Ten contractors under 40 who will lead the wall and ceiling industry in the 21st century, and be known as Generation Next.
The first quarter of 2013 brings positive news for the wall and ceiling industry as AGC reports construction spending and employment have reached the highest levels since more than three years ago. While the economy has a major impact on this data, it’s the innovative people within this industry who have made it possible. Allow Walls & Ceilings to introduce our next batch of Generation Next contractors, a popular series we introduced last year focusing on contractors 40 and under.
These contractors have been chosen for all having like-minded intentions—embracing familial traditions within the industry, but bridging the gap between generational differences in their companies by utilizing new technology, software, and being unafraid to take on new types of projects never done before. These up-and-coming contractors are the voice of the industry for 2013, and are all committed to bettering the future of the wall and ceilings industry.
Damon Miller Modern Interiors Inc.
Bellingham, Wash. | Co-Owner/Operator | 34
At the age of 12, Miller was helping his father’s drywall company on the job site after school. Being involved in the industry since he was a young boy is an understatement, as It was his apprenticeship at the age of 16 with Wayne Doss, well-known within the industry, where he learned how to hang board and steel frame. With Miller bringing the company into its third generation, Modern Interiors focuses on steel framing, drywall, finish work and painting.
“Modern Interiors Inc. is not about the drywall but about the details that go along with it,” Miller says. “Adding subtle ceiling details or a full drywall masterpiece can bring life to any project—if it can be drawn it can be built.”
Always on the lookout for new products, Miller experiments on a regular basis to better his work but his number one go-to product is Trim-Tex Vinyl Beads, which he uses for a variety of projects. It is no surprise that he was named Trim-Tex Drywall Artist of the Year in 2011 for his detailed work and innovative creative designs with drywall.
One of Miller’s passions—besides family—is watching his apprentices grow and expand their talent within the industry.
Adam Navratil J&B Acoustical Inc.
Mansfield, Ohio | Vice President of Operations | 35
J&B Acoustical Inc., a commercial construction company, has been in business since 1957 and is transitioning into its third generation of ownership. Starting as an acoustical ceiling company, the company has grown to include flooring, plastering, framing and drywall, EIFS, storefront and curtainwall glass/glazing, door/frame/hardware supply and installation. Navratil holds a Bachelors degree in Construction Management from Bowling Green State University, but has always had a strong interest in architecture and design since being exposed to rough and finished carpentry projects at a young age. His father and uncle currently run the company, with pride in their working relationships with long-time employees.
“Our people are very proud of the commitment they have made to the company,” Navratil says.
Navratil puts pressure on himself to prepare for the future, as with every other company the recession took its toll and he is planning ahead to further the company success.
“Any achievements that I may have considered significant in the past will pale in comparison to the possibility of being able to keep the company alive and profitable through the third generation,” he says.
A new business venture for this company has been panelizing building exteriors.
“We are now an affiliate manufacturer of exterior wall panels that are ‘systems’ backed by Sto. These exterior wall panels can be specified by architects during the design process and are offered with several cladding materials to accommodate the current market design trends, allowing architects and owner’s flexibility in design,” he says. “With this exciting partnership we are now able to market metal wall panels with the resources of a large corporation and offer the owner a manufacturer’s warranty on the panel system.”
Brittni Daley Daley’s Drywall & Taping, Inc.
Campbell, Calf. | CFO | 27
As the CFO for three years now, Daley’s been a part of the drywall industry since she was a young child. As the third generation of the company, her father and uncle currently run Daley’s Drywall & Taping, focusing on commercial and remodeling construction. The drywall, lath and plaster, and acoustical ceilings business is very family-oriented and started with Daley’s grandfather in 1963.
Her degree in business accounting and legal studies—along with her youthful savvy in technology—has benefited the company greatly.
“Our company is cutting edge and heavily technology oriented. To maintain and continually improve our service and to track costs more accurately we have implemented digital production tracking systems, BIM, new accounting software, remote time card entry, and are now taking our field guys into the paperless world,” Daley says. “I’ve taken on many challenges such as implementing a whole new accounting software package, taking the office paperless, training new teammates in all administration positions, and maintaining crucial relationships during the recession.”
