Each year, June brings with it a new NRCA administration. We thank Immediate Former Chairman Nick Sabino and welcome Rod Petrick as NRCA’s new chairman of the board. I cannot think of another time in history when so much of the future is unknown. More than 38 million Americans have lost their jobs, and more than 100,000 families have suffered the loss of a loved one. No time in history have we experienced this type of shock to the U.S. economy. This was the landscape of the industry during Chairman Sabino’s last few months of his term.
Yet he did what he has done all year. He led. He challenged. He communicated with members. He pushed me and the NRCA staff to up our game in leading the industry in different ways. This resulted in NRCA hosting its first Telephone Town Hall, which had nearly 3,00 attendees. He asked us to demonstrate leadership industrywide, which led to NRCA driving communication efforts with our industry partners including an effort to make roofing an essential service throughout the U.S. He pushed us to broaden our online communication efforts, and NRCA now is the leading choice on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for roofing companies. He also asked that NRCA distribute more information in Spanish. In about one month’s time, our new Spanish-language Facebook page has garnered more than 4,000 followers.
But it did not end there. Chairman Sabino led NRCA’s Executive Committee in its first video meeting in May. The committee passed NRCA’s 2020-21 budget and reviewed key NRCA initiatives such as our Training for Roof Application Careers, NRCA ProCertification,® Qualified Trainer programs and new industry partnerships.
Then, Chairman Sabino and Chairman of the Board-Elect Petrick joined a video conference call with our counterparts in Canada, England, Scotland, Germany and New Zealand to discuss the international ramifications of COVID-19 and to share best practices. Chairman Sabino continued working until the last minute, and he continues to work on the industry’s behalf. The entire roofing industry owes a debt of gratitude for his service.
On June 1, Chairman Petrick took the reins of NRCA at a time of undeniable uncertainty. The country is just beginning to reopen. What long-term effects will there be on the roofing industry and broader U.S. economy? How many industries will not be able to survive, and how will that affect roofing companies? How many more workers will temporarily or even permanently lose their jobs? None of us have a crystal ball. So it’s timely one of our most experienced volunteers takes over leadership of the association. Rod has an amazing record of service to the industry having achieved the highest position in his company, his local roofing association, his regional association and now NRCA. His experience gives me a great deal of comfort in these uncertain times. Rod, the entire industry welcomes you. (To learn more about Rod, see “Driven to leadership.”)
NRCA staff continues to work mostly from our homes. The state of Illinois and Cook County in particular, which is where our headquarters office is located, has been cautious about allowing people to go back to work. Our office is in a densely populated location near O’Hare International Airport. Summer schools have been canceled; camps and sports clinics are not happening; and daycare may not be the safest environment right now for our employees’ children. We will continue to allow our staff to work from their homes as needed after the state allows a full return to work. My expectation is some NRCA staff will wait to return to the office after their children return to school in the fall. We will allow our team as much flexibility as we possibly can while still getting our work done.
NRCA recently launched a new podcast entitled “Stories of an Extraordinary Industry.” The roofing industry is full of wonderful people and companies whose stories can challenge and encourage us, and the podcast episodes share stories of inspiration, generosity and success. You can subscribe to and download the podcast from wherever you get your podcasts or from www.nrca.net. Please make sure you take time to listen to it.
And if you know of a great story, email it to email@example.com. We want to make sure everything we do results in the best product available anywhere.
I cannot think of a timelier topic in the age of COVID-19 than the topic of overcoming obstacles. One of my favorite authors is Ryan Holiday. I have read most of his books, and his newest book is titled The Obstacle is the Way.
I will leave you with an excerpt from the book: “Blessings and burdens are not mutually exclusive. It’s a lot more complicated. Socrates had a mean, nagging wife; he always said that being married to her was good practice for philosophy. Of course, you’d want to avoid something negative if you could. But what if you were able to remember, in the moment, the second act that seems to come with the unfortunate situations that we try so hard to avoid?
“Sports psychologists recently did a study of elite athletes who were stuck with some adversity or serious injury. Initially, each reported feeling isolation, emotional disruption and doubts about their athletic ability. Yet afterward, each reported gaining a desire to help others, additional perspective and the realization of their own strengths. In other words, every fear and doubt they felt during the injury turned into greater abilities in those exact areas.”
This column is part of News + Views. Click here to read additional stories from this section.