National Safety Week – Overexertion

Overexertion is the third leading cause of nonfatal injury in the United States and results in the second highest number of claims in the low slope roofing industry. An estimated 3.5 million overexertion injuries occur each year. Most are the result of lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, or carrying. Back injuries are the most common form of overexertion in the workplace, but overexertion can also result in physical fatigue, sprains, or strains, reduction in work efficiency, and decrease in the speed and quality of work.

Prevent overexertion by:

  • Stretching and/or warming up before heavy lifting or strenuous activity
  • Lifting with your legs bent and objects held close to your body
  • Avoiding bending, reaching, and twisting when lifting
  • Asking a friend for help when lifting
  • Breaking a load down and using mechanical assistance when available
  • Practicing good housekeeping and maintaining clear pathways

For additional information, visit or

In the next blog post we will discuss driving.

Duro-Last Hires Marketing Director and Product Manager

Duro-Last Roofing®, Inc. is pleased to announce the hiring of Robert C. Carnick as Marketing Director and James R. Townsend as Product Manager for EXCEPTIONAL® Metals, a division of Duro-Last.

In this newly-created position, Robert will be responsible for creating and implementing strategic product marketing plans, product development and rollout, sales forecasting, identifying new revenue streams, and tracking costs, margins, and sales growth.

Most recently, Robert worked as General Manager for Total Garage Solutions in Forked River, New Jersey. Robert has a track record of innovation, project management and successful commercialization of building materials including fire rated and hurricane resistant fenestration products. He has been awarded two patents and has served on numerous industry committees for standards and code development work.

Robert will report to Duro-Last Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Steve Ruth, and will be located at Duro-Last’s Saginaw, Michigan, office.

Robert C. Carnick

Jim will be responsible for representing EXCEPTIONAL Metals’ entire product portfolio, including metal edge and other roof details, and the recently-introduced standing seam metal line, in this newly-created position. He will work with Duro-Last’s independent sales representatives and authorized roofing contractors to position EXCEPTIONAL Metals product with end-user customers, including corporate accounts.

Jim has extensive experience in standing seam metal roofing, marketing, and engineering design. Prior to joining Duro-Last, he spent 20 years on the manufacturing side of engineered standing seam metal roofing. Previously, he was Principal of The Peer Group, Inc. a consulting agency focused on forensic evaluation of roofing system failures. He is a member of the Roof Consultants Institute, The Construction Specifications Institute and the National Roofing Contractors Association. He is a professional speaker for the American Institute of Architects, the Construction Specification Institute, and the Association of Professional Engineers.

Jim will work from his office in Atlanta, Georgia.

James R. Townsend

National Safety Month

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roofing was the fifth most dangerous occupation in the United States in 2009.

Each June, the National Safety Council encourages organizations to get involved and participate in National Safety Month. Each week of the month carries a theme that brings attention to critical safety issues. The overall theme for the month is “Journey to Safety Excellence.”

The National Safety Council saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy. By 2014, the council will save an additional 10,000 lives and prevent 1 million injuries by partnering with businesses, elected officials and the public to make an impact in areas such as distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, and safety in the home and community.

Safety is such an important topic that, with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

Over the course of the next four weeks we will discuss overexertion, driving, slips/trips/falls, and finally office safety.

We would like to know what you do during National Safety Month so please post your comments here.

Duro-Last Donates Truck for Joplin Relief Efforts

On Thursday, May 26, Duro-Last Director of Accounting Debbie Bierlien saw a story on a local TV station about a church in Clio, Michigan, that was collecting items for the victims of the tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri. The church had collected so much, that they were in need of a semi-trailer to transport the items to Joplin. Debbie brought the opportunity to Duro-Last management, who immediately authorized the use of the truck, fuel, and driver Jay Verbeke for the trip. In addition, Duro-Last employees donated clothing, water, diapers, and other necessities. After loading to about half full in Clio, the truck stopped at another church in Bryan, Ohio, and was filled to capacity. The truck arrived in Joplin on Saturday, May 28.

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Pam Lotter, who coordinated the effort for the Clio Community Church of God, is planning to make another trip soon. Food items are most in need, as well as gift cards for national grocery and pharmacy chains. Pam can be reached at the church at 810-686-5394 or via cell phone at 810-210-1158.

Pam Lotter and Duro-Last Communications Director Fred Sitter

Dick Fricklas and Jerry Teitsma Visit Duro-Last

On Wednesday, May 11, Duro-Last was pleased to host roofing industry luminaries Dick Fricklas and Jerry Teitsma at our corporate headquarters in Saginaw, Michigan. Dick and Jerry came as part of a plant tour arranged by Duro-Last independent sales representative Tom Allen of Aurora, Colorado.

