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Engineering, Education and Expansion - PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Engineering, Education and Expansion - PODCAST TRANSCRIPT
May 14, 2024 at 12:00 p.m.

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Ben and Terry Anderson from TRA Snow & Sun. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast!

Intro: Welcome to Roofing Road Trips, the podcast that takes you on a thrilling journey across the world of roofing. From fascinating interviews with roofing experts to on-the-road adventures, we'll uncover the stories, innovations and challenges that shape the rooftops over our heads. So fasten your seat belts and join us as we embark on this exciting Roofing Road Trip.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Hello and welcome to another Roofing Road Trips from RoofersCoffeeShop. This is Heidi Ellsworth, and I know I say this all the time, but we have a very special podcast today because when you've been in the roofing industry for 30 years, you make some great friends who also have been around the industry for 30 years and have amazing family-owned businesses. And I'm talking about our friends at TRA. TRA is the premier company for snow guards, also working on all types of fasteners for the roof. And so we wanted to hear more about this company and our dear friends, Terry and Ben Anderson. Terry, Ben, welcome to the show.

Terry Anderson: Thank you.

Ben Anderson: Thanks for having us.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Oh, this is very exciting because Terry and I have known each other, I think maybe not exactly at the beginning of our careers, but pretty close. So I am really excited to hear everything that's going on and get... I don't know, just relive a little bit of the past. So let's start out with some introductions. Terry, could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do with TRA?

Terry Anderson: Thank you. Well, I'm Terry Anderson and I have been in the roofing industry for... Getting close to 45 years.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Holy cow.

Terry Anderson: And I started in the concrete tile industry. I actually started working for Monray, which is probably a name, unless you've been around for a long time, you don't even recognize that.

Heidi J Ellsworth: I remember it.

Terry Anderson: Went from Monray to Monier to... What'd they go, Boral after that?

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah.

Terry Anderson: And now it's Westgate.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Westlake. Yep.

Terry Anderson: Westlake. So it's changed a lot and changed hands a lot. But that's kind of how, in the tile industry, how I got involved in snow retention. When I was with Monier, I set up the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the Mormon Church, and using tile roofs all over the United States. And we sold a lot of tile roofs and I worked directly with them. Years later after we'd sold that and wrote their specifications, they came back to me because I was no longer in that business anymore, I was running a roofing company and they asked me to be a consultant for them on their tile roofs in particular and make sure that they were being installed to their specifications because they were having problems. So I said, "Sure." So I became a licensed roofing consultant with the RCI at that time and was working with them.

And during that time, I found some problems that really bothered me, especially with snow and ice on tile roofs. I was seeing a lot of breakage in valleys and other areas and penetrations that were getting ripped off. And I felt bad, especially with this client because I had sold them on this product. And at this time, I was working with most of the tile manufacturers in the United States because they were selling tile to these churches. And I was doing a lot of testing on it, permeability, absorption, flexure tests. And I got to know the key people at all the manufacturers that were selling to the LDS Church. And when I found these problems with snow and ice breaking, I didn't know how to resolve it. So the first thing I did, of course, is talk to the manufacturers. And you know what? The manufacturers didn't seem to know the answers either.

And so that concerned me, so I tried, I thought maybe snow retention is some of the answer. I called some of the other manufacturers at that time. There weren't many at that time 30 years ago or more. They just said, "Put one row along the eave and that's all you need to do and that should stop it." And I said, "Well, does it matter what the slope is?" "No." "Does it matter the length of the run from eave to ridge?" "No." "Does it matter what the snow load is?" "No." So it was really obvious to me that there was no engineering behind this. It was just a guess to maybe protect gutters or something. I didn't know.

So I decided I needed to do more research to resolve this, and that's when I called and made contact with Dr. Nigel Cherry, which a lot of you have heard of his name in the industry, especially when it comes to tile roofing. And I had the opportunity to go over and visit Nigel Cherry and talk to him about tile roofs and snow and ice on them. He helped me, I visited with him. He made arrangements for me to see one of their companies. It's called... What was it? Zonda? I can't remember. A company in Norway, a company in Denmark. I also had a company that was in Germany and Austria that I went to and saw how they treated roofs. And it was totally different than the way we did it here in the United States.

