Roofing & Sheet Metal Contractors Association of Georgia
A local affiliate of the National Roofing Contractors Association, the Roofing & Sheet Metal Contractors Association of Georgia (RSMCA) has been serving members since 1950 as a nonprofit trade organization representing many of the oldest and finest contractors and construction companies in the state’s roofing industry. RSMCA now has 83 members, representing the full spectrum of the roofing industry chain, including contractors, suppliers, material and equipment manufacturers and service providers.
As a member-founded and member-run organization, RSMCA strives to promote the development of the roofing industry and enhance the public’s understanding of important industry contributions to home and building owners, developers and property managers. “We also work to promote fellowship among contractors and peers — helping them exchange ideas, industry trends, insight and common frustrations in the industry,” says Ted Deaton, current president and member of RSMCA since 2000. “The other big benefit of RSMCA membership is the educational opportunities we offer.”
Financial aid for the next generation
RSMCA is proud to offer the annual RSMCA Scholarship for eligible dependents of member company employees. “We enjoy giving back to the community through this program,” says Deaton, who heads up RSMCA along with Gina Grantham, CAE and executive director. “Our annual fall golf tournament raises a majority of the funds for the scholarship and we open it up to any member company employees’ children. In years past we have typically awarded it to students interested in a construction career, but recently we’ve changed the focus a bit. Now any child who wants to go on to higher education, be it a technical school, two-year program or four-year university, can apply.”
RSMCA’s scholarship review committee has been awarding thousands of dollars to eligible students for over 25 years. Candidates must be high school seniors accepted as full or part-time students into an undergraduate degree program, accredited by two or four year colleges or a vocational school, or a full or part-time student currently working toward and undergraduate degree.
Building a connected community of professionals
Deaton says his role as president is about leading RSMCA’s charge in legislative efforts and being a sounding board for member concerns, but his role is to also address the question: “Why become a member of RSMCA?”
“We’re always looking for ways to add value to our organization for our current membership and of course, to attract new members,” he says. “My goal as president is to help people see the big picture. By joining RSMCA you have a large support network of your peers. While you might not have been affected by an issue, chances are you will down the road and that’s why it’s important to stay informed.”
Deaton says there are so many ongoing issues in regulations concerning labor, products and warrantees, insurance and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the roofing industry that having RSMCA as a guide and support system is a big benefit. “We work to find a balance between too much regulation and the necessary amount to ensure safety and industry integrity,” he says.
Recently, RSMCA has worked on state license initiatives in an effort to get all professional roofing contractors a required license/proof of experience. “Our members have a passion to do things right,” says Deaton. “We believe licensing would make for fair competition for members and elevate responsible roofing contractors to a higher degree of respect from the general public. There would be a protocol in place to give the consumer more of a sense of comfort and trust in their contractor.”
RSMCA attempted to get the licensing law passed through the Georgia legislature, but the bill never made it to vote. “The goal is to make it so startups and ‘storm chasers’, especially on the residential side, aren’t coming in and low bidding contractors that have real experience and real credentials,” explains Deaton. Georgia is the only state in the Southeast that does not have professional roofing licensing in place.
Aside from its work at the state Legislature, RSMCA also hosts a number of trainings and educational programs throughout the year to help keep members up-to-date on skills and certifications. “We offer CERTA training, a course on how to handle an open flame torch, OSHA certification courses in both English and Spanish, and also CPR/First Aid and fall protection training,” notes Deaton. “A lot of these programs are things that need annual or biannual certification.”
While education is certainly important, especially considering the hazards of the roofing industry, Deaton says one of the biggest benefits to membership is networking and connecting with peers. “I have made many lifelong friends in this industry through member events and meet and greets,” he says. “We understand we can be competitors but friends at the same time because there’s a certain level of respect.”
RSMCA hosts its annual convention in July of each year, offering a number of educational programs and networking events. “That face-to-face connection is important and something we’re losing sight of in the digital world,” says Deaton. “I don’t text a lot, or email. I like to look someone in the eye. That’s a huge part of membership; the social setting we offer and the comradery that comes with it. Many of our members have been coming to the convention for years and have formed longstanding relationships, both personally and professionally.”
Through this sense of community and the idea that one, collective voice is stronger than a single voice, the Roofing & Sheet Metal Contractors Association of Georgia continues to dutifully serve and support members and elevate industry standards.
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