Virtual victory

Roofing Day in D.C. 2021 participants met virtually with lawmakers to advocate for the industry

On March 23-24, NRCA members and other roofing professionals joined with partner organizations from all segments of the roofing industry for Roofing Day in D.C. 2021. More than 300 attendees participated in one of the largest virtual advocacy events held with members of Congress, ensuring the industry’s voice was heard clearly by lawmakers.

One voice

Roofing Day in D.C. 2021 was the third annual industrywide advocacy event designed to fulfill NRCA CEO Reid Ribble’s vision of how NRCA can enhance the roofing industry’s image and expand its influence on federal policymaking. Previously held in 2018 and in 2019 (2020 was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic), Roofing Day in D.C. brings together contractors, manufacturers, distributors, consultants, field workers and others to deliver a collective message regarding key legislative issues.

Holding an annual legislative conference on a large scale enables the industry to have a greater effect on congressional leaders by communicating with one voice about government policy issues affecting roofing industry employers and employees. By hearing directly from constituents during Roofing Day in D.C., lawmakers gain a better understanding of how legislation and regulations affect roofing businesses.

A new format

Because the U.S. Capitol complex remains closed to visitors, NRCA transformed Roofing Day in D.C. 2021 into a virtual event. Although different in format, the event proved successful in conveying the roofing industry’s message to lawmakers via virtual meetings.

Participants first gathered online March 17 for a training webinar with Stephanie Vance, founder of Advocacy Associates, a leading firm providing logistical support and training for Washington, D.C., fly-in conferences. Vance and Ribble, a former Congressman from Wisconsin’s 8th district, engaged in a mock meeting to demonstrate how meetings with members of Congress and congressional staff typically are conducted. Participants also received technical training for the online platform used for virtual meetings and learned how to access all necessary materials, including a schedule of meetings.

On March 23, Ribble and keynote speaker Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) kicked off Roofing Day in D.C. 2021. Sasse provided insights regarding recent political developments and the upcoming congressional agenda. The advocacy issues selected to be the focus of the congressional meetings were described to fully prepare participants for the main event.

On March 24, participants joined virtual meetings with lawmakers. Each participant had a full schedule of meetings with senators and one or more representatives or congressional staff arranged by Advocacy Associates at NRCA’s direction. NRCA’s Roofing Day Advisory Committee received input from all segments of the industry and selected three top issues for participants to focus on during their meetings: increased funding for career and technical education to help address workforce shortages; immigration reform that meets the industry’s workforce needs; and a strong buildings component in infrastructure legislation.

Lawmakers heard firsthand personal accounts of the challenges currently faced by roofing industry employers. The meetings greatly enhance the work NRCA and partner organizations perform in Washington, D.C., by strengthening existing relationships and establishing new ones with senators and representatives.

Plan ahead

With more than 300 roofing industry professionals and field workers participating in nearly 250 virtual meetings with lawmakers and congressional staff, Roofing Day in D.C. 2021 was one of the largest virtual advocacy events in Washington, D.C., during the past year—more than double the average size of similar events. The collective voice of roofing industry professionals from across the U.S. was heard clearly, and the virtual meetings were every bit as productive as the in-person alternative.

NRCA and partner organizations already are planning for Roofing Day in D.C. 2022 to be held April 5-6. With all the activity going on in Washington, D.C., that affects your business, you won’t want to miss the in-person event next year. We look forward to gathering on Capitol Hill for the first time since 2019, so be sure to lock it into your schedule now.

Duane L. 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.



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