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CFA Companies Making Important Moves

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Two new states are now served by concrete professionals that have achieved the status of Certified Residential Foundation Company, Indiana and Utah. Custom Concrete Company, Inc. of Westfield, Ind. and Solid Concrete Walls, Inc. of Salt Lake City, Utah.

CFA Convention is appropriately positioned near the start of the next fiscal year for the CFA. It is, in effect, the chance for this professional network to look back and look ahead at the same time while providing opportunity and motivation to take advantage of the programs and resources made available through the concerted efforts of the membership, the staff and our consultants. This year at Convention, much energy was present for several new opportunities being taken up by CFA member companies.

Two Industry Leaders Become the Newest CFA Certified Foundation Companies

Two new states are now served by concrete professionals that have achieved the status of Certified Residential Foundation Company, Indiana and Utah. Custom Concrete Company, Inc. of Westfield, Ind. and Solid Concrete Walls, Inc. of Salt Lake City, Utah have been approved this summer and elevated to certified status.

The Certified Foundation Company distinction is a program rating established and maintained by the CFA offering third-party quality assurance for professional concrete foundation companies. The program now recognizes certified companies in the states of Missouri, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Indiana and Utah.

CUSTOM CONCRETE, INC. – WESTFIELD, IND.

Custom Concrete’s name has been synonymous with industry leadership for years. Beginning with company founder and former CFA Board President, Joe Carr, Custom has continually been a resource for cast-in-place concrete companies looking to grow, evolve or simply be challenged. “We at Custom Concrete are committed to the continuous improvement of everything we do, so it only seemed right to take this monumental step”, states Senior Vice President for Custom, Jason Ells. “I knew that we would be stretched and challenged during this process, but I did not realize how much we would actually learn from it.”

Custom started the process toward certification when Ells and one of the owners, Brad Schrock, also a former CFA board president, took the very first Foundation Technician exam given by the CFA in New Mexico (2007). Ells then completed one of the first re-certifications to maintain his name on the growing list of Certified Foundation Technicians after ACI took over the program. “The exam is no joke, it’s difficult, but I honestly believe we have a lot more to offer our customers because of what we have learned through it,” states Ells.

With Ells now serving the CFA Board, the company identified that one of the areas they had not pursued was establishing a third-party validation for their approach to business. Their entry into the company certification program and subsequent approval establishes another new state represented in the program and the first CFA certified company in Indiana. “We are excited and honored to be the first and only CFA certified company in Indiana. We hope this demonstrates our determination to install the best foundations our Indiana customers can buy.”

SOLID CONCRETE WALLS, INC. – SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH.

Solid Concrete Walls, Inc. (SCW) has a long history of technical leadership in the concrete foundations industry. Kirby Justesen, president of SCW, served on the CFA technical committees charged with writing the three versions of the CFA’s own Standard (2004, 2006 and 2010) and has been a voting member of ACI 332, the American Concrete Institute’s Residential Concrete Code committee since the early years of developing that document. Much of the information that has become part  of the individual certification comes from the documents served by these interests. When CFA completed the transition of individual certification to ACI, Justesen determined that it was time for the company to become a CFA Certified Foundation Company to build on the individual certifications they possessed now through ACI. It was time for the company to step out from behind the curtain and demonstrate the industry leadership he had helped to create.

“We at SCW know and value the importance of continuing education. We strive to be a leader in our industry through networking and understanding new technology, trends, and celebrating concrete in design,” states SCW operations manager, John Graber. “Becoming a CFA Certified  Company is another step in that direction to provide our clients with a contractor that is willing meet their needs and bring more knowledge to their projects.”

SCW establishes a new direction for the company certification program extending into the western U.S. Nebraska had been the previous state with the western most certified company location until this month. “We are proud to be the first in Utah to hold this certification,” states Graber.

Six CFA Members Jumpstart New Employee Management Efforts

Does your company have what you might describe as a quality employee handbook? Does your company even have an employee handbook? These questions are one of the most repeated subjects in discussions of human resource professionals and employment law attorneys. Throughout the country, the presence of a weak or absence of any employee handbook is an increasing factor in lawsuits involving claims of wages, benefits, wrongful termination, harassment and other terms and conditions of employment. Did you know that a comprehensive and well-crafted employee handbook that fits your company can make a significant difference in the bottom line of your company?

