Duro-Last Welcomes Another Little Roofer to the Business!

Duro-Last is excited to announce the birth of Lauren Elizabeth Gerhardt to our chief blog editor and publisher, Tara Gerhardt and her husband, Duro-Last HR Recruiter, Matthew. Lauren, the couple’s first child, was born on Friday, April 8 at 11:48 pm, weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces and measuring 18.75 inches in length.

We will attempt to measure up to Tara’s blogging prowess over the next several weeks as she and Lauren become acquainted at home.

Congratulations Tara, Matt, and Lauren!

Flooded With Sunlight: Reducing Urban Heat Islands with Cool Roofing

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu is a big proponent of cool roofing. In his July 2010 announcement, Chu made it clear that he was going to push for the installation of cool roofing systems on all federal buildings to help reduce energy usage. Secretary Chu is well-informed about cool roofing because he was formerly the head of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (LBNL), the entity that pioneered the study of Urban Heat Islands (UHIs).

Not only will cool roofing reduce building energy usage, it will also help mitigate the UHI effect. The UHI effect is the tendency for urban areas to be hotter than surrounding areas. LBNL found that the average temperature on a hot summer day will be seven degrees warmer in North American urban areas than surrounding rural areas. During an extended heat wave the difference can be even more pronounced. Studies have shown that there are three primary factors that cause the majority of the UHI effect.


The first factor is that urban areas have less vegetation than rural areas. Not only do trees and shrubs provide shade, but thriving vegetation keeps itself cool through a process called evapotranspiration. Similar to how the human body sweats to keep itself cool, vegetation releases moisture to stay cool. About 56%, or almost four degrees, of the seven degree difference is due to less vegetation in urban areas than rural.

Dark Pavement

Many might think that dark pavement would account for much of the UHI effect. While walking down a city street, one can feel the heat radiating up. But dark pavement accounts for only 6%, or less than one-half degree, of the seven degree difference.

Dark Roofing

Roofing takes up a lot of surface area in urban areas, but roofing is not often considered a source of urban heat because it is “out of sight, out of mind.” Yet dark roofing accounts for 38%, or almost three degrees, of the seven degree difference associated with UHIs.

Many cities have attempted to increase green space and vegetation through civic programs and building codes, but for every tree planted or park developed there is much more green space that succumbs to urban sprawl. Green space initiatives are at best a long term means of mitigating UHIs and can entail significant expense.

Paving products made from lighter colored materials are available, but implementing these measures is capital intensive and can take years to accomplish. And considering the relatively minor role that paving plays in UHIs, there are options that provide more bang for the buck.

Installation of cool roofing during initial construction or when re-roofing offers immediate benefits, not only toward mitigation of UHIs but to the building owner in the form of energy savings. A good roofing system is essential for protecting any building from the elements. Selecting and installing a cool roofing system is easy to accomplish, inexpensive relative to other UHI mitigation efforts, and provides benefits immediately.

Even in northern geographic areas where net energy savings may be minimal, cool roofing systems offer significant benefits that may be less tangible but are essential to the long term performance and durability of the roof, insulation and HVAC equipment.

JRB Continuous Improvement Award

Over the last 12 months or so, Duro-Last and our sister companies that make up JRB Enterprises have been working toward becoming “lean” throughout all companies. Over 200 employees attended the initial Lean 101 training at Delta College in Saginaw, Michigan, where they were presented with the concept of “principles” and their importance to the organization. All participants were asked, “What are the principles of JRB?” Their ideas were distilled down to the following ten:

1. A culture of open communication, integrity, innovation, respect, involvement, support, equality, and trust.

2. Customer service that is on-time, high quality, and committed to satisfaction for all customers, both internal and external.

3. A commitment to:

  • 100% first-time quality;
  • The identification and elimination of waste;
  • Root cause problem resolution; and
  • Continuous improvement.

4. Base decisions on long-term focus, while maintaining the health of the business.

5. We are a process focused business.

6. Empower leaders at all levels to provide mentoring, coaching, training, and support to help everyone in the process.

7. Immediately correct all problems.

8. Make decisions by considering all options, then implement rapidly.

9. Support continuing education, learning, and self-improvement.

10. Develop, support, and recognize an individual’s pride in workmanship.

Since the initial training began, it became apparent that all employees should be educated about lean practices and principles. Training is now in full swing and there have been several “success” stories throughout all of the companies.

The JRB Lean Committee, made up of 29 employees representing all companies, recently announced a quarterly award – the JRB Continuous Improvement Award – that recognizes a work group with a completed lean implementation that has produced a significant gain for JRB. Improvements and achievements are evaluated and voted on by the JRB Lean Committee.

The Duro-Last Accessories department in Saginaw was recently presented with the inaugural JRB Continuous Improvement Award. The department has undergone a complete transformation throughout the past year; reducing process waste and implementing lean initiatives which has improved the overall department performance along with a higher output productivity rate of +16.4% in just the last three months. The department is focused on continuous improvement and is currently implementing additional lean initiatives to further reduce overall lead time, increase productivity, and sustain high quality.

Congratulations to the Duro-Last Saginaw Accessories Department for your implementation of lean and dedication to continuous improvement.

Duro-Last Saginaw, Michigan Accessories Department

Duro-Last® Roofing, Inc. Appoints Chief Executive Officer

We are pleased to announce that after a long and thorough search process, we have found a Chief Executive Officer for the John R. Burt Enterprises family of companies. Thomas L. Saeli has agreed to join us as our C.E.O.

Thomas L. Saeli

Tom brings a wealth of experience and a breadth of knowledge to our growing business. He was recently the Chief Executive Officer of a billion dollar publicly traded company, and has grown companies through acquisitions, joint ventures and, most importantly, by increasing sales. Tom has an M.B.A. in Finance and Accounting and a B.A. in Economics. Originally from New York, Tom has lived in Michigan since 1988, where he and his wife Molly have raised their four children.

Tom will be the Chief Executive Officer of each of the following John R. Burt Enterprises companies: Duro-Last® Roofing, Inc., which includes EXCEPTIONAL® Metals and Creative Impressions®; Plastatech Engineering®, Ltd.; Oscoda Plastics®, Inc.; TIP-TOP® Screw Manufacturing, Inc.; Energy Solutions Insulation®, Inc.; and JRB Personnel LLC.

“Tom was the unanimous choice of our Board of Directors,” said Chairman Jack Burt. “My father was a classic entrepreneur, and his vision, ambition, and business philosophy brought great success to our company. We are confident that Tom will provide outstanding leadership for Duro-Last and the other businesses as they grow and strengthen their positions in the marketplace. The Board of Directors would also like to extend its appreciation to Dan Murphy for his counsel during our CEO search. Dan will remain with us as a member of the Board. Tom Hollingsworth will continue his excellent service as President of Duro-Last.”

Tom Saeli will start with us on Thursday, March 31st, and will be in the office on a daily basis beginning Monday, April 11th. We are excited to have Tom become part of the John R. Burt Enterprises family of companies. Please join us in welcoming Tom to our organization.

Codes – Florida’s Own World

Florida’s codes are unlike any in the country. With wind zones a minimum of 100-mph and exceeding 150-mph in many areas of the state, uplift designs need to be greatly enhanced. The requirements for the Miami/Dade Notice of Acceptance (NOA) for application in the High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) in Florida as well as many individual counties are stringent. In addition, some coastal areas of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas have adopted these requirements.

The International Building Code (IBC) and Florida Building Code (FBC) are merging, so some high wind requirements may filter into other states and affect all states. Therefore, those of you along the eastern seaboard, the Great Lakes, the front range of the Rockies, and other areas may need to prepare.

Here is an excerpt from the Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRSA) Members “Roof Flash”:

“The Florida Building Commission (FBC) Roofing TAC met August 8 and 9 (2010) in Melbourne to review more than 150 submitted modifications to the roofing code – Chapters 9 and 15. FRSA submitted 48 modifications to the code which were reviewed. FRSA members serve on the Roofing TAC and several members along with some of the FRSA staff, testified on behalf of FRSA members. We are currently in the midst of another 45-day comment period before the Roofing TAC addresses the proposed modifications again. It will be December before the recommendations of the Roofing TAC are forwarded to the FBC and it’s estimated that new code will not be implemented until December 2011. The FRSA Codes and Regulatory Compliance Committee will continue to monitor the codes and keep FRSA members informed of the changes and when they will go into effect.”

