But I think the biggest thing that we do is we, we talk to each other,
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(01:08): Our guests today are part of a dynamic team that has a laser focus on three things, quality, integrity, and professionalism. One is vice president of the residential construction division and the other is vice president of commercial construction for a highly respected design build firm in Nashville, North Carolina. It's my pleasure to welcome Jason Norton and Matt keen from Buchanan construction to today's show. Welcome guys. Welcome. Thank you. Thanks for having us. So for any of our listeners out there that, uh, you know, listen to the show on a regular basis, they'll know that we have had quite a few guests over the last few years from Asheville. Uh, it's not far from me. I live in Charlotte, North Carolina. Asheville is certainly a hot market. It's a desirable place for people to, to relocate, to move to. What are you guys seeing? I mean, what makes, what makes that market so special?
(01:51): Uh, I think it's a multitude of things. I think the obviously nature here, uh, people love the mountains. They love the climate that we have. Uh, of course the beer scene is, uh, impeccable to, uh, for, especially this kinda location here in the Southeast. Um, but it's just a, it's an eclectic little area and, uh, people love moving here. So that's, uh, like I'm sure that's part of what we're all at here. Matt's not a native I'm, I'm fortunate enough to be a native. Um, but, uh, yeah, I think, uh, I think lots of people just want to live here and love the ability to get out and, uh, hike get on the river. Uh, just do all those types of things outdoors and, uh, really enjoy this little downtown that we've got too. Yeah. I think people, I mean, I, I hear people all the time, you know, so many tourists here, they talk about the vibe, the, just the feeling that you get in Asheville, that's, that's kind of unique, you know, there's a couple other that cities you hear like bend, or maybe Charlottesville, Virginia, that kind of have that similar vibe, um, to what we have here.
(02:46): Um, but it's, it's, it's certainly something that, uh, people talk about and scribe, and we get so many people who visit here, uh, whether it's Airbnbs or how, whatever, whatever brings them here. And then they ultimately say, Hey, this is, this is the place we actually wanna live. And so thus, we're getting this, this, this large influx of people, uh, moving to the area. Yeah, it is. It's a beautiful area. I get a chance to get out there quite a bit. And you know, all of Western North Carolina really is, uh, it's just, it's on the map. It's people from, well, not just all around the country, all over the world are finding it a, you know, a cool place to be. The climate is great. Like you said, just the outdoor, anybody that's involved in outdoor activities. And, and you're right about the breweries. Every time I go back to Asheville, there's a new one to check out. So that's what makes it fun. Used to be some kinda, somewhat of a, somewhat of a secret in the area, you know, that not a secret cause you know, got things like the build one that have always, uh, marketed the area. But, um, certainly now it's, uh, virtual on every magazine for some sort, whether it's food, beer, tourism, nature, whatever it is, it's on some sort of top 10 list and yeah. And, uh, it's the pub pub public knows about it. Well at this point mm-hmm
(03:49): yeah, it's very cool. So I guess maybe to kick things off, why don't you guys maybe tell us a little bit about yourselves, your backgrounds, you know, your roles in the business and uh, let everybody kind of get a little fear for who you are.
Well, I'll start I'm uh, VP of commercial construction. I've been with the company just under five years. Um, so my background, I have a construction management degree from the university of north Florida. I'm originally from Florida, um, but grew up coming to the area. Um, so it wasn't a big stretch for me to, uh, to move to the area, um, when the time came, but, uh, construction management background, I've got a background in building both, uh, my, a grandfather that was a general contractor. So as, uh, as, uh, safely, as I could, as a little kid, I was, uh, involved in, uh, in, in, in construction as, as much as I could with him as, as well as I had a family friend who was a general contractor, actually in Gainesville, Florida as kind of where I'm originally from. And, and, uh, through a mentorship, he really directed me that, uh, being a builder is exactly what I wanted to be.
(04:47): There was a period of time where I wanted to be an architect and kind of figure out the labor market for architects is not, uh, not super big. So build, uh, being a builder made more sense from that side, but then it, it just made sense and I'm, I'm much better at putting things together than I am designing them. Um, so went that route and, uh, came up here, like I said about, uh, about five years ago and, um, Rick who, uh, who started founded, uh, que construction was always in the commercial. He actually has a background in commercial project management. And so we've always done a bit of, of, of commercial work and, um, I was hired more or less to kind of spearhead and grow that division, um, and take advantage of the market that we have here in, uh, in town and, uh, really grow that. And we've, we've, we've done that. We've, we've, we're probably three to four times, uh, the volume of what, uh, when I started. So we've, we've at least achieved that, uh, and hope to do hope to do more. Very good. Jason.
