Member Spotlight: Brian LaFave, Western Sky Designs

Member Name: Brian LaFave

Company Name: Western Sky Designs

Position: Owner

Member Category: Builder

Location: Brighton, CO

What inspired you to join NADRA? I have been in the BM industry for many years, mainly as a manufacturers representative. When I opened my business, I knew the value of being a member of NADRA and believe wholeheartedly in the message. I am passionate about the decking industry and try to instill that when meeting with potential customers.

When did you first get involved with this industry?
2001 as a sales rep in a lumberyard

What was the first thing you ever built? The first thing inbuilt was a dog house for my dog – Jordan. I was 14. This was a piece of art.

We want to get to know you, please tell us a little about your business: I started Western Sky Designs in 2015, primarily as a design and consultation company to earn extra income. As I went through the process, I realized my experience with many manufacturers would translate nicely into a full time career. Our specialty is custom decks, rail, and shade structures. We are passionate about building decks correctly and safely. This year we will build about 30 decks. In addition to patio covers and custom

pergolas. We will also complete 5-10 basements per year.

How do you define success? Success to me is personal relationships with my family and my friends. I have spent a lot of time on airplanes and traveling to help companies succeed. But at the end of the day, relationships with the people who I care about the most is the most important.

What advice would you like to share with fellow members that you have learned in your career? We aren’t competing against one another – we are building an industry. Let’s work together and help each other.

If you could ask your fellow industry professionals one question, what might it be? What kind of beer do you drink? Can I get you one?

What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing this? I’d probably be selling decking related products!

A little more about Brian:  Most importantly, I am a father to my wonderful kids, Colby and Macy. And a best friend to Stacy, Luca and Rocco. I am a die hard Michigan Wolverines Fanatic! GO BLUE! During the winter months, I am a High School and NCAA wrestling official. I travel to several tournaments throughout the country promoting wrestling. I wrestled my entire youth life and this is the way I stay connected. I have a bird dog named Dixie, she is an American Brittany. We love hunting upland game birds in North Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado. I wish I had more time to do that. Lastly, I try to travel as much as possible. The best trip ever was with my best friend, Stacy, to Africa. We went to Botswana for a couple different safari trips, as well as, South Africa. We plan to do more trips in the future.

Connect with Western Sky Designs online:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wsdcolorado

Thank you Platinum Sponsors: The Deck Store

Our Mission: The Deck Store is committed to providing our online and retail customers with top quality products at competitive prices. Armed with decades of experience in the deck industry and an expansive, updated product catalog, we have the expertise to help you find what you need for your deck or outdoor living space.

Our Physical Store: The Deck Store is based in Apple Valley, MN, where we operate a retail store, large warehouse and offices. We have a solid foundation in our local community, and have been featured in local papers, magazines and on TV. We pride ourselves on providing high quality deck building products and supplies – along with knowledgeable advice and instruction – to homeowners and contractors alike. If you are in the area, be sure to drop by our showroom, which is one of the largest in the Midwest, to see our products, and chat with our friendly staff in person.

Our Online Store: In 2009, we decided to make our product offerings and knowledge available to homeowners and building pros nationwide. TheDeckStoreOnline.com has served thousands of customers, delivering the same high quality products that local customers have come to count on.

Our Founder: Bob Heidenreich is the founder and owner of The Deck Store. With over 40 years of experience building and selling award-winning decks, Bob has earned a reputation as a skilled deck designer and construction craftsman. As a nationally recognized industry expert, Bob also writes a monthly column in the LBM Journal, the leading magazine serving residential construction supply pros. The column provides thoughtful business insights and construction management tips focused on decking and outdoor projects. During Bob’s career, he has created custom deck displays and educated attendees at the International Builders Show in Tokyo, Japan, the International Builders Show held in Las Vegas and Orlando. Bob has designed and built some of these show’s largest deck displays. In short, Bob knows decks!

