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Will Lorenz - Spray Foam, Roof Coatings and so Much More - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

Will Lorenz - Spray Foam, Roof Coatings and so Much More
February 28, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Will Lorenz from General Coatings. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast.

Speaker 1: Welcome to Roofing Road Trips with Heidi. Explore the roofing industry through the eyes of a long-term professional within the trade. Listen for insights, interviews, and exciting news in the roofing industry today.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Hello and welcome to another Roofing Road Trips from Roofer's Coffee Shop. My name is Heidi Ellsworth and I am here today with my very dear friend Will Lorenz with General Coatings. Will, welcome to the Road Trip.

Will Lorenz: Well, thank you Heidi. It's always great to be on and be a part of Roofer's Coffee Shop. We enjoy the partnership and always like to talk about roofing and seeing what we can do to expand the roofing business and bring roof coatings and spray foam into the fold there.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it. And you're actually sitting in your car while you're talking to me right now, so this is really a road trip.

Will Lorenz: It is indeed. Yeah. Got a little bit of a trek this afternoon back from Fresno back down to Southern California. So was up visiting our facility up here in Fresno and we passed our ISO 9,000 certification renewal again. So I continue to make great products and making them in a quality way so people can enjoy and know that they're a trusted partnership.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Oh, congratulations. You guys are always at the front thought leaders putting everything out there. There's so much to talk about today Will, I'm so excited. So before we do that, why don't you introduce yourself and your company, both General Coatings and Everroof. Tell everybody a little bit about you and what you're doing.

Will Lorenz: So yes, as of January 1st, I was named President of General Coatings and Everroof.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Congratulations.

Will Lorenz: Thank you. I've been previously been vice President of sales, but I have the honor of following the legacy of Lax Gupta, our founder, unfortunately, he passed away in November. And he's has a bold legacy of entrepreneurial and science and innovation and I'm glad to be following the legacy and promoting products, particularly polyurethanes, acrylics and silicones that he so dearly loved and thought were great opportunities and offerings for the marketplace. So we got new exciting directions that we're going here. General Coatings is a manufacturer of spray foam roofing, so coated foam roofing for all those coat people. So again, a couple inches of spray polyurethane foam, and then a nice roof coating on top of it is a great low slope solution. We manufacture those products in Texas and in Fresno, California here.

And then our Everroof, a great brand of restoration and maintenance type coatings suitable for any low slope, acrylic silicones and urethanes, primarily sold through distribution. They're great products for the contractor to be able to apply and restore and protect roofs and keep them going. So we're glad to have those two brands and the products that we can offer to the marketplace to support the roofing needs of folks.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: You also have, talk about being in the right place at the right time with the right products. The spray foam products have just grown exponentially over the last couple years. They've always been a strong solution. They've always been very strong leading the industry, but we've seen such growth and roof coatings as you and I both know has exploded. So maybe just share a little bit about what you're seeing in the market with spray foam and roof coatings.

Will Lorenz: Well, with some economic times being a little challenging, people are making decisions about what they're going to do on their investment in their roof. They're going to decide whether they're going to tear off and start over or whether or not they can find a solution that saves them energy and waterproofs their roof and extends the life. And spray foam with a couple inches as a re-cover system is a great solution. You don't have to tear off that old BUR roof, you can just put the foam on top of it and keep it going.

And with California Energy requirements being so stringent and CEC wanting R10 across as a continuous insulation, spray foam is a great solution for that. So instead of having to tear off and have to put R20 or R25, you can just put R10 as an additional insulation and a roof coating on top of it, and you're in business. And you can keep your business going and you can take that money you might have spent on a new roof and you can put it back into your business to help you sustain you and grow. So very wise decisions there.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: And it just seems that the overall society I should say, but definitely the construction industries are seeing the benefits of spray foam roof coatings when it comes to restorations like you're talking about, it's money. It saves the building owner money. They get a high performance roofing system and also we're not putting more debris into the landfills.