(05:40): Yeah. Um, well, I, uh, I started carrying lumber when I was about 14. So had an uncle was a framing contractor and, uh, I was, uh, very close with, uh, my uncle cousin. Uh, my, my father passed away when I was very young and he kind of took me under his wing and, uh, started working with him and just kept on down that road. Uh, got, uh, got outta high school, went to apple state university up in Boone. Got a, uh, let's see, it's not a construction management degree. It wasn't quite at that advanced at that one time, but I think it's a industrial technology with a construction concentration, but, um, just loved everything about it. Like seeing the change, like seeing things go vertical and just, uh, um, yeah, just love watching different projects come to life. So finished up in Boone, came back home, worked for him for a little bit longer, decided I wanted to branch out a little bit and, uh, worked for another general contractor kind of learning all the other ins and outs.
(06:31): Uh, I spent about a year with that, uh, that individual, uh, did everything from lay out and saw cabinets, uh, then, uh, decided I wanted to be my own boss for a little while and started a company with a friend from college and a childhood friend, uh, that I had, uh, went to actually went to kindergarten with, uh, we started a little business and, uh, did that for five, six years. And then, uh, 2008, 2009 hit and, uh, kind of took a step back it's remodeling work, uh, got into project management for, uh, luxury home building. And, uh, then, uh, worked my way through that company for a few years and then moved over here. And, uh, like Matt said, you know, Rick's done a fantastic job bringing good people in here and I'm, I'm appreciative of the opportunity that he gave me. So, uh, I came over as, uh, kinda like a senior construction manager here and, uh, just, uh, kept plugging along and working my way up through the ranks and, uh, got the opportunity to move into this position.
(07:26): I've been here about, uh, about six years now been, uh, VP of, uh, residence construction for almost three years. And, uh, it's been fantastic, lovely watching this company grow and this team that we work with, they are, uh, they are amazing. Uh, I have never worked with a greater group of individuals in my life. Uh, they continually surprise me every day, what they're capable of and, uh, how, uh, how just good people they are. Um, I think that's one thing that we've just been able to manage somehow is to find really, really good people to work with. And, uh, they make an enjoyable to come to work. Um, you know, there's always challenges in everything that we do, but, uh, these guys just, uh, they've, they've kind of helped me understand where I, I want to be and what I've, uh, been able to, uh, pursue in my life over the last few years, just by being around, uh, been, been around people like that had my, uh, got my GC license when I was about 25. So I've had that for a number of years now, but, um, it's been always, uh, interested in growing and taking those next steps. And it's, uh, it's been a lot of fun doing that here over the past few years. I know of you guys and, and you know, great reputation you've got in the area and you know, that culture thing, we talk about it a lot. It's evident with your team, tell us a little bit about, you know, the company itself. Like what, what, what types of work do you guys do? What could project size, you know, I mean, revenue, what would give, give everybody out there? Just a feel for what kind of company you, you guys are?
(08:50): Well, we are, we're, we're somewhere in the ballpark of about 40 ish million dollars right now. Um, we've got about, I think about 50, uh, projected over the next, uh, approximately 18 months. So, um, we're doing about 50, uh, projects ongoing right now. That's individual units for the multifamily stuff that match Matt's, vision's doing. And, uh, about 25, 28 custom homes that primarily, um, is under, uh, my department. Um, but, uh, we, we've got a little bit of everything. We do some semi custom, we do full luxury custom, you know, we're doing three and a half, $4 million project, single family resident. Um, we've got multifamily, we're doing, uh, like mag more detail vets office, some work for a private school. Um, so we're, we're kind of the one stop shop. So being design built plus the commercial aspect, we've got, we do renovations, we've got a couple million in contractor innovations right now, but yeah, just, uh, we're kind of doing a little bit of everything.
(09:52): I say, uh, the only things we've not really doing right now, or manufacturing facilities and high rises and bridges. So, uh, anything outside of that, we're entertaining those ideas and, uh, we love for people to come to us and bring things that are new, that we've never done before. So yeah, that's, that's part of what makes us unique is that, you know, we talked about our guys, I'm sure we'll talk about that more, but just a diverse background that we, that we, that we bring from, uh, from the experience from our guys, I should say, um, that we, we don't feel like there's a project that we can't take on. There's probably a size project that we can't take on, but in terms of the complexity and the types of projects that we do, we run the gamut from, from institutional to, multi-family obviously custom single family, uh, plan development. Um, you know, it really runs the gamut on the types of projects that we're capable of building. Yeah. Yeah. We've got a pretty good size team lay out the, a little bit of what that team looks like, you know, as far as structure, do any hands on work, you know, that, that sort of thing.
