Tuesday, April 7, 2020

April's List of Candidates Looking for New Opportunities

This new expanded Candidates section has been added by Robert Sage Careers and showcases the talent that's available in the Modular Construction Industry

M-2032 -   Regional Manager 30 year performance track record with two major employers.  Exemplary record with proven results. Top 10 ranking YOY.  Managed and supported P & L and Operations.  Mentored top performing sales representatives. Six Sigma tōrained and certified.  Numerous accolades   for multi story design turnkey.  Degreed.  Relocation: US or can work remotely.  
M-2033Tenured Production Manager 20 year’s hands on and lead by example wearing multiple hats; flexible training up to 150 hourly employees.   Excellent OSHA safety record.  Previous roles have included QC, Process Improvement Manager and Maintenance.  Excellent rapport with vendors, sales and project management.  Ability to meet project deadlines.    Solid references.    Lean Six Sigma Relocation SE or SW. 
M-2034 - Senior Project Executive works directly with A/E firms for all design build projects.  Estimating all public bids from time of lead to successful award of completion.   Ability to meet deadlines on time and under budget.  Responsible for projects up to 225,000 sq ft - multi story wood and steel.  Excellent time management skills.   Relocation US 
M-2035- 21 years in major accounts in government within all market segments.  Also extensive knowledge of contracts, management and office administration. Average revenue 3-5MM  Extremely motivated and energetic with detail and a high learning curve.   Relocation Texas.
M-2036- Branch Operations Leader/Branch Manager 14 years industry experience. P & L  of a 400 unit fleet.  Direct reports 30, forward thinking plans; reduced and controlled expenses with suppliers,   Excellent in contract negotiations.  Promoted consistently and recognized for performance.  Education Dual Major in Economics.  Relocation: Open .   
M-2037 - Project Manager/Estimator - 25 plus years high level of expertise in design/build projects for commercial manufacturing side. Liaison with sales and all departments. Has vast estimating skills up to 30MM.  Strong government background as well as all market segments.  Knowledge of wood and steel.   Relocation US
M- 2038 - Director of Construction Services or Construction Manager; managed crews and multiple teams, bid proposal development and assembled technical packages for review.   Size and scope of projects ranging from 4MM to 24MM.  Degreed in Construction Management.   Willingness to travel as necessary. GC qualifier in several states.   Excellent References
M-2039 - Engineering Manager/QC Manager with more than 30 plus years experience in all facets of layout, submittals, in both commercial and residential projects.  Management of up to 10 direct reports;  inspections and multi state plant certifications and start ups. Well versed in IBC Building Codes.   Partnered with Architects and PE.   Education: AA Drafting and Design, Relocation: Open US.
M-2040Regional Business Development Manager – GA, FL, NC, SC, TN. AL, MS, AR, OK, LA, TX - facilitate single point of contact to ensure long-term relationships to increase market share -increased and exceeded quota YOY double digit growth.  Presidents Club FY 2006, FY 2007, FY 2008 and FY 2010.
  • Diamond Level 2009
  • Talon Award Winner
  • Achievers Club Awards – 24 Quarters
  • Degreed, excellent hunter and willing and open to relocation. 

M-2041Project Manager/Site Superintendent with 14 years construction and 5 years in modular. Core strengths are site construction, administration, organization, planning and completion of projects on schedule and under budget.  Degreed Relocation: US
M-2042 BIM/Project Manager with 10 years experience, working knowledge of Revit Architecture for permanent design- build both concrete wood, and steel.  Lead cross functional teams in implementation of BIM standards for large scale projects.  LEED certified. Degreed. Relocation: Southwest or remote. 
M-2043  - Revit Designer 4 year’s modular concrete, wood and steel.  MEP layout liaison with various departments.  Strong analytical skills.    Degreed.  Open to relocation 
M-2044 - Manufacturing Sales Manager.  Worked with Dealer network in commercial and residential side.  Liaison with estimating, procurement, project management and engineering.  Grew annual revenue from 30MM to 45MM. Previous positions started territory from scratch.  Implemented hiring procedures still used companywide.  Philosophy: “build a competitive atmosphere that always keeps the team hungry; and wanting more.”  Management style Lead by Example.  Degreed. Relocation: open
M-2045Plant Manager/GM offering 25 years of operational excellence P & L  75MM  EBITA gain 7.5 percent per quarter.  Direct reports 20 and indirect 1100; market segments commercial and residential housing    Keenly identified on new growth opportunities through market analysis, product/brand awareness to increase market share. Excellent communication skills and an attention to detail.   Plant certification and start ups. Relocation US flexible and open.
Contact Cathy Sage at cathy@robertsagecareers.com or Cindy K Newberry at (863) 662-4185 or via email at   cindy@robertsagecareers.com.

