Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an live interview with Deborah Mazol from the National Roofing Contractors Association, Charles Antis and Jesus Zermeno of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing to talk about Roofing Day 2023. You can read the interview below, watch the webinar or listen to the podcast here.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Hey. It is time for another Coffee Conversations. My name is Heidi Ellsworth, and I'm the President of Roofers Coffee Shop. I am so excited for this Coffee Conversations today. We have an amazing panel, some of the most heartwarming stories and some of... Really a call to action and mission for what we need to be doing as the roofing industry. Yep. We're going to be talking about Roofing Day today, one of the best days of the year. I am so proud to bring this amazing panel, the NRCA, and everything they're doing for Roofing Day to this conversation today. We're going to be going over everything you need to know and really sharing some of the important stories that have come out of Washington DC in the last couple of years.
But before we get started, I want to say thank you to ABC Supply. ABC Supply is our sponsor today. They have, I can remember from the very beginning when I started attending NRCA meetings in Washington DC and I would see Tom Walker, I'm going to put a call-out to Tom Walker, going up to the Capitol Hill, advocating for the roofing industry. They have been involved in the advocacy for our industry for so many years and such an amazing partner. And I saw, as we'll see later on in the schedule, they're a sponsor of Roofing Day. So ABC Supply, thank you so much for sponsoring this today.
Let's get started. I want to remind everybody that the chat is open and that this is being recorded. So we will have this full conversation on demand within the next 24 hours, but we want to be interactive and we want to have a chat. So I would love it, we already had chats in the chat room. Thank you so much. We're so happy you're here. And if we could have everybody else just go ahead, say hi, put your name and your company and then feel free to ask questions throughout the discussion. I'll be reading them, we'll bring you interactively into this conversation. So our first panelist who I would like to introduce is Deb Mazol with the NRCA. Absolutely inspirational. So amazing. She has been involved with DC politics for many years, has so much information. So Deb, welcome to Coffee Conversations.
Deborah Mazol: Thanks, Heidi. Happy to be here.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Ah, we're thrilled to have you. Could you go ahead and introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about you and NRCA, RoofPak, all that good stuff.
Deborah Mazol: Yeah, definitely. So my name's Deb Mazol. I've been with NRCA since 2020, so I always joke I had a baby and switched jobs in the middle of a pandemic, which was not planned, but here we are. I'm currently the Director of Federal Affairs at the National Roofing Contractors Association, and one of my main jobs here is to quarterback the Roofing Day in DC Advocacy event. So I look at it from not only an association's perspective and how to get our members in front of the right people, but also how to prepare everyone from my experience as an intern to a Chief of Staff on the Hill. That's my background. I had the pleasure of working for former CEO Reid Ribble in his Congressional Office with McKay as my Chief of Staff. So it's really fun that we were able to get the band back together.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: That is awesome. That's awesome. And you have all brought such energy to the NRCA through the advocacy portion. We're going to talk more about that, but it's just been so much fun to watch. It's very cool. I'd also like to welcome to our panel returning Charles Antis with Antis Roofing. Charles, welcome back. Can you introduce yourself for those few people who don't know you?
Charles Antis: I'm super excited to be here again because we're always talking about things that matter in this great trade of shelter. And this is especially exciting because I get to be here. I'm the CEO, I love the title CEO because of the word chief. I'm really hung up on that word lately. I'm the chief Antis in that old meaning of I'm the leader, I must tell the story that brings the team together, that lets us go out and execute in the world, keeping families safe and dry. And that's my job. And I get to work with who you're going to introduce next. And I won't want to take any more time on myself. I want to talk about Jesus.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Thank you, Charles. You bring such energy. I love it, and I love your stories. And I am also very excited to welcome Jesus Zermeno the first time to our show. Jesus, thank you for joining us. And you are with Antis Roofing. Can you introduce yourself?
Jesus Zermeno: Yeah, thank you for having me here. Thank you so much. Yeah, my name is Jesus Zermeno. I work for Antis Roofing for more than twelve years. I'm one of the superintendents for the company, and I was in Washington DC in 2019 and I think 2018, those two years. It was something very exciting for me. I never thought to be there, but it's something amazing for me. Thank you so much.
Charles Antis: I can't wait to-
Heidi J. Ellsworth: We are so excited to have you and hear your story.
Charles Antis: I can't wait to pull this apart. Wait till we pull it apart and you hear about his daughter. And then I love his voice because it's his voice, then you'll hear later, that really got the face of roofing recognized in Washington.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah.
Charles Antis: That's the face.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: The face of roofing right there. I love that. Well, okay, for those out there who maybe have not been involved with Roofing Day before, let's start from the beginning. Deb, can you give a history of Roofing Day? And let's talk about some of the accomplishments that we've seen over the years, because I think a lot of people, as we all know, think nothing happens because it's Washington DC and it's politics. But that's not true. A lot of great things have happened. I think we need to shout that to the stars. So please share the history and the accomplishments.
Deborah Mazol: Thanks, Heidi. So as Jesus mentioned, we started Roofing Day at this scale in 2018, and it was really spurred by our then CEO Reid Ribble and former Congressman thinking, "I haven't seen enough roofers on the Hill. I know what their priorities are. I know they have a great story to tell, and I know people want to meet them, but we need to get people here. We need to get everyone here to tell the story and speak in one voice." So that first year we had about 400 participants, which made it one of the largest fly-ins on Capitol Hill. So if you can imagine as a staffer going down to grab your coffee, you see this sea of red or sea of roofers with lapel pins and it really starts to get abuzz. "Who's this group? Are you meeting with them? Oh, they're roofers. That's a really important job. I need to hear what they're interested in. Are they affected by tax issues? Are they affected by immigration or workforce?"