(10:45): Yeah. We've got a team. We do have a team of carpenters, um, that, uh, that, that certainly we, we, we love and, and the amount of experience that they bring is, uh, is a differentiator for us as well. You know, a lot of the custom, uh, custom woodworking that they provide, um, for all types of projects is, is very unique. Um, in that we're, we have a master carpenter, that's been actually with us, he's the original employee, uh, that has been here from the very beginning, from the founding on the company, um, that is still with us today. Um, and he's, he's an amazing carpenter does amazing work. Um, but yes, that, that is a big component of, uh, what makes us unique is our ability to do some of the carpentry inhouse and the custom, uh, carpentry that we're able to do. Um, but yeah, we, we have, uh, a full time, uh, full-time estimator to, uh, going on three interior designers looking for third interior designer, uh, all full time, obviously a, a staff of, uh, in, in, uh, in office staff support staff. Uh, we have a full-time safety manager, um, a full-time warranty manager, kind of one and a half warranty manager, um, as well as obviously all of our construction and project managers across the, uh, residential commercial
(11:50): Board design, obviously design is in house. I know that's, it's, it's such a big trend. That's probably been going on really over the last 15 to 20 years, but, you know, there are people that really seek out that, that design build model, have you guys found that that's been something that's really allowed you to, to grow and, and, and if so, what, what about that has, has really helped you grow? Is it the fact that you've got more control of it? You just, how important is that I would say to your, you know, to your success, Oh, it's, it's, it's been vital. I mean, just absolutely. Uh, just, I can't, I don't even know that I can put one, one thing on it that just says, this is what works best, but, um, having that person in our office who can, can facilitate that to bring clients in who have, uh, ideas of what they want, but don't have architectural plans and don't have something designed to fit their property. Uh, it's just been an invaluable resource. Uh, we've been able to shepherd that design working with our partner architects and working with our design build manager in office to be able to control the budgets, to, to work through, to get them the design that they really want. Uh, but also with an understanding that, you know, there is a budget in mind that, that not just giving the architect just free reign to create whatever they want without, you know, thinking about their ramifications of, uh, can, can we actually pull this off, you know, can their budget allow for it?
(13:14): Um, it's been great. Uh, I'd say since we've really started pushing that process a few years ago, uh, out of our custom homes, probably 75 to 80% of them now are design built. Uh, we'll have a one off. Um, I think we're probably working with two clients right now who, uh, who already had architecture drawings before they approached us. So it's, it's paid off really well. And I, I, I gotta give a lot of credit to our marketing director. Uh, she's done a fantastic job of getting the word out there, showing that this is what we're about. We wanna, we wanna shepherd that whole process, uh, and be a part of it from day one. Um, our new client managers doing a fantastic job, taking those new clients, walking their property with them, you know, helping them understand the vision of what's gonna fit the topography.
(13:59): You know, topography is huge here in Nashville. Um, we've, we've pretty much used up all the flat property that's here, it's available. So we're, uh, we're working through some of the most more difficult lots at this point in time. Uh, so just having that extra set of eyes and the experience that goes behind, uh, them being able to walk through those clients and explain, you know, it's gonna work out really well. If your garage is on this side of the property and your driveway comes this way and you need to have, you know, your basement's actually gonna have some, uh, some stem walls under it because it's so steep. Uh, I said, it's just been a great, great asset and it's, and it's lend itself to help a lot in the commercial division as well. I know Matt can talk more about this, but I know these guys are helping with product design for multi-family, um, having somebody who helps understand the topography when we have developers come in and start pitching ideas to us about projects they want to do. Um, but, um, I know it's been, it's been just a, a great resource to have
(14:55): We work with builders and obviously, you know, talk with other builders or modelers that we have on the show. And there's a mix, you know, and there's pros and there's cons to both roots. Some people work, um, solely with outside architects and designers. Others do a combination. Some are strictly in-house design. Um, and as I said, there's pros and cons to all of it. The one thing I think that from the design build aspect that I've seen is when I think it just ups the level from you guys talk a lot about your, your, your internal team, um, and that culture. And I would have to say that man, having that also under roof to where we all know this is construction, things go sideways things. Don't always go as we plan it's, it's, there's gotta be a comfort in saying, Hey, we can just go right back. And if we need a change or something, didn't work out right. That person's right there, it's available to, don't have to worry about time constraints. Uh, that's gotta be, that's gotta be huge.
(15:43): Yeah. It's, I mean, it's not dissimilar from, you know, kind of the term key approach that we use with subcontractors. I mean, you want a singular contact is, is obviously gonna be beneficial and efficient, um, as, as, as it just like with our subcontractors. So yeah, a hundred percent agree. And we set mean that's part of our sales pitches, that we are a one stop shop. As Jason mentioned that we have that diverse background for all of these different things between our designers side build manager, um, as well as the, the, uh, experience our construction managers, we, we have the ability to answer virtually any question, or at least somebody in this building has, has experienced something. So we can bring that to that experience to the table.
