The space this column takes up each month is set aside as part of the overall mission of Roofing Contractor to help you succeed in your roofing business. In February you were urged to take advantage of one of the industry’s premier educational events - the International Roofing Expo (IRE) held in conjunction with the National Roofing Contractors Association’s annual convention. I hereby claim one “I told you so” to those of you who missed out on attending.
The 2007 IRE set a new high-water mark for construction industry trade shows and educational events. If you missed out this year, do not despair. There will be other educational opportunities for roofing contractors in 2007; we will keep you informed about them. And you may begin now by making plans to attend the IRE in 2008, which promises to be even better.
"Put Me in, Coach!"This month I want to encourage you to give a young person a shot. This request comes to honor the passing of Julien P. Benjamin Jr. Julien was one of the pioneers of what we used to refer to as “mechanized roofing.” When built-up roofing was king, the knights in shining armor were the purveyors of labor-saving devices. You will find his obituary on page 12 of this month’s Roofing Contractor.
Julien P. Benjamin Jr. was the person who gave me my first shot in the roofing industry. He did not stop there. The entire time I worked “with” Julien (he would not allow us to say that we worked “for” him) at his equipment company, I was given every opportunity to learn and grow and create and take risks. After his retirement, he continued to be a mentor and friend. Many things he did for the roofing industry are still in play today. His effect is still felt through the productivity solutions he helped pioneer and through people, like me, whose professional and personal lives he so profoundly altered. His genuine desire was to seek improvement in all things - especially people.
Service to ContractorsAnother person whose life was touched by Julien was my good friend, John Jackson. John operated EL Hilts & Company until his passing in the latter part of February. His obituary may be found with Julien’s.
John Jackson likewise dedicated his professional career to the success of roofing contractors. John (five years my junior) and I started in the business around the same time. Like Julien, he always dedicated a healthy percentage of his time and resources to roofing trade associations and causes in support of the industry.
John Jackson had a razor-sharp wit. He was a gadget guy and would try anything once, but he was not easily swayed by mere words or empty promises. He was a consummate entrepreneur who took a great deal of pride in his independence. John was a contributor to Roofing Contractor and served as an editorial advisor for many years.
While I am saddened by the passing of these two gentlemen, I will honor their memory the only way I know how - work hard every day to do my small part in service to the roofing industry, and keep an eye out for every opportunity to improve myself and those around me (not necessarily in that order). Julien taught it to us, and John made a life of it.