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Jim Bush: A passion for proper detailing and installation helps a company grow

2014 Metal Construction Hall of Fame

Jim  Bush

Jim Bush recently celebrated 30 years working at ATAS International Inc. in Allentown, Pa. After starting his career in heavy plate and bar fabrication in Easton, Pa., and after a relocation to Birmingham, Ala., Bush moved back to Bethlehem, Pa., where he grew up, and began working at ATAS when the company moved to Allentown from Rochester, N.Y. Bush started at ATAS as an outside salesman, and recalls his first day on the job when he showed up in a suit and tie, and was sent to deliver materials to a customer in Baltimore and had to drive a stake-body truck. While working outside sales, Bush says he would also have to do the technical drawings, submittals and all the work related to completing a sale. As ATAS grew and more salesmen were hired, Bush began to oversee both the inside and outside sales portion of the business. Through the years, Bush's role has evolved into his current role of vice president of sales and marketing.

Association Involvement

ATAS International president and fellow Hall of Famer Dick Bus urged Bush to become involved with the Metal Construction Association (MCA), where he has been active for approximately 15 years, and on the board for about five. Bush has served as chair and vice-chair of the Roofing Council, co-chairperson of the MCA Retrofit Council and the chair of the Roofing Certification Committee, and has spent many years as the organizer and leader of the demonstration area at METALCON. "My theory is that you only get out of an organization what you put into it," Bush says. "As an individual, as well as an organization, we've spent a lot of time and effort supporting MCA activities. We firmly believe in what they're doing, and the ownership of ATAS has allowed me to be very active in that end of things."

In addition to MCA, Bush is a member of the Construction Specification Institute (CSI) and has been active in Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues Inc. (RICOWI), where he has led wind teams in reviewing and assessing buildings in areas of post-hurricane and post-wind events as well as the being a member of the hail investigation committee.

A passion for education

Bush also speaks regularly throughout the county on designing and building with metal and other industry-related topics. "If there's one thing I'm really passionate about, it's proper detailing and installation, particularly with some of the things I've seen over the years," he says. "I enjoy trying to pass that knowledge on of the proper ways to install metal and make it perform to the life expectancy of the roof system."

"I've made a career here; I enjoy the industry. I'm very passionate about it. And moving forward with my involvement, I want to make sure that the industry continues to grow properly and professionally, and ensure the continued success and growth of metal in construction; both metal roofing and metal wall systems in the commercial and residential arenas."

Jim Bush

"Jim's legacy would have to be his tireless efforts in educating people about the use of metal in building design and construction," says LeeAnn Slattery, sales support manager at ATAS International. "Architects, specifiers, contractors, facility managers, building owners, engineers, and other product representatives have received benefit from Jim's extensive knowledge within the industry. Education of others has been a high priority for Jim."

"I've been working with Jim for 30 years," says Bus. "He's a great asset to the company and even greater asset to the industry. He's very knowledgeable and dedicated."

Industry changes

Having spent the past 30 years in the metal construction and building industry, Bush has witnessed a number of changes. The biggest change says he's witnessed is the growth of metal. "When I first started 30 years ago and I would call on an architect, we'd have to basically sell the concept of utilizing metal, so it wasn't even first and foremost on their mind," he recalls. "Currently today, we've gained such market penetration where most architects are aware of metal and in many cases they're calling us saying they want to use metal but have questions, versus us trying to create the concept of utilizing metal."

Additionally, Bush says one thing that has changed is the attention to detail on the installation side. "The industry has evolved quite extensively on the way that we detail the trim and flashing components with metal roofing, really make it a much more complete engineered roof assembly versus just selling panels," he explains. "We've really come a long way on that end of it, and moving forward, I think we need to key in on that, and make sure that that trend continues, with the proper detailing." Bush adds that the MCA is starting a study on the critical nature of perimeter edge metals and flashing details to perform in high-wind events.

Integrity and hard work

"Jim's integrity is evident in everything that he does," Slattery says. "He always gives proper thought and attention to any issue presented to him, and then acts in a professional and caring manner." Slattery adds that for as much as Bush would love to see an ATAS product in every project, he will not hesitate to guide an architect or contractor to a more appropriate product from another company if the situation calls for it.

"Jim's one of the hardest working guys in MCA, always willing to contribute materials and time, and is very involved in the details of committee work for the Roofing Committee, education and certification," says Dale Nelson, owner and president of Roof Hugger Inc., Lutz, Fla. "When he's done volunteering and working hard, he always enjoys going fishing. A great guy and a great friend."

Bush has 28-year-old twin boys from his first marriage, and has been married to his second wife, Jane, for nine years. When not at work, he enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, fishing and church activities.