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S2:E9 Coffee Conversations - Celebrating 25 Years of the Roofing Alliance - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

NRCA - CC - Roofing Alliance
January 7, 2021 at 11:41 a.m.

 

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a Coffee Conversations with Kyle Thomas, Dave Lawlor and Bennett Judson of the Roofing Alliance. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast here.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Good morning, and welcome to the first Coffee Conversations of 2021. First of all, happy new year, and I'm so happy it's 2021. I am so proud today to be able to bring the Roofing Alliance to Coffee Conversations. My name is Heidi Ellsworth. I'm an owner of Roofer's Coffee Shop, and I also have had the great honor of being very involved with the Roofing Alliance for several years, one of the gems, literally gems of our industry and what they do. Today we have the leadership and the Executive Director of Roofing Alliance here. I'd like to introduce Bennett Judson. Good morning, Bennett.

Bennett Judson:
Good morning. Good morning, and thank you for this opportunity. We appreciate it. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
It is so fun to have you here. All of you out there, if you do not know Bennett Judson, she is someone you need to know. She is one of the greatest human beings there is, and pretty dang awesome. She does so much for the roofing industry, and she just does it so quietly and so effectively. All of this that you're seeing is really, Bennett is the one behind the scenes making it all happen. This year, we have Kyle Thomas as the Chairman or the President of the Roofing Alliance, and Kyle, welcome to the show. You were here before in December, and now you're back. 

Kyle Thomas:
Thanks for having me back. I guess I didn't mess up too bad last time. I have to reinforce what you said about Bennett. She is the best herder of cats I've ever seen in my life. She usually stays behind the scenes, and Dave and I got her to come up front and be on this panel this time. Thank you very much, Bennett, for doing it. She has done a lot, a lot of legwork for the alliance over the years. Thanks for having me.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you, Kyle. Thanks for being here and yes, I think we may have all caused Bennett a little bit of anxiety this last week, but here we are, Bennett. It's all good now. 

Bennett Judson:
I know. I know.

Kyle Thomas:
All done and allowed, Bennett.

Bennett Judson:
I know.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Finally, I would like to introduce Dave Lawlor, who is going to be the next Chairman President of the Roofing Alliance coming up in April. Dave is with ROCKWOOL, and I'm sorry. Kyle is with Thomas Roofing out of Mobile. Dave, welcome to the show.

Dave Lawlor:
Thank you very much, Heidi. It's a pleasure to be here. Obviously, we're excited about today and we've been talking a lot and preparing for this, so I don't want to overstate it as well, but I can't agree more with what you say about Bennett. She is like the backbone of this organization, and it's absolutely true and no smoke. It's absolutely true. I'm happy to be here. Thank you very much for having me.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Well, I'm happy to have all of you. Thank you so much. Today, what we're going to do is, we're going to celebrate. This is going to be a party, so I hope everybody has their coffee and they're ready at this nice, early time in the morning. Really, we are celebrating 25 years of the Roofing Alliance, and of the Roofing Alliance helping with education, and with scholarships, and with research and really being that entity within roofing that has continually grown the professionalism. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Before I take it over to Bennett, who's going to share some of the history, the one thing I want to make sure to point out to all of you early on is the fact that the Roofing Alliance was the first organization that truly brought together all parts of the roofing industry, whether you were a manufacturer, a distributor, a service provider, a roofing contractor, anyone can be a part of the Roofing Alliance and participate in several different ways. We're going to talk about that a little bit today. There's just so many different ways to be involved, and it's really has been now with the great organization we have with One Voice, Roofing Alliance really was the leader who brought all that to the market. 
I also want to thank a number of you who are out there who are past Presidents of the Roofing Alliance. Thank you for being here today. We're really excited to hear some of your stories and for you to share what you have experienced in the Roofing Alliance. Before we do that, Bennett, can you let everybody out there know, what is the Roofing Alliance? Give a little bit of history and just a little bit of an overview.

Bennett Judson:
Sure. Well, when we talk about the history, we really have to go and start back at the very, very beginning with the National Roofing Foundation, which was originally formed in 1970. They were NRCA's educational and research foundation, and at that time, you could be a member of NeRF, as we called it, with an annual contribution of $50 and could be a lifetime member with a contribution of $1,000. 
In the mid-1990s, the Foundation Board of Trustees realized that they were at a crossroads. They were trying to conduct research and award scholarships with investment income from a fund of roughly $250,000. The Board concluded that they needed to secure more substantial funding in order to have more of an impact on the industry. In 1995, they hired an outside consultant who, after conducting a feasibility study to see if there was even an interest in building a new organization and visiting a number of contractors, manufacturers, distributors, reported back that there indeed was strong support for creating an organization that would address common industry concerns.
A short time later, after a ton of personal in-person visits with Melvin Kruger, leading the fundraising effort, the Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress was established. Our mission at that time was to provide oversight and fund projects that would advance the roofing industry with a focus on education and training, philanthropy, technology, and research. As Heidi stated, the thing that was so unique to our organization at that time is that we were the organization in the industry that brought all of the segments together. Everyone that was a Roofing Alliance member had equal rights and had equal responsibilities. Everyone had a voice at the table.
Then, moving fast forward to 2018, we actually went through a rebranding phase. We looked at where we were. All of our meetings started with, "We have such a great story to tell, but we're not always getting our story out there." We revamped our media outreach. We increased our social media, found a step, I guess, into technology, I guess, for me, the dinosaur. We redesigned our website. We shortened our name to Roofing Alliance and added the tagline of, "The foundation of NRCA," so everyone understood that connection. That's a very abbreviated version of our history that brings us to 2021 and our celebrating our 25th anniversary.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, with a lot of great work along the way, a lot of great work. Bennett, I don't want to put you on the spot, but how long have you been with the Roofing Alliance? 

