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Manufacturing Techonomy Events

Re-Imagining the Roof

Three Davids: Millstone, Winter and Kirkpatrick (Photo: Paul Sakuma)

A roof has had one primary purpose: to keep those under it dry. But Standard Industries co-CEOs, David Millstone and David Winter, have a vision to push roofing beyond the basics.

“This is re-imagining what a roof is, a roof is real estate, whether that is a garden, a roof deck, or a source of energy,”  Winter said. “It starts with waterproofing but we can go further.”

Standard’s roofing and waterproofing division, GAF, is the largest in North America, involved in one of three roofs. Millstone and Winter are injecting a tech startup mentality into an industry that has been largely untouched by digital transformation.

“This is an industry that has been deeply underpenetrated by technology,” Millstone said. The sales process, for example, usually involves a salesperson visiting a homeowner with some shingle samples. But Winter described a future that uses drones and iPhone mapping capability to create a 3D roofing rendering for the homeowner, coupled with a seamless integration of solar panels.

“We are starting with waterproofing and then integrating solar more into the roof,” Winter said.

Millstone and Winter then broadened their discussion beyond the roof to how they are moving Standard in the direction of progressive, imaginative sustainability that will trickle down to supply chains and underserved economies worldwide.

Winter described how SGI, Standard’s rock building material division, for example, is studying how to repurpose waste from mines. In this case, the waste is the byproduct of the tiny granules used to coat and weatherproof shingles. These particles, which come from rock, are organic and can be used as fertilizer in underserved areas of the world.

“There has been an ongoing R&D effort to utilize these in agriculture, something we wouldn’t have dreamed of 10 years ago,” Winter said.

The co-CEOs said their company size can be an advantage in innovating and recruiting top talent. “We call it startup at scale,” Millstone said.

“There is a lot of stifled innovation in the startup world. There tends to be a lot of capital to promote new ideas, but it has also caused people to make increasingly short-term decisions,”  he added.

Standard Industries, they said, have the time to invest in their push for a more sustainable, conscientious industrial ecosystem — and the company has the scale to make an immediate impact, one roof at a time.

Watch the conversation here:

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