Peers Talking Pain Points Is Empowering – Summit Sets Record
“The goal of this year’s summit was to help framers ‘Raise the Bar’ for their companies in the year ahead,” said NFC President Scott Stevens of ModuTech in Baltimore, Maryland. “The summit speakers and presentations delivered tremendous value.” The second annual Framer Summit, hosted by the National Framers Council (NFC) October 21 -23 in Columbus, Ohio, almost doubled last year’s attendance with 120 attendees.
Ryan Melin of Innovative Construction Group gave a presentation to his peers on “Using Technology, Automation & IP for Better Utilization of Labor & Material” at last month’s Framer Summit in Columbus, Ohio.
Kent Pagel, NFC legal counsel and president of the Houston, Texas law firm Pagel, Davis and Hill, spoke about “Today’s Framing Risks.” He discussed the increasing involvement of framing contractors in project design and the ever tightening labor constraints that are moving the market to greater usage of offsite built materials and the impact that today’s framers take on as a result. “Kent’s presentation touched on items that we are seeing come up more and more on projects including who is carrying the design responsibilities and therefore professional liability insurance as well as pollution insurance,” commented Chris Breedlove of Agility Construction in Washington, DC. “The transfer of risk and liability is something we all need to be concerned about and as it becomes more complicated we must continue to educate ourselves.”
In his housing and construction outlook, Jacob Belk from John Burn Real Estate Consulting also covered the need for skilled labor, a common theme among framers at the summit. He pointed out that there are roughly 323,000 construction job openings in the U.S., and while there has been strong growth in wages year over year, openings in the construction industry remain at a record high. “This points to a permanent change,” said Jacob, as he challenged the group to consider what this means for their businesses.
Current NFC President Scott Stevens (right), presented Kenny Shifflett (left) with a plaque to recognize his work on behalf of the council.
For NFC member and fellow framer Ryan Melin of Innovative Construction Group (ICG) based in Jacksonville, Florida, the labor shortage has meant a major shift in his business model. He asked the audience: “As the industry pivots toward offsite solutions, is the investment worth the risk?” and gave a candid presentation about the challenges his own company overcame as they transitioned from an onsite labor provider to developing an offsite process.
“Eighteen months ago we would have been considered a ‘turnkey framer,’” Ryan explained. “Now we are an ‘offsite building solutions provider.’” As a part of the shift, ICG invested two million dollars in new wall panel manufacturing equipment and has gotten heavily involved in the structural design. Ryan discussed the benefits of integrating and adding value to the bottom line. He said the benefits so far include “increased efficiency off-site and on-site, a better quality product in the field, distribution efficiency gains, and overall cycle time savings.”
Mike Colcombe of 5-STAR Building Solutions in Kennesaw, Georgia, was enthusiastic about the value of attending this year’s summit and was particularly grateful for Ryan’s presentation. “Being able to listen to a peer and hear his successes and challenges really allowed me to learn,” he said. “This organization is really moving forward…we are becoming the flagship of the industry.”
Members of NFC’s newly formed Future Leaders Committee (l to r): Brian Groves (Ace Carpentry, Inc.), Pedro Loureiro (Nomad Framing LLC), Lee Noland (Mindak Commercial Construction), Chris Breedlove (Agility Construction LLC), Chris Tatge (Dynamic Construction and NFC Executive Director), Andy Sage (Straight Up Framing).
Day two of the summit kicked off with NFC member recognition – past, present, and future. George Hull of Hull Associates, LLC in Grand Prairie, Texas, and Kenny Shifflett of Ace Carpentry, Inc. in Manassas, Virginia, were celebrated for their visionary leadership in the initial development of the NFC and their dedication to the industry as the most recent past presidents of the council. Bruce Jones was recognized for his outstanding NFC recruiting efforts over the past year, and members of the recently formed Future Leaders Committee were acknowledged as up and coming trailblazers in the industry.
Attendees also heard from NFC committee chairs on progress made year to date as well as their visions for 2020. Discussion groups broke out by committee: best practices, marketing, product performance, safety, and standards. The group also recognized the opportunity to create a technology committee, and that cohort quickly formed.
“It’s really empowering to have your peers in the room to talk about pain points and work to move the industry forward,” commented Mike, who joined the standards committee during the breakout sessions at this year’s summit. “I can’t stress it enough, don’t get left behind!”
Many thanks to our Framer Summit Sponsors!
Shelter Systems Limited*
Trussway Manufacturing, LLC*
American Truss LLC
Mid South Component Manufacturers Association*
MiTek USA, Inc.
Andres Construction Services
QuickTie Products Inc.
*Loyal Sponsor - Thank you for your sponsorship of both the 2018 and 2019 Framer Summits!