Bennett Judson:
Actually, I'm very proud to say, as of December, it's been 40. Well, I've been with NRCA for 40 years.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow.

Bennett Judson:
Yeah. Actually, golly, I'm trying to think. My first meeting was ... I've been with the Alliance at least 20 years. I wasn't here when they were established, but shortly thereafter.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is impressive.

Bennett Judson:
I was very young.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Well, you still are. There we go. I know during that time and during all of this going together, there was a person that was very, very involved working with you, who you worked very closely with, and who also was a big part of the history and establishing this. We have a special guest who's going to pop on right now. Bill Good is here, and for all of you out there, Bill Good was a CEO of, I hope I'm saying that right, of the NRCA for many, many, many, many years. I'll let him tell you that, but he is just a founder and a thought leader and just has had such an amazing influence on the roofing industry. He was right there when the Roofing Alliance started. Megan? Megan Ellsworth is in the back, and I think she's going to be bringing Bill Good on. 

Megan Ellsworth:
Yes. Bill, you should be ready to join via audio and video, if you are interested. You just need to unmute yourself.

Bill Good:
Hey, good morning. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yes.

Kyle Thomas:
Morning, Bill.

Bennett Judson:
Good morning, Bill. 

Dave Lawlor:
Good morning, Bill. 

Bill Good:
The magic of technology. I first have to say, you guys have to be careful because Bennett's going to want a raise now after all that sweet talk. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Good.

Dave Lawlor:
She deserves a raise.

Kyle Thomas:
We'll check out the budget [inaudible 00:09:37], Bill. Don't worry.

Bill Good:
Yeah, Bennett summed it up pretty well. We had reached a point with what used to be the National Roofing Foundation where I think the organization had something like a quarter million dollars in the bank. We were trying to operate off of investment income. We were also reimbursing Board members for their travel expenses to come to meetings. We discovered that, by the time we paid our Board members expenses, we had pretty much zero money left over to do any project work. 
The Board back at that time, this was back in 1994-5, decided that they either had to have one big party and spend the funds or get serious about building an organization. Thankfully, they chose the latter, which meant spending quite a bit of money to conduct the feasibility study and find out whether the industry would support that kind of an endeavor. Happily, our consultant Charlie Fasio came back after doing a year of research and he told us that he thought the Alliance could raise up to $6 million and that we would need to spend some of that to show that we were serious and then leave $5 million in the bank and operate off of the investment income from that.
We began our fundraising, and within a year I think we had commitments for somewhere around $8 million. Yeah. The industry really responded to it. We had very few people say no. We collected, I think 94-5% of our pledges, which is better than most charities or nonprofits do. Anyway, in my opinion, it's been a great success story for the roofing industry.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Bill, I've watched you over the years bring the Roofing Alliance. In fact, you introduced me to the Roofing Alliance and really what they could do. They supported National Women in Roofing. They supported so much research and of course, all the scholarships every year. What is your favorite part of the Roofing Alliance? What's the part that you celebrate after 25 years?

Bill Good:
You broke up on me a little bit, Heidi. I think I heard you ask me what is my favorite project.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yes, what's your favorite project with the Alliance?

Bill Good:
Okay. I actually have two, if you'll indulge me, and they're going on right now. Number one is our relationship with schools of construction management. I happen to be in Clemson, South Carolina, today, where I'm going to be teaching a class this afternoon at Clemson, which is year two of a class, the only one in the history of the world that we know, that's a college-level, four-credit class in roofing. This is year two. Year one, they had 21 students. They had expected to have 10. They would have been thrilled with 15, and they ended up with 21. This year, there will be 16 students. I think they have half of them in class live and half of them there virtually, but that's all right. Eventually, there will be three classes taught here that will lead to a certificate in roofing accreditation, which is really incredible.
I love that whole, not only the Clemson program, but the relationship now that we have with these construction management schools. We went into that with two objectives. One was to [inaudible 00:13:42] understanding of what the roofing industry is about, and number two, to be able to attract people to come work for the industry. We've had, I think, success with both of those.
My second favorite project is the other ongoing one right now, and that is the relationship that we built with Ronald McDonald House Charities. That came about, gosh, I guess it's been about three years now. Like all good ideas, it started with one person and then built into something bigger. There are 165 Ronald McDonald Houses in the United States. We have aligned Alliance members and NRCA members, contractor members, with every one of those 165 houses, where they've committed to do inspections, do annual maintenance, take care of minor leaks and so on, all at the contractor's expense. 
We've also engaged with a number of the houses for the expansions and new construction. In those three years, we can document more than $1 million in contributions, and we think the number is actually way bigger than that, because not everybody tells us what they're doing. That's been a wonderful experience. We have a lot of people, not only within the Ronald McDonald House Charity organization, but also people who serve on the boards of those houses who are community leaders who get familiar now with the roofing community in their area. I think both of those projects have been great for the roofing industry.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. You picked a couple of my favorites, too. That is really awesome. You've led us right into some of those topics that are coming up. Bill, I know you have your classes today at Clemson. Stay on, but I want to thank you so much for being here and thank you for everything you've done for the industry and for the Roofing Alliance. We appreciate you so much.

