Natural-born leader

Bruce McCrory is ready for his new role as NRCA president


The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly," says author Jim Rohn.

When talking to Bruce McCrory, secretary-treasurer, co-owner, chief operating officer and general manager of Kiker Corp., Mobile, Ala., and others about his upcoming NRCA presidency, it is clear this quote could have been written with him in mind.

"He's good at getting people to do things; he's motivating," says Tonya Primeaux, Kiker's office manager.

Being a leader is nothing new to McCrory. Having previously served as president of the National Roofing Legal Resource Center (NRLRC), president of the Alabama Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association, president of the Better Business Bureau of South Alabama, and president of the University of South Alabama National Alumni Association, among holding other offices, McCrory is well-positioned for his NRCA presidency.

"He'll be dedicated to the job; there's no question about that," says McCrory's older brother Don McCrory, Kiker's president.

In the beginning

Don started a roofing company, Azalea City Roofing, Mobile, with a partner in 1975. After a couple of years, he needed help getting things organized and asked his younger brother to help.

"I figured what the hell, I'll give it a shot while I look for something else," McCrory says.

Two years later, the brothers left Azalea City Roofing because of a difficulty in the partnership and established Kiker in 1979. Thirty-three years later, McCrory laughs and says: "I'm still looking for something else."

Before opening a family roofing business, McCrory did some roofing work to pay for his tuition at University of South Alabama, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a minor in chemistry.

After tearing off and nailing shingles on homes damaged by Hurricane Camille, he knew roofing was hard work, and he didn't think it was something he'd want for a career. So the plan was to attend medical school, but he dropped out after two weeks of graduate school because he found "it wasn't for me."

The roofing industry ultimately was the right fit for McCrory. In 2011, he and Don were jointly awarded the Chisenhall Award for Outstanding Service through the Subcontractors Association of Alabama for "demonstrating qualities of leadership and integrity, and making significant contributions to the advancement of the association."

The calm during a storm

But roofing isn't McCrory's only vocation. McCrory has made significant contributions to his community as Mobile's go-to guy during a storm. When hurricanes head toward the Gulf Coast, McCrory packs up his gear and heads to the Mobile County Emergency Management Agency (EMA). Originally an amateur radio operator, which was a childhood hobby, McCrory was recruited in 1977 by an EMA director for the volunteer position of public information officer. He has worked every storm since Hurricane Frederick in 1979.

McCrory shares the job with his friend Steve Huffman, a full-time firefighter; the men are Mobile's spokespeople when an emergency strikes the area. They share a desk and telephone in tight quarters while they field questions from media outlets, sometimes as far away as Australia.

For his outstanding volunteer service with EMA, McCrory was awarded the Director's Award by former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Lt. Gen. Julius W. Becton Jr. in 1986 and was a finalist for the Governor's Volunteer of the Year for Alabama in 1991.

Building a community

In addition to his long-term dedication to EMA, one of McCrory's passions is improving his community's reputation.

"I want my community to do well," he says. "Alabama has a reputation for certain things, such as being uncivilized and rundown, but Mobile is making great progress. People are coming down here and thinking: ‘This really is a nice place.'"

In his pursuit to better the lives of people and his community, McCrory generously has given his time to many organizations, including serving as secretary and director of Habit for Humanity,® Mobile County; president of Mobile Preschool for the Sensory Impaired; and vice president of Family Counseling Center of Mobile. In addition, he has served as the building committee chairman of Christ United Methodist Church, where he directed and coordinated the expansion of his church's facilities.

Building an NRCA leader

At the NRCA level, McCrory is no stranger to volunteering. He has chaired several committees, including the Low-slope Roofing Committee; Technical Operations Committee; NRCA/ASTM Coordinating Committee; Building Codes Committee; NRCA/RCI Liaison Committee; Roofing and Waterproofing Manual Update Committee; NRCA/International Roofing and Waterproofing Consultants Liaison Committee; and Wind Issues Committee. He also served as a member of several other committees.

"You should help pay back what your community does for you," McCrory says. "Being involved in NRCA is a way to give back to the community that's given so much to me."

McCrory says his previous work with NRCA has greatly prepared him for his new role as NRCA's president.

"I really think having been involved at the committee level and doing committee work is extremely important," he says. "It enabled me to be knowledgeable about technical issues, and my involvement with ASTM International and NRLRC and going to government meetings in Washington, D.C., helped me become more knowledgeable and meet people in the industry."

As far as making changes at NRCA during his presidential term, McCrory isn't planning any major ones.

"I don't think we need to make a lot of changes," he says. "I think we're doing a pretty good job in the technical, government and education areas. But we need to go through our inventory of what we offer and improve what we have and remove those things that no longer work well."

McCrory believes recruiting young workers is the most important issue facing the roofing industry.

"In this economy, it's an issue that's not at the top of the list, but for the long term it's still a big concern," he says. "If the economy turns, we're going to be in a big mess."

McCrory would like to see NRCA become more involved in the educational programs at high schools and vocational technical schools to begin to recruit more workers.

"Not everyone has to go to college," McCrory explains. "There are other options, like the roofing industry, to make a good living for your family."

McCrory also intends to continue working with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to eliminate safety hazards in the industry.

