• Pictured counterclockwise: Kulp, daughter Aliya, daughter Jarita, daughter Camara, daughter Raquel, son Robert, son Anthony, daughter Tikvah and wife Laura.

States support Helmets to Hardhats program

Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen signed a resolution for the Helmets to Hardhats program on Feb. 17. The national Helmets to Hardhats program connects National Guard, reserve and transitioning active-duty military members with quality career training and employment opportunities in the construction industry.

Signing the resolution was a show of support for the program's efforts to link former and active military personnel with civilian employment opportunities. Because the proclamation was signed, former military personnel now will have easier access to apprenticeship programs.

In addition, the Kentucky House of Representatives approved House Resolution 122 supporting the Helmets to Hardhats program in Kentucky on Feb. 14.

Owens Corning reports net loss

Owens Corning, Toledo, Ohio, posted a net loss of $4.1 billion on sales of $6.3 billion for 2005, according to The Wall Street Journal.

This was reported after the company recorded pretax charges of $4.27 billion in 2005 for additional funding for asbestos liability claims. Owens Corning had a profit of $204 million on sales of $5.7 billion in 2004.

At press time, Congress was considering legislation that would alter asbestos claim payment methods—The Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act of 2005 would create a $140 billion trust fund to pay victims and require insurance and reinsurance companies to contribute $446 billion to the fund. Companies facing liability would contribute the bulk of the fund's cost.

Owens Corning filed Chapter 11 in 2000 to try to resolve its asbestos liabilities. A confirmation hearing on the company's Chapter 11 plan currently is scheduled for July.

Don't waste your time

Often, there are not enough hours during the day to get everything done. To make the most of your day, avoid these five time wasters:

  1. Spreading yourself thin. Stop trying to do everything at once. Set priorities for each day and finish the most important things first.

  2. Being afraid to delegate. It isn't necessary to do everything yourself. Things still will be done the way you want when you delegate.

  3. Not wanting to say "no." It's impossible to say "yes" to everything without getting in over your head. Decide what you need and want to do, and say "no" to other requests.

  4. Tying yourself to the telephone. Try using an answering machine or screening your calls. You can schedule a telephone hour to return calls.

  5. Procrastinating. Finish your unpleasant chores first, and divide large tasks into smaller ones. Reward yourself when you accomplish something.

Source: Adapted from Woman's Own as cited by Communication Briefings, volume XXII, No. I

Contractors launch National Roofing Partners

On Feb. 13, a group of independent roofing contractors launched National Roofing Partners (NRP), a nonprofit association created to establish and achieve new standards with regard to the commercial roofing industry's performance and service quality.

"We're committed to bringing together the most talented, service-oriented, well-run roofing companies in the nation to share best practices, build peer groups and leverage group purchasing opportunities while maintaining member independence," says Stephen Little, president of NRP and president of K Post Co., Dallas. "Being able to share best business practices and compete nationally shouldn't cost you your identity."

NRP members will work together to identify and implement industry best practices with regard to service, management, accounting and safety, among other topics, and will be linked to regional and national multifacility customers. NRP members must demonstrate a commitment to roofing excellence and customer satisfaction, and applicants must be nominated by a current member and meet rigorous criteria.

NRP is building its member network and expects to have about 125 members by the end of 2006; it plans to offer nationwide service in the first quarter of 2007. NRP members' employees are trained in proprietary systems and standardized service procedures to earn NRP certification.

Current members of NRP include Barr Roofing Co., Abilene, Texas; Bennett & Brosseau Roofing Inc., Romeoville, Ill.; BIRS Inc., Greensboro, N.C.; Crowther Roofing, Fort Myers, Fla.; Curtis Construction Co. Inc., Kinston, N.C.; T.R. Driscoll Inc., Lumberton, N.C.; Dryspace Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Empire Roofing Inc., Austin, Texas; Empire Roofing Inc., Fort Worth, Texas; Glasgow Roofing Co. Inc., Charleston, S.C.; Houck Services Inc., Harrisburg, Pa.; Kaw Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc., Kansas City, Kan.; K Post Co.; Prospect Waterproofing Co., Sterling, Va.; PSI Roofing, Oakland Park, Fla.; R. Adams Roofing Inc., Indianapolis; Radco Construction Services Inc., Charlotte, N.C.; Ridgeworth Roofing Co. Inc., Bridgeview, Ill.; Tilsen Roofing Co. Inc., Madison, Wis.; T. R. Driscoll Sheet Metal Works, Lumberton; and United Roofing, Andover, Minn.