So that's kind of how it started growing the buzz in the way it has. We've done it now every year since 2018 with a small break in 2020, unfortunately, due to the pandemic. I think the pandemic shut down was announced a week before Roofing Day was going to start. So we picked right back up in 2021 with a virtual setting, which it's not as good as the in-person, but it did allow a lot more people to participate because the cost was much lower than having to travel and take time from work. That's kind of where we started in terms of the history.
Throughout the years, we focused often on workforce development programs. So every year since Roofing Day has started, we've advocated for increased funding for Perkins CTE grants, so career and technical education money that goes into the state to help train our workers. Since Roofing Day started, we've had an increase in $200 million, so roughly $40 million to $50 million a year. So those are real dollars that are helping the industry grow and helping get more workers trained up. We've also worked on making that CTE program more accessible to businesses and people, so letting people know about it, making sure it's easy to do the paperwork and to get involved. We've also worked on infrastructure bills, as you know, the large infrastructure bill, one of the biggest investments in decades. That was passed with a strong buildings component, which was also a Roofing Day issue.
And then two smaller issues that were kind of wrapped into a bigger package, so they didn't get as much maybe Spotlight was the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, which helped a lot, provide money and expertise for energy efficiency improvements in residential, commercial, and also industrial buildings. So getting those more energy efficient to help with some of our climate goals. We also had a construction Consensus Procurement Improvement Act, which just made sure that auctions were much more competitive and it prohibited the use of reverse auctions by the federal government. So a long, long way to say we've really made a difference and we're continuing to make a difference every day.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: So tell us just a little bit about the office, the amazing people who work in Washington DC every single day of the year. We fly in for one day, but you and Terry and Duane are working every single day. Just maybe introduce your team and just tell us a little bit about what you're doing every day, just to put it in context.
Deborah Mazol: Yeah, definitely. I know some of them are probably on the call. Duane is the head of our DC office. He's our VP of Government Relations and he oversees not only Roofing Day, but also our political action committee, which fundraises and provides much needed resources for candidates that support our mission and really help push the industry forward as well. And in addition to that, he lobbies on your behalf. So he will make sure that whatever OSHA is up to make sense, is increasing worker safety, while also not being overly burdensome or unnecessarily hard to work and hard to follow. And then Terry Dorn is our Director of Political Affairs, and sadly, she works out of California, so I don't get to see her as often as I'd like to, but she manages raising money for our pack, figuring out where those dollars go. And if you've ever been to one of NRCA's roof pack events, that's all Terry. She picks everything from the food to the location to the entertainment.
Charles Antis: To the jackets.
Deborah Mazol: Yeah, to the jackets. Yep. That's one of our highest grossing items at our auction that Charles is wearing there. It's a really nice custom blazer with any logo you want in it. So it could be Antis Roofing, it could be NRCA or Tesla. That's our DC office. We're only three people, which most people, when I talk to my peers and colleagues in other associations, they say, "Wait, what? You only have three people and you do so much work?" And it's because of people like Charles and Jesus and Heidi that we really pack a punch for our size. We're small and scrappy or small and mighty, as I tell my petite niece all the time. So every single day we're following up on issues of roofing. We're tracking legislation, we're building relationships with those in leadership positions. And I know I saw Scott Shufflebarger on the call when we were logging in. He's close, so sometimes we'll go down and he'll host somebody at his business. So we're always... If anyone invites us, we're always welcome to travel.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: And go.
Deborah Mazol: Yeah.
Charles Antis: You're small, but you have big intentions.
Deborah Mazol: Yes.
Charles Antis: It's those intentions, they just play out.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: They do, because everybody's behind them, and that's exactly. So Deb, thank you for giving us our foundation there. But for everyone who's on this Coffee Conversations, thank you so much. And everybody who's watching this on demand, this is one of the most important things we can do as an industry to show our face and who we are and what we do and we want everyone to attend. So we wanted to share Roofing Day stories today. If you have your story or if you are going to Roofing Day this year, please put it in the chat, ask questions as we go along. So we are going to start with Charles. Charles, tell us the history of you being involved in Roofing Day and your story, because I know that's going to lead us to Jesus.
Charles Antis: Jesus, I don't remember you being that skinny. Did they alter those photos?
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Hey, now, now, now.
Charles Antis: I'm just kidding. Well, gosh, when Deb was talking, I remember this small but mighty committee, I remember when Reid came in because Reid was our new CEO four or five years ago, but I was used to Bill Good who was there for 29 years. That's who I met that day I met you, Heidi, the day I got really involved. And all of a sudden there's this new person coming in and I was not happy about that because how you going to replace Bill Good? Good. And then Reid Ribble spoke and I got emotional. I was wiping tears out of my eyes I was hoping nobody saw. Who is this guy? And he talked about the power we could do together, and maybe he learned something in those three terms of Congress that he served in Wisconsin. But when he came in, he said this thing like, "Hey, we're going to go to Washington."
Now, when I heard that, I've done lobbying before, I've done a lot for Habitat and I've felt heard a little bit, but I didn't know that it was a good investment of time until he said, "There's going to be four of us. We're all going to go march together." He doesn't talk like me. He didn't say it like that, but he was excited and we heard him and there was something really powerful I think when we decided that we could go. Because what happened was he didn't say, "Charles, you come." He didn't say, "Come and bring your VPs." He said, Come," and this is the most important part, "bring the folks that do the work on the roofs." And that's why I said earlier they look and sound like Jesus. And I mean that because all of my labor in Antis Roofing, and it's not because I'm seeking it this way, it's because the labor available to me is Latin American employees that come from south of the border, like Jesus from the Central Plains of Mexico or El Salvador.
