Notes from the NRCA Fall Conference

I had the opportunity to attend the NRCA’s fall conference in Washington DC the week of October 18. Here are some of my takeaways:

  • In general, the attendees were not positive on the short-term future. The overall feeling is that trucking, raw materials, and a decline in demand will make 2011 similar to 2010. Contrary to much of the industry, I’m pleased to report that Duro-Last is having a good year; we are showing solid growth over 2009.
  • NRCA Executive Vice President Bill Good said that some regions and markets are years away from any type of growth. He commended companies as “doing well” if they are seeing growth volume at all in their businesses.
  • An NRCA lobbyist discussed the activities they are working on with Congress and the “insiders” view on the upcoming elections. He feels that Republicans will get 39-45 seats in the House and seven seats in the Senate.
  • An OSHA representative from the Obama administration said that there will be changes with respect to fall protection next year, some prompted by NRCA lobbying. There will also be sweeping changes with respect to crane safety standards – a topic that is important to anyone with a crane of any size. Safety regulations concerning loading roofs will change and contractors with cranes will need to learn them.
  • There was a lot of talk about solar and renewable energy. Rhone Resch, President of the Solar Energy Industries Association, made several points, including:
    • There are 93,000 solar jobs in the US. Resch used Hemlock Semiconductor (based in Saginaw County, Michigan) as an example of solar growth.
    • Solar output in 2010 will grow 100% and another 100% in 2011.
    • Residential systems now comprise 50% of solar wattage installed. This is because incentives are now more favorable for residential installations in the United States and because a large portion of corporate America has lost its tax appetite the past two years.
    • Cumulative Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for solar is expected to be 24% through 2015.
    • The solar industry needs to be subsidy-free by 2016. This is dependent on scale; the volume needs to grow at the current pace or better.
    • Roofers that have included solar as an offering have seen revenues grow 36-50%.
    • Integrators, roofers, designers, raw material manufacturers and others are profitable, but panel providers are losing billions. However, the industry is too big to fail, and this will change the next three to four years.
    • Solar installation volumes are still concentrated in the states with the best incentives.

Duro-Last Exhibits at Solar Power International Expo

Duro-Last exhibited at the Solar Power International Expo held October 12-14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. We participated in this show because rooftop photovoltaic (PV) installations are growing exponentially, and these systems require a roofing membrane that is “Solar-Ready™.” Although the rooftop solar market is still in its infancy, Duro-Last’s custom-prefabricated roof system has been able to accommodate the roof penetrations typical to PV installation for more than 30 years.

The Duro-Last message was well received by the many solar integrators and installers who attended the Expo and who recognize that the watertight integrity of the roof system beneath the PV equipment plays a vital role in the success of solar installations. Duro-Last was represented by President Tom Hollingsworth, Western VP Tim Hart, California Regional Manager Curt Jaffe, and yours truly, along with California independent sales representatives Scott Franklin, Matt Stephens, and Chris Hemphill. In addition to working the booth, we were able to walk the show and interact with many of the 1,100 plus vendors and the estimated 27,000 attendees.

This show enabled us to get familiar with the rooftop mounting systems that PV systems use. It’s the largest B2B Expo for the solar power industry, and provided a wonderful opportunity to interact with manufacturers of these systems. In general there are two types of mounting systems: those that attach to the roof’s structural supports and those that sit atop the roof system and utilize ballast blocks to stay put when the wind blows. Both types of systems have pluses and minuses which will be the topic of future posts on this blog. One thing is certain: the demand is so great that many rack and roll-formed steel manufacturers are jumping on the solar bandwagon and introducing mounting systems in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

Many roofing contractors around the county are also getting involved by forming solar divisions within their companies. One such Duro-Last contractor is Competitive Commercial Roofing, of Hood River, Oregon, owned and operated by Steve Leslie. Steve’s solar company Competitive Solar provides solar-related services in addition to a roofing product that is ideally suited for use with solar. Steve, April Chen, and Chase Drum of Competitive Solar attended the Expo and provided valuable insights regarding the integration of the Duro-Last roof systems and PV to visitors of the booth. Many thanks to Competitive Solar for the valuable assistance!

