Deck Safety Marketing Resources are Available to Help Outdoor Living Industry Professionals

May is Deck Safety Month®, the North American Decking and Railing Association reminds professionals to take advantage of exclusive deck safety marketing resources along with press release templates, graphics, ads, social media content, flyers, and more.

The North American Decking and Railing Association (NADRA) offers industry professionals and inspectors a breadth of resources, including a comprehensive toolkit, marketing materials, and inspection checklists.

  • 10-point consumer checklist
  • Deck Evaluation Form: A step-by-step guide to evaluating the integrity of the deck structure, stairs, surface, and railings. A downloadable form and online form (BETA) are available to members and non-members.
  • Certified inspector program: NADRA is working diligently with ASHI, The American Society of Home Inspectors, as well as, AIBD, The American Institute of Building Design. The associations are working towards educating and certifying thousands of industry professionals to meet the need for inspecting the millions of decks that are past their useful life. Classes are available for scheduling.
  • Deck Safety Ambassadors: Help spread the word about deck safety by becoming a Deck Safety Ambassador. Sponsors gain access to an exclusive Ambassador logo and marketing benefits to further promote their businesses.
  • Homeowner resources: Builders can download the 10-Point Deck Safety Consumer Checklist to pass along to customers. Though not a replacement for a professional deck inspection, the checklist can assist homeowners and provide reference during other times of the year.

Communicating safe decking standards remains a top priority for NADRA. We continue to focus our efforts on educating both pros and consumers on proper deck installation practices as well as on consistent deck inspections. At the same time, we know that deck safety offers professionals in the industry a great opportunity to market their business, so we’ve provided all of the tools to help you do just that. If you have any questions, please reach out. You can contact the team at NADRA by calling: 215-679-4884 or sending an email to: Info@NADRA.org

Just a small sampling of the many marketing resources available in the members section of NADRA.org: 

Flyer: 

Facebook Visual Graphic: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Best Practices of A/R Automation That Cut Costs

My family has a clear, giant flower vase—I’m talking 2 feet high—that sits in the corner of the dining room. Every day, family members put any spare change we accumulate into the vase rather than bury it in dresser drawers or lose it. These quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies are both valuable and somewhat of an afterthought at the same time. In December each year, our kids love going to the local grocery store where we can dump the vase

intthe change vase where we save our spare changeo the Coinstar machine. The clink of the coins going in the machine is like a slot machine in reverse and the kids’ eyes are glued on the digital display rapidly rising with each pour of the vase into the machine. Every time, we’re flabbergasted to find our daily change amounts to hundreds of dollars. It feels like free money and quickly turns into a new book, a new toy, or new apps for their Kindles.

Most companies try to increase profitability by selling more or cutting expenses or both. Usually, expense cuts are about taking something a

way, which can often hurt customer experience, add to risk, or make the task of winning new customers more difficult. Your A/R program, however, is a gold mine of opportunity to delight your customers while saving you money in the process. It’s your own giant vase of hidden money.

The key to unlocking the money is to make it easy for your customers to pay you quickly. The following four best practices of A/R automation will lead you to significant savings while delighting your customers:

Enable Self-Serve with Online Customer Account Tools

online account tools help customers be more efficient

Your customers should have the ability to view purchases, download statements, dispute charges, and yes, pay online. It’s old hat for consumer purchases but strangely uncommon in the B2B world. Every action a consumer can take to self-serve means you aren’t paying someone to answer the call, research what they need, mail a statement, etc. By enabling them to pay online, you make life easier for your customer’s AP or bookkeeper, and you’ll get paid more quickly. By making all of their purchase and payment detail available 24/7, your customers will never be able to hide slow payment behind “I never got the invoice”. Finally – any question that can be answered within the customer portal means they’re not using your sales reps for help. And that’s where they often go first, isn’t it? Keep your sales reps selling, not doing customer service.

