NRCA named Jim Barr, president of Barr Roofing Co., Abilene, Texas, recipient of its 77th annual J.A. Piper Award Feb. 7 during the NRCA 2024 Industry Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas. The J.A. Piper Award is the roofing industry’s most prestigious honor and recognizes roofing professionals who have devoted constant outstanding service to the association and roofing industry.
In 1964, Barr’s father established Barr Roofing, and three years later, Barr was working on roofs and in the sheet metal department during summer breaks from high school. He attended the University of Texas at Austin for a few years but then returned home and started working full time at his father’s roofing company. In 1993, he became a minority shareholder in the business.
Soon after, he began volunteering with the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association and in 2001 was elected as MRCA’s president. After his presidential term, he remained an active volunteer and continued to serve as chairman of the organization’s Technical and Research Committee for eight years, acting as MRCA’s representative to NRCA’s Technical Operations Committee.
In 2009, Barr was elected to NRCA’s board of directors and served on NRCA’s Technical Operations and Manual Update committees.
In 2011, MRCA bestowed its highest honor on Barr—the James Q. McCawley Award, which is presented annually to an individual in recognition for outstanding service to the roofing industry. The next year, he was elected to NRCA’s Executive Committee, where he served as a vice chairman from 2012-14. The Roofing Alliance also recruited Barr and elected him as secretary-treasurer while he served as NRCA’s chairman of the board-elect and then NRCA’s chairman of the board in 2017.
While serving as NRCA’s chairman of the board, one of his priorities was to develop a qualified workforce. Barr oversaw efforts to produce a training program where field roofing workers can receive certificates of completion upon successful training in topic-specific areas; the first two modules launched under his leadership and eventually morphed into NRCA PROCertification.® Additionally, as a result of his commitment and dedication to highlighting the professionalism of the roofing industry, trade schools now are implementing roofing into their curriculums.
Barr also has contributed to his community and had the idea to put on a Key City Rhythm and Blues Festival while helping a roofing customer who runs the local United Way in Abilene. It became the three-day Key City Rhythm and Blues Festival, which raised $25,000 for United Way of Abilene. The next year, the festival grew and doubled its proceeds. Barr regularly helps numerous other local communities and even participated in Dancing with the Abilene Stars, a local event where he and 11 dancers helped raise $300,000 for Hendrick Home for Children.
“Our Piper winner possesses all the best qualities of a leader—strength, knowledge, command, thoughtfulness, generosity and class,” said Bob Daly, president of Kaw Roofing & Sheet Metal, Kansas City, Kan., when presenting the award. “And as a leader from Abilene, Texas, he exemplifies the Key City’s values of respect, integrity and service above self and excellence in everything we do.”
First presented in 1948, the J.A. Piper Award is named for former NRCA President Joseph A. Piper, whose extraordinary efforts kept the association alive during the Great Depression.