By: Bob Cramer, Director of Operations
The day before Hardscape North America opened in Louisville this year, I was fortunate to be a part of a new workshop, “Juggling for Success in Hardscapes – Sharing Best Practices”. The 3 hour session started off with a presentation by Ed Fioroni, PhD (Pavestone Company) on Customer Relation Management, which was followed by 3 roundtable sessions. There were 5 topics for the attendees to choose from . . .
Table Leader: Fred Adams, President, Fred Adams Paving Company, Inc.
• Advertising using social media
Table Leader: Mark Fuss, VP Sales & Marketing, Nicolock Paving Stones
• Motivating and leading crews
Table Leader: Frank Gandora, President, Creative Hardscape
• How to stay compliant with DOT, OSHA, & EPA regulations
Table Leader: Me
• Succession planning
Table Leader: Bill Schneider, Owner, LPS Pavement Company
This was the first year HNA has offered this workshop and we had a great group of about 30 participants. There was a wide range of experience levels, years in the industry and company sizes. Most of the participants were company owners and all were hardscape installers. Each roundtable session was 30 minutes long, followed by a brief summary at the end by all the table leaders about what had been discussed in the sessions. The fun, and highly educational part, was that these were roundtable discussions, not presentations. Each table leader had knowledge on their topic, but this was a chance for contractors from around the country to share and learn from each other. Most of those I talked with at my roundtables had a strong knowledge of OSHA requirements and a fair amount on EPA regulations. DOT requirement discussions were interesting. The consensus was . . . even the DOT doesn’t know their own rules. Or I should say, you get a different answer from each DOT officer that you talk to. Everyone had their own horror stories of weigh station stops and random roadside safety inspections. Most of the contractors that have been around for a while know what is required, but still get a violation from time to time. The best advice for everyone was to keep up with the current regulations every year, your local state patrol can tell you when & where classes are held. Be safe, follow the rules and the fines/violations will be kept at a minimum.
I wasn’t able to listen in on the other roundtables, but based on the summaries at the end, it sounds like everyone walked away with a wealth of knowledge. If you plan to attend HNA 2013, I highly recommend that you attend as many of these workshops as your schedule will allow. I hope to see all of you in Louisville next year.
On a side note, we learned from Mark Fuss at the end of the workshop that we had a “star” in the room with us. One of the contractors that goes by BobcatNinja2124 on YouTube, posted some videos of his excavator skills. The one of him stacking 2 bottles and a golf ball with his bucket even has over 1.3 million hits (http://youtu.be/Ftsg–DQCzs). Check it out!