The Early History of VARP
In 1965, Millard Lemon, who had been active with the Carolinas Roofing and Sheet Metal Association (CRSMCA), purchased Whitley Roofing Company and moved to Richmond. He soon realized that Virginia did not have a roofing association and missed the opportunities and fellowship he had experienced with the CRSMCA.
Millard contacted the CRSMCA and asked if the would accept members from Virginia. They agreed with the understanding that once a nucleus was developed, Virginia would create its own association.
Millard’s wife Betty compiled a list of Virginia roofing contractors with the help of roofing manufacturers, including the Barrett division of Allied Chemical Corporation, Johns-Manville’s Sales Corporation, the Phillip Carey Manufacturing Company, Ruberiod Company, The Koppers Company and Frye Roofing Company. Virginia contractors belonging to the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) in 1966-1967 numbered only ten.
During the first half of 1967, a mailing was sent to everyone on the prospective list to see who would be interested in joining the CRSMCA. Virginia suppliers, and Dick Malmo of Barrett in particular, helped spread the word of an organizational meeting amongst contractors. Bill Powell, who was the president of the Tidewater Roofing and Sheet Metal Association (established in the 1950’s) attended this meeting.
The following Virginia roofing contractors were the first to join the CRSMCA:
Three Virginia roofing contractors attended the CRSMCA’s Summer Convention in June of 1967 in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. They were Leonard Bradley of Consumers Company, Leonard Smith of Leonard Smith Sheet Metal & Roofing Company and Millard Lemon of Whitley Roofing Company. Two suppliers from Virginia also attended: Dick Malmo with the Barrett Division and Bob Kramer with Koppers Company.
Meanwhile, Bill Powell chartered the Virginia Association of Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors, Inc. He asked Millard if the Virginia contractors who had joined the CRSMCA would be interested in participating in the new Virginia association.
An organizational meeting was held in Richmond during the fall of 1967 and all Virginia roofing contractors were sent an invitation to attend. CRSMCA president, Fred Hamlin of Hamlin Roofing Company in Raleigh, North Carolina, spoke and informed the group of the advantages of belonging to a state roofing association.
That night permanent officers and directors were elected as follows:
President: William J. Powell, Norfolk
Vice President: Donald M. Fett, Virginia Beach
Secretary-Treasurer: E.B. Rudiger, Norfolk
Leonard Bradley, Lynchburg William Huseman, Norfolk
Millard Lemon, Richmond Sam Maize, Alexandria
Leonard Smith, Salem
The first official meeting of the Virginia Association was held in January of 1968 at Bow Creek Country Club in Virginia Beach. There was good attendance for this meeting that began on a Friday. Unfortunately an ice storm developed that night and many members left Saturday morning fearing they would be delayed returning home.
The site of the first summer convention was Mountain Lake Hotel in Mountain Lake, Virginia, on June 20-22, 1968. As the Association occupied the entire hotel, everyone got to meet and know each other. Those of us who attended this convention will always remember and cherish the experience. By the way, the registration fee was $10 for men, $5 for ladies and children were free.
This is the way it was….in the beginning!!!!!
Editor’s Note: This article was written from an unsolicited three-page fax that Millard Lemon sent to the VARP office in 2002. Millard served as VARP president during the 1969-1970 season. We publish this article in the hopes that many of you will find it enlightening and in the hopes that VARP’s history will not be forgotten. Thank you Millard!