Dick and Jerry are esteemed throughout the roofing industry as reliable and informed resources, and they make it a point to keep abreast of manufacturing trends and other roofing industry developments. From all indications, both gentlemen were impressed with the production capabilities and attention to detail in Duro-Last’s manufacturing operation.

Dick Fricklas is an educator and author. Before retiring from full-time employment, Fricklas was technical director at the Roofing Industry Educational Institute (RIEI), which is no longer in operation. He co-authored the Manual of Low-Slope Roof Systems, considered one of the most important reference books in the commercial roofing industry.

Jerry Teitsma, a roofing and waterproofing consultant, was the Director of Educational Services for the Roof Consultants Institute from 2001 to 2010. He is currently the Assistant to the Director of Educational Services.

Duro-Last President, Tom Hollingsworth; Dick Fricklas; Duro-Last Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Steve Ruth; Jerry Teitsma

Pilot Held Hostage by Rogue Roofing Manufacturer!

A year and a half ago the U.S. Green Building Council initiated a new program to allow for the testing of potential new LEED® credits. Titled “LEED Pilot Credit Library,” this collection of pilot credits allows project teams to test potential new credits and work with the USGBC to develop future LEED credits and categories.

Pilot Credit 2: PBT Source Reduction: Dioxins and Halogenated Organic Compounds has been greatly misunderstood and misrepresented by some roofing manufacturers. Some of them have used this credit as a negative promotional tool by misrepresenting the purpose and content of the credit. To receive a point for this credit, the submitter must do the necessary research and provide the results and documentation to USGBC. The research could either support or reject the intent of the credit.

In this credit, it is required that for each alternative product, the submitter must “…conduct and submit a multi-parameter alternative product analysis that includes at a minimum one (1) other product that serves the same function.” The study must also “…include at least 4 parameters (in addition to absence of halogenated materials) associated with the products manufacture or service life . . . used to assess suitability of the product selected.” So the research done must be very extensive and supported with empirical data.

Recent information shows that of the fifty or more submissions for this credit, all have been rejected. The main reason is that no supporting documentation or studies were done to suggest awarding a point either for or against the use of halogenated products (PVC being one). If a credit were to be awarded, it would be through the Innovation category of LEED, not for “non-use” of PVC. If it is determined that there is enough interest and data to consider adding a new credit category, then it would still be necessary to go through the typical public review process prior to being established.

The LEED process for approving new credits is extensive and (hopefully) transparent. By being armed with the facts and understanding how the process works, no one should be able to storm the flight deck and take over the plane.

Social Media. So what? Part II

Continuing from last week’s post regarding social media; the second session from the virtual conference I attended was presented by Neal Schaffer, President of Windmills Marketing. Neal took a closer look at the strategic role that Twitter plays in the social media landscape, provided potential usage scenarios for any business on Twitter, and provided tips on how to strategically maximize Twitter for businesses.

So why is social media, Twitter specifically, so important? Well, 23% of our time on the Internet is spent on social media sites, with Twitter being one of the most popular social media tools. Tools? Twitter is not just a place for you to let people know what you had for lunch. It gives you the opportunity to communicate with your customers, prospects, partners, and network. It works in two directions: Twitter enables you to keep your followers educated by posting information about your business and industry, which positions you as an expert in the field. You can also use Twitter to follow others in the industry and keep abreast of trends, conversations about products, etc. Re-tweet the good stuff to your followers, and polish your image as the expert.

Below is a brief summary of three popular social media sites. Use it to help you decide which social media network will be best for you and your business.

I hope you enjoyed this series and will seriously consider using social media to help grow your business. And remember; social media is a commitment, NOT a campaign!

Oh and by the way, here are the links to our social media sites!




World’s Best Roofing Blog

Social Media. So what? Part I

Recently I attended a virtual conference about social media. Five “experts” each discussed a different social media outlet and how they can help users connect with “followers” and “fans,” i.e., customers and potential customers.

Some of you may be thinking, “social media, so what? I’m a roofing contractor and social media doesn’t apply to me.” You may want to think again, because social media is here to stay! Social media is all about engaging with your customers and positioning yourself as an expert in your field so people look to YOU when they have questions. After reading this post I challenge you to do a search on YouTube or Twitter for Duro-Last Roofing or even roofing in general. I think you will be surprised at what you find and how many of your colleagues are using social media to talk about roofing, showcase projects, offer installation tips, and promote their businesses.

In this blog post and the next, I want to share some notes from two of the speakers that I felt were important to think about – not only with social media, but for marketing your business in general.