Scotland Shuts All ‘Non-Essential’ Construction

The Scottish Government has said all non-essential construction work should stop immediately due to COVID-19 concerns.

According to new guidance, only projects delivering facilities dedicated to battling coronavirus, repair and maintenance of “critical infrastructure” and “essential public services” should remain open. The guidance comes two weeks after first minister Nicola Sturgeon said construction sites should be closed.

Examples of essential projects listed by the government include works at children’s hospitals in Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as road, rail and utility repairs.

The Scottish Government said in a guidance note that the construction sector and its supply chain is “considered a non-essential business sector”, except when supporting these essential types of work.

Homebuilding, schools, offices and retail construction projects were listed as sites that should close, with operations needing to be shut down “safely and securely”. The government added that exceptions to the immediate shutdown could be made if a site could safely finish work within five working days.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Construction News article

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Innovations in Modular Construction Not For Everyone

The 2008 housing recession ended with many East Coast modular home factories closed forever along with scores of independent new home builders, both site and modular. There were no buyers looking for new custom homes.

Then in 2012 Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the United States destroying or damaging 650,000 homes. At the time, that was equivalent to the entire number of new homes built that year. The modular home factories in the East ramped up production to meet the needs of modular homes to replace those lost to the storm.

Experienced modular home builders in the East that had survived the 2008 crisis began taking orders for new homes and small multiplex townhouses. Along the actual coastlines, many builders were taking orders for luxury modular homes in addition to standard planbook type homes. The industry was regaining its rigor.

But all good things come to an end and in 2016 the factories and their builders saw things heading back to more normal levels and one of the biggest modular home builders, IBS corporation, filed bankruptcy. This cast a dark cloud over the entire East Coast modular housing industry and several well established modular home builders closed their doors.

However, a white knight in the form of Champion Homes stepped in and took over IBS’ closed factories and began rebuilding the Excel brand back into its once proud heritage.

2016 not only saw new house starts drop for the East Coast modular home factories, it ushered in a new type of modular buyer, Marriott Hotels. Hotels, once the exclusive domain for the commercial site developer, began looking at Marriott’s success with modular and wanted in on this type of work.

Several large East Coast modular factories, especially Excel, began building hotels on the same lines that produce custom single family modular homes. These large factories could successfully do this because of the efficiencies of their production lines. Some could turn out a 30-60 module order in just a couple of weeks.

When they found themselves with more and more hotels wanting to go modular than they could build, the hotel developers started looking off shore, mostly to Poland’s Polcom. Other hotel chains started turning to modular to speed up the building process and every part of the country had modular factories wanting to join in. Guerdon, Silver Creek, Champion, MBSP and others began turning out larger and larger projects.

Now that hotels were possible, these factories and many new ones started looking at dormitories, hospitals and apartment housing.

About this time an old term “affordable housing” came back into vogue. California didn’t have enough affordable housing, then Washington and Oregon followed by cities in the South and East Coast.

This is when another term began to appear in modular construction, “Innovation”. Every industry strives for innovation. Every industry needs innovation. Including the modular industry.

But modular’s “innovation” was different. Conferences began popping up across the country touting the benefits of modular construction to developers and institutions. Entire days were spent at seminars discussing the options and innovations in affordable housing.

