By Lauren White, RCS Reporter.
Roofing Day in Washington, DC is a successful and well organized event. When they say the event is for everyone in the industry, they really mean it. Participants are prepared and supported every step of the way, starting with check-in. Karen Edwards, RCS Editor and Heidi Ellsworth, RCS Partner sat down with Reid Ribble, the CEO of the NRCA, to hear more about this event and the benefits of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) membership.
Having served six years in the US House of Representatives, Reid understands the power of showing up and bringing one voice to Congress. Before, being a roofing contractor in Wisconsin, serving on the NRCA board and being chairman of the board, and now the CEO of the NRCA, Reid brings a lot of knowledge and expertise to the NRCA and Roofing Day.
Roofing Day is intended for people across the entire roofing supply chain. Hundreds of roofing professionals from across the country and across the industry unite to speak with members of Congress. These professionals are from all departments including communications, raw materials supply, manufacturing, distribution, design, and others.
Every step of the way people are there to help. Two folders are prepared for you at check-in. The first is a personalized folder complete with your own schedule of meetings with Congress and senators. It also includes a page explaining the two or three issues the industry identified, why they’re important, and talking points to address during your meeting. The second folder is intended for you to leave behind with members of Congress, legislators, or anyone else you meet with so they remember what you talked about.
Additionally, participants get to be educated on the topics before going into their meetings. This happens with role play between Reid and another person. They pretend to have a similar conversation to the one you’ll have with members of Congress. Going into the meeting, not only are you prepared, but you’re also with a group of people from your state or from your area, spreading the same message.
Reid explains that members of Congress fall into one of three categories when it comes to roofing: informed, uninformed, and misinformed. A member of Congress won’t know anything about what professionals do in the roofing industry unless they themselves were in the industry before. Their decision-making process comes from a place of being informed about the issue at hand, so it’s important for everyone to be in that category.
The event has yielded success. In 2018 a bill concerning career and technical education had been held up by one US senator. Weeks after Roofing Day, and their meeting with the senator, he released his hold and the bill was signed into law. Showing up makes Roofing Day a success. And it’s important to attend every year because you continue to develop and strengthen the relationships you form with the members of Congress and senators. Then your meetings and communication reach a new level and senators call you for more information about the industry and the issues you’re facing.
The NRCA is doing, even more, to ensure this event continues to be successful. A study is being conducted on the entire roofing industry to understand the breakdown of the industry— distributors, employees, manufacturers, etcetera. They also want to know the gender and ethnic makeup of the industry. This study provides the NRCA and the industry with data they can then take to Congress and show the economic impact of the industry.
NRCA does much more than provide data and prepare for Roofing Day. The NRCA is a not-for-profit advocacy group. Membership benefits are significant, though not always tangible. As an advocacy business, the returns are sometimes unseen but are vital to the success of your company. Multiple people work full-time on the rulebook that contractors follow day in and day out. They ensure the rules are written in a fair manner and they have the contractors’ best interests in mind. Instead of hiring a professional that might cost you over $100,000 to do the same thing, you could share the cost of this service with all NRCA members. They have a communication department with a monthly magazine, attorneys on staff, and a legal team. Your membership fee is a contribution to improving the industry.
Many think the NRCA is only for big commercial contractors. This organization represents the industry broadly. The breakdown of NRCA members is as follows: 20% do residential work exclusively, 60% do residential and commercial, and the remaining 20% do commercial work exclusively.
The NRCA is responsive to what its members and the industry tells them are issues. Reid’s advice is if you are unhappy with what the NRCA is doing, become a member and they’ll do what you ask them to!
There’s strength in numbers, and Roofing Day is proof of that. Uniting as an industry demonstrates that professionals care and want change. Although NRCA membership benefits may not be evident at first, they payoff in the long run, advocating for you and the industry.
Listen to the full podcast with Reid Ribble.
For information about NRCA and its services and offerings, visit www.nrca.net.
NRCA is one of the construction industry's most respected trade associations and the voice and leading authority in the roofing industry for information, education, technology and advocacy. It represents all segments of the roofing industry, including contractors; manufacturers; distributors; architects; consultants; engineers; building owners; and city, state and government agencies. NRCA's mission is to inform and assist the roofing industry, act as its principal advocate and help members in serving their customers. NRCA continually strives to enhance every aspect of the roofing industry.