Bill Good:
Thanks.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Kyle, I just wanted to come back to you real quick, because we also had a gentleman who's going to be coming on here next who has been really active for many years and has been really a driving force on helping fundraising and understanding, getting people involved, membership. Kyle, can you talk a little bit about roofing contractors and your involvement and what you've done with the Roofing Alliance over the years, to set that stage?

Kyle Thomas:
Yeah. We actually joined the Alliance, our company did, back in 1997. Like Bill and Bennett mentioned, it was personal visits from leadership, visionary leadership, the Melvin Krugers, the Dudley Miles of the world. For us, a relatively small roofing company in south Alabama, $50,000 commitment was pretty significant. We all could feel that there's a story to tell, and we all felt the drive to join, become a part of that, and become a part of making that industry that's been good to us and our families, better. I'm hoping. We're leading into Rob [Tierien 00:17:07]. Is Rob on the panel? Is he ready to go?

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's perfect. Megan's working on bring Rob in right now. 

Kyle Thomas:
Megan, start teeing up Rob. We invite Rob to add color to the discussion. Rob has been an instrumental member in leading the membership drive, really, for a long time. I'm not sure how long he's chaired that, but it seems like it's forever. I'm not sure when he wasn't in charge of it. Mr. Tierien, are you there and ready to speak to us a little bit?

Rob Tierien:
I believe I'm on. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yes.

Rob Tierien:
You got me?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yes, go ahead, Rob. Welcome.

Rob Tierien:
Thank you. This is a great program we've put together and I think Kyle hit it on the head. It's making a difference in our industry and it's bringing our industry together. It's a big reason why the Alliance worked so well. As Bennett also mentioned, it's the opportunities that it presents that have made it fun to do this. [inaudible 00:18:15] when Charlie and Bill came around and cornered us and reminded us $50,000 was a heck of a lot back in the beginning, and so it was a big commitment. We decided to take that leap of faith because it was a good leadership and for the opportunity to network in the care of this industry that's just not contractor to contractor, but contractor direct to the manufacturer or supplier, regardless of the best of our industry, [inaudible 00:18:57] are there [inaudible 00:19:00] figuring out how we can better our industry as a whole. 
The opportunity that has been pictured is obvious, of everybody on the same level because it doesn't matter whether it's the largest manufacturer or supplier in this country or the smallest roofer. It's about the Alliance. [inaudible 00:19:22] opportunity to better our industry and get stronger together. These technical programs, administration-al programs, they don't get done by individual groups within the NRCA [inaudible 00:19:43]. It's something that we could do all together throughout our industry. The fellowship program is another one that's extremely valuable, and that would include the scholarship, thousands of scholarships to families that are involved in our industry, and it's a way to touch our people, make a difference [inaudible 00:20:08] a better life for them. 
I'm going to get out of the way here and talk about [inaudible 00:20:31] some of the best friendships we've ever had. It's also brought us a lot of ability to grow, learn, and brought us all prosperity and leaving a legacy. Part of our teaching programs and [inaudible 00:20:50] same thing. It's interesting how all these things come together and really start to help the industry as a whole and everybody that's involved in the industry: the manufacturers, supplier, and the contractor side of the industry. It's a wonderful opportunity and it's progressing our industry.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Rob, you have done, just sitting back watching you and watching how much you have done, I've only been involved a much shorter time. When they say "bring color," you always make everybody smile and it's always fun when you get up and start sharing membership or planned giving or whatever you may be reporting on during that meeting. I would like to ask you the same question that I asked Bill, and I am going to say, can you get a little bit closer to your speaker, just so we can hear you a little? I can't believe I'm saying this to you, but we have a little bit of hard time hearing you. Could you share, what's your favorite thing? I know Bill said he had to go to two, but if you can do one, and if you need to do two, that's okay. What's your favorite thing about the Alliance?

Rob Tierien:
I would say I'm probably going to have to say [inaudible 00:22:23]. We've always supported those Ronald McDonald House type projects. We've got [inaudible 00:22:30] date itself, because not long after the Ronald McDonald House project that we support, we've also done a little for the Ronald McDonald House up in [inaudible 00:22:39], and now through this program, we've added the Ronald McDonald House [inaudible 00:22:46] make sure that they're set, make sure that everything's okay come spring, with those biannual inspections. It's not often that you get people that ask you and want to do that, because they realize its importance. It's a great program. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
You know what? Ronald McDonald House, that's one of those ones that is just so amazing. Thank you. Thank you so much. I know you have all kinds of meetings today, and you took time out to come on here and share your stories. Kyle, did you have anything else for Rob?

Kyle Thomas:
Yeah, I had one question. He's joining us this morning via audio only, but I want to know, does he have a picture of Dane Bradford's face taped to his desk in front of him, giving that report?

Rob Tierien:
No, but I likely could've hung that up, now that you bring that up, Kyle. It would have been perfect.

Dave Lawlor:
Had you been on video, I think we would have required that, Rob.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. We should have had a picture up there.

