JM’S BURSI Draws Repeat Visitor Nearly Five Decades Later

Atari debuted its 2600 video game system.

The first Apple computer went on sale.

Pet Rocks were the companion everybody had to have.

Space Mountain opened at Disneyland.

JM celebrated five years of BURSI.

1977 was a good year indeed.

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And while Pet Rocks and the Atari 2600 have faded into history, Space Mountain and Apple are still going strong. So, too, is BURSI. So strong in fact that one attendee from 1977 returned for a second go-round at the BURSI Roadshow event last month in Oak Brook, Ill.

“Of course, back then it was called the Built-Up Roofing System Institute … single ply did not really exist then or maybe it was starting to very slowly come around,” Wayne Babiak, an associate architect at JMA Architects in Holland, Ill., said via email.

The BURSI acronym has adapted to the times and now stands for Better Understanding of Roofing Systems Institute and includes sessions on EPDM, PVC and TPO, too.

Babiak and other attendees at the March 20 and 21 Roadshow in Oak Brook spoke about BURSI programs held “way back when” in Denver. One attendee said he was there in 1978, but Babiak could do him one better and had memorabilia from the 1977 program to prove it — a class completion plaque, a commemorative paper weight and a class photo.

“Check out the clothes from back then,” Babiak said, adding a smiling emoticon for emphasis.

Fashions may have changed but the value of BURSI has not, according to Babiak.

“The program was well organized, and the presentations and demonstrations were very informative,” he said.

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