In te r v i e w w i A crystalline solar system will have a
service life between 30 and 40 years. What sense does it make to mount solar on a traditional membrane roof that’s going to be replaced every 12 to 20 years? These are expensive systems. So to put solar on such a roof is like putting a Ferrari engine on a Volkswagen frame. The marketplace is still not well edu-
cated but they’re slowly learning that metal is the perfect mounting platform for solar be- cause it will outlive the solar and is mounted without any violation of the roof warranty. It’s actually cheaper to install solar on a metal roof than on any other roof type. It’s so much cheaper in many cases that it will actually pay for the roof.
Lawrence: Other companies have attempted to emulate your product line. How do you stay one step ahead?
Haddock: We stay ahead because we have a culture of innovation. I’ve been an innova- tor since I was a kid —always trying to fi gure out a better way to do everything. I have nurtured that culture of innovation here at S-5!®. All these other guys can replicate— but at S-5!® we innovate. They are not a threat—just an annoyance. What does “innovation” really mean exact-
ly? A real innovation is disruptive. It disrupts the way things have always been done. We’ve done that with the basic S-5!®
clamp technology, and we’ve done that with ColorGard®. The traditional way of prevent- ing rooftop avalanches was to use small parts and pepper them all over your roof. With Col- orGard®, I introduced a continuous “fence” system that is mechanically attached without penetration. Now, you see other competitive parts that have emerged. Some of them emu- late; some of them fl at copy us; some of them just borrow the concept and come up with some slightly different attachment method, but none have improved the technology. We also ushered in the concept of engi-
neering a snow retention system to site-specif- ics because every job is different. We were the
t h R o b Had d ock
fi rst to do any meaningful testing for holding capacity; the fi rst to design web-based applica- tions engineering, so that we know our system cannot fail. These were other S-5!® innova- tions that disrupted how snow retention had always been done—for the fi rst time actually putting science behind it. We were the fi rst to introduce a lifetime
warranty. In fact, we’re the only company in the world that has a lifetime performance warranty. That was disruptive. Everybody has a material warranty that guarantees against defects in material and workmanship. But additionally, we offer a performance limited warranty that says that the system will not fail and it will not hurt your roof. No one had ever done that- and still hasn’t. We created wind uplift enhancements in
1994, by clamping the outside of the seam to prevent seam-unwinding under uplift pressure. Used at a clip location, it also prevents the seam from pulling off the clip. So we prevent two different modes of failure and can, in- crease the wind uplift performance by as much as double —another S-5!® fi rst. We created the whole practice of mount-
ing solar to a metal roof by what we trade- marked “Direct Attach”. The solar industry had always built a framework of aluminum rails, installing the solar modules to the rails. But a standing-seam roof already has rails—visa-vie the seams. All you need is a way to mount the modules to that roof with- out using another structure. We pioneered that. Is saves money, and was disruptive to the solar industry. These are some of the S-5!® fi rsts. Of
course, being fi rst is something everybody likes to brag about, but to me, it’s kind of secondary. It keeps us on the leading edge, but it’s also important to be the best and lowest cost. Because we’ve been doing it for so long and we do it so well, and because of our lean business model, we’re always selling the best for less. No one can offer better proven value. Those things keep us one step ahead: continual innovation, time-tested per- formance, exceptional service, unequalled quality AND unbeatable price.
To see the full interview between Rob Haddock and John Lawrence, and hear how Rob got started in the metal industry, as well as what drives him pro- fessionally and privately, go to www.metalconstructionnews. com/videos.aspx