Accelerate Collections with Automated Notifications

Everyone has an email address and a smartphone. We look through these dozens of times a day. Why are you relying on the US Postal Service to drive your payment collection process? Set up automated email notifications to let your customers know what’s due and when. These can be statement due reminders, past due notices, account alerts, etc. With a click of a button, you can do for every customer what would take hours or days with phone calls. If you include a link to online account tools where they can pay – you made it simple to do what you need. An email isn’t intrusive or confrontational the way a collections call could be and it’s viewed by most as a helpful reminder. For those that don’t like them, make notifications configurable.

Improve Risk Reads and Account Set-Up with Online Instant Decisioning

Most merchants have a manual, judgmental underwriting process for B2B customers, if they do credit screening at all. The customer fills out the application and then someone manually pulls a credit bureau file, evaluates whether the applicant is creditworthy, and then decides whether to grant credit and how much. The whole process can take hours to days. Here’s an important insight: the vast majority of all applicants can be more effectively risk evaluated, instantaneously, with the right credit risk scoring models. Think of how much easier it is for the customer and less expensive for you to have the customer complete the application online in 3 minutes, get instantly approved, and have the account ready for any purchase right then and there.

Quickly and Accurately Allocate Payments with Algorithms

Matching payments to specific purchases occupies a TON of manual effort and cost for most merchants. It doesn’t have to be that way. Build algorithms to help match payments received to the lockbox with the proper customer and invoice they belong to. Over 80% of payments will likely be matched through this automation. Another win-win. These best practices will find advocates in the CFO, the credit manager, and the sales and marketing teams. They work in favor of what everyone wants, rather than desired by some and resisted by others. All of these best practices can be built yourself if you want to spend the time upfront to do so. Better, in our view, is to take advantage of the solutions that already exist in the marketplace and tailor them to your needs. Some are software providers where you can plug in modules compatible with your ERP. Others, like BlueTarp, build your customized program and manage it for you. Whatever you choose, I’m confident you’ll find that incorporating automation in the right areas will save you a lot of money while attracting new customers and keeping existing ones.

BlueTarp Financial

About the Author: 

BlueTarp helps B2B suppliers fund the growth of their business by paying them upfront for their sales and protecting them from credit risk. Customize your program by choosing to manage customer interactions as you do today, while we stay behind the scenes. Or, select a full-service option where we handle customer service and collections for you.

Learn more about NADRA members, Blue Tarp here

Hangzhou Dasuo Technology Co. Ltd. (Dasso) Concludes Annual Meeting By Issuing Statement on North American Operations

For Immediate Release                          

April 24, 2018

Hangzhou, China: Hangzhou Dasuo Technology Co. Ltd. (Dasso), one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of bamboo products worldwide, issued a statement from its headquarters that may have a significant impact on the bamboo exterior decking industry in the United States and Canada. The announcement came after several days of meetings at the company’s world headquarters in Hangzhou, China during the week of April 16, 2018, with many high-ranking board members, executive officers and corporate representatives from Dasso, as well as Dasso’s expansive group of subsidiaries and affiliated entities, in attendance. A major topic discussed at the company’s board of director’s meeting concerned a former, terminated factory manufacturing and selling counterfeited exterior bamboo decking product to distributors, who then mislead consumers, suppliers and dealers by claiming that the counterfeited product is manufactured at a Dasso contracted factory.

Of particular note, the statement released from Dasso identifies MOSO International, BV’s (MOSO) as one of the distributors involved in the scheme of purchasing counterfeited exterior decking product directly from Dasso’s former factory and importing the counterfeited product into the United States and Canada, beginning in 2017. According to Lin Hai, the founder and Policy and Technical Advisor of Dasso, “It is of great importance that customers, distributors and dealers of our patented exterior decking product in the United States and Canada understand precisely where we, as a company, stand on these issues.” The statement released by Dasso is a “buyer beware”, and notifies and warns consumers, dealers, distributors and retailers that the product being sold by MOSO in the United States and Canada under the brand name MOSO Bamboo X-treme is counterfeited product being manufactured and produced at an unauthorized and terminated former factory. The statement also makes clear that Dasso has not merged with MOSO, is not doing business as MOSO and is not selling product as or under the MOSO brand, including MOSO Bamboo-X-treme, in the United States and Canada markets.

