Gary Howes

What is your position within your company?
I am chief operating officer of The Durable Slate Company, Columbus, Ohio.

What is the most unusual roofing project of which you have been a part?
We installed a slate and copper roof system on the Red House parliament building on the island of Trinidad.

Why did you become involved in the roofing industry?
My high school best friend recommended I join him working at The Durable Slate Company. He said working with slate is different than doing regular roofing work. He showed me slate is used primarily on more upscale homes, historically significant buildings and beautiful old churches. I instantly fell in love with the architectural styles that use slate roof systems.

What was your first roofing experience?
When I was 12 years old, I helped my dad fix the chimney flashing on our house. I was terrified of the height but my dad was old-school, so I had to pick my poison. Up the ladder I went!

What is your roofing industry involvement?
I currently serve on NRCA’s board of directors and the Government Relations and Residential Contractors committees. I also am chairman of the board for the Slate Roofing Contractors Association of North America Inc.

What song are you listening to over and over?
I only listen to music when I am in the car with my 15-year-old daughter, so I am all too familiar with Nick Jonas, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift.

What are your favorite stress relievers?
A good cigar and bourbon

What was your first job?
When I was 8 years old, I delivered a local neighborhood newspaper. I learned a lot from that job. I had to be dependable and focused to deliver the papers on time and work my route efficiently. It also forced me to get over my fear of communicating with people I didn’t know. I use the same skills at work every day.

What’s the most exciting/adventurous thing you’ve done?
I served in the U.S. Army, where “be all you can be” is not just a slogan.

What quality do you most admire in a person?

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Why?
Levitation—it’s getting harder to climb ladders and scaffolding as I get older!

My favorite part about working in the roofing industry is ...
The camaraderie with my staff and the roofing friends I have gained from around the world.

What’s your favorite roofing material to work with? Why?
Copper for its versatility and long service life. It can be soldered to make a lasting watertight fit, and it looks beautiful whether it’s shiny and new or aged and patina. Natural slate is a close second though!

People would be surprised to know ...
I am afraid of heights.

What do you consider your most rewarding experience?
Professionally, winning the metal roofing project of the year award in September 2019 from the International Federation for the Roofing Trade. The Durable Slate Company received the award for its copper restoration project on Steeple Square, a historical church in Dubuque, Iowa. We are the first U.S. company to win the award in its 67-year history. I am equally proud the same project earned us our third Gold Circle Award from the Roofing Alliance.

What is the most high-tech item in your house?
My Traeger® grill/smoker. It has an app that allows me to control the temperature and smoke from my phone, which is pretty cool.


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