There are numerous issues affecting our industry and our world, and it is often difficult to choose which one to target in this column. This month I could boil it down to no less than two. So, in the spirit of springtime and the return of baseball, here is a double-header for you.


Winter is the season of the big national and international trade shows in the construction industry, and the roofing industry always does its part. While the 2006 season was not without some new ideas and innovative products (see our review of some of these on page 74), it seemed like an off year for new roofing products and productivity solutions.

Pure speculation here, but most of us have been so busy making or installing roofing that the research and development engines have been set to idle in favor of simply getting the job done. While we must take advantage of the opportunities at hand, we must remember that a part of growth in this dynamic industry depends on our ability to continuously improve on our quality, safety and productivity.

Large manufacturing concerns have the resources to spend looking for the next breakthrough product, but many of the innovative productivity and safety solutions come from the field. Roofing contractors have always been one of the primary sources of these innovations. In the true entrepreneurial spirit, some seek to turn their inventions into moneymaking ventures. While many of these have ended in disappointment, there are a number of roofing contractors whose inventions have changed the way we work every day.

The point is simple. I know many of you are extremely busy, but you are encouraged to continue the search for solutions to the problems that get between you and quality, safety, and productivity every day. Your invention may improve not only your own enterprise, but the entire roofing industry as well.


The Hurricane Katrina story was front-page news for months, and Americans quickly responded with contributions to the nonprofits and other agencies that delivered relief to the survivors. The news stories soon moved from a focus on the problems involved with cleaning up and rebuilding to the finger-pointing and political posturing for relief dollars.

The pace of construction and rebuilding seems to have slowed a bit as some of those who were well insured have been able to complete their rebuilding projects. Many in the region were sorely underinsured and lack the resources to quickly and properly rebuild.

While I am optimistic that the Gulf will rebuild, it is clear that it is going to be a long and arduous process. Questions of how, where, and what to rebuild continue to go unanswered in some areas. The devastation was unprecedented, and the rules for rebuilding on this scale have yet to be written.

The only point to bringing this up now is to help and keep the story out front. It may not be hot news anymore, but it is compelling just the same. One brief visit to the region and you will see what I mean.

The roofing industry has a unique opportunity to contribute as the rebuilding continues. Several roofing-industry groups and corporations have responded with contributions of money, time, and talent. The need for dollars is great, but the need for talented construction professionals is even more crucial. If you have time to contribute, there is a need for your services assisting organizations in the management of volunteers involved in the rebuilding efforts. Drop me a line at and I will be happy to share some contacts with you.