Saturday, April 23, 2016

NJ Boot Camp Exceeded Expectations - Part 1

The first ever New Jersey Modular Boot Camp is now history. Nobody was more surprised by the fantastic turnout than me. Builders from NJ, PA and DE along with factory people, Architects, Engineers and suppliers were all treated to great speakers, great networking and a great lunch.

The morning session before anyone arrived

The packed house 
The morning session featured 5 speakers with topics that everyone wanted to hear. First up was Tom Hardiman, Executive Director of the MHBA, who brought us up to date on legislation that has already been put into practice by the states and what he is doing to combat legislation that could be harmful to us. Great job Tom.

L-R, Bob Burdick, PE; Ferry Dharmawan, PE; Carolyn Feigin, PE

Next up were three Professional Engineers, Carolyn Feigin, Ferry Dharmawan and Bob Burdick,  speaking about all the problems and solutions faced by builders in NJ. They must have been hitting on all cylinders with the builders as many of them were taking notes and listening attentively to the different areas of construction each of the PEs were addressing. When I asked several NJ builders who they wanted at the Boot Camp, they all said to have some PE's speak as getting approvals is one of the toughest parts of building in NJ and a PE is an essential part of that process and probably the least understood by builders.

I had a picture of Mike Shirk that I was going to use here but the next day he posted this picture on Facebook of what everyone would like to do when near the ocean. Now I'm jealous.
The final speaker of the morning session was Mike Shirk, owner of Hickory Lane, a professional set crew serving the Northeast and mid-Atlantic areas. Mike brought to everyone’s attention the problems facing builders that choose a set crew solely based on price. The key parts of his talk centered around communications between the set crew, the builder and the factory, the use of amatuer set crews that do not follow professional standards and OSHA regulations and set crew using illegals and having little or no insurances.

The afternoon sessions will be in Part 2 of the NJ Boot Camp.

I also learned 4 great truths about New Jersey while I was there. NJ rarely allows you to make a left hand turn, you can’t pump your own gas, Atlantic City is depressing and it’s easy to get into NJ but tough to leave. Seems like the bridges exiting NJ are more constricted than my arteries.

One other thing I learned was that New Jersey modular builders are some of the most friendly I have ever met. There are so many modular builders in the state that I thought they would be at each other’s throats but the exact opposite was true. They were networking like crazy, a sign that our industry is beginning to work together for a better future.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Mike Shirk! It is very hard to compete with set crews who get their workers at the corner 7/11. Builders need to ask about experience and get references. Our insurances, unemployment rates are unbelievably high and it is very dangerous for the builders to pick a set crew without insurance but they don't understand that. Price should not be the deciding factor.

William aka "Little Bill" said...

Gary, your Boot Camps are a big hit. I am glad you are hosting these and bringing the modular industry together like this. I am not sure where we would be without you keeping us informed of everything happening with our Industry. Thank you Gary.

Stephen said...

William, my friend, you are so right on about Gary being a great asset to the modular industry.
I would like to compare Gary and his blog site to wood.
Wood is 50% Cellulose Fibers (modular builders), 25% water (the modular factories) and 25% Lignin/glue (Gary, the Mod Coach).
Gary is the glue that gets the builders and factories together with his monthly breakfast and Boot Camps.
Keep up the good work Gary!!!!

Anonymous said...

did you see many new young guys there Gary?