But Jesus is from Mexico. Don't want to mess that up. We know where we're from. But that's important that he shows up. And so I came to Jesus and I say, "Jesus, will you come to Washington to me?" And I'd rather hear exactly from you. I always tell it and I impersonate your voice very poorly. But I remember you didn't say yes right away. So what did you think when I came to you and I said, "Jesus, let's go to Washington"?
Jesus Zermeno: Well, my first impression was I don't know what to say because I never thought to be there. And I tell, "Well, let me think about it. Give me a few days." And then when I got home, I asked to my daughter. I was talking to them and I had this opportunity to go to Washington, but I don't know, I can't go now. I was not decided what to do. But then she told, "You know what? You got to go." I said, "Why?" She said, "No, you got to go. You have this opportunity. You go. You have to go." And then I come the next day or a couple of days later, talk to them. "I am going. I am going with you guys to see what we can do to represent all these people, the people on the field who's doing the hard work on the roofing." So that's why I made the decision to go. And I think that was a great decision, and nice experience to be there.
Charles Antis: You know, I'll-
Heidi J. Ellsworth: It's that next generation that's helping us get there, isn't it, Jesus?
Jesus Zermeno: Yes.
Charles Antis: Yeah. We'll speak more to that in this story. But it was that decision, it was that next generation and it was the immigrant family. It was father and daughter. Just like showing up this year it's father and son when we go to Washington again. But we went. So we went, we brought this contingent and we went there. And I remember a really profound moment. Again, having done lobbying before and not really feeling heard, wondering how this really works, knowing they need to meet us, knowing they need to see their constituents, but not really having success. I showed up and I remember I showed up first in the office of Mimi Walters, and she was a sitting congressman for our district in Irvine were or business is. And I had met her before. I'd gotten coffee with her. I had tried to lobby with her before, and I felt like I had a good relationship with her.
But again, I didn't necessarily feel all of this interaction. But something happened that day we showed up in our office. It wasn't just me. Jesus was there, and there was about 30 other people in the district that showed up. We had 30 roofing people in that meeting. And in that meeting, what happened was we all introduced ourselves. So started with Mimi and her staff and then I said, "I'm Charles." And I remember, I'm Bob, I'm Ken, and all of a sudden it comes to Jesus and he says, I'm going to do your voice again.
Jesus Zermeno: Yeah.
Charles Antis: "I am Jesus Zermeno." Just like that. And there was something different that I had never seen before. And in that moment there was a pause because that was the face of the workers that did the work, and it felt different when she heard it. But the thing that happened next was more shocking to me because right after that we got pulled away. We were being corralled by Duane and staff, and this is before you were there, Deborah, but we were even told where to go. And I didn't understand that.
I usually just go up and do one meeting. This time we're doing all these meetings, and so they say, "Charles, you go here." And I'm thinking, "Why am I going there? Lou Korea, I met him before. He's the first Congressman or the first Senator I ever lobbied for Habitat. Why aren't you going there?" Because you don't live in his district. Jesus is going there alone. And so Jesus goes to see Korea who I wanted to see. And I go into another big meeting, and I was not happy, and Jesus wasn't happy because he was... Remember, I was talking him into going, "This is going to be great. We're going to be together the whole time." And it's like we're pulling him away, and so he goes away. I think you should tell that part. You go to meet Korea. What happens?
Jesus Zermeno: When they told me I'm going to meet Lou Korea, and I asked Charles, "Are you going to see Lou Korea?" He says, "No, I'm going somewhere else." Who's going to be with me? I don't don't know what... Just you. And there was another gentleman from San Francisco, just him and I. But well, let's go. I don't know what I'm going to do, but let's go. So there was a very nice experience to see how Lou Korea, he was happy to see me there. And I was very happy because he says, he told me you're not supposed to be there, he says, "Because I just come, I make time for you because I know you come from my district, from my city." So that was something amazing to meet Lou Korea there.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: What was some of the conversation?
Jesus Zermeno: Well, he asked me, "What do you need? Well, what you guys doing here?" And we're talking, we are looking for immigration reform and more help for our district and for all our people, the roofing industry. So he says, "Ho ahead, you guys try to do whatever you can and I'm going to support you guys wherever I can."
Charles Antis: So we come back after that meeting and I'm expecting to see the face that walked away kind of a little bit scared. You had a little bit of fear in your eyes, as I would in that situation. Instead, he comes back to me and he's beaming. He's walking on a cloud. I think you'd already called your daughter. And he was just so excited that he was able to have that interaction. And I think that was cool. But the coolest thing was when I got home just a couple of weeks later, I met a homelessness event for United in Homelessness, which I'm on the board of. And there's Lou Korea. And I'm so excited to see him because I want to tell him about this impact he had on Jesus. And I went up to him and I said, "Congressman Korea." He cut me off as I was about to say, "You have no idea the impact you had on..."
And he cut me off, he grabbed my hand and he said, "Charles, you have no idea the impact Jesus had on me." And he told me the story from his point of view, that he had worked 48 hours in the office. He hadn't left his office, he went to a hotel room to get some much needed rest. And he saw that one man had come from his district and he knew he had to go there. And he said it was a great meeting. They have a lot in common. I think he's from Mexican descent as well. And it was fascinating to see that because he was so proud. And what's funny is I've talked to him, I've run into maybe five or six times. There's not a time, including three months ago, last time I saw Lou, that he doesn't talk about Jesus. That is the impact you have when you bring your people with you to Washington. It is a big deal. And other trades don't get this either. People need to feel, feel the people that they're representing.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. I think that... First of all, thank you. Thank you for sharing that, especially Jesus. Charles tells the story a lot, but to hear it directly from you, I'm like, "This is so cool." And now you'll be... You're going to be at Roofing Day again this year? Who's all going to Roofing Day this year?
