What does it mean to have influence? The strict definition of influence is the capacity of having an effect on the character, development or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. Influence is a powerful thing. While applying the concept to an industry such as commercial roofing may not be what leaps to mind when you hear the word, the truth is that industry influence, particularly for the small business, typically happens through associations.
Influence of an industry can occur in many ways, the most obvious being government outreach on a national and sometimes local level. But it can occur in other ways, including:
- Education, particularly if industry certifications are involved.
- Industry regulations
- Sharing best practices
Whether the association is local to your city, state, serves a region or has a national or global focus, there is simply strength in numbers. Many small business owners do not have the budget or ability to hire their own lobbyist or create the materials needed to provide large training programs or collect best practices. That is why lending your voice, your time and your efforts toward associations that are dedicated to your industry make sense.
“KPOST has been blessed with many successes and we believe a large part of that is the interaction we get from our membership in associations, said Steve Little, KPOST President. “We believe in engaging with the associations we join.”
Get Involved to Get More
On October 25th, 2013, Steve Little became the president of the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association (MRCA), a regional association focused on 22 states and dedicated to the needs of the contractor through various programs. Specifically, MRCA focuses on:
- Technical research of manufacturers’ products
- Development and education of young contractors
- SHARP – a specialized training program dedicated to safety
Little is willing to dedicate time and energy to being part of the MRCA leadership because he feels the association has “Midwestern values” that align with KPOST. “With all the benefits an organization can receive from an association such as MRCA, it makes sense to join.”
“Hard work, integrity and helping your fellow man really reflect our values and theirs. It provides our KPOST team members the opportunity to learn best business practices from contractors in our region in a safe, less competitive environment which is more conducive to open dialog.”
“When we can come together and work to professionalize, improve the processes and build best practices, it builds a stronger industry overall,” said Louise Ristau, Executive Director for MRCA. “There is strength in numbers that affords us the ability to tackle issues that need to be addressed as a group. Having organizations like KPOST dedicated to the causes of an association provide the backbone and growth potential for the MRCA. ”
One such issue is safety, which is a driving force behind the MRCA program title SHARP (Safety and Health Agenda for Roofing Professionals). The program gives members materials to stay in compliance with OSHA standards, while also ensuring high levels of communication via monthly meetings, webinars and content.
“Our SHARP Toolbox talks and monthly documentation support our members in either creating or supplementing their own safety programs. Plus, we add value by translating them into Spanish so they can be widely distributed,” said Ristau. “Steve Little helped organize our Young Contractor Council (YCC) that is helping shape our association for years to come while bridging the gap between the baby boomer generation roofing contractors and today’s Gen X and Millenials up and coming leaders.”
“Regardless of the association, and we are a member of MRCA, NRCA, NTRCA and TEXO, we are going to be involved in committees and other activities because we believe in that association, what they stand for, and most importantly, in giving back to others,” said Little. “We want to learn from others and share our blessings.”