To Our Friends at NADRA: We at The Deck Store would like to invite all our friends and NADRA members to experience what TheDeckStoreOnline.com has to offer with this special PROMO CODE: http://www.thedeckstoreonline.com/welcome-nadra-members

We are proud to support NADRA and it’s members!

Our Social Media: Our social media channels are a fun way for The Deck Store Crew to interact with our customers and other businesses. We use our social media channels in a different and light hearted way to help promote our brand. You will see that it is more personal, with updates about our employees and our work days. We would love for you to like us one or all of our sites to see all the great things that we do.

facebook.com/TheDeckStoreCrew

instagram.com/TheDeckStoreCrew

twitter.com/TheDeckStore

youtube.com/TheDeckstore

Message From Our Founder: “Everyone at The Deck Store is committed to making sure our online customers – wherever they are – get the same treatment as our local customers. Thank you for trusting us to help you get the right materials for your project!” — Bob Heidenreich, Owner, The Deck Store

Member Spotlight: Jason Durante, Durante Home Exteriors

Member Name: Jason Durante

Company Name: Durante Home Exteriors

Position: President / Owner

Member Category: Builder

Location: Irondale, AL

What inspired you to join NADRA? As a deck builder I stand behind the quality of my work. Our decks aren’t just built to code, we exceed industry standards. NADRA represents the same quality and ideals.

When did you first get involved with this industry? 25 years ago

What was the first thing you ever built? A Dog House! It had siding and a shingled roof.

We want to get to know you, please tell us a little about your business: Durante Home Exteriors was established in 2001. I had been working in the industry for many years, and wanted to build a company customers would trust and return to for years to come. Decking, both Composite and Pressure Treated, account for approximately one-tenth of our business and we average 75 decks per year. Durante’s specialty is windows and doors, but my first love is decks!

How do you define success? RESPECT, of my employees, customers and peers.

What advice would you like to share with fellow members that you have learned in your career? Do it right the first time!

What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing this? Fisherman

A little more about Jason:  My fiancé is Ada.  I have two sons, Joshua and Jacob, a daughter, Dominique, all of whom work with me, plus an adorable granddaughter, Serena and grandson Keaton. I also have a French Bulldog named Titan.
When not working I love to play golf, fish and hike.

Connect with Durante Home Exteriors online:

Website: www.GoDurante.com
Facebook: facebook.com/GoDurante

Not entering the deck competition?

Your excuses DEBUNKED!

I won’t win. – This might be true, we can’t all be winners. Just like in 1st grade tee ball we learn we’re not all Babe Ruth, but it’s about the experience! Put your work out there, create a buzz with your employees. Did you know just entering a national competition can be positive pr for your company? There are more than 9 categories, including people’s choice award, illumination and unique feature. The competition is about participating in your association and supporting events like this. And just in case you wanted to know, all members get an official participant certificate, that’s right sprinkles aren’t just for winners :).

I don’t have time! What’s that Bon Jovi song? “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. Ok, so we don’t really mean that, but come on, we all work hard and bust our humps day in and day out. Now throw in yours kids excessive extracurricular activities, your family functions, and your neighbor’s party for their dog’s first birthday…?! We get it, everyone is pulling you in every direction. But here’s the thing, entering the deck competition is not a long process. 1. Put someone in charge of taking pictures while their already on the job (photographer is even better!) 2. Have someone in the office read and understand the rules, like how to name your files and what size they should be. 3. Dedicate a small amount of time to write up your descriptions.  4. Pull all this info together and you’ve got your 1st entry. Bring your team together, and you will certainly have the time!

What difference can the competition make? A BIG one! Ask fellow members who have won in the years past. The excitement of winning can boost your business in multiple ways. 1. PR creates business; share with your local newspaper, social media and more. 2. A win makes your team feel good. Building and running a company is no small feat. Having National recognition just feels awesome and can be the perfect boost in moral to push through the final months of a busy season. 3. Bragging rights, need we say more?

