Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Heidi J. Ellsworth and industry leaders that attended IRE 2023. You can read the interview below, listen to the podcast, or watch the webinar.
Jason Stanley: I walked by thousands of people to get here. It was a tremendous show. Awesome turnout. I'm grateful that everyone's coming to the great state of Texas.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: It seems to me like this is the biggest show I've seen. Doesn't it feel like the biggest?
Kent Gardner: It does.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: When it was NRCA, now it's IRE. This is my 29th show.
Paul Scelsi: Wow.
Kent Gardner: Nice.
Angie Kieta: Wow.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know.
Kent Gardner: Big deal.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: We're going to get the old timer award here. But it's a great show and I don't think I've ever seen it this big, at least with booths. I haven't been out in the crowds yet, because I've been in here, but it's crazy. How's it going for Gibraltar and for Air Vent?
Paul Scelsi: It's going real well. I always get excited to be part of this show, because there's a good chance to visit with roofing contractors who stop by the booths, and talk about maybe some projects they're working on. And I like seeing them in person.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, that's what I love. It feels like coming home, doesn't it?
Paul Scelsi: Yes, it does.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know.
Paul Scelsi: It does.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Okay. Three booths.
Kent Gardner: Three booths. That's right.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: And the XTV.
Kent Gardner: That's right. And a big concert too.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: And a big concert.
Kent Gardner: And a big concert.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: How's it going so far?
Kent Gardner: It's really great. To your point, there was a tough time getting into the facility day, but it's big. I've been coming, not quite for 29 years, but for 20 years.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: There you go.
Kent Gardner: So I'll tell you, I've seen it big, I've seen it small. And this one's really, it's blowing the doors off.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's blowing it.
Kent Gardner: Really excited about it.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: So many people. I just have to throw in there too, National Women in Roofing Day on Sunday was 500 women.
Kent Gardner: That's incredible.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I think we probably said that 10 times already on our live thing.
Kent Gardner: You should be proud of that. It's a big deal.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: But we're proud of it.
Kent Gardner: It's a big deal.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: 500 women, and men. It was both. So it was crazy. How's it going over at LP? With the Cruise Brothers and everything? Yeah.
Angie Kieta: We've got a huge space. Last year was our first year here. What's a siding company doing at IRE? We found roofers are really diversifying and they're getting into siding. So we dipped our toes in last year. It went really well. So we tripled down and really got the space and are having a live events. This personally is my first IRE, so I'm blown away.
Kent Gardner: First. You're inaugural. Nice.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Welcome to the first-timers event tonight. It's sponsored by Roofers Coffee Shop.
Angie Kieta: Oh, perfect.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: There you go.
Angie Kieta: I'll be there.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Okay, perfect.
Kent Gardner: [inaudible 00:02:02] everywhere. For sure.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: We're trying, I don't think we can compete with [inaudible 00:02:06].
Kent Gardner: I don't know. This is our hometown, our backyard. So we're excited to-
Heidi J. Ellsworth: We were just at your headquarters yesterday for the RT3 meeting. Wow.
Kent Gardner: Isn't that an impressive facility?
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Oh my gosh. We were joking yesterday. I think I've taken the two or three or four times, and every time I'm still like, "Wow, this is just so impressive."
Kent Gardner: It's amazing. That whole first floor is dedicated to training, and our contractor base, our vendor base, our customers. It is just really an amazing facility. [inaudible 00:02:31].
Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's really, really, really cool. Okay, let's get into some of the meat here. We want to talk a little bit about what do you see trending in 2023. I'm going to start actually over here, Angie, with you on, just because what you said is what we've been finding, seeing too, with LP on Roofer's Coffee Shop. The same thing. Why do you have a siding company on Roofer's Coffee Shop?
Angie Kieta: Right?
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Because so many roofing companies are doing the full exteriors, including siding. So what are some of the trends you're seeing that way for the industry?
Angie Kieta: We definitely need labor, like everybody else. So this is helping diversify that. Some of these roofers are getting into becoming in siding installers, so that helps. But as far as actual siding trends, we're seeing a lot of dark colors. We're getting really rich highlights and stuff like that. Then we're also seeing a very modern look. Everybody wants smooth in the panel and channel, and doing that modern aesthetic. LP can offer all those different combinations. So we're starting to see a lot of uptick out of it and giving them some of the other guys a little run for their money. So I like it.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: When you think about going back, with COVID, everyone just is so refocused on their home. We've done [inaudible 00:03:44] on our home. I think everybody's looking at that, because if I get stuck here again, I want it to be nice. We're not going to get stuck again.
Angie Kieta: Right. Exactly.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: So are you seeing that growth too, just on a lot more home improvement going on and the contractors are busier?
Angie Kieta: Yes. We just spoke to a guy from South Dakota and he said January, February, and March have been their busiest contracting year so far. They just cannot believe how much business they have. And it's people that have been in their homes for a while, they know that interest rates aren't going to go down, they have tons of value in their house, they're going to stay, so why not make it look good with a durable product that they're going to do it one time and it's done? It's not a hard sell.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's what we're hearing. I think we need to, besides this media, because we are media, but all the other media, we shouldn't listen to them anymore. Because I think they're trying to tell us that things aren't going to be great. But that's all I'm hearing too, is overall, not 100%, but pretty good. What are you seeing trending in the industry?
Kent Gardner: We are seeing some pretty good results in the first quarter, for sure. But 2021 and 2022 was a sonic boom as it relates to all building products and building materials. So, when you had somebody coming in to do your roof, they're always asking, "Hey, do you have a person that could do the siding, can do the window?" Those kinds of things. So that product diversification is a pretty big deal. We've done it in our business, beyond roofing, windows, siding, from the foundation to the fence line, but we see diversification as the way to grow for the future. For sure.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Your other divisions for pools and landscaping, I've been working with some of the folks from Heritage, it's impressive.
Kent Gardner: It's special. We've been in the landscape business for about four years now. We've been in the pool business now for about a year. So, as you think through the COVID environment where everybody was working from home, they want to look at a beautiful house, beautiful siding and windows, they want to have their sprinklers working, those kinds of things. So now we see some of that trend with some folks still staying at home, work from home. We're seeing that continue. So we're pretty bullish about that side of the business.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's good. Paul, what kind of trends are you seeing out there? You are at seminars all over the country, you're talking to so many people. What's the buzz?
Paul Scelsi: The buzz is, most homes today continue to have subpar attic ventilation. By our research, it's 75% of today's attics are incorrectly vented. The good news is, we can correct that. We, the industry, can correct that. When you get a new roof, address the ventilation. But that remains an opportunity, a positive opportunity, to improve the attic ventilation.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I think it goes with what we're talking about, that trend of taking care of your home, having it safe and healthy. If you don't have good ventilation, you have an unsafe home and it's going to deteriorate.