Charles Antis: This year we're getting another opportunity. Narciso, who's a former MVP in the roofing industry, just like Jesus, he's coming. But this year we're doing something unique. He's coming representing again the immigrant labor population. His son is first gen, he also works at Antis, studying engineering. He's going to come. So we're going to have father and son this year. And we've had a lot of interactions with our first gen employees. Fernando's not coming this year. He wants to come, but we're so busy he needs to stay and do his job. So right now we're sort of flipping and I'm going to go again this year, but we have to make little in-house deals to see who can go and who can work. And this year that's the plan. But there there's one other story, though, that's really good.
And if you look at the pictures that you have flashed up there, mostly it's the last time we went together or one of the times, and it's the year after. And that's the year we met Katie Porter. And Katie Porter was the Congressperson that came in after Mimi Walters. And Katie Porter was somebody that we had met, and you could see we had a good meeting. And I remember that meeting the same thing, where I'm talking, like you were just mentioning. I'm blah blah, blah. This is what it's like to be Jesus in his area. And then I caught myself, I think I got a weird look from Katie, like, "He's right here. Why are you talking?" And then the same thing. He got to share and we felt heard. In fact, a cool thing happened when we had reached out to her the next year to see if we could see her again.
And we were hoping she'd come by and visit Antis campus. And I sent her a text and I said, "Katie, I don't know if you remember me, but I came up to visit you last year and I hope that we can visit you again and that you'll come visit us at Antis campus." And I didn't get a text back for a couple of days. I was actually in the pack meeting. I don't know if you were there yet, Deborah, but I was in that meeting and I just gave this story about storytelling, why we need to mention why we wear the socks. I'm going to flash my socks here if I can really quick, why we wear these socks.
Deborah Mazol: Oh, and Charles, we'll have those this year for everybody, the socks.
Charles Antis: Boom. Oh, my God. See. So this is what she said. And I'm in that meeting. I just gave this story about why we have to tell our stories and not everybody in the room believed it. And then my phone buzzes. I pick it up and I stood up and I said, "I'm sorry, I got to read this text." And it says, "Charles, this is Katie Porter. Of course, I remember you. You're the guy who brought Jesus to visit me in Washington and the guy that wears those red and white Ronald McDonald House socks." Boom. And so I think that is powerful. And then she followed up by coming to visit us at Antis campus. And when she came here, we have that on tape somewhere. I'll always remember that what she did, too, she thanked me. But in that thanking, looked right past me to Jesus.
I think we had Luis there, too. And she said, "This is the first guy pointing," pointing, referring to me, "that ever brought, didn't just bring his VPs, he didn't bring his kids, which would be fine, but he brought the people that do the work." And I thought it made so much sense to me in that moment. Look at just a small couple of stories we've told you from just a few times visiting Washington, having years of lobbying experience, but suddenly this big pause on our industry. And by the way, if you don't think our industry's sexy, think again. That is an Indiana Jones looking character, and that's one of our guys, and that's one of our guys in his first month working here, I was told. And he's already got swagger because he's the guy, he's the person that can go up there and keep that family safe and dry. And when you own this trade with big intention, like they do in Washington, like Deb and Duane and Terry, I'm missing someone. Who did I miss?
Heidi J. Ellsworth: No, you got it.
Deborah Mazol: That's the whole gang.
Charles Antis: That's where we really score. And I think that's what's happening in the roofing industry right now. That's what happened with Bill Good, transitioned to Reid Ribble. Look who's in charge right now. He was in the same business of lobbying before he was moving the roofing industry forward.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: McKay Daniels.
Deborah Mazol: And Charles, I have to tell you, I didn't even get to tell you this yet, but even Katie Porter, who's now running for Senate in California, as you know, she has... I just looked, she's confirmed a meeting with your group again this year.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah.
Deborah Mazol: Yep.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: That's so cool. Well, I want to kind of bring this around, too, because Tammy Hall, who leads our government affairs committee on NRCA is on the call. Tammy, thank you. And Tammy just wrote, "Good morning from southwest Florida, 76 degrees and sunny." You didn't need to brag about that one, Tammy. I'm just saying. But congratulations. "Cannot wait for a Roofing Day CFS. I am excited to be joining one of our upcoming leaders in estimating, Brad North, and our fantastic metal division superintendent, Gabe Lopez." So Tammy is doing the exact same thing. And Florida, there's always been this big contest because Florida usually, isn't that right, Deb, has the most people there?
Deborah Mazol: Yes. And I hesitate to say Florida is not leading this year.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Oh, Tammy, you got four weeks.
Charles Antis: Who's?
Deborah Mazol: Ohio. Ohio has the edge. I think... Well, you know what, Tammy? I just saw that your people sign up today. It might even be even, but Ohio and Florida are really running with it. And then I think California and Texas are shortly thereafter.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: There we go. Well, and I think this whole conversation of bringing people, bringing Jesus, bringing Narciso, who are actually on the roof, who are from immigrant families, who can really talk to it and talk about it, that it makes such an impact. And I also think bringing our younger generation makes such an impact. So just real quick, my roofing story, the first year we went with Tim and I, Tim, my husband, and it was awesome. We had so much fun, but I didn't feel like... I felt like, I don't know, did we really make an impact? We were there, we met with our Oregon congressmen and women, but did we make that much of an impact? And then the following year, James Ellsworth, who is our Chief of Staff at Roofers Coffee Shop, he went and it just brought a whole different dynamic. It just kind of... Much like Charles, I felt the same way.
It's like, "Okay, just go to this guy right here. This is the future. This is what's happening." So I think it's so important for people out there to do that, to bring some different faces, not just the same old faces, bring some different faces that the roofing industry to show that we are diverse and that we have a lot going on out there. I do want... Tammy said, "What are the numbers? I'm getting on the phone." Love a little competition. And Deb gave her back the numbers 24 to 21. Oh, we only have two from Oregon right now, so we're sending out the word from Oregon, too, to say, "Hey, come on." But I know Karen Edwards is on here. They've got a pretty good contingency coming from Pennsylvania. So if you are attending, please make a note in the chat so we know and so Deb can make sure you're all signed up and everything is good.