President of UnMarketing, Scott Stratten’s definition of unmarketing is doing what comes naturally, vs. being forced to do things that make you ill. What does this mean for your business? Staying true to beliefs. Focusing on the customers and prospects that matter and becoming the expert in your field. Here are my take-a-ways (Scott speaks in Twitter which means he uses 140 characters or less) that can be applied to any business:

  • Everybody’s a marketer in your company, not just the marketing department.
  • Know, Like, Trust. People do business with those that they know, like, and trust.
  • People spread awesome.
  • Social media doesn’t make something better, it just amplifies it.
  • Choose one social media platform and build from that.
  • Social media doesn’t change the fact that relationships take time.
  • The worst thing a business can do is set up a social media account and not listen.
  • People do business with people, not logos.

Building relationships (followers/fans) through social media is just like building traditional relationships with customers. It takes time for them to trust you. By engaging in social media such as Twitter you need to listen to what people are talking about and offer your expert advice on the subject. Engagement is vital for both social media and building relationships with your customers. After all, how many of your customers come from referrals?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject and invite you to share with us links to your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter handle.

In my next post, I will discuss Twitter’s importance for business.

PTOs: New to the Roofing Market?

Be careful what you read! Are PTOs a new competitor in the roofing market? No, it’s an acronym with some misplaced letters from the title of a poorly written magazine article. So much marketing misinformation gets presented as fact that it’s a wonder anyone can make an informed roofing decision. Following is some information that may help in assessing the credibility of statements made about roofing.

PVC roofing is made from two basic components: fossil fuel and salt. Fossil fuel is converted to ethylene and rock salt goes through electrolysis to retrieve chlorine – one of the most abundant elements on earth. These components are combined to produce the vinyl chloride monomer which is used with other components to create PVC membrane.

Europe was early to adopt PVC roofing as a single-ply system of choice. Contrary to some claims, PVC roofing is being sold throughout Europe and in fact enjoys by far the largest market share of any of the thermoplastic single-plies.

ENERGY STAR®, the Cool Roof Rating Council, Green Globes, and the U.S. Green Building Council, among other organizations, have developed programs to help specifiers and consumers make informed roofing decisions. The USGBC developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Rating System several years ago. LEED aids in the design and construction of buildings that minimize negative impacts on occupants and the environment

PVC membranes offer a host of relevant benefits:

  • White PVC membranes are among the most reflective on the market. The Duro-Last Cool Zone® membrane’s Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) of over 110 exceeds LEED requirements for Sustainable Sites Credit 7.2.
  • Recyclability is also a key element of many green design programs, and unlike other roofing materials, there are well-established programs for recycling PVC roofing membrane, including one offered by Duro-Last.
  • Because of its chlorine component, PVC is inherently flame resistant, unlike many other roofing products with higher carbon content. This makes fire ratings easier to achieve, and means that PVC roofing in general is less likely to emit toxic gases than other materials in building fires.
  • PVC membranes are highly flexible and can be custom-prefabricated before reaching the rooftop for installation. This reduces rooftop labor by minimizing jobsite welding by contractors. In addition, seam integrity is more reliable than for stiffer membranes that are made from materials other than PVC.

So, when evaluating systems for your next commercial roofing project, you may want to ask yourself “Why go with the PTO?” Check the facts; don’t be misled by misinformation, and make an informed decision.

Reroof? Recycle!

Today is Earth Day and for building owners who are interested in “green” construction issues, the fact that old PVC roof membranes can be recycled may help improve your sales opportunities.

Unlike TPO, built-up, modified bitumen, and EPDM roofing systems, recycling programs for PVC roofing products have been in place for many years. The other types of roofing systems are much more likely to end up in a landfill once their rooftop service is complete.

Duro-Last established our “Recycle Your Roof” program for old PVC membranes in 2005. Material that we obtain from torn-off roofs is typically sent to Oscoda Plastics, Inc. in Oscoda, Michigan, which produces commercial flooring and expansion joints.

Details of the program, including our “Recycle Your Roof” request form, are available in Duro-Last Technical Bulletin #133, which can be downloaded here.

Here’s what the Tech Bulletin has to say about preparing the old roof for recycling:

Roofs and roofing materials that are broomed on the top and bottom surfaces may be considered for the Duro-Last Roof Recycling Program.

  1. The top and bottom surface of the Duro-Last material must be free of stones, debris, fasteners, asphalt, coal tar pitch, and any foreign substances that may be attached or adhered to the material.
  2. After brooming, cut the material free from the roof deck along both sides of the fastening tabs and all penetrations. Discard any heavily soiled or contaminated material. All returning material must be cut into 5 ft. x 5 ft. sections (or smaller), neatly stacked on a pallet and banded for shipping. Fastening tabs and fasteners must not be included in the recycle material.
  3. The completed “Recycle Your Roof” form must be faxed or mailed to Duro-Last one week prior to the material being shipped.

Tip: Use a hook blade with a long handle to cut along fastening tabs.

The contractor pays for shipping to the closest Duro-Last manufacturing plant.