CFA consultant and labor attorney, David Whitlock, had this and much more to say during his CFA Convention presentation that unveiled the new CFA member benefit program for an Employee Handbook Development Kit. With this opportunity, CFA member companies have the chance to streamline the process to creating such a well-crafted and comprehensive employee handbook that fits the specific laws of their specific state and at the same time, gain valuable access to a legal professional that can review and assist in the custom revisions for more complete application to their specific company culture and needs.

“Many companies may have a handbook but the fact is they haven’t reviewed it, recently, perhaps in years,” states Whitlock. “Many feel that the handbook puts out rules in writing and they don’t have the flexibility they want. You want to give the employees, particularly prospective ones, baseline knowledge of the rules of conduct are and what you are going to offer them in a way that is going to make it attractive to them. Making sure this is accurate, up to date and not something brought in unknowingly from a template or unrelated organization is critical to your success.”

Herbert Construction Company, J.M. Pereira & Sons, Bartley Corporation, American Concrete Foundations & Walls, Purinton Builders and Woodco Inc all found the combination of the new CFA program and the address given by Whitlock to be stimulating and concerning at the same time. The chance to look specifically at what they already had but through the lens of a trusted legal professional knowledgeable in this field was too good to pass up. They are the first companies moving through this new CFA program. Over the course of this summer and fall, these companies will be working with Whitlock to overhaul their existing policies and procedures for better direction to the entire staff, including a specific and separate employee handbook built for their crew members.

CFA Core 360 Turns Toward It’s 1-year Anniversary

The development of a new insurance program is anything but an easy task. As introduced last year, a 27-year effort was put forth by an evolution of leadership within the CFA to bring together the right puzzle pieces and establish a relationship with Arthur J. Gallagher. This relationship has produced CFA Core 360, a specific but standard industry insurance program exclusive to members of the CFA and honed for the types of businesses found in this Association and industry. “We aim to build a long lasting

relationship with all CFA members,” states Kristen Long, managing director of Construction Practice for the Midwest Region at Gallagher. “With our expertise and services, we offer more than just insurance insight. Our goal is simple: to make your business as safe and profitable as possible by focusing on your six key insurance cost drivers. Our focus is just as simple: insurance is not just Premium but also Program Structure, Losses, Uninsurable Risks, Coverage Gaps and Contracts. By managing all six key elements of your insurance program versus just premium we are ultimately making them more profitable.”

However, initiating a program is truly only the beginning. Patience and perseverance is then needed as companies plan for and begin to make the transition during a cascading schedule of staggered renewals. Since the start of the program, the CFA is pleased to confirm that seven companies have become participants in this revolutionary insurance program. Kristen Long offers that several other companies have also begun the process of transitioning to CFA Core 360 but that each is approached with care and intentional work to make sure that each plan is purposed to improve their position.

CFA Core 360 offers many key tools to the insureds but it is also beginning to delivery benefit to the Association. A safety committee was one of the first elements created by this new relationship that has begun to review current CFA messages and industry positions. This safety committee is currently at work assessing the CFA’s Alternate Fall Protection Plan Development Kit to determine the best way for the Association to lead companies toward better fall protection safety. This and many more efforts make this a key program for the future of the Association.

CFA Member Launches New Contractor Marketing Company

One of the latest pieces of news to come from the Association should not be a surprise to those that are perennial attendees to CFA Convention. Doug Herbert, president of long time CFA member Herbert Construction and a regular part of the convention education program for key marketing seminars, has announced his formal launch of ProfitableContractor.com.

Doug has been a presenter at CFA Convention for close to a decade where he has brought energetic and fresh insights to creative marketing and selling. During perhaps the most challenging stretch of economic conditions, he also became a speaker at World of Concrete, offering similar presentations. The difference Doug makes in the conversation pertains to simple, yet highly effective techniques that work specifically for concrete contractors. Doug will consult with contractors to increase their sales and profits, as well as implement systems within their business that free up the business owner.

Doug explains, “Concrete contractors work too hard and put too much on the line every day for what they get out of their business. I can show them how to increase their profits and have the freedom to make it home for dinner each night or see their kid’s ball games.”

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us