After several decades in a dormant state and more than a year of intensive planning, the National Slate Association (NSA) was reorganized in 2002 and held its first annual meeting on February 13, 2003.

From left: Chuck Smid, Daniel Cornwell, Doug Cochran, Jeffrey Levine, Pete Papay, Matt Millen, Dave Leeland, Jonathan Hill, and John Conlon
After several decades in a dormant state and more than a year of intensive planning, the National Slate Association (NSA) was reorganized in 2002 and held its first annual meeting on February 13, 2003. The meeting was held in conjunction with the National Roofing Contractors Association’s 116th annual convention in New Orleans.

The concept of reorganizing the NSA sprang from the collective inspiration of Dave Leeland, Leeland Slate Roof Repair Inc.; Bill Marcum, Martech Associates; and Brian Stearns, Vermont Slate and Copper Services Inc. (together with his associates, the authors of The Slate Book). The idea came about from a growing interest in improving the slate roofing, a roofing industry segment that has enjoyed significant growth for several years, and is on course to continue growing.

A steering committee of slate quarry operators, roofing contractors, architects, building owners and other interested individuals met in January 2002 to discuss the possibility of reforming the NSA. As a result of the meeting, two committees were formed to work on specifications and training issues. A core group of individuals also tackled the various tasks of establishing bylaws, setting membership standards, and setting up a non-profit corporation.

The officers of the reorganized NSA are: president, Matt Millen, Millen Roofing Company, Milwaukee; vice-president, Doug Cochran, Durable Slate Co., Columbus, Ohio; and secretary/treasurer, Jeffrey Levine, 1:1:6 Technologies Inc., Media, Pa. Directors include John Conlon, Hilltop Slate Inc.; Daniel Cornwell, CC&L Roofing Co.; Dave Leeland; Pete Papay, Penn Big Bed Slate Company Inc.; Judy Selwyn, Preservation Technology Assoc. Inc.; Jonathan Hill, Greenstone Slate; and Chuck Smid, The New England Slate Co. Handling the day-to-day operations of the association is executive officer Susan Rees.


The annual meeting was attended by members from all categories including quarry operators, contractors, architects and distributors. President Millen chaired the meeting and all officers, most directors and many members of the new association were present. The agenda called for a brief business meeting followed by a roundtable discussion of the group’s three target areas of concern:

Development of materials standards: Take the mystery out of slate-grading standards and make them reliable when specifying and selecting slate.

Design guidelines: Help promote proper detailing of roof systems among design professionals and contractors by developing and disseminating technical information and design manuals on the repair, replacement and maintenance of slate roofing systems.

Contractor certification: Develop and implement a method for certifying and re-certifying roofing-contractor members of NSA.

While there are a number of concerns for the slate industry and the NSA, these three critical goals are viewed as the most important as the association seeks to respond to concerns that have grown as the industry has grown. At the first annual meeting the group did discuss all of these issues with a great deal of discussion revolving around the question of certification. There are a number of issues to be resolved in this area, including who will certify the contractors, what the requirements will be, and whether individual slate installers will be certified as well.

All of the work of the association will be taken up by one of nine standing committees: archives, contractor certification, design professionals education, development, liaison, membership, programs, publications and standards. All members were encouraged to become active in the committee work. The board plans to meet monthly, either in person or by conference call.

Slate roofing was in its heyday in the early part of the 20th century. The original NSA was formed in 1922 and is said to have disbanded some time in the 1930s. Those involved with this intriguing and beautiful roofing system have a unique opportunity to preside over the renaissance that seems to be taking shape in the early part of the 21st century. To join them, contact the NSA at PO Box 466, Ardmore, PA, 19003-0466 or 866 256.2111.