Volume 46, Issue 1 - January-February 2011


Nevada’s “Glazing Man of the Year” Shares Tips for Increasing Backlog
John Heinaman jokes that he was named the Glazing Industry of Nevada’s “Glazing Man of the Year” award for 2010 because “all the old guys in Vegas died or already got the award or are out of business.” But a backlog that doubled in 2010 and solutions for repairing the Southern California Pension Plan show that the president of Heinaman Contract Glazing, with offices in Lake Forest, Calif., and Las Vegas, came by the honor honestly.

In earnestness, Heinaman says, “I think I won the award because back in 2005 there was a problem with the Southern California Pension Plan impacting retired glaziers that were part of a union in California, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona. The glaziers in these states were all part of a common pension plan. In the late 1900s, the trustees … were given bad advice from an unscrupulous broker who convinced them to put money in a piece of land that was supposed to be for a new NFL stadium. It turn out the land was contaminated and worth only 20 percent of what they paid for it. So due to bad judgments the pension plan did not have adequate funding to pay retirees in the future … I, and two others, all volunteered to find a solution. We worked with the government and the IRS so we could stay in business and make settlement payments over a 15-year period.”

Among the biggest challenges facing the glazing industry as a whole, Heinaman says, is “right-sizing your business to the volume you have and making the tough decisions. You have to make enough money to pay the overhead and hopefully you will break even.”

Clearly Heinaman has met that mark, as he says that in 2010 the company did half volume from 2009 and still will be profitable for 2010; in addition, the company’s backlog is double what it was a year ago.

“We have recognized that today business is primarily public works and we have switched our focus to contractors that focus on this rather than private construction. We have also changed our bonding capacity, which is necessary for public works. We also established a relationship with a minority company so we have an additional qualification that is favorable for public works,” Heinaman says.

In some areas, Heinaman says, there have been instances of projects on hold due to funding. “Looking at the anticipated near term increase in need of additional facilities, such as casinos, hotels, etc., does not support investment at this time,” he adds.

Heinaman says that it’s up to each company to pinpoint its strengths and focus on enhancing those areas, especially business practices. “The best thing small glazing contactors can do … is to look internally as to how they evaluate themselves professionally, where there are areas of weakness, etc. They need to look at how they can improve, etc., so they can take advantage of opportunities when the market improves,” Heinaman says.

He adds, “Something I would recommend is that they invest in themselves by creating a relationship with a business coach. This is not someone who teaches them to install glass, but who helps them become a better business person.”


Construction Employment Declines by 16,000 in December
According to an analysis of federal employment figures released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), employment in construction declined by 16,000 in December 2010 as the industry’s unemployment rate hit 20.7 percent. AGC notes that even as the industry continues to suffer from weak private sector demand the benefits of the temporary stimulus program appear to be winding down.

“At this point, it doesn’t look like there’s anything to replace the temporary help that the stimulus has been providing for the construction industry,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “[These] figures offer yet another reminder that the construction industry remains, and is likely to remain, the hardest-hit industry in the economy.”

Construction employment declined by 0.3 percent during the month, leaving only 5.6 million people employed in the industry, a 27-percent decline since employment in the industry peaked in August 2006 at 7.7 million, Simonson noted. He added that during the past 12 months the construction industry has lost 93,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the industry’s unemployment rate is more than double the overall, not seasonally adjusted, national unemployment rate of 9.1 percent.

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