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Our roofing Super Bowl

RCS and NRCA at Roofing Day
April 22, 2024 at 1:00 p.m.

240 roofers descended on Capitol Hill today to advocate for three key issues that affect our industry.

Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of a conversation the Coffee Shop crew had after Roofing Day 2024.

James Ellsworth: We started off the day with an intro from Representative Lisa McClain from Michigan. Right after that, we heard from David Wasserman of The Cook Political Report with Amy Walters absolutely wonderful, really great. Really funny and insightful, and he’s very bipartisan. I appreciated his intellect and his honesty.  

Then, we heard from the Chief of Staff panel which is always a hit. And this was very interesting. It was nice to hear from them because they talk about how stuff still gets done and there is still some bipartisan efforts and people working above partisanship. After that we took a quick bus ride to The Hill. And we then attempted took a group picture on the Capitol steps but a vote was happening so we had to move to the grass in front of the Capitol.  

So the first meeting we had was with Senator Merkley's office, absolutely wonderful staff. We talked about really good issues, she was aligned with the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) issues. 

We went across The Hill to The House. We had three House meetings. We started with Representative Lori Chavez-DeRemer office, met with her chief of staff, he was a good guy. She was also aligned with NRCA issues. After that, we had a chat with Representative Val Hoyle's office. A wonderful team represents Hoyle.  

Then we met with Congressman Bentz’s staffer — Christian from Bogota. And let me tell you, this guy was wonderful. And we did get to meet the Congressman briefly. Following that, we had a lovely meeting with Senator Wyden’s office. We discussed the tax legislation. Part of the tax legislation that we're backing he actually was the author of.  

Then we went to Congresswoman Salinas’ office, who I've known for many years and was very nice to see and she has a lovely staff and had a great time overall. And then Heidi and Karen did a dance in front of the Capitol. That's James signing off. 

Karen Edwards: I am representing the state of Pennsylvania, and I was disappointed that despite multiple attempts, the NRCA was unable to secure meetings with Representative Scott Perry and Senator John Fetterman’s offices.  

And that left me with Bob Casey, a meeting at the end of the day. So, I had the pleasure of accompanying Dani Sheehan from Arkansas to her meetings, and I did three meetings with the Arkansas senators and representatives. It was really very good and shout out to Marco from Polyglass for stepping out of Florida and into Arkansas to also help us with our meetings because nobody wants to be by themselves, especially when it's their first time. 

We had great conversations throughout the day. And overall, while it was a busy day and a long day, it was a really productive day. And I hope that we made an impact on those that we visited with, and we definitely need to follow up with a thank you email in a couple of days just to remind them of who we are. And it was really a lot of fun.  

I would love to hear from Lauren and Dani who are first timers so I'm going to pass this on to them and hear about what their experience was like. 

Dani Sheehan: I was highly anxious and excited all at the same time. And so huge shout out to our amazing Karen Edwards and Marco Sieber with Polyglass. Both accompanied me to three out of my five meetings. It was a fantastic experience. I have only been in Arkansas for about a year so getting to meet my congressman and my representatives this early on and start to develop these relationships means so much.  

It was so cool to see Roofing Day bring everyone together in the industry. I got to put faces with names and really started to see the difference that we can make in this industry. All the conversations I had were really engaging. I loved getting to talk with Representative Steve Womack in Arkansas, about where my mom lives and really find that personal ground. We found out he is looking for a new roof. And we got to talk about roofing materials and share knowledge about the differences in materials and the new technologies that have been developed. Really great experience, very positive.

I cannot thank Will Lorenz with General Coatings Manufacturing Corp. and NRCA enough. Will is fantastic and shared a lot of knowledge about spray foam that I did not know, and I'm excited to write about and follow up with him. It was great to have him in one of my meetings and learn about his personal connection to Arkansas through his daughter going to college there. 

Lauren White: This is also my first time, and I was lucky enough to be with Heidi and James and Rick from the Tile Roofing Institute. So, the four of us represented Oregon, which was great. And I got to be kind of a fly on the wall for most of the meetings which was also great because I was also like Dani, very nervous and excited to be here and didn't know what to expect even though NRCA preps you as much as they can.  

Going in there and meeting with the people who actually make the decisions is very intimidating. Whether you're meeting with the senator or the representative or their chief of staff or some other staffer. They are the ones plugging the information and taking in all the information we had to share. I kind of froze the first time that I was asked to speak, thankfully the NRCA crew prepares you and provides talking points, so it was nice to be able to look down and use those talking points and stats that everybody was given in their own folders.  