Duro-Last staffers Scott Franklin, Tim Hart, Matt Stephens, and Curt Jaffe chatting it up with a couple of booth visitors.
A rack system that will mount to a roof's structural supports.
A rack system that will sit on a rooftop and be held down with ballast blocks.

Roofing Industry Magazines: Part 2

This is the conclusion from our blog post the week of October 4th. Although the list might appear to be endless between print and online media opportunities, I have compiled some of the publications that Duro-Last has been involved with to some degree in recent years because of their connection to the commercial roofing industry. Below is a small description of each – mostly taken from each magazine’s own materials – as well as a link to each website.

Maintenance Solutions

MS delivers essential information for maintenance and engineering managers, providing them with resources to coordinate the day-to-day activities of frontline technicians and supervisors, while also helping them develop and implement effective, long-term, big-picture strategies.

Metal Building Developer

Metal Building Developer helps builders, developers, building owners, and facility managers seek solutions for their construction projects through the use of metal. Featuring case studies, ownership perspectives, technical issues, and business insights, learn how metal construction can provide solutions for a cost-effective, efficient way to deliver high-quality projects on time.

Metal Roofing Magazine

Metal Roofing Magazine is devoted solely to metal roofing. It serves roofing contractors, general contractors/remodelers, architects, specifiers, building material dealers/distributors, gutter installers, consultants, engineers, manufacturers and their representatives. The magazine is published seven times per year, and includes the Metal Roofing Buyers’ Guide and The Idea Book, an architectural design resource.


Metalmag educates architects, building owners, and contractors about how metal is an attractive, functional, and environmentally friendly material. With essential product information and shining examples of metal in action, Metalmag covers every aspect of the industry so that subscribers get a true education in metal. Metalmag provides in-depth coverage of industry issues, news, and trends.

Professional Roofing Magazine

Published monthly, Professional Roofing provides information on the ever-evolving roofing profession. NRCA members enjoy free subscriptions and receive the latest information about roofing trends, business management from a roofing industry point of view, government regulation and legislation, new practices and trends, safety, insurance, technical research, and the NRCA.

Roofing Contractor

Roofing Contractor is written specifically for the contractor. An independent magazine, Roofing Contractor’s editorial addresses issues critical to contractors and provides the information and insights that help contractors succeed. Editorial coverage reaches a national audience and covers all aspects of residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional roofing.

Roofers Exchange

Roofers Exchange is published in four regional publications covering all 50 states, offering a source of advertising and communication specifically for the roofing industry. The format combines public relations announcements, classified advertising, display advertising, human interest and training information.

SNAP – McGraw-Hill

SNAP (Sweets News and Products), from McGraw-Hill Construction, provides readers with a quick and accessible way to learn about the latest product news, trends, statistics, events, and more in a compelling, thorough editorial presentation. Devoted entirely to covering building products, SNAP differentiates itself by utilizing the resources available only through McGraw-Hill Construction, including data and statistics unavailable anywhere else.

Sustainable Facility

SF is the information source for high-performance buildings and optimal energy and resource management in commercial, institutional and industrial facilities. SF supports the facility manager, owner, engineer and service provider to enhance, maintain, and measure the sustainability and conservation of new and existing buildings.

Today’s Facility Manager

TFM is a specialized trade publication written and edited for corporate facility executives in all industry and service sectors whose responsibilities include purchasing, planning and approving products, services and materials for facility operations.

Western Roofing Magazine

Western Roofing/Insulation/Siding magazine is published six times per year. Written for the building professional concerned with the design, specification and application of roofing, insulation, and siding in the West.

Customer Service Week 2010

Customer Service Week is an international event devoted to recognizing the importance of customer service and honoring the people who work on the frontlines serving and supporting customers. The International Customer Service Association began Customer Service Week in 1988. In 1992 the U.S. Congress proclaimed Customer Service Week a nationally recognized event, celebrated annually during the first full week in October.

At Duro-Last we pride ourselves on providing the World’s Best Customer Service. That claim applies to all employees, not just those who work directly with our external customers day-by-day and hour-by-hour.

