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S2:E51 Dick Bus - The Next Generation of Roofing

Roofing Road Trip with Dick Bus
January 9, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.

By Colin Sheehan, RCS Reporter.

Learn what your company can do to further support the hiring of women and future generations in the roofing industry.

In this episode of Roofing Road Trips, RCS Partner Heidi J. Ellsworth, visits with Dick Bus, the President of ATAS International, Inc. Dick has had a full career in the roofing industry and is well known for his involvement as a member of the NRCA (National Roofing Contractors Association) Board of Directors, President of Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) and former president of Metal Construction Association (MCA). The two discuss the importance of recruiting women and the next generation into the roofing industry as well as Dick’s role in supporting the Let’s Build Construction Camp for Girls.

Dick got his start in the aluminum siding industry. His father was a contractor and started the manufacturing company, Aluminum Trim and Shapes (ATAS) in the basement of Dick’s childhood home in 1963. Since then, the company has made a name for itself in the world of construction, with manufacturing plants located across the United States.

“We built our first building in 1972 and started manufacturing aluminum siding. We got into commercial roofing in 1980, and in 1978 we started manufacturing metal roofing. We expanded regionally across the country in 1980 with our acquisition in Arizona and also built a plant in Tennessee. And then in 2008, we bought our supplier and started painting our metal and that's [our] sister company that we call BRIGHTSMITH Coaters,” said Dick.

Dick’s wife worked alongside him for 40 years and before that Dick grew up watching his mother run ATAS’ marketing department. Dick mentions these two women as influential figures in his life, leading him to make efforts to further support the inclusion of women in the industry.

“Women have always been a strong presence and we continue to have women in key roles, not just in the sales side, but also our controller and credit manager are female. It's served me well embracing women working in the business with us,” he said.

One of Dick’s involvements incorporates getting future generations of women interested in the trades. ATAS is a premier sponsor of the Let’s Build Construction Camp for Girls, a camp that teaches young girls trade skills and introduces them to the many career opportunities available in construction.

“The Let's Build Construction Camp for Girls was a brainchild of the local CSI chapter (Construction Specifications Institute) and the local ABC Chapter (Associated Builders and Contractors); it was their brainchild to try and get more young people, young girls, involved in construction. Because of Lee Ann's involvement with CSI, they brought that idea to me and they were asking for a primary sponsor. I didn't hesitate at all. I said, "Let's get on board. I think this is a great thing."

One of Dick’s granddaughters participated in the camp multiple times. It wasn’t long before she began doing some of the handyman work around the house.

“My oldest granddaughter was 14 at the time, and after she did that week at camp, we had the opportunity to wire in a GFI in a light bar in her bathroom. She ended up doing the electrical work and I just watched.”

The program has been immensely influential, empowering many young women to embrace a rewarding career in roofing, manufacturing, and other trades. By learning these skills at an early age, young women are joining the construction industry with confidence and passion.

“One of the subcontractors that supported the program, they ended up hiring a girl that was 18 when she first took the course. And she's now working full-time as a carpenter. So, we're seeing the benefit of girls coming into the construction trades,” said Dick.

Listen to the entire podcast to learn more about how ATAS is supporting the next generation of workers in the roofing and construction industries.



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