Conferences were being held just to talk about automation, distribution, new processes and advanced computer technology for the modular industry. People paid thousands of dollars to attend them and walked away excited about the future of modular construction.

The dark side of these conferences was that they excluded one very important part of the modular industry, the single family home.

Recently the modular industry has been lumped together with any and all offsite construction techniques including panelized, concrete, printed, SIP and even HUD. This blending is becoming a totally new type of construction industry.

Now the COVID-19 crisis has given rise to yet another opportunity for the growing number of modular factories that have never built a single family custom home and probably never will. Enter the Modular Mobilization Coalition, whose goal is to bring together dozens of modular factories across the US to answer the nation’s need for emergency hospital modules for the COVID-19 crisis.

It appears that it will continue to grow larger after the crisis as it will then become the place for affordable housing projects in every region along with other large projects that used to be done on-site.

Again, all this innovation in modular construction leaves no room for the single family custom home. The HUD industry is beginning to add a new line of homes to their factory and dealer owned sales centers called the CrossMod, a direct competitor to the standard planbook modular home offered by the old guard modular home factories. Custom modular single family homes are still big business, especially on the East Coast where the vast majority of modular home builders are located. These builders do business the way new home buyers have always expected. They meet with prospective buyers to go over custom plans, quotes and work directly with the modular factory to build and deliver the perfect house for their customers.

While new modular factories are popping all over the place with automated production lines, robotics, BIM, VR and AR technology all designed to build modules cheaper, faster and easier, this same high tech simply can’t be adapted to build a custom modular home.

Innovations in modular construction are costly and the only way to make a profit using these new technologies is to produce large projects, not single family homes.

When you see this new technology at work, you will begin to see why custom ceilings, kitchens, baths and other details that change with every new module going onto the production isn’t making these new Hi Tech modular factories any money.

The craftsmanship that can be found in what many call the “Old Guard” of modular is lost to these innovation rich new factories.

Custom modular home builders across the United States are looking at these new factories knowing they will not benefit from any of their new processes and innovations.

Instead there will be a revival of “Old Guard” factories that are designed just for the custom home builder. Boomers will continue to want custom homes as will Millennials that are living in “affordable” housing but want the American Dream of building their personally designed home.

There are three distinct types of custom modular home builders ready to meet the needs of the custom home buyer. First is the factory that sells, builds, delivers, sets and finishes their customer’s custom modular home. Huntington Homes, Homeway Homes and Homes by Keystone are just a few of this type.

Secondly there are the traditional custom modular home builders working within a select area and having a sales office. Builders like The Home Store, Advantage Homes and many others dominate this market.

And finally the newest addition to the custom modular home arena, the Internet based builders like Impresa Modular and their Impresa Modular Franchise network.

All three types are building true modular homes for discerning new home buyers.

There is a definite absence of “Old Guard” factories and modular custom home builders from those “latest and greatest” conferences showcasing innovations in our industry simply because these conferences have nothing to offer the craftsman building custom modular homes.

This segment of the total housing is small, probably less than 3% but it is strong, resilient and much needed by new home buyers with the wherewithal to buy true IRC custom modular homes.

Gary Fleisher is a housing veteran, editor/writer of Modular Home Builder blog and industry speaker/consultant.

Friday, April 3, 2020

10 Things Every Modular Home Builder Should Do During the COVID-19 Crisis

Economists across the country are making some wild predictions about what the US economy will look like following the COVID-19 lock down. Their forecasts for construction, medical, infrastructure and heavy industries look robust.

But the same can’t be said for small businesses like restaurants, specialty shops and even small new home builders.

However there are some things modular new home builders can do right now to make sure you not only survive during this crisis but come out on the other end with a healthy business.

Here is my list of 10 things you should be doing right now:

Don’t listen to the doomsayers. Life will go on with or without you. Most modular home factories will weather this storm and new home buyers will re-emerge from their “shelter in place” holes like prairie dogs doing the ‘wave’.

