Industry Briefs May/June 2004

Got Ethics?
Award Seeks Worthy Candidates
It’s easy to have ethics. Once. Far harder to maintain it over a lifetime. That’s why it’s so important to single out those quietly living lives of honor in this industry, says Jerry Rouleau, organizer behind the System Built Housing Industry Ethics Award.

In an age when questionable business practices and corporate scandals are daily headlines, “it’s even more important to remind ourselves of what’s really important,”Rouleau says.

Chosen by an independent panel of judges for his legendary generosity, honesty and ability to see the big picture, the first System Built Ethics Award went to Leonard Kuhns, president of Kuhns Bros. Log Homes (Lewisburg, PA) in 2002. Nominations are being accepted for 2003 and 2004. The award will be presented to an individual who, through his or her words and deeds, best demonstrates a commitment to upholding the highest ethical standards in the building systems housing industry.

Submit your nominations by Aug. 1, 2004. The names of deserving individuals along with a short explanation for each may be submitted to:

System Built Ethics Award
mail: P.O. Box 30, Terryville, CT 06786
fax: 860-589-7396

A panel that is independent of any industry trade association will serve as judges for the award. This isn’t a popularity contest, nor should it reflect construction quality, Rouleau says. “The award is not based on construction excellence, involvement in the industry or capabilities, but rather on one’s business and personal conduct. We are not looking for an individual who simply does good work, finishes on time and charges a fair price.

“What’s important is that this person has taken an action or pattern of actions that exemplify the highest level of integrity and adherence to ethical behavior involving the system-built housing industry. We are looking for someone who plays by the rules and treats his or her clients and building team partners with the utmost respect and honesty.”Construction Careers Promoted Trying to mitigate a predicted shortage of skilled trades workers over the next 10 years, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and other construction industry organizations have teamed up for a new initiative designed to attract young people to careers in construction.

Called Skills to Build America’s Future, the initiative is designed to:

  • Build national awareness of the importance of skilled workers to our economy and nation.
  • Inform people about the training, education and apprenticeship opportunities available to those who want to join the skilled workforce.
  • Send the message that careers in the skilled trades are plentiful, lucrative and fulfilling.
  • Invite young people and those who are transitioning to new careers to pursue careers in the trades.

“One of the most pressing challenges for the home building industry is the shortage of skilled workers,”says Bobby Rayburn, NAHB president. “Demand for housing is strong, and our population continues to increase steadily, so we need to be vigilant in recruiting skilled talent to our industry.”NAHB, through its workforce development arm, the Home Builders Institute (HBI), trains and places more than 2,000 people in the construction trades each year. Many of these skilled trades face a perennial shortage of workers, and the number of people needed to fill these jobs is expected to increase dramatically. HBI works to address this need for a qualified workforce by working with the Department of Labor’s Job Corps program and implementing its own Project CRAFT training efforts, for example.

Through Skills to Build America’s Future, NAHB, HBI and their partners will reach out to state and local governments, educators and counselors, trade schools and apprenticeship programs directly to encourage many more young people and their parents to consider careers in the skilled trades.

Are You A Survivor?
Seminar For THE Systems Industry
Registrations are now being accepted for the System Built Housing Survivor’s Retreat. This retreat, sponsored by J. Rouleau & Associates, is specifically designed for business owners and managers of systems-built companies. Two separate programs will take place in Connecticut in late May-May 17 and 18 for modular and panel companies, and June 7 & 8 for log and timber frame companies.

The structure of the retreat is different from most programs corporate executives might attend, in which participation is only encouraged. In this format-consisting of a highly interactive brainstorming session that allows you to bounce your ideas off other industry leaders-participation is mandatory.

“The program is centered on the exchange of information from attendees,”Rouleau says. “Participants will have a chance to hear different perspectives on topics that are traditionally discussed only in-house, behind closed doors, to find out what works and what doesn’t. The retreat is an excellent opportunity to get your company tuned up for future growth. Attendees of the last retreat in Arizona said it was the most productive time they ever spent.”For additional information on the Survivor Retreat, a registration form and a list of possible topics, visit (click Training Programs at left) or call Rouleau at 860-589-7391.

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