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Kyle Cahill – Competitors now mentors - PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Kyle Cahill – Competitors now mentors - PODCAST TRANSCRIPT
January 18, 2024 at 12:00 p.m.

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Kyle Cahill from King of Texas Roofing about the Roofing Alliance student competition. You can Read the interview below or Listen to the podcast.

Intro: Welcome to Roofing Road Trips with Heidi. Explore the roofing industry through the eyes of a long-term professional within the trade. Listen for insights, interviews and exciting news in the roofing industry today.

Megan Ellsworth: Hello everyone. My name is Megan Ellsworth here at rooferscoffeeshop.com, and we are back again for a roofing road trip. So excited to be here with Kyle Cahill talking about the 2024 student competition with the Roofing Alliance and mentorship and all that goes into it. So Kyle, hello. Welcome to the podcast.

Kyle Cahill: Howdy. I'm happy to be here.

Megan Ellsworth: I'm glad to have you here. Why don't we just dive right in and have you introduce yourself and a little bit about you.

Kyle Cahill: All right. My name is Kyle Cahill. I'm a project manager at King of Texas Roofing. We're at a Grand Prairie, which is in the middle of DFW in Texas. I'm also a former graduate of Texas A&M University. It was class of 22. Whoop. And in 2021 I participated in the Roofing Alliance Student Competition.

Megan Ellsworth: Oh wow, that's amazing. Congratulations.

Kyle Cahill: Yes, ma'am.

Megan Ellsworth: That is so cool. So what was your background in roofing? What brought you to roofing and joining the team?

Kyle Cahill: So, during 2020, whenever Covid began, I was at home doing all my classes online, and I figured that was a good time to probably go and get some experience somewhere around where I live in DFW. And so I reached out to my counselor at the university. They set me up with a company here where I still work there today. I did an internship there and one of the project managers was actually a mentor of the roofing team at the time for Texas A&M. So he pushed me towards it of course the next year. I wasn't able to participate that year because I was working for a roofing contractor. So a little bit of conflict of interest there. But once I was back at school, once everything kind of returned to normal, I competed the next year as a member of Texas A&M.

Megan Ellsworth: Wow, that's really cool. And so you've been with King of Texas for two years then?

Kyle Cahill: About two years now. Well, four years total. I mean, I came on after, I graduated in 22.

Megan Ellsworth: Okay.

Kyle Cahill: And I've been working there since. So I'm going on to my second year currently.

Megan Ellsworth: Awesome. Amazing. So how do you think the competition helped you get into roofing and kind of understand your role as project manager?

Kyle Cahill: Well, it got me my first job out of college, so that was nice. I think you did a really good job of teaching me the ins and outs. I was already kind of learning a little bit during my internship, but during the roofing competition, students are kind of put in a really unique challenge that they might not see anywhere else. So our project was a reroof in New Orleans. That was our project for what I competed in, and it was on Bourbon Street, and it's all really complex and they always choose really complex projects, big stadiums or gigantic warehouses, something unique. And with this project, it was reroof and so we had to deal with the fact that it was an ongoing hotel. And so those unique challenges they threw at us kind of threw some curveballs in there, if you will.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, totally. And kind of prepare you for the curveballs that regular life throws at a project manager.

Kyle Cahill: Exactly.

Megan Ellsworth: So, we did already kind of touch on this, but what was your experience with the Roofing Alliance Student Competition, anything else to add on why and how it prepared you for your life today?

Kyle Cahill: So, I would say going to the IRE as a student was probably a big part of it. Sorry. More than just the competition. Being around the roofing world, it was a real big eyeopener. I mean, you go to the expo floor and there's just thousands and thousands of companies, manufacturers and they kind of give you a day to go and talk to a lot of them and see what they're like. And you just don't even realize it's there until you're there and you're like, wow. The personnel that are there are all looking for young students.

And I was already slightly being recruited there, and I had manufacturers talking to me and all my buddies, we all were being talked to. I mean, they really wanted the students that were there, all the young people. And I think that was kind of interesting too because it was like, oh wow, there's a whole other world that we can go look at other than just typical GC or the general contractor path that I think the schools kind of push. But at the IRE, it was like, wow, we're actually really wanted in the subcontractor space as well.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah.