Paul Scelsi: It affects indoor air quality for the occupants of the house, the longevity of the roof, energy savings. So this is a trend where there's an opportunity for the residential roofing contractor.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: To do that. Jason, you have your fingers in so many things. What are you seeing?
Jason Stanley: I think there's two big things that I see out there. One is sustainability. For the last decade, it's been a carrot for the most part, and now here comes the stick. It's my prediction that we're going to see sustainability codified either in some sort of carbon form, but there there's going to be codes related to sustainability standards, not just a marketing concept or something you can promote. Someone gave me an analogy. They said they used to wear a tie, a green tie, and now it's a green suit. You have to really live it and be it. You just can't talk about it. The other trend I see coming is embracing the Latino community. Kudos to SRS. You guys have hit it out of the park, and I've told just about everybody that. Julissa is a rockstar over there,
Kent Gardner: She's wonderful.
Jason Stanley: Julissa is getting all the support that she really needs. And the whole Parlatino push, it embodies not giving lip service to the Latino community, but actually embracing the Latino community.
Kent Gardner: Absolutely.
Jason Stanley: I sit on the NRCA board and am a proud NRCA member. The NRCA has done wonderful things for the Latino community, a lot of programs and translated videos. But when you go to the website, there's no pathway in Spanish to actually get and unlock all these tools that are actually there, in Spanish, because the website's in English. They use email rather than text message. We were working with the IRE and they were gracious enough and kind enough to give us a free pass so we could start inviting crews. I felt so honored that they were willing to embrace the community. But then you send them a link and it's 11 pages in English, you have to put in a credit card, and you have to spend $1 to get your free pass. No one will do it. So, while there's the desire to bring in the Latino community, there are so many barriers. Even when they get here to register, there's no signage in Spanish. There's no Spanish-speaking people to greet them when they get there to get their badge.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: And it's overwhelming.
Jason Stanley: I know the NRCA and the IRE have doubled down to say, "Hey, we need to do more." You throw out these buzzwords of accommodations and things. If somebody was disabled, we do whatever we need to do to put ramps or elevators. What are we really doing to make accommodations for the Latino community to really... They're more than 50% of the total workforce here. I don't know the statistic exactly, but I'm sure it's more than half.
Angie Kieta: I would say it's more than half, would be my guess as well.
Jason Stanley: What are we doing to actually bring them to this show, to this event, to unlock all this stuff for them? They've been in the shadows for far too long. But I think just as the trends of National Women in Roofing, all about inclusion things, what about our Latino friends that actually work in the industry as well? We need that same sort of effort. Again, kudos to SRS. You're truly embracing that, and I think there's more of that to come.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I do too. I think that's an excellent point for trends, because what we're... Also, National Women in Roofing Day, they had a full Spanish track for classes. First time ever.
Jason Stanley: Awesome.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: The website can be translated into multiple languages. Roofers Coffee Shop is translatable. Just click the button for Spanish, and French, and English. But we need to be doing all of those things across the board and continue to work through that. I also think that, when we really are looking at growing the workforce, there shouldn't be anybody off the table. We got to be including everybody. Women, Latino community, black community, you name it. And it's happening. I think that's a great trend, Jason. I'm seeing it very much. Okay. What are some of the highlights? I know we're talking about the trends and new things, but I'm also really interested in what are some of the highlights that you're seeing this year that just gave you all kinds of positives of where the industry's going, where we're at? Jason, let's start with you.
Jason Stanley: COVID changed a lot of things for a lot of people. I would never Zoom with a roofing contractor, but I had five Zoom meetings a day now. It's why I still travel a lot. COVID forced us to think differently and I think broke a lot of the habits of this is the way we've always done it. For heaven's sake, we used to get faxes up until a few years ago.
Kent Gardner: Sure. Orders on a napkin. We used to have it.
Jason Stanley: If you wanted to eat at a restaurant, you had to learn to use a phone and a QR code. So there was a lot of really great strides that happened for people to embrace technology. And I think that's coming. The world of IT and technology is extremely powerful. This labor central platform we've got, I think two years ago that would've been even difficult to approach, to be able to go find a crew on your phone in a second. Today, I think people are more willing to think outside the box. They're willing to embrace technology more. And as we have fewer and fewer skilled workers, we're going to have to find ways to do more with less.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yes, I think so too. And I think that's a highlight, like you said, of how much we're embracing technology in the industry, and we've got a long ways to go. We were just at the innovation lab at SRS yesterday with RT3 meeting, and I was just kind of blown away. It is something that you don't... It's changing quickly.
Kent Gardner: Digital is certainly the future. We're trying to make sure that we have a digital platform, that's where the contractor is today, but also trying to look forwards, two years, three years ago down the road. So we're trying to ensure that we activate the contractor at the level that they can understand today, but also try to provide them a path for where they're going to go. In addition to that, as you think through, there's a generational transition from the owner of the contracting company today, they're passing it along to their kids, and they do everything through this phone.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: They do.
Kent Gardner: That's what they do. I often joke about this when I take my younger kids out to lunch and all the other kids are sitting around. They're not talking to each other. They're texting and doing those kinds of things back and forth. So that's the next generation, the millennials and Z's, and we've got to make sure that we build the path to get there.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I agree. And be inclusive that it is in multiple languages, like you talked about, and that people can get to it. What are some of the highlights that you're seeing? Because, like I said, again, you are seeing through... Stephanie Baird with Bliss Roofing, who won the World Award just came up-
Paul Scelsi: Stopped by to say hello.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: ... and she was like, "I'm at your seminars every year." The contractors really care about education.
Paul Scelsi: They do. I was going to say, we do our seminars aggressively. It's almost like a rock concert tour, but not that exciting. During Q1, 35, 36 cities, all across North America, in the winter when roofing is slower. Because they won't come if they could be roofing. We know that. But the pandemic, in 2020, shut our season down short. We got 9 of 11 weeks through and we immediately went and launched the podcast. I don't know that we would've had a podcast. We might have eventually, but now we have one. It's called Airing it out with Air Vent, if I could plug it. But I love it. Every month it's an interview with a roofer.
Then we also launched the Air Vent University. Again, another portal. I don't know that we would've... So the thirst for education and then the pandemic forced us to pivot a bit. Then I would say this, I do believe, because we're back in-person with our seminars, we don't do them this week, we take a little break from the seminars, but there is a strong thirst and desire among roofing contractors to get educated and learn more about it so they can do their job better and do it right and take pride in it. That's what I'm seeing, and that excites me.