(16:19): So you guys do design build, you have, uh, interior design services, residential, commercial, turnkey, so to speak. Are you doing any sort of service work, whether it's, you know, after the construction is completed, uh, any kind of services for clients, you know, outside of warranty, but I mean, can past clients call you, do you guys have any kind of a maintenance division, anything like that? Or We, we don't officially have a maintenance division, but we have definitely gone back and helped out previous clients. You know, we, we, we definitely believe that the service doesn't stop when we hand them the keys, um, outside of our warranty, we've gone back four or five years and done some extra work for clients. Um, you know, just making sure that they're happy and that their experience stays the same with us, uh, through, throughout the lifetime that they're in their hall. Um, so we, we, we love talking to our previous clients. We love revisiting their projects with them. Uh, we do go back a number of times and do extra work for them, but, um, maintenance and home, I guess just home maintenance in general is something that we, we do want to get into that in the future. That's definitely something we've talked about multiple times over the last, probably year to 18 months.
(17:25): Um, again, and it goes back to that. We want, we want to be the, the name in Western Carolina, when you think of something home related, we'd like to be the first people that, uh, that they think of. So I'm certainly on our radar would like to get involved with that. But again, I think, uh, the, uh, the skilled trades right now are just, uh, the dire need of more labor and skilled trades is, uh, it's gonna make that a little bit of a, a, a jump for us to try to get into that. Uh, we, we're looking forward to it and, uh, trying to do some things to try to help go in that direction. You know, we're trying to partner with local community college with a, uh, a construction apprenticeship program for general construction, uh, trying to work with different folks like that, trying to work with, uh, the workforce development committee through the home builder association here, uh, trying to be involved there. Um, just, you know, we're always keeping our eyes open, looking for expansion, looking to grow, and, uh, really think that that's one way that we can help out, uh, not only ourselves, but everybody. I mean, there's right. This industry, we, we, we certainly need to partner up a lot more, whether that's, uh, multiple contractors or whether it's subcontractors vendors, however, we, we, we all have the same goal and it's, uh, they should be educating our younger generation on being able to take, take our plates, you know, one day,
(18:38): For sure. And, and, you know, one thing that's really lacking now is that I guess you could call it handyman, but you know, that, that carpenter, that just has a broad skillset, you know, somewhere they could go out and do punch work, repair work. I think another thing it's just reflective of what's happened to the industry over the last 20 years or so, but we've created a lot of specialists, you know, folks that are framers, trim, guys, you know, roofers, they, they, they're very good at their craft. Very good at doing one thing, but not necessarily somebody that could, you know, hop in a van with some tools in the back and, and do everything from a roof repair to, to siding, to hang a door, you know, all in all in the same day, so that that's gonna present a challenge several weeks ago. I couldn't help, but feel just in the, in the two of you guys, when we were asking some questions just around the kind of that team spirit, that commitment that everyone has to each other on your team. Uh, I mean, where does, where does that come from?
(19:27): Yeah, I mean, it certainly started by Rick. I mean, that's at the, that, uh, kind of environment or that collaboration environment is something that we, we really thrive on and, and really feel it's a, a, a, a thing that, uh, separates us, allows us to, you know, we, we generally try and not make decisions singularly. We try and make decisions as a team because we typically speaking, you're gonna get a better, you're gonna get a better decision or a better result if, if you kind of bounce that, uh, those things off of, off of different team members. Um, but yeah, I mean, that culture certainly is something that we cultivate, especially as we grow larger. Um, it's, it's more difficult to, uh, to, to have that certainly, but it's, it's obviously something we're, we're gonna be, it's gonna be, uh, absolutely important that we, we continue to grow and cultivate that, that culture that we've created wanna level up connect with us to share your stories, ideas, challenges, and successes.
(20:19): The builder nuggets community is built on your experiences. It takes less than a minute to connect with us @buildernuggets.com, Facebook or Instagram. Want access to the resources that can take you and your team to the next level. One call could change everything. We're big proponents here on the podcast of EOS the entrepreneur operating system. I mean, there's other things out there that companies use and, you know, some folks did rely on peer groups and remodeler 20 builder, 20 things like that. I mean, is there anything that you guys use at the core to help develop things like core values, vision, and then stay in that cadence, you know, of being able to meet on a regular basis and make sure that you're hitting goals and, and things like score cards. I mean, what, what does that look like in inside the company?
