Preparing for 2024: December PRO NE Meeting with Speaker Doug Howard of Remodelers Advantage and Pre-Dinner Seminar “How to Create an Award-Winning Project Entry for the PRO Awards” with Julie Dalton, Platt Builders, and Cheryl Savit, Savvy Words
By Cheryl Savit, Savvy Words for KitchenVisions, Diane Burcz Interior Design, & Kevin Cradock Builders
PRO NE members flocked to The Verve on December 6 for the December meeting featuring speaker Remodelers Advantage Director of Consulting, Doug Howard, “The Fixer.” A table filled with new unwrapped toys were collected for the Toys for Tots drive – and later delivered to the Westwood police station by Rob Way, RWC Construction, and his team. Thank you to December meeting sponsor Advanced Green Insulations and Advanced Fireplace, represented by Director of Sales, Gustavo Teza. New members were introduced: Ken Vona and Tara Pavia of Kenneth Vona & Son Construction; Adam Incontri and Brad Kelleher of Zealous Construction; Cody Pelletier of Laurel Windows Boston. Guests were Andrea Lastella and Cynthia Best of Collaborative Kitchen and Design and Peter Martino of EOS Worldwide.
PRO NE members were treated to a lively presentation by Howard, “Throughput: Streamlining Processes to Get More Work Produced.” As an industry expert, business coach, and speaker, Howard has traveled throughout the country working with remodelers and hearing their stories. He told six stories that explained his “throughput” plan and said, “incremental steps, small steps make a big difference.” Howard compared managing a remodeling business to being a pilot: when you first learn how to fly, they only let you in the air when there is good visibility, but as you advance in pilot training, you learn how to fly by the instruments in all kinds of weather. “The key to flying is knowing how to use the instruments, when to react, and how not to overreact,” he said. “Not every day is a ‘clear day’ in the remodeling world. When we fly in turbulence, what are the things we need to measure?”
Preparing for 2024 with the Throughput Plan
Howard advised increasing productivity to guard against potential 2024 slowdowns in the industry or unforeseen events (pandemics, wars, inflation, etc.). One of the areas where he has witnessed a breakdown in communication or in the timeline is with “hand-offs.” Is everyone on the same page and doing the processes the same way? Howard recommends that many fixes can happen in pre-production and by setting a “launch date,” the team can work backwards to set internal deadlines to meet the launch date, like how NASA sets launch dates for missions.
The other pieces of the “throughput” plan are:
- Launch dates – Work backwards from the launch date
- Sorry™ – based on the board game where you basically sequence how you’ve come into the game, but Howard suggests prioritizing and some projects will skip ahead, not only based on first in, first done principles
- The Field Goal – Leaders and managers setting expectations for the team and managing accountability
- Upstream – recommended the book Upstream by Dan Heath about what to do earlier in the process
- Pit Crew – teamwork is key and recognizing what is external time (everything leading up to the pit stop), what is internal time (time in the pit stop); preparation and practice
- The Script – applies to training the clients/end-users of our services, again managing expectations and helping clients to make decisions in a timely, effective way
“We can wait for clear weather, but we might not have enough data or days, so it’s best to know how to fly in any weather,” Doug Howard concluded.
Pre-Dinner Seminar “How to Create an Award-Winning Project Entry for the PRO Awards”
Julie Dalton, from Platt Builders, and Cheryl Savit of Savvy Words presented a pre-dinner seminar attended by 17 members prepping members on their upcoming PRO Award entries.
Platt Builders donated two entries as a door prize which were won by Bridget O’Neil, Divine StoneWorks and Steve Hanson, A Yard and a Half Landscaping.
Among the tips provided:
- Planning is crucial.
- Take excellent before images of a project you might want to enter.
- Take photos during construction.
- Prepare for a photoshoot with before images and a shot list.
- Keep a folder with all of the information about the project.
- Showing the transformation in a project wins awards.
- Categories change so understand the categories and match your project appropriately.
- Consider newer categories like Primary suite which includes a bedroom and bath or Open Concept Kitchen which includes the kitchen and adjacent space
- The judges know nothing about your project, so make sure they can understand clearly the story.
- Professional photography is essential
- Make sure the space is clean, staged and styled
- Use proper lighting – shadows can take away from your work
- Make sure the details are captured
- No people in pictures (before, during or after images)
- Tell a good story!
- Use bullet points and start with the most important points.
- Use elevations, floorplans and any other documentation to help explain the project.
Entries are available for purchase at early bird pricing through January 6, 2024 – $135 each. The price goes back up to $185 from January 7 through February 24, 2024. The deadline for entry submissions is February 24, 2024. Save the date for the PRO Awards Gala on May 8, 2024.
Questions? Contact Joanne Roy at firstname.lastname@example.org or John Marchiony at email@example.com for more information.