Kent Gardner: As you think through that the homeowner is more educated today.
Angie Kieta: Absolutely.
Kent Gardner: They understand what a contractor should be based on their research. So, as a result of that, the contractor has to step up their game. No question.
Paul Scelsi: And keep the pace. Good point.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: And we're seeing that through our Ask A Roofer website. We're seeing homeowners are there asking questions every day, and building owners. They're doing all their research ahead, and there's some cool technology that's happening on that front, [inaudible 00:15:03] being one of them. Where it's going to start helping to have homeowners actually buy a roof online, which is going to happen. I know it seems weird, but it's going to happen.
Paul Scelsi: I don't know. [inaudible 00:15:15].
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know. Highlights for the year so far?
Kent Gardner: Highlights. I dovetail off what you mentioned earlier, the Latino contractor base specifically for us. We've worked very, very hard to find that community and then to engage with that community. Now, this year's all about activation. So, as a result of that, we're starting to see that we're respecting that segment, that group. They are 50% of the labor, 20% of the population. They're going to grow. They're constantly growing. So if they work for their parents or with their parents, they say to themselves, "Well, I want to be a business owner. I want to do those kinds of things." So we're embracing that community, because we know that in order for us to grow, we have to embrace that community as well as any other community out there that's in our space.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right. Exactly. Speaking of shameless plugs, I am going to say we're launching a new Lunch & Learn series. It's going to be 100% in Spanish. We are doing it with SRS. I think the first Lunch & Learn will be with Labor Central and SRS. I am not going to be hosting, because I do not speak Spanish. I wish I did.
Kent Gardner: You should have invited Julissa.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know. Julissa is going to be doing it. Julissa and Jessica.
Angie Kieta: Fantastic.
Jason Stanley: Julissa and Jessica, they're both Chavez. You'd think they're sisters.
Kent Gardner: That's right. That's great.
Jason Stanley: Julissa and Jessica Chavez.
Kent Gardner: That's wonderful. That's awesome.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Those are the kind of things that I think hopefully... And it will go on the phone so that everybody can get to it. Angie, what kind of highlights are you seeing from the year around your contractors and your business?
Angie Kieta: Going back to the sustainability thing, that's really becoming a very, very key thing. Homeowners ran a statistic online that 75% of all millennials will spend up to 30% more on a product that they know is sustainable. Gen Z is even more. Those are the people that are buying houses, and for the remodeling industry, which that's what we're hoping keeps everything floating this year and beyond. Sustainability is a real big thing. So LPs done a lot. We have a declaration, ESG's talked about all the time. They're really diving deep into it, because we have such a carbon negative product. That's a really proud thing to talk about.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's huge. This next generation, they're going to demand it.
Angie Kieta: Absolutely.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: They're doing their research, they're finding out, and they're going to go with eco-friendly products.
Angie Kieta: They care about the planet.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, they care. We have hope. Okay, let's also talk a little bit about some of the pain points, because we know we've had a rough couple years last... What are some of the pain points you see going into this year that the contractors, our audience, should be aware of that maybe we can get ahead of?
Angie Kieta: I would say that we still see a few manufacturers that aren't quite up to speed yet. They're still having supply issues and stuff. If you don't have caulk or you don't have coil, you can't install the siding. So there's still some of those hiccups that are happening.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: We've seen that.
Angie Kieta: I'd say that's some of the issues that we're seeing. But I think it's just the fear in the media, and everybody's just listening to the hype and everybody's getting a little skittish. Take a breath back. It's not 2008. We're going to be okay.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's so different. Everything that led up to it is totally different than what led up to 2008.
Angie Kieta: Totally. We learned a lot of lessons in 2008. If they let that happen again, then shame on the whole lending industry.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know. Exactly.
Angie Kieta: We're going to be okay. I'm confident.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I'm feeling the same way. What are you seeing as pain points for the industry this year?
Kent Gardner: I really think the interest rates are a concern for me, where they sit today, where they were just six months ago, 12 months ago. So that's a challenge. But, if you think back to... When I bought my first home, it was 7.5%, 8%. So where it currently sits today, it's not too difficult. But some folks sitting on some money, sitting the sidelines. And that interface affects not just the housing, but cars and other things that you might try to finance. So I'm cautiously optimistic about the year, but I'm also really interested in what the fed's going to do and how things are going to shake out that way. Because I think we're under built, in support of the housing need on a [inaudible 00:19:21] basis. That household formation has to have a place to go. So, at some point, when the interest rates settle in, I think there will be a nice recovery for the economy. But just a concern about that.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: And what are you seeing with new construction?
Kent Gardner: We're seeing the completions really ramp up with the new starts and the new permits and those kinds of things. They're down, they're naturally down. I think we saw a nice spike in January and February. One thing about the builders is they're smarter today than they were years ago. So they're going to figure out how to continue to sell homes. So that excites me, and I'm sure it excites them too, because they've gone through recessions and things like that before. So I think where we sit today, even with another one or two hikes, I think we're going to be fine. But just concerned with the long-term controls.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: It is. And it's hard to hear, because you're just going, "Come on, let's just go to work and get some stuff done and be with our families."
Kent Gardner: That's right.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Unfortunately, there's a lot of hype that goes on.
Kent Gardner: But if you think through it too, the roofing industry, we did have a sonic boom in '21 and '22. Exponentially high in 2022. Even if there's a bit of a fallback, it's still going to be above the standard norm. But interest rates are something I'm looking at.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, that's good. Paul, pain points that you worried about for contractors?
Paul Scelsi: Pain points. First, I was going to just make a side note that it's not all doom and gloom that I'm hearing from roof contractors in the cities that I visit. There's a good amount of roofs to do still, and they've got a good log of projects to handle. That's not all of them, but enough to voice it out loud. A pain point, and this is an ongoing pain point, but it's also an opportunity that I'm aware of from roofers. We talked about homeowner education. So the homeowner that's not well versed on the need for ventilation, let's say, but they do want a new roof.
It's obviously they need a new roof. They have three bids on the kitchen table. Two of them don't bring up proper attic ventilation, but one does. And of course it's probably a little bit of a higher price. The justification for that conversation, why my price includes the attic ventilation, that's a pain point to some roofers. Most quality roofers can explain it, but it frustrates them that two of the three aren't bringing it up, and he has to overcome that hurdle. So it's a pain point, but we try and give them guidance on how to overcome that. Stand out. Stand out from the other two bids.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Be different.
Paul Scelsi: I was going to say that. And these online tools that we've been talking about, that helps. You can point the homeowner to those tools. Look, it's not just me, Paul's Roofing saying it. It's out there.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I think it's interesting too, because I think this is an ongoing pain point, but you and Stephanie were talking about the problems with the architectural community not actually specifying things. And I hear this from roofing contractors all the time.
Paul Scelsi: Thank you, Heidi. Another pain point. We have a live Q&A at our seminars and it's open to whatever you want to bring up. Sometimes people are candidly... They're paying me to replace this roof, but it was built wrong. No homeowner wants to hear from me that it wasn't built correctly. No, you may not want to hear that, but it can stop with you. So you're paying me for the new roof, and this is why it was not done correctly. I'm sorry that that was the case, but today it stops. So it's education. Maybe it's laziness. I hate to say that, but I think it's awareness.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I think we need to do more online. Get the communities together.
Paul Scelsi: The builder. Yeah. But the re-roof contractor can stop it.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: And fix it. I know. That's what it was really interesting. Jason, what do you see?
Jason Stanley: As I've got more involved with the NRCA, being on the board, and then participating in Roofing Day. Roofing Day had three topics. If you boil it down the three topics, they all ended with labor, labor, and labor. Just different ways in which they were approaching labor. While roofing day is therapeutic, because you can go and you can talk to your constituents, and we should do it right, it's the [inaudible 00:23:07] thing to do, it's not productive. In the sense of, Ted Cruz and I sat in a meeting and for him to say, "We're not going to address this labor issue, this immigration issue, for three or four election cyclists." That was one of the more honest answers we got from some of the politicians, but if we're looking to Washington to fix these labor issues, we're going to be waiting a really long time.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: We need to do it.
Jason Stanley: I think the deficit numbers right now, I think we have 35,000 people retiring and only 10,000 new people coming in. So it's a compounding deficit of 25,000 laborers. That's just in roofing. Let us include siding, windows-
Angie Kieta: HVAC.
Kent Gardner: And everything else.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Everything. I know.
Jason Stanley: So it's a huge compounding gap to fill, and I think we need to look at some technology. So I'm delighted that I think Labor Central is timed perfectly now where we still have to do the other stuff. We need trade schools, we need a resurgence in the trades, we need women in trades. We need everybody in trades.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: We need everybody in trades.
Jason Stanley: We need university curriculum. We need all those things to happen. But that's the long game. So what do you do in the short term? Well, try and make the existing labor force more productive. I find it almost nauseating that today sub-crews can't find work, at the same time, roofing contractors can't find labor.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know.
Jason Stanley: How can the two things exist at the same time? So there seems to be not necessarily a labor shortage, while there is, in total, we could make the existing labor more efficient if we created a... I think there's a connectivity issue in our industry that I think can be solved with some technology. So I'm excited about that. I think it's really a game changer. Folks like you who've had discussions, if you have a contractor that has one crew, they can install one roof a day. If they have two crews, they can do two roofs a day. Three crews, so on and so forth. While we had a gap or a period of a year and a half where materials became the linchpin to production, today, we're right back with the same linchpin we've had the last decade, which is labor.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Labor. It's interesting too, because I think about Roofing Day, because I know you'll be there, I'll be there. You're right, they're not dealing with the big issues of immigration. Even though we work on it and we do the advocacy, but the long term CTE probably has been the biggest success of that, of that day.
Jason Stanley: Absolutely.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: But in the meantime, we just got to do it and get these people... And make more people feel welcome to come in.
Jason Stanley: I think taking ownership, much like you guys have done, and not pointing to other people to do it. What are we going to do to fix the industry? I think looking to other people for them to do something, it's not going to fix it. So kudos to you guys taking it on. I think there's lots of people looking for new solutions and that's exciting.
Kent Gardner: I'm excited about the CTE that you mentioned, the Career in Technical Education. To date myself a little bit, when I went to high school, there was a [inaudible 00:26:08] tech, it was an auto shop. So you could bring your '69 Camaro in there and they'd get that thing rocking and rolling. That went away for a while. So getting back to that, it's okay to be a roofer. It's just fine to be a roofer. It's a great-
Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's great.
Paul Scelsi: It's a solid career.
Jason Stanley: In most technical schools, roofing isn't even an option. But, quickly, we're now seeing, because the course is evolving and completed, it's there. Another one that dovetails with that is SkillsUSA. How incredible is this? I don't know how long SkillsUSA has been... I think it's 40 plus years that SkillsUSA has been taking place. Did you realize they've never put a roof on a house in SkillsUSA until last year?
Angie Kieta: Oh my gosh.
Jason Stanley: So you got guys in there doing every kind of trade from electrical, to plumbing, to flooring. Everything. But never put a roof on?
Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's crazy.
Jason Stanley: So it's wonderful. It would've been great if we started 40 years ago, but you got to start someplace.
Paul Scelsi: Somewhere.
Jason Stanley: And I'm delighted that the [inaudible 00:27:04] has done good work to really pull that through. And it's exciting to see roofing be part of technical schools, part of SkillsUSA. There's good stuff happening. It's 20 years [inaudible 00:27:15] what it should have been, but it's happening.
Kent Gardner: At least we started.
Angie Kieta: That's problem. They're starting, yeah. The National Association of Home Builders and the Boys and Girls Club have started a partnership now.
Jason Stanley: I saw that.
Angie Kieta: Think about those kids that, they've never lived in a house. Usually they're in apartment buildings. They don't even know that that's a career path, that they have it to. So they're exposing them to roofing, and HVAC, and siding, starting in middle school. So these are just trades, and they're not only teaching them the trades, but also how to be an entrepreneur and own your business someday. So they're growing. It's a couple years out, but at least somebody's doing something. And it's taking off. It's got teeth. Madison was the first one, and because of that partnership, we've got places like Albuquerque and other places across the US that are teaming up with their Boys and Girls Club and starting that.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I think there is a real disconnect. The crews, like you said, crews are looking for work and contractors are looking for crews.
Kent Gardner: Looking for crews.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: But yet neither one are finding it. I'm seeing the same thing with a lot of young people who are coming out of college or out of vocational school or out of high school who think, "I can't find a job." And I'm like, "Are you kidding me? There are so many jobs."
Kent Gardner: There's plenty out there.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know. You just
Angie Kieta: You just can't be a YouTuber.
Jason Stanley: You just got to look in the right place. That's what Chris talked about in his keynote, was there's workers out there, they're just working someplace else. I think we were on a podcast maybe a few weeks ago, and it's his opening line, which I thought was really cute, was, "Hey, remember the days when you created a job description and then you posted it and people applied?" He's like, "I hope you enjoyed that, because that's over." Now you can find these people, and they're gainfully employed someplace else. You just got to tell them why your job's better than what they're doing today. And the trades has that. The trades has a better job than Starbucks. The trades has a better job than you working at the gym. It pays better. The quality of life is better. You're actually doing something impactful with your hands. Roofing, take the dry, all the kind of cool stuff that we do in roofing. It's pretty neat.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Protecting your-
Kent Gardner: It's a supply and demand thing. There's not enough supply to fulfill the demand. So, if you think about it, they're going to get paid more too, if they do those. Because if you have less people wanting to do the hard work to get a roof on, there's going to be paid more. I saw it.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I think we're just seeing it, and I'm so glad you brought up SkillsUSA, because that's in June, and that will be the first time that there's going to be a roof demo there. We already have the states coming into it and it's going to be phenomenal. And I'm really excited that the NRCA is really leaning into that, to take it to that next step. Because, as an industry, it's crazy that we haven't been represented.
Jason Stanley: Shameless plug, IB Roof Systems has people at the NRCA booth right now demonstrating the SkillsUSA course-
Kent Gardner: That's great.
Jason Stanley: ... the ProCertification course, to try and show people that this is how we do it. This is the test, this is the curriculum. So people can see and visualize. I think it's scary, because it's unknown. Oh my goodness. There's a test. It's a deck. It's eight by eight. There's a corner wall, there's a pipe, there's a curve. It's pretty simple. So we have people over there now that are actually demonstrating that all day long.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's great.
Angie Kieta: Fantastic.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: And you've done all kinds of ProCertification-
Jason Stanley: I have.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: ... certification days for people to come to your facilities, right?
Jason Stanley: Yeah. I feel like one of the things in roofing, Reid Rebel really started it with a big push, that we need to be a credentialed industry. I agree with that. Today, it's mostly plumbers and electricians, and there has been no individual credentials. So the NRCA has done great things with ProCertifications, where it's not a company certification. Your company doesn't even have to belong to the NRCA, which you can become a ProCert foreman, which has a heavy lean on safety and makes these guys smarter. And it's in English and Spanish.
Or you can do two disciplines in low-slope roofing, thermal sets of thermoplastics where you take an online course in English or Spanish and then go to qualified assessor that will actually test your skills. And you get a card. It's got a QR code on it, you can scan it. See when you took your oral exam or your practical exam, when you took the written exam. It's good for three years. It would be incredible if we could get our industry to adopt this to where someone shows up and says, "I'm a roofer." "What kind of roofer? Are you this kind roofer or this kind of roofer?" "No, I'm a card carrying, standing scene contractor or ProCertified shingle guy, or a tile guy." And they can actually show a card. There's so much pride that comes with that in our industry that I don't think has really ever existed before.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: They don't know. I have to share this just real quick story, but we, on copy conversations, two or three weeks ago, we had the Gen Z takeover. So we had a number of Gen Zs on the show. And this young man from Carlton Roofing out of New Mexico, he was 24. When he introduced himself, he said, "I am a ProCertified installer in TPO." He was so proud of it, and I was just like, "Oh, there's a Gen Z." So it's making a lot of difference. I know we're talking a lot about roofing, but in siding, are you seeing the same things with labor?
Angie Kieta: Absolutely. And it's making us excited that roofers are starting to look at siding. So it's opening up a little bit more of the labor pool, but it's just a matter of training them. It's totally different. We have field techs, LPS field techs that are out across the country. We keep adding them all the time. It's a requirement that they're bilingual in order to get a job with LP.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Nice.
Angie Kieta: And just going out and constantly training crews left and right. Whether they've already been installing siding and just looking to do something different, or they're roofing crews that are looking to get into it. But yes, we definitely have a pain point with labor shortages as well.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Now, I don't know the answer to this, but SkillsUSA, is there a siding?
Angie Kieta: I don't think so either.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Okay. We can work on this together.
Angie Kieta: I know. When you said that, I was like, "Hmm."
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Because we want to get that whole exterior, right?
Angie Kieta: Absolutely.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Of the house.
Jason Stanley: Maybe roofing's not the last, I don't know.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: We'll find out.
Angie Kieta: We'll find out. Yeah, exactly. But we're doing-
Paul Scelsi: A large percentage of the contractors that we talked to, siding's part of their business model. I'd say this was third, a fourth.
Kent Gardner: It's logical.
Paul Scelsi: And just to top off on the pride part, some contractors, this is a long range plan, but will take pride and go to a school's Career Day. The daughter or the son encourages their dad to go. He tries to take time off and go. But look, that's a longer play, I know, but it's part of the message. Middle school, high school. Don't wait until high school. Middle schoolers here-
Angie Kieta: The town that I live in, we do a Career Day at the Parade of Homes every year. And every year we're seeing more kids and more girls coming too.
Paul Scelsi: That's great. .
Angie Kieta: Which is just awesome.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it.
Angie Kieta: So we do a demonstration and they're all in on how we're putting up the siding, asking questions. So, there's hope go. It's just going to take a little bit.
Paul Scelsi: There is hope.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Right now, Molly Eckman is over in the IB Roof.
Jason Stanley: Absolutely.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I did already say this earlier, I think I did, but she's there right now signing books. Oh, we talked about it before we started.
Jason Stanley: Molly has an ad agency, she works in the home building industry, but followed a story that happened in Sandy, Utah, where a group of women got together and built a house with only women trades people. Then they wrote a children's book on it called The House She Built. It's turned into this amazing phenomenon now that's sweeping the country. I think we were at her first book signing last year, and since then, she has gone off the charts and crazy successful, crazy popular children's book, just celebrating specifically women in trades. But there seems to be a resurgence of taking pride that my dad does this, my dad does that. I think some of that took place during the COVID era, the idea of an essential worker. Had a little more pride. I don't know if that's... You go root cause in different things, I think that was a big part of it.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I think so too.
Jason Stanley: I think, all of those guys, they'll do those jobs and they weren't very, maybe not glorified jobs, but suddenly this term came out of essential people. And if you looked at the people that were essential, the people actually keep the country running, keep our homes safe and dry and use all those words. Oh my goodness. Roofers got up every day and went to work during the pandemic. Manufacturers stayed open. Those people that were essential were maybe loved a little bit more or thought maybe a little bit differently.
Paul Scelsi: Appreciated.
Jason Stanley: Appreciated, yeah. I hope that trend continues. Because we need these essential people. They make our lives a little more pleasant. I think Micro uses that pun a lot.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Micro, yeah.
Jason Stanley: Keep our lives civilized. The people that do the dirty jobs so that we can live the lives we live today.
Angie Kieta: I always say, there's not going to be an app. You can't develop an app to put a roof on. You're going to need physical labor to do it.
Kent Gardner: It's heavy stuff.
Angie Kieta: Technology's great and we're doing amazing things with it, but unless we get a whole bunch of robots up on our roof and installing shingles, it's not going to happen.
Kent Gardner: Not in my lifetime. You bring up a good point. I've been doing this for 20 years. In the first few years that I was here, everybody like, "Hey, we're just a roofer. We're just this." As I think through that and you start talking about the essential worker, I'm proud to be in this industry. It is an amazing industry.
Jason Stanley: It's an honor.
Kent Gardner: It is. When you fly out of an airport and you fly over all those rooftops and all that opportunity and everybody's got to keep their primary investment covered, safe, dry, warm. So I was never one of those that said, "I'm just in roofing." I'm in roofing. I'm proud of it.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: This is a great industry.
Kent Gardner: It's an incredible industry. So now, to that point, I never really tied the essential worker piece, but now that's giving us a sense of pride of where we are.
Paul Scelsi: I like that. Yeah, thank you.
Kent Gardner: That's a good connection.
Paul Scelsi: That's a good connection.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: That is cool. Okay, we're going to ask this question tomorrow of our contractors. So even though we've touched on a little bit, I want to make sure we get all of your feel on this. Jason, I'm going to start with you. It's going to be on material shortages.
Jason Stanley: All right.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: This is the tough question, I know. Where are we and what should we be expecting this year?
Jason Stanley: For the most part, we've seen some stabilization in supply. I think we've had a little wetter than normal winter and I think the shelves are full in a lot of places. So we see things a little slow right now, but I think that's all based on weather corrections and inventory that's in stock. But, in general, supply is bad. Are we going to go back to the days where I tear off a roof today and place the order in the afternoon? Likely not, and I hope we don't go there. But the days of placing a year's worth of orders and making stuff months or a year in advance, that's really over.
I think prices are stabilizing and material is less. Just a few pinch points around some adhesives, some fasteners that still create some challenges. But, in total, we've made a lot of course corrections as manufacturers, as distribution, and then ultimately contractors adjusting how they place orders. For 20 years, we lived on the orders that came in today, shipped the afternoon for the next day. And now we get orders weeks in advance. So contractors are starting to do a lot better at planning, which makes our lives a little bit easier.
Angie Kieta: It's amazing.
Kent Gardner: We appreciate that. I appreciate that.
Jason Stanley: It's great. So, overall, I think material supply is good. I am really concerned about the overwhelming amount of consolidation. I think Wholesome with their robust application, their acquisitions, has raised the eyebrows of a lot of people to say, "Wow." Deploying $6 billion in capital and acquiring as many companies as it did in a short period of time, is alarming to some folks. But I think it actually underscores a bigger challenge. This has been happening all along. If you look at, all right, there's two Swiss companies and two French companies that now probably own close to 50% of the total market. And while Wholesome happened in a short period of time, the rest has happened every quarter, there's another acquisition.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Acquisition.
Jason Stanley: And there's fewer and fewer folks like me. I've been going to [inaudible 00:39:44] for nearly 15 years. The group gets smaller, and smaller, and smaller, just because there's this tenacious acquisition. But if you look at the core of why are they acquiring, I think it's a hedge against maybe... Obviously, they feel bullish about the market, or they won't be spending the kind of money they are.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Exactly. That's it.
Kent Gardner: Look at the multiples they spend.
Jason Stanley: Right. They're expecting a return on that investment. So they see the opportunity with a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. If you're going to hedge against a worldwide slowdown, the US is probably the most stable, resilient market in the country. And what are you going to invest in? Hey, roofing, concrete, siding. Those sorts of things that are going to be stable.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: That we have for our infrastructure.
Kent Gardner: There's an aging home stock.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I was just going to bring that up.
Kent Gardner: That's a big deal. And you got household formations now. There's more folks in a home that want to get a home on their own. So as you think through it, there's some underpinning positive sides to the economy. It's just a matter of when do we get to it.
Jason Stanley: I think there are sectors of the economy that are going to suffer, but I don't think construction's one of them. I think construction is going to be pretty robust. It may not be as crazy as this sonic boom you said, which is I think a good explanation kid. Everyone's like, "What are these manufacturers doing? They can't keep up." It's like these are spikes that we've never seen.
Kent Gardner: Abnormal times.
Jason Stanley: So, while we're slowing down, the growth and the opportunity I think is still strong.
Kent Gardner: You bring up a good point, though, with the weather. I think it's been pretty difficult in the Midwest, and especially out west in California. The snow and the rain has been crazy.
Angie Kieta: East coast too.
Kent Gardner: East coast as well. And they've been actually running pretty good, because they've had a lighter winter and it seems like that's been really running between the East Coast and down to Florida. But as you think through it, I think the material availability is probably coming back online [inaudible 00:41:36] time and build up some material. But we'll see how it goes here when things do break loose. Because that Midwest has been under a lot of weather for quite some time, and California hasn't had this kind of weather in 20 years. Maybe more.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I just want to follow up on that too. For all of you. When I first started roofing, every contractor had a warehouse. They had their own warehouses and they were stocking their warehouses. And then-
Jason Stanley: They had a yard, so to speak.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: They had a yard, right. They had a yard, in the last 10 years. So is very much just in time.
Kent Gardner: Just in time, for sure.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I'm just going to call my distributor and I'm going to have it delivered and we're right there. Where do you see us at now? Because I can tell you, a lot of contractors got warehouses and yards over the last two years. Do you see it, with COVID, the hybrid between in-person and digital, is it going to be the same way with the warehouses and just in time or what's some of your thoughts?
Jason Stanley: Anytime things are erratic, the pendulum swings. There are literally contractors that bought an old Kmart building and filled it with materials, because they wanted to make sure they had materials to keep the projects going. Is that really practical? Probably not. Is it necessary? Probably not. We're going to go back to ordering products the day we're tearing off a roof? Probably not that either. So while pendulum swung in this direction, it'll come back to some sort of balanced approach. I think will be a little scared for a little while and I think keep some inventory on stock, maybe change some of their habits of placing orders in advance. That'd be amazing.
Kent Gardner: That would be amazing.
Jason Stanley: Doing a little bit of planning.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's a much welcomed trend.