"I think Immediate Past President Kent Tolley did a great job addressing the fall-protection standard and getting OSHA back to the table to more realistically develop a workable solution," McCrory says. "Now, I hope we can work together and not have it become a ‘gotcha' situation."

Other items on the agenda include continuing to grow NRCA's new office in India, getting more people involved with NRCA's national health care program, and improving technical issues regarding materials and applications.

McCrory plans to use his team-effort management style to help accomplish his goals.

"I like a team effort," he says. "I like everyone to sign onto the program before we approve it. That doesn't always happen, and I know that. I'm not a dreamer, but everyone needs to work toward agreement."

He adds a personal favorite quote from Good to Great by Jim Collins: "[You] start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats."

An NRCA family

When asked what he considers to be the key to his success, McCrory says: "That would be my family, the support of my wife and our parents—they brought us up to do things right and live right."

McCrory met his wife, Patricia, whom he affectionately refers to as "Tricia," 40 years ago on a blind date in college. They hit it off instantly and have been married 37 years. McCrory and Patricia have one daughter, Mary Lee, 31, who recently was married and is expecting her first child.

Mary Lee currently is in the process of moving a couple of blocks away from McCrory and Patricia to be closer to them when the baby is born.

Patricia has worked as the controller at Kiker, so she is aware of the demands of running a roofing business and is prepared to continue to help while McCrory balances his NRCA responsibilities with responsibilities at home.

"I'm in my 30th year of my temporary job," she laughs. "So I can help out with whatever is needed. And with no children at home, it's not an issue."

As far as traveling with McCrory, she says: "I'll do what I need to do, go where I need to go."

"We're an NRCA family," McCrory says. "We know there is a lot of travel, but we've dealt with it before when Don was president; we have good people here."

When talking to his wife, his brother and employees, it is apparent McCrory's family, immediate and extended, is his true passion.

"He's a family man, he cares a lot for his family," says Todd Manus, field superintendent/maintenance supervisor at Kiker. "You can see that through his wife and his daughter."

NRCA is in good hands

The upcoming year of McCrory's presidential term has been forecasted to be another demanding one for NRCA, but with McCrory's experience, knowledge, passion and support behind him, he is the right man at the right time to lead the association forward.

As far as what he'd like NRCA members to know about him, he says: "I accept tips."

In typical McCrory fashion, he almost always answers a question with a joke, which is then quickly followed by his serious response: "I'd like our members to know that if I can help them in any way, that's what I want to do for them."

Chrystine Elle Hanus is Professional Roofing's associate editor.



On a lighter note

What is your favorite word?
Grace

What sound or noise do you love?
Music—a band with lots of horns playing beach, Muscle Shoals or Memphis music

What sound or noise do you hate?
The telephone ringing late on a rainy night

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Weather forecaster: You can be wrong and not lose your job.

What is your favorite quality in a person?
Someone who completes their work with pride and care

What is your fear?
Having someone get hurt on a job site

Which season of the year do you prefer?
Fall—football and cool, crisp air

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
The reservation says you will be staying permanently; is that correct?

Do you have a favorite food?
Homemade seafood gumbo (from the Gulf of Mexico with a lot of spice and crabmeat)

What are your pet peeves?
People who don't tell the truth and poor drivers (of course, I drive perfectly)



Taking the handoff

When Nelson Braddy, president of King of Texas Roofing Co. LP, Grand Prairie, Texas, started his company in 1982, he decided to join NRCA shortly thereafter because he had a technical issue and needed some guidance.

"It didn't take me long to realize NRCA was a valuable asset for any contractor," he says.

And by the early 1990s, he began to get involved on such committees as Work Force, PAC Advisory, Manual Update and the Insurance Board of Governors. He served on NRCA's board of directors from 2007-08 and 2010-11 and as vice president from 2008-11. He now begins his term as NRCA's senior vice president—second-in-command to NRCA President Bruce McCrory.

"Bruce will have a lot to do in the coming year," he says. "I will do whatever I can to lighten the load."

Braddy believes there are many pressing issues facing the industry and all are important: "The torrent of regulations coming out of Washington, D.C., is nothing but frightening. And the work force issue, which has mostly been on the back burner for several years, will become important as our economy slowly recovers and contractors need additional employees. However, the most important challenge our industry will face during the next few years relates to asphalt fumes. Manufacturers, distributors, contractors, specifiers and owners need to come together to establish work practices. NRCA will need to be the quarterback of this effort."

Originally from the engineering industry, Braddy questioned why he entered the roofing industry after reading a 1993 Time magazine article, "Roofers from Hell."

"After I read that article I truly questioned why I got into an industry with such a dismal reputation," he says. "So the goal for my career has been to help dispel that public impression, and I hope to offer ideas to make the association stronger and improve the image of our industry through professionalism."

Braddy is confident he will be able to balance his NRCA obligations with his business and personal responsibilities.

"My daughter, Kelly, recently joined our business and currently works in our operations department," he says. "She will be a great asset during the next few years while I fulfill my NRCA obligations."

On what being senior vice president means to Braddy, he says: "It truly is an honor and privilege to be asked to serve by a group of my peers, and I will do my best."

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