With heavy involvement in industry associations, Daley has helped AWCI start the Young Executives Forum, and is an officer of the local National Association of Women in Construction and Construction Financial Management Association. Daley’s father will also be inducted as the new president of the AWCI Executive Committee in April.
Brenan Filippini Plastering Plus Northwest
Blaine, Wash. | Owner/Manager | 34
Since he could walk, Filippini has been involved in the plastering industry. He started Plastering Plus Northwest with his wife Kim in 2004, focusing primarily on stucco and exterior/interior plastering, and all facets of exterior construction.
“We also specialize in waterproofing—we’ve spent a lot of time and money doing stuff that nobody else figured out, and going the extra mile. That has really paid off because we’ve created a very good client base,” Filippini says.
The husband and wife duo work well together as Kim focuses primarily on the accounting and administrative tasks within the company, even implementing a cloud-based software program to help with communication and document updates, between field and office personnel.
Filippini contributes part of his success to investing in new products regularly and making safety a number one priority. He also takes jobs in many places other companies wouldn’t be as inclined, like Alaska.
“I’ve purchased two new pumps with hydraulic mixers and dumps, along with other new technology to really make our lives a lot easier,” Filippini says. “On larger projects, we request safety consultations from Labor and Industries. Our foremen run the walkthroughs with employees attending, and this way everyone can see what is right and what is not.”
Filippini prides his company on his employee’s positive attitudes and has also started an apprentice program.
“We’ve made it a point to deal with stuff head on and try and go back to the good old days, of people doing their job, doing it well and enjoying life,” he says. “As a whole, our nation doesn’t really seem to produce manual laborers. I’ve changed my approach for recruitment and things are looking up for us. If all the newbies make it one year as a laborer, we will get them signed up with the plasterer apprenticeship program.”
JC Slocum The Gallegos Corporation
Vail, Colo. | Project Manager | 37
With 40 years under its belt, if there was one company that could simultaneously endure the recession and the death of its founder in 2010, it’s The Gallegos Corp. Excelling in specialty stone and masonry construction, the company has not only endured hardship but is thriving again. The company is one of the main stone suppliers in Colorado.
Slocum has been with the company since 1997, “Starting as an estimator, moving into a project engineer role and then on to become a project manager has been gratifying,” he says. “A majority of our work is new construction but we do a fair amount of remediation work, as well.”
With its newest project underway at Kansas State University and clients going out of their way to compliment the company on its level of safety and cleanliness standards, Gallegos is a strong example of one that hasn’t let the economy mess with its long-term goals.
A unique aspect of this company is its focus on giving back to the community and donating to various non-profit organizations. Many awards recognizing the company’s innovativeness have also been given to The Gallegos Corporation; Slocum is proud to be part of such an innovative and community-driven company.
“We have initiated a program from FMI known as Productivity Builder,” says Slocum. “The program places a focus on the field to raise productivity. It is similar to the program that the AGC advocates, LEAN—this program has helped everyone in our corporation become more efficient with their work.”
Adam Barisich Performance Contracting, Inc
Las Vegas | General Manager —Las Vegas Interior | 36
PCG is a 100 percent employee-owned company with more than 50 offices around the United States and is the parent company of Performance Contracting Inc. PCI is the largest subsidiary and has two main divisions: Interior Services and Insulation & Specialty Services. This allows the company to offer customers diverse but related services, making PCI a true “single-source” contractor for many customers.
Barisich leads the Nevada headquarters that focuses solely on commercial work, primarily new construction, and has been with the company ever since he graduated in 2000 and has always worked on the interior side of the business.
“We target a wide variety of opportunities in Las Vegas, but we are primarily focused on gaming, hospitality and large retail projects on the strip. Healthcare work also plays an important role in our business plan,” he says.
The recent economic downturn did not slow down Barisich’s competitive focus.
“Helping our team to ‘survive’ the recent economic downturn and get back on the road towards success has been gratifying, I am extremely pleased with how our staff has buckled down and set the table for future growth,” he says.
Making great strides in becoming paperless throughout the whole process using On-Screen Takeoff from On Center Software, Bluebeam, and a few other in-house tools, technology is a main driver of why this company is so successful, Barisich says.
Sam Brown BCB Construction Inc.
Orange, Calif. | Partner/Operations Manager | 29
Brown is the epitome of Generation Next with an entrepreneurial spirit. He started working in the industry at age 16 but started his company with no family or industry connections. After receiving his contractor’s license in 2009, he and a friend teamed up to create BCB Construction Inc., doing both commercial and industrial work.
