Nashville is no stranger to big hit, sold-out shows. It’s what it’s built an entire legacy and industry on.

The roofing industry collectively just added another one to the list, celebrating its largest annual event in Tennessee’s capital city for the very first time.

The highly-anticipated 2019 International Roofing Expo® launched Monday with a combination of stellar new products, sleek displays of the latest industry innovations and good-natured fun. More than 10,000 roofing contractors and industry professionals from around the world filled the halls of the multi-level Music City Center in the heart of downtown Nashville, marking a third-consecutive sellout.

“The show gets bigger and better every year,” said IRE Show Director Tracy Garcia as she kicked off the show. “We’re excited to share with you not just the stimulating discussions and exchange of ideas, but all that Music City has to offer.”

Garcia said this year’s show floor features 502 exhibitors over more than 152,000 square feet of all the latest and greatest products and service innovations the roofing industry has to offer. 

Those offerings go beyond the tangible, according to NRCA CEO Reid Ribble, who urged roofing contractors to strive to improve the industry’s perception by first changing how they look at themselves.

“You protect the most important things you value in their lives,” he said to more than 1,000 people prior to Monday’s keynote address. “You’re on the front line in protecting the entire country from the elements outside.” 

He urged roofing industry stakeholders to participate in Roofing Day II on April 3-4 in Washington, D.C., and to learn more about the recently launched ProCertification program to standardize training and education for roofing installers across the country.

“We’re embarking on a new journey and it will change the entire landscape. This is the type of move we need to make,” he said.

Keying in on Success

Another move roofing contractors to make to become more successful is internal, said Keynote Speaker Jesse Itzler. The intrepid entrepreneur captivated the audience with his unconventional business journey, which started in his 20s by finagling his way into a record exec’s office and ultimately landing a record deal.

“I believe in creating my own luck. By putting myself in a position where luck can find me,” he said while pacing across the stage during his high-energy speech.

As he told his story from starting out as a burgeoning white rapper to jet and beverage mogul, two strong themes emerged: it’s important to have a differentiator, something that uniquely sets you apart from the competition; and not succumbing to the fear and pressure sparked by the unknown. He calls it the ‘tap on the shoulder.’

“Self-doubt is the number one enemy of success,” he said. “As a defense mechanism, our brain taps us on the shoulder and says STOP. It doesn’t want us to be embarrassed, humiliated or in pain. When you ignore this and keep going, that’s the difference between heroic success and failure.”

Itzler, now 50, said he’s learned along the way that discipline is key and staying true to the most important things in your life will help pave the way to where you want to go. Figuring out how to get there is difficult without a personal mission statement, he said. It’s a playbook to outline your “non-negotiables” in life, and will help establish a story line that will help build authenticity and credibility — two critical factors to any business.

His statement is developed around his four “buckets” of life: family, business, wellness and personal development. 

And he urged those in attendance not to wait.

“If it doesn’t fit into one of those four buckets, I’m not doing it because it’s not moving the needle in my life,” he said. “The window to do things at our age shrinks fast …we’re not in the first stages of our lives. Time is the biggest excuse we all use. As entrepreneurs we’ve got to start the process of this thing.”