What’s the bottom line? We want to see what you’re made of! What defines YOU as a professional in the outdoor living industry? What inspires your craftsmanship and years of blood and sweat on the job-site? What sets you apart in your building technique? How does this show in your finished work?

Show us what you’ve got and let’s share it with the industry!

Jenn Zedaker
Membership Coordinator

Member Spotlight: Tom Jacques, Hickory Dickory Decks

Member Name: Tom Jacques

Company Name: Hickory Dickory Decks

Position: CEO

Member Category: Builder

Location: Dundas, Ontario, Canada

When did you first get involved with this industry? 1987

What was the first thing you ever built? A tree fort.

We want to get to know you, please tell us a little about your business: Hickory Dickory Decks started in 1987 in Hamilton Ontario. Today we operate in over 65 cities with franchises and corporate operated local deck companies. We have specialized in low maintenance decking since it was first made. We build over 90 percent low maintenance decks and have since 1995. In 2017 our company will build over 1,000 custom decks.

How do you define success? Success is spending quality time with family and friends and doing something you love that makes the world a better place.

What advice would you like to share with fellow members that you have learned in your career? Build your business and your life living by the Golden rule of treating all people the way you would like to be treated. Pretty simple.

What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing this? Write or teach.

A little more about Tom:  I am blessed with a loving wife Sue, and 7 great kids. We love spending time together traveling and at the family cottage.

A note from Tom: 

Hello fellow deck builders and deck company owners. Hickory Dickory Decks has been a long standing member of NADRA from it’s very beginning. I think the founding of NADRA has helped get deck builders around the world to start looking at their job as a career and a profession. We create outdoor dining and living rooms where our customers can relax after a hard day, and spend some quality time with family and friends. Just think about all the happiness we have helped spread in each and every backyard. We also provide good, honest, well  paying jobs to thousands upon thousands of men and women not only building and designing and selling our beautiful backyard environments but also supplying and transporting all the material to jobs around the world.

I think this October in Nashville, all professional deck builders should come to the 2017 Deck Expo.  Enjoy a few days away from construction sites and challenging work situations. To  relax with our peers, share some great stories and a cold beverage or two, and congratulate each of us for helping all of our customers to Enjoy Life…Outdoors! See you there.

~ Tom Jacques, President, CEO and Founder of Hickory Dickory Decks.

 

Connect with Hickory Dickory Decks online:

Website: www.Decks.ca
Facebook: Facebook.com/decks.ca

I was ready to do business with you, but… By: Kevin Jackson

 

I was ready to do business with you, but…

Regardless of your culture, upbringing, economic status or stage of life, we can all agree on one thing. If we are going to spend our hard-earned money with you or your company, you must first listen to us, meet us where we are, provide value to our lives, care about what we need, use the communication methods that are easy for us, do a really good job and stand by your product and workmanship. If we are super-lucky, you’ll also say thank you and follow up with us in a few months after the sale just to see how we’re doing!

Easy peasy, right? Sounds good, but all too often that’s not the customer experience journey that most of us encounter. Let’s talk about a few pitfalls that happen in today’s world before the customer’s pen even hits the contract.

Business owners, relax… watch your blood pressure… and please don’t shoot the messenger. I get it! I know you’re busy with what’s in front of you right now. However, you must always ask yourself, “Am I ever too busy to hear from my potential customer, as this could drastically affect my sustainable success?” Here’s a quick five reminders from my own (good and bad) personal experiences:

  1. Make customers feel good about what you are offering. Yes, they are buying your product or service, but they are also investing in you.
  2. Communicate properly (before, during and after the sale) regardless of how busy you are. C’mon people!! Follow up! Stay engaged! Customers want to know what’s going on!
  3. Show them that you care. Your website can say that you care, but if you don’t answer the customer’s questions, show up when you’re supposed to, etc. – You don’t care and the customer knows it (sometimes before you even sell them anything)!!
  4. Drop the ego. You may be the top salesperson in your organization or your friends may think you walk on water, but customers don’t have time for that!
  5. Instill trust and inspire the customer to become an advocate for you! That’s where you will win!

