Adios and Fare-thee-well to Mike Rogers by Peter Troast

The cause of better homes and better contracting businesses lost its biggest champion this week. Our colleague and friend Mike Rogers succumbed to a horrible and rare form of cancer that appeared suddenly and acted swiftly. There is a hole in the universe today larger than the Grand Canyon that he loved so much.

An outsider looking in would say Mike was an enigma—a policy/industry visionary, incredibly exact person in business, and utter goofball. He didn’t care much what people thought, or perhaps he knew that no amount of 2AM barroom floor yoga would ever confuse his stature or life’s accomplishments.

He coined HTFU—harden the fuck up—which I hadn’t heard about until he was sick, and certainly became a rallying cry for his battle. But he lived that even before, and most impactful for me were the high standards, precision and fervor with which he approached business life. It was not always easy working with him, but he was typically right and the standards he held all of us to were high.

It would be hard to identify another person who contributed more to the idea of home performance. Others know better his history at EPA and DOE where he conceived the Home Performance with Energy Star program, and I’m certain they will tell that story.

My interaction with Mike was during the time in his career when he devoted most of his effort to showing and teaching contractors a better business model—at Green Homes America and subsequently at Omstout Consulting (named, fittingly, after his favorite type of beer.) He traveled the country training contractors, gave generously of his knowledge at conferences and on behalf of nonprofits, but always had a singular message—that approaching a home from a whole house perspective was a better business.

A few of my favorites that I got to see repeatedly because we often presented together:

Mike would put up a slide with $80,000 in big type, and ask the audience: “How much of this revenue do you want?” He’d say pick whatever number you want, but homeowners have lots of problems (needs) and if your business model is structured to take care of those needs, you can break out of the low margin $4,500 box swapping world.

He taught that the fundamental challenge of home performance is that the “lead” is almost always for a single measure fix like a broken furnace—and that successful contracting companies were those that could shift the homeowner mindset to the larger perspective.

He was excellent at showing contractors, especially the geeky types steeped in building science, how to speak to homeowners in ways they’d understand. His tactic for this was role playing where people had to talk to him like he was Mike’s Mom. It was remarkable how well it worked.

Among his passions was canyoneering, and many times each year he’d let us know he was going off grid to explore the slots of the Grand Canyon. I so regret that I never got to go with him. Prior to every trip, if we were on a project together, he’d leave instructions about what to do if he didn’t come back. There was a certain fatalism to it, and they were always delivered in a very matter-of-fact Mike way, never morbid. It was clear that his love of rappelling down ropes anchored by sketchy bits of hardware, and being in the desert, outweighed any fear of death. It is tragic that cancer took him rather than some dislodged piece of sandstone.

On March 17 of this year, under the simple title, “Don’t forget to live,” he put this picture/caption on his Energy Matters blog:

Thanks for everything, Mike.

Views: 229


You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros Forum to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros Forum

Comment by Dave Roberts on December 21, 2018 at 9:42am

I so enjoyed knowing and working with Mike.  A wonderful and talented person.  I'll miss him.  

Comment by Diane Chojnowski on December 21, 2018 at 12:21am

Mike was a great supporter of Home Energy Pros Forum.  He was always generous with his time & attention -  offering thoughtful comments to many discussions. What a great guy!

Comment by Don Jackson on December 20, 2018 at 5:04pm

I'm saddened to read this. Mike was a great guy; it was an honor to have known him. Thank you for posting.

Comment by Jacob Corvidae on December 20, 2018 at 12:20pm

I'm so thankful to have had the pleasure of working with Mike over the past few years. He was a great force for the industry, but also for life in general. Thank you, Mike. 

Forum Discussions


Started by Danny Gough in HVAC. Last reply by Danny Gough on Saturday. 12 Replies

How to Insulate Exposed Outdoor Ductwork?? Help

Started by Daniel Baur-McGuire in General Forum. Last reply by Bradford E. White on Friday. 7 Replies

Where to spend my marketing dollars?

Started by Trip Smith in Marketing. Last reply by Building Performance Institute on Tuesday. 10 Replies

Easy Tests for HVAC during audit

Started by Craig Bird in Weatherization. Last reply by John White May 9. 19 Replies

Water heater ventilation question

Started by Luis Hernandez in General Forum. Last reply by Dennis Heidner May 8. 23 Replies

Polar vortex photos of ice forming INSIDE homes!

Started by Diane Chojnowski in General Forum. Last reply by Michael Cuomo May 4. 1 Reply

LEED for Homes Green Rater Training

Started by Ryan Moore in Training. Last reply by Michael Cuomo May 3. 1 Reply

Latest Activity

Enervest Solar is now a member of Home Energy Pros Forum
12 minutes ago
John White posted blog posts
5 hours ago
Dennis Heidner replied to John S. Rodenhizer's discussion Using radiant barriers as duct insulation, Aka "Bubble wrap" What value do you assign for R-value?
"Read the manufacturers claims and installation steps closely  The foil needs a dead…"
8 hours ago
Danny Gough replied to Danny Gough's discussion REALLY????
"As I have read through everyone's excelent responses, it has caused me to reassess my…"
Tim O'Brien replied to Danny Gough's discussion REALLY????
"Bradford - I have seen single family homes with ducted central AC or heat pump hold enough water…"
Brett Little posted an event

How to Make Money by Cutting Your Home's Carbon Footprint, Heating Bill, and Electricity Bill to Zero - Free CE Webinar at Webinar Online

June 12, 2019 from 12pm to 1:15pm
How to make money by cutting your home's carbon footprint, heating bill and electricity bill to…See More
Emily Ambrose posted a blog post
Building Performance Institute commented on Emily Ambrose's blog post 4 Signs Your Website Is In Need of A Refresh
"Excellent food for thought! Thank you!"

© 2019   Created by Building Performance Association   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service