So what I want to do is just real quick talk about the day, right? Because one of the things, and Deb, I want to talk about this, because like I said, that first year that we went, it was so amazing. I was so proud, but I was scared. I was one of those people going, "They don't don't want to hear from me. I don't know what to say." And I never am at a lack for words. And so it was... I think to help people understand that you really help everyone, you help everyone on the issues, how to address, what to do. Jesus, before we start that, you knew the issues when you walked in there all by yourself because of all of the work that they did, right?
Jesus Zermeno: Yeah.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, it makes it easier. So Deb, go ahead and walk us through the day real quick.
Deborah Mazol: Yeah, definitely. Thanks, Heidi. So we try to prepare everyone, but at the end of the day, you're just talking to people. Don't worry. I was a staffer, McKay, our now CEO, was a staffer. It's just having a conversation so they know what is important to you. And as constituents, it's their job and they want to hear from you. So we're going to kick off the day in the afternoon at four o'clock. We're going to train you how to speak about government issues. We're going to give you a backgrounder on all the different issues that we're covering, whether it's workforce development challenges or tax reform for small businesses. Or this year we're doing an energy efficiency technology and sustainability funding piece. So we'll give you all that information. It's action packed, but we will also send you detailed information ahead of time. So probably about a week before we'll send you one-pagers.
We're trying to finalize those now, so even sooner, hopefully. And this year that's new, we're putting together one document that's very specific to not only our issues for Roofing Day, but also the roofing industry writ large on each member. So what you'll be able to do this year is go into this document, say you're meeting with Katie Porter and you can see did she co-sponsor one of our bills. Is she on the CTE caucus, for example? So right away then you'll have a discussion point. We'll put in there where they're from. Maybe you're from the same city in their district. And so that'll make it really easy to connect on a personal level. Also, new this year, and it was I believe Charles' suggestion, and it was awesome, we have a personal quote of how that piece of legislation or that advocacy issue personally affects your business.
So whether that means that tax reform allows you to invest in your community, pay your workers more, provide additional benefits, you can read that personal story and think about, "Okay, do I have a similar personal story? This is how I can tell it in an easy way." So I think that's going to help a lot of people feel more comfortable this year. Then we'll have some educational speakers. The former EPA assistant administrator. GAF helped us get that one. I think he'll be really cool to give an insight on what people can expect in the sustainability in the EPA regulatory kind of framework, which will help guide our discussion on one of our issue areas, which is the building technologies office. Then we'll have a cocktail reception. Everyone likes drinks. ABC is going to sponsor that particular one.
I know they're the sponsors today, so we thank them for all they do. The next day we're going to get started bright and early, have a breakfast, have a congressional keynote speaker. We're 99% there on who we will have, so I'll hold that back for now. But stay tuned. We're having Bruce Mehlman back again this year. He gave a slideshow presentation of the political, national, and economic trends and how that can help you plan for your business relative to federal legislation and the regulatory environment. Then we're going to have our Chief of Staff panel back. This year, we have people from Texas, Minnesota, and Alabama. Oh yep, there's our old group there. We're having fresh faces this year, a bipartisan split, and we're trying to do different regions. So working to finalize that. And Heidi, you took away my agenda.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I got it back.
Deborah Mazol: Now I don't remember where we were. I'm just teasing. Then we're all going to hop on buses, go to Capitol Hill. We're going to take a big photo in front of the Capitol so everyone can have that digital copy as their keepsake. I know Charles is good with his selfie, so maybe he'll jump in front at the end and do a selfie with the big group. Then we're going to do congressional meetings. Most people will have about three meetings. So two senators and one representative. I'm happy to report right now we have about 187 people signed up. Within that, we've already had 16 members confirm meetings, which is great. And a lot of senator meetings. That's right around 33%, which will be great. The average is 25%. So I think that after two or three years of COVID, people just want to meet in person really bad, so that's helping us out. And then we'll just all get together at the end and have a nice reception and debrief what we learned and our experiences, and then we'll send you back home.
Charles Antis: So when I hear all this, this is very good description, I also have a very ADD brain and so I'm very patient with the audience that's like me. So to me it's like, "Oh no, how am I going to remember all those issues?" And I'll be honest with you, I don't know the issues clearly. I might know one issue clearly, but I am myself. So if I'm going in there, what you said in the beginning, Deborah, I'm just being myself. So generally I'll be an icebreaker, I'll get it started or help finish it, but I'm not the one that's going to do the issues. And if I have my way, I have some years, but I really have Rudy over here, somebody else do it because they can study up on that. They have that story, they have that personal story that's more there.
But I think my point is this, don't be intimidated. Most of you are going to come and just have that answer a question when ask you and make that voice. They need you in the room. They need to see 30 people in a trade in a room. And everyone introduced themselves and a few people talk about your issues. So wherever, if you want to talk, you'll be able to talk. If you want to be supportive and just give your name, we need a lot of you there, but we need you there. And the other thing is, I'll say this, everything you described, you guys know that follow me, I'm on a lot of boards. I go to a lot of events. Almost every day I go to events. I go to retreats all the time, and everybody goes to retreats. You've been to retreats for something in the business or whatever.
And retreats are sometimes good and sometimes you don't get much out of it. This is like a retreat where you're going to get a unique snapshot of something that's beautiful that you are a part of, that you'll be proud of forever. And what it does for you, I want to spend some time talking about it. What it does for our people at Antis Roofing. Jesus, it must feel good inside knowing the way the men at Antis Roofing, the people Antis Roofing are proud of you. They see themselves in you and vice versa, and doesn't that feel good?
