As I was saying …

The international roofing community

Attendees at the 2013 International Roofing Expo® (IRE) included more than 400 international roofing professionals from 27 countries. In addition to a typically large delegation from Canada, there were organized groups attending from Belgium, China, Germany, India and Japan. The IRE is a great venue for such a gathering, especially this year because two NRCA members in San Antonio helped arrange job-site visits.

I've been asked, more than once, why NRCA should involve itself outside the U.S. After all, few U.S. roofing contracting companies work outside the U.S.—and most don't even consider the possibility. I offer several reasons why NRCA's international involvement matters.

First, we learn. Many products commonly used in the U.S.—think polymer-modified bitumen, TPO and PVC—originated in Europe. Solar panel technology use has accelerated in China and Korea in addition to the U.S., and many of our tools and accessories, of course, are made elsewhere. Learning about roofing technologies being developed outside the U.S. can only help because many of these technologies find their way here.

Second, we help. Our presence in India, for example, was largely in response to the roofing community there asking for assistance with education, training, codes and standards. Better construction methods and standards drive better technology, and we all benefit.

Third, we reinforce the NRCA brand and create new markets for what we do. Not long ago, I had the chance to meet with the Chinese Minister of Construction (yes, there is one) who reported about what he had learned from NRCA's website and how he planned to incorporate NRCA details into the country's planning. Your association is well-known and well-regarded around the globe.

Fourth, the roofing industry already is an international one. Most manufacturers of roofing tile sold in the U.S. are headquartered outside the U.S. as are several polymer-modified bitumen manufacturers. One major roofing materials manufacturer is owned by a Japanese company, and another is owned by a Swiss company. Decisions made overseas affect us directly.

Fifth, and finally, we develop lasting personal relationships. For some NRCA members, these relationships have led to unforeseen business opportunities. And at the end of the day, having a network of personal relationships is a big part of what NRCA is all about.

Bill Good is NRCA's executive vice president.


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