Working together

The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress continues its efforts to improve the roofing industry

Established in 1996, The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress was founded with the goal of improving the roofing industry through research, education and technology. Now, 13 years later, the Alliance is working harder than ever to accomplish and expand on this goal.

During the past year, the Alliance launched a new scholarship program, created a charitable initiative to reach out to roofing workers in need and continued work on various important roofing industry research projects. And these are only some of the exciting things the Alliance accomplished during 2008 and has planned for 2009.

Supporting education

During 2008, the Alliance continued its commitment to education through its Roofing Industry Scholarship Program, providing $1,000 to three students: Jennifer Baxter of Carthage, Tenn.; Brittany Cook of Naperville, Ill.; and Jason Hartman of Nashville, Tenn.

Baxter is the daughter of Chris Baxter, estimator and project manager for Rackley Roofing Co. Inc., Carthage; Cook is the daughter of John Cook, vice president of GBA, Lisle, Ill.; and Hartman is the son of Kenneth Hartman, senior project manager for Ford Roofing Co. LLC, Franklin, Tenn.

And though the Roofing Industry Scholarship Program has helped many students succeed since its inception, the Alliance hopes to better help students through its Melvin Kruger Endowed Scholarship Program, which it established in early 2008.

The new scholarship program is named for Melvin Kruger, chief executive officer of L.E. Schwartz & Son Inc., Macon, Ga. A former NRCA president, Kruger also served as a member of the Georgia Education Commission and was a driving force in creating the Roofing Industry Educational Institute in 1979. He also was the Alliance's principal fundraiser at the time the organization was established.

Reid Ribble, the Alliance's vice president and president of The Ribble Group Inc., Kaukauna, Wis., believes the scholarship's association with Kruger will benefit the program.

"Having the help of Melvin Kruger, who is really—in my opinion—one of the giants in the roofing industry, lends a ton of credibility to the scholarship program," Ribble says. "Large manufacturers now have contributed to the fund in big ways, and I think the roofing contracting community has responded to it in a positive way."

The program, which has permanently replaced the Alliance's Roofing Industry Scholarship Program, is administered by Scholarship America, a nonprofit, private-sector scholarship and educational support organization that has distributed more than $1.5 billion to more than 1.5 million students through various programs since its founding. The Alliance's new scholarship is available to employees of NRCA contractor and supplier members who plan to pursue post-secondary education in their choice of college or vocational programs.

"The previous program had limited scholarships—$1,000 per recipient," Ribble says. "This new program moves it up to $5,000 per recipient."

These awards are available for up to four years of undergraduate study or until a bachelor's degree is earned, provided recipients renew annually and maintain a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale (or the equivalent). The first awards for the new scholarship program will be given for the 2009-10 academic year and are scheduled to be announced this spring.

The Alliance hopes to secure $2 million in pledges and is seeking donations for the scholarship program. At press time, $1,723,000 had been donated to the scholarship fund.

Gifts to the scholarship program are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law and can be paid during a period of up to five years. You can donate to the fund by visiting the Alliance's Web site,, and downloading the Melvin Kruger Endowed Scholarship Program Response Form. To help raise money for the fund, the Alliance held a fundraising sweepstakes during NRCA's 122nd Annual Convention, held Feb. 1-5 in Las Vegas. The sweepstakes prize was a 2009 BMW 128i convertible. As of press time, the drawing had not taken place.

For Ribble, the scholarship program means more than just helping college students pay for their educations.

"Anything we can do to improve the lives of the children of the roofing industry is good for the roofing industry, period," he says. "It's another way for us to give back some of the things we've earned to our community."

Reaching out

Although the Alliance originally was created to fund technical, research and educational programs, in 2008, it expanded its funding initiatives to include charitable causes, such as its Helping Our Own Program. Through its Helping Our Own Program, the Alliance can help families in the roofing industry who have experienced life-altering events.

Although the Helping Our Own Program is different from other programs funded by the Alliance, it is an important aspect of reaching the organization's goal of improving the roofing industry.

