NRCA CEO Bill Good’s final column as it appears in Professional Roofing magazine’s December issue.
I’ve had the singular pleasure—and honor—of spending a majority of my adult life in this crazy industry, and I have loved every bit of it.
My NRCA career has given me the opportunity to climb the Great Wall of China more than most Chinese; be on the Pentagon roof when it was still an FBI crime scene following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; and celebrate a birthday on the Volga River with a bunch of vodka-happy Russian roofing contractors. Who else can say that?
But more than experiences, my NRCA career has given me a couple of lifetimes full of friendships. The friendships I’ve made go beyond being work-related; they are deep and lasting. I began to realize it was time to move on when the grandchildren of the people I first worked with started to assume positions of leadership in the association.
For reasons that have never become entirely clear to me, the roofing industry attracts—and keeps—an amazing group of people. Some try to leave but inevitably return. I think the main reason is, at its core, the roofing industry captures the essence of American values.
Our products are mostly made in the U.S.; our companies are mostly small and family-owned; and the work is demanding and rewarding. It’s an industry that thrives with its successes and understands all the risks it assumes every day. It’s an industry that is self-reliant and proud of it.
At NRCA, we’ve turned down opportunities to receive money from the government because, well, it didn’t feel right.
It’s also an industry with an enormous heart. Following that visit to the Pentagon in 2001, I had the amazing experience of leading the effort to rebuild the Pentagon’s roof. I asked a lot of people for help—for materials, for labor, for money—and I was never turned down. Members I had never met called to say they had to work on the project. Others heard about what we were doing and sent whatever they could, unsolicited. I will never forget a conversation I had with a supplier, whom I did not know, who listened to my request for a lot of material and simply said: “Tell me how much you need and where to send it.” Fifteen years have passed, and I still have trouble talking about the experience.
In my career, I’ve had 29 bosses—NRCA presidents (now chairmen of the board). Their dedication and support have been remarkable. I’ve also had the privilege of working with the most dedicated group of professionals imaginable—the NRCA staff. In particular, the 10 staff vice presidents, who have been with me for an average of more than 22 years, have made my job easy. With them—and with Reid Ribble assuming my position—I am certain beyond a doubt the association will only get bigger and better.
Finally, my deepest thanks go to the members of this association. I could not have done this job for 28 years if I didn’t believe in what you do, demonstrating, every day, the importance of being professional and running your businesses the right way.
There is a scene in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” where the townspeople in a Medieval city are told to “bring out your dead.” One of those being brought out says: “I’m not dead yet.”
And so it is that I look forward to the next chapter of my life, never completely leaving NRCA or the roofing industry, and forever grateful for everything it’s given me. Thanks for this incredible journey and Godspeed to this amazing industry.