• U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez speaks to NRCA's board of directors.
  • Embow and his wife, Margaret, at their wedding in Hawaii in November 2005

PIMA launches initiative

The Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) has developed a campaign to educate construction professionals about the energy- and cost-saving benefits of polyisocyanurate insulation.

The initiative is designed to educate building owners, architects, specifiers, facility managers, roofing contractors and homeowners about the role energy-efficient construction plays to reduce energy costs and strain on the environment and how polyisocyanurate insulation contributes to protecting the environment. A new Web site—www.polyiso.org—and an education and advertising campaign were launched in June to provide information, resources and analysis detailing polyisocyanurate insulation's environmental and economic performance.

"It's critical building professionals have resources to help them and their clients make important decisions about the energy performance of their buildings," says PIMA President Jared Blum. "Studies show polyisocyanurate is more affordable to install and more energy-efficient than other roof insulation products."

Commerce secretary visits NRCA

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez spoke during an NRCA board of directors meeting at NRCA's Midyear Meetings in Chicago July 13. Gutierrez has served as the Bush administration's main supporter of immigration issues.

Gutierrez told NRCA members they should support President Bush's proposal to bring in temporary workers from other countries to fill shortages in key labor sectors. Gutierrez also called for legalizing some illegal immigrants while ensuring employers do not hire undocumented workers.

"Comprehensive immigration reform ensures the free market will work," Gutierrez said.

Asbestos linked to larynx cancer

According to a report released by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., new research shows exposure to asbestos can cause cancer of the larynx, or voice box, and possibly of the colon, stomach and upper throat.

Asbestos long has been associated with lung cancer and mesothelioma—cancer of the lining of the chest and abdomen. The U.S. Senate asked the institute to examine the link between asbestos and cancers of other organs currently listed in stalled legislation to create a $140 billion asbestos injury compensation fund.

The legislation would remove asbestos injury suits from the courts. Claimants with occupational exposure to asbestos would be compensated from the asbestos injury compensation fund, which would be financed by asbestos companies and their insurers.

Committee Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) says the institute's research is helpful, but he needs more information.

"We are asking the Institute of Medicine to give further study and a more definitive answer as to a possible causal connection between asbestos and pharyngeal, stomach and colorectal cancers," Specter says.

Get rid of grudges

If you are holding a grudge against someone in your workplace, make a point to work through it. Devoting time to grudges and negative feelings is a waste and will cost you in the end.

Acknowledging and remembering a negative event or encounter is normal and can keep you from being vulnerable in the future. But don't obsess or focus all your energy on a grudge. It is liable to hurt you, your employees and your company.

If you catch yourself obsessing about an offending person or scenario in your head, take a walk or involve yourself in another activity to distract you and clear your mind.

Source: Adapted from Are you holding a grudge? as cited by First Draft, September issue


John Embow
Vice president of Grove Roofing Services Inc., Buffalo, N.Y.

What is the most unusual roofing project you've performed?
We currently are in the process of installing clay tiles on Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin D. Martin House Complex in Buffalo. The complex's original buildings were torn down in the '60s and now are being reconstructed. The tiles are being replicated from the one remaining original tile by Tuilerie de Pontigny Aleonard, Pontigny, France, whose first tiles were crafted by French monks during the 11th century.

Why did you become a roofing contractor?
Removed from the Buffalo area for nearly a decade, I used a small window of time between jobs to come home and help my family's business close out a busy fall. Working for a small company and working with family in a constantly dynamic environment was so tremendously satisfying I decided to relocate and change careers.

What was your first roofing experience?
I helped my father replace a built-up roof when I was in third grade.

What are your favorite items on your desk?
My coffee cup warmer—God bless a strong cup of dark roast to get the day going.

What do you consider your most rewarding experiences?
Personally, volunteering at an orphanage in Bolivia and working with my wife to renovate our more than 100-year-old house; professionally, helping build a collective sense of pride and integrity with the people in my organization.

What was your first job?
I spent an entire summer with a boombox and small army of roaches, centipedes and silverfish while painting the dank basement of a friend's office building.

What is your favorite vacation?
I prefer new adventures to revisits. My upcoming delayed honeymoon in Italy—with a night in Sienna during the legendary horse races of the Il Palio—is sure to be a great one!

What do you consider a waste of time?
Repeating the same thing to the same audience.

What are your best and worst habits?
My best habit is being organized and establishing a routine. My worst is not leaving the office when I plan to.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Flat soda

If you could invite any three people to dinner (dead or alive), whom would you invite and why?
Bill Gates—his recent shift of focus and energy is bound to produce phenomenal results; John McEnroe—not sure what his opinions are, but I'm sure they're full of conviction; and David Sedaris—the most sardonically funny person on the planet.

What is your favorite stress reliever?
Physical activity of any kind.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
Finishing one thing before jumping into the next and the need to constantly reprioritize.

What is your roofing industry involvement?
I am a member of NRCA's board of directors and serve on the Architectural Sheet Metal & Metal Roofing Task Force, Contractor Management Committee and International Relations Committee. I also am a management trustee for our Union Local 74 Pension, Welfare & Apprentice Training Committee.

People would be surprised to know...
The similarities between myself and my great-grandfather: We're both named John, moved from Buffalo to California for the "big boom" (my great-grandfather for the Gold Rush and myself for the dot-com boom) and returned to Buffalo to work for Grove Roofing Services.

Working from home

Working effectively from home can be a challenge for managers and employees. You can teach your employees how to successfully work from home by setting a good example as a telecommuter. The following tips will help you become a strong telecommuter:

  • Anticipate distractions. Be prepared for interruptions caused by children, repair people, errands, housework or neighbors, and try to insulate your work routine enough to get your job done.
  • Deliver results. Go the extra mile to deliver information, decisions and guidance to your employees, and make a point to follow up on tasks quickly. This will show employees it is possible not to let things slide.
  • Communicate frequently. Check in with your main office. Fulfill your commitments to call at arranged times.
  • Know how to use technology. Be familiar with your e-mail, company intranet or network.

Source: Adapted from Managing from home? Be a model telecommuter as cited by The Manager's Intelligence Report, August issue

Beware of drinking offenders

A recent study conducted by the University at Buffalo, Buffalo, N.Y., found about 7 percent of U.S. workers sometimes drink during the workday, and more than 9 percent have come to work with a hangover. Managers are cited among the worst offenders, as well as salespeople, restaurant workers and those in the media.

The study, which was funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, found young, single men are most likely to drink during the workday.

However, the study also found of those who admitted to drinking before work, 71 percent do so less than once a month. Of those who reported drinking during the workday, 62 percent do so less than once a month.

Source: Adapted from "Survey: Young men drink most during workday," as cited by The Motivational Manager, July issue

Project authority

Authority stems from self-confidence and assurance. Focus on the following areas to help project your authority and leadership:

  • Convey self-respect and respect for others by being assertive and upfront. Employees will respect you as a leader if you listen and negotiate fairly.
  • Work on your networking skills. When you make yourself accessible, you create a circle of people to whom you can give support and information and receive the same in return.
  • Project an image consistent with strong leadership. Stand tall, walk proudly, make direct eye contact and state your intentions clearly. Avoid slang and vocal hesitation.

Source: Adapted from 3 ways to project authority as cited by Communication Briefings, August issue


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