I don't think we have the time at this time to explain the differences or why and why we're different, but I will say I learned a lot and I came back and tried to implement what I had learned. And it was successful. During that time, I was approached by the TRI, the Tile Roofing Institute, to write a manual on how tile roofs should be installed in snow country. So I did that with another gentleman from Colorado who was an engineer. And I got a lot of my information from Nigel Cherry and Denmark and others on snow loads and also a lot of information on ventilation, how to get rid of ice dams and that kind of stuff. So we wrote that manual, which at the time, I was just starting my TRI snow business manufacturing snow retention devices like what I had seen in Europe. And that kind of gave me the recognition and that manual helped me grow in the industry that I'm in.

Heidi J Ellsworth: That is so cool. I remember so much of that, Terry. I really do. And remember, because I think I was starting with EcoStar when you and I first met, and so a lot of that, I remember the book, all of the research and everything that went with it. So I want to continue, but I do want to also make sure we bring in Ben Anderson, who is your son, and we are very family-oriented around here at RoofersCoffeeShop. So Ben, just real quickly, a quick introduction of yourself and also what you're doing at TRA. And then I want to get back into the history.

Ben Anderson: So Ben Anderson, Terry's youngest son. There's two of us at TRA. I'm the youngest, in my young 30s, so I've been around the business pretty much since he already started, kind of born and raised and have been kind of bred into this system. It's been a system that I tried to leave for a little while in my late teens, and I caught myself in Alaska and Colorado while I was doing that, looking at roofs and just being like, "Oh, this is so cool," and came back to the industry. So very much into that. I'm over the operations at TRA, so I handle all of my production crew, all my sales team and the marketing stuff.

So I work with Heidi in RoofersCoffeeShop, and I work with trainings and architects and a few different side of things, and with the end users, the contractors, the wholesalers and the homeowners on an infrequent basis with the homeowners. But the contractors and the designers, those are the things that I enjoy. I like working with people. I don't like looking at the numbers. And that's my brother who's our CFO. He handles all the engineering. He has a master's degree in business and in engineering. So he handles all the background in regards to making sure that these calculations are tested correctly and thoroughly. And he handles all the black and white finances. So that's the two of us.

Heidi J Ellsworth: He may be a future victim for Roofing Road Trips. We'll see.

Ben Anderson: There you go.

Heidi J Ellsworth: So Terry, okay, so I want to give... You've started TRA, you have the manual out, you've been working with the folks. Kind of take us from there. How did you grow TRA? And really, to me, what I remember during those times is there was a lot of people wanting to understand snow retention and you were a leading person in the industry to talk to.

Terry Anderson: Yes, I was very excited about doing it because I saw that we didn't have the answers here in the United States, and it was important to me to get it out. And as the more I got into it, the more I got excited about certain things. I want to address that part later. I do wanted to say I saw all these books in Europe that were engineered things that had charts that said, "Oh, if you have a roof that's this slope and it's this run and it's got this snow load, you need this many snow stops per square meter on the roof," not squares, but square meters. And then they actually had detailed sheets showing how you would place them in that square meter. And I thought, "Okay, I'll take it back. I'll find somebody that speaks great German and I'll translate all this stuff and do it."

But then there even their measuring devices were different and their loads and so forth. So I decided, "No, I got to do it on my own. I don't want to just take it from Europe." So I ended up getting a grant from the state of Utah to work with Brigham Young University to test to see fail points of the patented bracket design that I made. And so we tested it. I knew that I didn't want to just test the bracket and see when it failed. I wanted to see when it failed in the system. So everything needed to be tested, verifying the type of sheathing they had, the roof type that they had and then pooling it to a fail point to know at what load it would fail at. And that became very important to me. And that's what we did, literally hundreds and hundreds of tests at Brigham Young University with Dr. Jensen to determine where are the fail load.

