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Letter from the CEO

The past year was a solid year for growth in the roofing industry. NRCA contractor members point to long backlogs and increasing prices. NRCA also had a good year—membership is up, revenue is up, expenses are down, the long-term investment fund is up and, most important, optimism is up.

Yet members report a growing shortage of qualified labor. The U.S. roofing industry is not exempt from national demographic trends. With an aging population, we continue to see workforce participation numbers decreasing. Nearly 10,000 U.S. workers are retiring every day, and when you combine that with declining birth rates and an immigration policy that legislators in Washington, D.C., apparently don't want to touch, we recognize the growth cannot last forever.

President Trump predominantly ran on an offensive posture when it came to immigration reform. Often during his campaign for office, he virtually stood on every side of this important issue. Yet after being elected to office, he began nominating some of the nation's strongest anti-immigration voices to his administration.

The average age of a construction worker in the U.S. is more than 40 years old. Additionally, Latinos represent a significant portion of our industry's workforce. Trends like these direct NRCA to fully embrace the diversity of not only the company owners but also the employees.

Yet not everything in Washington, D.C., is bad. During the last year of the Obama administration, there was an unprecedented wave of new government regulations. During the first five months of the Trump administration, there has been the largest rollback of regulations affecting business owners that we have seen in a long time. The change toward more pragmatic rules is something we welcome.

However, even with improvement on the regulatory front, new Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules regarding electronic filing, residential fall protection and worker exposure to silica, among others, add to an already full load of compliance duties and, we would argue, do little to improve the health or safety of our workers.

Attendance at this year's NRCA convention and 2017 International Roofing Expo® (IRE) set new records with more than 11,200 people in Las Vegas. The IRE also saw significant growth in exhibitors and exhibit space. Next year's event in New Orleans already is ahead of the Las Vegas pre-registration numbers for exhibitors compared with the same data one year ago.

NRCA also embarked on a major new initiative. In February 2017, the NRCA board of directors changed the NRCA bylaws to allow full membership for noncontractor members. This is a significant change and will boost the strength of the roofing industry's voice to policy makers in Washington, D.C., and code bodies.

About one year ago, NRCA began working on perhaps its most important new project—developing a much-needed worker training and certification program that can put the roofing industry at the same level as other construction trades.

We know if we are going to attract good people into the industry, they want—and expect—career-path-based training. The NRCA will train and certify a national roofing workforce. More than 30 disciplines will be included, and the effort has the potential to transform the industry.

Finally, your association leaders have done a great job in managing the transition to a new CEO as former NRCA CEO Bill Good retired May 31, 2017. I am struck by the footprint he left in the industry and the universal goodwill he built. Bill is a giant, and I am humbled to follow him in leading NRCA.


Reid J. Ribble

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