The International Roofing Expo (IRE) is held once a year in conjunction with the annual convention of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). NRCA sponsors the IRE and Roofing Contractor is the official publication of the event, the largest in the roofing industry. This year’s IRE was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in mid-February.

NRCA leadership helps out with the landscaping at the Dahlin house.

The International Roofing Expo (IRE) is held once a year in conjunction with the annual convention of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). NRCA sponsors the IRE and Roofing Contractor is the official publication of the event, the largest in the roofing industry. This year’s IRE was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in mid-February.

One of the more extraordinary events at the 2011 IRE came the day before the trade show began when group of show attendees volunteered their time to perform repairs on the homes of two elderly veterans.

Brandi McElhaney, IRE senior conference manager, said it was the second year the IRE has offered attendees the unique opportunity to volunteer for a day of community service in partnership with the local affiliate of Rebuilding Together.

Community Service Day volunteers pose for a group photo at the Dahlin house.

“In 2009, NRCA inquired about our interest in giving back to the New Orleans community during our 2010 International Roofing Expo,” McElhaney said. “We jumped on the chance to give back to the New Orleans community.”

The NRCA has a longstanding partnership with Rebuilding Together and encourages its members to volunteer and contribute to the vital work of providing home repairs to deserving homeowners, many of whom are on a fixed income and unable to afford costly repairs.

A number of NRCA’s leadership team worked on and supported the workday “hands-on,” including Senior Vice President Kent Tolley of Quality Tile Roofing, the incoming NRCA President.

This year, the IRE reached out to Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada (RTSNV), which embraced the idea of a community service day for the IRE. Therese Elliott of RTSNV arranged to pair the IRE with homeowners Jack and Patricia Brown and Bruce Dahlin.

Brandi McElhaney and Bill Good break for lunch while working on the Dahlin house.

Elliott said the process of qualifying homeowners begins with a review of the Rebuilding Together program, followed by analysis of the construction needs and a “wish list” by the homeowner. Elliott said a sponsor is then sought to adopt the project and provide funding and volunteer labor.

The 2011 IRE Community Service Day was sponsored by Sika Sarnafil, which made a significant financial contribution to RTSNV. Sika Sarnafil’s Director of Marketing, Jay Thomas, was on the jobsite lend a hand with the work and present a check to RTSNV. Asked why his firm chose to contribute to the event two years running, Thomas said it is “a great opportunity to give back to the community.” He added that, on a personal level, he and his associates “get a lot out of the experience.”

In addition to being elderly veterans, Brown and Dahlin are both disabled. The Brown home was riddled with roof leaks for a long period of time, putting the rest of the structure at risk. To ensure that the roof would be installed according to local standards, a professional roofing contractor was sought to replace the roof.

Community Service Day volunteers at the Brown house begin painting the exterior.

In advance of the Community Service Day, local roofing contractor Commercial Roofers Inc., Roofing Contractor magazine’s 2009 Commercial Contractor of the Year, installed a new roof on the Brown residence. Commercial Roofers has been a contributor to Rebuilding Together for a number of years.

Michelle Shetrom, Commercial Roofers’ sales administrator, served as “house captain” for the Brown residence. Using a crew of two to three roofers, the re-roof took nearly a week.

The structure is roughly 45 years old and had numerous leaks, so the process was very time consuming. Following completion of the roof, gutters were also installed by Commercial Roofers. The shingles were donated by Owens Corning and the delivery was handled free of charge by Las Vegas Roofing Supply. No ordinary roof, the Brown home is topped with Owens Corning’s Oakridge Shasta White, a cool shingle that carries the Energy Star label.

“If the IRE had not stepped up, Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada could not have done the Brown’s roof,” Therese Elliott said.

Volunteers put the finishing touches on work at the Dahlin house during Community Service Day in Las Vegas.

Elliott said they realize just how vital a good roof is on an older structure and that many of the interior repairs they make are frequently the result of roofs that have leaked for years.

Dennis Conway, owner of Commercial Roofers, Inc., stopped by the Brown house to survey the progress. He credited the hard work of his team, especially Shetrom, for stepping up to contribute to their community. Conway said urged contractors to participate in community service projects such as this one. “It would be nice if more contractors participated,” he said. “You get such a good feeling … it is very rewarding.”

During the project, hardworking volunteers spent the day performing a wide variety of home repairs, painting, and landscaping.

The work included “Vegas-style landscaping” - spreading a truckload of aggregate in the front yard of the Dahlin house. In addition to being a veteran, Bruce Dahlin is an accomplished designer and artist. He has amassed quite a collection of original paintings, each with a Christmas theme, on display in his home.

With the exception of some sore muscles and a few purple fingernails, all the volunteers returned from the day safely and ready to attend the IRE conferences, trade show, and other events.

The 2011 IRE Community Service Day was sponsored by Sika Sarnafil. Sika Sarnafil’s Director of Marketing, Jay Thomas, presents a check to RTSNV’s Therese Elliott.

Other sponsors on for the Community Service Day include First Choice Tree Service, Par 3 Landscaping, and Port of Subs. In addition to the volunteers in town for the IRE, many local “regular” RTSNV volunteers were on hand as well. At the Dahlin residence, Ken Kamper of CitiBank served as the house captain. CitiBank has been sponsoring Rebuilding Together projects in Las Vegas for over 14 years.

Next year the IRE will move to Orlando, Fla. “We plan to again hold the Community Service Day on Feb. 12, 2012,” McElhaney said. “We have already reached out to Rebuilding Together Orlando and they are very excited about the opportunity to work with us.”

The Community Service Day may be over for this year, but it is not too late to participate. You can still contribute by sending your check to Rebuilding Together or by signing up to volunteer by way of the NRCA. For more information, visit

During the 2011 IRE, Rhonda Lohmar (right), Underwriting Consulting Director, CNA, presented a check to Bill Good, Executive Vice President of NRCA and National Chairman of Rebuilding Together.

Rebuilding Together and NRCA

Rebuilding Together is the nation’s leading nonprofit working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize communities through a network of more than 200 affiliates. The affiliates provide free rehabilitation and critical repairs to the homes of low-income Americans. These repairs can range from items as simple as minor plumbing repairs to the replacement of roofs. For many years the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has been an active supporter of Rebuilding Together. Bill Good, NRCA’s Executive Vice President, has long advocated for the nonprofit organization and currently serves as Chairman of Rebuilding Together’s national board of directors.

A new, growing partnership is developing between CNA’s philanthropic arm, the CNA Foundation, and its Commercial Affiliation Marketing (CAM) partners in the construction segment, and Rebuilding Together. The CNA Foundation’s Board of Directors recently awarded Rebuilding Together with a $250,000 grant for a project tentatively scheduled for the fall.