Loud and clear

Roofing Day in D.C. 2019 participants met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to advocate for the industry

On April 3-4, NRCA members and other roofing professionals joined with partner organizations from all segments of the roofing industry for Roofing Day in D.C. Four hundred and twenty-eight registered attendees participated in the event, and the industry’s collective voice resonated in the halls of Congress.

Annual advocacy

Roofing Day in D.C. 2019 was the second annual industry-wide advocacy event designed to enhance the industry's image and expand its influence on policymaking in Washington, D.C. The event gives everyone in the roofing industry, including contractors, manufacturers, distributors, consultants and field workers, an opportunity to meet with their senators and representatives on Capitol Hill to build relationships and advocate for policies that will benefit the industry.

Roofing Day in D.C. is a core component of the One Voice initiative NRCA launched in 2017 to unite the roofing industry and marshal greater resources to speak collectively about matters critical to the industry's growth and continued success. NRCA CEO Reid Ribble believes contractors, manufacturers, distributors, consultants and other professionals share common interests regarding key issues such as government policy, building codes and workforce training. The One Voice initiative was developed through extensive discussions between NRCA and industry stakeholders during which a clear consensus emerged to move the industry forward in a united manner.

During its first two years, Roofing Day in D.C. already has become one of the top advocacy events held in Washington, D.C. Having a large annual presence on Capitol Hill enables the industry to have a greater influence on federal policies that affect roofing employers and workers. By hearing directly from their constituents during scheduled meetings, lawmakers gain a better understanding of how legislation and regulations affect roofing businesses. As industry professionals educate and build relationships with lawmakers on a bipartisan basis, they enhance lawmakers' abilities to develop solutions that meet the roofing industry's needs.

Preparation and action

On Wednesday, April 3, participants gathered at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. After being welcomed by Ribble, participants learned how to effectively interact with Congressional representatives through an advocacy training presentation given by Mike Gula, president of Prime Advocacy, a local consulting firm retained by NRCA to help manage event logistics. During the presentation, Gula and Ribble, a former U.S. Congressman from Wisconsin's 8th district, demonstrated how such meetings typically are conducted and discussed common questions participants may hear from lawmakers.

Following the presentation, attendees were addressed by two members of Congress. First, Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.) discussed new immigration reform legislation he has proposed that is designed to meet industry workforce needs. Before being elected to Congress, Smucker operated a construction business that he grew from a small company to one with more than 150 employees in Lancaster, Pa. Given his vast experience in the construction industry, Smucker is uniquely positioned to work on immigration and other workforce-related issues in Congress. Next, attendees heard from Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), who also had a business career before he was elected to Congress in 2018. Riggleman discussed his interest in working to address issues of importance to employers now that he serves in the House of Representatives.

The program concluded with an advocacy issues briefing from NRCA staff. The advocacy issues for Roofing Day in D.C. 2019 were immigration reform that meets workforce needs, expanding workforce training incentives and building support for a robust buildings component of infrastructure legislation now being considered by Congress. These issues were selected through a collaborative process between NRCA and partner organizations and chosen because they are important issues that unite the industry while also recognizing the political environment in Washington, D.C.

Following the advocacy training session and issues briefing, participants enjoyed a networking reception at the hotel.

On Thursday, April 4, participants headed to the House and Senate office buildings. All participants had a full schedule of meetings with their senators and representatives during which attendees delivered the industry's message regarding the three advocacy issues. Participants also had opportunities to relate personal stories about how federal policies affect their businesses, discussing the challenges they face on a daily basis to sustain and grow their companies. Such meetings are vital to strengthening existing relationships with lawmakers and establishing new ones.

The event concluded with a wrap-up reception at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. Participants spent their time swapping stories and sharing valuable feedback with NRCA staff.

Looking ahead

Roofing Day in D.C. 2019 was clearly successful in bringing the roofing industry together to speak with one voice and convey an industry-wide message to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. NRCA and partner organizations already are planning for Roofing Day in D.C. 2020, which will be held April 21-22 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel. The goal is to continue growing participation to further strengthen efforts to influence Congress regarding key issues and enhance the industry's image. NRCA urges this year's participants to return and other industry professionals to plan on joining us next year to help make the next Roofing Day in D.C. event bigger and better.

Duane Musser is NRCA's vice president of government relations in Washington, D.C.

This column is part of Rules + Regs. Click here to read additional stories from this section.



Be the first to comment. Please log in to leave a comment.