W&C's Top 50 Contractors: New Image Drywall
The Genova Convention
As the magazine celebrates this year’s Top 50 Contractor profiles, we have selected New Image Drywall to represent the pack. Just shy of its dozen year mark, the subcontractor began when things were flaming hot—and then the carpet was pulled out from under its feet when the Great Recession hit. No doubt, this period must’ve been a hard lesson to learn in the company’s formative years but nonetheless the time to experience the joys and pains of contracting early on. But as you’ll read, the company’s business model suggests nothing but growth and maturity, as business continues to climb.
“My father is a general contractor and I was hired by him at the age of 12 to sweep floors,” says Jeff Genova, president and CEO of New Image Drywall. “I fell in love with the industry after working side by side with him over the next 12 years. Eventually, I ventured out on my own in 2003 and never looked back. To this day, my father still owns a successful firm and is very proud of what we have accomplished after starting from scratch, just like he did.”
The 11-year-old company does cold formed steel framing, structural wall panels, interior framing, drywall hanging and finishing, thermal and sound batt insulation, and ACT ceilings.
Despite the recession, Genova says that since the business started, the growth has been fairly good. All in all, he says, he is very impressed with how far NID has come thus far. The company started in 2003 with four employees and now currently employs 75 workers.
“Business now is steady to busy,” Genova says. “The bid market is beginning to run full steam again and I believe that’s a positive sign for what’s to come.”
The current construction climate for the company’s region has been hot, Genova says. There is a lot of government construction in the area (the company is based in Pueblo, Colo.) and it seems to keep a lot of trades busy.
“We try to focus on negotiated work as much as possible and pass up the hard bid work. If things get slow though we begin chasing the hard bid work,” he says. “This seems to be a good strategy for keeping us busy; fortunately the negotiated work has been making a come-back these past few years and has been keeping us very busy.”
The company’s workload for the remainder of the year looks promising. The subcontractor currently has 70 percent of its average yearly revenue backlogged. “Anytime you start the year with over 50 percent of your yearly revenue backlogged it seems to come out a pretty good year in the end,” he says.
What is the most interesting aspect of his job? Genova says it’s being able to handle and manage all positions within the company.
“One day I may be bidding on a new hospital project and the next day I could be meeting with the project teams discussing their needs and wants, all before heading to the job site to lend a hand in the field,” says Genova. “I love what I do and I always try to stay positive and involved in every aspect of my company. I believe that staying involved with all areas of operation within your company gives you a heads up on your competition.”
Challenges and Tasks
Like the company’s name suggests, Genova is concerned how the image of the company appears and in his words, “keeping everyone happy” is what he finds as one of the most difficult aspects of the job. From general contractors to employees, he says there is a lot of importance in keeping the people around you positive and upbeat. Although difficult at times, one must figure out what you have control of and what is beyond your control, he says. If you learn to separate these two things you will sleep a lot better at night.
“What I have learned from the most recent recession is that you must save for a rainy day,” he says. “Another thing we will do different is to not chase after work like a pack of starving wolves. The work will come if you have established a good reputation. Maybe not in the quantity that it does when things are booming but it will come. When chasing after work like a pack of wolves the only one who wins is the biggest wolf. The one thing the king wolf may not consider is that there is always a grizzly bear close by. What I mean by this is: just because you won the project does not mean that the project is a winner. Keep that in mind.”
Like any progressive and forward-thinking owner, Genova’s big wish for NID is to have his children involved in the trade and as he says, eventually take over the business.
“I know we all joke from time to time that the construction industry is brutal and we wish we were in another industry,” Genova says. “The truth is that most of us would not have it any other way, being able to walk away from a project at the end of the day and reminisce that you had your hand in building it is a feeling you do not get in many other industries. For these reasons I hope that my children will appreciate the industry as much as I do.
“This industry can wear and tear on all of us, from tight schedules to buy-out post bid. It is a tough market. The biggest thing I’ve learned in pursuing my dream is that separating home and work is paramount. Don’t take the stress from your work home with you. Your loved ones do not deserve this. You will live a much happier life if you can separate the two and leave work behind you when you lock the doors in the evening.
“I believe what sets us apart from our competition is our willingness to please,” Genova concludes. “We will do whatever it takes to make sure that the GC and owner are completely satisfied with the work we perform. We have an in-house ‘No Punch List’ policy that I believe sets our work apart and above our competition.”
Manufacturers & Distributors
Genova has a long list of manufacturers and products that he is impressed with. One that has caught his eye is the FibaFuse drywall tape from Saint-Gobain ADFORS. He says that his company has had good success with using the product.
“I’m also impressed with the new Trakloc Drywall Framing System from ClarkDietrich,” he says. “We have had very limited use with it, but it seems to be a great step in the right direction for overall cost savings in certain situations.”
New Image Drywall also regularly uses products from CEMCO, USG, Armstrong Ceilings, CertainTeed Insulation and Gypsum, G-P Gypsum DensGlass Gold Sheathing and American Gypsum. The company’s distributors include: Pacific Supply, Gypsum Products (a Division of Allied Building Products), and Western Interior Supply.