The National Roofing Contractors Association named Jim Barr, president of Barr Roofing in Abilene, Texas, as the 2024 recipient of its J.A. Piper Award during its 137th Annual Convention, held Feb. 6-8 in Las Vegas alongside the International Roofing Expo.

The J.A. Piper Award is referred to as an award that isn’t won, but one that is earned through a lifetime of service and dedication to the roofing industry. The award is one of the industry’s most prestigious honors, recognizing roofing professionals who devote constant service to the NRCA and the roofing industry.

The award takes its name from former NRCA President Joseph A. Piper, whose actions kept the NRCA alive during the Great Depression. Established in 1947, the award was first presented in 1948.

“The Piper winner possesses all the best qualities of a leader: strength, knowledge, command, thoughtfulness generosity,” said Robert “Bob” Daly Jr., the 2023 J.A. Piper recipient, in presenting the award. “As a leader from Abilene, Texas, he exemplifies the Key City's values of respect, integrity, service above self, and excellence in everything you do.”

A teary Barr initially joked that he would’ve worn a nicer pair of jeans if he knew he was receiving the award, then thanked his wife for supporting him and called receiving the award an honor.

A Lifetime of Service

Barr’s father formed a roofing company in 1964, with Barr working on roofs in the sheet metal department during summer breaks in high school. He attended the University of Texas after high school but eventually returned home, working full time for his family’s roofing company. In 1993, Barr became minority shareholder of the family company.

This isn’t the first time Barr received one of the highest honors in roofing. In 2011, he received the distinctive James Q. McCawley Award from the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association. The award is given to an individual in recognition of their devotion to the roofing industry. He served as president in 2002 and then for multiple years as chairman of the MRCA Technical & Research Committee.

Barr served as chairman of the board of the NRCA in 2017, elected during the NRCA's 130th Annual Convention in Las Vegas. Barr previously served as the NRCA's chairman of the board-elect from 2016-17 and NRCA vice chairman from 2012-14 and 2015-16; he also was a member of NRCA's board of directors from 2009-12 and 2014-15.

Barr also previously served as a vice chairman liaison to the Alliance Board of Trustees and the Affiliate Relations, Community Relations and Disaster Relief, Contractor Management, Membership Marketing, Roof Integrated Solar Energy, Young Contractors and NRCA Retirement Program committees. In addition, Barr served as a director for the National Roofing Legal Resource Center (NRLRC) and as a member of the Manual Update and Technical Operations committees.

The NRCA credits Barr’s work with training programs as the impetus for what has become the ProCertification program, which now offers national certification in nearly a dozen types of roofing systems.

“What he did was the start of something really special that is transforming how the nation sees roofing as a professional career,” Daly said.

He is also supportive of the communities he serves, including establishing the “Rhythm & Blues Festival” in Abilene that raises money for the United Way of Abilene.