The roofing industry is mourning the loss of Dick Fricklas, who died July 27 after battling mesothelioma since February 2013. Fricklas, a researcher, author, journalist and educator, was one of the roofing industries biggest supporters.
His roofing career started in 1957 as a research and development chemist for Johns-Manville, and as a development chemist for Riegel Paper Corp. He returned to JM in 1964 and joined the roofing division, where he received a patent for a fire-rated vapor retarder system. He was also co-developer of other patented product lines during his lengthy career, and had the opportunity to work with FM Global and Underwriter's Laboratories on fire-rated roof systems.
Fricklas retired from the Roofing Industry Educational Institute in 1996, but continued to lecture and publish frequently. He co-authored of the fourth edition of the Manual of Low Slope Roof Systems and was a contributing columnist for RSI, RCI Interface and Buildings Magazines.
In 1972, Fricklas completed his Master’s Degree in Physical Chemistry, graduating from Rutgers University just weeks before relocating with JM Research to Denver, Colo.
Fricklas helped JM develop and present programs for its Built-up Roofing Systems Institute (BURSI) school for architects and engineers. When BURSI's first director retired in 1974, Fricklas was invited to take over the widely recognized program.
In 1978, at the request of the Board of Directors, BURSI invited the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) directors to attend the entire four-day educational program. An ad-hoc committee was formed to explore creating an industry-wide educational corporation similar to BURSI, and Fricklas became the Roofing Industry Educational Institute's (RIEI) first technical director.
Fricklas received the 1991 James Q. McCawley Award, which is granted annually by the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association (MRCA). The McCawley Award is the most prestigious honor granted by the organization, and is given annually in recognition of the recipient’s longstanding devotion to the roofing industry. In 1996, he retired from RIEI but remained active in the industry, writing a technical instruction for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and co-authoring the 3rd and 4th editions of the Manual of Low Slope Roofing. He also helped RCI with curriculum development and had taught at the University of Wisconsin's Roofing Seminars.
Fricklas found time to also enjoy his three children, Michael, Kenneth and Susan; seven grandchildren, and traveling with his wife of 57 years, Anita.
A service occurred on July 29 in Colorado. In lieu of flowers, the family requested that memorial contributions go to:
The Arthritis Foundation (Colorado)
2280 South Albion Street
Denver CO 80222
Jewish Family Service of Colorado
2281 South Tamarac Drive
Denver CO 80231