The current FBC “glitch cycle” ended on March 18, 2011. The glitch cycle is an opportunity to submit to the Florida Building Commission specific changes to the existing code that may be an editorial correction, equivalency of standard, typographical error, etc. No changes to the actual code may be submitted during this cycle. Changes to the code may not be submitted until the next code cycle in 2013.

The FBC and the IBC have adopted the new ASCE 7-2010 wind map. The map is already part of the IBC but will not actually be implemented in the FBC until December 21, 2011. This new map greatly increases the wind speeds and moves the wind speed lines further inland throughout the state. However, these new wind speeds, when using the conversion chart in the IBC, already utilize the calculations which may actually reduce the uplift pressure designs for the building. The biggest impact of the map will be in the shingle roofing industry where shingles are designed to withstand wind speeds, not uplift pressure. Additionally, the windborne debris region will now cover a larger portion of the state.

The Florida Building Commission will review the glitch amendments over two meetings in April and June of this year. In July, the glitch rules will be adopted as part of the 2010 Florida Building Code. The Code will be printed and available to the public on October 1, 2011, and the effective date of implementation will be December 21, 2011.

Duro-Last Roofing, Inc. Recognized at Restaurant Facility Management Association’s National Conference

Duro-Last Roofing, Inc. was recently recognized with two awards during the Restaurant Facility Management Association’s (RFMA) National Conference, February 6 – 8, 2011, in Long Beach, California.

John Deal, National Sales Manager, was recognized by RFMA as the “Vendor of the Year” for 2010. John has been a member of RFMA and its Education Committee since its inception in 2004. John currently holds the title of Co-Chairman of the Education Committee and sits on the Magazine Editorial Board for RFMA’s new Facilitator magazine.

John Deal receiving Vendor of the Year award from Chairman of RFMA, Danny Koontz with Ruby Tuesday Restaurants.

“It was a surprise to be recognized as ‘Vendor of the Year’ for RFMA,” said Deal. “I enjoy being involved in such a dynamic organization where I am able to network and build relationships with facility managers and vendors throughout the restaurant industry. I would like to thank the members of the Education Committee for their hard work and my co-chair, Curt Sawan of Darden Restaurants, for all of his guidance and cooperation. A special thanks to Debi Kensell, Education Manager for RFMA. She does an amazing job and together we were able to meet all the goals of the education committee this year,” concluded Deal.

Duro-Last was also recognized by Darden Restaurants as “Vendor of the Year” for 2010. Over 8 million square feet of Duro-Last roofing membrane have been installed on 1,138 Darden restaurants since 1987.

John Deal with Darden Restaurants Vendor of the Year award.

“It is an honor to be recognized by Darden as their ‘Vendor of the Year,’ said Deal. “We value our relationship with everyone at Darden and enjoy working with them to service their customers.”

Darden’s team of 35 facility managers recently visited Duro-Last’s headquarters in Saginaw, Michigan, where they were given a tour of the manufacturing facilities and met with management to discuss the benefits of the Duro-Last roofing system.

The Commercial Roofing Market: My View at the Top of 2011

The years 2009 and 2010 were a strange time in our economy as a whole and in the construction industry specifically. Strange, yes. But not without opportunity, as shown by Duro-Last results: we closed out 2010 with a healthy sales increase over 2009.

There hasn’t been any real growth in roofing and construction as a whole in 2010. In the government segment, spending for roofing is up and the number of contractors pursuing public works projects is at an all-time high. However, not all contractors are willing or able to jump through the hoops that it takes to tackle government projects; public works jobs aren’t for everyone.

New construction, of course, is still largely in the tank. For owners and managers of existing facilities, financing can be difficult. Some are still afraid – after two years of recession – to invest in a new roof; they will keep patching what they’ve got.

With limited organic growth in roofing, the way that authorized Duro-Last contractors are growing or even keeping their volume of roofing going is by outshining local competitors that sell non-value-added products and services.

I’m in daily, close contact with roofers from all over. It’s common for me to hear that they are managing ok financially, although doing less volume with fewer people. The success that they are having comes from a couple of things.

