Onward and upward

NRCA unveils its strategic plan, including its new vision and mission statement

Management consultant Peter Drucker famously said: "Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things."

This quote captures the mindset NRCA leaders took in creating a new strategic plan for the association. Jim Barr, president of Abilene, Texas-based Barr Roofing Co. and NRCA chairman of the board at the time, said: "Our approach to this needs to be clear-eyed and intentional."

In February, NRCA's board of directors and Executive Committee approved a new vision for the organization: "Since 1886, the National Roofing Contractors Association has been the home for generations of entrepreneurial craftsmen and enterprises who shelter and protect America's families and businesses and each other. Our vision is the recognition of our members as professionals and to unite the industry to that purpose."

Arriving at this vision statement was a journey of self-reflection on the part of NRCA's leadership, members and staff, and the resulting plan of work will help NRCA stay the course of its new vision. Implementation begins this month with the start of NRCA's fiscal year.


A strategic plan consists of five components (vision, mission, long- and short-term objectives, and tactics) that support each other. By design, a plan should be adaptable, which precludes it from becoming a printed five-color, bound document that sits on a shelf; rather, it can be updated continually.

However, each component plays an important, distinct and interconnected role in telling an organization's story. During the strategic planning process, NRCA's leadership and staff had to determine what is unique about the NRCA story that sets it apart. When members were asked probing questions, the story emerged.

The vision

Some questions posed to NRCA leadership and members were: Who is NRCA? What does it do? Who does it want to be? What is the heart and soul of its commitment and passion? Establishing a vision is challenging enough for an organization owned by one person yet ever so much more for an organization where there are thousands of member "owners" represented by any number of stakeholder groups.

To address this, I interviewed each member of the past two NRCA Executive Committees, the current Future Executives Institute class and senior NRCA staff members. In addition, I conducted group interview sessions with NRCA's board of directors, Affiliate Executives Council and Industry Advisory Council. Finally, NRCA staff surveyed the membership (twice) and received a strong response. Armed with a 34-page detailed summary, NRCA's Executive Committee deliberated the findings via multiple meetings, calls and email drafts to establish the association's new 10-year vision.

There is not enough space to share the heartfelt stories and responses NRCA received. Suffice to say, the responses were full of love, passion and candor for NRCA and the roofing industry. Some examples are in "What members said."

Following the surveys and after much deliberation, NRCA's Executive Committee developed the vision, which in NRCA's case, comprises two sentences: The first describes who the organization is (reflecting members' stories) and what it does. This provides context to the second sentence, which states the future aspirational and inspirational vision.

The vision statement includes NRCA's legacy (since 1886, the National Roofing Contractors Association), who NRCA represents (generations of entrepreneurial craftsman and enterprises), what those members do (shelter and protect America's families, businesses and each other), and finally NRCA's long-term vision (the recognition of our members as professionals and to unite the industry to that purpose). The 10-year time frame signals the association's commitment to this vision.

The mission

Armed with a new vision, NRCA again went to its membership for input about the next phase: developing the mission statement. NRCA received nearly 200 responses from five groups: NRCA's Executive Committee, board of directors, committee members, members at large and staff. From those responses, a mission statement emerged. The vision sets the aspirational and inspirational goals; the mission answers how an organization will achieve the goals. The mission also sets the stage for tangible, actionable activities represented in long- and short-term objectives and ultimate tactics. NRCA's new mission statement is: "NRCA values its members and staff, safety, integrity, hard work and quality. It will advance toward its vision by ensuring consensus decisions are determined through active deliberation inside the committee process."

In addition, NRCA set the following areas of focus:


NRCA is the roofing industry's premier advocate. NRCA provides active advocacy for its members with:

  • The federal government (and state governments when necessary)
  • Code bodies
  • Insurers
  • Regulatory agencies
  • Others as needed


Through various communication vehicles, NRCA promotes its members':

  • Benevolence
  • Successes
  • Professionalism

Education and/or certification

NRCA will train and/or certify all aspects of the roofing industry, including:

  • Field workers
  • Foremen
  • Future leaders
  • Executives
  • Others (architects, consultants, etc.)

Membership growth

  • NRCA seeks to grow its membership in an inclusive manner that reflects the diverse nature of the entire industry.
  • NRCA examines its dues structure to best serve the industry.


NRCA regards worker safety as a primary goal. NRCA:

  • Believes safety begins the moment an industry employee leaves his or her home for work and continues until the time he or she returns home safely each day.
  • Seeks to provide the most comprehensive safety training available in the roofing industry to provide the safest work environment possible.
  • Believes safety includes property. The roofing industry by its nature is designed to protect buildings and their contents. Water damage during or after construction, fires and/or other physical damage are mitigated by our efforts.


To promote high-quality roof system designs and installations, NRCA provides technical support to the entire roofing industry. Technical support is provided through:

  • Advocacy
  • Training
  • Research

Note the mission statement and areas of focus can change, either together or independently, reflecting the plan's adaptable nature. The areas of focus do not supplant the importance of the many other ongoing association activities not listed that are vital for vision attainment, such as Professional Roofing magazine, the National Roofing Legal Resource Center and The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress, to name a few.

Vision and mission use

The initial data gathering efforts for the vision showed a clear desire for NRCA to address the professional image of the industry and, in particular, its workforce challenges. The bold decision to sponsor the recent Roofing Day in D.C. 2018 was a direct result of this. Also, significant financial decisions supporting NRCA's ProCertification worker certification effort were bolstered by the industry's support for training and education.

The synergy of these activities in the context of NRCA's new vision have members buoyed with hope, and they're sharing their stories with NRCA. NRCA members are bursting with pride while donating roofing materials and labor to charities throughout the U.S., hosting safety training events for their employees and getting involved in local events, all of which continue to help positively shift industry pride and professionalism.

Next steps

During NRCA's upcoming Midyear Meetings in July, committees will be asked to review their objectives in light of the new strategic plan and make recommendations to the Executive Committee for approval.

In addition, a new committee, NRCA's Strategic Plan Review Committee, was formed. Six NRCA members will serve staggered six-year terms, providing continuity through the everchanging nature of NRCA's other committees, chairmen and participants. The overarching objective of the committee is to inform and make recommendations to the Executive Committee regarding vision and mission progress.

Armed with its new vision and mission, NRCA is set to lead the industry to do the right things. Challenges will emerge, yet the desire to get it right is a part of the roofing industry's soul.

Tom Shanahan, MBA, CAE, is NRCA's vice president of enterprise risk management and executive education.

What members said

NRCA members were asked to describe how they see NRCA and the roofing industry at large. Following are a few of their responses and key words:

"NRCA is an enthusiastic association with a legacy and destiny of generosity, education, connection and integrity."

"The industry and its people have the same emotional investment—seeing the beauty of the industry."

"NRCA helps us all succeed; it is there for the roofing industry, and it has our back."

"NRCA is passionate about improving our industry and elevating it."

 ● Image ●  Family ● Safety ● Reputation ● Protection ● Technologically savvy ● Pride ● Professionalism ● Certified ● Diverse ● Legacy ● Attractive ● One ● Well-trained ● Advocate



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