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Keeping Things Covered

by Clare Coppa

Helene Hardy-Pierce has friends in high places. A roofing materials specialist, she serves on the boards of three organizations and does business on the apex of skyscrapers. When not working at high altitudes, she sews colorful quilts for children and shelters stray animals. You could say she likes to keep things covered.

Hardy-Pierce oversees roofing technical support and guarantee services as director of Contractor Services for GAF Materials Corporation, in Wayne, N.J.

Roofing offers what she calls “the best view in the house.” During a consultation, she saw the U.S. Capitol from the roof of the Treasury Building beside the White House. “Artisans installed many of the roofs in the Capitol,” she said, describing roofing repairs to sections of the Treasury Building’s historic Greek-revival structure that required placement of waterproofing underlayment beneath ornate 19th-century metal and tile.

Trained in mechanical engineering and business at the University of Missouri, Rolla, Hardy-Pierce specializes in single-ply, built-up roofing, modified bitumen membranes and asphaltic shingles. Since 1983, she developed standards for these materials with ASTM Committee D08 on Roofing, Waterproofing and Bituminous Materials.

A board member of the Single Ply Roofing Institute, the Cool Roofs Rating Council, and ASTM, she advocates hands-on learning. In September on a commercial roof in Salt Lake City, she repaired seams of a single-ply membrane with co-workers. “None of us had made these repairs in the past and I feel very strongly that you don’t try to write instructions or try to tell someone how to do something if you haven’t done it yourself.”

Hardy-Pierce has delighted children in domestic violence shelters with handmade colorful quilts since 1999, providing “a bright moment for a kid in an awful situation.” Shelters need clothes, dishes, towels, blankets, anything to set up a home, she said. “Whether it be the World Trade Center or any type of horrific set of circumstances, that could be you. I think people have a responsibility to do the right thing.”

A native of Missouri, Hardy-Pierce lives in northwest rural N.J. with her husband Riley, an electronics support specialist. Their bevy of pets includes nine stray animals. “We live out in the country and if they show up, they have a home for life.” Among them are “two Siberian huskies and this old broken down bird dog who drools over me and is devoted to my husband,” she said. “We’re putting the vet’s children through college.”

Copyright 2001, ASTM