Steve Shen, Dasso’s Vice President, was quoted as saying: “In June 2017, MOSO’s President, Rene Zaal, made multiple trips to China and requested permission from Dasso to enter into the U.S. and Canada markets as an authorized distributor of Dasso’s patented exterior decking product sold by MOSO in Europe as MOSO Bamboo X-treme. After Mr. Zaal’s request was repeatedly denied, Mr. Zaal struck a backdoor deal with a Dasso contracted factory and began buying Dasso’s patented product directly from the factory without authorization or consent, which violated the factory’s contract with Dasso, as well as MOSO’s restricted distribution contract with Dasso. When the factory refused to allow Dasso’s representatives into the factory for safety and product inspections and refused to cease selling the patented exterior decking product directly to MOSO, Dasso terminated the factory’s manufacturing agreement on September 18, 2017. Despite its termination, the factory continues to illegally manufacture exterior bamboo decking product using Dasso’s patented processes and Dasso is pursuing the former factory owner for criminal prosecution and civil damages in China. Further, MOSO continues to purchase the counterfeited exterior decking product from the terminated and former factory in violation of the laws of China, the United States and Canada. We, as a company, cannot allow a former factory to continue manufacturing counterfeited product in violation of Dasso’s patent rights; nor can we allow a distributor to strike a deal behind our backs with a now-former factory and claim the counterfeited product is genuine.”   

The statement released from the company also includes a direct quote from Dasso’s Chief Executive Officer, Frank Xu: “Our biggest concern is, first and foremost, for the safety of each end-user of our patented products. Our entire company’s philosophy is built upon the customer’s experience and satisfaction. Secondly, it is imperative that Dasso’s patented product is manufactured in strict accordance with our patented processes to ensure the safety, integrity, dependability and reliability of our products sold worldwide. Each factory that manufactures our patented product is contractually required to adhere to stringent manufacturing guidelines, inspections and onsite visits. This is non-negotiable and strictly enforced. Dasso’s product warranties only apply and extend to genuine product manufactured by an authorized contracted factory and does not apply to counterfeited products being sold in the United States and Canada under the brand name MOSO Bamboo X-treme. In those markets, the only genuine, authorized and approved exterior bamboo decking products that carry Dasso’s product warranties are sold under the DassoXTR brand by our U.S.-based affiliate, Easoon USA, LLC.”

Dasso’s CEO concluded the meetings by reviewing the company’s financials. According to Mr. Xu, Dasso, including its many subsidiaries and affiliated companies, is financially strong and viable and continue to exceed projections and expectations. In fact, 2017 was Dasso’s most profitable, with the current year’s first quarter already outperforming last year’s first quarter in revenue and sales. Mr. Xu outlined and detailed several new innovative products currently being developed, and updated the company on new products ready for production and distribution. With the annual increases in revenue and profitability, the company unanimously voted to establish a committee to begin the process of becoming a publicly listed company in the near future. After a week of meetings, factory tours and a celebratory dinner, the future looks bright for Dasso.

Dasso’s Board of Directors

Standing from left to right: Tony Wong, Vice President of International Sales; Qingwei Hu, Vice President of Greater China Sales; Frank Xu, Chief Executive Officer; Giovani Xue, Vice President of Product Design; Hongzheng Liu, Vice President of Technical and R&D; Xubo Zhen, Chief Financial Officer.  

Seated from left to right: Scott Hoopes, Board Member and General Legal Counsel; Larry Lin, Founder and Policy and Technical Advisor; Avery Chua, President of Dasso’s U.S. and Canada Operations; Steve Shen, Vice President of Legal and General Administration.

AZEK Building Products Joins with NADRA to Encourage Homeowners to Check Your Deck® During Deck Safety Month® in May

SKOKIE, Ill.May 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Now that spring is here, everyone will want to enjoy their decks as much as possible.  However, older decks or those with structural issues could be at risk for collapse, causing serious injury to you and your loved ones.  The North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) is partnering with AZEK Building Products during Deck Safety Month® in May to promote deck safety.  AZEK, a world leader in decking with the AZEK® and TimberTech® brands, recommends homeowners Check Your Deck® before those fun outdoor barbecues.

Contractors can use a different color edge board to show a change in elevation as an extra safety measure. Shown: TimberTech Antiqua Gold with Antigua Palm accent.

“Our first priority is homeowner safety,” says Bruce Stanhope, Vice President, Research and Development, AZEK Building Products.  “Because decks are exposed to extreme weather and temperatures over the years, they need to be inspected by a professional home inspector for structural integrity to ensure they are safe and strong.”

NADRA’s Michael Beaudry, executive vice president, agrees. “With more than 50 million decks in the U.S., it is estimated that 25 million decks are past their useful life and need to be replaced or repaired,” he says. “Consider the snowfall from the past year– the heavy loads cause additional stress on outdoor structures and create a need to re-evaluate.”

Special attention should be placed on older decks built before codes and safety were enforced. “AZEK is dedicated to consumer safety at all levels, so we have an entire department devoted to code compliance,” Stanhope noted. “Homeowners should make sure their decking meets residential code listings and that railings are strong and certified for load bearing.”

“AZEK and TimberTech brands are protected with capped technology for resistance to weather, and for high-performance and low-maintenance,” says Stanhope. “However, you never know what is happening within the substructure, so the Check Your Deck® reminder helps to ensure a safe deck season.”

Check out NADRA’s “10-Point Consumer Safety Checklist” for tips on making decks safer at www.NADRA.org.  Or, to learn more about AZEK Building Products, visit www.azek.com.

About AZEK® Building Products:
AZEK Building Products, a division of The AZEK® Company, is a leader in the development of premium, low-maintenance exterior building products. Available to a worldwide audience, our product lines span AZEK® Deck, Rail, Trim, Moulding, Porch, Pavers, and Adhesives, as well as capped wood composite decking and railing under the TimberTech® name. Both brands, synonymous with quality and innovation and made in America, lead their market areas by continually reinventing product lines and redefining entire product categories. For more information about AZEK, visit www.azek.com. For more information on TimberTech, visit www.timbertech.com.

About NADRA:
The North American Decking and Railing Association is the voice of the decking industry, representing the interests of deck buildersinspectorsmanufacturers, dealers/distributors, lumberyards, wholesalers, retailers, and service providers alike. NADRA’s mission is to provide a unified source for the professional development, promotion, growth, and sustenance of the deck and railing building industry in North America so that members can exceed the expectations of their customers. Visit www.NADRA.org to access all of NADRA’s Deck Safety Month® resources.

SOURCE AZEK Building Products

National Nail’s CAMO® Supports NADRA’s Deck Safety Month® in May

Grand Rapids, MI, May 02, 2018 – Spring has sprung and it’s time to think about deck building and life outdoors.  To help keep homeowners safe, CAMO is joining the efforts of the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) during Deck Safety Month® in May to promote deck safety.  National Nail’s CAMO deck fastening systems include revolutionary CAMO Edge Fastening that drives the fastener into the side of the boards and the joist, as well as face fasteners and clips for a variety of ways to fasten the substructure and deck boards.

National Nail’s CAMO supports NADRA’s Deck Safety Month(R) to provide tips to keep decks safe. With the strongest fasteners on the market, National Nail features face fasteners, clips and the revolutionary CAMO Edge Fastening (shown here) that drives the fastener into the side of the boards and the joist for added stability.
“Proper, strong fastening and connections are critical to deck safety,” said Greg Palmer, Marketing Director, National Nail.  “The feedback we’ve had from contractors indicate that National Nail has the strongest fasteners on the market and our CAMO Edge Fastening system has been touted as adding stability to a deck time and again because it fastens the board on both sides and attaches the deck board directly to the joist.”

