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Building materials executive to lead Habitat’s Katrina relief

Building materials executive to help direct Habitat’s Katrina response

AMERICUS, Ga. (Sept 20, 2005) – Habitat for Humanity International today named William W. Collins to serve as senior vice president, Katrina Recovery and Industry Alliances, starting in mid-October. Collins is currently president and CEO of Building Materials Corporation of America (BMCA), a privately held corporation, and North America’s largest roofing manufacturer with annual sales of approximately $2 billion under the GAF name.

Collins, 55, joins Habitat after 29 years in the construction industry, with a focus on building materials and housing. His has worked in both the public and private sector – from start-up to multi-billion dollar international operations.

He will take a six-month leave of absence to help Habitat organize and execute an aggressive plan of recovery for Katrina victims and to build industry alliances to further Habitat’s goal of eliminating poverty housing and homelessness.

“I am very thankful for Sam Heyman’s encouragement to take on this initiative,” Collins said. “There really is no better investment that a company can make, for its own current and future employees, than to support housing initiatives for the most needy.”

Collins is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (class of 1972), with a background in engineering. After three years of shipboard duty, he went to M.I.T. and earned a masters degree in Civil Engineering and Construction Management and moved into the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps where he managed public works and construction projects for several years. He has lived in many parts of the U.S. and Canada.

He left the Navy and worked in business and product development for a building products division of Atlantic Richfield for six years and earned his MBA, from the University of Chicago, in 1986, with a concentration in marketing.

He then started his own building products company that he later sold, and then in 1992, he moved to BMCA and held positions in its residential and commercial divisions, leading to his election as president and CEO in 2000.

“It is a privilege to get a chance to work with the thousands of committed Habitat associates and volunteers. The needs are great and Habitat is passionately committed to increasing its impact on poverty housing around the world,” said Collins.

Collins has been on the Policy Advisory Board of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University’s Kennedy Center and has been on the board of directors at BMCA and its parent companies, as well as the boards of the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, Roofing Industry Educational Institute and the Roofing Alliance for Progress.

Collins and his wife Lacey, who grew up in Washington, D.C., and Southeast Asia, live outside of Philadelphia. They are looking forward to getting to know as many staff and volunteers at Habitat as possible and were quite charmed by a recent visit to Americus, Ga., the home and headquarters of Habitat for Humanity. “We think Americus is a great town and hope to be down there a lot.”

Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit