, project management, safety and related areas for the Bass Pro Shops Sportsmen Center, Colorado Springs, Colo.

The final portion of the project, an oral presentation, was judged by a panel of five roofing professionals during the 2015 International Roofing Expo® (IRE) in New Orleans. The winning team from Colorado State University, which included members Tyler Eberhardt, Eric Erickson, Sean Howell and Chris Lierheimer, received their school and individual trophies during NRCA's Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Reception.

The 2016 competition will feature a reroofing project for the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., the site for the 2016 IRE. Eleven construction management schools have been invited to participate in the second competition, and oral presentations will take place Feb. 18, 2016.

The Alliance also awarded its second Construction Management Faculty Scholarship to James Sullivan, director of undergraduate programs at M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Construction Management at the University of Florida. With the $15,000 scholarship, Sullivan developed a detailed internship program guideline 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 summer 2017.

And to gain more exposure for the roofing industry and share its construction management initiatives with additional faculty, the Alliance exhibited at the 51st Annual International Conference of Associated Schools of Construction at Texas A&M University in College State, Texas.

"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

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 scholarships totaling $25,000, as well as five new ones at $5,000 each. The new 2015-16 recipients include Brittany Beldon, San Antonio; Christian Cole, Dallas, Ga.; Jonah Manson, Solon, Iowa; Ivy Rivas, Tujunga, Calif.; and Adam Stackpole, Perry, Mich.

Named for Melvin Kruger, former NRCA and Alliance president and CEO of L.E. Schwartz & Son Inc., Macon, Ga., the Alliance's first scholarship was awarded in 1986. Since its inception, it has distributed $630,000 in scholarship funds to 115 students. The scholarship program is open to NRCA contractor and supplier members and their employees, as well as family members of employees employed by an NRCA contractor or supplier member, who plan to pursue careers in the roofing industry or building construction.

Applications are being accepted until Jan. 31, 2016, for the 2016-17 scholarship program, and recipients will be selected on the basis of academic record; potential to succeed; leadership and participation in school and community activities; honors; work experience; a statement of career goals and aspirations; and an outside appraisal. Each award is $5,000 and is renewable for up to three years of undergraduate study or until a bachelor's degree is earned provided recipients renew annually and maintain a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.

Workforce and training initiatives

To address the industry's labor challenges, the Alliance continued its work with Ricardo González, founder and CEO of Bilingual America, Atlanta, to conduct cultural and leadership training programs for companies with Latino workers and for Latino workers employed by non-Latino owners. Fourteen roofing contractor companies were studied during the course of a six-week training program, and the final report was shared with Alliance members at its October member meeting in Washington, D.C. González shared key findings, best practices and a list of challenges the industry must overcome, in addition to specific recommendations for workplace improvements that are unique to the roofing industry.

Since 1997, the Alliance also has provided considerable funding to create and update the series of Roof Application Training Programs (RATPs). RATP began in 1998 as a comprehensive training program designed for in-house facilitators to train company employees. The training modules provide in-shop and on-the-job instruction guidelines, testing and evaluation materials in the form of instructors guides, DVDs and student manuals. Roof Application Training Program: Foundations of Roofing, which explains the basics of low- and steep-slope roofing, and Roof Application Training Program: Equipment, Setup and Tear-off, which discusses roofing equipment, setup, and tear-off procedures and techniques for low- and steep-slope roofing work, recently were updated and are available through NRCA's Bookstore, www.nrca.net/store.

Honoring workers

Each year, the Alliance sponsors the roofing industry's Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards Program, which identifies and honors exceptional roofing workers from roofing contracting companies and distributor and supplier firms who demonstrate excellence, dedication, enthusiasm and teamwork. Since its inception in 1999, 520 employees have been nominated, and 199 have been honored as winners or finalists.

The annual MVP Awards Program recognizes a maximum of 10 workers, and one winner is selected as Professional Roofing's Best of the Best, an elite recognition and award co-sponsored by OMG Roofing Products, Agawam, Mass. The Best of the Best receives an additional prize awarded by OMG Roofing Products and is featured in a cover story in Professional Roofing.

This year, the Alliance announced the following winners of its 15th annual MVP Awards during NRCA's 128th Annual Convention Feb. 22-26 in New Orleans: Scott Luck, foreman for CentiMark Corp., Canonsburg, Pa.; John Pesler, foreman for Mile Square Roofing Co. Inc., Hackensack, N.J.; Billy Ward, superintendent for KPost Company, Dallas; and John Whitten, superintendent for KPost Company.

"Being recognized as an MVP holds special significance for these dedicated workers," says Bill Good, CEO of NRCA. "After winning this distinguished title, an MVP winner understands he or she is valued for not only being an outstanding performer on the job but also in his or her community, and that's quite an accomplishment."

Reaching out and giving back

Winston Churchill said: "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." And the Alliance understands the importance of supporting funding initiatives for charitable causes, including its Helping Our Own Program. Through a nomination process, the Alliance helps create sustainable solutions for individuals or families in need who have experienced life-altering events, such as injury, illness, disability or death. The Alliance has distributed $66,000 since the program's inception in 2009.

"Although the Alliance can't solve all the problems during a time of crisis, collectively we can make a real difference in the lives of families who have been touched by tragedy through the Helping Our Own Program," says Nelson Braddy, president of King of Texas Roofing Co. LP, Grand Prairie. "We already have made an impact by helping three roofing workers who were injured in the 2014 Boston Marathon bombing, as well as families in danger of being overwhelmed by medical expenses," he added.

The Alliance also approved funding to serve as partner and silver sponsor of the CM Cares program provided through Colorado State University's Department of Construction Management. Students, faculty, staff and industry partners, such as the Alliance, collaborate on construction-related projects for people with special needs and local community service agencies needing assistance that cannot be provided by other sources.

"Creating a sustainable funding source for CM Cares is imperative," says Mostafa Khatta, Ph.D., Colorado State University's construction management professor and department head. "Having a dependable budget improves the school's ability to give students opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others while also putting into action the lessons they learn in the classroom."

Technological advances

The Alliance also has committed more than $16,000 to update NRCA's EnergyWise Online Calculator. New codes, including the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code,® 2015 International Green Construction Code,® ASHRAE 90.1-2013 and ASHRAE 189.1-2014, will be added to make the EnergyWise Online Calculator current through at least 2017.

In addition, the Alliance approved funding to become an official American National Standards Institute (ANSI) canvasser. As an accredited sponsor, the Alliance can conduct a canvass or mail poll of persons affected by the subject matter addressed in the scope of a standard to obtain evidence of consensus for approval as an American National Standard.

And work also continues on air retarder testing based on a request from the Canadian Roofing Contractors Association (CRCA). Additional research and testing is necessary to evaluate the effect air barrier placement will have on moisture accumulation within a roof assembly. The Alliance has fulfilled its commitment of $50,000 to develop the data necessary to substantiate compliance of nonadhered roof systems (seam-fastened, mechanically attached single-ply membrane roof systems) with requirements of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code. This project is being jointly funded by the Alliance, NRCA, CRCA and SPRI.

Looking ahead

As the Alliance continues to advance education, invest in technology and research, and expand its initiatives to include more philanthropic causes, it also remains steadfast in its commitment to secure the future excellence of the roofing industry.

"We have never wavered from our goal of being committed to securing and shaping the future of this fine industry," says Jim MacKimm, executive vice president of Beacon Roofing Supply, Herndon, Va. "The Alliance provides us the opportunity to do just that, and we need more industry leaders involved."

Roofing professionals who invest in the Alliance not only advance the roofing industry, but they also advance their own careers and businesses.

"An investment in the Alliance is an investment in the future of your company, your people and the industry," says Ken Farrish, Alliance president and president of Atlas Roofing, Atlanta. "Creating and developing new relationships, and increasing your understanding of the industry, is financially and personally rewarding. There's nothing quite like it."

Alison L. LaValley, CAE, is NRCA's vice president of member services.



Get to Know the Alliance

The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress was established within the National Roofing Foundation in 1996 to create an endowment fund to serve as a resource for the roofing industry and its customers. Currently, the Alliance has 145 active members: 106 contractors; 36 manufacturers, distributors and suppliers; and three individuals who have pledged significant amounts of money to fund projects that help improve the roofing industry.

The Alliance is managed by the Alliance Board of Trustees, a 16-member board that oversees existing projects and considers funding for projects addressing critical industry issues. The Alliance holds two member meetings each year: an annual meeting, which will be held April 14-16, 2016, in Naples, Fla., and another held during NRCA's Fall Committee Meetings.

Ken Farrish, president of Atlas Roofing Corp., Atlanta, is the Alliance's 2015-16 president; James Patterson, senior vice president—procurement of Centimark Corp., Canonsburg, Pa., is vice president; and Jim Barr, president of Barr Roofing, Abilene, Texas, is secretary/treasurer.

Membership is open to all roofing industry professionals. In 2015, the board of trustees approved two new membership categories to enrich this diverse group of leaders—a category for service providers and another for local distributors.

In 2015, the Alliance welcomed 10 new members: AAA Roofing Co. Inc., Indianapolis; Adler Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc., Joliet, Ill.; Anderson and Shah Roofing Inc., Joliet, Ill.; Blue's Roofing Co., Milpitas, Calif.; Bone Dry Roofing Co., Bogart, Ga.; EagleView Technologies, Bothell, Wash.; Polyglass U.S.A. Inc., Deerfield Beach, Fla.; Roofing Solutions LLC, Prairieville, La.; SRS Distribution, McKinney, Texas; and Upstate Roofing & Painting, Rochester, N.Y. A list of all Alliance members can be found at www.roofingindustryalliance.net.

For more information about the Alliance, contact Bennett Judson, the Alliance's executive director, at (800) 323-9545, ext. 7513 or bjudson@roofingindustryalliance.net, or visit www.roofingindustryalliance.net. And don't forget to "like" the Alliance's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/RoofingAlliance, for timely updates.



Get involved; give back

To make the Alliance work, member participation is vital, and the Alliance is continually seeking new members. The Alliance 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 on task forces established to guide the Alliance's agenda and are invited to the semiannual meetings and networking events of the full Alliance.

In addition, roofing professionals are encouraged to support the Melvin Kruger Endowed Scholarship program, which provides financial support for students pursuing careers in the roofing or building construction industries. Gifts to the scholarship program are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law and can be paid during a period up to and including five years.

The Alliance also provides roofing professionals the opportunity to fulfill their philanthropic goals through a variety of planned giving opportunities, including bequests, gifts of real estate or appreciate stock, life insurance policies and retirement plan assets, and charitable trusts.

The roofing industry has a wonderful history of generosity. For roofing professionals who would like to be involved with giving back to the industry that has given so much to them, the Alliance provides the perfect opportunity to do so. To learn more, contact Alison L. LaValley, CAE, NRCA's vice president of member services, at (800) 323-9545, ext. 7573, or alavalley@nrca.net.

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