Kyle Thomas:
That's what we should have ... We should have pushed to Dane Bradford's face while Rob was speaking.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Well, I want to of course, we have this whole, all these questions that have come in ahead of time. We've been on course, but of course, we're going to blow that up because we just had two different people talk about Ronald McDonald House and I think we really need to bring. We have a gentleman on that I believe, Megan, is bringing up, hopefully Rod Petrick, to talk a little bit about and share his experiences with Ronald McDonald House. Here he is. Hello. Good morning.

Rod Petrick:
Morning. How is everyone?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Good. Ron, we keep getting you on here and I love it. Thank you so much for being here again. 

Rod Petrick:
No problem. It's early for you, but it's regular roofing time for us here in Chicago.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Bill Good just said Ronald McDonald House was his favorite. Rob just said it was his favorite. Can you share with everybody out there what the Ronald McDonald House program is and your commitment that you hit during your time as President to the Alliance?

Rod Petrick:
Sure. I guess I'll go back to the start, because I can remember we were at the Alliance meeting and the people for Ronald McDonald House came and made this presentation. With them being based in Chicago, it looked like I was going to become the to-go guy. It was interesting in those initial conversations that their leadership had no idea what kind of roofs, what kind of conditions and all that. At the initial start up, they didn't even know how many buildings they had. We looked through the spreadsheet they gave us, and I'm sitting back going, "How are we ever going to get our arms around this?" True to form, and I'm very proud of the members, the Alliance members and even members that aren't in the Alliance that stepped up to the plate and picked up these, do inspections, the repairs, the maintenance. 
You have to mention Charles [Antis 00:26:14], because he brought us to the game. I'm sitting back, and I'm all, "What is he getting us into?" As I sit back now, two or three years later, it's probably one of the proudest moments not just for me, but for the industry, how we were able to step up, pick this up. It goes back, and you've heard me say it before. It's what my dad says. We have to give back, and everybody. While Rob was speaking before me, and I can remember me pleading it at an Alliance meeting because we had just a section of houses that we were having trouble getting people to cover. Rob sitting there picked up his phone and before that meeting was over, I think he picked up six or seven of them. I think he basically guilted his friendly competitors up and down the east coast that you're either going to do this, or Rob and this guy from Chicago were going to come see them.
It's been a great relationship, and one of the hardest thing for me even to say, it's going to be difficult now. My son that works for us, Ryan, his daughter must have heard in conversation at home from her dad and she drew me a picture. It says, "I'm so proud of you helping these kids." That hit the point with me. It is making a difference and our industry is making a difference for these families that are in a difficult time. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Rod, can you also share for all the contractors who are out there listening and all the manufacturers and everyone? We've got all kinds, people from all over. Can you share, how can they get involved? How can they help with the Ronald McDonald Project through the Roofing Alliance.

Rod Petrick:
It is very easy. We've got key people that stepped up right away: Darrell from Dataforma, who has put his system up so that we can track all of these, so if there's a change in contractor who's sponsoring a house, all the information is collected, and Piers from Eagle View has done a fantastic job supplying all the drawings, the overview pictures and that so it makes it easy for a contractor when they decide they want to help on a house. Similar to what we're doing, I'm partnering with George Patterson and Bennett Russo on the big house at Heinz Hospital, and it works out well, having two contractors on that. If you're a contractor on one, look to a friendly competitor, somebody that could help you out. Sometimes it's hard to bear all of that. If you can split it up and work together, it's for the betterment of the house. 
If you're a manufacturer contractor and want to know how to get involved, Bennett's sitting there nodding her head right now, but she's the contact. Everybody's mentioned it, but she's the rock star for us. In my term as President, I promise I won't tell them what I called you, but most people know. She's very good at keeping everybody on point and she does a great job. If you want to get involved, contact Bennett. A lot of times, I still help out. If we've got a contractor that wants to help, just give us the area. We'll find out who the existing contractor is and find out if they're looking for a partner. It's been a great initiative and a great industry stepped up to help make this work.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. That was one of the things that I loved during ... I was fortunate enough to be involved with the rebranding, but I remember as we sat in that room and everybody went around the table. They said, "What does Alliance mean to you?" Everyone was, "Give back." Give back, that was the most important. Dave, I know from a manufacturer's standpoint, and looking at all of this, how working with Rob, working with the contractors on the Ronald McDonald Houses but also all the research, everything else that's going there, talk a little bit about how manufacturers can be involved in the Roofing Alliance.

Dave Lawlor:
I think, as many have alluded to, becoming a member, it takes a strong position from a monetary standpoint to do that, but the rewards are, as everybody is alluding to, excellent. I would suggest that anyone that wants to be involved, obviously Rob talked about you don't have to be a member to help out at a Ronald McDonald House. You can go ahead and contact a local Ronald McDonald House and go cook for the people in regular times, maybe not during C-19 times. You can do things like going outside at a Ronald McDonald House and cleaning up the yard or cleaning internally at the house, a lot of ways to be involved. Larger manufacturing companies, and there are many that are involved in Alliance already that take part, if somebody wants to join and learn more, to really help this industry and lift this industry up, it's a simple call to Kyle, myself, Bennett, or looking at the website and just finding out really what it takes to be a member of this amazing organization.
You can hear the people talking about it and how real and excellent this is. The lives that are being changed by what is happening here in the Ronald McDonald House, it's amazing, and that story is close to me, too, although I look to people like Charles and Rod with awe in what they were able to do to really get this thing going, Rob, and working to cover all these houses, sponsor all these houses. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, 165 and there's more coming, from what we're hearing, because Ronald McDonald House is always building and they're always expanding. The roofing industry is right there with them, which is pretty exciting.