(21:02): Yeah, we, uh, we, we meet with, uh, obviously our managers, uh, twice a twice a month. Uh, we wanna make sure that we're up to date on what's going on there, let them know what's happening on our end, what to expect, where we're seeing common issues. Um, then of course, Matt and I meet individually with each of those guys, I think once a month, or if not more often. Um, but we've, uh, trying to Institute, you know, making sure we got some project review forms where guys are filling out those, uh, watching schedules, change, watching budgets change, trying to make sure that we're staying on top of things regularly. Um, but I think the biggest thing that we do is we talk to each other, like Matt said, you know, we, we, we make decisions by committee, but we also just, just talk to each other in general.
(21:44): Right? Um, I think, uh, our teams, they talk to each other individually when they're out in the field, they do it here in the office. And then we have probably, we have added up, but I would say we have somewhere between eight to 12 events every year that we try to pull that team together and do things. You know, we, uh, we have company picnic earlier this spring, we take, uh, all of our employees that would like to go over to Dollywood over there in Seville go spend the day there. We have a big Christmas dinner. All our employees come and bring their spouses. We'll have multiple company meetings where we cater some barbecue in we're making trips to top golf. It seems like a couple times a year now. So we just all go down top golf, hang around for three, four hours in the afternoon, but it's just given, I think it's giving our team the opportunities to talk to each other and to talk to us, you know, we, uh, we basically have this, uh, open door policy, um, which sometimes can, can get a little bit overwhelming because you end up talking to everybody as they come around the corner in the office, like, oh, Hey, how are, and that, uh, you know, involves into a 20, 30 minute conversation, but, but I think that's it.
(22:49): I think it's being approachable, having conversations and knowing that, um, we're investing in them. They they're, they are everything to us. I mean, this team that we work with, we know that we can't do anything without them. Uh, we know that we're all here for, uh, our primary reasons, not in this building, it's not in this office, doesn't have anything to do with the name on our shirt or the business that we work in. It's, uh, it's family, you know, we all come to work to support our families. So that's obviously, if we're gonna conclusion that that's number one, um, you gotta go take some time off to go to your kids' program at school, do it. You, you never get that opportunity again. So take advantage of those situations and know that, know that us here in the office, you know, our goal is to make sure that you guys want to come to work tomorrow, that there's work for you to do, and that, that that's gonna continue for the next six months, six years and longer, you know, that's, uh, that's our goal is to, to make sure that these, uh, these folks in their families are, are well cared for and provided for, and, uh, provide them with a great place to work and spend, uh, quite also spend more time here than they do with their families to start with.
(23:51): So well, continuous improvements of, you know, a hallmark of what we talk about here and big proponents of that. And I know that education is a very big thing with, with your team, I guess, from an education standpoint, whether that's continuing education training, um, or, or even, you know, personal and professional growth for, for team members, what does that look like? Like is, does somebody lead that who get, who on the team gets access to it? I mean, how do you, how do you promote it? What does that look like? Yeah, I mean, we certainly, we, we, through that cultivation of culture, certainly we're, we're always encouraging guys. We, we're never, um, we're certainly putting the idea that they can take classes that they can, they can do whatever they want to do to improve themselves. And we're gonna do whatever we can to support that, whether that's monetarily, however, we want to do that or create time and space for them to be able to do that. So that's certainly something that we, we, we encourage. And, um, we're actually doing an addition on the back of our building here with the whole idea. We have a, uh, essentially a large room, large conference room, if you will, with the whole idea to do training, you know, we're, we're gonna be offering, uh, Spanish classes in a couple of weeks. And so, yeah, education is certainly something that we're always encouraging from our guys in, with this new space. We'll actually be able to actually, uh, create and bring, create a space to actually bring in teachers for various things.
(25:07): Do you guys do any, you know, like North Carolina and HB, they offer lots of online classes and things like that. So do a lot of your team members engage in that sort stuff, take advantage of courses and ways to better their careers as well? Absolutely. Yes, sir. Now we, uh, we are big proponents in, uh, specifically me personally. I am a huge advocate for the, uh, North Carolina builder Institute. I've been, uh, involved in taking classes there for a number of years now, hopefully to wrap up that, uh, creative master builder certification here in the next few months. But, um, yeah, we've got a number of our guys that do that. We'll, uh, in fact, we'll be taking, uh, a handful of our team down to the, uh, 21st century expo that the home builder association does in Charlotte. Or actually, I gotta think it's some Concord this year we'll be doing that. Uh, you know, coming up in October, we'll have a number of guys down there taking classes. Some of them do the online classes throughout the year. Uh, we've got three or four guys who are vice GCs.
