Bill Hippard Sr.—2018 Metal Roofing Magazine Hall of Fame Winner.
By Sharon Glorioso
Bill Hippard, Sr., retired from Precoat Metals in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2014, but then stepped in as the executive director of the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) for two years; he is very well known and liked throughout the industry, so it came as no surprise when the votes were tallied, naming him this year’s Metal Roofing Magazines’ Hall of Fame recipient. During Hippard’s last full year as executive director of the MRA, the metal roofing residential market share hit a new record of 14 percent.
Metal Roofing Magazine announced the inaugural class of the Metal Roofing Hall of Fame in 2007 by inducting four industry pioneers. Since then, 16 more prominent members of the industry have been inducted into the Hall.
Requirements for nominations include: they should be an innovator, a pioneer within the industry and currently active within the metal roofing industry. The industry has grown significantly due to the developments and innovations these members have contributed. Hippard was kind enough to participate in a Q&A interview where he discussed his past and current contributions to the metal roofing industry.
A: Precoat Metals has asked me to stay on board to consult as the company continues to grow.
Q: How did you become involved in the metal roofing industry?
A: My career started in Pittsburgh as a management trainee with US Steel (USS) working in one of the mills in the Mon Valley. I ended up in the marketing department of USS in the mid-1980s. There were lots of discussions about the size of the metal roofing market and how to capture more market share. After accepting a position in St. Louis with Precoat Metals there was an effort to develop the residential metal roofing market. Precoat Metals was instrumental in creating the Metal Construction Association (MCA) and a charter member of the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA).
Q: Was there a family history that led you into your position?
A: I come from a long line of family members that were in the coal mining industry. They all said to stay away from mining and the steel industry would be a better choice. Both industries have had their challenges over the past 50 years.
Q: How has the industry changed since you became involved?
A: There is a much greater consumer awareness of the benefits of metal roofing now. At 14 percent market share metal is now the No. 2 choice of homeowners when replacing their old asphalt roof. Companies like Precoat Metals have worked diligently to be innovative and bring new products to the market. Even though consumer awareness has grown there is still a lot of work to get done.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I spent most of my adult life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, GO Steelers, until accepting a position in St. Louis with Precoat Metals.
Q: What is your educational background?
A: I have a Bachelor of Science in economics & business administration and a minor in accounting.
Q: Contributions made to the industry (service in professional organizations)?
A: I have always been a believer that industry associations can play a big role in growing market share in their segment. The start of my involvement in our industry, supported by Precoat Metals, was as a board member of the MCA and as the chairman of the National Coil Coaters Association (NCCA) marketing committee. I served as an associate board member on the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA). I was elected by the MCA board to serve as president for three years and served as chairman of the MRA for more than 10 years. After retiring from Precoat in 2014, I stepped in as the executive director of the MRA for two years. Working hard with all the great people in our industry has helped all of our markets grow and the metal roofing industry is getting stronger every year.
Q: What are some of your career-related achievements?
A: After working in the metal’s industry for 47 years there are a number of achievements I am proud of. As an operator in the mill I was able to pull together the crews in various departments to set a number of production records and established operation procedures for the entire plant that significantly increased productivity. As a marketer for USS I set up their pricing policies for prepainted products. At Precoat Metals I worked with a very talented group of dedicated people who helped Precoat grow from four operating facilities when I started to 14 facilities when I retired. During my last full year as executive director of the MRA the market share for residential metal roofing hit a new record of 14 percent.
Q: Is there any story about your business you would like to share that demonstrates your businesses commitment to the industry?
A: I had just completed a three-year term as the president of the MCA when I was asked to consider taking on the chairmanship of the MRA. With a full-time job with Precoat Metals I knew it would be another big time commitment. It didn’t take me long to decide to take on the challenge since every 1 percent of market share growth would add 100,000 tons to the current demand and the majority of the MRA members were my friends and my customers. The MRA members worked hard and grew the share from 3 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2016, the last year that we have seen statistics.
Q: How has the industry changed since you became involved?
A: There have been a number of changes in the types of metal products available and the coatings that can be applied to them. From vertical seam with heat reflective coating, solar energy integrated onto the panel along with stamped panels to simulate all of the competitive roofing products are all now available. There is also a strong move from the companies who supply those competitive materials to offer metal products of their own.
Q: What do you think the future looks like for the metal roofing industry?
A: There is still tremendous potential for metal roofing. The benefits for the environment, life cycle cost and the rising cost of competitive materials will all push market share higher. 20 percent market share for the residential market is an attainable goal.
Q: What is the most important advice you would like to share with a newcomer to the industry?
A: Find out what industry organizations’ goals best fit your company’s goals and get involved. Working together to grow market share is good for the industry you work in. As the MRA has said many times “a rising tide raises all boats.”
Q: What do you most enjoy about your work?
A: I have had an opportunity to meet many amazing people who work in the metals industry. The relationships you build and the friendships that follow have made it very enjoyable.
Q: What do you see as the future for you and the industry?
A: Even though I am “retired” my son Bill Jr. has a metal roofing business here in St. Louis. MidAmerica Metal Roofing is growing and he wants me to participate. I volunteered to bring coffee to the crews in the morning! His involvement will allow me to stay in touch with the industry that was very good to me and my family.
Q: Family info: names of wife, children, (if any; ages)
A: My wife, Terry, and I celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary this year and we have three children (Michele, Kristen & Bill Jr) and four grandchildren (Dominic 17, Ben 16, Aubrey 15 & Ellie 12).
Q: Special hobbies or interests?
A: I enjoy snow skiing, hunting and the shooting sports.
Q: Anything else that you’d like to add?
A: I would like to thank the past inductees for their nomination and am honored to accept it. MR