Will Lorenz: That's correct. sustainable has to have some value into it and it's got to be able to see extended life out 60 or a hundred years. And if we have to tear off a roof and put it back in the landfill and start over every 15 or 20 years, we're just not going the right direction. They're designing buildings today that have the structural integrity to go those 80 to a hundred years. And so we need the insulation and we need the waterproofing system to be able to do that too. And spray foam is one of those systems where if you put it down, the coating on top of it is the wear surface. And so as it wears down due to UV and so forth, you can then extend the life of it again by recoatng over it, a very cost effective way to move forward. Again, save that couple bucks per square foot, tear off and extend your roof again with a recoating. So just a nice solution there.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: It makes so much sense. And speaking of road trips, you and I are going to be road tripping over to Florida here in two weeks to the spray foam convention and it's going to be the first time Roofer's Coffee Shop is there and it's all because of you Will. You're the one who's like, you guys need to be there. We're very excited about that. Tell us a little bit about, you've been at the spray foam show for years. First of all, why should people go and what should they expect?

Will Lorenz: Well, I would say this, the industry gathers annually as a convention to try and promote its benefits and to enlighten and educate folks on the benefits of polyurethane foam, whether it's a wall insulation or a roofing material or a below-grade material to slab jack. And as an SPFA board member, I'm a big promoter of getting people to these shows so they can see what they can find as solutions. Many folks think that their walls are just going to be just fine with traditional insulation. They don't see how much energy they can save with a nice air sealing spray polyurethane foam system in those walls and attics. Or conversely on a roofing system, how you don't have to do that tear off and you can put that re-cover system and extend the life there.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. Well I'm really excited. I'm really excited to be able to go to some of the classes. Obviously the trade show to really... You've already been bringing all this spray foam information onto the coffee shop site. We're going to be bringing a lot more, we're bartering with SPFA as you helped us get in there. And so we're very excited to promote that association and to really help the industry overall embrace it even more than they already do, which we know is a lot, but there's always room.

Will Lorenz: Well, there's three or four great benefits that are going on there for people to go there. First of all, there is a trade show, a lot of great suppliers there, including ourselves, talking about their products and their benefits. So you want to come get in there, walk around, meet the people, find out about these technologies and great manufacturers that are out there. And then second, we have a number of education classes and PCP certifications which allow you to get trained, bring your employees, invest in them, and get them up to speed as to how to properly use spray polyurethane foam, whether you're going to use it on the walls or roofs.

And also then we have a field examination where if you really a person with your hands on a spray foam gun and you're ready to show them what you got, we've got field exams that are for free, where you can come there and sign up and you can get certified on spray polyurethane foam, but you got to do a little work. You got to put together a gun, you got to go through proper safety procedures, you got to pull the trigger and show that you have what it takes to be in this business as a certified applicator. But that's my challenge. Everybody, come down to Daytona and see if you can get certified.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it. And it's in Daytona, which is nice and warm.

Will Lorenz: We're right between Super Bowl and Daytona 500. So you can come at both ends and enjoy Florida with the big events going on.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I tell you, it is. I can't believe we're going to be there just days before the Daytona 500. Tim is so excited, just saying. So another bonus, we're also really looking forward to your event for general coatings that you're having at this spray foam show too. So you just do it right, Will.

Will Lorenz: We've got a fantastic client event happening on Tuesday, I believe.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, the 14th.

Will Lorenz: Yeah.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Valentine's Day.

Will Lorenz: So Valentine's Day. We're at the top of Daytona, taking everybody in a bus to a beautiful restaurant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, relaxing, having a few cocktails, enjoying life and some tremendous food options. And sharing the camaraderie with our great customers and thanking them for all that they did to support and help us grow as a company. Our founder, Lax Gupta has always believed in giving back in society and taking care of our customers. So we're glad to have an opportunity to get together and share a meal with them. It's part of our family tradition. We're a family run company, share a meal, and enjoy the success that we're all having in this polyurethane foam business.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, I love it. For everyone out there, just remember, check out the directories, General Coatings, Everroof, SPFA. There's so much information and you can bring this type of technology, these types of products into your business. But we would be remiss if we didn't talk a little bit, and we warned everybody at the beginning, Will. There's so much to talk about, but you are also this year, the past president for the Roof Coating Manufacturers Association. First of all, congratulations three year term, right? You made it through COVID. Yes. And talk about another association. You give back so much on the board of SPFA, you're on the board of NRCA, past president of RCMA and worked on that board for so many years. But they are doing some amazing training modules, that they have just been putting out. Can you talk a little bit about that because it goes hand in hand with what we're talking about.

