December Member Meeting

Posted by Cheryl Savit, Kevin Cradock Builders and EM NARI PR Committee

Once again Mark One, Inc. and the Marines collected unwrapped gifts from members for Toys for Tots. Kevin Crowley and Peter Manning represented the Marine Corps League. “Collecting toys is a satisfying endeavor, “ said Derek Miller of Mark One. “To see what we’re doing for the children puts a smile on their faces and puts a smile on our faces, too.”

Chapter President Justin Zeller led off the meeting with announcements, including the launch of the re-designed EM NARI website. Each table collaborated on a website scavenger hunt challenge. The winning table received scratch tickets.


  • Dianne Aucello, Edesia Kitchen & Bath Studio, new member
  • Matthew Hudson, Hudson Contracting Company
  • Chris Manley, Resource Options Inc., Sponsor & Membership Committee
  • Jen Monroe, Resource Options Inc.
  • Beezee Honan, Designer Bath
  • Mike Carroll, Home Sweet Home Builders, new member
  • Ryan Conlon, Home Sweet Home Builders, new member
  • Jacob Zechner, Home Sweet Home Builders, new member
  • Walter Russell, Home Sweet Home Builders, new member
  • David DeSimone, Home Sweet Home Builders, new member

Justin Zeller then introduced the speaker, Clayton DeKorne of Hanley Wood, which publishes the Journal of Light Construction, Tools of the Trade, Renovation Contractor and Remodeling Magazine, among others.

Clay’s talk focused on his recent JLC article “How Will We Solve the Skilled Labor Crisis?” Providing historical context as well as social and societal implications, the need for a more skilled workforce is paramount for the survival of the building industry. Tracking the wages of skilled laborers from the Colonial era to the modern era illustrates industry challenges.

Changing the perception of working in the trades and the educational system in this country will be necessary.

Leadership in workforce development is recognized with the Fred Case Award. Citing examples of successful programs included Fred Case Award recipient Richard Laughlin in Fredericksburg, TX. Laughlin’s program is a great model to replicate.

Clay inspired the members to get involved in workforce development by donating time to the cause. Encouraging today’s students to use their hands along with their minds, and realizing that they can make a great living in the building industry will go a long way towards changing perceptions. The bottom line is that companies need to offer good wages, a good culture and treat their employees well to encourage younger generations to join their ranks.

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