First, they are staying close to their core competencies – the characteristics and tactics that made them successful in the first place. Although there’s not one industry that stands out with respect to roofing sales, it appears that the roofing market as a whole is predominantly smaller, retrofit projects that don’t require major financing or involve multiple decision makers. This niche is the sweet spot where many Duro-Last contractors have made their mark, and they are focusing their efforts on these opportunities.

Second, they are diligent about marketing and selling. They use marketing tools available to them from manufacturers, or are using their own tried-and-true methods.

I’m confident that the “strangeness” won’t last forever. In the meantime, contractors who stick to their business strengths and make good use of the extensive selling and marketing tools available to them will prevail.

International Roofing Expo – Best one Yet!

It looks as though things just might be finally turning around. The Duro-Last® booth at the 2011 International Roofing Expo was non-stop all three days. Attendance was up 18% compared to last year and we could really see a difference, primarily because of our hands-on welding contest for visitors and the comprehensive array of new products that were introduced.

About 50 people competed in the welding contest, and anyone who could weld a roof stack in less than 90 seconds was awarded a Duro-Last t-shirt. This was intended to demonstrate how Duro-Last’s pre-fabrication approach to producing roofing systems results in labor-savings for contractors. The winning time was 57 seconds to completely install a 3″ round stack.

Roofing contractor participating in the Roofers Challenge.

New products that were introduced included; standing seam roofing panels, Duro-Fleece™ System, new color terra cotta, Duro-Bond™ Inductive Weld Roofing System, and separation slip sheets.

Standing Seam Metal Roofing System

One of our biggest announcement was the addition of standing seam metal roofing panels, produced by EXCEPTIONAL® Metals. With five profiles and over 30 metal colors and finishes, Duro-Last’s standing seam roofing options will enhance the appearance of any sloped roof design. Profiles are available for architectural, structural, and flush wall/soffit panel standing seam applications.

Duro-Fleece™ System

The Duro-Fleece™ System combines Duro-Last’s proven thermoplastic membrane and five-and-a-half-ounce fleece material that’s bound to the underside of the membrane during manufacturing. The fleece offers enhanced adhesion characteristics between the membrane and the substrate. For some applications, it can also act as a separation barrier. The Duro-Fleece System can be applied using Duro-Last’s water-based WBII adhesive or a new product: the two-part bead-applied Duro-Fleece™ Adhesive.

New Color Terra Cotta

Duro-Last announced the addition of a new terra cotta color to our membrane offerings. Like the other standard Duro-Last membranes, the terra cotta material is a proprietary thermoplastic formulation that provides exceptional flexibility, resistance to U.V. radiation, and flame retardance.

Duro-Bond™ Inductive Weld Roofing System

This is a mechanically-attached installation option that uses non-penetrating technology. Induction welding bonds the Duro-Last membrane to a specially-coated fastening plate beneath the roof membrane, which also fastens insulation and recovery board materials to the roof deck. With the Duro-Bond system, contractors have the choice of using plates and welding tools made by OMG (the RhinoBond® Induction Fastening System) or FRS (the Centrix® Induction Bonding System).

Separation Slip Sheets

Duro-Last is offering two new separation slip sheets for use with the Duro-Last roofing system. Both sheets are chemical-resistant and have excellent weatherability. They are highly resistant to mildew and because they are made of inert organic materials, they do not provide nutritive value to plants, animals, or microorganisms. The Duro-Blue™ and Duro-Weave™ slip sheets may be used as a separation layer between the Duro-Last roof membrane and incompatible materials.

The 2012 International Roofing Expo will be held at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida, February 22-24.

Would you like to share your IRE experience? Send us a comment and we may post it on the blog!

Duro-Last Roofing, Inc. Adds Standing Seam Metal Product Line

Duro-Last Roofing®, Inc. has added a standing seam metal product line to its roofing system offerings. The new line will enable authorized Duro-Last contractors to provide a standing seam roofing installation to meet virtually any aesthetic requirements. The new standing seam program includes metal production capabilities provided by a nationwide network of independent regional manufacturers.

Depending on the installation location, roof panels will be produced at EXCEPTIONAL Metals’ Saginaw, Michigan, facility or by one of the regional manufacturers. All panels will be produced under the authority of EXCEPTIONAL® Metals, a division of Duro-Last.

