By Katherine Springle Lempka
Assistant Director of Publications
Richard L. Wagner, RRC, CCS, is vice president of Dedicated Roof and Hydro-Solutions, LLC (DRH) in Centreville, VA. He has been a member of RCI, Inc. for 25 years. Over the years, Wagner has written dozens of articles for RCI Interface and the now-retired RCItems. He has been a region director, served on multiple committees, and made many contributions to the success and advancement of the organization.
Can you give a brief overview of what you do in your day-to-day job?
Depends on which day. Some days I am doing inspections on roofs or walls. Some days I am writing work scopes for people to make repairs or replace roofs. I may have evenings where I’m doing infrared surveys on roofs or walls.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I guess trying to figure out how things work, especially if it’s something that I’m not familiar with. When I run into something that I’m unfamiliar with, I have to start from scratch and figure out how everything works together. Sometimes that means dealing with old constructions that I’ve never seen before, and sometimes it’s more modern materials that I’ve not encountered previously.
[There] might be a roof deck that’s made out of different materials than I’m accustomed to, walls probably have even more variation than that, and sometimes you just scratch your head and wonder why they did something that way.
What is your least favorite part of the job?
Sitting down and writing reports. I enjoy thinking things through, but to actually put it down on paper sometimes feels like work.
How did you end up where you are today?
I kind of backed in accidentally. I decided at some point that I wanted to get back into construction—I had done some construction in the Peace Corps when I was younger and then got into other things. I ended up getting a job with an engineering firm and I was doing testing for them, and at some point they needed somebody to go on the road and do warranty inspections for one of their clients, and that’s how I got started with roofing. After that I learned about [many] different types of roofing. And I kind of liked it. I liked the job and that I was outdoors some, I was indoors some. Especially when the weather’s bad, if you can do something at the desk, that’s good.
Can you tell me a little about your involvement in RCI?
In the early ’90s, my boss, Tom White, said he thought it was a good idea if I got involved with RCI. He thought I’d find it interesting, and it would give me a chance to learn about a lot of different things. He’d been pretty good mentoring me on different types of roof systems. He eventually became the Region I director. I was sort of peripherally involved with the organization then, and I [got my RRC] in ’92. I assisted him on occasion, but wasn’t really fully involved until Mike DeFrancesco asked if I wanted to run for region director, so I did that in ’98. I was Region I director from 1998 to 2001. I worked on helping to put together the Building Envelope Symposium. I’ve been on various committees, such as Chapter Development Committee, Education Committee, and I’m currently on the Interface Editorial Board committee, [and have been] since 2007. I’ve been chair since 2012. I was one of the founding members of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter, and eventually became the president of the chapter. It’s usually pretty enjoyable. Sometimes it’s like a job, and a little bit tedious or I don’t really have time for it, but for the most part, I enjoy the things that I’ve done for RCI.
Certainly, on the education side, I’ve learned a lot from doing things for the organization, but also just from going to various seminars at conventions or chapter meetings. It’s helped to establish me as a roofing professional. I’ve got credentials. And, it’s given me contacts. Sometimes I run into something I don’t know or understand, so I have people I can call who may have an answer.
What kind of technology do you use?
I use moisture testing [meters], and obviously computers. That’s usually done in conjunction with infrared. I have done nuclear testing, but I don’t have a nuclear gauge because I don’t have a license, so I hire someone.
I take a lot of pictures just to document everything when I’m in the field. I take pictures [while] taking notes. They complement each other. You can gather a lot of information with the photos, including sometimes sticking a camera into a hole where you can’t see.
What drives you?
I guess learning about things. It’s an impetus to try to do more. I think one of the pleasures of the job is that you’re always learning new things, whether it’s about a specific building or new technology.
What are your hobbies?
Proofreading Interface and doing peer review. I like to bicycle and do yoga. I follow some sports. I like the Orioles.
What is one thing most of our readers probably don’t know about you?
I like Charles Todd mysteries. I have two dogs and one cat.
If money were no object, how would you spend your time?
I’d probably travel more. Although, it is sometimes hard to travel because my wife doesn’t like to leave the pets.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with RCI’s members?
I’d like to encourage everyone to get involved, because there is a return on the investment.