All of our inside sales staff (CSRs) go through an intense process that includes two days of hands-on training on how to install a Duro-Last roof. It’s essentially the same training that new authorized Duro-Last contractors attend. This experience helps CSRs understand our products so that they are ready to assist customers in a timely and effective manner. The Duro-Last customer service team consists of Amanda Diedrich , Shannon Doerr, Kris Emerick, Katie Grantham, Adam Johnson, Peter Ouderkirk, Mike Pawlaczyk, Adam Scully, Aaron Snook, Stacey Wascher, and Eric Whelton, The have almost 30 years of combined customer service experience. Duro-Last’s Customer Service Manager is Wayne Ross. Our CSRs are available from 7:00am to 9:00pm Eastern Time Monday through Friday.

Christy Shorkey is the sales secretary for Duro-Last, assisting the entire sales department with their administrative needs. She’s involved in many other projects as well, such as handling the registrations for the Duro-Last Sales Seminar, attended annually by approximately 1000 individuals representing 200 of our contractors customers.

We also take care of our customers through our phone system. When you call Duro-Last during normal business hours you will always get a real person on the line – not a confusing automated system – to assist you with your call. Pam Histed is usually the voice you will hear on the other end, and she has been cheerfully getting customers connected to Duro-Last for over six years.

Need some literature or a product sample? No problem! Raphael Bassey is here to assist you with those requests. If you visit Duro-Last in Saginaw, Michigan, for a plant tour, he may even pick you up at the airport.

These are just a few of the ways that Duro-Last provides its customers with the Worlds Best Customer Service.

To show our appreciation for the hard work of our customer service staff, we celebrated National Customer Service Week with a kickoff breakfast on Monday, lunch on Tuesday, and a wrap-up lunch on Friday. Throughout the week there were team-building activities, and teams were entered into daily drawings for prizes.

The CSR staff is the starting point for assisting our customers with their sales needs. But this talented team also provides order advice, price quotes, and product details, and also expediently directs contractors to other appropriate resources at Duro-Last. Taking good care of our authorized contractors is their number one goal, and we were proud to honor them during Customer Service Week!

Duro-Last Inside Sales Team

Roofing Industry Magazines: Part 1

There are lots of building and construction industry publications out there, and seemingly more being introduced monthly. Although the list might appear to be endless between print and online media opportunities, I have compiled some of the publications that Duro-Last has been involved with to some degree in recent years because of their connection to the commercial roofing industry. Below is a small description of each – mostly taken from each magazine’s own materials – as well as a link to each website. We’ll include about half of the pubs in this post and the rest in a subsequent post.

Architectural West Magazine

The Magazine of the Western Architect and Specifier, is published six times per year. Written for the building professional concerned with design, specification, and application of building products in the West.

Building Design & Construction

“Inspiring the Building team,” BD&C is an advocate for the integrated building team: AEC professionals working together to meet the needs of their clients and the people who use their client’s buildings.

Building Operating Management

BOM is a magazine for the building owner/facility executive, providing coverage for building owners and facility executives who control the nation’s largest commercial and institutional properties.

Buildings Magazine

This monthly publication offers readers information on the development, construction, modernization, management and operation of buildings, as well as the products and services needed to support such facilities.

Commercial Buildings Products

CBP grounds its editorial content in new-product information that is delivered to decision makers who are involved in the brand selection and purchase of applicable products.


Eco-Structure magazine delivers practical information and real-world examples of green building to architects, builders, interior designers, and others interested in the green-building industry. By focusing on particular green residential and commercial projects, as well as gaining “perspectives” from industry leaders, the publication strives to improve the built industry through education and design.

Environmental Design + Construction

ED+C is dedicated to efficient and sustainable design and construction. Since 1997, ED+C has supported, and will continue to support, the progressive architect, designer, specifying engineer and building developer to enhance the sustainability of new and existing buildings.


Interface is a technical/trade publication of The Institute of Roofing, Waterproofing, and Building Envelope Professionals (RCI). It is published eleven times a year. Interface provides readers with technical articles and papers, and timely coverage of industry news and events. It is the intent of RCI that Interface educate and inform all segments of the roofing industry, establish a common ground for discussion, and provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and technical knowledge.