"We felt a real need to take some of the resources the Alliance had and use them for various important causes for family members within the roofing industry who have been touched by tragedy," Ribble says.

The program's first recipient, Geno Ramirez, a warehouse foreman at King of Texas Roofing Co., Grand Prairie, was nominated by Alliance member Nelson Braddy, King of Texas Roofing's president.

In early 2008, Ramirez's wife Betty began having trouble walking and using her hands. She was diagnosed with a devastating and rare neurological disease known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which caused her to become almost entirely paralyzed. A few months later, she also was diagnosed with spinal cancer while undergoing follow-up tests and evaluations.

Additionally, Manuel, the Ramirezes' 6-year-old son, was diagnosed with epilepsy and has been undergoing medical treatment.

King of Texas Roofing already had attempted to help the Ramirez family, but Braddy saw the Helping Our Own Program as a way to further help the Ramirezes and nominated Ramirez as the program's first recipient. Through the program, the Alliance is helping the Ramirez family pay for child care and medical expenses.

The Alliance hopes its Helping Our Own Program will help many other families and is working to use the program's funds to help another family in danger of being overwhelmed by medical expenses.

"Let's face it—where do roofing workers go when their insurance runs out?" Ribble asks. "Well, this is one more place, and it's something we can all do together."

Program nominations are accepted quarterly and are due March 1, June 1, Sept. 1 and Dec. 1 each year. Program nominees need not be employees of NRCA or Alliance member companies; however, nominations must be made by an Alliance member. Helping Our Own application forms are available on the Alliance's Web site.

Honoring workers

Each year, the Alliance sponsors the Roofing Industry's Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards Program, which identifies and honors a maximum of 10 outstanding roofing workers. MVP Award winners are chosen based on 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.

As in years past, this year's MVP Award winners received two complimentary airfares and two nights' hotel accommodations during NRCA's 122nd Annual Convention. Each winner also received one complimentary conference registration and exhibit hall pass, a $100 American Express gift certificate and two tickets to the NRCA Cocktail and Awards Reception.

This year, the Alliance named the following MVP Award winners: Jesus Andres, foreman for Madsen Roof Co., Sacramento, Calif.; Isael Casas, lead foreman for General Works LLC, Sanford, Fla.; Chad Chambers, foreman for The Durable Slate Co., Columbus, Ohio; Roua Elliott, foreman for Stiles Roofing Inc., Lebanon, Mo.; Raymundo Jimenez, project manager for D.C. Taylor Co., Concord, Calif.; Eugena Madeley, yard/receiving/truck driver for Gooding, Simpson & Mackes Inc., Ephrata, Pa.; Jerroul McMellon, superintendent for Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing, Houston; Robert Morneau, foreman for CentiMark Corp., Chelmsford, Mass.; Dan Williams, sheet metal and slate supervisor for J.S. Wagner Co. Inc., Hyattsville, Md.; and Millard Wright, field supervisor for CentiMark, Lakeland, Fla.

Industry research

Roofing industry research always has been at the heart of the Alliance's mission. In 2008, the Alliance released Identification and Management of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Roofing Industry, a study conducted by Thomas E. Glavinich, D.E., P.E., of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.

Focusing on reducing repetitive-stress-related injuries among roofing workers, the report promotes a proactive approach to managing ergonomics challenges. It is available from NRCA's bookstore at

The Alliance also has continued its relationship with Penn State University, University Park, Pa., and provided $100,000 for research in three main areas.

The first project funded through the partnership was the sponsorship of Penn State University's entry in the U.S. Department of Energy's 2007 Solar Decathlon, which took place Oct. 16, 2007. During the competition, college and university teams from around the world competed to design and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered home, which had to generate enough energy to sustain itself and a functioning automobile.

The second project the Alliance helped fund was an assessment of the roofing industry's role in green building projects with an emphasis placed on the solar energy market. This project was completed through interviews with roofing contractors, an assessment of green building trends, and an assessment of solar photovoltaic (PV) materials and markets.

