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Jerry Iselin: A passion for metal roofing and the metal building world

2016 Metal Construction Hall of Fame

Jerry  Iselin  Lowrez

When Jerry Iselin was 21 years old, he was happy working in the sporting goods business. But a friend told him about ASC Pacific, Tacoma, Wash. (now ASC Profiles), a leading manufacturer of metal roofing products in Washington's Puget Sound region. He started working there and fell in love with the people, the company, the metal industry market and its products, and the opportunities he saw with it. Now 40 years later, Iselin has earned a legacy of hard work and positive contributions to the metal construction industry via his knowledge, expertise and industry networking.

"I have known Jerry throughout his 40 years in the industry as an associate, customer and supplier to his business," says Mike Hayes, vice president of sales at Custom-Bilt Metals, Irving, Texas. "I can vouch for his contributions from training his employees, suppliers, customers and peers to helping selflessly any one that needs assistance or guidance in learning about metal roofing and metal construction. He cares about people and wants to see that metal in construction is done right."

Shannon Linker, director of business development at Phoenix Panels, Lynden, Wash., worked for Iselin in a sales capacity at ASC Profiles. "Jerry provided the opportunity for me to learn how products were manufactured and worked in construction, and most important, how to service the customer with the right solutions," she says. "Jerry is a great teacher and leader, and I am fortunate that I had the opportunity to start my career with him as a mentor and role model."

"We are involved in an industry of strong, durable, sustainable, practical and beautiful products. We are meeting the needs of a changing world only limited by awareness and education. Our challenge for a vibrant industry is to increase the exposure of our successes and opportunities that are present to those that engage it. We must promote the obvious advantages of metal over alternative building products and support the trades that install it properly and professionally."

- Jerry Iselin

Growing Career, Growing Market

When Iselin began his career in the metal roofing industry in 1976 he rose in his first company very quickly. "At 31, I was vice president and general manager of an international firm managing the facilities and operations in the Pacific Northwest, and was a member of the corporate executive committee directing the company's activities in North America," he says. "Things were rolling very fast for me in an environment that was growing and an exciting market that I still love to this day."

But Iselin's time away from his young family drove him to make a change in his career path. In 1992 he founded Metal Roof Specialties Inc. (MRSI) in the third stall garage of his home in Lake Tapps, Wash., which allowed him to see his wife and two daughters more frequently. MRSI started as a contracting company for residential and commercial metal roof installation. In time, to meet the market demand MRSI began distributing the same metal roofing and siding products it installed to other contractors and DIYers who didn't have another reliable and knowledgeable source to buy material.

After 21 years of successful supply and installation, in 2013 Iselin again listened to the market demands and turned MRSI into a supply-only company for metal roofing and siding products and also became a distributor for metal buildings. "We are a family business and it looked like a good opportunity for us to pursue," he says. "We saw the material sales part of our business growing and the contractor side shrinking. We said, let's stop contracting and focus on general supply."

Sharing His Knowledge

Iselin is passionate about the metal roofing and metal building world. He is a regularly sponsored speaker, trainer and moderator at the annual METALCON convention and has also conducted training programs for the National Roofing Contractors Association's annual International Roofing Expo. He has reviewed the standing seam training program for the Roofing Industry Educational Institute (RIEI) and participates with the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) regularly as a resource for training and promotional direction. Iselin prepared and presented a specialized training program for the employees at one of the U.S.'s leading metal product manufacturers within the metal roofing industry, and is relied on often by contractors, manufacturers and other industry professionals for his knowledge and expertise for proper installation techniques and product details and design.

A. Jim "Screeb" Schrumpf, outside salesman, AEP Span, Fontana, Calif., started in the metal industry as a customer service representative in the same office where Jerry worked. "I was coming from another field with limited exposure to the metal industry," Schrumpf says. "It did not take long to get the bug and the interest in the industry while being around Jerry. He has always been able to teach the people around him about the product and application of the products. He does so that it will stick with you. To this day I still use some of his examples he taught in the lunch room in Tacoma."

Iselin has been engaged on numerous occasions as an expert witness to assist in industry-related litigation. Iselin and his daughter Haley Iselin (who is chief administrative officer at MRSI and works alongside him) have been invited on multiple occasions to be live for Q&A on a local home improvement radio show to answer listeners' questions about metal roofing, siding, interior and fencing applications.

"The metal roofing, construction and building industries are fortunate to have a man of this character as their own," Haley says. "As his company continues to grow and gain the respect of both the local and national metal professionals I am certain Jerry will continue to look for the ways he can use his industry and business knowledge to best serve our metal community. Every day, Jerry acts as a defining example of integrity both professionally and personally. As his daughter and employee, I couldn't be luckier to follow in his footsteps … although they are big shoes to fill."