Even in these difficult and uncertain times I hear regularly about new manufacturing plants opening, existing ones expanding, and plants operating 24 hours a day. I love those conversations.

I had one of them recently while touring the EcoStar manufacturing facilities in upstate New York. The Staroba family opened their doors to show me how the “magic” happens — how they produce an injection-molded roofing tile that is environmentally friendly, extremely durable and aesthetically pleasing. Each tile is produced using a mixture of up to 80 percent recycled content. One of the most interesting ingredients in that mixture is post-industrial diaper scraps. Similar to the dough left over after holes are cut in doughnuts, excess material was left behind after diaper manufacturers cut out the leg holes that keep our little ones more comfortable. Now EcoStar uses that material to manufacture shingles, making sure that not only babies but their houses stay dry.

 As I write this Hurricane Isaac is approaching New Orleans and it reminded of a story shared by Kelly Meyers, EcoStar’s marketing manager, about a client’s roof that has lasted through more than a few hailstorms while their neighbors were calling insurance companies again and again. In the business for more than 40 years, Miro and Barbara Staroba have seen their share of challenging times and seem to take them in stride. While we are all deep in the trenches during the typical workday, it is important to step back once in a while and take a long look at the horizon. If you are not familiar with EcoStar, look them up online or visit their booth at GreenBuild.

Your Source for Continuing Education

We know that most of you are required to take continuing education courses to maintain your credentials, and we offer several educational options — including the CEU article beginning on page 26 of this issue. To build on our popular cornerstone of CEU-approved webinars, we are thrilled to launch CE Campus, which showcases all of our educational offerings in one place. You can see all of our CEU offerings at our new Web portal, http://cecampus.bnpmedia.com.