Will Lorenz: Absolutely. Well, first I'd like to thank the other board members that gave me the honor of voted me in as president. It's been a great opportunity and challenge getting through the difficult times when people wanted to shut down our construction trade and so forth. And making it through and building new partnerships, strengthen our relationships with IIBEC, strengthen our relationship with CRC, IIBEC and IRC, trying to do things to grow the business for all of us in the roof coating business. But again, we also want to defend what spray foam and pardon of me, what roof coatings does well. And we restore roofs and we're proud to be a group of manufacturers and suppliers that promote that interest because they're really excellent solutions for roofs. In my three year term, we renewed our contract with our Kellen organization. So that was a great milestone for us committing to the long term with that partnership to have the organization succeed.

We've done things to increase our visibility on roof coatings through a lot of marketing efforts to get out the message of how roof coatings can perform and save them money and make their roofs water tight. We also did things to defend the turf with regard to some of the things that people wanted to change on solar reflectants or VOCs or chemicals that they've thought were of concern. We've addressed it all properly and we're doing the right things to show that this is a responsible industry and cares about its clientele and does good work when they're properly installed.

And so in that regard, we feel that education and training are the important things for us to do. And I'd like to give a shout out to my executive director, Dan QuInonez and Chadwick Collins, our technical director who worked tirelessly to help develop this roofing module system for roof coatings. We've got a three system, a three part test system, put together, training modules. So the first one's on roofing substrate, second one's on roof coating technologies. And the third ones are about best practices. So the three core principles that people need to do there to understand about roof coatings. And so those modules are all available online and we think they're a great step to build your team up and educate them on what they need to know about roof coatings.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, they're great and we were so proud to have Chadwick introduce the first module on Roofer's Coffee Shop. We did it live. So that information, if you're looking, if you go to the RCMA, Roof Coatings Manufacturing Association directory, you'll find what we did on that, really with Chadwick walking through the training modules. And now two more are coming out. If they aren't by the time you're listening to this, they're already out. So you can do all three. Exactly what we need in the industry. We need training and we need people this continuing education. And our RCMA has just done a great job, Will.

Will Lorenz: Yes. I was just online myself looking at them. And all three modules are ready to go. You can go online, easy pay, and get on board and take those courses as well as a simple test at the end to verify that you've learned things and print out a certificate for you. So it's great. And in that light, General Coatings and Everroof wants to continue to promote roof coatings. And so we're proud to offer 20 modules for folks to take. And we're always a believer in first come first serve. So first 20 people that sign up can take a module for free, they're regularly a $100. And here you are, I got opportunity to choose whether you want one module one, two, or three and get it going. So we'd like to see people take more of those training courses and increase their visibility and knowledge.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: So we're going to do this. It's always fun to do these things with you Will. We're always like, "Okay, how are we going to promote this?" So there's a couple ways that you can win these modules. One is just by listening to this podcast and going to, there'll be a landing page, you'll be noted in the podcast, you'll also be able to find it on General Coatings, Everroof and RCMA where you can just fill out a form. And if you're one of the first 20 to come in, you're going to win the module. If you're not, we still will have your name and we'll make sure to get you on. Make sure you're getting all the information and maybe you never know things keep happening around here.

But the other thing we're going to be doing too is we are going to be at NRCA next week, and we're also going to be at the spray foam, which we just talked about. And we're also going to be giving away free trainings and modules through that. Some of those 20 are going to go out while we're at the shows too. So a lot of different ways to get involved and to get this training. And I can tell you Will, talking to contractors who have taken it, they think it's amazing. It's just, the feedback has been phenomenal.

Will Lorenz: Well, I thank you. It's a testament to the great members we have. We had lots of participation from excellent manufacturers who provided their insight, their vast years of experience, pouring that into how to install roof coatings, how to test the substrates, how to use best practices. And all I can say is, the board of directors had the vision to move forward with this program. And then Dan and Chadwick were the men to get this program running. And we're really glad to be offering in the marketplace so everybody can learn and grow.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. And RCMA has a conference every summer, right?

Will Lorenz: We do, yes. And we're actually planning to have two this year. We're having one in the summer and one in the fall. That's our plans there. We're breaking out of all that crazy COVID stuff and good trying to tell everybody about it. And I know that Dan and Chadwick, I believe, are going to be down at IRE. We're going to try and get the message out about roof coatings and come by us and see us at either Heidi's booth or the General Coatings Everroof booth, or come and see us at the RCMA booth, at IRE and happy to tell you more about roof coatings. And you know how you can even win modules. I'm sure I'm going to be giving away more then.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: We're going to be doing it at IRE too, you know it. And in the past we attend, we go too, to the RCMA. I love those meetings. Love the summer meetings. So if you're a contractor listening to this or anybody out there who's involved with roof coatings, amazing meetings. The networking alone is huge. But the education, the panels, we've in the past and the contractor panel, which is always pretty well received. It's so great to have that conversation going on between the installers, people who are actually applying the roof coatings and the manufacturers, and even the vendors, the chemical folks who are helping to build all the great solutions in roof coating. So great event. Great event.