And we didn't just do one test on each roof type. We had to do a minimum of six so that we had proper data to really determine what those loads were. And then once we got all the data put in, we put a safety factor on it that we felt we needed and then we came up with charts just like what they had in Europe. And we found it was really different. I mean, the thing that shocked me so much after the testing was like we took a bracket for an asphalt shingle roof and we did one in seven sixteenths OSB board and then did the same bracket on the same asphalt shingles on three-quarter inch plywood. And we found out that the failure point was way greater on the OSB board than it was in the plywood. And it actually reduced the number of brackets you needed per roofing square by more than half by going to a thicker sheathing.

So it was very obvious to me that you can't just engineer your product, you have to know when it's going to fail in a system. And we moved forward from that. And as I became more of an expert in this, the thing that really got to me was I started getting asked as an expert witness in court cases. These were typically when somebody was unfortunately killed, a little five-year-old girl here or there or some adult or whatever. And I would get called on this and sometimes even have to go to court and I'd be interviewed. And I always thought, "Man, what would I say if somebody pulled me up to testify and said, 'Oh, you're a manufacturer of snow retention devices. Did you ever think that you should test it more than just how strong your bracket is in a system?'" And if I felt... If I just said, "No, I never tested anyway," I would feel horrible.

That means I really wasn't trying to resolve the problem and save lives. For example, this year I'm doing one down by Durango, Colorado where a little five-year-old girl was killed last year, father was put in the hospital and her brother too. And I just want to stop that. You get involved with cases like this and you become part of them, and it hurts to see people that are dying from snow and ice sliding off the roof and killing people. And so that's my main, I mean more than TRA, more than anything else, is that my desire is to save people's lives from snow and ice falling off the roof and killing people, destroying people's Maseratis, which I know a story, one that had his Maserati destroyed twice from snow sliding off, those type of things. We want to really encourage engineering to people. It is so important. And that's why at TRA we offer free engineering.

Heidi J Ellsworth: I love it.

Terry Anderson: That's the history. We've been doing it now for almost 30 years, always improving, always doing testing. We have full-time people here that test our product on different types of roof systems to know when they fail. We're always trying to improve our products to make them stronger so that you might, in a system, might be able to use a little bit less or somehow to reduce cost. We try very hard not to raise prices because we want to make our product affordable for most consumers. And that's kind of the history of where we are. I have six children, they've been involved. I started working in my garage, having somebody else make our product and now we've gone from our garage to two big buildings and manufacturing a lot.

Heidi J Ellsworth: That's incredible. And all of that history, the part of your passion of saving people's lives and property and really doing that right thing, to me, that just hits home. I mean, that's really what it's all about every day. But I have to say, Terry, I also am lucky enough now, not quite as long, but now to have family working in RoofersCoffeeShop and the family-owned business, and it's pretty dang awesome. So tell us, you have two sons, and I want to say Jared and Ben, right?

Ben Anderson: Jake and Ben.

Terry Anderson: Jacob and Ben.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Excuse me, Jake and Ben. So how is that? Tell me, how is that to be able to have TRA turn into a family-owned business and have both of your sons working there?

Ben Anderson: He has to keep a filter on this too because his son's on the video with him.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah, you got to be nice.

Terry Anderson: Yes. I mean, you hear all the stories about how hard it is to have a family-owned business. I won't disagree with that. And especially, I have to learn to make changes. You realize if you run the business for 20 years by yourself with your sons maybe being in manufacturing, making a part or trying to do some sales, but you're doing the everyday decisions and when that changes, that's a hard adjustment because you haven't had to talk to two other people or more and find out, "Okay, do we all agree on that? Are we moving in the right direction?" So there's no question that that has made it more complicated, but overall it makes it better.

I think all of you are aware that if one person runs it so strong in their way, usually those businesses are not successful. You really need input from a lot of people. And it's the input from your employees and others that will make you successful and you'll hear what your customers want and what people in manufacturing want to make your product better for everybody. So it's been very, very good for the company to go this way. I won't say it's been real easy, but it's been very good.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah, the hardest part is learning how to get out of the way. Right? That's what I've learned.

Terry Anderson: That's right.

Heidi J Ellsworth: How do I get out of the way? So Ben, kind of the same thing. First of all, I'd like you to tell your history a little bit. When did you and Jake join TRA? You kind of said a little bit in your induction, but how many years have you been there and how has the company culture with the second generation started making some change?

Ben Anderson: Oh, so history about myself and when I started, let's start here. I remember as a... Let's say one of my first memories I have as a younger kid was back in the Boy Scout days, or let's not even go Boy Scouts, let's go Cub Scout days if anybody's familiar with scouting, at the age of probably nine, going on a scout trip to our very first garage that wasn't at the house that I grew up in. Terry had one down the road. And we went there to see a manufacturing plant which was a garage next to the bowling alley where we had one press break and we were making just brackets for tile, concrete tiles back in the day. And Terry had us show up and walked us through it in about 15 minutes and said, "This is manufacturing." And it was very interesting. I had a whole bunch of friends with me and other Cub Scout people in my troop.

And at the end of it, after 15 minutes, everybody thought it was super interesting. And Terry said, "We still got 30 minutes here. How about we all take a moment here and box some brackets?" And he said, "I'll pay you 25 cents for every bracket boxed." And we were all excited and we realized back in the day we had a hundred brackets per box, which was super, super heavy. We've learned a lot over these last 30 years, and those are some of the first memories I have. Obviously, growing up in a business and working with family... In high school, I was working at TRA either in production during the summer or during the school year, I was there doing just data entry, working Excel sheets and doing a little bit more of the grunt work side of things. And that can wear you out pretty fast.

I appreciate all of our blue collar workers out there and the people working on the roofs. I applaud you because it takes some diligence. I left the company for a couple years, went up to Alaska and met my wife, came back, ended up having a child, which brought us back to the lower 40, let's say, that made us leave Alaska, and just really fell in love with it. I was a tour guide up there and really got into people, interacting with customers, interacting with the consumer. I enjoy that. Pretty much became a salesperson. And Terry saw that in me and brought me back as a salesperson back in 2014, early 2014. So came back then, I've been tenured with the company since then. So kind of jumped from there, went into... My brother, left the company for a period of time, so I ran as vice president.

Terry was president, so it was just the two of us. I ran pretty much the rest of the company that Terry didn't touch and did a little bit of his dirty work for him while he was here too. And then in 2018, late 2018, early 2019, Terry retired and my brother came back to the company in the end of 2018 and we started running the company again with him just kind of as a shadow. We still meet weekly, we go over things. It's definitely very family culture still. Heidi, we meet once a week on Tuesdays. Happened to be all luck we're here today talking on a Tuesday because that's kind of when we always schedule each other. But the culture in regards to that family side of things has been really, definitely can have just goods and bads. I would say for the most part, it's a good, especially for a lot of the work atmosphere.

I think the only thing that people don't love having family with is meetings because meetings can get contentious. But other than that, which I think is anything, we'll have a family dinner and tell me you never have a little bit of contention in a family dinner. I think there's always some if you get down talking about some passionate side of things. And I think Terry and my brother and myself can be passionate people, which are really good. But it brings great culture. It brings valuable and very wanted employees. It keeps long-lasting employees. Well, I mean, we have Devin Hancock, who's one of our sales manager. She's been with the company for more than 20 years now. She's been there for a long time. We have multiple other employees here that have family members working with them. We have our finance manager who brought on her son and then brought on her daughter-in-Law.

And the referrals change and it brings family on board. And so it's not all Andersons, but we have family that just works together. And I think it's a great thing because we all know more people spend life at work than time with their own house, with their family. So if you can withstand the goods of working with your family at work and still go home, bring in a good atmosphere, it's good for you to spend that time with your family. Family is really what's most important. A job is a job. You're getting things done. We do have values behind this. That's why we're here. It's great to save lives and to save property, but also being able to work with family and be able to see the family that are being helped in this situation, it's just that silver lining that makes everything better and brings more people.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah, I have to tell you, I agree with that 100%. I'm so blessed to work with my husband and son and daughter.