Friends, since Al Gore created the internet (ha!), consumers have had endless information available to them. As a result, they are educating themselves on how business should be conducted. Customers are also researching your products, services and ratings. They have become more demanding because of the “screen education degree” that they received from a YouTube video, slideshare or TV segment. Whether you like this or not, this new day requires business owners, organizations and their affiliates to step up their game (big time!). Company leadership must invest time to work “on” the business, instead of just working “in” the business.

They must train their employees that the customer experience is paramount and that without customers there is no need to worry about being busy when the dust settles. You either focus on your customers’ needs or you will eventually need customers!

The bottom line is that people must ultimately trust you before they do business with you. What a different world of commerce it would be if most entities understood and did something about this very basic principle. Will you do anything differently today knowing that customers think before they ink? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Kevin Jackson, The Positivity Guru

WOLF INTRODUCES WOLF OUTDOOR LIGHTING

N E W S   R E L E A S E
DATE:  August 2, 2017
CONTACT:  Jim Groff, 717.852.4842
jcgroff@wolfhomeproducts.com
www.wolfhomeproducts.com

WOLF HOME PRODUCTS INTRODUCES WOLF OUTDOOR LIGHTING

New deck and rail accents add style and simplicity to outdoor spaces

(YORK, Pa.) — Wolf Home Products today announced the launch of Wolf Outdoor Lighting, a series of easy-to-install deck and rail accent products that are available now in all of Wolf’s building products service areas. Wolf is a leading provider of building products and one of largest suppliers of kitchen and bath cabinets in the U.S.

Wolf Outdoor Lighting adds beauty and ambiance to any decking or railing layout with a simple “plug-and-play” assembly. This assembly, plus a single low-voltage power supply, enables homeowners to create a variety of configurations without the need for wire cutting, electricians, or permits. With LEDs rated for 50,000 hours, dusk-to-dawn light sensors, and remote dimmer switches, Wolf Outdoor Lighting is energy efficient as well as attractive.

 Wolf Outdoor Lighting products are compatible with all Wolf Rail and Westbury Rail products and include stair and side lights, under-rail lights, strip lights, post cap lights, as well as all wiring harnesses and connections. Other key features of Wolf Outdoor Lighting include:

  • Three options for post cap sizes (2”, 2.5”, 4”)
  • Available in three colors: white, black, and textured black
  • Most products available via Quick Ship delivery
  • Five-year warranty

By adding Wolf Outdoor Lighting, Wolf has further expanded the range of selection and accents that independent dealers can offer their customers. The company has launched Wolf-branded decking, railing, cabinets and trim — all successful, made-in-America product lines introduced in the past six years and available exclusively through 3,000+ independent dealers.

#  #   #

About Wolf    Wolf Home Products supplies kitchen and bath, outdoor living and building products using its innovative business model. With more than 170 years of experience and a vast inventory of high-quality products, Wolf strives to accurately deliver orders in a fraction of the time to ensure unparalleled satisfaction and value. For more information, go to wolfhomeproducts.com.

CPG International Hires Joe Ochoa as President of AZEK

Press Contact:
Lauren Moorman
No Limit Agency
312-526-3996
lmoorman@nolimitagency.com

CPG International Announces Hiring of Joe Ochoa as President of AZEK Building Products

Former Owens Corning Executive Brings Years of Industry Experience to Leading Building Products Company 

SKOKIE, IL – CPG International, a leader in premium, low maintenance, exterior building products, announced today the hiring of former Owens Corning executive Joe Ochoa as President of its AZEK Building Products unit.