Will Lorenz: And I'll tell you, I thought the contractor panel we had last summer was just amazing myself. I learned so much hearing how people do and schedule work and how they install systems and what their expectations are and what they want to see from roof coatings and manufacturers and how it's necessary for us to support them and help them protect their client's roofs. It's just a great opportunity to learn and grow and valuable feedback for us as an industry so we know how to position ourselves and how to correct any issues we have and do the right thing for these valuable contractors.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, and I'm telling you right now, like we talked about, the growth of roof coatings is off the charts. It is a solution that is here, that is working, that is sustainable high performance. So if you're not doing roof coatings right now, this is something you should look at because it's great for your business, a great way to differentiate your business. Before we go, Will, I always just love to hear your outlooks because you just have such a great view of the industry and the economy. So just for everybody out there, what are you seeing and how does 2023 going into 2024 look for you and for the industry?

Will Lorenz: Yeah, I still think things are bright and positive. I think there's certainly some clouds in the sky that we have to keep an eye on. I think as a consumer myself, I'm watching my spending and you got to be wise about the fact that you're paying more for food and for energy and so forth. And so if you want your roof done, you're probably making sure that what you're going to spend on is necessary and the right solution for you, for your affordability. But I would also say on the commercial side, it's important that if they're a warehouse, that they keep their inventory dry. If they're a school, they have to keep the students dry. If they're a commercial building where people are working in the office, they have to keep it dry. So those fundamental buildings are going to continue to have roofing investment made.

They're just managed mostly by professionals or managed by smart building owners who want to make sure that they're investments pay back and also perform. And so I think the institutional business, warehousing business, businesses in certain sections of commercial are still going to continue to be robust throughout 23. I think the real challenge is, where is it going to be on the residential side? I know that on the spray foam side with regard to insulation for walls, we're monitoring those things there with regard to investments in housing starts and what's going to happen there. So hopefully the US economy continues to outperform what everybody's expectation is and grow, and we find a way of managing our way through the challenges. I think most of the challenges we've had in the last three years have been far worse than some inflation. But again, we've got to get that under control. And I think the good news looks to be that energy prices have peaked and they're slowly working their way down. And so that makes it better affordability for everybody. And I just think that that's continue to strengthen the economy for all of us.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I'm seeing the same thing. And on the commercial side, boy, every town you go into, you're counting cranes that are still up there working and a lot of new construction in commercials. So I agree with you wholeheartedly, Will. I think we're in a good industry and we're giving the right things for our customers and for those end users to stay protected. So that always makes a big difference. Thank you, and congratulations again on your promotion to President of General Coatings and Everroof. No one deserves it more. I am just so excited for you. So it's going to be a great year.

Will Lorenz: Thank you. Again, I'm just honored to be a part of a great family business. I'm a small cog in this wheel. I try and fight for what's right for my people and for the industry and for our clients. And I just believe that I'm in a lucky position because of hard work and innovation and the blessings of the family that entrusted me with these reigns. And I don't intend to let them down and intend to exceed expectations and show them that it was a good move.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: As always. As always, you're always exceeding expectations, so that is great. Well, thank you so much, Will. And I will be seeing you at many shows coming up, the spray foam and then IRE, this summer at RCMA. So thank you again for being here today.

Will Lorenz: Thank you, Heidi. Thank you for Roofers Coffee Shop, and we certainly appreciate the close partnership and value the personal relationships. So thank you.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I tell you what, we love it. It is awesome. And also, I just want to thank all of you for listening. I know I've already said it, but be sure to go check out the directories for General Coatings, for Everroof, for spray foam, SPFA, for RCMA, the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association. Great information, great articles, studies, you name it, it's all there. And be sure to check out all of our podcasts under the read list and watch section under Podcast Roofing Road trips. You don't want to miss a single one. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast channel and hit those notifications. We'll be seeing you next time on Roofing Road Trips.

Speaker 1: Make sure to subscribe to our channel and leave a review. Thanks for listening. This has been Roofing Road Trips with Heidi from the rooferscoffeeshop.com.

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