HOF 2009: Harold Schroth

Q: What are you doing nowadays?

After retiring from Akzo Nobel Coatings four years ago, I have continued on with Akzo in a consulting role, which has been a nice transition after the heavy travels of years past.

I am able to help out where needed, and continue on with some association activities such as Metal Construction Association, Metal Roofing Alliance and National Frame Building Association.

About 12 years ago we built a second home in the Hayward, Wis., area, and now we spend half of the spring, summer and fall “Up North.”

My favorite pastime is building things, like post-frame buildings — six thus far, with number 6 still being a work in progress in Wisconsin.

Q: How did you first get involved in the metal roofing industry?

After spending my first 10 years on the technical side of the industrial paint business, in 1972 I moved into the technical sales of coil coatings, where a large portion of the business is coatings for metal buildings and roofing. The use of pre-painted metal for siding and roofing was enjoying a growing acceptance in the marketplace and the coil coating industry was shifting into a significant expansion mode to meet demand.

Typical of a fast-growing, emerging product comprised of multiple materials and processes from multiple suppliers, much needed to be understood about the role and importance of these components and processes to sustain the high expectations of exterior performance.

Because the paint coating is on top and most visible, it is typically first assumed to be responsible for all performance issues, including the base metal, metal cleaning and treating, paint application and finally the actual performance of the paint coating itself.

Since repainted metal roofing is challenged every day by the environment, I found myself quickly consumed with understanding the role and importance of all the components to provide the good performance we know is attainable. As they say “the rest is history.”

Q: How has the industry changed since you became involved?

The metal roofing industry has grown significantly in both commercial and more recently, residential applications. Residential awareness was first promoted by the National Coil Coating Association and has continued to flourish due to the efforts of MRA and its member companies. Larger and faster coil coating lines have emerged to help meet demand and the economic issues, necessary to compete with other roofing materials. An alternative metallic coating for steel (Galvalume) became available, offering increased resistance to the then emerging and now continuing problems of acid rain corrosion.

On the paint front, roofing color was initially predominantly white and primarily a commercial market. Advances in coating technology have reversed that trend, over to a high percentage of more attractive colored roofs. With that came the need to improve the total solar reflectance of these dark colors, for which the industry has responded with the more recent cool color technology.

Q: What contributions have you and your company made to metal roofing?

In addition to my “day job” which had been market manager building products, my alternate activities and challenges had been, and continue to be, focused on the basics of the total package.

It is important the industry remembers the lessons learned over the last 30 years and takes steps to utilize that information.
We at Akzo Nobel provide that guidance to our customers and others who are interested. Akzo Nobel has strongly supported the industry associations and my considerable involvement in those association’s activities.

Leadership in the original NCCA Residential Roofing Program, which led to the formation of the Metal Roofing Alliance is an example of that commitment. I continue to participate as a board member of MRA through Akzo support.

We promoted the formation of the MCA Certification Program and further promoted the strengthening of that program to help preserve the investments and future image of pre-painted metal for residential roofing.

Q: What does the future look like for our industry?

This is clearly the easiest of the questions to answer because there are so many reasons why in most cases metal is the best choice for both commercial and residential roofing. The list of advantages from wind to earthquakes, to hail, to fire, to recyclability, to “cool” offerings, is too long to do justice in this paragraph.

With something that good, and superior to competitor roofing systems, how can the future be anything but positive and exciting?

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