Ochoa spent the last 15 years of his career at Owens Corning, a $6 billion company, in various roles. Most recently, he was vice president of strategic marketing for the Roofing and Asphalt division, and served on the operating committee and as an officer of the company. Prior to that, he was vice president and general manager of the Engineered Insulation Systems (EIS) business; vice president and general manager of the Foam Insulation division; and general manager of the Latin America division.

“Joe Ochoa is a major player in the home and building products industry and we are thrilled to bring him on board to lead the AZEK unit of our business,” said Jesse Singh, CEO of CPG International. “In his role, he will provide overall strategic direction and leadership for AZEK Building Products to aid in bringing the organization to the next phase of growth.”

Ochoa will also have responsibility for financial planning and management activities to lead the organization’s profitability and performance.

Prior to Owens Corning, Ochoa served as vice president of technology for Servicelane, where he established a national network for home maintenance with Lowe’s Home Improvement Center as a key partner.

Ochoa also co-founded Fifth Gear Media, where he laid the foundation for the profitable company to merge to form Luminant Worldwide Corp., which had a successful IPO. Before Fifth Gear Media, Ochoa held a variety of leadership positions with Frito-Lay (part of the Pepsico Company), Procter & Gamble, and AT Kearney.

Ochoa earned a master of business administration degree from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business as well as a bachelor’s of business administration degree from the University of Texas.

“AZEK is a leader in the premium building products industry and its products are second to none, which is why the brand has enjoyed incredible success in the category,” said Ochoa. “I am eager to lend my expertise in the industry to take the AZEK brand to the next level.”

About CPG International

CPG International LLC is an industry leader of premium building products that replace traditional materials and provide value through lower maintenance, refined aesthetics and reduced total cost. Our commitment to innovation, sustainability, and research and design is at the core of who we are. CPG International is headquartered in Skokie, IL, in the greater Chicago area and also operates highly automated manufacturing facilities in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Ohio. The company’s products are marketed under several brands including AZEK® and TimberTech® for residential building materials, Scranton Products® for commercial building materials, and Vycom® for industrial building materials. For additional information, visit www.cpgint.com.

About AZEK® Building Products

AZEK Building Products is a leader in the development of premium, low maintenance exterior building products. Available to a worldwide audience, its product lines span AZEK Trim, Deck, Rail, Moulding, Porch and Pavers as well as capped wood composite Decking and Railing under the TimberTech brand. Both brands, synonymous with quality, style and innovation, are made in America and lead their market areas by continually reinventing product lines and redefining product categories. For more information about AZEK, visit www.azek.com. For more information on TimberTech, visit www.timbertech.com or call 1-877-ASK AZEK.

 

 

 

 

NADRA Sporting Clay Tournament, a Success!

NADRA’s very first sporting clay event on June 29th in Coplay, PA did not disappoint! Although we are all slammed this time of year, we gathered together to blow off some steam with a little gun powder.  The gathering began with a few words from our main sponsors, Wolf Home Products and Sequoia Supply. This was followed with an inspiring rules and regulations overview from safety management. From pointers like, “don’t take selfies behind the line of fire” to “although it might be tempting, no shooting live game”. Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays did an outstanding job not only ensuring the safety of our group, but entertaining as well.

The course included 16 stations of side flying, sky high, jumping clay pigeons on 64 beautiful acres of an old quarry.  The course was challenging, yet fun and the camaraderie was immeasurable. Here’s what a our members had to say:

“The NADRA event at Lehigh Valley Sporting Clay’s was absolutely PHENOMENAL! What a great event, but even more so- what great attendees! Thank you NADRA for hosting something unforgettable- I cannot wait to go back next time!”

– New Member, Tayler Young, The Falcon Group

“It was a blast!  What’s better than driving around shooting guns! Wait.. Driving around shooting guns with old friends and making new ones! That’s even better. It was a great team building exercise for me and my guys and we got to share war stories about the day as well as talk about how business was rolling out this season in our NADRA region with some of the top talent in the country.  It was a great day all around. I want to thank everyone at NADRA HQ again for putting it together. Count us in for next year!”

