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Speaking As One

Now that the holiday season is in the rearview mirror, thankfully final planning is falling into place for 2022!  At least that depends on Omicron, right? If all goes well, this month the roofing industry will gather together again for the International Roofing Expo (IRE) in the Big Easy. The IRE is always a special event that benefits attendees in so many different ways — certainly too many to mention in this space. But this year’s show will take on a little more special meaning for me, and I believe the industry as a whole.

Reid Ribble, CEO of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), will deliver this year’s keynote address to kick-off the show, and it will be one of his final speeches as the roofing industry’s leading voice. Late last year, the former roofer and congressman from Wisconsin announced he’ll retire in May (see page 22). Reid has done so much for the roofing industry in his career that will be worthy of praise and discussion in the months ahead as he wraps up his tenure. But one aspect of his work that I really appreciate — and believe will stand out as part of his legacy — is his ability to unify the different parts of the industry into one voice.

It hadn’t been done before at that scale, and it’s already proven beneficial for the industry. Another event I’m really looking forward to this year is Roofing Day, April 5-6, 2022, in Washington, D.C. Registration just opened for the event, and it already looks like the NRCA and its political team at ROOFPAC are planning a great itinerary.

As an industry veteran that had never been politically active before, I didn’t really know what to expect when Reid first sprung the idea in 2017 of mobilizing roofing contractors together to lobby elected officials at the highest level of government. The idea motivated nearly 400 roofing contractors from all over the country in that first year to understand that we needed to join together on the big issues so our voices could be heard. Thousands have participated since.

It turned out to be truly one of the most educational moments in all of my days in roofing!  Understanding what happens in D.C., how meetings are structured, seeing all the history was an incredible experience. What was even more exciting, is hearing from experienced business owners from the industry voice their concerns and bring real-world perspective to key decision makers.

And we’ve seen results. Roofing was easily declared “essential” at the onset of COVID-19; companies in need received more H-2B visas for workers; and the industry helped secure increased funding for career and technical education programs.

From the first day Reid joined NRCA as CEO, it was clear his mission was inclusion and we are all on the same team. I was honestly nervous to meet with Reid, well, because when new people come in you just don’t know what’s going to change. From that first meeting, it was obvious we both were passionate about the roofing contractor, and that by working as a team we can accomplish so much more. The impact Reid has made on the roofing industry is hard to put into words, and I’ll certainly try as May draws closer.

Right now let’s get excited about Roofing Day 2022! Fingers crossed we are going to be able to meet our representatives in person. The festivities begin at 3:30 p.m. April 5 at the Grand Hyatt Washington D.C. For more information please go to www.NRCA.net and click on Roofing Day in D.C.!

"Is 2020 going to mark the end of human contact in the roofing sales and estimating fields? I doubt that. There’s still a lot of value to relationships, and face-to-face is difficult to beat, even with today’s technologies."






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Jill Bloom