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In September, more than 40 attendees from 20 member companies all over the nation participated in The Unified Group’s 2021 Construction Forum. The group’s much-anticipated face-to-face event in Portland, Maine, comes after nearly two years of purely virtual communication.
The first day focused on the benefits of today’s technology. Scott Krum and Casey Corbin with Legacy Mechanical Inc. shared their success implementing Procore construction management software, which helps teams collaborate better and deliver a quality project. Bryant Fair with H.C. Blake Co. shared how the advanced capabilities of Revit helped cut crews in half, centralized knowledge bases, allowed more overall accuracy, created better material lists and fabricated the most unexpected things. Finally, Jake Emerson with Service Unlimited Inc., covered the transition from estimating to fabrication.
Considering the continuing pandemic, Tim Smerz with Air Comfort led discussions on adapting to the new normal. He touched on the topics of ventilation, air purification, filtration, changes of scope post-construction for service agreements and lessons companies have learned to drive their businesses further. The group ended the day with a tour of the Johnson & Jordan facility, including their new fab shop currently being built.
“The best part of the meeting was discussing issues that others are dealing with as well as solutions to the issues,” said Brandon Giles of Mechanical Services & Systems.
On day two, Robert Wilson with Cullum Mechanical Construction and Patrick Zulick with Johnson & Jordan kicked off the morning session with a discussion on the technologies available through the Trimble platform and the BIM process and lifecycle. David Moorhead with B&I Contractors, and Paul Caldwell with Intech Mechanical later discussed challenges and ways to increase income through prefabrication. The morning ended with best ideas shared by Gerry Wiegmann with Wiegmann Associates, Jaime Quello of Peterson Sheet Metal and Mike Porch with Dean E. Norris, who all spoke on the products they found successful within their companies.
Continuing the discussions, Quello presented on how he leads his business to create the best outcomes financially through estimating, tracking, and forecasting. Members then divided into breakout groups to speak on their biggest challenges and how to work through them. To conclude Friday’s session, Chris Jordan with Johnson & Jordan and Brandon Walker with Gregory-Edwards provided direct documents and current examples of labor tracking and cost coding used in their businesses. To wrap up the day, members were invited to attend a local brewery tour.
The final morning focused on best ideas regarding leadership training, labor schedules and field communication. Nate Cole with Peterson Sheet Metal spoke about cloud-based management software MSUITE and how his company uses it for BIM, fabrication and in the field. Jay Cederberg with Air Controls followed with demonstrations on writing clear proposals and how to best communicate between the office and the field. The last best idea came from Tracy Auen with A&G Services, who presented on their bi-annual leadership training for all field supervisors. Mick Muscat and Michael Keenan with VHV Company, Josh Byler with Blauch Brothers and Jim Batson with H.C. Blake Co. Inc. all presented on manpower tracking and growing from within.
“I’ve probably met some of my best friends with The Unified Group,” Quello said.
Overall, members provided excellent feedback to one another and shared great ideas. Members left the 2021 Construction Forum with a surplus of knowledge, significant conversations and memories that will last forever.
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