(26:04): So, uh, we're, we're proud of them and proud that they, uh, keep up with that continuing education as well. And, uh, and like Matt said, this, this addition's gonna be big. You know, there have been multiple times where I've put together some different PowerPoint presentations where we've done some official training through co-construct, you know, our primary, uh, project management software, uh, we've crammed guys in these conference rooms and done everything we could to try to get them in here and to get them educated as best as possible. And it just comes down to them being able to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. And, uh, you know, we keep telling 'em every time we put something else in front of 'em it's we wanna bring you the tools to do your job and do it better and to make your lives easy. So, um, just trying, trying to impart that, uh, that motor, that mentality, that these types of things, they take a little bit of time on the front end, but they're gonna save you time in the long run and, and help you, uh, in your career through, you know, throughout what you may or may not do with us. You know, uh, things, change circumstances, change people move on, all this education can certainly translate into other things. Should you choose to go do something somewhere else, too?
(27:05): Yeah. Well, it's the investment you have to make in your team. And, you know, something that is a little inherent in this industry, maybe an little bit of an old fashioned mindset, but there's, you know, there's folks out there that are a little hesitant to invest a, a lot into their, into their team under that fear that, well, he's gonna run out and start his own business, you know, or that sort of thing. And I think that's, doesn't strike me as though that's, that's really something that you guys are, are fearful of. I mean, it can happen and, and in some cases, Hey, that's great. You know, I mean, you, if you, if somebody's gotten to that point and they've shown, you know, real ability to, and, and just that desire to want to go out personally myself, I don't look at that as something to be fearful of. It looks something, Hey, you know what, that's somebody that I'm gonna in some way, shape or form, I'm gonna collaborate with that person even further going forward. Sure. You know, I'd love to create opportunities for people. So that's great that you, that y'all are doing that. You know, another thing you talked about was, I think one of you mentioned it, you felt it was the secret sauce, but it was, you said it was the diversity of the team. Uh, what, what do you mean by the diversity? You know, what is that, is that from the types of people that you have in there, is it the types of, uh, abilities, skill sets? What did you mean by that?
(28:11): Yeah. All of the above, but specifically the experience that we have, the experience that we bring. I mean, we've got guys that have, have, you know, uh, in their own businesses, their own custom home building businesses, as well as guys who have, you know, worked on commercial projects, building, you know, hundreds of seven elevens, um, we run the gamut. So yeah, specifically the experience that we bring and kind of, again, going back to that idea of collaboration, that if someone brings a project to us, whether it's commercial renovation, residential, we have somebody here in the building that has experience with it. Um, and, and has, has obviously done it at an excellent level. So yeah, it's, it's specifically that, that, that broad experience of different types of projects that we bring we're, I think we're unique in that, in that capacity with what, what our guys bring. And is it also, I would say it probably, you know, you have a large range just of experience in an age and whether it's the older people mentoring, the young people, is that something that's, you know, prevalent?
(29:08): Oh yeah. A absolutely. We, um, we've got guys who, like Matt said, you know, they owned their own business to building custom homes for 30 years. We've got guys who started with us six years ago as a trim carpenter. Who's now a construction manager. Um, and these guys talked to each other, they help each other out. And, uh, it's just amazing to see how they kind of network together and impart knowledge back and forth. But, um, it, like I said, it's across the board. Um, we've got guys here, construction managers who own their own, uh, framing company, but also has, uh, you know, a degree in architecture. It just continually amazed me, um, tell a little C we've got one guy who was a former collegiate cheerleader, even. So I'm not gonna tell you who he was, but, uh, , it's just a little bit across the board about everybody's done something different and they're so willing to share that knowledge with each other.
(29:57): Yeah. Um, that's the big thing is that all of these, all these guys are approachable and, and everyone in our office, you know, our office staff is the same way. You know, uh, you got a question there is a 99% chance that you can ask someone in this organization and they will be more than happy to help you. And they'll also know the answer cause they've been through it before. Um, but yeah, we've, we've made it a point to, to, to foster that type of relationship and that culture and, and to help people grow, um, not only through education, but also just through their professional careers here. Uh, I think I mentioned, you know, this, uh, construction major we've got, and he's in his late twenties and he is doing a fantastic job. He's spent a lot of time with some of the senior guys learning about foundations and details like that.
(30:40): Getting, getting project started off on the right foot and it's been, uh, it's been amazing to watch them work together. Yeah. And the tag for that, that's, you know, it's, it's honestly a challenge right now is, you know, we've got all these guys that have all this great experience and then we've got younger guys who maybe don't have as much experience there, maybe not as creative with, with that experience on how to, how to solve problems. But it's a challenge right now is to figure out how do, how do we impart that knowledge in those guys that have seen it all into those younger guys? And I feel like I'm identifying a problem. We're, we're working on how, how do you do that? How do you effectively do that? And, and you're, you're motivating those younger guys to want to get to that skill level, um, in, in various ways that that can happen. And as we grow, we're working on trying to figure out what motivates those guys and how can we impart that knowledge into them. So that they're excited about the things that are put in front of them, including problems and, and opportunities as we call them. Yeah.
