I was sitting at this very desk 10 years ago on September 11 when the news began to break about events at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania.

I was sitting at this very desk 10 years ago on September 11 when the news began to break about events at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania. Many lost their lives that fateful day in September 2001 and many have likewise suffered the same fate in the wars that have followed over the past decade. If not for them I would not enjoy the freedom to express myself here and I do not take that for granted. But this commentary is on our economy and how the roofing industry has played its part since 9/11 and will going forward.

These days we hear terms like “war weary,” and that’s understandable. We have indeed been through a very long and frustrating series of conflicts since Sept. 11, 2001. While we cannot and should not claim victory, our troop levels are heading down and there are some areas of the world where our military efforts are yielding a more peaceful and secure environment.

The end of World War II marked the beginning of a housing boom and generally good economic times for a number of years. But there has not been and will not be a “Victory in Iraq Day” or “Victory in Afghanistan Day.” Just as the battle lines have been blurry throughout the military conflicts of the past decade, it’s hard to imagine how they will end. And if there’s no definitive end in sight, a bump in the construction market like we had at the end of World War II is unlikely.

In spite of these challenges, over the past 10 years the roofing industry has made significant adjustments and improvements in the products we deliver. We have become the darling of the building envelope with enhanced roof insulation standards, growing demand for cool roofing, as well as growth in planted rooftops and rooftop solar installations.

The commercial roof-contracting arena has changed significantly with the growth of firms focusing on roof maintenance meeting their clients’ demands for more life from their roofing and waterproofing assets. Mega-contractors have emerged offering complete roofing services nationwide while consortiums of independent roofing contractors have grown and refined their processes to compete. All the while roofing products and systems continue to improve.

On the residential side we have likewise witnessed significant improvement to products and installation methods. New contracting business models materialized with the beginning of firms that specialize in addressing the needs of owners hit with hail or other storm damage. Not like storm chasers of the past, these contractors have set up shop in a variety of locations and are leveraging technologies to drive sales and manage their fast-growing enterprises.

The roofing industry is ready to go and is prepared to meet the challenges of the coming era of construction growth in this country. In spite of the challenges you hear in the news, I am confident that our nation will enter an era of growth, and soon. The demand for more housing has not diminished but continues to grow. The need for more space to house growing businesses has not diminished but is waiting for opportunity to show itself. And it will. If we can grow technologically while surviving such as we did in the last decade, the next one should be a piece of cake.

Rick Damato

Editorial Director