Ben Anderson: Your daughter's a gem, by the way.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah. And they're all friends with all of your family there, and it works out really good. But there are challenges, but you know what? There's just challenges overall in business. And so Terry, I'm kind of interested, what would you say your biggest challenge was to even keep the business going for 30 years? I mean, that is such a accomplishment, such an accomplishment. What were some of your biggest challenges and how did you overcome those?

Terry Anderson: Overall, even when I first started, I was so sold on this product. And having seen it in Europe, my first impression was, "Oh, everybody's going to accept this. They're going to see it. They're going to have the vision that I thought and it'll be great." So probably one of my first challenges is right at the beginning of the business, I tried to sell it where I knew it needed it. I went first of all to Vail, Colorado because when I worked for Monier, that was an area that I used to work. And I sold a lot of tile roofs in that area, especially up in Beaver Creek. And I knew they had these problems. I saw the breakage and I thought, "Wow, I'm just going to go right in there and they're going to want it and everything is going to be super." So I went in there and I went to the main roofer that was in that area and I said, "Here, here's this great product. You'll be able to use it. It'll save them all this money."

And he was honest with me. He said, "Terry, maybe it does, but I don't want it. I make so much money every summer. I bring in whole truckloads of tile to replace the broken tile. I don't want to give up that business, so I'm sorry. I'm not going to promote your product when it gives me so much generation of money in the summer when I'm doing all these repairs." So I said, "Okay, fine." That door got slammed in my face. So the next thing I went is to the architects in that area. I thought, "Well, they'll specify it if they understand that." And so I went to the architects and I saw them and they said, "Wow, this really sounds cool, but I'm not going to try something new as an architect unless my roofers really think it's a great idea and product."

So I need to talk to the roofer which I knew was going right back where the door was just slammed in my face. So now I had two doors slammed in my face and I didn't know what I was going to do. So then I thought, "Well, the only other option is to try to reach the owners." Well, men in Beaver Creek, nobody even has a post office... I mean, they have post office boxes, there's no mailboxes. How am I going to reach owners? Oh, maybe I can go through property managers. So I went to the main property manager up there and I just happened to hit him on a great day because the day before, he had met with all the heads of the property or the owners of the property, and they just gave him an ultimatum, "We are not going to spend these tens of thousands of dollars every year fixing our tile roofs. If you can't fix this so it doesn't happen every year, we're going to another property management firm."

So when I brought this into him, he said, "That's great. Let's try these four big buildings here and see how it goes." And we did it and it was a great success. And then he wanted to put them on, and it just kind of grew from there. So that was my first main challenge I had in starting the business. I'll mention another one, and I think that's probably good enough. I can't remember the number of years ago, it was probably 15 years ago, I had partnered, not with the snow retention, but on rolled goods that we make for ventilation for roofs and flashings we make for roofs. And I'd also gotten involved with some roofing products for solar, for mounting solar on roofs with a German company.

And we started to hit a recession at that time, and it was difficult and they didn't quite like the way I was running it, so they wanted to kick me out, and I had 49% ownership and they needed more than 66% approval to make a decision like that. So they didn't have the voting power to kick me out. And so it went to court. I'm telling you, it was very difficult. I was spending so many... $500 an hour more for two attorneys on this and it was breaking me. It was taking all the money that I had to try to cover this. And then right smack in the middle of this, what happens? I get cancer.

Ben Anderson: Cancer.

Terry Anderson: I had Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Ben Anderson: Stage four.

Terry Anderson: It was tough with a recession and everything.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Wow.

Terry Anderson: I really attribute help from my Heavenly Father and those that prayed for me that I got through that situation. This other German company was doing, I don't know, six, 700 million dollars a year in sales. And at that time, we were only doing two or three. They were way bigger. They had way more dollars behind them, but in the end, they went out of business and I stayed in business and we grew from there. And it's been very successful since then, especially since our boys... We are growing, right now, about 20% a year. It's unbelievable growth. And that's what I really wanted to see. So there's a couple experiences.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Wow. I'm inspired, and look at it now and with your family. Wow. So Ben, let's just kind of bring this all together a little bit and tell us a little bit about where we're at today with TRA and what's unique about your business. Talk about the engineering services and where you are today from all of this inspirational past.

Ben Anderson: Yeah, I think we're getting more and more unique, Heidi, as we go. We're definitely not following the trend, I feel like, that a few other competitors are doing and what the snow retention industry is doing. We are continuing to work very closely with our contractors, work really closely with our wholesalers, trying to get everything put together so we can be a good backing for those people. We're developing things for individual customers. We're trying to make processes easier, and we're trying to send people out, like somebody who's been on the podcast before, Mindy Dalquist, who's going out and doing trainings and meeting with contractors and giving them continued education credits and all these fun things. I wouldn't say fun, but I think they're fun. But doing all these things to try and give these contractors education that's beneficial to them and helps them see the importance of saving some people's lives, even though it might cost a little bit of money, but once these contractors and these wholesalers find it, that being the case.

So that's one of the big unique things we're doing. Other things we're doing is we're sending people out. We're hitting more boots on the ground than before. We're hiring some more employees to try and make these processes simple and easier. One thing we're doing right now that's kind of new, we just sent out a email campaign about it this afternoon, excuse me, is we hired two new employees, one being another inside salesperson, but another one is just a specialist that's all handling customer service and communication with our existing customers. So if there's an order placed with us, if there's anything that's hit our floor, this person will reach out to you by your preferred method, whether it's texts or if that's email or if it's a phone call, they'll let you know. They'll tell you where the product is.

This is from a person. We don't like these robotic text messages. We want to be personable here. We try to have customer service, this is where it's coming from, but we'll let these customers know, "Hey, this is what we're planning for. Right now, if you place this custom order with us, you'll have it in 10 days. We planning on shipping it on," let's say, "May 5th or May 10th," or let's say something like that. And then he'll give you a phone call the day before it ships or the day it ships and say, "Here it is. It's gone out the door. Here's the tracking number." We're trying to make it... In a world that's continuing to move away from person interaction, we are trying to make it more personable. That doesn't mean we won't defer to your methods and just do a text message, but we are trying to make you feel like you matter because you do to us.

And that's what we're trying to do, which I think is unique in this industry and it makes a difference. Our salespeople aren't assigned to individual people. You call in, we answer and we help you out. So it's not like some of these other areas where you have a rep that's called, just, you're ordering from. This person, if they're on vacation, who you call, we give the opportunity and it's unique and it can be a problem at times, but you can call in and that person's gone, say Devin, who we brought up, is on vacation. Anybody else can help you out. And there's no weird things or awkward feelings behind it to help you out.

The customer service and you getting your job done because hey, I'm guilty of it, but we're all procrastinators. But usually in our industry, the roofer doesn't get all the credit from the general that's all of a sudden like, "Oh, by the way, it's all framed in. It's your turn now and I need it done next week." So I know how that goes. And you need a quick decision and you need to get things turned around fast, so we are here to try to make that be the case, and you shouldn't wait for anybody else in the customer service matters.

Heidi J Ellsworth: I love it. I love it. So really, when you look back at the history of listening to the customers, working with the customers, whether that's contractors, homeowners, property managers, architects... Because I know you've been doing a lot of seminars, you've been doing a lot of training, and really, that hands-on opportunity for contractors to save lives. I mean, at the end of the day, they're saving lives and property and they're building their relationships with their customers too. So gentlemen...

Terry Anderson: Can I add something?

Heidi J Ellsworth: Oh, yes, yes, Terry.

Terry Anderson: One thing I've been very pleased about with my boys and what they've been doing is when I started this, I have worked with distributors, roofing distributors, for a long time and I really saw their value and I really saw that if you're not in with them, they make it very difficult for you. But I also was very concerned because, remember I said how important saving lives is, I didn't want to get lost in the middle, engineering. I didn't want engineering to be gone. And unfortunately with some of the stuff with distributors, you'd have a roofer come in and say, "Oh, I need some snow guards or something over this doorway." And they would just talk to the counter guy and he'd say, "Oh, over in that bin there you'll find some plastic ones and you can just take whatever you want and we'll charge you for those."

No engineering. And then, I don't know if you're aware, but if they put five or six up there over a doorway, it can actually make it worse because it holds some snow and then it fails so you've got more snow coming down. And it's been a major concern of mine. I haven't wanted to do anything to hurt wholesalers. I made a point that their mark-up is always protected so that we're not selling it below them, but we've always had the policy that we sell to roofers as well as wholesalers and even the manufacturers that have different pricing. But the main problem that stopped us from going more towards distribution has been the engineering concept.

Ben Anderson: I can, I can-

Terry Anderson: How do we do that? And that's where Ben has really stepped up and has worked up. So we're working on some programs, make it for a counter person, when a roofer comes up, to give information-

Ben Anderson: Let me bring it up, Terry, this is really cool stuff and I'm passionate about it because this is what I'm working on on a three-times-a-week project, Heidi, three hours meetings a week. So this is super exciting. Terry's excited about it. This is something that's supposed to be released to, let's say, a beta of wholesalers locally here in the coming weeks. But this is a situation that's really exciting where all of this data and all these testing that we've done over the past 30 years is put together into this portal where a customer and I'm just going to say this is a wholesale right now, but the plan is eventually to do this for any customer out there who can go in there, put their information in, log in as a user and whether it's standing seam, asphalt, shingle, tile, rafter mounted, standing seam clamp on application, screw on, any of these applications can put this in and get a result for either how many roofing squares they have or how many rows they need and they can get a quote as quick as they want.

So as much as we're trying to step away from the... I mean, we want to be involved with the personal side of things, we have to step away to make things quicker and easier. And like Terry says, we're trying to be able to let any of these contractors show up and need that quick immediate answer that the general or the homeowner is requiring you to get them right then, but they don't have to wait for a couple of days for a design or a day or even three days. I mean, there are some designs out there that can be sizes of giant five-star hotels, and I don't care who you are, those projects can take a couple of days to do. If we can get you a quick estimate and get all the detail you need from this quick portal to get you through until a design is done or even if maybe you don't need an exact design on a draft, but you can get a quick estimate for your homeowner on the site through your phone up in Park City or up in Big Sky or up in Aspen, wherever.

You can pull up your phone and say, this is a Smith project. I got concrete tile. I'm going with this... A counter batten system. Oh, you need 20 brackets per square. Oh, I already know how many squares I need because I already figured that out. Perfect. Here's my price per bracket. Here it is. TRA gives you a quote, it'll be emailed to you. You have a PDF. You don't have to do anything. Only thing you have to figure out from that point on is what color am I getting from tile manufacturer because I'll probably get it painted from TRA as well, that's another service we offer, and let's place the order. That's about it. So we're trying to make this be as quick as possible with reliable snow retention.

Heidi J Ellsworth: And reliable engineering that you're empowering other people to understand. I love that. Terry, Ben, I love it. That's awesome. What a great program.

Ben Anderson: For sure.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Well, okay, gentlemen, this has been outstanding, absolutely outstanding. So I always like to end with, how can contractors get involved? So you just led me, thank you both, to the perfect spot. How can contractors get more involved with TRA and start taking advantage of these services? Ben?

Ben Anderson: We are continuing to get involved into groups and spaces in different industries. We're members of Western Roofing, RoofersCoffeeShop, into the little areas for Montana, Utah, Colorado, Colorado Roofers Association, all these areas. We are members of those. We plan on doing more things, let's say, more intimately with those groups. So you can always need us at any of those over in Tahoe, any of those areas. But in addition to that, we sent it out and we appreciate RoofersCoffeeShop sending some stuff out. We just did an educational seminar back in March. We're continuing to offer some of those. You can check out those to get some YouTube videos on this education. But other than that, getting involved is just simply asking a question to yourself, asking the question on the job, "Is snow tension needed?" And really think about it because if you're ever having to come back and fix a leak and it's behind a chimney, maybe you're getting ice down there, maybe it's sliding down into that area. It could be natural, but it could be snow sliding.