The project concluded with a summary of the green building market and identified opportunities for roofing contractors to differentiate themselves through growing competencies in green building project requirements.

The project recommended future research, including the assessment of contracting strategies for solar markets and the research of new PV materials' implications for the roofing industry. The project's results were presented during the 2008 International Roofing Expo® but have not yet been released by the Alliance.

The third project, Evaluation of the Green Roof R-Value, is under way and being conducted by Jelena Srebric, Ph.D., associate professor of architectural engineering at Penn State University.

According to a report by researchers, the project is examining such green roof system properties as R-value and moisture content and proposes to develop an R-function to capture the real thermal performance of green roofs in different U.S. climates.

In addition to its partnership with Penn State University, the Alliance entered an agreement with Miami-based Florida International University (FIU) and is providing $100,000 to support the university's Wall of Wind, a full-scale hurricane simulation and destructive testing facility built by FIU's International Hurricane Research Center.

"Wind-related damage in the roofing industry is a big issue along all the U.S.'s coastal regions," Ribble says. "Having a full-size mock-up where full-size models can be tested against high wind velocities is going to be significant in helping improve roof design and, ultimately, wind performance."

Additionally, the Alliance is helping fund NRCA's Technical Operations Committee and the Chicago Roofing Contractors Association (CRCA) in their joint effort to collect solar spectrum reflectance measurements from roof systems in the Chicago area. The project calls for annual measurements of 30 or more roof systems during a five-year period.

In spring 2008, with the help of CRCA member contractors, NRCA's technical services staff conducted solar spectrum reflectance measurements of 52 Chicago-area roof systems. The roof systems varied in age, slope and type and included such surfaces as EPDM, gravel ballast and white single-ply. These measurements established initial conditions for the continuing investigation, which is scheduled to last four more years.

The year ahead

The Alliance has accomplished great things for the roofing industry during the past year, and 2009 is sure to be just as busy.

"There will be an ever-increasing emphasis on the roofing industry to be involved with renewable and sustainable technologies," Ribble says. "The Alliance is going to be involved in some way in funding the science and research to keep the roofing industry at the forefront of these technologies."

And as the Alliance continues to advance education, technology and research and expand its initiatives to include more charitable causes, it also will continue to unite the roofing industry's members to work toward improving the industry.

"The neat thing about the Alliance is that it brings all the parties in the roofing industry together," Ribble explains. "There's nothing quite like it."

For more information about the Alliance, visit or contact Bennett Judson, the Alliance's executive director, at (800) 323-9545, ext. 7513 or

Kaylee Alberico is Professional Roofing's editorial assistant.

Meet the Alliance

In 1996, The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress was established within the National Roofing Foundation (NRF) to create an endowment fund to serve as a resource for the roofing industry and its customers. In 2006, NRF's board of trustees and the Alliance's Steering Committee combined to form one board—the Alliance Board of Trustees.

Now known as the Alliance, the organization continues to finance new and innovative programs to help improve the roofing industry.

The Alliance currently has 122 active members—90 contractors, 29 manufacturers and suppliers, and three individuals. There are 29 associates who have made one-time contributions.

The Alliance is managed by the Alliance Board of Trustees, a 16-member board that meets twice per year to oversee existing projects and consider new projects addressing critical industry issues.

Bob Bueche, president of Pioneer Roofing Co., Phoenix, is the Alliance's president; Reid Ribble, president of The Ribble Group Inc., Kaukauna, Wis., is vice president; and Chip Martin, vice president of CRS Inc., College Park, Ga., is secretary/treasurer.

There are numerous ways individuals and corporations can join the Alliance. Commitments may be pledged during a three- to five-year period, and public recognition is given in accordance with the donor's wishes and commitment level.

For more information or to join the Alliance, contact Bennett Judson, the Alliance's executive director, at (800) 323-9545, ext. 7513 or or visit



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