Kyle Cahill: So, I would say that was pretty eye opening.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, I bet. That's really cool. I mean, even going to your first IRE not as a student, it's so massive and there's so many, it's just the breadth, the width and the breadth of the industry is huge, and it's really cool to see that all in one spot. So for sure.

Kyle Cahill: Yes, ma'am

Megan Ellsworth: So, let's talk about this year's competition. It's the 10th annual competition, it's this year, 2024. What is the project this year and how do you play into that as a mentor?

Kyle Cahill: So, this year, the project is the Formula One Paddock in Vegas. I think the actual race took place back in late November of 2023, and I think they'll be doing the race again here in 2024 as well. It's a pretty high profile roof. The Paddock, it's like the operational area for Formula One. On race day, it holds the media and the team operations as well as all the employees. And it's like where the cars pit during the race. And so that's the actual project. And it's got a gigantic LED F1 logo on the top as well as there's a standing area.

So it's a pretty large project and it's split into sections. So the students are really challenged on this one but. And your second question was, what is my role? So as the mentor, so these kids have almost some pretty substantial knowledge of how buildings are put together. They take classes that are kind of geared towards the general contractor side of the operation. And my job is to help bridge that informational gap between what they already know from their classes they're taking. They take classes about operations, estimating and just how general projects are managed, but my job is to come and explain how all of that takes place from the roofing subcontractor's point of view,

Megan Ellsworth: Okay.

Kyle Cahill: As well as some of the technical knowledge of roofing as well.

Megan Ellsworth: That's really cool. So how would you say that it has changed since you competed in 2021?

Kyle Cahill: Personally, I would say it hasn't changed very much. I competed two or three years ago, so the only thing that's changed is the location and the project.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah.

Kyle Cahill: So, I wouldn't say it's personally changed a lot. I've heard that over time the project has gotten a lot better and they've tried providing a little more information, which is nice. But other than that, I mean, the projects are the only things that change.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah. Would you say that this is a particularly difficult or interesting project than past years?

Kyle Cahill: I would say it's really interesting. I mean, it's a pretty high profile project they're choosing.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah.

Kyle Cahill: I hope I get a chance to go and visit it. I'm a Formula One fan, so I'm kind of biased, but I think that it is a very unique roof. It's got a, I'm trying to think of the word, it's not the grandstand, but there is an area on top of the roof. There's a pedestal system that the kids kind of had to learn about, and I had to learn a little bit about it personally, and we all did our research. And I think that's a pretty unique challenge. That pedestal system on top with the pavers is going to be really unique with it as well as it's a fairly large construction project that had to be done in a very short timeframe,

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah.

Kyle Cahill: Especially to get done before that first race. So dealing with the logistical challenge of that as well is probably the biggest challenge.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, for sure. What would you say is the most rewarding part of being a mentor to this team?

Kyle Cahill: Well, I haven't done it yet, but hopefully winning as a mentor. I'm sure that'd be pretty rewarding. I'd say it's probably just getting to know these kids and see where their knowledge is and what they've learned from their classes and getting them to put it to practice. They don't think like typical roofers in the industry, so they look at stuff in a wider lens and they might see some of the pitfalls or something that might seem common sense. But when you're doing something every day, you kind of get horse blinders and they're able to see a lot more than I am even sometimes.

So their solutions to some of these issues are really kind of out there, but they make sense in almost every way. And I bet there's some people who are roofing some of these buildings in these competitions that wish they could have had a group of kids that had them brainstorming all these solutions for them because I mean, I think there's been a couple issues that have popped up and I'm like, "Man, I don't know how you all are going to do that. You might want to think about that." And next week I come back and they've got this grand illusion of solutions. I'm like, "Okay, that'll work."

Megan Ellsworth: Wow.

Kyle Cahill: Really created creative.

Megan Ellsworth: That's awesome. That's so cool. So in your opinion, how important is it to maintain these types of competitions and even more so these types of programs in colleges and technical schools?