Are you replacing gutters? Maybe it's a problem. Maybe you're not even a roofer and you're putting on gutters and heat cable. These are things that people are realizing, "If I'm putting up cable, that means I have a snow issue. Is my cable just going to go off with a slide?" More than anything, I'm asking people to think critically, get involved with looking at our YouTube video or YouTube videos, let's say. We have education on there. Look at the blogs that RoofersCoffeeShop has posted, there's a lot of good information there, and see, "Hey, does this make sense?" Because I tell you what, I won't be lying, snow retention is not needed in Florida. We have some stuff in Georgia, but it's not needed in Florida.

So if you're in an area where you get some snow, I mean, we have stuff in Arizona, New Mexico, even in these, what you'd think is our hot regions, just think about it. Education can save you, can help you out and it can take some liability off you. I want to end with my comment with Terry is, a lot of roofers go up there, a property management company says, "Just put some stuff on and call it good with snow retention." And then you see people install just little tiny snow fences into sheathing, five-sixteen, seven-sixteen OSB that's holding back thousands of pounds. And it doesn't work. It fails. And I can only say thank you for the most situations where it doesn't kill somebody, but there are plenty of situations where it does.

And one time too many is too many. And until we can educate as an industry, insurance won't cover it. It's just considered an act of God. And I want to say this is not an act of God that's doing this. This is preventable. And I don't want to be... I know that eventually when Terry does more travel and it's going to be myself and Jacob on the stand being asked to be a representative for so many of these cases, I don't want to be up there on the roof and say, "Your child's life could have been saved." I do not want to say that.

Heidi J Ellsworth: I tell you what. Oh, go ahead.

Terry Anderson: Can I add one more thing too?

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yes.

Terry Anderson: We're not done just in our own engineering and what we're doing, but we're trying to take an active role in the industry. There are no standards for snow retention in the United States. It's not like roofing products or tile that you have to meet this ASTM standard and this one and this one or your felt weight has to be this because of this ASTM standard. There is no ASTM standard for snow retention. But TRA is one of the co-chairs on an ASTM committee trying and trying to create standards for snow retention. And we have been on for eight years. We haven't made a lot of headway. We're slowly moving forward, but we are trying to change industry standards and I thought you should know that as well.

Heidi J Ellsworth: That is so important right there. I mean, that is such a great way to end this podcast because it's so important. It's not over yet. There's so much more still to be done, and you're doing it. You're active and you're involved like everyone should be. Gentlemen, thank you. Thank you so much for this great podcast, really heartfelt, I have to tell you. I just enjoyed every minute. So thank you so much for both of you for being here.

Ben Anderson: Thanks for the opportunity, Heidi. It's been too long.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Yeah.

Terry Anderson: Yes. Thank you, Heidi.

Heidi J Ellsworth: Thank you. And thank you all for listening. I tell you what, you can get all kinds... And Ben just said it, you can get all kinds of information on the TRA directory, on RoofersCoffeeShop, plus all of their articles, videos, amazing videos and they are at every trade show. And if you go onto their YouTube or our YouTube, you're going to see all the interviews we've had and how great they've been. So please check it all out. Check out all of our podcasts, Roofing Road Trip Podcasts, underneath our RLW section, under Roofing Road Trips podcast. Or on your favorite podcast channel, please subscribe and set your notifications so you don't miss a single episode. We'll be seeing you next time on Roofing Road Trips.

Outro: If you've enjoyed the ride, don't forget to hit that subscribe button and join us on every roofing adventure. Make sure to visit RoofersCoffeeShop.com to learn more. Thanks for tuning in, and we'll catch you on the next Roofing Road Trip.

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