Thanksgiving is over, and the holiday season is in full swing. I was busy Thanksgiving Day teaching myself how to smoke a turkey. For a first-time effort, it wasn’t too bad. One of my family’s traditions around the Thanksgiving table is to have everyone tell the family one thing they are most thankful for. When I started this tradition, my kids thought I had lost my mind and it was something only old people do. Yet, as time went on, I noticed they came prepared to actually talk about thankfulness. They increasingly appreciated the things in their lives that mattered. Gratitude happened.
As my third year at NRCA comes to a close, I want to take this opportunity to recognize some people I am especially thankful for. Because I am so much in the public eye of the roofing industry, it’s easy for members to focus on me. Yet there is absolutely nothing I have brought to the table that would have been possible absent the men and women who lead NRCA in our offices. Our senior staff has a remarkable track record, and I am truly grateful for their thoughtful leadership.
Let me introduce them to you.
Carl Good is our vice president of marketing and publisher of Professional Roofing. If his last name sounds familiar, it should. The Good family has been a longtime leader in the industry and NRCA specifically. Carl is no exception to that life of service. He has worked for NRCA for 35 years and knows its history like no other. There is no strategy or problem he has not seen before, and his historical knowledge is essential to moving NRCA forward. You may rarely see Carl, but I can guarantee you have seen his work. He touches every piece of marketing communication NRCA produces. Given the number of new programs we have launched, his job is a challenging one. Making an industry as old as roofing new again is hard to do. Yet he leads his team to do exactly that each day. I am thankful to Carl for helping me adapt and adjust to the NRCA culture. And I am thankful you have a chance to see his remarkable work.
Mark Graham is vice president of technical services. Mark has been employed at NRCA for 26 years. He and his team have become the preeminent voice globally for all things technical for the entire industry. He is one of our most sought-after speakers. Just recently, he and his team were at the International Code Council® hearings fighting for building codes that make our members’ lives easier and fairer. He is helping to write the rule book every contractor lives by, and he does it every year with you at the front of his mind. In addition to speaking at dozens of events and advocating for you, his team has fielded more than 2,000 technical request calls from members around the world. There is a reason the industry looks to NRCA for technical guidance, and I am thankful to Mark for making that a part of NRCA’s culture.
Jeff Jarvis is our vice president of membership, sales and business development and vice president of sales for Professional Roofing. Although Jeff recently celebrated his 30th anniversary with NRCA, he is new to this position. It’s a position I created after watching him work. Few people know the entire story of NRCA, and Jeff has made it his mission to communicate that story to every new member his team recruits. His team is so effective in doing so that this past year, they recruited three new members for every day NRCA was open for business. I am thankful to Jeff for taking on this new challenge and doing it with a constant smile on his face and a can-do attitude. He fills me with confidence that NRCA is on the right track and, quite frankly, makes my job so much easier. I am thankful to have Jeff and his infectious passion that affects every colleague.
Bennett Judson is our vice president of meeting services and executive director of the Roofing Alliance. Bennett has a quiet professionalism that she has brought to NRCA every day for 39 years. Every meeting NRCA hosts from its annual convention and committee meetings to smaller events that take place throughout the year, Bennett and her team make sure every detail is considered. It is a massive amount of work, but our meetings are seamless. That’s what a pro does. If that weren’t enough, she understands the needs of our foundation, the Roofing Alliance, and has helped drive its message to an entire country. One recent success has been the adoption of more than 160 Ronald McDonald House roof systems by NRCA members. At last count, the value of this effort has been placed at more than $1 million of services to families who have more important things on their minds when they spend time at a Ronald McDonald House. Thank you, Bennett. You help make the world a better place to live in.
Alison LaValley is our vice president of strategic partnerships and development and executive director of the NRCA Legal Resource Center. Alison has worked in a number of roles within NRCA during a career spanning 31 years. Most recently, she has worked alongside me to grow our One Voice initiative. It has been hard, grueling work, but no one in the office was better equipped for this effort than Alison. Not only is she an encyclopedia of who’s who in the roofing industry, she is highly regarded. In many ways, she is the consummate team player but is so knowledgeable and good at her job, she has become my go-to utility player. If I need to get something done, it’s typically Alison’s office I visit. She is hard-working, committed and professional, and I appreciate her more than I can express.
Duane Musser is NRCA’s vice president of government relations and has served NRCA’s members for 11 years. Having spent six years of my life in the U.S. Congress, I can only begin to tell you how important it is for an industry to have someone like Duane to represent its interests before members of Congress and the administration. Duane has built a rock-solid reputation among my former colleagues and, more importantly, before our members. He has successfully managed new projects like Roofing Day in D.C. with a level of expertise that is truly uncommon. We are lucky to have Duane and his team working tirelessly for us. I am grateful and humbled to work with him.
Ambika Reid is our vice president of communications and production and editor of Professional Roofing. Ambika has been with NRCA for 23 years. You may know her work best as editor of the industry’s most prominent magazine, Professional Roofing. She manages one of the largest teams at NRCA, and unlike most departments here, she works under extremely strict deadlines. She is a professional editor (you should have seen this column before she fixed it) and makes everyone at NRCA look good. As importantly, she also manages a team of graphic designers and online communicators. Most of what you know about NRCA she has touched and made better. She is constantly seeking ways to improve her department’s work product and raises the bar for us all. I can’t even think of where we would be if 23 years ago NRCA had made a different choice. I love working with her and am so grateful Ambika has chosen to work for NRCA.
Harry Ryder is our chief financial officer. He has been employed at NRCA for 33 years. As a CPA, he oversees NRCA’s entire financial operation from accounts receivable and payables to running our monthly and annual financial statements. He oversees our IT efforts and successfully managed the replacement of our entire management software. I am thankful for Harry because of his integrity and commitment to transparent, accurate management of the financial resources NRCA members provide.
John Schehl is our vice president of professional certifications. John has worked for NRCA for 21 years and has held a number of important positions during his NRCA career. Most importantly, John has been given the extraordinarily difficult task of developing NRCA ProCertification,™ an entirely new program that has far-reaching industry implications. It is easy to look beyond the amount of work it has taken to get NRCA to the place where it is now, but I have been inside the tornado of this project and have watched John manage the tempest in a professional, passionate manner. He has earned the gratitude of an entire industry.
Tom Shanahan is vice president of risk management and executive education. For 30 years, Tom has brought his passion to the forefront of NRCA’s efforts to build a safer, more professional work environment for every roofing worker in the U.S. He is highly regarded by safety experts at the highest level of the federal government, and they frequently call on his expertise to provide the roofing industry’s perspective. He wants every worker to arrive home safely to his or her family. He also developed and implemented a groundbreaking educational program, NRCA University’s Future Executives Institute. In my opinion, no program in the past 20 years has had more influence on NRCA leadership and the broader roofing industry than FEI. It is a stunning success story for the industry that has been brought to fruition by Tom’s dedication. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for his work, which is often behind the scenes, that has changed the nature of our businesses.
Amy Staska is vice president of NRCA University. Amy has worked for NRCA for 15 years and is responsible for developing and implementing every NRCA educational program. Given the industry’s need for training, Amy has massive responsibility. She develops and teaches courses to roofing foremen, as well as heads up our new Qualified Trainer program where she teaches roofing companies how to train employees. I especially appreciate Amy’s willingness to stretch herself and her team. She works long hours and travels a lot, and I am especially thankful she is an early riser as I often start my day on the right foot by showing up at her office to chat at 6 a.m.!
I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank our COO McKay Daniels. McKay joined us about a year ago to help me better manage the association’s daily operations. He is the fuel that energizes the team. I can’t imagine how NRCA moved so far without him at the helm. Thank you, McKay, for your hard work, sense of humor and being a team player!
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about these leaders who work so hard on behalf of an industry we have all come to love. These 12 men and women bring a collective 290 years of experience to our members. That alone deserves our heartfelt thanks. Happy Holidays!
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