"As an independent roofing contractor, I continually am looking for opportunities to better serve my customers," says Ted Rademacher, vice president of NRP and owner and president of Radco Construction Services. "By sharing best practices with other roofing industry leaders, I've been able to operate more efficiently and upgrade the level of service I provide to all of my customers."


Robert Kulp
Owner of Kulp's of Stratford LLC, Stratford, Wis.

What is the most unusual roofing project you've performed?
In 2004, we reroofed the 100-year-old copper dome on the Langlade County Courthouse in Antigo, Wis. We carefully replicated every intricate radius cornice and trim piece with only 5 percent of the pieces subcontracted to another vendor.

Why did you become a roofing contractor?
Few people in central Wisconsin were hiring when I entered the job market during the mid-1980s. I was challenged by a mentor to start a company and encouraged by my dad, Reuben, to get into the roofing business.

What was your first roofing experience?
I was five years old when I helped my dad nail shingles on our milkhouse roof on our farm.

What are your favorite items on your desk?
My laptop is my favorite item because it has thousands of pictures of my wife Laura, my seven kids and all the places we've been. It also has songs I have collected during the years.

What do you consider your most rewarding experiences?
Spending time with Laura on vacations and with my kids when we are at home.

What was your first job?
My first real job was tearing down old concrete stave silos and rebuilding them on dairy farms.

What is your favorite vacation?
The next one because of the anticipation and planning and the most recent one because of the memories and pictures! Unless I have a vacation planned, I will lose my reason to live! I typically plan at least two vacations ahead.

What do you consider a waste of time?
My kids playing video games rather than doing their homework or keeping the house clean!

What are your best and worst habits?
My family says my best habit is I pick up after myself. They say my worst habit is I'm not a good listener, but I heard them this time!

If you could invite any three people to dinner (dead or alive), whom would you invite and why?
Jesus Christ—I believe he was the greatest person who ever lived; Ronald Reagan—my political hero; and Thomas Edison—my childhood hero.

What is your favorite stress reliever?
My best immediate stress relief is simply to submit things to God's control. This gives me perspective because I know it's not "all about me."

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
Meeting the sales budget we set each year.

What is your roofing industry involvement?
I have been a member of NRCA since 1992. I am starting a three-year term as a director and anticipating interaction with others in the industry.

People would be surprised to know ...
Two years ago, I weighed 410 pounds, and now I weigh 225 pounds.

Create a positive workplace culture

An upbeat environment is conducive to positive attitudes, especially in the workplace. Positive workplace culture can help satisfy and retain great employees. Following are five fundamentals to help increase your company's optimism:

  • Respect. In positive cultures, workers feel acknowledged and valued. It is important for employees to believe their opinions matter.

  • Trust. Integrity and honesty are necessary to maintain positive culture. Information must be shared.

  • Fairness. Managers must treat employees equally; praise and discipline should be given impartially.

  • Community. A sense of companionship and teamwork among workers will lead to a more positive culture.

  • Satisfaction. People who take pride in individual and collaborative work are content with their own efforts and those of their peers. This enhances positive culture.

Source: Adapted from "Cultural Transformation: Blaze the trail to a positive culture at your organization" as cited by The Motivational Manager, February 2006 issue

Call in sick

A study by Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., says employees who go to work when they are sick cost their companies about $255 each year. This likely is because sick employees don't work as quickly or efficiently as they normally would and tend to pass their illnesses on to other employees. Although allergies and hypertension cost businesses the most, common ailments, such as cold and flu, caused 61 percent of medical and lost productivity costs, according to the study.

Going to work when you should take a sick day ends up costing U.S. businesses $180 billion per year. However, it is worth noting absenteeism costs businesses an average of $645 per employee per year, so an occasional cough or sneeze may not warrant a sick day.

Source: Adapted from the Bangor Daily News as cited by First Draft, September 2004 issue

Baring your bad habits

Nail biting, hair twirling, foot tapping—everyone has bad habits. According to a study by the North Dakota University System, people admit to having an average of seven bad habits, which generally fall into the categories of nervous or boredom habits. What do your bad habits say about you?

  • Foot jiggling: You are impatient and wish people would get to the point.

  • Jaw clenching: You are stressed and tense but won't admit it.

  • Teeth grinding: This also indicates your high level of stress and, often, fear of failure.

  • Doodling: You are bored and need new challenges.

  • Throat clearing: You want to say something but you aren't sure what. You want people to listen when you speak.

  • Hair twirling: You seek attention or a reaction.

Source: Adapted from Hello magazine as cited by First Draft, October 2004 issue


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