By Lauren White, RCS Reporter.
The former CEO of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), Bill Good, speaks with Heidi Ellsworth, RoofersCoffeeShop® partner, about how he has kept busy during retirement. In part one of his podcast, Bill shares about his involvement with the Roofing Alliance, which is the foundation of NRCA, his board position on the American Council for Construction Education, and ways the younger generations can get exposed to the roofing industry.
Since retiring from NRCA in 2017, Bill has kept plenty busy. He claims he, “made one of those classic retirement mistakes, which was to do too much too soon and be afraid to take some time and not do anything.” He taught a class at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, which allowed him to stay in the roofing industry. Bill also did some work for one of NRCA’s members, the Roofing Alliance, and a foreign manufacturing company. Realizing it was too much, he cut back on a couple things to make his retirement more manageable.
Bill reflects on his time at NRCA and shares about the development of the Roofing Alliance. While at NRCA, a foundation existed but was nearly dormant. Money had been raised throughout the years and placed in the fund, but no plan was made for the money. A consultant was brought in to “see if there was interest in the industry to revitalize the foundation,” according to Bill. The consultant shared his results, commenting, “...There’s enough interest there that you can create an organization that can develop a long term investment fund, an endowment fund, and you’ll be able to operate off of investment income from your endowment fund forever after.”
The Roofing Alliance is managed by NRCA, but not owned by them. The Alliance has its own board of trustees, board of directors, and leadership and governance structure. It is also a very forward-thinking organization that is able to anticipate the needs of the industry. Bill explains that the Alliance can, “...fund things like research programs and fund educational initiatives, look at the big issues facing the industry and begin to wrestle with them without getting into the strategies of dealing with them, but to at least identify them and plot a path forward…”
The first project the Alliance undertook concerned the workforce. In 1996, the leadership of the roofing industry commented, “We’re going to be facing a worker shortage. We’re going to have workforce issue and we need to start thinking about how we’re going to deal with it.” A Gallup Organization was hired to complete a study of the workforce. The people from Gallup said, “This is a critical issue for you because new workers who come to your work for a roofing company expect to be trained, they expect to be respected...and the training in the roofing industry has been more or less unstructured with the exception of...union apprenticeship programs.”
Because of this information, NRCA changed the foreman training programs to focus on how to work with customers, be a team leader, a trainer, and a team builder, which is now the Pro Foreman Program. Additionally, they provide the Pro Certification Program, designed to measure the skills of experienced and proficient roofers.
The Roofing Alliance has been ahead of the curve when it comes to industry issues, and does what they can to provide opportunities for growth and solutions. Their other endeavor was to answer certain questions related to the roofing industry including, how many people work in the industry and how many roofing companies are in the industry. NRCA is funding a study on the demographics of the industry. Having this information will benefit NRCA when they go to Congress and say, “Hey, there’s 50,000 of us out there. We represent a lot of people, we represent a lot of voters and we’re an industry that’s growing. We are an industry that creates fill-in-the-blank number of jobs every year,” Bill shares.
Eager to get the younger generation interested in the roofing industry, the Alliance has developed partnerships with construction management schools. Dennis Conway, an Alliance member and alum of Colorado State University, was instrumental in making this happen. During a meeting he suggested the Alliance get involved with these schools. Colorado State University provided the Alliance with a guide to establishing relationships between the Alliance and the schools.
Each year at the International Roofers Expo (IRE), a competition is held for participating construction management schools. This competition is based on a real-life project where the IRE is held. Nine schools are competing this year. Of the nine competitors, five finalists will be selected to be flown to Dallas, Texas for the 2020 IRE. Students will participate in the competition, visit with Alliance members, see the trade show floor, and get exposure to the industry. Bill shares that every student who goes through the competition and IRE experience says, “We had no idea. We had no idea the roofing industry was this big, this complicated, this interesting, this cool.” And Bill walks away from the competition saying, “Oh my God, when I was 19 or 20 years old, there was no way I could have stood up and done a presentation about something that I had obviously just learned about.”
Bill also represents the Alliance on the board of trustees for the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE), which does the accreditation of construction management schools. An accredited program attracts sophisticated students, and increases awareness of the program in the academic community and within their own university.
More recently, the Alliance has been working with construction management schools to, “fund the development of the first-ever roofing course. A four-credit roofing course that’s going to be offered at Clemson University,” Bill reveals. This is another way to increase exposure to the roofing industry and all of the innovative roofing trends such as: green roofs, using renewable materials, robotics, saving energy, stormwater management, and more.
While Bill’s retirement has been busy, it has proven to be beneficial to the roofing industry. With his involvement in the Roofing Alliance and the American Council for Construction Education, Bill is finding ways to better the industry and show the next generation what is possible in roofing. Check out part two of the podcast to hear more from Bill Good and learn about the Roofing Alliance’s involvement with the Ronald McDonald House.