By Katey Springle Lempka Assistant Director of Publications
Monty Klein joined RCI in 2002, and earned his RRO the same year. He has served on the Western Canada Chapter board of directors intermittently since 2006, including one term as chapter president.
Can you give me a brief overview of what you do in your day-to-day job?
My title at IRC Building Sciences Group is director of roofing sciences. Generally, that covers anything roofing-related that comes through our office. This includes everything from project management, project administration, invoicing, handling technical details on individual jobs, client relations, sales and marketing, to review of specifications, tender packages, and condition reports that are being submitted by our staff to clients. It even includes getting out on projects to observe and report as an RRO.
What is your favorite part of the job?
The one thing I enjoy [the most] is forensic work. It could be a forensic investigation of a roof failure or even work as an expert witness.
What is your least favorite part of the job?
I will say that I get frustrated dealing with contractors who are inexperienced, and we are running across more and more of those every day. I wish everybody knew more about what they were doing and we could work more as a team—all going in the same direction at the same speed.
How did you end up where you are today in your career?
I’ve been in this industry almost 42 years now. I finished high school and went into the roofing industry as a roofing contractor apprentice, and then from apprentice to journeyman, to foreman, to estimator—eventually moving from the field into the office. Once in the office, I transitioned to general roofing superintendent duties and eventually became vice president and part owner in a large commercial roofing contracting firm. When I left contracting, I chose the consulting route, which opened all kinds of doors for me and took me in many different and interesting directions, which brings me up to my day-to-day role now. It’s been a long path with lots of interesting challenges along the way.
Can you tell me about your involvement in RCI?
When I first started working in roof consulting, the person I worked for, John Wells, was very involved in RCI and helped develop the Western Canada Chapter. He was responsible for introducing me to RCI, and I found myself going to the international convention in my first year. I continued going to the conventions for probably 10 or 11 consecutive years after that, and I would say that attending the conventions was probably the one thing that got me involved in RCI the most. At some point during that time, I became more involved in our local Western Canada Chapter. I started as a member and then was eventually elected to sit on the board. I took on several roles during that time and eventually went through the usual sequence of treasurer/secretary, vice president, and president. I stayed on the board for a few years after my year as past president. As I’m getting older and longer in the tooth, I retired from the board to make room for new people to get more involved.
Can you tell me about an interesting challenge you’ve encountered in your work, and how you overcame it?
This was the toughest question of all. With so many challenges in this business, it’s hard to single out just one. Mine would probably be adopting and embracing new materials in the roofing industry. Coming from the old tar-and-gravel days, I have had the opportunity to see many new products come and go in our marketplace. Some have been good and some not so good. I would probably consider the introduction of liquid membrane detailing for SBS (PMMAs) as the biggest game-changer in roofing that I have seen. The challenge is to know what works and what doesn’t. Overcoming that challenge for me has been found in research and working closely with other professionals in the industry, from sales and tech reps, to colleagues in the consulting world, to contractors and installers.
What kind of technology do you use in assessing damage?
We are using all of the latest technology that’s available to us at any given time. We use all of the field hand tools typical to our work, such as moisture meters, moisture scanners, and thermal imaging, and we’ve supported and used some of the various electronic leak detection systems in our design and troubleshooting. Aerial photography and satellite [imagery are staple tools] in our everyday life now, and we are also starting to use drones where we can.
What drives you?
“Work hard, play hard,” is a motto I live by. It’s not necessarily something that drives me, but I do have a desire to see things done correctly and completely. Some would say I’m a bit on the fussy side.
What do you do when you’re not on the job?
Besides family, I’m an outdoor enthusiast. So if I’m not at work, I’m outside in the elements, playing as hard as I can. Hunting and fishing are my main interests.
What is one thing most of our readers probably don’t know about you?
They probably don’t know that part of me misses the older, simpler days of working on the roof as an installer.
If money were no object, how would you spend your time?
Hunting and fishing.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with RCI’s members?
RCI is a great organization. It’s also made up of really great people, and we should be doing everything we can to participate and stand behind it. We hear that an awful lot and it gets a little old, but it’s the truth.