“We are a first generation company—our entire management staff is under 30 years old,” Brown says. “I am sure many of our competitors would say that we are ‘green’ or ‘inexperienced’ but with a list of national companies that we routinely work for, and a growing number of national accounts I would say that we are doing something right.”
When the company started receiving six figure contracts, the crew knew they had to push even harder to keep up the momentum.
“In the last few months we landed an additional two national contracts, which I felt helps legitimize our business model and quality of work,” he says. “It is a great feeling when an executive at a Fortune 500 company recognizes your work and says we want your company to be our go-to vendor for our framing and drywall needs.”
Brown admits they have a ways to go but is open-minded about the future.
“So far we have had a fantastic and hugely successful experience building our name in the construction industry. We deliver a superior product to our clients but we are still learning how to run a company,” he says. “All of our work is either commercial or industrial, and about 80 percent of our work is framing, drywall and suspended ceilings.”
Brandon Davidson Davidson Plastering Inc.
Castro Valley, Calif. | PM/ Estimator/CEO | 28
Davidson Plastering Inc. is a lath and plastering company that also does fireproofing and has been around since 1954. Started by Davidson’s grandfather, the business is now in its third generation. Fireproofing was introduced most recently to increase the amount of specialty services the company could provide, Davidson says. With about 95 percent commercial work and 90 percent new construction, the company is known for its quality workmanship and superior customer service. Very family oriented, Davidson says he feels lucky to still be working with his dad and grandfather, as he is being transitioned into taking the lead role.
Davidson has been learning the trades since he was 14 years old, and joined the company when he was 20. Davidson is taking the lead on inserting technology into the daily work they do and has goals to utilize tablets on the job site soon along with social media.
The company has thrived through economic hardships due to their solid reputation and focus on quality work, not quantity.
Jason Anderson MKB Construction, Inc.
Phoenix | Vice President of Preconstruction | 38
Anderson has been with MKB for ten years, starting out as a Junior Estimator and working his way to the top.
MKB was founded in 1984 as a drywall contractor and then evolved into drywall, paint, plaster, acoustical ceilings and insulation. The company has always been known as the go-to in these areas for large projects with a level of complexity involved, and is 100 percent signatory to various unions for all of the trades.
Effectively adapting the latest in technology to the company’s day to day work is another factor attributing to MKB’s success.
“We have implemented the use of iPad technology for field use and are moving towards BIM,” Anderson says. “I am a firm believer in allowing technology to help us build better projects and be more efficient—we always want to be on the leading edge.”
Anderson contributes his own personal success to his dedication and responsibility for his career development but credits the team he has been able to work with at MKB. Consistent, quality work and team-oriented values are what set MKB apart from other companies, Anderson says.
“We are constantly looking for new and better ways to improve—IT and training are two keys that allow us to be more productive and profitable,” he says. “We want to be a regional subcontractor that is known for providing the best partnering experience, along with exceptional quality. Our goal is to leave the next generation all the tools necessary for continued long-term success.”
Forrest Shaffer The Raymond Group
San Diego, Calif. | Vice President and Area Manager | 38
The Raymond Group is known for its commercial expertise in framing, drywall, lath and plaster. As of today, 95 percent of the work they perform in the marketplace is commercial with approximately 60 percent of that work being new construction.
“I first came to Raymond in 2005 as a project manager; in 2006, I was promoted to director of project management at our San Diego region, and in 2010 promoted to vice president and area manager. Having the trust and faith of the Raymond family to manage an office is a great honor,” Shaffer says.
Even thriving in the recession, the company has most recently announced the opening of its fifth full service office in Washington. The Seattle office will service the northwest market, further expanding Raymond’s reach, he says.
With a large focus on technology and coming up with innovative ideas to refine its business model, the company continues to grow.
“Over the last decade Raymond has worked hard to be known as the most cost effective and skilled subcontractor in the industry. Our 18 years of experience in BIM and 3-D modeling has changed over the last five years to the point that most of what we do is either digitally rendered or modeled,” he says. “Our internal training and continuing education programs for both technical and soft skills make us known for having the highest qualified and skilled people in the wall and ceiling industry.”