But we got to meet with six of our seven senators and representatives who are in Oregon and all very positive conversations. And it was just a full day of advocacy and leading up to this trip, telling people I'm going to Washington D.C., for work and they're asking, ‘What are you doing for roofing by going to Washington D.C.’ And they’re a little confused when I say I'm advocating for roofing. You know, it's one thing to read about it, write about it, talk about the issues, but it's another thing to actually sit down and that's why I was very thankful to have such seasoned veterans in the room with me because got to observe a bit and see what was happening and actually just experience what this advocacy means and to be a voice for the industry of these one million people is really special and powerful and very unique and I'm so I'm very thankful that this year I got to come. 

And the Ronald McDonald socks that the NRCA gave us to give to the people we met with were such a huge hit. They were gifts that were pre-approved to be given out and being able to share that story, which I just love so much about the Roofing Alliance committing to keeping those Ronald McDonald Houses safe and dry. Keeping these places for all of those families who need it in their time of grief and stress is so powerful and just speaks so much about the industry as a whole. And one of the chief of staff's was already wearing his socks from a previous year, which is so great. But, just seeing and hearing just how much these one-on-ones mean to them and hopefully when we get back in Oregon, we can meet up with them through National Women in Roofing (NWiR) and through RCS. Anyway, very unique experience and happy to be a small part of it.  

Heidi Ellsworth: So, I am proud of this moment after listening to our team from James Ellsworth to Karen Edwards, to Dani Sheehan, to Lauren White, who came to Roofing Day this year. The fact that RoofersCoffeeShop® brought five people and we represented four states. We represented Oregon, Pennsylvania, Arkansas and Florida. We didn't even know we were going to meet with Florida, but that was an exciting opportunity. And today, from listening to the congresswoman speak to the industry analyst who gave us great information, David Wasserman, and then to the Chief of Staff panel, I thought it was amazing. I have to put out there the National Roofing Contractors Association, NRCA, did a great job prepping us between last night and this morning, really understanding what was going on so that when we walked into these offices, we really felt confident, and whether you're a first timer, or four to five, six years, veterans, we felt like we really had an amazing story to tell because roofing is so important to the fabric of our nation. Every building has a roof, and we need to be the ones advocating to get more skilled labor into our industry to help put those roofs on to help project managers, to help estimators, to help run roofing businesses.  

Today, we had several important issues. CTE being one of them to get more of our young people or transitional workers into roofing and we asked for funding for the Perkins Act, which was so important, but we also had some great conversations around immigration. And most people probably think immigration is not doing anything. Nobody's doing anything in Washington D.C. But from our meetings today, everybody wants to do something. They want to have legal immigration. They want to have unskilled visas. We want to make our immigrant nation friendly again, and I'm not saying everyone but I'm going to say a lot of the conversations we had overall today were part of that.  

And then we also talked a lot about our Main Street Tax incentives. Right now, our Main Street Tax incentives are going to run out at the end of 2025. Our roofing industry right now, many of us are pass-through companies. And so, we advocated for all those contractors out there to understand that we are hardworking, strong companies. We're not rich, but we want to make a good living and we want to take care of our employees. And we need the Main Street Tax incentive available, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, look on RoofersCoffeeShop, because we have articles on the Main Street Tax, immigration, CTE, innovation. And that is why it is so important that everybody who came here, 240 roofing professionals, came to Washington D.C. to talk about these issues to help all our roofing contractors out there. And my heart has never been bigger or prouder than from what we saw today with everybody taking care of the industry.  

Also, I'm going to say on a more personal level, check out our YouTube because we did go live from the Capitol. Very cool. You can see what we did, and I think our team and all the 240 roofing professionals out there rocked it today. We made an impression on the industry. We made an impression on the congressmen, and I'm just telling you, it was so great. So, thank you so much. Please come to Roofing Day next year. Please be a part of this advocacy. Whether you're doing it on your state level, your local level, please come Roofing Day next year. This is what matters. It really does for our future and for the roofing respect of the industry.  

James Ellsworth: I was grateful to see today how united it felt in the chambers, how it did not feel like how we see on television. It felt like people wanted to get good work done. The staff who's there every day, work hard because they believe in what they're doing. It's not a good paying job but they're there and they're doing good work and it was very gratifying to see how there are still people there who are making it happen, doing the work day in and day out, and that there is a desire to make this country continue to be better every day than it was the day prior. And that was very good to see.  

Learn more about National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) in their Coffee Shop Directory or visit www.nrca.net.



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