Profiles, showcased below, will be available for architectural, structural, and flush wall/soffit panel standing seam applications. Paint and substrate warranties of 25 years and 35 years are available for panels, depending on the substrate metal they are made from and the finish that is applied.

EM 150SL

The 1-1/2″ Snap Lock metal roofing system is designed to be installed quickly, reducing labor costs, and offers the designer a concealed fastener and clip application that allows for expansion and contraction.

EM 150SS

The 1-1/2″ traditional mechanically seamed metal roof system enhances the architectural appearance and is engineered to exceed most wind-load requirements in the country. The seamed profile allows the designer the ability to specify various applications. The concealed fasteners and patented articulating two piece floating 150 Mitchell Clip assist in minimizing the appearance of oil canning.

EM 175S

The 1-3/4″ Snap Lock profile provides a continuous interlocking metal roof system. The system offers the designer a concealed fastener and clip application that allows for expansion and contraction. The Snap Lock metal roofing system can be installed quickly, reducing labor costs. This profile offers a simple installation and provides very high wind uplift resistance.

EM 200S

The 2″ mechanically seamed metal roof system enhances the architectural appearance and is engineered to exceed most wind load requirements in the country. The versatility of this profile’s engineering allows the designer the ability to specify both low and steep slope applications. The concealed fasteners and patented articulating two piece floating 200 Mitchell Clip assist in minimizing the appearance of oil canning.

Flush Wall/Soffit Panel

The Flush Wall/Soffit panel is designed for wall, fascia, and soffit applications where a flush or flat appearance is desired. Flush wall/soffit panels are available with optional stiffening beads and ventilation and are not intended for use in roofing or mansard applications.

Duro-Last® Recognizes “The Best” Roofing Contractors at National Sales Seminar at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando, Florida!

When it comes to our National Sales Seminar, “good” just doesn’t cut it. Our theme for this year’s event was “The Best Get Better” and, by many accounts, was the best Seminar we’ve ever held.

Our recent event in Orlando was the largest gathering we’ve ever hosted at a Seminar – over 1300 guests representing almost 200 authorized Duro-Last contractors.

We were able to celebrate an excellent sales increase in 2010 – 6.6% over 2009. We reached this because of the extraordinary efforts of our authorized contractors. In 2010, 23 Duro-Last contractors had sales over $1 million each, led by Parsons Commercial Roofing of Waco, Texas. This was the fifth consecutive Seminar where we have honored Parsons as the Duro-Last Contractor of the Year. They exceeded the $7 million sales threshold for the fourth year in a row, and in 2010 surpassed $7.5 million – the first contractor to reach that level.

Contractor of the Year - Parsons Commercial Roofing of Waco, Texas

We introduced several new products, including our standing seam metal roofing line and our Duro-Fleece™ System.

Other Seminar highlights included presentations by General Session guest speakers Mike Hourigan and Ross Shafer, and Breakout Session guests Hillary Bressler, Mike Hourigan, and Steve Hackett.

Since our beginning, Duro-Last has valued community involvement, and for the second straight year our “Partners in Goodwill” program recognized contractors who have been active in making the world healthier, safer, and stronger. This year’s honorees were Tomkat Roofing of Streator, Illinois; Slagle Roofing and Construction of Finleyville, Pennsylvania; Roof Management of Farmington Hills, Michigan; Nohava Construction of LeMars, Iowa; and Kelly Roofing of Naples, Florida.

Our popular Roofers’ Challenge was back at this year’s Seminar. Thirteen two-man teams competed by installing a Duro-Last roofing system on a small deck. They were judged on accuracy, aesthetics, speed, and workmanship. This year’s winner was Roofing Plus of Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Roofing Plus
Roofers' Challenge Winner - Roofing Plus of Lawrenceville, Georgia

We were also excited to announce that the 2012 Duro-Last National Sales Seminar will be held at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort in Clearwater Beach, Florida, January 29-31.

Again, we would like to extend our sincere appreciation to all Duro-Last contractors who made 2010 a great year for all of us. Have a terrific 2011, and we’ll see you in Clearwater Beach next January!