Student Competition

Roofing Alliance Helps Introduce Next Generation to the Industry

by Heidi J. Ellsworth, owner, HJE Consulting


In the roofing industry, there are many ways to be involved, including associations, tradeshows, conferences, and online networks. However, seldom does an industry have a group whose whole purpose is to give. A hidden treasure in the roofing industry has been active since 1996, but they are currently making a stronger push to share what they are doing with all roofing and construction professionals. The Roofing Alliance, formerly The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress, is the foundation of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and is a shining example of how the roofing industry keeps giving back and growing professionally.

The Roofing Alliance mirrors the best of the roofing industry. Made up of all roofing professionals, including manufacturers, distributors, and contractors, they sit next to each other with equal voting rights, working on how they can use hard-earned funding to give back to not just the roofing industry, but to society overall. There are important stories that need to be told concerning the work of the Roofing Alliance.

The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress was established within the National Roofing Foundation to create a permanent endowment fund to serve as a highly focused resource for the roofing industry and its customers. There have been changes to terminology over the years, but as the Foundation of NRCA, its objectives are to fund research and education projects while also supporting and funding charitable and educational programs.

The Roofing Alliance is inviting attendees of the International Roofing Expo® (IRE) to join them at the conference where they will experience the best and brightest of the roofing industry, starting with the Construction Management Student Competition and leading up to the ceremonies for MVP and Gold Circle award winners. On the expo show floor, attendees can visit their booth to learn about the Ronald McDonald House Charities® challenge, which challenges roofing contractors across the country to adopt the roof of a Ronald McDonald House and to provide donated roofing services. It is going to be a fun-filled week and roofing professionals do not want to miss what the Roofing Alliance has planned.

During this year’s IRE, the Roofing Alliance will be celebrating its fifth competition, with students competing on February 12, 2019. The competition features four-person teams of college and university students who are tested for their roofing, project management, estimating, safety, quality control, and presentation skills. The four finalist teams will present full bid submittals to industry judges through oral presentations during the convention. The winning teams and the Best Individual Presenter will be announced during NRCA’s Industry Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Reception and will receive prizes of $5,000 and $2,500 scholarships.

The teams who will present at the IRE will be the four finalists selected from a slate of 12 schools. They are tasked with submitting a qualified bid package for installing a roof system on the Hilton® Franklin Cool Springs Hotel in Franklin, Tennessee. The roof was originally installed by Rackley Roofing out of Carthage, Tennessee, and Chris Baxter, vice president of Rackley will be one of the judges. During the 15-minute oral presentation, the teams will present their companies’ proposals as if they were meeting with the owner and the design team responsible for selecting the roofing contractor for the project.

Judging is based on the quality of their written proposals, project management and organization, feasibility of construction and program schedules, accuracy/feasibility of conceptual costs, quality of safety, and quality control assurance plans. Teams are also judged on the overall quality of their oral presentations, feasibility of project management, organization and scheduling, accuracy and completeness of project costs, and answers to questions.

Kyle Thomas, co-chair of the Alliance Construction Management Schools Initiative Committee, and owner of Thomas Roofing out of Mobile, Alabama, sees this event as an open door to introduce roofing to a new generation. “We’ve known for years that the students graduating out of these construction management programs often have very limited exposure and education related to roofing,” he explained. “This program provides an opportunity for these students to learn about the many facets of the roofing business. We certainly hope that some of the students become interested enough to pursue a career in the roofing industry, but even for those who go the more traditional route and choose to work for a general contractor, they will have a much better understanding of the roofing portion of the projects that they will be working on.”

The 2019 competition teams include: Auburn University, The McWhorter School of Building Science, Auburn, Alabama; Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois; Colorado State University, Department of Construction, Fort Collins, Colorado; Kent State University, Kent, Ohio; Louisiana State University, Department of Construction, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Minnesota State University Mankato, Department of Construction, Mankato, Minnesota; Mississippi State University, Building Construction Science, Mississippi State, Mississippi; Oregon State University, School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Corvallis, Oregon; Tuskegee University, Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science, Tuskegee, Alabama; University of Cincinnati, College of Engineering and Applied Science, Construction Management, Cincinnati, Ohio; University of Florida, M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction, Gainesville, Florida; and University of Louisiana at Monroe, School of Construction Management, Monroe, Louisiana.

The winning student competition team and the best individual presenter will be announced at the NRCA’s Industry Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Reception, February 12, 2019. This event is a must attend for convention attendees. Not only are the winners of the student competition announced, but the Roofing Alliance also announces an MVP award and the well-recognized Gold Circle Awards.


“We want to be sure that every roofing professional understands the mission and accomplishments of the Roofing Alliance,” states Rodney Petrick, Roofing Alliance president. “Membership in this organization is all about giving back and we are doing it every day. Not only do we want to continue to grow the Roofing Alliance, but we also want to keep our members actively involved especially with the Ronald McDonald House Charities and construction management initiatives. We really would like to see all 165 Ronald McDonald Houses adopted and a great turnout for our student competition presentations at IRE. We ask that everyone in the industry stay engaged and we plan to facilitate that with strong, consistent information exchanges that will inspire the industry and help promote our professional image.”

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