Margaret Mead once said, “We should never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” As far as I know, Mead never met any members of the Rosemont, Ill.-based National Roofing Contractors Association, but had she gotten the opportunity, she would have discovered a group of roofing professionals who are dedicated and passionate about their industry and committed to advancing it.

Why does NRCA membership matter? NRCA provides member benefits and services and acts as an advocate for roofing professionals whether they are roofing, remodeling or waterproofing contractors. NRCA members are part of a community—more than 4,000 strong—committed to professionalism and advancing the roofing industry.

In 2010, NRCA was called on to act on behalf of its members in Washington, D.C., where the association worked to develop more reasonable construction regulations, implement incentives for energy efficiency in homes and buildings, and come to a fair solution regarding fall protection for workers, among a long list of other things. NRCA also worked hard to ensure the proper role for the roofing industry as new technologies, such as photovoltaic systems, emerged in building codes and standards. And as always, NRCA educated consumers—making sure they understood the importance of using only professional contractors, quality materials and proper design.

Membership matters for the constant improvement of the industry, as well. Not only does NRCA produce new products, programs and services, the association also educates building owners, homeowners, designers and others so they understand the implications of using the rooftop to accommodate PV and vegetative systems and ever more roof insulation. As a way to demonstrate the industry’s expertise to building owners and designers, NRCA launched its Roof Integrated Solar Energy certification program for installers of rooftop PV systems. Those who complete the program receive the Certified Solar Roofing Professional designation, which demonstrates a commitment to continuing education and professionalism.

Membership matters because members learn from one another, and one of the most unique and meaningful benefits of belonging to NRCA—one that doesn’t appear in membership brochures—is members have the opportunity to network and share information with peers who do not compete in the same geographic areas. Picking peers’ brains is a great way to grow the roofing side of a business.

NRCA staff also is available to members to provide expertise and understanding of new regulations and building-code requirements, answer technical questions, and enable them to successfully manage and effectively respond to business issues affecting their companies.

Membership matters because it enables NRCA to produce a variety of industry programs and publications, including technical publications and CDs, such as The NRCA Roofing Manual—2011, that help ensure quality roof-system design and application. And its risk-management, safety, management and marketing programs save members vital company resources, which helps them reduce employee training costs.

As a result of the challenging economic conditions facing the country and small businesses, it is critically important for NRCA to remain active. Although NRCA can’t guarantee a solution to the country’s economic woes, NRCA membership offers the tools roofing professionals need to survive, prepare for better times ahead and, ultimately, prosper.

Remodeling contractors involved in roofing work should consider joining NRCA because it provides a competitive advantage. Taking advantage of the money-saving benefits can pay for the tax-deductible dues investment in a member’s first year. Not to mention, staying informed about the latest developments in the roofing industry is invaluable to a company’s long-term success. EC

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