Home McCawley Awards

McCawley Award

The James Q. McCawley Award is the highest honor that can be bestowed by the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association. The award is presented annually to an individual in recognition for outstanding service to the roofing industry.

The award was established in 1969 and is named after James Q. McCawley who dedicated his life to the advancement of the roofing industry in innumerable ways. MRCA established this award in recognition of his devotion to the roofing industry.


Rod Petrick Receives 2013 McCawley Award   Rod Petrick (left) receives the 2013 James Q. McCawley Award from 2012 recipient Mark Graham.


McCawley Award Recipients

2013 Rod Petrick

2012    Mark Graham

2011    Jim Barr

2010    Dennis Runyan

2009    Kim Swartzendruber

2009    David Tilsen

2008    Robert Swanda, Jr.

2007    Jay Crisp

2006    James C Mansfield, Sr.

2005    Amy Reeves

2004    Jim Gentry

2003    Michael Gostomski

2002    John Drew

2001    Harlan Hanson

2000    Glenn Langer 

1999    Helene Hardy-Pierce

1998    Kurt Baumgartner

1997    Dick Baxter

1996    Cliff Johnson

1995    Rodney Naucke

1994    L B Morris

1993    Robert  Dalsin

1992    Tom Bollnow

1991    Richard Fricklas

1990    Edwin Carlson

1989    Robert LaCosse

1988    Rene Dupuis

1987    Hollis Porcher

1986    Harold  Biebel

1985    Will F Rosenow

1984    Robert E First

1983    Wallace Sherard

1982    Donald G McNamara

1981    Tom J Daly

1980    Cyril Tilsen

1979    Robert P Lyons

1978    John Bradford

1977    Ray Johnson 

1976    William R Steinmetz, Sr.

1975    Milton J Olson

1974    Robert  Osterholt

1973    GeorgeStephenson

1972    William C Cullen

1971    Thomas G Manson

1970    William E Kugler

1969    Paul L Morris


Who was James Q. McCawley

James Q. McCawley was born in 1899 in Glasgow, Scotland, and came from a family intimately connected with the roofing industry. His grandfather, a cooper, sold barrels to the infant coal tar pitch roofing industry in America. James was educated at St. Joseph’s College and the Royal Technical College in Scotland, and New York University.

James held a card in the carpenters’ union and worked as a roofing mechanic. He went into business for himself first as a building contractor and then as a roofing contractor. He was a member of President Roosevelt’s Construction Industry Council and a member of the U.S. Labor Department’s Federal Apprenticeship Committee.

James was an acknowledged eccentric, and while not ambitious for himself, was indefatigable in his devotion to the roofing industry. Along with his wit, he had a brilliant mind and was always available for consultation to every local, regional, or national association that requested help.

In 1939, James took over the management of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). In the same year his textbook on Roofing, Estimating, Applying, and Repairing was published. A second, updated edition was published in 1959. In 1940, while still NRCA Executive Secretary, James taught roofing, sheet metal work and airplane drafting.

It should be noted that when James took over NRCA, it had 10 paying members and was, in fact, bankrupt. With borrowed capital, he started the National Roofer magazine to provide an income to the association and membership rose to 400 members within five years. A conflict arose when the NRCA Board of Directors decided that the publication of the National Roofer magazine should be discontinued and James disagreed. After 13 years of service to NRCA, he resigned and purchased the magazine from them. In 1959, the title of the magazine was changed to American Roofer and Building Improvement Contractor.

James was a firm believer in international contacts between businessmen. He believed that businessmen, in their own trade, could do more to cement international relations than diplomats could. He also organized trips to Europe in 1960, 1962 and 1964. These trips took roofing contractors, roofing manufacturers and other roofing industry personnel to all the major cities in Europe. In 1967 he planned a “Roofs Around the World” tour as a result of invitations sent by roofing organizations in the Far East, Australia, New Zealand and India.

In February of 1969, James died from a massive cerebral hemorrhage. His death came 24 hours after the March issue of his magazine had gone to press and 24 hours before he was to leave for the NRCA Convention in San Francisco. It was the first convention he missed in 45 years.

In recognition of the devotion given in his life to the industry, MRCA established the James Q. McCawley Award, which was first presented in 1969. This award has been presented each year to an individual in recognition for outstanding service to the roofing industry.