– Builder member, Sean McAleer, DeckRemodelers.com, LLC

The day concluded with prizes for the top foursome and best shooter. Matt Breyer and Ryan Lebron, from Breyer Landscape and Construction, LLC, along with Allen Homan and Joe Dandria from Perma Column East, LLC took first place in highest scored foursome. Stan Hathorn from Royal Building Products took first place for overall highest shooter. Well done! The event was a great success and we look forward to doing it again.

Thanks to all who came out, as well as our sponsors: Wolf Home Products, Sequoia Supply, Trex Company, Inc, and Perma Column East, LLC!

Anatomy of an Inherently Dangerous Deck, Part I & II

Anatomy of an Inherently Dangerous Deck, Part II

By: Brian Foley

Whenever I go out of town, I notice the differences in deck construction, particularly in other states that don’t have a robust or uniform building code like Virginia.  One of the most common mistakes I can easily see from my informal windshield survey (or handlebar survey when I’m riding my bike) are notched guard posts.  Statistics from deck collapses nationwide verify that one of the weakest points on a deck is the connection of the guard post to the deck framing (the other is the ledger board connection; see the July 5, 2017 post below).

Per the building code, in a worst-case condition, a guard post must resist a horizontal outward force of 200 pounds at its top.  For a 36-inch tall guard, that translates to a rotational torque (moment) at the connection to the deck of 600 foot-pounds.  The most important part of a post at that connection is its thickness – the exact location of the notch!

Most guard posts are comprised of wood 4x4s which have actual dimensions of 3½ inches by 3½ inches.  The average notch I’ve seen is roughly half of the guard thickness which equates to a 1¾ inches.  However, I’ve seen some truly butchered posts that were notched in both directions into a 1-inch by 1-inch section.  Considering a post with half its thickness notched, its ability to resist the rotation is not reduced proportionally.  Due to the way a section is analyzed, the actual resistance is reduced by 75 percent.  That reduction increases exponentially for every additional loss of section.

If you’re building a deck, do NOT notch the guard post, and follow all the connection requirements from the Fairfax County Typical Deck Details to ensure your guard system is constructed safely and can resist the required loads.

Learn more about deck safety in Fairfax County

 

_________________________________________________________________________

Anatomy of an Inherently Dangerous Deck, Part I

By: Frank Woeste

Deck collapses caused by failure of a nailed deck-ledger-connection to the structure or house have been followed since 2002, when researchers at Virginia Tech began to investigate and test critical structural elements of a residential/multi-family deck. After several years of tracking deck collapses, it became apparent that the primary cause of deck collapses was the connection of the deck ledger to the house made with nails only. In fact, I believe 90% of all deck collapses result from the failure of the deck ledger-to house connection, and of the 90% most are caused by nailed-only ledgers.

The focus of this article is existing decks with a “nailed-only” ledger connection. As will be demonstrated, a homeowner, home inspector, property manager, or other professional can quickly determine if the deck is dangerous—nails only in a deck ledger constitutes a “dangerous deck.”

Background For decades, the residential codes have specified an occupant deck load of 40 pounds-per-square foot (psf), which translates into about one average-size person locating a space of 2-ft. by 2-ft. In addition, every edition of the International Residential Code (IRC) since 2000 has required that decks be positively anchored to the structure to resist both vertical and lateral loads. Assuming a deck that is 14-ft by 28-ft, the code design load would anticipate the deck could be safely occupied by 98 people. However, until 2007, the IRC did not prescriptively specify how contractors should fasten or connect the deck ledger to the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Woeste, P.E., is Professor
Emeritus, Virginia Tech University
and a wood construction consultant.
He can be contacted by e-mail: fwoeste@vt.edu