By Adam Cabrera.
The roofing industry is facing a series of challenges, ranging from labor shortages to supply chain disruptions. In a recent episode of Roofing Road Trips, host Heidi J. Ellsworth spoke with Brad Van Dam, the president of SPRI and Metal-Era's vice president of sales. As an active member of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), Roofing Alliance and many other roofing associations, Brad is an industry expert and holds a wealth of knowledge on industry advocacy.
In their conversation, Brad makes the point that problems in the roofing industry should be represented in advocacy. "You have to find a way to give back and being able to take the needs, the issues, the code changes, the different things that are hitting the industry and constructively amplify your voice," he said, stressing the value of industry associations like SPRI and NRCA in forming a collective voice to address challenges.
One example of an issue worth advocating for was workforce development. The industry is grappling with labor shortages, and Brad emphasized the role of technical education and apprenticeship programs in attracting a new and diverse talent pool. He also touched on NRCA's efforts during Roofing Day in Washington, D.C., stating that the industry's concerns received bipartisan support, notably on labor shortages and immigration reform.
Brad also pointed out the roofing industry's remarkable resilience, especially in the face of supply chain challenges. The ongoing disruptions have forced the industry to adapt and innovate, just as it did during the 2008 economic crisis. For example, sustainability is no longer a buzzword but a commitment. From incorporating recycled materials to embracing energy-efficient solutions, roofers now are working to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.
It’s important to remember that in an industry as old as roofing there is always room for change. Reflecting on his work in advocacy Brad says, “Hopefully at the end of whatever my run looks like in this involvement, I've made a difference and can leave something positive behind.”
Adam Cabrera is a writer and podcast producer for the Coffee Shops and AskARoofer™. When he isn't writing about roofs he enjoys camping in the Rocky Mountains, going to concerts and playing music.
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