Dave Lawlor:
Nice.

Heidi Ellsworth:
One of the things that I wanted to also, first of all, I want to make sure to everyone out there, this is of course question and answer, so if you have questions out there or comments, I wanted to read some of them. Jason Dark, thank you for some congratulations and also Craig, thank you guys for your comments in the chat box. Anybody can put comments in there. Sorry. Craig Rainey said, "Congratulations and thank you." We've got some nice chat going on there, so please feel free, or if you have questions for Kyle or Dave or Bennett, please put them in there. If you are a past President, or if you are any Alliance member or not, it doesn't matter, and you just want to share some Alliance stories or maybe Ronald McDonald House stories, whatever it is, just raise your hand and Megan will get you in here. Just let us know, because we see you out there and we really appreciate you being here. We're going to bring a couple more people on.
In fact, right now, Megan, it looks like Tom Saeli has raised his hand, so maybe we can get him on here. He was also very active in the rebranding and putting it together. I know I've asked the people who have been on here and Rod and Rob, I know you guys went off. I want to say thank you so much for coming on and being there. I'm going to go back to Kyle for a second. Kyle, can you think of one? What's your favorite thing? What's your favorite thing about the Alliance?

Kyle Thomas:
Well, that's not a fair question.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I know.

Kyle Thomas:
Firstly, in the big picture, my favorite thing is the relationships we've built with the other members of the industry. Overall, in the big picture, my favorite thing is that. If you're talking about a project or something, it's the student competition. I've been involved with that for a long time and it's been a very rewarding ... I've put a lot of work into it, but it's been a very rewarding for me endeavor.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, and it continues to grow every year. As you probably know, it's my favorite, too. I'm never quiet about it. I just love seeing all the young people coming in and learning about the roofing industry. It's just so exciting, and we really saw it take off during Tom's time as President. Megan says Tom's ready. Tom, can you come on? Are you there?
 
Tom Saeli:
Great. Good morning, everybody. Thanks, Heidi. It's great to see everybody. I hope everyone's doing well. It's really a great idea to have this event.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Awesome. 

Tom Saeli:
We share a couple thoughts from Duralast, and I've been in the industry for about a dozen years. They always say, "Once you're in the roofing industry, you never leave," and I think that's probably pretty true. When I came in, we weren't members of the Alliance. I was fortunate enough to be invited to a few meetings and met the people in this call and Bill Good and everyone else and Bennett and Rob and Jim Barr and Dane and others and Rod Petrick and Kyle and Dave and others and just really thought, "What a great group of people. They all want to devote time and money to give back to the industry." Duralast joined and then eventually, I became President and really echoed the thoughts of Kyle and Dave. Bennett runs the show so well. It's easy being President because you just call Bennett and say, "Bennett, what do I need to do today?" She relays it out and you do it. It's great. She's really good at it. The Alliance runs because Bennett and her team, too, Allison and Jessica and everyone else are fantastic.
I think what I like about the Alliance is the focus on giving back. We talked about the Ronald McDonald House, which is just awesome, but also the student competitions are fantastic. The investment the Alliance makes in other studies and things like that, the scholarships that we give out are tremendous. One of our employees, his son has been a beneficiary of that for a few years, and it's really life changing. I know we've talked about the Ronald McDonald House, but really what I most like about the Alliance is just how dedicated it is to do the right thing. When the Ronald McDonald House opportunity came up, we weren't in it. We dove in head first. Look what the result has been. If another thing came up that was equally compelling, I'm certain that this Alliance would figure out how to make it happen. 
We're manufacturers, so I encourage my contractors to join every time I talk to them, because I think it's just a great way to give back to this industry and make it even better than it is already. Thanks. I appreciate this. Great to see everybody, and that was just my quick thoughts. Thank you, Heidi.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you, Tom, and the one thing I so, you inspire me and Duralast inspires me because you now also have Jason Dark from Duralast who's now being involved. Your commitment is not just becoming a member, but it is of time. You have led your team to really be involved and give back with your personal talents and treasures. Seeing Jason come up and be so involved on the committees, I think that's a big part of it.

Tom Saeli:
Well, it is. It's great. My view is, the more you give, the more you get. I come away from those meetings saying, "Yeah, I was President and I was Finance Chair and whatever, things like that." There's some work involved, but I really came away from those meetings feeling like I gained more than I, from just seeing all the other people and just being with people who want to give back. It's very energizing. I came away from every meeting very energized and excited. It's really a two-way thing, I think.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is great. That is great. Tom, thank you so much. Kyle, Dave, anything for Tom? 

Kyle Thomas:
The only think I would add is, Heidi, thanks for the platform here, because Dave and I are the ones up on the screen, but we're here because of all of these past leaders, right? They set the foundation. They built the foundation. Tom, thanks for chiming in. Thanks for spending some time with us this morning, because it's the past leaders like you guys that got us.

Tom Saeli:
Very well. Thanks, Kyle. It's great to see the beard. That looks good.

Kyle Thomas:
Well, thank you. A covid thing.

