CoatingsPro Magazine

JUL 2018

CoatingsPro offers an in-depth look at coatings based on case studies, successful business operation, new products, industry news, and the safe and profitable use of coatings and equipment.

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66 JULY 2018 COATINGSPROMAG.COM Industry Insight T hroughout my career in roofing, I have had the privilege of working and collaborating with fellow roofing professionals from through- out the United States. Currently, as I engage roofing industry stakehold- ers as CEO of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRC A), I can say with absolute certainty that the issues that faced our industry when I began my career nearly 40 years ago are the same issues the industry confronts today, namely: How do we improve the industry's image? How do we get young people to consider entering the roofing industry? A nd, most important, how do we get consumers to view us differ- ently and see us for the professionals we are? T hese are d if f icu lt cha l lenges, and they are a l l interconnected, but they are not insur mountable. T he ver y people who ma ke up the roof ing industr y (i.e., contractors, raw mater ia ls suppliers, manufacturers, d istr ibutors, desig n professiona ls, and consu ltants) are hardwork ing , resu lts- or iented people who ma ke incred ible contr ibutions to their communities; they a lso are the solution to remov ing the obstac les we face. Uniting a l l sta keholders to spea k w ith one voice for the roof ing indus- tr y and col laborating on initiatives to elevate the image of the industr y and roof ing professiona ls is a major step in the r ight d irection. Fortunately, there are many exciting solutions to issues we face as roofing professionals. First and foremost is training and certification. To elevate the image of the roofing industry and roofing professionals, we must train and certify our workforce. Training Ever y roof ing contractor operates his or her company d if ferent ly and uses d if ferent manufacturers' mater ia ls. Training in the roof ing industr y can best be descr ibed as ad hoc; a combi- nation of in-house, manufacturer, and industr y-recog nized training platfor ms are a l l used. T hat 's not necessar i ly bad; it 's simply a rea lit y for most contractors. Roofing professionals must be trained to have skills based on indus- tr y standards and best practices. In addition, roof system installers must be trained to follow instructions of their foremen, who are responsible for directing crews to adhere to manufac- turers' instructions and company practice. Having a uniform system of training can provide higher levels of quality assurance for consumers. T his leads one to consider certification. Certification Certification enables experienced roofing professionals to demonstrate that they can perform their work to industry standards, and it commu- nicates accomplishment and offers assurances to consumers. Most important, certification demonstrates value to consumers and to the industry's workforce. It's long past due for the roofing industry to rally behind the idea of certifying the workers we have trained. We all believe and acknowledge our workforces' capability — so we should be willing to authenticate it! e movement toward a certified workforce can serve as a transformational moment in our industry's history. It serves as another step forward in consumer protection and quality assurance. And it will clearly show consumers what the roofing indus- try already knows: Roofing professionals are hardworking, dedicated individuals who are proud of their industry and the work they do. Overcoming the Challenges Despite the seemingly endless challenges that the roofing industr y — and I suspect other stakeholders in the coatings community — face, w ith the right training and certification, we w ill be putting ourselves in the position to overcome. W hile these challenges may be difficult, I strongly believe they are also surmountable. CP Photo courtesy of the NRCA By Reid Ribble, CEO of NRCA Facing Challenges Head On

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