Readjust your Business Plan. Even if you don’t have one written down it has to be on your mind. Take a few minutes and write out what your thinking is important right now, in the next 6 weeks and then for the next 52 weeks. If you already have a Business Plan, take it out of your desk drawer, blow the dust off it and readjust it for this pandemic.

Stay in touch with your modular home factory several times a week. Contact a couple different people there and don’t ask them “are you open?”. If they were, you would’ve heard from them already. Be upbeat and smile when you talk to them. Ask them things they can actually answer like questions about their supply chain, what they anticipate their turnaround time for quotes and drawings will be after the crisis, etc. DO NOT be a pain in their ass. They are having their own unique set of problems.

Stay in touch with your vendors, subcontractors and employees. All of them share your pain but reaching out and letting them know you are still ready to use them is always reassuring to hear.

Pay your bills. If you have cash reserves, use it to stay current with the people and businesses. If you don’t have enough to pay them and keep the doors open, call them and go over your situation. Be honest with them. Don’t put off looking into an SBA loan which could be the difference between you surviving this crisis and watching the recovery from the sidelines.

Talk to your customers. This is so fundamental I shouldn’t even have to mention it. There are four types of customers. The buyers that moved into their new home within the past year, those with a house ready to be set, the ones with deposits at the factory just waiting for their home to be built and lastly, the buyer that gave you a deposit for their new home but have not been given a production slot yet. They are your most important source of marketing right now. Keep them informed, answer their questions and listen to their rants without getting angry and they will shout your praises when this is over.

Keep in touch with your prospects. Let them know they are important to you by sending them email updates about the positive things you are seeing concerning new home building. Good interest rates, the speed of building a modular home with you and anything else that lets them know you are on top of things.

Use social media. Put on your smiley face and do a series of small one minute videos about what you are doing during this crisis. If you are one of the builders that doesn’t currently have a house to build, show off your desk with plans and a couple of building material samples and simply say that even though you must shelter in place doesn’t stop the work. If you’re lucky enough to be at a jobsite, take a quick one minute tour of what is happening.

Catch up on your reading. Don’t sit at your desk playing video games, taking the dog for a walk 10 times a day or learn how to make your own bread or watch YouTube. No, simply read what the NAHB, MBI, BSC, MHBA and others in new home construction are putting out there about our industry’s response to the COVID-19. Right now I’m reading “Jim Clayton, First a Dream.” Powerful book.

Don’t neglect your family. Everyone in your household can tell when you have a problem, even the dog. No matter how hard it gets for your business, you must maintain an open relationship with both those living in the house and family across the US and even the world. We’re all in this crisis together and you thinking that everything is going to crap is not healthy mentally for you or your family.

Please stay safe and follow the guidelines set forth by the Federal and State Governments and we will all come through this crisis, some better than others but we will emerge from this stronger and united.

Gary Fleisher is a housing veteran, editor/writer of Modular Home Builder blog and industry speaker/consultant.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Successful East Coast Modular Factory Available for Immediate Sale

Attention: Modular developers, medical,
commercial and residential builders

Bill Murray here! I am assisting the current (and founding) owners in liquidating their business. My assistance in this effort is a result of my complete and unwavering conviction that the business is a sound one (not a distress sale) based on a pride of ownership that transcends over five decades.

The current nationwide health epidemic further enhances the viability of this modular manufacturing facility. Modular manufacturing in general is poised to make a viable meaningful contribution to the ongoing efforts in combating the extreme need for supplemental care units throughout the U.S. This manufacturing facility can be a contributor to this effort with (in my opinion as an industry veteran) relatively minimal effort on the part of new ownership. This new production, coupled with the efforts of those producers in the Modular Mobilization Coalition would represent a multitude of win-win scenarios.