Tom Saeli:
No, it looks good.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it. Thank you, Tom. Thank you so much. Jason, I just see that you have a great favorite comment, so if you're interested in coming on, let Megan know and maybe instead of me reading it, you can share that story. I also have a wonderful note here from Lorna. Hi, Lorna. It's so great to see you on the show again today. Thank you. She's saying, "How can I get involved in active way with Roofing Alliance? Education and training is my passion, and I've been working in the industry. I can see there's many opportunities to improve and continue the hard work." Again, I know we talked about it, but for people, how do they get involved? How can they be a part of all this? Bennett, do you want to share some of that?

Kyle Thomas:
Yeah, I would send that one towards Bennett.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah.

Bennett Judson:
Well, I guess, especially with her saying that her passion is education and training, one of the things with the student competition is whenever we have a team, we try to connect that team with a Roofing Alliance member or an NRCA member. The thing is, it's not just connecting them for the sake of the competition, which is important, but we want to connect as many members as possible with these schools throughout the year because the faculty tell us time and time again that what's really important is, they have limited information. Obviously, now we're preparing curriculum materials for them, but what really helps the students is having real-life conversations, knowing real-life things that are going on. We're trying to connect them. That's an ongoing process. It doesn't even have to be the student competition. If there are any universities or colleges in the area, we can reach out, make the connection, and people can come into the classroom. Obviously, we have our scholarship program that's available. We can share that information. That's available to NRCA members, their company, their employees. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
I think one of the things, too, that I really would like you to talk about is really just on participating, right? I know we sit every year in the student competition. There's a few empty seats. I know it's always during the IRE. This year, it's going to be virtual, so it's going to be really cool. A lot of people will be able to see it. There are so many cool activities that the Alliance does that people can just come and be a part of and watch. The student competition, I think, is the number one. It's just so great.

Bennett Judson:
Yeah. We always encourage and open that up. When we have it at the International Roofing Expo, sometimes I know it conflicts with educational sessions, so that makes it a little bit more challenging. One of the things I always say, too, if people are really interested in learning more about the Alliance, let me know because number one, we have members in the area who can share their experiences and also, we do invite people who aren't part of the Alliance to attend our meetings. Hearing and meeting the people first hand, hearing the information first hand is really the best way to know exactly what's going on and hear about it, because we have different updates not only on the projects that we're funding, but from the different task forces and committees. 
It's just really a great way to understand all that we have going on. I can send a list to you. I can talk to you, but really hearing what takes place at the meetings and what they're accomplishing, that's always an open invitation to anybody that's interested. As a matter of fact, this April, we'll be doing our meeting virtually and again, that's a perfect opportunity. We'd love to have people hear first hand.

Heidi Ellsworth:
One of the things I want to say, too, Wendy Marvin, my dear friend, thank you for being on this morning. Wendy Marvin, who's a roofing contractor out of Washington, "Our industry is better because of this alliance. Thank you for elevating us all." I just know that there are a lot of people who feel that way. Let's just real quick talk a little bit about research, because I think the research part of this is also really important. Alliance is giving back. We're bringing young people in through student competitions and stuff, but we're also ... I say "We're," sorry. The big "we," but the Alliance is also funding important research for the industry. Kyle and Dave, Kyle start with you and then Dave, let's just talk a little bit about the one. I was, the concrete moisture report, you would think, "Snoozer," but boy, everyone was so in. It was so important. It was amazing. Maybe you could talk about some of that research.

Kyle Thomas:
Dave, you want to take that one?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Dave?

Dave Lawlor:
The concrete one? I'm not sure I'm geared up to take that one. Bennett, I don't know. I'm going to pass it off to you. Maybe you can help us out there?

Kyle Thomas:
The moisture in concrete was one of the issues that had been identified a long time ago. It's been around for quite a while, and trying to figure out how to tackle it. The only way to do that was to learn about it. We helped fund, but we had some partners, of course, but we helped fund the research. That was a very exhaustive study. Heidi says you might have read it. I don't know. It is a very in-depth and exhaustive study on that issue. We have funded quite a few research projects over the years. We did a demographic study recently from the Arizona State University on the roofing industry, the demographics of the size of the industry, what the contractor looks like, what the workforce looks like. Let's see. We've done silica studies. It's become a big OSHA issue, so the Alliance has helped fund silica studies on the release of silica in cutting and construction activities and how that impacts our members and the industry as a whole, not just the Alliance members, obviously, but the entire industry.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. When I was sitting on as part of the Alliance through Eagle View, one of the big research studies at that time, this is a number of years ago now, was the futuristic report. Bennett, that when we talk about 25 years of celebrating, this is research that's gone on for many, many, many, many years. That futuristic report actually, a bunch of it came true.

