Nearly a quarter into his term as president of the Roofing Alliance, the National Roofing Contractors Association’s philanthropic and educational programming nonprofit arm, Greg Bloom seems to be handling the added demands of the lay position as expected: relentlessly.
“It's giving back; I mean, truly, that's what it is,” Bloom, whose day job as Beacon’s vice president of national accounts kept him fairly well occupied before he assumed the added yoke of the Roofing Alliance presidency in June 2023, says about the organization’s value proposition.
“I think about it, right? We build shelter,” he adds in a contemplative versus fact-of-matter way. “That's what we do: We build shelter; you have to have a roof.”
Bloom, of course, knows the facets of the roofing industry as well as anybody. His foray into the field began more than 40 years ago, first working a summer job in the loading docks of a distribution center while in college. And, as far as material distribution is concerned, his fingerprints have been left in virtually every corner of the business.
As one of the sector’s elder statesmen and through this role, his leadership now extends beyond Beacon to virtually every plane of the building envelope’s literal bonnet. His Roofing Alliance predecessor, Kelly Van Winkle, is undoubtedly a tough act to follow. As president and CEO of King of Texas Roofing, Van Winkle comes not only from roofing “royalty,” she became the Roofing Alliance’s first female president in its nearly 30-year history.
Now 193 members strong, the Roofing Alliance is an amalgam of industry leaders from manufacturing, contracting, distribution, and service provider firms, whose sole objective is to deliver goodwill to those communities that have made its member firms successful in business; the organization is that vehicle.
As 2023-24 president, Bloom has set forth an ambitious agenda that includes expanding the group’s ranks, furthering its financial tethers within education, and providing the economic or labor-powered heft for those civic-based institutions that make our communities better places to live.
Bloom took to the dias last June during his first address as president of the Roofing Alliance for 2023-24. During the seven-minute speech, Bloom emphasized the role the Roofing Alliance plays in the industry, saying, in part, "And for my colleagues in the room who have yet to commit, I encourage you to join me — join us— on our next journey as we continue to shape, improve, and advance the future of our industry for generations to come."
Courtesy of Greg Hudson, director of Commercial Dens Sales, Georgia-Pacific Gypsum LLC.
Teach Your Children
In August, Bloom helped the Roofing Alliance launch a new capital fundraising campaign designed to buttress the endowment of its Melvin Kruger Scholarship Fund, which distributes scholarships and grants to undergraduate college and technical school students. The scholarship fund is a direct distribution channel for the industry’s next generation of leaders. It has, to date, distributed more than $1 million in aid.
Considering the dual crises of foreseeably ongoing labor shortages and ever-rising post-secondary education costs, Bloom’s first major initiative is undoubtedly a smart play for both efficacy and legacy, the former being his notoriously lauded superpower and the latter the just deserts.
Under Van Winkle, the Fund gifted $65,000 in new and renewing scholarships and expanded its offering slots from 11 to 13. The capital campaign’s end goal is to field $2 million, and this first push set forth a strategic amount of $400,000 as its first tranche.
And, bearing in mind he was able to attend and graduate four years of college at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia courtesy of an athletic scholarship, Bloom surely appreciates the value a helping hand can offer. Likewise, the Roofing Alliance can see in its current president what that long-term investment will repay.
“My focus is to continue the good work of what Kelly, the Alliance staff and the trustees [achieved] last year,” Bloom says. “We accomplished so much, including the work we're doing with Clemson; we’ve [coordinated with] a future Ph.D. [candidate] in roofing, capable of conducting more industry research, and once [the candidate] gets through the course, she will teach roofing moving forward at another university.”
Clemson also takes part in the Roofing Alliance’s annual Construction Management Student Competition, a staple of the International Roofing Expo’s yearly conference, where students from several universities vie in a mock roofing contractor bidding contest. Teams of four to five students research and present on a chosen project — in 2023, it was installing the roof structure for Dallas’s Globe Life Field — vying for bragging rights and cash prizes for the school. Clemson’s team won the 2023 competition; the University of Florida took second.
At the group’s annual June meeting, when Bloom was sworn in, board business also included solidifying the upcoming year’s scholarship campaign, which he said was approved and slated to add 10 more scholarships provided the capital campaign gains traction.
“We approved a matching scholarship campaign for ´23-´24, so if we can get [at least] $200,000 in donations for the scholarship program, we're going to match it in the Alliance,” he added.
Bloom, with youngest daughter Kelly and wife, Jill — a roofing luminary in her own right and group publisher of several trade magazines, including Roofing Contractor — enjoying a summer weekend getaway to Nashville, Tenn., last July. The Blooms have four children ranging in age from 31 to 15.
Courtesy of the Bloom Family.
Not Clowning Around
Among the various civic organizations the Roofing Alliance partners with to help infuse communities with needed resources, none is dearer to the organization’s heart than its affiliation with Ronald McDonald House Charities.
