I attended my first convention of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) in 1976. My reason for being there was to peddle the equipment our company sold and to learn something about the issues and the people in the roofing industry. Guess I must have sold something, since I managed to hang onto the equipment-selling job for a while. I am sure, however, that I learned things that I still use to this day. Year after year, this is one venue I can count on to make new friends, renew old acquaintances, learn new things, and just generally have a great experience.
After nearly 30 years of attending these shows, you would think they might be kind of ordinary, but I look forward to attending the 2005 International Roofing Expo (IRE) as if it were my first.
Last year the NRCA announced the sale of its tradeshow to media conglomerate Hanley Wood. The 2005 IRE is the first of a new era of conventions and exhibitions for the roofing industry. According to Bill Good, NRCA executive vice president, selling the tradeshow allows the NRCA to focus on the issues most important to its core constituency, the roofing contractor.
At the same time that NRCA sold its tradeshow, it was busy reevaluating its overall financial position. The tradeshow had historically provided a considerable percentage of the association's income. Other revenue streams, such as contributions from insurance partnerships, were dwindling at a rapid pace. NRCA's executive committee and board of directors decided it was time for the roofing contractor members to step up and take on the added burden. So they revamped all of NRCA's membership dues structures to come more in line with similar national trade associations. In other words, dues went up.
I view this as a positive move for the NRCA and good for its members. It tells me this association's leadership is not afraid to take the bold steps required for the association to maintain its position of strength and relevancy in the roofing industry. Apparently most roofing contractor members agree, since membership renewals are streaming in at a better-than-expected pace.
Back to the International Roofing Expo. Roofing Contractor is more than a little proud to have a role in the IRE as the "Official Show Publication." But that is not why I am so excited. I look forward to the 2005 IRE because of the outstanding content both in the trade show and in the scheduled educational opportunities-more than any event of this type in the roofing industry set for this year, and even more than in some of the excellent NRCA conventions of the past.
The IRE remains the key annual event for NRCA, which is the Official Show Sponsor. NRCA will participate in many of the educational sessions, will conduct a number of important business meetings, and will display all of their technical information, educational tools, and other solutions designed for the roofing industry.
Do yourself and your firm a good turn. Sign up and attend the IRE in Orlando, Fla., next month. You have received the brochures in the mail and you can find registration information in the pages of this issue of Roofing Contractor (or visit www.theroofingexpo.com). While you are there, come see us in booth #711. It is especially nice to meet with our readers. I do not have any equipment to sell you, but I am sure we have much to learn together about the issues and people driving the future of the roofing industry.