There are some common culprits that can cause decks to become unsafe or even collapse. The experts at CAMO suggest having a professional home inspector check the following to keep your deck in top shape:

  • Check the ledger board connection that attaches the deck to the house and for board splitting.
  • Fastener corrosion
  • Lateral movement, uplift and racking
  • Warped, rotted or loose boards
  • Raised fasteners that present a tripping hazard
  • Hanger/toe nail failure
  • Loose or comprised railings
  • Post and beam failure
  • Ensure the deck is up to current local codes

Palmer also cited older decks as being particularly at risk, because they may have been built before codes were established.  “There are cases where the deck is attached to the house with nails and that is extremely dangerous,” he said.

NADRA’s Michael Beaudry, executive vice president says it’s important to Check Your Deck® for these issues every season to keep you and your loved ones safe. “With more than 50 million decks in the U.S., it is estimated that 25 million decks are past their useful life and need to be replaced or repaired,” he says. Heavy snow, rain, the elements and wear and tear can take their toll on the structure.”

Check out NADRA’s “10-Point Consumer Safety Checklist” for tips on making decks safer at www.NADRA.org.  Or, learn more about National Nail’s CAMO deck fasteners at www.camofasteners.com. Be sure to “Like”  CAMO at @camofasteners on Facebook and @camodeckfasteners on Instagram.

NADRA Announces Deck Safety Campaign

This year, Hanley Wood is a Bronze Level sponsor of the trade association’s efforts to make new and existing decks safer.

In the spring, with warm weather slowly spreading northward, more and more people refocus on outdoor living and resume using their decks. That’s one of the reasons why NADRA has designated May as its official Deck Safety Month. The campaign goal is to educate consumers, industry professionals, and inspectors about proper deck installation, and to promote the importance of annual inspections. To help in those efforts, NADRA has set up a deck safety page on its website, where you can find an easy-to-follow 10-point safety checklist for homeowners, a longer deck evaluation form (including an online version) and training for pros and home inspectors, and links to its deck safety ambassador program, introduced last year. By the way, Hanley Wood (the parent company of PDB) recently announced that it is a Bronze Level sponsor of the program. You can learn more about the program and sponsorship opportunities here.

Read the original article here.

 

 

Deck Safety Marketing Resources now Available to Help Outdoor Living Industry Boost Business this Spring

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Michael Beaudry

Phone: 215-679-4884

Email: Info@NADRA.org


In honor of Deck Safety Month®, the North American Decking and Railing Association reminds professionals to take advantage of exclusive deck safety marketing resources along with press release templates, graphics, ads, social media content, flyers, and more.

Quakertown, PA – “With more than 50 million decks in the U.S., it is estimated that 25 million decks are past their useful life and need to be replaced or repaired.” Says Michael Beaudry, executive vice president of NADRA. This means big business opportunities for deck builders, remodelers, inspectors and contractors to promote deck inspections, ensuring homeowner safety while simultaneously building their own brand.

The North American Decking and Railing Association (NADRA) offers industry professionals and inspectors a breadth of resources, including a comprehensive toolkit, marketing materials, and inspection checklists.

“May is Deck Safety Month®-along with prime outdoor living season-and that presents a perfect chance for savvy pros to market their business,” says Beaudry.

The non-profit trade association offers the following resources for building professionals to leverage during Deck Safety Month® and throughout the year, including:

  • The 2018 official deck safety toolkit. This NADRA-member benefit includes:
    • Deck Safety Month® Logo
    • Check Your Deck® Logo
    • 2018 Deck Safety Ambassador Logo (for official ambassadors only) learn more here about the ambassador program
    • 10-point consumer checklist
    • Link to online deck inspection form
    • Social media content for your use
    • Customizable press release templates
    • Customizable flyer all about deck safety
    • Customizable social media, infographics, and web graphics
    • Tips and guidelines to make the most out of Deck Safety Month®
  • Deck Evaluation Form: A step-by-step guide to evaluating the integrity of the deck structure, stairs, surface, and railings. A downloadable form and online form (BETA) are available to members and non-members.
  • Certified inspector program: NADRA is working diligently with ASHI, The American Society of Home Inspectors, as well as, AIBD, The American Institute of Building Design. The associations are working towards educating and certifying thousands of industry professionals to meet the need for inspecting the millions of decks that are past their useful life. Classes are available for scheduling.
  • Deck Safety Ambassadors: Help spread the word about deck safety by becoming a Deck Safety Ambassador. Sponsors gain access to an exclusive Ambassador logo and marketing benefits to further promote their businesses.
  • Homeowner resources: Builders can download the 10-Point Deck Safety Consumer Checklist to pass along to customers. Though not a replacement for a professional deck inspection, the checklist can assist homeowners and provide reference during other times of the year.