Jason Stanley: A little bit of planning would be awesome. So I don't think we're going to be there as far as people buying warehouses and all this, but you need to have a yard today. I think people also saw the ability to buy in some bulk. We spend a lot of money on freight in this country and LTL freight, Amazon, and other stuff is problematic. They used to like heavy-dense freights to fill the trucks. They don't want heavy-dense freight anymore. They can fill it with packages for days. So roofing products and other things you used to move LTL have challenges now. So if you're a contractor and you got a small yard you can buy in bulk, you're going to benefit.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Save money.
Jason Stanley: You're going to plan in advance, order jobs.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Paul, what are you seeing on it? On the metal side?
Paul Scelsi: The pandemic affected Gibraltar Air Vent, as it did many manufacturers, but we're largely out of the woods with that, knock on wood, and we're back on track to supplying as needed. So it's positive.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: You see it in everything.
Paul Scelsi: Yes.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: What are you seeing?
Kent Gardner: Material supply's been fine. It's not been fine, but it's improved quite a bit, with the exception of a handful of vendors. We have been able to purchase the material that we need to get to our contracts. But to your point, depending on this swing, and I think there is going to be a used to be just-in-time and all the supply chains across the world was turned upside down. So, as a result of that, we saw warehouses being purchased where they put all the material in. But I do think that emergency stock need, they don't want to get caught behind, and there's always the parts and pieces of the contractor is always going to need. So I do think, to your point, the pendulum's going to swing back and maybe not go all the way back to where it's all just in time. But some of the parts and pieces have emergency stock.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: It seems like that middle ground is where it's going to be hitting. What are you seeing on the siding side and your supply?
Angie Kieta: I was going to say, from the manufacturing side, I think the whole pandemic made them realize that, "Oh, we got to have alternatives to some of our steady-eddy things. So I think a lot more manufacturers are looking at different alternative ingredients for their products or how they source even the containers that they put their product in to make sure that they don't get caught with their pants down again or something like this happens again. So I think if anything, that's helped with that end of it. We'll see. There's always that, let's find out if that really works once it gets out in the real world. So there might be some of those hiccups. But I think that helps a lot.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: The pendulum swings and it goes back and forth. I do want to kind of make sure we tap in on the mergers too. Jason, I thought that was a really good point. I'd love to hear, Angie, we're seeing a lot of private equity buying roofing companies and roll ups. Obviously, we see it in distribution.
Angie Kieta: I was just going to say. Yep.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: And we're seeing it manufacturing a lot. What are you seeing on the siding side of the world?
Angie Kieta: The siding side of the world? Again, mergers and acquisitions have always happened. Certainty and Cornerstone and all those guys buying up some of the smaller ones when it comes to vinyl siding especially. We're one of the only engineered wood siding products out there. So we'll see a couple little competitors pop up once in a while. But really fiber cement is our main competitor, and is they can go after each other all they want. That's perfectly fine by me.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it. What are you seeing through all of that, with the mergers and acquisitions of the... You separated out the contractors, what you're hearing from them, and then just the overall growth?
Kent Gardner: We're seeing private equity find the contractor base themselves, but the life expectancy of a lot of the contractors is like an NFL running back, it's three to five years. So it's always tough too. Then, when you try to merge all those different contractor businesses, a lot of those businesses are built on the personality or the persona that is that roofing contractor. So when you try to blend those two together, I'm anticipating that it will work at some level, but to have a great roofing contracting business on your own that you've built and you have pride in, I think at the end of the day is going to win out.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's really interesting, and I was thinking this when you were talking about manufacturers. When I first started in the '90s, the same exact same thing was happening. There were all these acquisitions going on. Companies that I was competing against are now gone, gone, gone. Elk and US Intec, and names that people probably don't even know anymore. It's interesting, because I feel like that's how it feels now, and I didn't feel that as much in between. But it's that same kind of just a lot of acquisitions. Then, at the same time, to your point, that's when a lot of the roll-ups also happen with contractors. I have people call all the time and they're like, "We want to roll up all these contractors." And I'm like, "Well, they're cowboys." I.
Kent Gardner: They're big, and they've built wonderful great businesses. It's tough when you get a couple cowboys in a room and the whiskey runs out.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: They have a great business.
Angie Kieta: Just a lot of egos.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: It is really interesting. And Gibraltar has been very active and you're coming all together.
Paul Scelsi: Yes. Air Vent's owned by Gibraltar. We're part of building accessories division. Seven different businesses. QAP in Michigan was one of our most recent acquisitions. There's opportunities. I think corporate's always looking for possibilities to expand. One thing I wanted to just backtrack on about contractors, I'm hearing and seeing, witnessing, contractors, someone will leave a company and branch out and start his or her own, and I mean her, women too, starting their own businesses, their own roofing contractor company. And that's a compliment to the company they left, because they got some base knowledge and they can start their own company. So I am seeing that firsthand. That's encouraging.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Actually, they had classes during National Women in Roofing Day, just for women owned businesses. So the owners were all talking. It was great. It was really interesting.
Jason Stanley: I don't want to be the guy that's not for acquisitions, because I've seen, specifically what you guys have done with acquiring some, what I would call a smaller distributor that is antiquated [inaudible 00:49:17] good robust systems, and you guys have an amazing mousetrap. So you can come in and take a company that's maybe operating not very efficiently, onboard them, and do an incredible job and make what was once a relatively inefficient distribution house fold into your system. And you guys do a tremendous job at it. Where I get a little nervous is when you get this overwhelming consolidation in manufacturing. At what point is there-
Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's a monopoly.
Jason Stanley: ... five or six companies that control the entire industry? We're a small roofing manufacturing, and to say that you're $100 million company and to say you're small... Most of our competitors are multi-billion dollar competitors and most of them in this country. There's two Swiss and two French companies that own a large part. So, even at $100 million, the barrier to entry in this market is becoming more and more challenging. Not only the barrier to entry, but the ability to sustain and thrive in a market with a lot of multi-billion dollar players. So I'm concerned. Does the roofing industry get stifled as you move to these large conglomerates? Or maybe it creates innovation. I'm never a doomsayer, I'm always an optimist. Needs arise.
IB Roof Systems is enjoying a wonderful growth potential right now. Whenever there's acquisitions or disruption in the marketplace, there's a lot of crumbs that fall. These are big companies, they drop big crumbs. So we're happy to pick them up and grow. And then also fill needs. GAF bought Siplast. That was a highly specified product. Maybe some of those specifiers want to look for something else to specify. Sika, while they acquired Sarnafil 10 years ago, now that Brian Wayland's gone, that acquisition is actually really coming to fruition. Some people bought Sarnafil because of Brian. And will they continue to buy Sarnafil now that it's really Sika? So there are opportunities that smaller manufacturers like us key in on and pick up.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Can have.