The plant is currently producing single family custom homes in a 45,000 square foot facility. Albeit at a reduced production rate currently (by design) the facility has in the past produced over 300 homes per year. The building, all equipment and the business in general has been very well maintained---reflecting the pride the family owners have steadfastly exhibited over the past 50+ years. Additional real estate is available which would permit expansion for increased production.

Unlike many manufacturing facilities that I have witnessed over the years, this company has excellent systems in place for costing, inventory relief and control as well as engineering and design. In essence it is ready for expansion with current ownership and management willing to remain in place for a period of time to facilitate an effective transition.

Located in close proximity to major east coast markets and some of the largest hospitals and growth areas in Eastern US further enhances the viability of the offering.

Again as a 40+ year industry veteran I am convinced this represents an almost immediate opportunity for an existing manufacturer to expand quickly while offering the potential to meet the needs of the current crisis for health care units. Additionally, it provides a well structured opportunity for individuals entering the modular manufacturing arena while minimizing risk. Debt service costs will never be lower!

Contact Bill Murray at 252-432-5896 or wamurray3rd@gmail.com for more information about this once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Quick Question About Your Company’s Status During this COVID-19 Crisis

Many people in the modular construction industry have asked me what other companies are experiencing since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

Please take a few minutes to answer a couple of questions about your business.

Modular Home Factories


Yes, with little or no interruption to business Yes, with moderate interruption to business Yes, with staff services only (engineering, accounting, sales) No, Closed until allowed to return to work


Yes, deliveries as normal Yes, deliveries limited to states that allow deliveries No, no deliveries until factory reopens


Yes, available to help anywhere needed Yes, available to travel within normal market Yes, limited travel only with no overnights No, closed until crisis is over

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Express Modular Announces Rebrand to Impresa Modular

The new brand reinforces the company's investment in innovation and serves as an opportunity to remain unique in the marketplace.

Express Modular, a disruptive, technology-driven, custom modular home provider, is changing its name to better reflect its identity driven by rapid expansion. The company, established in 2008, is changing its name to Impresa Modular to better elevate the company's long-term vision of providing a range of high-quality, on-demand, reliable services to home buyers, builders and developers, as well as opportunities for franchising.

Modern modular construction is emerging as the preferred solution for custom home buyers. In this age of automation, modular construction offers healthy, safe, and energy-efficient homes at a great value. Flexible design options and the ability to construct a home 30-50% faster in virtually any style are hallmarks of today's modular home.

The new name follows strategic and explosive growth. Already well-established as a market leader and gaining momentum after the recent launch of Impresa Modular Franchising, the company is now focused on expanding its infrastructure to provide tighter relationships with factory sales and design systems. The new name better positions the company and provides greater flexibility for future expansion, evolution and adoption of added service lines.

"Our new name is a reflection of our leadership in the modular construction industry and our ability to reimagine how homes are built," said Ken Semler, Founder and President of Impresa Modular. "We are more than Express Modular - it's not just about building custom homes quickly. We build homes that impress. We have changed the perception of what modular homes can be across the country."

The company will continue to leverage its unique internal systems and ubiquitous internet presence to deliver an outstanding customer experience. Under the new name, the business will invest in expanded internet features and gain additional service partners to deliver a unique Internet-based home buying and delivery experience.
"We want to continue harnessing the constant cycle of innovation, which requires us to explore and investigate new technology, and this applies to just about everything we do," said Semler. "We have witnessed the competitive advantage of embracing and implementing new technology first-hand. This next step opens even more doors and creates new opportunities for our customers."

About Impresa Modular
Impresa Modular is the only nationwide modular home builder in the country. Using its extensive network of more than 20 factory partners, Impresa Modular designs and builds custom modular homes for homebuyers, builders, and developers across the country. It franchises its brand through Impresa Modular Franchising, http://www.impresamodularfranchising.com. Impresa Modular will expand its growing presence in the industry. For additional information contact Jim Griffin at 800-275-7532, 236875@email4pr.com or visit our website: http://www.ImpresaModular.com

Best GEN Gearing Up to Manufacture 5,000 Medical Modules

Branden Bestgen’s personal perspective on the coronavirus pandemic did a complete about face in a matter of days.