“Communicating safe decking standards remains a top priority for NADRA,” Beaudry says. “We continue to focus our efforts on educating both pros and consumers on proper deck installation practices as well as on consistent deck inspections. At the same time, we know that deck safety offers professionals in the industry a great opportunity to market their business, so we’ve provided all of the tools to help them do just that.”


About NADRA:

The North American Decking and Railing Association is the voice of the decking industry, representing the interests of  deck builders, inspectors, manufacturers, dealers/distributors, lumberyards, wholesalers, retailers, and service providers alike. NADRA’s mission is to provide a unified source for the professional development, promotion, growth, and sustenance of the deck and railing building industry in North America so that members can exceed the expectations of their customers. Visit www.NADRA.org to access all of NADRA’s Deck Safety Month® resources.

Visit www.NADRA.org to access all of NADRA’s Deck Safety Month® resources for industry professionals. *You must be a current NADRA member to access the “toolkit”. Join NADRA today.

© Copyright 2018 North American Deck and Railing Association. All rights reserved.

###

Check Your Deck® During Deck Safety Month® in May

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Michael Beaudry

Phone: 215-679-4884

Email: Info@NADRA.org


Check Your Deck® During Deck Safety Month® in May

QUAKERTOWN, PA – (April 24th, 2018) –The North American Deck and Railing Association declared May as Deck Safety Month®. Each year, NADRA raises awareness about the importance of checking your deck through a national deck safety campaign.

NADRA’s Deck Safety Campaign creates an opportunity to: Educate. Inspect. Correct; ultimately, helping to prevent injuries and bringing an awareness to the importance of regular deck inspections.

“Your roof has a life expectancy. Your windows have a life expectancy. What about your deck?” Says Michael Beaudry, executive vice president of NADRA. “Consider the snowfall accumulations from just this past year. These heavy loads cause additional stress on outdoor structures and create a need to evaluate. It’s time to Check Your Deck®!”

Just like other products exposed to the environment, over time your deck will need to be replaced. Asphalt shingles have a life expectancy of about 20 years*.  Aluminum and vinyl windows are expected to last 15-20 years*. Beaudry continues… “With more than 50 million decks in the U.S., it is estimated that 25 million decks are past their useful life and need to be replaced or repaired.”  It’s important for homeowners to check their deck on a yearly basis.

Educate: NADRA has created campaigns and educational programs, along with certifications for home inspectors, deck builders, remodelers, builders, code officials, engineers, architects, distributors, lumberyards and manufacturers to improve proper installation practices. NADRA’s Deck Evaluation/Certification Program has educated hundreds of Home Inspectors to help evaluate unsafe structures. Read more about the class here.

Inspect: Homeowners should consider a professional deck inspection. “A professional inspector will thoroughly examine your deck, provide information on your deck’s capacity limits, identify any dangerous problem areas and give you a map of what to keep your eye on in the future,” says Beaudry. Older decks require closer scrutiny and regular inspections. Many decks were built before code requirements were established to protect consumers. Some of these older decks may have deck-to-house attachments using only nails instead of the current recommended construction using deck tension hardware that greatly helps in the prevention of ledger failures. Deck inspection requires special knowledge, expertise and experience.

NADRA is working diligently with ASHI, The American Society of Home Inspectors, as well as, AIBD, The American Institute of Building Design. The associations are working towards educating and certifying thousands of industry professionals to meet the need for inspecting the millions of decks that are past their useful life. Homeowners can search for qualified inspectors at www.NADRA.org.

Correct: Through the evaluation and inspection of your deck, repairs and/ or replacement should be addressed. NADRA deck builders adhere to a strict code of ethics and are required to submit proof of licensing and insurance as required by their state. Homeowners can search for qualified deck builders at www.NADRA.org.