Jesus Zermeno: Yeah. It's something amazing to represent those people. Yeah, it makes me feel pretty good. And the guys, when they come here every morning, they're comfortable to come and talk to me about everything, about the NRCA and all the roofing industry.
Charles Antis: It feels like we say something in Antis, one of our expressions is every nail matters, because it's true on the roof. There's 200,000 parts in the average roof that we install over a complex, and every nail goes in too far, not far enough it's true. But man, look at it in context of people, look at it in context of trade in general. You show up, amazing things happens with the trade. But God, if I don't care about the trade, let's suppose I'm completely selfish, I'm doing this just for me, for my culture, it's one of the single greatest things you can do that can pause on your employees to say, "Hey, look at you." And by the way, do you mind if I talk for another minute?
Heidi J. Ellsworth: No, go for it. You're good.
Charles Antis: Okay. So there's something that happens in Antis Roofing that took me years to get. If you talked to me five years ago and we had a culture war, I would tell you privately I'm not satisfied. It doesn't reach all the way to our people, but it does today. And there's something beautiful that happens when somebody is listened to. And I'm going to tell you a quick story, not from Jesus, but it's a story from another employee that he remembers that used to work for us named Pedro Vasquez.
Jesus Zermeno: Yeah.
Charles Antis: He told me this personal story and he told it to me over breakfast because about 15 years ago, I took everybody home and I made them breakfast and I asked them questions about their childhood so we could see what we value together. And this guy Pedro says, "Charles, when I woke up on this farm in central Mexico at my early age, as early as eight, every morning at 3:30 AM my father would come and nudge me gently and say, Hey Pedro. And when I'd wake up, he'd hold my stare and he'd say, Hey Pedro, will you come and work with me for a couple hours on the farm this morning before you go to school?"
Both of them knowing he only has probably six years education. And Pedro holding his father's stare, smiling, would say, "Yes, Dad." That story is simple, but I heard it very similar over and over again that year I took my people to breakfast. And I think when Antis caught up to it, we realized there's a better way to honor people. There's a better way to listen to their real stories and a better way to show up. And the last thing that showed up two weeks ago, you and I last month went to Houston's for lunch. It's a nice steak restaurant, and I think Narciso saw that. Narciso is his boss, he's the leader.
And Narciso, we went to Houston's two weeks later. And when we were there, we were sitting in this restaurant like this, I'm here, Narciso is there, and this server walked up. I looked at the server. He was a tall Mexican teenager, looked very much like a first generation. Now I didn't know that. I'm just watching this. And I watched Narciso look at this young man, maybe 19, 20 years old. And I watched this young man look at Narciso knowing, recognizing him, his accent, where he was from. And there was this way that they held each other. There was an extra pause in the way that they answered. And that's what happens at Antis Roofing, and it's beautiful. And that's what happens when you pause on your people and let them go do what you thought maybe you only could do. You're going to see something that's going to be empowering to your company, empowering to your culture, and most importantly, empowering to those that do the work.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yes, that's it. There's so many different sides to this day in Washington DC and I want to get into the issues, but I do want to say one thing. For anybody who's watching this on demand or wondering if they should go or anything, we come from a very, very small town in Central Oregon, Sisters, Oregon. And just like what Jesus was saying and what Charles was saying, you go to Washington DC and it's just like, oh my gosh, it's so big and there's so much and it's just kind of crazy. But the minute you walk into one of your congressmen or women's office, it's all Oregon, right? Everything, every sign on the wall, everything is there. And all of a sudden you come into this one spot and you're like, "I do matter. Oregon is represented here. We're here." So whether it's your company, whether it's your culture, your community, or your state, there is just such a pride that goes into this day that you just wouldn't know. You wouldn't ever experience it unless you did something like this.
Charles Antis: That's true. And Heidi, can you sing the Oregon State song?
Heidi J. Ellsworth: No, I cannot.
Charles Antis: (Singing). I'm an Oregonian by birth.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: First of all, you wouldn't want me to. And second of all, I don't think I've ever heard that, Charles. That's awesome. Okay, so we've got to go time wise here. I want to make sure we get to the issues. So if anyone has any questions as we go through this, please chat them out if you have any certain questions. But Deb, let's talk about the issues that we're going to be talking about, because we come so well-prepared, talking points, we have it. I always like them printed out because then I can make notes on them and stuff like that, so workforce shortage solutions.
Deborah Mazol: All right, thank you. And I'm a little offended, I think. I'm not going to sing On Wisconsin for you, Charles. No one asked me. Grand Old Badger flag. Rah, rah. Thanks, Heidi. But gosh, it's hard to follow Charles' story, because I'm thinking about my dad growing up and did all sorts of odd jobs and was a welder by trade. And I remember him waking me up. He would just say goodbye. I would go back to sleep. But I'm a little emotional about that. But I do want to say that for us as a DC staff, it also really motivates us when you guys come and tell your story because it reminds us of all of these things on the paper, workforce shortage solutions, Department of Energy Building Technologies. It puts such a face on those issues and it really motivates us and helps us better do our jobs in advocating for you. So I appreciate everyone always making time to come. I know how hard it is, but the advocacy issues, it seems so boring following Charles' story, but it's not.
So we have a couple workforce shortage solutions that we're going to advocate for, which is career and technical education. Perkins State Grants. We mentioned earlier, we've gotten about $200 million worth of increases each year. It's just over a $1 billion program, so that's a huge increase relative to the total dollars. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, that was passed a couple years ago. And what that does is provides money to local and regional job creation centers, job network centers that people can go to that are looking for jobs. They tell the person about their skillset and they match those with employers that are willing to train them up and get them involved in the industry.
That's one of the chairwoman, Dr. Fox on the Workforce Committee, that's one of her top priorities. It was initially passed with a split Congress, so we're hopeful that in this split Congress that could be something that we could all work together on. Immigration reform's always a little bit trickier, but there's not a day goes by that you don't hear about something immigration related in the news. So I don't know what the crisis point is going to be. I would've thought we would've passed it already, but we need to keep that hammer on and keep those personal stories out there, like Jesus' and the father son duo. I'm excited to meet them as well, Charles. Support for the Main Street Tax-
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Real quick, just real quick before you move on to the next one, Jesus, the fact that we have immigration reform on here, and you can speak to that directly with your story, how important is that to you?
Jesus Zermeno: Well, it is very important because that way we can have a Social Security, not just green card. We need Social Security for everybody, that way for tax report, everything. It helps a lot for everybody. And people can go back to visit the families in Mexico or wherever they are. That's very important for everybody.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love when you bring that down to the person. It seems like so much when you hear immigration reform and when you hear... And Deb, you know I'm a little jaded on this, but when you hear all the news come out of DC, it's so... It's like, "Well, it doesn't really matter." But to have what you just said, to go home and visit with your family. That should just be basic.
Jesus Zermeno: Yeah. People spend a lot of years without seeing the family, so once they got a green card or whatever, they can get a Social Security, but also they can go visit the family at least once a year, whatever it is. But it is very important for our people, for all the immigrants like me.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, I love that. Sorry. I just wanted to... Sometimes you got to make this personal. Not sometimes, all the time we need to make this personal. And before we go on to the next ones, I do want to read one thing that came in from Scott. Thank you Scott. "I think Charles shared it exceptionally well. What is great about his company, but what is also great about Roofing Day in DC, it is about relationships. Relationships developed amongst our coworkers, our fellow roofing professionals, and the relationship created with our elected representatives." So it's across the board. I love that. And that's where we start going in. So Deb, I'm going to come back. Sorry, keep going through the issues, but I'd love to... Sometimes when we see the issues, I don't think everybody sees how it affects us.
Deborah Mazol: Definitely. I'm going to skip the funding for the Department of Energy's Building Technologies office. So what they do is they work with private business. I know Wholesome, one of our members, has worked with the office to create innovative solutions using federal dollars sometimes and combining the best people in the room to make sure that consumers are getting the most bang for their buck when they look at their energy bills, how they can upgrade efficiencies or re-roofing, having resilient structures that can withstand storm damage, obviously, whether it's Florida or California. Now really following them and making sure when we do rebuild, we do it in the best manner possible with the best technology out there. But also helping demonstrate and then bringing to market advanced technologies that will not only be noteworthy achievements, but they can grow exponentially in the economy.
Whether it's a technology they came up with for roofing, they may use it in another technology, maybe an electric car or a battery, a significant battery upgrade, something like that. So we are advocating for funding for that department itself. It's an existing program, and we're advocating for the funding request that the President put out in his recent budget, which is $348 million. Then the support for the Main Street Tax Certainty Act. What this bill does, it's pretty simple. It makes permanent, the 199A qualified business deduction for small businesses that are organized as a pass-through entity, so S-Corps, LLCs, limited partnerships. What that does is when the 2017 tax law was passed and they lowered the corporate rate, they almost forgot about pass-through entities. And there was a very unbalanced approach as they were first making the way through making the bill, the bill was making its way through Congress and we said, "Wait, wait, wait. Pass-through entities represent most of the jobs in America. They're all across America. Some states or some regions within states only have pass-through businesses. So we want to make sure that the tax rates are comparable with each other."
So what they came up with was this 199A qualified business deduction to bring that pass-through rate down to be about equal to the C corp rate. All that to say the C corp rate does not expire. That was made permanent, but this one does expire at the end of 2025. So this bill would make that deduction permanent. It doesn't go... There are a lot of guardrails on it. So sometimes people will say, 'Well, that tax benefit is just for wealthy people, wealthy business owners." And it's like, "No, no, no, no, to even get the deduction, you have to have employees, you have to be providing something, you have to have equipment." So it's a really good story to tell.it's a bipartisan bill. It had nearly a hundred co-sponsors last Congress, so we're just making sure people know, one, it's expiring, but starting to lay the groundwork to make sure that even though it doesn't expire until 2025, that hopefully we can get that taken care of before we're in a crisis mode.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: And I'm making a note because I want to make sure I've talked to my tax accountant, and same thing, we're all small businesses, so going prepared into DC to be able to bring your own story and how this has helped you, I think makes a huge difference as we're going through that. If you're any questions or comments out there about the issues or your thoughts, please share those. We have just a little bit of time left. I want to go back to Jesus one more time and just, I would love for you to put your thoughts out there to everyone who's listening of why they should take the time to really look at their team, their employees and bring them. Just your thoughts on what this has all meant to you. I know you said earlier, but let's summarize it up.
Jesus Zermeno: Yeah. Well, I think it's very important for everybody, especially for the people in the field. It motivates everybody to do something else. The guys on the field do the hard work. They feel like somebody's representing them in Washington DC, and I think it's very important for every company to have people up there.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: And you've had your congressmen and women visit Antis campus, as you said before. Tell us just a little bit, because we all fly in to DC, but then especially for roofing companies, manufacturers, suppliers across the board, how important it is to get your legislators to your office in the field, in the home territory. And I know Deb and the team, Duane and Terry, they help coordinate that, too. So Charles, you've now developed all these relationships, like Scott said. How does that continue to help not just your culture, but also business overall?