Jason Stanley: On one side, it scares me a little bit, but disruption always creates opportunity, and I think that's great.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I have to tell you, if you look out at this trade show floor, there are a lot of booths and there's a lot of companies. I've seen some great innovations, to your point, some great innovations that are out there too. I just had a gentleman come by with a RidgePro. I don't know if you've seen the RidgePro, but it is an amazing safety tool that makes it easy and safe. I'm so inspired by the entrepreneurs and the inventors who are out there. We have gentlemen across from booth down that way, with Skyrise, and then you can put ducks...
Jason Stanley: I saw that. That was cool.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Go into your roof with the... That looked really cool, didn't it?
Jason Stanley: Yeah.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know. So there's a lot of really great stuff here. We're trying to find those things. So, to your point, I think that... And that's what I saw after the '90s, is that then all these new companies came out of the woodwork because they saw opportunity, because people like to work... There's an opening, there's a space there. Wow, this has been the best conversation, I have to tell you. This has been so good.
Angie Kieta: Oh my goodness.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: We have just a little bit more. So I'm just going to go around. Give us one last thought about the coming year and your company. This is a time if you want to share anything that you're doing in your booth or the Cruise Brothers, any of that. Let's start with you, Angie.
Angie Kieta: Great. LP, we have our pre-finished product now called ExpertFinish that we launched two years ago. It's really starting to take off. We're starting to head west with it and getting more pole in the East Coast as well. We're investing more facilities to pre-finish our product. So that's going great. We have a great partnership with the Cruise Brothers going out there and teaching everyone how to install our product properly. We're teaming up a lot with different influencers and we're seeing a lot of uptick with our product. We're so excited. Manufacturing's up and running. We're building more facilities and we just keep reinvesting in the company. So LP is on a great path. I'm really proud to be a part of it.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: You guys are fun. You're doing so many great things. We have the podcast with the Cruise Brothers. You can find everything about LP on Roofers Coffee Shop and the directory. But those podcasts with the brothers, I just loved it.
Angie Kieta: They're so much fun. I love those guys.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: It was so much fun.
Angie Kieta: I keep forgetting to talk... We have other engineered wood products too, not just siding. So we do sub-floors and OSB and all that kind of stuff too. All in general.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Check it out. Okay. Last, coming this year, please talk about the XTV.
Kent Gardner: We'll talk about the XTV, which is fun. The XTV is certainly something that, when I was a competitor against SRS, was always hard to compete with, because that XTV would go around at different sporting events and always have a beer and a braud for our contractor base, which was pretty fun. So we've now expanded our fleet to two. So it's fun. And I believe your daughter's going to be singing outside of our XTV, is that right?
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yes, tomorrow at three o'clock.
Angie Kieta: That's excited.
Kent Gardner: We're excited to have her. But I do want to do another shameless plug, specific for Raise the Roof Foundation. Tomorrow night we've got Ray Wylie Hubbard, Darius Rucker, W, President George W Bush.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Can't believe. That's so cool.
Kent Gardner: And then Eric Church. That Raise the Roof Foundation has been in place now with SRS for 10 years. We've donated $12 million to the communities that we support.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: That whole REAL Roofing, diversity, inclusion, it's phenomenal.
Kent Gardner: It's a worthwhile organization that donates to worthwhile causes. So, to donate into that space, the veteran space and all that, it's just a big benefit for our industry.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: It is so great. That's awesome. Okay. Paul, what do you have coming up this year?
Paul Scelsi: I was just going to say, we're in week nine of our 12-week tour of seminars. Back in 1998, we started doing these seminars and I was part of it since day one. I love them. If you ever been to an Air Vent seminar and you're at the show, stop by at the booth, say hello. We do have our-
Heidi J. Ellsworth: You know, I've never been to one.
Paul Scelsi: Please come.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Okay. I'll go with Stephanie in Portland.
Paul Scelsi: We're also going to do two virtual seminars. They're not as exciting as in-person, but-
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I might want to go hang with Stephanie.
Paul Scelsi: I was going to say that the pandemic actually caused us to offer virtual. And we have our smokehouse in the booth, which shows the importance of both intake and exhaust.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it.
Angie Kieta: Cool.
Paul Scelsi: A cool visual demonstration.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's so good. Jason?
Jason Stanley: I'm mostly excited about trying to solve this labor problem in the industry. You and I have known each other for nearly 20-some years. I have a big heart of these guys on the roof. I started on the roof when I was 13 years old. So, if you want to see me get up on a roof [inaudible 00:56:14]. It's 110 on a rooftop in Texas and watching these guys work. It's incredible. If my legacy in this industry can be trying to address that, coming up with meaningful solutions to try and make these guys' lives a little easier. That only not goes to Labor Central trying to find ways to find these guys work and connect people in the industry. It's bigger than that. It's bringing these people out of the shadows and bringing them to show. It's getting them the education both in safety and product installation knowledge.
Then that even flows into what we do at IB Roof Systems. We're in an industry that's moving to more and more commodities all the time, and they move to things that are, I would call manufacturing centric. Things that are easy to manufacture in large scale. I want to keep what we're doing, which is manufacturing, what I call contractor centric products. Contractor centric are products that are easy for the contractor to install. Their job is hard enough. It's difficult enough with challenges of safety and just the outdoor elements. Make products so these guys don't have to struggle to weld, make products that are easy for them to finish, make products that are really focused on making the contractor's life easier out there. Rather than just throughput, big wide sheets, what can we make bigger and faster and cheaper? I think we lose people in this industry, when it's already hard to find labor. If we get manufacturers to refocus and double down on trying to make products that actually make their crew's lives easier, I think we'll be more successful. So I'm excited about that.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love that.
Angie Kieta: Awesome. Yeah,
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I think that's great. Thank you all.
Angie Kieta: Thanks for having us.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Thank you. This has been amazing. And thank you for watching.
Paul Scelsi: Yeah, thank you.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Thank you for being part of this coffee conversation live from the Sound Stage sponsored by SRS who we just are... Yeah. Thank you so much. It's so great. We appreciate you all. We're going to have the same conversation tomorrow with four roofing contractors. So join us one o'clock tomorrow. We're going to hear the same questions and see how well the answers match up. It'll be very interesting. So thank you so much. We're back with more live interviews here, all day, all week. If you are here, please stop by and see these folks at their booths. They're easy to find. It's just great. Of course, you can find information about all of this on coffee conversations. Sorry, Roofer's Coffee Shop-
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