Bennett Judson:
Yeah, I just remember a couple of things. It talked about the different mergers that were going to take place, which we've seen. That was the big thing that I remember from that. It was a good tool that a lot of our members used. It helped them to strategize and look forward and prepare for the direction that our industry has taken. What I was going to point out, too, is we have our four pillars. Education and training and philanthropy are probably our two strongest pillars, but we're always looking for funding requests that fit our mission statement and that help impact the industry. 
For example, I just want to talk a little bit about sustainability. We don't talk about that a lot right now because we don't have a lot of current things going on, but there were two past projects that the Roofing Alliance funding that were at the cutting edge of the time that we took them on. One was a roof reflectivity study where NRCA's Technical Operations Committee partnered with representatives from the Chicago Roofing and Contractors Association to take solar reflectivity measurements on roof systems. Now, they focused on the metropolitan Chicago area, but the collected data from 70 different roofs over a five-year period of time and then the results, they have a final report of that. 
Then another project is the Roofing Alliance provided funding for the development of a full-scale destructive testing facility by the International Hurricane Research Center at Florida International University, which was a 12-fan wall of wind. That was a first of its kind facility capable of controlling, having controlled and repeatable testing. Again, at the time, when the Roofing Alliance stepped out and funded these, sustainability was still new to the industry. I just think that's an example of the forward-thinking mentality of our members and of our organization. I just wanted to share that.

Heidi Ellsworth:
No, that's exactly. See, Bennett saves the day again. This is exactly the stuff that people don't hear about. Then they don't know. Excuse me. Going back to Lorna's question, too, these reports can be purchased. With the NRCA Bookstore, the concrete moisture, the demographics, there's a number of reports in there that the Alliance has funded that has helped really push that forward, that people can find these reports and use them in their business and their companies, however you might need them. 

Bennett Judson:
Yeah, and also, some of the reports from some of the studies are available upon request. They're all listed on our website, but yeah. Obviously, they're available for purchase, but if something's not in the bookstore, check our website. This roof reflectivity study is something that we just have available and if it interests a particular audience, it's something we care to share. We'd like to share. 

Kyle Thomas:
It's also worth mentioning, if you join as a member, you get these for free. 

Bennett Judson:
Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's right. 

Kyle Thomas:
I just want to put that out there.

Bennett Judson:
Yeah. Yeah. One of the things that happens is, whatever project or research study that we do, whenever there's a final report, before anything is publicized or published to the general industry, Roofing Alliance members have access to that, first. That's one of the benefits, definitely.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is awesome. I think we have Jason on as a panelist. Jason, are you there? There he is. Hello. Good morning, Jason.

Jason Dark:
Good morning. Can you hear me?

Kyle Thomas:
We got you.

Heidi Ellsworth:
We can hear you. I would love for you to share your comments. 

Jason Dark:
Yeah, well great to see you guys. I've been smiling the whole time, and that just reminds me of how great the Alliance meetings are. Really just, I guess thanks for including me in this. I feel like I'm not deserving to be included with all the people that have talked so far. I'm honored to be included. Bennett, it's funny, everything everyone is saying about you is still an understatement. It's all great things. They're still not quite nailing it, but I don't even try. 
I really hope there's folks that are on this webinar that are not part of the Alliance and are hearing all this. It's funny, because like any Alliance meeting, in the first 30 minutes, I laughed. I was smiling like crazy. I learned a couple things. Mr. Petrick's story about his granddaughter darn near moved me to tears. I feel like every Alliance meeting is the same. They're emotional and the work is so meaningful. That's what, to me, that just gives me the indication that we're doing something right. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. Kyle, I'm glad that you just, that was our first attempt to sell, right? As part of the Alliance, you get some great information, some great research. I'm in sales, so I'm going to start selling.
The roofing industry has given all of us so much: our livelihoods, our careers. It's an incredible industry, in my opinion. The Alliance is a way for all of us to pay it back and give back to the Alliance. All of us who serve and give to the Alliance and join the Alliance, all that gets put back into funding amazing projects, some of them we've talked about. Over the long haul, that stuff's really going to compound into some major outcome, major beneficial outcomes for the roofing industry and for our people. That's the purpose, making positive impact on the industry and the people of the industry. That's the Alliance at its core. There's so many great people there. 
On a personal selfish side, anyone that joins the Alliance, you will grow leaps and bounds professionally and personally, in my opinion. I experienced this first hand. I think I started coming to meetings back in 2014. You're around smart, caring, hard working, successful people constantly. Any challenge you have with your business today, there's someone at an Alliance meeting where you're able to network with them and they're going to be able to help you solve it. I know that has nothing to do with the Alliance, but that's the value of being a part of a group like this, is the networking's incredible. To me, there's a lot of things that a roofing contractor and supplier can do with $50,000, and yeah, it's a lot of money, but the value, it's unbelievable. It's worth every nickel to invest that back into the industry and obviously there are ways to do that, but you will be paid back in spades if you join the Roofing Alliance.
The Alliance is looking for members. We want like minded people like the people that have been on this call to join and to continue to make it better. If you read the Alliance page and the numbers, it's incredible. If you got on the [ten 00:54:18] and you saw the detail of this foundation, it's incredible. Then lastly, and I'll stop talking here, Heidi, but my favorite thing doesn't get talked about a lot, but it's the Helping Our Own Program. It's a really neat program that the Alliance has where anybody in the roofing industry, you don't even have to be an Alliance member, you can just be a roofing contractor, somebody in the roofing industry experiencing some hardships of some sort that requires some financial assistance or some sort of assistance. The Alliance is willing to step in and help. 
I've only seen it, thankfully, there's not a lot of occurrences of this. Bless us for that, but when there are, the couple of times I've seen the Alliance use that program to help others, it's moving. It's from the Alliance, direct help to some people in need, and it just feels great. That makes me really proud, and of course, everything else everyone else said is just spot on. Thanks for having me, Heidi. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you, Jason. I'll be honest. I had emailed Jason and said, "I hope you can make it to this," because I think sometimes, and hopefully I'm not going to speak out of turn, but sometimes people think, "Oh, it's just for the big companies. It's just for the things," but there are all ages. There are all sizes of companies. There's so many different ways to get involved and watching Jason as he has been involved in leader, getting so involved and I guess yes, I'm saying you're young, Jason. Yes, we want everybody involved and being a part of it. Thank you for being here today. Thanks for coming on.