Kyle Cahill: I'd say these competitions are really important because the students get a chance to compete against their peers in other schools. But also it's important for the industry to see how well they're reaching students. I believe this year we have doubled the amount of teams to 10 who actually entered the competition. And I think it's going to continue to keep growing. I'd also say it's probably really important for roofers and roofing companies to see these kids for potential jobs. These kids become extremely intelligent in roofing when they get done. They ask me all the time, how different is it, what we're looking at versus what I do on a day-to-day? And I tell them, it's not that different as an estimator or a project manager. It's not that different. So these kinds of projects are happening everywhere, and all the possibilities that they can do in the roofing world are pretty endless. So if you're a roofing company and you're looking for some young adult, a former student to invest in in your company, I would say these kids are, I mean, should be your number one prospect.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. And that's so important, especially getting people, the next generation to join this great industry, so. So for all the students, kind of going off of that, for all the students out there listening, how can they enter the competition? And for the seasoned roofer, how can they get involved in mentoring for future competitions?

Kyle Cahill: For students to enter, they would probably have to be, I'm taking your question as if you're at a school that doesn't already compete in the roofing competition, they would probably need to get together a group of kids that are interested in roofing and then go talk to their advisors or maybe their industry relations professor or whoever's in charge at their college and speak to them and ask them and say, hey, can we compete in this? Is their university willing to help them out? As for potential mentors, they should reach out to their alma mater or maybe their local college. I think the Roofing Alliance has the website. You can go find the student competition. I think there's probably contacts on there as well. I don't have specifics with me, but yeah.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah. Nice. And then when is the student competition for all those listening and want to watch it?

Kyle Cahill: So, the IRE this year is in, I believe, early February. I think the competition takes place on the 7th or the 8th. The IRE starts, I think on the 5th or 6th, but I think the competition's actually on the 7th or the 8th.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, I think the competition's the morning of the 7th from-

Kyle Cahill: Yes.

Megan Ellsworth: I want to say like eight to 11 or something in the morning. And everyone should go watch and sit in the audience and take it all in. It's so fun. And the teams are always so fun to meet. You can chat with them after and congratulate them. Then they award the winner at the award ceremony on the night of the 7th, I believe. So everyone can go to that as well.

Kyle Cahill: Yes, it's at the award ceremony for everything. There's not like a specific student one, but it's for the award ceremony for all the different awards, so.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah.

Kyle Cahill: And they usually do it at the end, which makes it hard to sit there and it's gut-wrenching, and I'm just waiting, so.

Megan Ellsworth: And dramatic.

Kyle Cahill: Yeah, it's very dramatic. At least for us it is.

Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, they're waiting. They're like, I want to know. And then also really quick, what do they win if a team wins?

Kyle Cahill: So, they get a scholarship. If your first place, you get a, I believe a $5,000 student scholarship, as well as there's different, I don't know, I think it's Amazon gift cards for the different speakers. So, there's an award for best speaker, second-best speaker and third place speaker.

Megan Ellsworth: Okay, cool. So a team could win, but then speakers from other teams could get those speaker,-

Kyle Cahill: Yes. Yes, correct.

Megan Ellsworth: Cool. Awesome. Well, Kyle, this has been so informational. I'm so excited. And good luck to your team.

Kyle Cahill: Thank you.

Megan Ellsworth: We will be at the Student Competition, and everyone go check it out. You can find out more on rooferscoffeeshop.com, at the NRCA Roofing Alliance directory. And you can go to the Roofing Alliance website as well to find out when the competition is and where you can watch it and all that good stuff. So Kyle, again, thanks. This has been so fun.

Kyle Cahill: Thank you very much. Was glad to be here.

Megan Ellsworth: Awesome. And we'll be seeing you next time on Roofing Road Trips. Please come and see the 10th Anniversary Student Competition in Las Vegas during the IRE. It's on Wednesday, February 7th from eight to 11:30 AM in the Las Vegas Convention Center room N110. The finalist teams are Auburn University, Bradley University, Colorado State University, Texas A&M University and University of Florida. Come cheer on the five finalist teams and support the next generation of industry leaders.

Outro: Make sure to subscribe to our channel and leave a review. Thanks for listening. This has been Roofing Road Trips with Heidi from the rooferscoffeeshop.com.



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