(31:30): It's, you know, it goes back to the, just the concept of the apprentice, you know, I mean the apprenticeship and the mentality of coming in there and that yearning to wanna learn and learning by doing, and then also learning through mostly through osmosis, you know, seeing what's going on around you, seeing what the more experienced folks have done. Um, that's, it's hugely important, you know, and then also that person, if someone's an apprentice, knowing that, yeah, they've gotta do the hard work. They've gotta do some things in the, in the early days to BR you know, broaden their skillset and gain more experience, but they also need to know that they've gotta path forward. You know, that, Hey, I could, I could be that lead carpenter. I could be that production, you know, project manager, production manager, Hey, maybe I, I really got an interest I wanna get into sales or business development or design or whatever it is, you know, I think in, and having, they've gotta know that that's out there and that, you know, they've got support.
(32:18): If that's the direction they want to go. So kudos to you guys for building that, that type of culture. I'm gonna maybe take us down a little bit of a rabbit hole now, because it could go anywhere, but you guys have obviously gone through some pretty strong growth over the last several years. Most folks I think in the industry have seen it. We've, it's been a Bo Bo at the top line to some degrees, in some cases, it's, erod at the bottom lines for other folks. There's been a slew of challenges with, you know, the demand that's been out there, but what, what do you see coming down the road for your business over the next several years? And I think I've, you know, two sided to that, you know, what do you see as opportunities? And then what do you see as challenges?
(32:59): Yeah, I think one of our, and certainly the, the, the big we want to continue to grow. That's, that's the first thing that we're, you know, regardless of where the market goes. So I guess the question that we've asked ourselves and ponder to kind of on our team is how, how do we position ourselves to be able to continue that growth regardless of what the market does. So we're able to, we call it pivoting, how do we do that? And kind of our current line of thinking is to cast our net as wide as possible. And again, playing off like a beat, a dead drum, but dead horse there. But, um, we're, we're that diversity of types of projects that we do allow us to be able to pivot by casting that net as wide as possible. So that's really our focus in how do we CR possibly within that creates some other revenue streams. You mentioned maintenance, maybe that's one way that we go. Um, but basically diversifying our revenue streams, uh, with these various types of experiences that we have is, is kind of our big focus, all with the goal of still continuing growth while the market adjusts underneath us.
(33:55): Now, when you say cast a, a wider net, is that just in the types of projects that you're doing are also, you know, the geographic locations That as well, that as well? Yeah, so both. Absolutely. Yeah. Uh, we are, we are actively working with different prospects that we've been talking to for the last few weeks and months that are in Eastern Tennessee of state, South Carolina. Uh, we are spreading our, uh, our region even further, uh, looking as far, you know, uh, east as down around lake James and McDowell Burke counties getting further north, Southeast west across the board. Um, yeah. Uh, just looking to expand, you know, just trying to get that base as wide as it can be. Again, it comes back to, you know, making sure that we're taking care of these employees and their families is to get that stability and the wider, the base, the more stable the structure is. And that's kind of what we're chasing here. That's interesting. How about, uh, you know, on the challenge side, I mean, what, whether it's market driven, you know, labor, what do you guys see coming that's gonna be, or sometimes the best way to look at it is, you know, what do you, what do you not see coming?
(34:58): Yeah, I mean, I think we probably all agree on the, on the labor force prior to being in our biggest hurdle at this point, in terms of the, you know, we're talking about the growth, but, uh, we've gotta, we've gotta figure out a better way of, of growing our trade base with us, um, and ha you know, and investing in them to be able to make sure they're, they're coming along with us. Cause obviously they're our partners. They're, they're, they're the way that by which we, we perform this work, you know, someone like us that, that, uh, we self perform, maybe 2% of our work. I mean, the rest of vast majority of what we do is, is relying on the subcontractors. So how do we do that? Whether it's through these programs, we've talked about with the community college or however, how do we cultivate those, those, uh, those relationships so that we're, we're allowing our subcontractors. So as we grow, they're growing with us and adding people and, and adding to the industry, but I, the biggest hurdle challenge I would say is a subcontractor and vendor base at this point.
(35:48): How about, what are you guys seeing from, you know, on the inflation side? And obviously I think everybody's seen it, there's been a little bit of, for, I think for several years, a lot of people have, in some ways sort of shrugged off the increases, they're starting to be that, you know, some feeling out there that people are, people are beginning to have enough with prices. So the combination of just inflation high prices and still having trouble with, uh, supply chains. I mean, do you see that tempering, what you guys are working on demand? Do you see it maybe a little bit more in the residential side than multifamily commercial side? What, what do you see there?