For nearly 50 years, RMHC has acted as an oasis for families whose children are sick and need accommodations during treatment in hospitals worldwide. Ronald McDonald Houses provide lodging and food, working as a remote home base so families can stay together during treatment.
The Roofing Alliance and many of its affiliate members have become stalwart boosters for the charitable organization, providing cash assistance, labor and materials for constructing new RMHC facility roofs and reroofing existing ones.
“Literally what Ronald McDonald house provides is care, comfort, support for families with sick children, you know, when it's most needed,” Bloom said, his voice filling with emotion, acknowledging the numerous firms within the Alliance’s ranks with fingerprints on the effort.
Firms including Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal — one of the nation’s largest commercial roofing operators and No. 15 on this year’s Top 100 List — is working on the roof construction of a new RMHC facility in Columbus, Ohio.
“When finished, it'll be the largest Ronald McDonald House in the United States,” explained Kalkreuth co-principal David Hesse during an August 2023 interview with RC. “We’ve had a lot of donations from some of our important manufacturers in this project [including] GAF and IB [Roof] Systems, and also Hunter and American Hydrotech; they’ve each donated tons of roofing materials, and it’s great.”
Roofing is a close-knit industry and Bloom has developed relationships with players across the board, including his pal Mark Langer (at right), a third-generation co-principal of Milwaukee, Wis.-based Langer Roofing & Sheet Metal. He and Bloom mug for a "selfie" during the Roofing Alliance’s June meeting when Bloom was sworn in as president. Langer and Bloom have been friends for more than 20 years.
Courtesy of Mark Langer.
Bigger, Better, More
Perhaps the only person who could succeed someone like Van Winkle and be successful at the job is Bloom. For those who know him — the list would surely exceed the space allotted for this piece — he is a force. He embodies an earnestness that both disarms and inspires, allowing him to achieve “yes” when demurring would otherwise be a default response.
Charles Antis, the venerable principal at Antis Roofing & Waterproofing in Orange County, Calif., posted a message about Bloom on LinkedIn last August following the publishing of a profile in this magazine’s sister publication, Roofing Supply Pro.
Antis wrote, in part, “Greg Bloom is everywhere! How does he do it? …It was a year ago, at my 60th birthday… I was ‘out of sorts’ when I looked across the room and saw Greg walking toward me after flying from the East Coast to surprise me … I was overjoyed, getting a hug I’ll always remember… How does our Roofing Alliance President make time for me & all my friends?”
He then answered his question: “…You see, Greg even says, ‘Yes,’ to every ‘roof ask’ in our community, the ones I often talk about, like Habitat for Humanity of Orange County & Ronald McDonald House Charities, plus some we keep discreet.”
The prophetic praise echoes Bloom’s vision of how he hopes his term unfolds during its remaining nine months. From the group's quarterly in-person meetings to its weekly Zoom confabs for the 15 some-odd committees that comprise its organizational structure, Bloom’s leadership will be critical to moving his agenda forward.
“Here's what I want to do and what I'm pushing the [Roofing] Alliance staff and the trustees to do: ask ourselves, ‘How do we take the Alliance to the next level?’” Bloom says. “And not just by adding more members, which obviously we're going to, but by impacting more people's lives — inside and outside our industry.”
Increasing the group’s size may be tangential for him, but there’s an obvious correlation between the number of Roofing Alliance members and the group’s financial prowess. Alison LaValley, the nonprofit’s executive director, happily spotlighted Bloom’s sway in an email, citing his success selling the group’s writ-large benefits to prospective associates.
“It was two, which is a big deal after one speech at a board meeting,” LaValley wrote, discussing the number of members that signed on following Bloom’s inaugural address and his persuasive skills. “Greg also was instrumental in getting member No. 2 of the four we have recruited since June 1, when he took over … it’s a big deal. He helped recruit at least four of the 11 from last year!! BAM!”
McKay Daniels, CEO of the NRCA — granddaddy of roofing trade groups — and the umbrella under which the Roofing Alliance operates, said of Bloom’s inaugural remarks: “Greg highlighted the recent achievements of the Alliance and the focused direction the organization is taking … I’m incredibly excited about where Greg is taking the Roofing Alliance; he’s got the passion and vision to succeed!”
Underscoring Daniels’ sentiments, Michelle Boykin, COO of Rackley Roofing — No. 46 on this year’s Top 100 List — said Bloom’s passion is evident and expressed excitement that he was spearheading the nonprofit during this term.
“[H]is passion blew me away,” Boykin wrote in an email. “Greg has a great insight [into] our industry as a whole, and he presented the plans for continuing the Alliance’s objectives in education, research, and philanthropic efforts; the roofing industry is lucky to have Greg Bloom!”
Adding to Boykin’s sentiment, in a separate email, was Rackley’s president, Curtis Sutton, whose brevity in describing Bloom is apt.
“Greg is so easy to listen to because of his energy and passion; it’s like a shot of espresso!” Sutton wrote. “He’s all heart and passion!”