Charles Antis: Well, if you would've told me 30 years ago, "Charles, 30 years from now, this person you're going to see on TV all the time is going to come visit and pause on your company," I would've said, "Wow." I would've been nervous with excitement. Like, "Wow." But it only happens because of this. And I think that there's something that's so big that happens that the feeling of it, that Jesus does a great job of describing it, being heard, knowing your voice matters. I think that one of the reasons Jesus is not going is he wants to make room for first generation people to go. Because as he sees it, they're more and better command of this language than him, and yet they know his condition, they know what it's like to be him. That's the dad, that's their dad, and so he's making room. And when that happens, I think the voice of the young ones, Fernando, our estimator who's gone, and Ricoh.
What they say is very similar. It's "Wow, I didn't know how politics worked and who knew they would listen to me? But here I am in DC and I'm making it better for not just all my peers at home, but for millions across the country in our trade and beyond that, tens of millions that support everything else." And I think that the power of that is huge. As Scott said, that the relationships from that are huge. The way that you hold yourself is huge. And the impact from all of that we're seeing, we're hearing the stories, it's lifting the trade that some of us saw ourselves as common laborers, not worthy of being at the table in the conversation, eating the crumbs on the floor. And today we're up at the table ready for the feast. We see ourselves as these few, brave, proud, who keep the families safe and dry, just like you'll see all over all of our branding. And that's what starts to happen.
And that's why you need to go. It is the most amazing experience. And if you had different people from different companies, you would hear other stories that would be similar but not alike. Come and tell that story inside your company and watch what it does from within. Watch the way everybody sees themself. Watch your recruiting. Have a congressman come and then get that attention out there and then go recruit a new COO, see what shows up. It makes a huge difference in every part of your business. And for me, how I sleep at night.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, I love it. Okay. Deb, how do people register and what's the timeline? Let's get everybody going.
Deborah Mazol: Yes, thanks, Heidi. You still have time to register. We ask that you register by April 5th on our NRCA website at www.nrca.net/roofingday. Put it in the chat. I'll put it in the chat again. We also have a hotel block at the Grand Hyatt, Washington. We have that held until March 27th, so please book your hotels as the... I know the hotel's completely sold out on Monday and Tuesday. All the receptions, the breakfast, all the speakers, everything's going to be at the Grand Hyatt, so you want to be there to save yourself some logistics. It's also near tons of restaurants and shopping. Very close to all the monuments and anywhere you really want to get to. And we're going to shuttle you from there up to your Hill meetings, so please book by March 27th. They're selling out, and it's also a very competitive rate. I think you save almost $200 per night just by booking through us.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Excellent.
Charles Antis: I can't believe it's less than a month away. I swear yesterday I was blown away when I was told it's a few weeks from now.
Deborah Mazol: Well, IRE being a little later has me a little confused as well, because usually you have more time. So we're hopeful. Usually we get about 50% of people signing up in the next, between this week and next week. So if that holds, we'll have a record year, a record number of people, as relative to the last few years.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah.
Charles Antis: And Jesus won't be there this year, so that's a problem. Let's bring your first gens. Bring your immigrant employees.
Jesus Zermeno: Yeah. Narciso is going to represent us this time.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it. So good. And speaking of, for all of the women in roofing out there, there is going to be a Women in Roofing brunch at 10:00 AM. It is at the Succotash Restaurant in downtown Washington DC. We will be there. It is going to be so great. It's going to be education and mentoring on how to do more advocacy, how to be more involved. So if you are in the DC area, if you're coming to Roofing Day, whatever you're doing, please sign up for this. You can see where to... It's on the National Women in Roofing site. Just go to nationalwomeninroofing.org and you'll find it to be able to register.
Great. And we did this pre COVID, and it was so awesome. So yeah, it's a great day. Again, I want to thank ABC Supply. As you saw, they are such a huge sponsor. Thank you for everything you do around advocacy for our industry, Roofing Day, and just overall. It's pretty outstanding. So I want to say thank you to our guests. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Charles. Thank you, Deb. You have been amazing. It's just been wonderful. So thank you for being here today.
Jesus Zermeno: Thank you for inviting me.
Charles Antis: It's been so much fun. I can't wait to do it again. And if any of the audience is going to be in Texas, in Austin this week, come say hi at Wealth Builder.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: Oh, yeah. And Deb, thank you. Thank you for all you do.
Deborah Mazol: Thanks, Heidi. Nice to meet you, Jesus, finally.
Jesus Zermeno: Nice to meet you. Thank you.
Charles Antis: That's so funny. I thought you guys had met. That's so awesome.
Deborah Mazol: No, he's just been the myth and the lure.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: I know.
Charles Antis: But doesn't he have a sexy voice?
Jesus Zermeno: My name is Jesus.
Charles Antis: I'm going to save you. I'm going to save you right now. Here we go. Okay.
Jesus Zermeno: Thank you.
Heidi J. Ellsworth: You're welcome. I want to invite everyone to join us April 13th. That's almost three weeks from now, but April 13th for our next Coffee Conversations. Super excited about this one. It's going to be on mergers and acquisitions and roofing. So who are buying roofing companies? What's happening? We hear about it every single day. There are roll-ups going on, there's mergers, there's acquisitions, and we want to get down and really find out what's going on in that discussion. Ken Kelly will be joining us. He has Kelly Holdings. He's been very involved in this scene, has some great insights. And of course, Trent Cotney, who always knows what's going on and can help anybody out there navigate these waters. So please register today. Megan is putting the registration. It's already in the chat, so you can register right now for the next one. And we'll be doing that on April 13th.
I didn't say anything in the beginning, but I always wanted to say thank you, Megan Ellsworth, our producer. She keeps us straight in the back and takes care of us. So appreciated. And remember, this has been recorded. It will be on demand within the next 24 hours. Please share it out to everyone and please encourage anyone and everyone in your company, your friends, your relationships, all the roofing people to join us at Roofing Day, April 18th and 19th in Washington DC because Roofers Coffee Shop will be there and we can't wait to see all of you. So have a great day. We'll see you on the next Coffee Conversations.
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