With the recent passing of Mr. Charlie Raymond, 87, of Florida, the roofing industry lost a titan. Out of the day-to-day business of being a roofing contractor for over 20 years, he never really “retired” from the roofing industry. He was from the early days of his career through the end of his long and fruitful life a diehard promoter of the roofing industry and defender of roofing contractors, large and small.
I was blessed not only to know Charlie Raymond but to count him as a client back in the days when his company was arguably the largest roofing contractor in the state of Florida and I sold roofing equipment to whomever would buy it from me. I was very young and Charlie was in his prime as the leader of his firm and in his state and national trade associations. Just the same, he treated me as a professional even when he felt the need to, let’s just say, “put me in my place.” Thank goodness that did not happen very often.
The truth is, I wanted to work for and with Charlie Raymond. Not just at satisfying the equipment needs of his roofing company, but working for the roofing industry. He did not just talk about all the things roofing contractors needed to do to improve their position in the world of business and construction; he did something about it. Because of his passion, enthusiasm, and genuine concern for roofing contractors, a lot of people wanted to work for and with Charlie Raymond.
Raymond did his work for the betterment of the roofing industry by way of his work with roofing trade associations. He served as president of the Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRSA) and the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). The key to both of his administrations was a focus on increasing association membership and getting the word out to roofing contractors about the benefits and importance of banding together to work on pressing industry issues.
At this very moment I am trying to imagine attending the International Roofing Expo, NRCA, or FRSA convention without Charlie there urging me to support one initiative or another.
One of the highlights of my work on this publication came 10 years ago when I collaborated with Charlie to write his feature, “Trade Associations in the Roofing Industry.” (The article is posted on Rick Damato’s blog at www.roofingcontractor.com/Articles/Blog_Rick/BNP_GUID_9-5-2006_A_10000000000000662656.) It gave me a chance to work directly with Charlie and it gave him a platform to tell his story about the importance of roofing contractors joining and working with their trade associations.
So to honor the memory of Charlie Raymond, I implore those of you who are not a member of your local, state, or national roofing trade association: join today. For those of you who are members in your roofing trade association: call the leadership today and ask them how you can help. It is good that you are a member, but the true benefits to you and your firm come from active participation. I know Charlie would agree that the industry needs to pull together now more than ever before.