Research & Development

Investing in the Future

By Mary Koutras, Research & Development Manager

While it’s no secret that Duro-Last® is committed to manufacturing industry-leading commercial roofing products, you might not know that Duro-Last is also committed to enhancing our community engagement. Duro-Last has participated in various community engagement activities, including Habitat for Humanity® and Adopt A Highway®; however, most near and dear to my heart is our collaboration with local university students, helping us build connections with the next generation of leaders.

The Duro-Last Research and Development team has partnered with Saginaw Valley State University in various ways for many years. We have utilized special analytical equipment in their chemistry labs and have opened projects with undergraduate students for data acquisition and mentoring experiences. We also collaborate with Senior Mechanical Engineers on their design projects by presenting them with real-world challenges and needs from within Duro-Last. Our team guides them through concept, problem-solving, restraints, safety, and cost parameters as they design and develop effective solutions. Once complete, they present the project to faculty and peers to earn credit for the class.

Recently, a unique opportunity was presented to the Research and Development team to partner with Kettering University’s Mechanical and Chemical Engineering program. Between school semesters, students work rotations with participating corporate partners, exposing them to real-world experiences. Duro-Last officially joined the program and will welcome two interns per rotation.

We look forward to building our community engagement through this program and building strong relationships with the next generation as they enter the workforce and hopefully into the roofing industry.

We encourage our contractor network to seek out these types of programs and mentorship opportunities as well. If there are students or young professionals in your area who need real-world experience, consider signing up to participate in different programs offered to them. Not only will you have the opportunity to gain insight from a fresh set of eyes, ears, and skills, but you’ll also be mentoring young leaders to take your hard-earned experience to the next level for generations to come. And who knows, you might even find your company’s next new hire!