“I got the job!” he exclaimed. “But it only comes with a guaranteed six weeks of work.” The job was to be the Superintendent on three tenant buildouts at Carnation Mall in Alliance, OH. For a 25-year-old recent college graduate, with limited construction experience, it was finally a chance to be a superintendent. It was a risk, but a chance worth taking.
Walking around the office these days there are a lot of new faces. I have had the privilege of welcoming so many new people to the Fortney & Weygandt family. It has been wonderful to meet so many people, from a variety of skilled backgrounds. I am honored that they have chosen Fortney & Weygandt, Inc. for their place of work. I hope to be celebrating many work anniversaries with them in the future.
Headlines screaming inflation and rising gas prices dominate my screen daily. It’s hard not to see the daily effects of rising costs in both our personal and professional lives. The roller coaster ride the stock market is on is concerning even to the most passive investor.
We’ve been here before. We will get through this.
“How much?” is a common question in our world. It is asked countless times a day in our office or on a jobsite. Whether we are screening a subcontractor, evaluating a change on a jobsite, or discussing an upcoming project with a client, it inevitably has to be asked. With subcontractors and vendors, it is a straightforward discussion to address a current situation. When asked by a client or a prospect how much a project is going to cost, it has a lot more nuance.
Happy New Year! During this time of year many of us pause to reflect on the year we just endured? survived? or thrived in. What lessons have we learned? How can we make next year better? It was a year of changes and challenges.
As I write this, we are 40 days into a shutdown that is affecting this country in unprecedented ways. Public health and safety actions have required many retailers, restaurants, gyms, hotels and other service providers to close. In some of the states where we work, construction has been deemed essential, so projects have continued without interruption. Unfortunately, in other states, projects have been halted by the local government or by the client. We have left those jobsites clean, safe, and secure—ready to re-open when the time comes.
Social distancing has changed every aspect of our lives. Events have been canceled, work schedules adjusted, and the daily rhythm of life altered. So much has become virtual. Through it all, I am amazed at how quickly our team has adapted to remote work, rotating office schedules, new jobsite requirements and so many other changes to how our jobs used to function.
In the field, our superintendents, crews and subcontractors have been working together to make our jobsites safe. We are practicing social distancing on those jobsites where we are working in an enclosed space. Our projects have been equipped with custom wash stations at sites that do not already have sinks. The sites without running water are using water tanks that are gravity fed. We have hand sanitizer available, in those areas where we can find it.
In the office, we are working remotely and reducing the number of people in the office at any one time. Site visits and pre-bid meetings on site have been conducted remotely when applicable or in person with reduced head counts and in open spaces. We have more meetings on Microsoft Teams or Zoom. We continue to be active in bidding a great deal of projects for starts later in the year and are happy to help our clients as they prepare for their return to market.
For the community, we have donated the N95 masks we had in stock to a local health facility. Our employees are ordering produce from restaurant suppliers who have seen a sharp reduction in orders. Many of us are supporting our restaurant clients by ordering carryout at home and at work. There has even been a joke sharing email to help lift our spirits and keep us smiling.
While we are communicating with our partners, clients and employees across great distances the shared experience of confronting this virus has brought us all closer together. We applaud the work that is being done by first responders and those on the front lines who keep people fed, safe and secure. We are in this together; we will get through this and emerge stronger than ever.
We enter this year with some room. Well, 745 rooms to be exact! We have several hotel projects under construction ranging from the early stages in the design-build process to preparing for the furniture, fixtures, and equipment. And there are more coming! We have been building hotels through many cycles in our forty-two years of construction. We usually see a burst of new construction and then an inevitable drop off—note the emphasis on usually. This time seems to be different.
We started in retail construction more than 40 years ago and have seen many changes during that time. Recently, all you see are stories proclaiming a retail apocalypse or an historical brand is closing thousands of stores. The catastrophic headlines are alarming, but don’t present the full picture or the potential opportunities for these stores outside of the traditional framework of retail.