Jason Dark:
I got a lot less gray in here. [crosstalk 00:56:10]

Kyle Thomas:
It's wisdom, Jason. Wisdom.

Jason Dark:
Exactly. All right, thanks, everybody.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you. Have a great day. I want to say thank you to everybody who's been on this morning and everybody, all the comments on just such great support of everything and we are getting right down to the end. I'm going to ask each one of you, our wonderful panelists, to just a little summary. We'll start with Kyle and go to Dave and then end up with wonderful Bennett, just a little summary of what you hope people take from this and also how they can continue to be involved with the 25th year anniversary.

Kyle Thomas:
Yeah, I think Jason nailed it, to a large extent, with his little sales pitch right there at the end. We talk about how it's a $50,000 investment for a contractor, but don't let that number necessarily block your vision. First off, it's not all at one time. 

Heidi Ellsworth:
Right.

Kyle Thomas:
If you commit to it, you're going to get, like Jason said, you're going to get so much more out of that investment. The return on that investment is greater than a pickup truck. It's greater than a piece of roofing equipment that you can invest in because it's the intangibles about the industry that you're going to become involved with and you're going to improve the entire industry. That's my message to those out there listening right now, is find a way to get involved. You don't have to start with membership, but just get in touch with one of us or Bennett. Find a way to get involved. Come to one of the meetings. Attend something, because once you see and you get in that room with the rest of the Alliance members and you feel that energy and you feel that passion, I feel pretty confident you're going to want to become more involved.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, that is cool. Dave?

Dave Lawlor:
Yeah, I think we heard a lot of the people talking about, the leadership talking about the people that you meet at an Alliance meeting, the like minded, giving style and nature, being able to work alongside. From my perspective, being able to work alongside Kyle and Heidi and Tom, Rod, Rob, Bennett, fantastic people really working for a great cause to uplift our industry, it is very, very rewarding to be a part of that, and I would encourage everyone to get involved in some way.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, there's so many different ways. Bennett, any last words?

Bennett Judson:
Yes, actually, I do, real quick. I just have to say all of the compliments are truly appreciated. It really takes a village. It takes a team. First of all, I have to say Jessica is my team cheerleader/leader. I couldn't do it without her. There are a lot of behind the scenes people through NRCA. We have a lot of resources, a lot of talent that help do that. Obviously, I appreciate working with you, Heidi, because you've helped with our communication efforts. I tell you what. Yeah, I'm a paid staff person, but it is a privilege to work with the members and the leaders. The leaders are, they're not only leaders within their companies, but they're leaders within our industry. You know what? I've learned from their guidance the things they've taught me. The biggest thing that I appreciate is the compassion and the commitment of these people. This isn't just a job, and these people, they ... 
I'm getting verklempt, but anyway, it's the passion, the heart that is there. This is an organization that wants to better the industry. They make financial commitments, but it's their time, their talent. That's what makes it very special. It's a great organization.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Bennett, we've done so well until the end. Now I'm teary. That is just awesome. Thank you. Thank you so much.

Bennett Judson:
Not intended.

Heidi Ellsworth:
It shows the passion and it shows just how the Alliance is changing lives every single day. It's amazing. I'm going to encourage every single person out there to get involved somehow. Lorna was asking for emails. Lorna and everyone out there, RoofingAlliance.net, if you go on there, you're going to find Bennett. Of course, I'll send you some emails so you can get in touch with them. It's very easy. RoofingAlliance.net and you can get all the information, upcoming meetings, everything, and then also, of course on Roofer's Coffee Shop, you can just go to the Roofing Alliance directory which, throughout the month of January is the first position in our directory because we just believe in them so much and want everyone to be able to get that information very easily. Everything's here. Contact, in fact, there's Bennett's email right there, so it's very easy to find through the directory or through their website.
As always, we appreciate, this is what roofing respect is all about. It's the respect of each other in this industry. It's about growing the respect and professionalism of being a roofing professional, and we appreciate all of you so much. We appreciate the Roofing Alliance for everything you give us every day. Thank you all for being here today. 

Bennett Judson:
Thank you.

Dave Lawlor:
Thank you for hosting us.

Kyle Thomas:
Thank you very much, Heidi.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yes, thank you.

Bennett Judson:
Thank you.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you, everyone, and be sure to celebrate with the Roofing Alliance throughout the year with all their events, and you can find all it all right here on Roofer's Coffee Shop. In two weeks from now, on the Coffee Conversations, there's going to be a bit of a takeover. Gen Z is visiting Coffee Conversations. We have young people from across the country who will be sharing why they are loving roofing, from sales to consulting, to contractors who are 22, 23 year olds. Our own Megan Ellsworth, our own Gen Z, will be leading that conversation in two weeks. You can't miss it. It's going to be a takeover, and I'm going to get a break. This is awesome. Join us two weeks from now on Coffee Conversations and have a great day. Thank you all.



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