What History Does Your Roof Tell?

Ask a Roofer podcast John Kenney
September 6, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.

By Cass Jacoby. 

John Kenney tells AskARoofer why the history of roofing is an invaluable resource for the industry as a whole and why he is passionate about preserving it. 

Every roof tells a story. The products, innovations, materials and practices that went into providing you with shelter have been historically shaped by industry, society and science throughout the years. Curious about how your roof came to exist on top of your house? Then Season 1, Episode 3 of the AskARoofer Podcast is for you! Join Lauren and Megan as they sit down with John Kenney, CEO and co-founder of Cotney Consulting Group to talk about the history of roofing and discuss why it is important to learn these stories. 

Coming from a third-generation roofing family and having a general love for history growing up, John became interested in roofing history at a young age. “I found this stairwell as a kid and at the top I found all these boxes of files and paperwork and giveaways and stuff, calendars. They were my grandfathers and there was stuff in there from the twenties, thirties and forties, spec books,” says John. "Looking at that stuff I thought ‘Wow, this stuff really tells a great history.’ I even found my grandfather's financial statements and at nine years old, I got into it and I learned a lot from self-studying.” 

John tells Lauren and Megan about how going through old documents that date back to the twenties taught him so much about the evolution of the roofing industry, but also provided him with a lot of perspective. “Study your industry and you're going to do better. I use a lot of these lessons that were learned throughout studying history with clients today, like productivity and efficiency,” says John. “There are things that were done in the early 1900s that nobody has studied since. But if you take that and then convert it into modern issues, there's a lot of great information out there.” 

Part of why John is so passionate about preserving history is because it is an invaluable resource to roofers today. The history of roofing tells us so much about the ingenuity of an industry that unfortunately has gone largely undocumented. “Gathering this information tells a great story of how our roofing industry has evolved,” says John. “I work so hard on collecting it, to be able to tell these stories and preserve it for future generations.”  

Listen to the podcast to learn more about the story your roof tells about the roofing industry! 

Have a question? AskARoofer.   

Find your local roofing contractor in the RoofersCoffeeShop® Contractor Directory.  

About Cass  

Cass works as a reporter/writer for RoofersCoffeeShop, AskARoofer and MetalCoffeeShop. When she isn’t writing about roofs, she is putting her Master degree to work writing about movies and dancing with her plants. 

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