And so did the direction of his Rapid City-based construction firm, Best GEN Modular.

Virtually overnight, Best GEN is shifting from building hotel rooms, college dorms and other modular spaces to helping fill a growing need in America for temporary emergency isolation hospital rooms.

Bestgen, raised in Sturgis and formerly the city’s assistant police chief, said he initially dismissed reactions to the coronavirus as little more than fear-mongering.

That perspective changed drastically two weeks ago when he visited his stepson, a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

The day Bestgen was to fly home, the academy cancelled classes and ordered cadets to leave because of the coronavirus.

Then with the death toll mounting in New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo put out a plea for up to 140,000 critical-care isolation rooms and beds to handle the crush of patients.

Hearing Cuomo’s exasperation completed Bestgen’s transformation from ambivalence to action.

“I started realizing that this virus is one of the worst things our country has ever faced,” he said. “My perspective quickly shifted from fear to reality.”

On March 18, a Wednesday, Bestgen told his design team to come up with a plan to build hospital rooms.

He wanted it in place by the following Monday to manufacture 5,000 hospital rooms in 45 days.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Rapid City Journal article

Monday, March 30, 2020

A COVID-19 Update From the Modular Home Builders Association

A Look Ahead: Guidance for Essential Workers

As we plan for our third week of working from home, the team here at MHBA wanted to share a few notes about what the upcoming week has in store.

Last week, we notified you that Pennsylvania factories can remain open as essential services. However, given that many had already closed, it may take several weeks before many are functional. Two days ago, the Department of Homeland Security issued its own guidance on “ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKFORCE.” The guidance includes “workers performing housing construction related activities to ensure additional units can be made available to combat the nation’s existing housing supply shortage.” The guidance also notes that “This list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered, a federal directive or standard.” While this guidance helps clarify essential worker status, again it will take some time to bring our modular factories back online.

We are taking advantage of more people being home, and likely online, by running several Facebook posts that highlight the advantages of modular homes over site-built homes. One post reached over 95,000 people with 2,500 visiting our website to read the full story. As a result, our overall website traffic is up 159% during the past two weeks versus the prior-year period.

But we need your help! We need more content from you. Send us your floor plans and consider submitting a project for our Home of the Month contest. The link to submit can be found on the home page under the Home of the Month tab. Our goal is to further educate visitors to our site, then steer them to you through the online directory, request a quote feature, or the links to your website from our member listing and floor plan pages.

Not to be lost with all the talk of Covid-19 is the fact that the deadline for submitting comments to HUD for their proposed changes is March 31st. MHBA plans to submit comments expressing our concerns that HUD code manufacturers will have a nation-wide, blanket exemption for two story homes and attachments that previously required additional underwriting. We also formally requested that HUD delay the deadline for sixty days because of the COVID crisis. As of today, we have not heard back on the request to delay and will be prepared to submit comments by the deadline.

We also reached out to Fannie Mae, who is in the process of finalizing their lenders guide for modular projects. We requested that additional language be included in their guide to clarify that a HUD code home built under a certain (and confusing) trademark name is not in fact a modular home. The MHBA board considered the possibility of filing a claim with the Federal Trade Commission to fight the use of that misleading HUD product name. But ultimately the board felt the legal fees required to fight that battle (approximately $25,000) would be better utilized on a positive marketing effort to promote the advantages of modular homes over site-built homes.

No doubt, COVID news will continue to dominate the airwaves. It seems from the passage of the new CARES Act, that the government response will be more of a decentralized approach to addressing the crisis, with a majority of funding pushed to the state level, instead of a top down approach. We are assessing those construction and funding opportunities and reaching out directly to state officials to encourage a modular solution when possible.

If your company has an inspiring story about helping during this crisis, please share that with us so we can promote your good works. Also feel free to reach out to anyone on our team with questions, comments, or suggestions. While we are working remotely, email is the best way to reach us.