Editor’s note: Following is an interview conducted May 1 with Fred Good, executive vice president of NRCA from 1957-1989. Good passed away May 18 after battling cancer.
What was your position with NRCA?
I was hired as NRCA’s first full-time association manager in 1957. I was NRCA’s executive secretary, executive manager and then executive vice president. I managed NRCA from 1957-1989.
Why did you decide to work for NRCA?
The association was broke and needed management help. I enjoyed taking on the challenge.
What was your first job?
I delivered merchandise for Wieboldt’s department store in Oak Park, Ill. My first job after graduating from the University of Illinois was at LaSalle Bank in Chicago where I spent most of my time counting money.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I am not planning any more travel, but one of my favorite places to travel was Helsinki, Finland. It is stunningly beautiful, and the people are warm and happy.
What quality do you most admire in a person?
The character to fight for what you want with dogged determination
What made you so successful?
Caring and knowing the importance of who gets the credit
What is your favorite sport?
To play or to watch? Wait, it doesn’t matter—the answer is tennis.
Who were your favorite industry and NRCA leaders?
I was fortunate to work with so many! A few who stand out are Bill Cullen, Bob Osterholt, Bill Steinmetz and Melvin Kruger. And there were quite a few characters, too. Burton Karp, Arnie Schmautz and Johnny Zamrzla were especially fun. I still remember when Johnny would bring his chimpanzee on the roof with his crew!
What is the best part about working in the roofing industry?
The partnerships that form to address issues and solve problems. I think we are a unique industry in that regard.
What is your favorite stress reliever?
Vodka on the rocks with two olives minimum
What is your pet peeve?
People who imagine they are heroic and don’t mind letting you know
Do you have any particular NRCA memories that stand out?
Sure, I have a few. I’ll never forget Elvis Presley performing at an NRCA convention in Las Vegas. During a convention in Miami, several members had personal belongings stolen from their rooms during the final banquet. And I remember the convention when Jim King was NRCA president went off without a hitch. We were having a drink at the end of the convention and Jim said: “Thanks, Fred, everything was absolutely perfect.” At that moment, a member approached us with a complaint about a song that was chosen at the banquet. I looked at Jim and said: “It will never be perfect!”
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Taking the trolley to go to the movies for a nickel
What is the most high-tech item in your house?
An Amazon Echo I received as a gift—but it’s still in its original box. I keep meaning to set it up, but you know how that goes.
People would be surprised to know ...
I was a fencing instructor in college.
What three words best describe you?
Brilliant, dashing and humble
Is there any message you would like to pass on to roofing professionals?
Oh boy, let me think about that one! I would say you have a responsibility to contribute to the betterment of the industry in which you work. And when you do, you might be surprised—you’ll get back way more than you put in.