About NADRA:

The North American Decking and Railing Association is the voice of the decking industry, representing the interests of  deck builders, inspectors, manufacturers, dealers/distributors, lumberyards, wholesalers, retailers, and service providers alike. NADRA’s mission is to provide a unified source for the professional development, promotion, growth, and sustenance of the deck and railing building industry in North America so that members can exceed the expectations of their customers. Visit www.NADRA.org to access all of NADRA’s Deck Safety Month® resources.

*Source: National Association of HomeBuilders/Bank of America Home Equity, Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components 2/07.

© Copyright 2018 North American Deck and Railing Association. All rights reserved.

###

Leadership by Kevin Jackson: Proper preparation before presentation

Too often in our lives we jump right to the glossy brochure pictures of the finished deck, the degree hanging on the wall or the millionaire business owner who seems to have it all. In this, we miss the very fundamental actions that have transpired to ensure this success.

What about grit, the determination, the resilience and the building of a strong foundation? Here’s my two cents. The preparation is not fun, it’s not easy, it hardly ever goes exactly as planned and quite frankly the journey is not exciting at all. A deck builder who transforms a blank slate into a beautiful outdoor living space must first plan, permit, dig and pour the foundation to support the structure for many years. Sustainable leadership is no different. Let me prove it to you!

Plan – Show me an effective leader who doesn’t operate based on plans. This could be a sales or expense budget, a business plan, succession plan, key performance indicators, etc. A true leader not only develops plans, but also plans to develop other leaders.

Permit – Above all else, give yourself permission to succeed! Regardless of how you define success, controlling your own “automatic negative thoughts” will prove to be vital to your “go-live strategy”. For it is often within our own minds that we limit our own potential.

Dig – If you don’t think you’ll have to dig, you are sadly mistaken. Let me get this very important point out of the way! Digging feels like you are heading in the wrong direction. When you are supposed to be going up, you find yourself having to go down. Also, if you want to go higher, you must often in this stage go much deeper. The majority of people are okay with planning and even getting the permit, but when it comes time to dig, potential leaders fall out – never to be seen again. If you are in the digging stage, please remember that you are digging for a reason. Stick with it, this phase is difficult but essential.

Pour – After the digging is over, you must fill up the holes with perseverance, drive, passion and purpose. If not, life happens, and the holes that you spent countless hours, months and years digging, will soon be filled again with the same dirt you put to the side. As we all know, time does not stand still. It rains, it pours and if we are not systematic with the steps we take, we will find ourselves needing to repeat previous steps.

Have a plan and work the plan. The foundation of your success as a leader is just as important as the deck builder’s foundation to their cover-photo masterpiece. One glossy life-style picture of success appears nice, but what happens years later when the strong winds come. Be patient, slow down, do it right, get better each day, perfect your craft and respect the journey.

Kevin Jackson

Kevin Jackson

ThePositivityGuru.com

Story Of A Landscape: Country Club Expands Outdoor Living Area

Just as with homeowners, businesses sometimes feel the need to expand into the great outdoors. When the Blue Bell Country Club started considering such a move, officers found they had an extra club in the bag with Brian Stover.

Stover is not only a member, but he’s also a landscape designer and the owner of FS Landscaping Contractors, Inc., and Tru-Scapes Landscape Lighting in nearby Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

“The general manager asked me to design an outdoor living area for the members to sit outside,” Stover explains. “They were thinking about a fire pit, so, I designed a patio and fire pit using Belgard Products, and then I also integrated a Trex Deck cantilevered out over a pond to view the fountain.”

Photo: FS Landscaping Contractors, Inc., Tru-Scapes Landscape Lighting, Belgard Products

And, he incorporated several different types of lighting because, as Stover says, “The idea was to extend the time when people are done dining or golfing; they wanted to extend the time they’d spend there at night.”

Stover went with quality over quantity with his design. What he describes as “a stone patio walkway” is only about 300 square feet, but it supports a 36-inch gas-supplied fire pit and features both Adirondack chairs and a seating wall made from Belgard’s Belair wall product.