(36:19): I think we're going to see some, some slow down a little bit there just, uh, people just kinda getting, like you said, just getting tired of the, the constant change and the constant issues that are popping up regularly. I do think that we are a little bit insulated here, you know, mentioned what, what makes actual special and, you know, it certainly doesn't hurt that we're on so many, top 10 lists of best places to retire best places for young couples, young families. Um, I think that really makes a big difference for us. Um, even through, you know, 2008, 2012, uh, things didn't slow down quite as much here as it did everywhere else. Um, so it's, it's a, it's a benefit to being in a geographical region that people want to be in. Um, you know, north Carolina's population is growing, but Asheville's population is growing at even a higher rate than North Carolina where some states, of course, you know, you look at states like California are losing population right now.
(37:12): Uh, so I think that's helpful. The other thing that is, is, uh, I, I just think that we have, uh, we have great company here. That's attracting the right type of people and the right clients. And I, again, I gotta give credit to our marketing director for being able to push us in the right directions and to, and to drive this, you know, under, under Rick's leadership and with, uh, with her assistance, we've just been able to really get that message out about who we are, what we do, and about the experience that working with us, isn't about experience. It's not about product. So, um, I think that's gonna make a big difference cause we continue that message, uh, continue working with our clients, the word of mouth, the great reviews we get. Um, I do think that it's going to help us. Um, but again, you know, we will, we'll see what the economy does, inflation temper a little bit, but, and I'm not that old when I bought my first house. So my interest rate was, you know, around 8%. So yeah. Um, I think people are gonna understand that there's gonna be a new norm, uh, and things probably will level off a little bit. Hopefully I don't feel like we're seeing such irresponsible lending. Like we saw back in oh eight and oh 12, you know, that range. But, um, so hopefully, uh, it's a pump of breaks and a steady growth after that, but, um, we're gonna watch, but again, we're just gonna do everything we can to, to be as secure as we can in our future. And, uh, to let our work, uh, let our work be our basis and, uh, not be subject to the, the little swings here and there, uh, in the economy and, uh, other, uh, geographical issues.
(38:37): Yeah. That's the message I'm trying to get out with all the, all the builders business owners that I work with is that, yeah, this, this is truly an opportunity coming up. If the pump the brakes a little bit, everybody can take a little bit of a deep breath and what a time to really work on your business, all those things that need a little bit of fine tuning, turn the dials because yeah, maybe we're going down the backside of, you know, the business cycle here and construction, but it's gonna go the other way. It always does, you know? So what no better time than to get your boost, all the things in your company that might need a little bit of work. I appreciate you guys taking some time and joining us, both of you, tell me, what do you do for fun?
(39:11): Well, and me, we're, we're we talked about the outside. I mean, what's not to love about outside in Western, North Carolina, between fishing and hiking and, and taking the dogs to the dog park. I mean, it's, it's, uh, be outside. It has been a little hot here the past few weeks, not to date the podcast, but, uh, hopefully, you know, that's a good thing about this, this area is, is that, uh, that hot, usually doesn't last too long. Um, but yeah, I, I just love to be outside, however, whatever that looks like. Um, I'll take it. I'll second that I, I don't get to do it nearly as much as I'd like to, but, you know, fishing, camping, uh, taking the, taking the family to the campground every now and then, uh, spending time with our friends. Uh, we've got some really good friends. We spend time with pretty much every week.
(39:51): Um, and, uh, yeah, just, uh, staying busy. We've, uh, a little bit different than Matt. I've got about nine acres. So I spent a lot of time on my lawn over, but, um, uh, but yeah, outside is great. So I'd, uh, I'd still, I mean, I'd rather be outside working on our property than I would be, uh, sitting in inside handy day. So, um, but yeah, and then, uh, we spend time with these guys here that we work with, uh, try to try to hang out with them occasionally and, uh, get out and go have a drink every now and then. And, uh, these company events, you know, try to fill in the calendar here and there. Um, but yeah, um, just, uh, enjoy the area we're in and, uh, and the families we're blessed with. And, uh, that's, uh, it's not much else you can ask for outside Of that. No, I mean, I, I certainly understand. I spend most of my free time outdoors. Uh, I, Western winter airline is a place I spend a lot of time in. Ashe's a fun spot and I'm definitely gonna have to come out there and, uh, tackle a couple of breweries with you guys. So looking forward to that, thanks again for taking the time, uh, enjoyed it and hopefully we'll have you back on again. Sounds good. Thank you. Yeah. Thanks. Appreciate what you do. I've been I've internet enjoying listening to your guys podcast here for the last few weeks. So appreciate it. Thanks again. Thank you. Thank Gary.
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