It also carries visitors out to the approximately 120-square-foot Trex deck.

“We had Amazing Decks out of Ambler, Pennsylvania, come in,” Stover says. “They specialize in curving deck railings and deck boards, and we did a custom curved deck where the front-end curves out over the pond.”

Not only is the look attractive, he feels, but because the pond’s embankment falls away at that point, it was the best option to extend the usable area.

However, excavating for the project proved to be its biggest challenge.

“We had to make it ADA- [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliant,” Stover notes. “We were working with a little bit of a hillside, and we needed to cut into that to make it level. There was some challenge to the topography, but being a commercial property we had to make sure we followed ADA.”

Thanks to the seating wall and the deck extension, Stover estimates the addition can easily accommodate 15 people.

Stover’s particularly pleased with the fire pit, and not just because he says working with the Blue Bell team and his own crew enabled them to run just the right amount of gas out to the fire pit to create a great flame.

Photo: FS Landscaping Contractors, Inc., Tru-Scapes Landscape Lighting, Belgard Products

“My team custom-cut the Belair Wall product to veneer the fire pit, and that really makes it sparkle,” he says. “It also has encouraged Belgard to potentially make a fire pit kit out of their Belair wall product.”

And, to make sure it meets the club’s need to retain late visitors, the project is amply lit by Tru-Scapes Landscape Lighting products, including hardscape wall lights as part of the seating wall, up-lighting for nearby trees, path-lighting along the walkway, and Tru-Scape post cap lights on the deck posts.

The project also didn’t stint on the softscape. Where the pond embankment had been disturbed, Stover worked in some boulders, and then planted Purple Verbena to cascade over them. While the newly planted area includes both spring and fall color, he says the greatest emphasis was on summer color because that’s when the country club sees the most visitors.

Photo: FS Landscaping Contractors, Inc., Tru-Scapes Landscape Lighting, Belgard Products

“Summer colors include Black-eyed Susans and the Verbena,” he says. “Some of it was creating balance with focal points. For instance, there’s a Japanese Maple to the left of the patio and a Pink Dogwood to the right. Not only does it create a nice balance with the plant material during the day, but when you’re putting lights on it, you have balance, as well.”

Actual construction of the project took less than three weeks utilizing FS Landscaping crews, but Stover says putting together the team to do the project — and figure out its financing — not only took longer, but was a real learning experience.

Stover explains that originally the country club had a smaller budget worked out for the project.

“When they saw the design, they really wanted it, and so I said, ‘I’d rather build this than the smaller version that fits your budget,’” he says. “I worked out several deals with the team, and I worked out a deal with the country club where I now have a membership there for life. I figured I’d rather go big and work out the other stuff.”

The key, he says, turned out to be a good bit of networking.

“Putting the team together, Blue Bell Country Club and Belgard Pavers, Trex Decking, Amazing Decks, FS Landscaping, Tru-Scapes Landscape Lighting and Froehlich’s Farm & Garden (of Furlong, Pennsylvania, who provided the plants), was just awesome,” Stover says. “I learned that putting a team together and having a success project like this goes a long way.”

And, the project is a success no matter how you look at it. Not only did it win awards from Hardscape North America and the North American Deck and Rail Association, but it’s achieved the country club’s goal of keeping people there into the evenings.

“Over the summer they did a wine-and-cheese event, they did a beer-tasting event and they’ve put live music out on the deck,” Stover says. “It’s definitely become a feature, and the ambiance is fantastic.”

Just receiving compliments from his fellow members and seeing how much they’re enjoying the space is one reason Stover is proud of the project. However, he’s also pleased with how well the job turned out.

“I’m proud of how I integrated so much outdoor living in one small space,” he concludes. “We took a lot of really great outdoor living elements, squeezed them into one small space, and it all flows and works. It all works.”

Learn more about Mr. Stover and his building company here: www.FSLandscapingContractors.com

Learn more about Tru-Scapes here: www.Tru-Scapes.com

%d bloggers like this: