Apr 14: At Home in Berks

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Home Builders Association of Berks County

MAN CAVE Trends for 2014

Special Issue with

Mike Rowe: Work Hard AND Smart

April 2014

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2014 HBA Berks

Board of Directors Officers: President Patrick J. Dolan, AIA, LEED AP

Contents FEATURES:

Dolan Construction Inc. (Reading)

First Vice President


Edward F. Anewalt IV, CLP Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting (Bernville)

Second Vice President

The Worst Advice In The World Mike Rowe’s view on education and how to improve the skills gap.

James E. Gavin, Esquire Masano Bradley Attorneys at Law (Wyomissing)

Secretary Chad E. Camburn, P.E.

Bursich Associates, Inc. (Pottstown)

Treasurer Evan L. Hand, III

National Penn Bank (Wyomissing)


Immediate Past President


Builder/Remodeler Directors

Brad Kehres

L A Kehres Building & Remodeling (Leesport)





Bryan Moll

B & G Glass (Reading)

Diane K. Salks

Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. (Temple)

Associate Directors David Hallowell Heffleger Kitchen Center (Reading)

Sherrie Hallowell

VIST Bank (Wyomissing)

Bruce T. Rader, P.E., P.L.S. Berks Surveying & Engineering, Inc. (Fleetwood)


Cabin Fever & Cooking Al Fresco Cooking outdoors in any season.

23 DIY Projects

HBA of Berks County President Patrick Dolan.

34 Membership Pages New and returning members, member to member discount programs, and an overview of all Association-related events from April – June 2014.

Executive Officer & At Home in Berks Editor-in-Chief Member & Events Coordinator Valerie L. Malesic

1 AT HOME IN BERKs February 2014

How you could sit face-to -face with your State Senator or Representative for over an hour!

3 From the President

HBA Staff

Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM

WE Are The People


& Contractor Expertise

Knowing the difference between a DIY project and when to call in the experts.

Employee Engagement Why companies should embrace it and how they can get started.

Creating A Backyard Experience Expanding your outdoor living space begins with quality vendors, contractors, and suppliers.

Eric Keller

Berks Fire Water Restorations, Inc. (Reading)

Man Cave Trends for 2014

What you need to turn your spare room into a sanctuary.

Driving Economic Development

Strategies and tactics to ensure strong economic growth in Berks County.

Daphne D. Frownfelter, CKD Deer Mountain Kitchens, LLC (Robesonia)


Setting goals for your future and developing a plan to conquer them.

Cathy Sloan, CGR, CAPS, CGP Aluminum Associates/ Sloan Corporation (Temple)

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

For Advertising Opportunities: call 610.685.0914 Ext. 1 Read At Home In Berks Magazine Online at HBAberks.org The written and visual contents of this magazine are protected by copyright. Reproduction of print or digital articles without written permission from Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc., and/or the Home Builders Association of Berks County is forbidden. The placement of paid advertisements does not imply endorsement by HBA of Berks County. Publisher: Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. 610.685.0914 2921 Windmill Road, Suite 4, Sinking Spring, PA 19608

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From the President Resources and Advocates



t’s funny how things come full circle. When I was very young, I had the greatest respect for the guys I used to watch in construction. Those guys were giants to me. They could do and build anything with their skills, and it was just plain fun to watch what they built as construction progressed.

Full Circle

It’s almost hard to believe some of the topics that we are covering in this issue. As we are emerging through the greatest recession in decades, where work was so scarce and people were forced from their professions, how ironic that now we are covering a serious problem revealing an immense labor shortage problem. We are excited to have Mike Rowe and his foundation, Mike Rowe Works, contribute to this edition of our publication. Mike is extremely well versed on this issue and perhaps one of the biggest advocates for skilled workers today. This problem is real. And, when you consider the timeframe required to fix this problem, it is already here. It is a problem to which contributing author, Jon Scott of the Greater Reading Economic Partnership, is no stranger. Jon’s team faces industries on a regular basis that struggle to find a qualified workforce, and must decide if they have it, if they can develop it here in our region, or if they must search for it somewhere else. They are dealing with this issue through www.careersin2years.com, a tremendous resource. There are a number of other resources besides Mike Rowe’s Foundation and careers in 2 years that are being developed to combat this issue. Build Your Future (www.byf.org) is a not-for-profit organization specifically dedicated to this cause. The local Career and Technology Centers are aware of this exact issue as well. While their numbers were down and followed trends of the industry through the recession, they are well aware of the need that is emerging. They are also well equipped to assist in training and meeting the demands present over the next decade. They work diligently to keep their curriculum current and effective. Other area associations are preparing as well. Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) Keystone Chapter is about to break ground on a new state of the art training center in preparation for the surge in craft training they are already beginning to see.

But, something happened about the time I was in high school. The perceptions of the kids who went into the trades and attended the trade schools were inappropriately looked down upon. My impression at that time was that teachers, parents, and guidance counselors all pushed for college educations for everyone, no matter what they desired for their own career path. Only kids who, perhaps, struggled in the classroom were even considered for the trades. What a shame that was. My impression now is that this tide is shifting. As college and university tuition is at an all-time high, there are many graduates emerging with degrees that simply don’t command the salaries required to justify the debt from tuition. I feel there is a new understanding emerging with respect of the trades, a more accepting understanding that not everyone needs a college degree, but what this country does need is Opportunity Abounds the ability to produce. Yes — we need sciAt this point, you might be asking, “so ence and engineering positions to drive just what does this labor shortfall look like?” innovation forward, but where will those Well, to put it in perspective, we lost 2.2 positions go in this global market if we don’t million jobs in construction between 2007 have the skilled trades to support them? and 2011, roughly 28% of our labor pool.

The other part of the problem in losing that many from the workforce, is that many simply won’t come back. Construction work in general is climbing, non-residential perhaps slower than residential. But, even at the current slow rate of growth, most forecasts are predicting a shortfall of about 2 million workers by 2017. Of course, just what this means to us all depends on a lot of things, like what the construction market will actually do over the next few years. President Obama apparently has a $50 billion proposal for heavy highway and infrastructure projects, which could certainly have an impact on construction numbers. On the residential side, the need for housing should remain strong over this same period. So, the need for skilled construction workers appears to be real. The good news is in our region - it appears we are doing what we can to be ready to train and bring skilled trades back online. My real hope, though, is that this time around it’s with a different mindset. I hope guys like Mike Rowe really will have an impact on the importance of our trades’ people and the public. We use terminology in our company to classify certain employees that you might think of as carpenters. Our classification for them is ‘craftsmen’. We use that term for a reason. These are the men and women who are capable of crafting skilled work with pride. It is not a lost art. It is not a lost trade. It may be a trade that has been beat up and battered the last few years, but if you believe we are a country that should be able to create, construct, and compete then I hope you believe these trades should be valued and respected. Yes, things do come full circle. The craftsmen I work with in construction today still impress me with their skills and it’s just as much fun to watch quality projects come to life. I’m proud to be associated with the trades. I hope you feel the same.

Patrick J. Dolan

AIA, LEED AP, Dolan Construction Inc.






hen I was seventeen, my high school guidance counselor tried to talk me into a four-year degree. I had nothing against college, but the universities that Mr. Dunbar recommended were expensive and I had no idea what I wanted to study. I thought a community college made more sense, but Mr. Dunbar said a two-year school was “beneath my potential.” He then pointed to a poster just like this one, hanging on the wall behind his desk. “Mike, look at these two guys. Which one do you want to be?” I had to read the caption twice. “Work Smart, NOT Hard?” Back then, universities were promoting themselves aggressively, and propaganda like this was all over the place. Did it work? Well, it worked for colleges, that’s for sure. Enrollments soared. But, at the same time, trade schools faltered. Vocational classes began to vanish from high school. Apprenticeship programs and community colleges became examples of “alternative education,” vocational consolation prizes for those who weren’t “college material.” Today, student loans now eclipse a trillion dollars. Unemployment among college graduates is at an all-time high, and a majority of graduates with jobs are not even working in their field of study. And, we have a skills gap. At last count, three million jobs are currently available that no one seems to want. How crazy is that? Continued on page 6



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I think often about the people I met on Dirty Jobs. Most of them were tradesmen. Many were entrepreneurs and innovators. Some were millionaires. People are always surprised to hear that, because we no longer equate dirt with success. But, we should. I remember Bob Coombs, a modest pig farmer who fabricated from scratch a massive contraption in his back yard that changed the face of modern recycling in Las Vegas. He was offered $75 million for his operation, and turned it down. He’s a tradesman. I remember Matt Freund, a dairy farmer in Connecticut who thought his cow’s manure might be more valuable than their milk, and built an ingenious machine that makes bio-degradable flower pots out of cow crap. He now sells millions of “cow-pots” all over the world. He’s a tradesman. Mostly, I remember hundreds of men and women who loved their jobs and worked their butts off. Welders, mechanics, electricians, plumbers.... I’ve met them in every state, and have seen firsthand a pride of workmanship that simply doesn’t exist in most “cleaner” industries. And, I’ve wondered, why aren’t they on a poster? Why aren’t we encouraging the benefits of working smart AND hard? The Skills Gap is bad news for the economy, but it also presents an opportunity. Last month, I ran into a woman that runs the Cat Dealer in Las Vegas, and she told me they had over twenty openings for heavy equipment technicians. That’s kind of astonishing. A heavy equipment technician with real-world experience can earn upwards of six-figures. And, the training program is free! But still, the positions go unfilled? In a state with 13% unemployment? Here’s a theory—What if Work Smart Not Hard is not just a platitude on a poster? What if it’s something we actually believe? I know it’s a cliché, but clichés are repeated every day daily by millions of people. Is it possible that a whole generation has taken the worst advice in the world? I think so. I blame Mr. Dunbar. Look again at the images on the poster. Those stereotypes are still with us, and the skills gap is proof positive. We’re still lending billions of dollars we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back in order to educate them for jobs that no longer exist. We still have three million jobs we can’t fill. Could America’s skills gap be the legacy of a society that would rather work smart than hard? Last year, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation and Caterpillar launched a website called www.ProfoundlyDisconnected.com. The goal is to get more people talking about the importance of skilled labor, alternative education, and hard work, by doing all sorts of questionable things. Including some minor vandalism. Check out our “updated” version of Mr. Dunbar’s poster. The image might amuse you, but the caption is no joke  —Work Smart AND Hard. Today, hundreds of these “revised” posters are hanging in high schools across the country. I don’t know if changing one little word in one stupid platitude will reinvigorate the Skilled Trades. I just think it’s time for a new cliché. My own trade  —  such as it is—  started with an “alternative education,” purchased for a reasonable price at a two-year school. I suspect a lot of others could benefit from a similar road. So get a poster, and hang it well. Preferably, in a high school near you. And…if you see Mr. Dunbar, tell him I turned out OK.




Michael Gregory “Mike” Rowe is best known as the host of the Discovery Channel’s super-popular series Dirty Jobs and as the media spokesman for Ford Motor Company commercials. In 2008, Mike launched www.mikeroweWORKS.com and the accompanying foundation, which is focused on increasing workers in blue-collar trades and rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure. Mike’s “likes” and “friends” on Facebook is growing at a staggering pace. As of this printing, he was just shy of a half a million “likes.” Contact Mike and “like” his work at “TheRealMikeRowe” on Facebook.

Editor’s Note: Mike is not a politician; nor is he political — but you would not know that from the media super-storm surrounding him these days. As he continues to advocate for his (our) cause, the voices of opposition are getting louder and meaner. Mike is a man’s man that won’t back down or stop fighting the good fight because of a little pressure from some loudmouths. Mike’s celebrity status is skyrocketing even higher each day (if that’s possible?) as he is taking on the media establishment, “BIG College,” and a flawed American mindset that seems to downplay the value of working with your hands and your mind in a trade. As the proud son of a master electrician, I was taught the values contained in the S.W.E.A.T. pledge at a very young age. I salute Mike and thank him for making a stand for all of us “little people.” Thank You, Mike, for thinking so highly of your mission and the fine folks of Berks County, PA that you took time away from your national platform to write for At Home in Berks.


By Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM


y now, it has been asked of you hundreds of times. You’ve do you want to be when you grow up? You will probably be surprised at the answer I most readily receive – probably even asked it yourself of many kids when you have made their acquaintance. It is a simple question. Straightforward. Clear. Concise…What do you want to be when you grow So, I have sharpened my quill, learned from my past, and deup? As an adult, a smile would probably come to your face if you veloped a new full-proof method to get to the bottom of this were asked this ‘kid’s question’. But…do you know? Can you anever-important question. Once a new employee is on the job for swer it? about a month, enough time to “know the lay of the land” and to begin feeling comfortable in their desk chair, I approach them in Share in the Experience their environment. The conversation is usually brief; but friendly, As an Air Force Officer for almost six years and then a CEO for non-confrontational, and unofficial-feeling. After asking about their more than twenty, I have asked this question of hundreds of suborday or their family, I by-the-way them with “I’d like to schedule a dinates. Granted, I may use more ‘adult’ language, such as: where sit-down with you to talk about your career goals and how I can do you see yourself in 10 years? What is your ultimate job goal? Tell help you reach them. How’s your schedule look?” me about your professional plans. Or, what is your career trajectory? A week later, when the employee joins me in my office, I recite No matter how it’s phrased, the question remains the same: what 8


“I don’t know.”

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the script from my head that I have delivered many times over. I try to personalize it. To make it sound original. For, though it is an oftwatched replay for me, it is usually a ‘first’ for them. So, I carefully explain that I see my top duty, as chief executive, as helping them to reach their goals. I provide examples of the type of side-projects, special tasks, or large responsibilities that I can assign to give them the experience necessary to take a step closer to their goal. I outline education, training, certifications, degrees, or licensing, that will make them ‘look’ more professional and build their resume of the future. After laying it all out, methodically, I sit back, relaxed, deep into my chair and use these specific words: “So…what do you want to be when you grow up?” The answer doesn’t come quickly; but, it does come…usually, in most cases, a majority of the time, the overwhelming answer is…after a week to prepare and think it over, the employee presents their findings to THE boss: “I don’t know.” Expecting this result; yet, undeterred from my mission to always get the best from each employee, I softly tell them to “sit there and think about it. Let’s work this through together.” A long silence permeates the air. For me, it becomes uncomfortable. Have you ever watched the face of another human-being as they ponder their inner soul? The deepest recesses of who they are and whom they want to be? I know this is a crucial moment to which I must provide my full attention; but, though I may have the bigger title in the room, I am just window-dressing. They are somewhere else, deep in thought. It’s hard to provide my full attention as I do not have anything on the subject to contemplate. So, I fake it until they are ready to bring me back in to their thoughts. I usually try to put on my best poker-face to hide that I am really thinking about other things on my To-Do List…all of this so I do not break first. This is their moment. They must speak first. They must provide themselves with a meaningful decision that will guide them into the future. I am just a sounding board. And, later, a catalyst to help them reach their goal.

Make it Personal. Make it Yours.

An interesting story? Maybe. But, what does this mean to you? Do you condemn this article to the pile of others on rockstar weddings & Hollywood rehabs? Or, do you take this as a two by four upside the head? I would humbly recommend the latter. You are not getting any younger. The time to decide, plan, and act is now. As the old saying goes,

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to first decide. Decide what you want to be when you grow up. Dream big. But, likewise, keep your objectives grounded. If you are well past your prime, or in it now, a professional sports career might have already passed you by. Similarly, determine what you are willing to endure and how long you are prepared to wait. How many steps are you willing to take along the way. For example, if a cardiac surgeon is your heart’s desire, are you willing to finish your bachelor’s degree with top honors, apply to numerous medicals schools, relocate, give up your entire life to study, do an internship, residency, and fellowship — about a 10-year prospect or more? If not, then what would bring you a similar amount of pleasure or self-satisfaction? The first step is the hardest. Decide. Find a quiet room or scenic overlook to spend some time with the hardest thing on this planet that you will ever try to figure out — YOU! The decision is the hardest part, but surely not the longest. In fact, it is the shortest. Once you have a goal, develop a plan to reach it. Wanting to be a marketing director is not good enough. Do you have a degree in marketing? If not, get one. Have you worked in marketing? Start. How does your portfolio of past marketing campaigns look? Have none? Build it. It really matters not what your career choice, each has training, experiences, awards, milestones, and resume builders. Decide which will look best on your resume and begin accumulating them. If I may, allow me ask you, one final time: what do you want to be when you grow up? Plus, its sister question: are you willing to do what it takes to get you there?


Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM is the Executive Officer of the Home Builders Association of Berks County. He provides insight on construction issues, business operations, marketing, personal finance, and occasionally, on political philosophy/history. Contact Christian at the HBA of Berks County office: Christian@HBAberks.org or, to receive notice of the newest articles written by Christian, follow him on Twitter @CDMalesic.

“if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” So, will life take you on a meandering ride that ebbs this way and flows that way with you as merely a pacifistic spectator? Or, will you grab life by the throat, put him against the wall, and make it crystal clear: you have career goals — life better not get in the way of you reaching them? Again, I would humbly recommend the latter. APRIL 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs



t n e m p o l e v e cD ng Economi


nty in Berks Cou

By Jon C. Scott AND, SO IT BEGINS Over five years ago, eight individuals representing the top-level Economic Development organizations in Berks County started meeting on a regular basis. Initially, we worked with a professional Economic Development Facilitator who helped this group identify critical areas that we could focus upon that would have a significant impact on Economic Development over a relatively short period. The initial timeframe that we were looking at was three or four years, and the effort officially launched in June of 2010. The overall endeavors became known as the Ride to Prosperity (RTP), and included five specific arenas: 10


Entrepreneurship & Innovation Workforce & Talent Development Business Clusters Sites & Infrastructure Quality of Place

In June of 2013, we completed the report to the community. Ride to Prosperity 2.0 was unveiled. For all intent purposes, the group is continuing to focus on the same core issues. BERKS COUNTY’S CHALLENGE Clearly, one of the most important things we need to do throughout our region is to make sure that we have a workforce that has the proper training and skill sets to ensure that we have a pipeline of skilled talent for Berks County businesses—and, in particular, for the manufacturing sector. Many individuals have worked on various components of Workforce and Talent Development, and the Greater Reading Economic Partnership

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(GREP) ended up developing an entire campaign—Careers in 2 Years—designed specifically to begin help filling the pipeline of skilled workers.

Careers in 2 Years is, quite simply, a marketing and public awareness initiative that is designed to eradicate any erroneous perceptions surrounding people going to career and technology centers (still referred to as Vo-Tech) as well as people going to Community Colleges. The reality is that the world has changed significantly from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s; and, we need to be more open in our thinking in terms of education and training for American people. Continued on page 12 APRIL 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs


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Careers in 2 Years is a full multi-media effort that was started in Berks County. I encourage anyone who has not heard or seen about this campaign to simply check out the website www.careersin2years.com, particularly, view the two-minute video. WATCH SCAN TO NOW! EO THE VID DEVELOPMENT DWINDLING Another area of top-level focus has been on Sites and Infrastructure. While the good news is that the GREP has been involved with 130+ successful projects over the last many years, this also means that our region has a dwindling level of inventory for shovel ready sites and properties that are available for commercial and industrial development. Therefore, along with other entities from the RTP group, GREP has been significantly involved in working with landowners, as well as municipalities, in an effort to try to make sure we have an ongoing supply of commercial and industrial inventory. At this point, there have been some very positive results in spite of the length of time it takes to be able to go through an overall land development process. There has been a lot of new activity that started since forming RTP. The following areas have seen some very tangible and positive activity:

• Over 200 acres of land has been designed Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) in New Morgan. Since that occurred, activity amongst prospects has picked up significantly. • Amity Township modified zoning and codes for 600 acres to be developed for commercial and industrial purposes. 200 acres has now been earmarked and is being worked upon by a developer with the municipality to try to launch commercial & industrial growth. • Our Industrial Development Authority (IDA), purchased the non-aviation land at the Reading Regional Airport several years ago. GREP was a catalyst in bringing together multiple parties in that 183 corridor, that is in close proximity to the airport, with an effort to take a look at combined and collaborative solutions for bringing in sufficient infrastructure to support Economic Development not only on the IDA site, but also for the surrounding businesses. • The IDA was also very successful in bringing major tenants to their site in Bethel Township— Berks Park 78—which is now home to Dollar General, PetSmart and Dermody Properties. • We continue to have discussions with various entities in Wyomissing, Muhlenberg, Perry, Exeter, and other municipalities. We will continue to do everything that we collectively can to ensure that we have an adequate supply of Commercial and Industrial inventory going forward. OUTSIDE THE BOX THINKING FOR GROWTH Furthermore, several of the RTP partners are working steadfastly with the Berks County Visitors Bureau and Convention Center with a goal of looking at strategies and tactics to accelerate tourism in Berks County. This is a double-edged sword, in that, bringing additional tourists into the region significantly adds to Economic Development and overall increased revenues and spending by outside people within Berks County. Concurrently, any positive increases to items that would attract tourists would also benefit existing citizens in terms of overall Quality of Life and Quality of Place. In fact, people have already started meeting with outside facilitators to look at exploring an overall destination analysis and growth plan that would be extremely positive for our entire region. Clearly, we need to have a keen understanding of all of our overall economic conditions, and then to evaluate our overall assets and look at the entire tourism product in terms of the ease of people being able to purchase and experience various activities and events here in Berks



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County. We also will need to make sure that whatever strategies we decide upon that the Greater Reading region is going to be able to be competitive with opportunities that are within relatively close proximity; however, the goal is clear: adding tourism opportunities and revenue is good for all parties concerned in Berks County. Obviously, strategies and tactics to ensure strong economic growth and prosperity takes a lot of time and effort. However, the results are more than worthwhile, and GREP looks forward to continuing to do as much as possible to support overall Economic Development throughout Greater Reading and Berks County; so, collectively, we all can become something greater. ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jon C. Scott is the President and CEO of the Greater Reading Economic Partnership (GREP), a public-private 501c(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to facilitating economic development growth in the Greater Reading region of Pennsylvania. Visit GREP at www.greaterreading.com. Contact Jon by phone at 610.376.4237 or by email Jon@GreaterReading.com.

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Creating a

Backyard Experience By Jessica Whitmore


ackyards have become more than grass, dirt, and trees. They’ve become living experiences. How a home owner creates that backyard experience can vary as greatly as the products and brands available for backyard use. “People are staying home and turning their backyards into additions and extensions to their home lifestyle. They’re improving their backyards to make home vacations,” explains Kathy Millbrandt, President and owner of Apollo Pools. When considering any project, Diane Salks, President of Riverview Tree and Landscaping, recommends a home owner consider what they want and what they like. Home owners should ask themselves the following questions: What do I want this space to do? How will I use the area…entertaining, kids, recreation, or serenity? Do I need to create a privacy screen? Do I like the sound of water? How much maintenance can I perform or be willing to perform? From there, she recommends home owners decide on a project budget and talk with designers and companies for all aspects of the outdoor living dream.

“Making a backyard truly an outdoor living space is more than just a patio with walls,” says Bill Gottschall, Brick Center Manager in Reading Glen-Gery Corp. While brick is great for walls and fireplaces, brick pavers are typically one-dimensional and one standard size. Home owners might not realize concrete pavers are a great solution. They’re available in several options, colors, and sizes, and they add beauty and strength to your patio or wall. Brands include Belgard, Nicolock, and CST. “One might also consider recycled pavers, such as AZEK® paver, produced from 95% recycled materials, that provide several advantages, including lighter weight, easier replacement, and softer materials for guest safety,” suggests Deb Kearse, vice president of Sales and Marketing at Kohl

Building Products. “A home owner can accent their home’s exterior by creating unique Herringbone, Running Bond or Basketweave patterns, utilizing one, two or up to 5 attractive AZEK® Paver colors, blending outdoor patios into pool aprons and extended walkways,” says Kearse. Of course, outdoor living areas can also include natural stone pavers, patios, landscape boulders, and water features shares Adam Stasko, IT/Marketing at Rolling Rock Building Stone. “One new line that we are excited about is osTV. It is an attractively priced imported natural stone thin veneer. It is real stone at fake stone pricing. Also, we are now carrying Laticrete’s MVIS line, which is a revolutionary way to install thin Continued on page 16

CREATING YOUR ENVIRONMENT “Landscaping expands a home owner’s living space. Additions of terraces, walls, patios, pergolas, fire pits, and outdoor kitchens help to create a space that is perfect for relaxing and escaping the cares of the world. Plants, available in a plethora of colors, shapes & sizes, add appeal and privacy. The installation of a pond, waterfall, pond-less pond or even a water pot provides soothing and relaxing sound,” shares Salks. “It’s important to think how the future growth of your installation affects your current and future outdoor living space before moving the first shovel of dirt.” APRIL 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs


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veneer,” shares Stasko, who adds that transforming the functionality of a backyard not only adds to the home’s value but dissolves the boundary between inside and out.

DISSOLVING THE BOUNDARIES That boundary between inside and out can also easily disappear when an interior/exterior fireplace is installed. Noah Seyfert, Builder Sales Representative for Fireside Hearth & Home sells such an item with the Twilight II fireplace. The fireplace is described as “the world’s first see-thru indoor/ outdoor gas fireplace.” It has a 36 inch viewing area with an interior focus point and an exterior focus point. It can come in either a traditional or modern look. The shift from interior to exterior also happens when kitchens move from inside to outside. “Any entertainment equipment available in your kitchen is now available for the outdoors,” shares Mike Burkholder, Appliance Sales Management at Martin Appliance. This includes grills, refrigerators, dishwashers, ice makers, and such created specifically for outdoor usage with required UL approval. Outdoor patio heaters are also available to extend the season. Such brands include Viking, Lynx, Alfresco, and DCS. Burkholder recommends home owners become familiar with winterizing procedures for the equipment to save on costly repairs with each new season. Martin Appliance can also winterize equipment as well as clean or repair any outdoor appliances prior to spring usage. Outdoor entertaining isn’t what it used to be. “It used to be a basic outdoor wheeled grill. Then the grills got bigger with bells, whistles, and grill countertops. Now it is an ‘outdoor kitchen experience’ and a covered area with a full kitchen,” says Zach Eshbach, Vice President of Malsnee Tile & Stone, who is seeing more natural stone being used in these outdoor kitchen areas. He warns that granite and marble do not hold up in this region’s climate. He also recommends using a lighter color of stone than a darker one simply because a darker one will get hot if fully exposed to sunlight. Malsnee works with Emgee Stones, which is a natural stone wholesaler and importer. There are more options to expanding your outdoor living area. Sunrooms seamlessly dissolve the inside/outside boundary. Cathy Sloan, Office Manager at Aluminum Associates, is seeing more additions with 3-season sunrooms, which are not insulated, and 4-season sunrooms, which are insulated. 16


Home owners can include all glass or all screen, a full length wall, a knee-length wall, or even a core wall without glass or screens. They are all great options for expanding space. Aluminum Associates works with Seaway Manufacturing of Erie, PA, for its sunrooms. As far as flooring options in an outdoor patio or sunroom, Jere Kochel, Showroom Manager at Martin’s Flooring highlights three options. These include: through body porcelain tiles that can withstand the region’s freeze cycle and won’t crack, natural stone products quarried directly from the earth, and indoor/outdoor carpet.

EVERYBODY ON DECK “More people are spending their money to provide extended recreation and enjoyment through larger, and more complex decks,” shares Tim Bower, Branch Manager at J & L Building Materials in Douglassville. Folks are using decking, railing, trims, and moldings made out of PVC, from companies such as AZEK, which is resistant to rot and decay from the elements or insects. It’s the easy maintenance that pulls home owners to these choices. TimberTech is another manufacturer creating decking and railing products from both PVC and wood composites using a capped protective polymer shell to resist scratching and staining. TimberTech’s website has a “Deck Designer” page where home owners can digitally create their own deck design. Bower also highlights Intex Millwork, which manufactures pergola and railing systems and also exterior millwork products. The products are all made from PVC. “The newest product offering from Intex is the Hampton Rail system which is a PVC railing system priced competitively and available in six, eight, and ten foot length kits,” highlights Bower, who also says that company’s website has a “Quick Quote” online system where home owners can configure and quote pergola and railing systems.

RESORT LIVING Nearly every resort has a pool, and Berks County home owners are choosing to make their yards rival resort living with the installation of inground pools at an increasing rate. Pools are still one of the best options for those families who wish to take the family vacation all summer. There are many new options and trends when it comes to pools. One pool trend Millbrandt sees is the conversion of traditional chlorine pools to salt water systems. She explains that a salt water system is softer and gentler and, while it is more expensive upfront, it does produce its own chlorine. Another trend is the use of hi-tech features to make the pools more economical. Millbrandt points to the availability of systems to automatically control for monitor the functionality and safety from a smartphone. One brand, Zodiac, allows a pool owner to turn on the pool’s heater from work.

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SECURITY, APPEAL, AND PRIVACY Creating a backyard experience, however, goes beyond thinking of just a pool. “When considering making an investment in your outdoor space there are many factors to consider: lifestyle, children, privacy, and pets. Adding a fence system can have an impact on those factors, and selecting the right material and style can only enhance your outdoor living experience,” explains Fay Jenkins, Marketing Manager at Pro Max Fence Systems. Jim Brown, Sales Representative at J/M Fence & Deck Company agrees. Beyond standard fence features of wood, vinyl, and aluminum, he is seeing more for fence options. One such option is a gate operator, which were once common in industrial settings but now are being installed by more home owners. “It is like a garage door operator to your yard,” explains Brown, who further says the systems have access push buttons and safety features built into the units.

The gate operators also have additional features for telephone entry systems. This feature would include someone coming up to the gate and placing a call directly from the system to a home or cell phone. A call would then occur between the gate owner and person at the gate. Access to open the gate could then be directly done from the phone. Features also include camera access so the person on the phone can not only talk to the person at the gate but also see them. “The prices have come down for these systems, so they are more of an option for home owners,” says Brown, who says such systems add to the security of the backyard.

WHERE TO BEGIN Your journey to a new, expanded outdoor living space should begin with quality vendors, contractors, and suppliers. We recommend you consult a trusted member of the Berks County Home Builders Association to get your project on the path to success. HBA members will gladly consult with you and provide estimates for any work. Summer is approaching: beware of fly-by-night contractors!




CABIN FEVER & Cooking al fresco By Lori Jean Anewalt

Cabin Fever: 1. Irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter.


id you find yourself irritable, listless, and cantankerous from seeking refuge indoors this past winter? If so, you could have suffered from an extreme case of cabin fever. Don’t despair! Spring is here and it’s time to get creative! Be innovative! Start cooking al fresco or in the open air.

PICTURE THE OUTDOORS Let me whet your appetite with a few state-of-the-art landscapes, now that the last of the snow piles are gone. Guenther L. and his wife, Tina, are people who truly prefer the outdoors. In 2012, they undertook a large-scale project to be able to cook al fresco more frequently. Although Guenther and Tina started with only the idea of installing a brick oven, after they became involved in the design process, they started to organize their outdoors as though it were an extension of their home by creating spaces for different activities. Tina began visualizing her outdoor spaces after reading an article about how to arrange your outdoors similar to your indoors, with “rooms” or designated spaces. Continued on page 20 APRIL 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs


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The project’s scope changed various times this winter, he and Tina were perfecting piz- project was exceptionally intricate since the on site. Guenther constantly interjected his zas, stews, soups, and rotisserie chicken in Klines had a designated area in which the own ideas to help create an extremely per- the brick oven and on the grill while accom- kitchen would fit. Working together with a sonalized landscape, one in which offers a panied by family and friends. He claimed he registered landscape architect, the pieces all nook for each, and every, guest. The result- would be cooking outdoors no matter what came together within the confined area. The ing project included a relaxing seat wall, a the winter brought. kitchen is precisely and ingeniously installed, tranquil water feature, an impressive brick abutting their home. It incorporates a Weber oven, a cozy bar, an all-purpose grill, and FIND YOUR PEACE grill, a stainless steel sink for easy clean-up, meandering paths. Sharing a similar passion for the outdoors, and a striking granite counter around which Last I saw Guenther, prior to the 60+ Benjamin and Pam K. recently had an out- to wine and dine. inches of snow that blanketed Berks County door kitchen designed and installed. This Pam, Benjamin, and their children spend their time outdoors as much as possible. Pam says, “For us, everything is better outside. The outside is a great place to relax, A n e w a l t s L a n d s c a p e . c o m play, meditate and now -cook. We find a great deal of peace in the outdoors. It increases the amount of quality time we can spend together as a family.” So, as we slowly forget about our most recent bout of cabin fever, dig out the recipe books and dog-ear those mouthwatering recipes. After the 60+ inches of snow, envision cooking al fresco and cool spring nights Offering Year Round, Beautifying Pennsylvania with family and friends sitting by the fire. Customizable Services: Think of Guenther and his commitment to One Yard at a Time the outdoors, despite the season. And, next Spring/Fall Clean-Up winter, if the snow piles surpass this winter’s, Edge/Mulch Beds come alive outside; shovel your own meandering path from your house to your brick Mowing oven and make your own thin crusted pizza Shrub Pruning while the rest of us suffer another bout of cabin fever. Plant Health Care

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Lori Jean Anewalt is a co-owner of Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting, specializing in creating beautiful outdoor living spaces. To learn more about their services, talented landscape designers, or Certified Landscape Architect, visit them on the web at www. AnnewaltsLandscape.com. Contact Lori at (610) 9263836 or by email at Lori@AnewaltsLandscape.com.

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COME ALIVE OUTSIDE’S TIP OF THE DAY: Spending more time outdoors nurtures our “nature neurons” and our natural creativity. For example, at the University of Michigan, researchers demonstrated that, after just an hour interacting with nature, memory performance and attention spans improved by 20 percent. In workplaces designed with nature in mind, employees are more productive and take less sick time. According to 10 Reasons Why Children and Adults Need Vitamin N by Richard Louv



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D Y Projects & Contractor Expertise

By Jessica Whitmore


s a home owner, you envision ways to create your own backyard experience. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects are one way such projects can be completed; however, there are reasons when professional contractors are the best option.

DIY project. Additionally, if a fence is being not after the project is complete as replaced, the removal of the original fence is modifications will then cost time also a possible DIY project. and money,” further explains Bower. Hot tubs are considered “plug and play” as Home owners considering DIY patio a DIY project. This can be as easy as calling a projects need to ask themselves “where pool company, placing an order, and having will I put the dirt when I excavate the soil?” it delivered according to Kathy Millbrandt, asks Bill Gottschall, Brick Center Manager President and Owner of Apollo Pools. at Glen-Gery Corp. Landscaping DIY projects can include preAdditionally, Stasko adds that drainage is DIY Projects paring planting beds, planting trees, shrubs often overlooked on DIY projects and exIf you are looking for an instant outdoor & perennials, selecting & planting annuals, plains that “from the freeze-thaw cycle to kitchen area, Mike Burkholder, Appliance and laying mulch according to Diane Salks, poor drainage, a stone project can be ruined Sales Management at Martin Appliance recPresident of Review Tree and Landscaping. if drainage is not properly handled.” ommends the Sedona Island Package from “People are also more interested in what This also includes the issue of possible Lynx Grills. This all-inclusive DIY island they are eating, where it’s grown and how water leakage according to Zach Eshbach, kit for a backyard kitchen includes a grill, it’s grown. As a result, there is an increase Vice President of Malsnee Tile & Stone. He refrigerator, storage area, and an island that in interest in planting vegetable gardens and continues that these are the types of “hidis ready to assemble for immediate use. fruits,” she adds to the list of DIY landscapden items” not seen by the home owner A DIY patio option includes laying recying projects. that contractors complete during cled pavers, which are easy to install and fit installations. directly into a grid according to Tim Bower, The consideration of these “hidBranch Manager at J & L Building Material. Contractor Expertise den items” are not only related A dry-stack stone landscape wall is another When considering a DIY project, to patios or drainage. They DIY option according to Adam Stasko, IT/ keep in mind the aspects contractors can also include roofing Marketing at Rolling Rock Building Stone. confidently understand, which may be structures and support This project involves selecting stones, pre- unfamiliar territory for home owners. put in place for sunparing the area and laying the stones. Bower highlights that rooms or decks. When it comes to fencing, Jim Brown, contractors have an under“If a roof structure Sales Representative from J/M Fence & standing of the building or support is not Deck Company, suggests the DIY aspect codes and specifications reproperly done, they involves prep work. This includes locating quired by each municipality. boundary pins by searching for them, asking will eventually come “The contractor is also neighbors for help, or looking at the prop- familiar with municipality inspecerty deed for hints. The removal of bushes tors, and each one is different. It is better Continued on page 24 along the fence line can also be done as a to meet these codes during the project and APRIL 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs


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Connect with the HBA...

down. We have seen a lot of that happen after this past winter,” explains Cathy Sloan, Office Manager at Aluminum Associates.

Equipment Rental

Half the battle with any DIY project is having the proper tools for that DIY project, highlights Deb Kearse, Vice President Marketing and Sales of Kohl Building Products. It’s improbable to think home owners can buy every tool they need for a project. Proper tools, which often can be rented, can literally cut a job in half for any project. “Don’t be afraid to share your project details and expectations when looking to get the right tools for the job” says Kearse. “Friendly and knowledgeable professionals are always prepared to help you achieve success with your DIY experience.” Jere Kochel, Showroom Manager at Martin’s Flooring, also cautions about lack of product knowledge about special grouts and mortars necessary for a successful DIY flooring project. “We know that happy customers are repeat customers so we always try to impart knowledge to any home owner embarking on a DIY project,” states Kochel. “Sometimes it’s worth spending a few extra dollars to get the correct machine for the project. A smaller machine may accomplish the job but spending a few extra dollars for a larger machine could speed up the job and quite often be safer,” explains Mike Shirk of Stoney Creek Rentals. He recommends contractors should be considered for larger DIY projects, especially when the home owner may not be familiar with the specific work. He also cautions home owners about using the Internet alone as a DIY resource as much could go wrong. “We have witnessed many inefficiencies with some DIYer’s on projects that could have been accomplished in a fraction of time had they chosen to work with an experienced contractor. We try our best to make sure that the customer is getting the proper equipment they need for their project,” cautions Shirk, who also recommends home owners be aware of the location of all underground utilities before digging in the ground. “Renting equipment for DIY projects can be fun, and home owners can save money. For us, however, the biggest concern is for home owners to operate any motorized piece of equipment safely. We try our best to make sure that the customer is getting the proper equipment and product training they need for their project,” concludes Shirk. In the end, a successful DIY project can save time and expense while providing the overwhelming satisfaction of a job completed with one’s own hands. Whether pursuing large or small projects we always recommend you consult with professional members of the Home Builders Association of Berks County.

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Man Cave Trends for 2014 By J.M. Kee

What’s New In 2014?


an Caves are more popular than ever. Husbands, fathers, and bachelors are spending more time and money cultivating that perfect room for relaxing with friends. What started as a spare TV and ratty arm chair in the garage has turned into a big industry, with some of the larger man rooms now rivaling the look and size of commercial bars, restaurants, and theaters. And, while there is no sign this particular room will become anything but more popular in the future, there are a few trends that may change the way Man Caves are designed in 2014. Continued on page 28



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TVs Let’s start with TVs. Samsung’s new curved screen 110-inch behemoth is the talk of the home theater world right now. We can expect to see others follow this trend, with curved screens, big size, and colors more vibrant than ever before. Of course, if you want one of these now, you’ll have to pay for the privilege of being an early adopter — as in $150,000. Willing to settle for the smaller 85-inch screen? You’ll still need about $40K.

Gadgets Of course, the best TV is nothing without the best content. Cable is fine, but there is the exorbitant and increasing cost, those irritating commercials and having to choose your couch time around the TV networks’ schedules. Many people today are opting for services like Netflix and Hulu that deliver the content you want when you want it, without ads. Now, there are many gadgets that are designed to improve the media room or man cave in your home, but perhaps this year’s biggest will be the media streamer. Roku, an early player in this field, has released a new model with HD compatibility and an earphone-equipped remote control. With this relatively inexpensive device (as low as $49), your new TV becomes even more amazing.

Wine Rooms Beer is so 2000. Tomorrow’s man cave is equipped with the sophistication of that more refined concoction, vino. After the home theater is established, it’s time to turn your attention to wine storage—a.k.a. a wine cellar. This is an extravagant extra, but we’re talking about top of the line man caves here! And, to decorate the perfect cellar, wine caddys are a must!

Video Games Watching sports is a huge part of Man Cave culture. But, what about when the season’s over? Or, late at night, when no games are on? Enter the second-most popular Man Cave activity—gaming. When it comes to consoles, there are quite a few to choose from. 28


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1421 Benjamin Franklin Highway Douglassville, PA 19518 610-705-0430 But, the latest must-have comes from Microsoft, whose recently updated Xbox One is changing the nature of gaming with interactive and responsive technologies that allow you to speak to your console (and therefore your TV), and use hand and body movement to play games. Wanna feel like you’re really in the battle against alien invaders? Plug your Xbox One into your new 110-inch Samsung UHD TV and crank up the volume! Editor’s Note: Article reprinted with permission from EzineArticles.com.

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J.M. Kee is a designer and writer with Interior Place, Philadelphia’s leading supplier of interior decor and gifts. We help decorators, designers and hobbyists bring their own style to each project. At Interior Place, beauty is always on the inside. Learn more about J.M. at: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=J.M._Kee.




Employee Engagement: Why companies should embrace it & how they can get started

By Michael DeBerdine III


ost companies realize the benefits of building an engaged, skilled workforce: higher productivity, lower turnover, better customer satisfaction and, ultimately, more profit. However, in the everyday workplace, cultivating an engaged team can be among the most difficult challenges managers face.

Do They Sing Your Praises? Think about this: an incredible 70% of U.S. workers say they do not like their job, according to the State of the American Workplace Report. It is hardly news to managers that some employees lack motivation and commitment. But, what can a company do? Fortunately, there are concrete steps we can all take— steps that benefit the worker and lead to better company performance. Over the past few years, our management team has gradually implemented some employee engagement strategies at Boyertown Oil and Propane, E.G. Smith Inc., and the other Jerome H. Rhoads companies. While our program is still a work in progress, we share below some of what we’ve learned. We applied these strategies to energy services companies, but they can benefit any organization that relies on a team to get things done. By reviewing the available research, guidance from experts and a few real-life examples, employers of any size can begin to formulate a program that can help develop those valuable “engaged workers” that are critical to the bottom line.

30 AT HOME IN BERKs February 2014

Seven Steps Toward An Engaged Workforce



COMMUNICATE A SHARED VISION. By sharing a vision of your company’s values and goals – and finding consistent ways to reinforce those messages – you create a foundation for team building. Inc. magazine advises: “Let your team in on the plan. When you do, employees will view themselves as vital pieces of the puzzle.” At our companies, we’re working to be more overt in communicating the core values – fairness and service to others – that have been the cornerstone of our business since the early 1900’s. As many experts recommend, we’re also providing our team with more detail on company finances and goals, so they realize how their role connects with our overall success. SOLICIT INPUT, GENERATE INVOLVEMENT. Recent studies suggest that when employees feel empowered, they’re more likely to describe themselves as fulfilled, engaged, and loyal. Asking for your team’s ideas and suggestions demonstrates that you trust them and value their opinions. It’s also smart; some of the best money-saving or revenue-generating ideas come from the front lines. This process can be as simple as regularly asking, “What can we do better?” It may also involve a deeper level of engagement. For example, employees at Boyertown Oil and Propane sit on our health insurance selection committee, making very real dollars-and-cents decisions that affect their peers.

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Why Employee Engagement Matters It’s not easy to develop and implement strategies for teambuilding. It takes discipline, and the job is never finished. But, there’s a strong bottom-line rationale for working to build an engaged workforce: • According to HR Magazine, engaged employees perform 20% better than their disengaged counterparts. • Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave an organization, according to the Corporate Leadership Council. • Yet, only 13% of employees can be described as “engaged at work” — that is, likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations — according to Gallup. • Globoforce found that 78% of employees surveyed said “being recognized” motivates them in their job. • According to CareerBuilder, 65% of employees who plan to change jobs in 2014 are doing so because “they don’t feel valued.” • Organizations that actively recognize their employees see a 6% higher net profit margin over companies that don’t, according to a Towers Watson study.

PROVIDE FREQUENT FEEDBACK. Most companies provide 3.} annual reviews for their employees. Why limit it to once a

year? Employees want to know what they’re doing well, and what they need to improve. To keep employees truly engaged, managers should provide regular performance feedback that identifies employees’ strengths and outlines areas for improvement. By offering clear, specific and frequent feedback, companies foster an environment of open communication. Employees understand expectations and have concrete guidance on how they can boost performance.


RECOGNIZE SUCCESSES. By regularly acknowledging outstanding performance, whether it be with a verbal or written recognition from a manager, or by providing some sort of physical reward, employees will feel appreciated and understand the value of their role in the success of the organization.


CREATE MEANINGFUL OPPORTUNITIES. Time and again, studies show that supporting an individual’s growth and development is a key to fostering engagement. This can take many forms: specialized training that adds to an employee’s Continued on page 32 APRIL 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs


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skills set, helping an employee understand his or her career potential within your organization, or assigning projects that give employees a chance to “stretch.” One example: a committee of employees (not management) plans and executes our company wellness program. Giving them that responsibility has been a big win for our company. Through the committee’s initiatives, our team members have lost weight, quit smoking, improved their nutrition, and more. That translates into fewer lost workdays, higher productivity – and healthier, happier workers.


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FOSTER CONNECTIONS. We all want to feel connections with each other, with our companies, with our communities. In fact, the notion of “connectedness” is really just another way of saying “engaged.” For our companies, community involvement has always been important: donating funds, but also time. In the past year alone, our team members have coordinated a Blood Drive, participated in Bowl for Kids’ Sake benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters, sponsored Boyertown Festival of Trees supporting Boyertown Area MultiService, provided critical support to United Way campaigns, and volunteered countless hours. Giving back is a great way to feel connected—and it’s even better when a team member knows they have the full support of management.


KEEP LISTENING, KEEP LEARNING. The job of building an engaged workforce never ends. While our companies have worked hard to implement employee engagement initiatives, we know we still have plenty of work to do. For instance, recent staff surveys showed us that we need to do more to provide training and opportunities to help our employees grow. We’ve decided to build these types of initiatives into our program because we’ve begun to reap the benefits: our average staff tenure runs longer than 10 years, and we’ve been honored as one of the Best Places to Work in PA.

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It bears repeating that working on employee engagement isn’t something “nice” to do for your team­—there’s a solid business rationale behind it. (For research-based evidence, see the sidebar.) Organizations seeking to reduce turnover, increase productivity and boost efficiency should consider the value of employee engagement. ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michael DeBerdine III is President and CEO of the Jerome H. Rhoads family of companies, which provides comprehensive energy services including heating oil, natural gas, propane, fleet fueling and equipment installation and service. The organization serves Berks County through local subsidiaries including Boyertown Oil and Propane and E.G. Smith Inc. For information, visit www.boyertownoil.com or www.egsmithinc.com. Contact Michael by Email at mike3@egsmithinc.com.

Angles the audience will be submitted, organized, and presented by the moderator. As many of the questions as possible will be asked with sufficient time for legislators to answer, time permitting.

The 2014 Theme — Property Tax Elimination

WE Are the People By HBA Staff


hat if you could sit face-toface with your State Senator or Representative for over an hour? What if you could share a meal, relate your trials, and explain your thoughts on the issues facing Pennsylvania? It is not often, in today’s face-paced, campaign-dollar-focused political environment, that citizens get the opportunity to express what “the people” (meaning: YOU) are thinking about the affairs of the day. YOU can! Now, is YOUR chance. Come to the HBA’s annual Legislative Lunch.

Attend the Legislative Lunch

Though closed to the public and the press, this year’s event will be open to all HBA members, at the member lunch fee, and members of the Reading-Berks Association of Realtors and the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry, at the non-member lunch fee. As business owners and job providers, WE need to stand together — all three associations — to help government out of the mess they’ve gotten themselves into. The Legislative Lunch has traditionally attracted (almost) all of the Berks County legislators. This year will be

no different as the RSVP’s from Senators and Representatives are pouring in daily, with very few Berks County legislators not already confirmed. The Room: Green Valley Country Club will have round-tables set such that attendees will have complete access to their legislator for the duration of lunch. The Legislators: Our Berks County legislators look forward to this event each year and all have agreed to be completely accessible to you. They will not all cluster together at a politicians only table. On the contrary, they will be sitting amongst you with one to two legislators per round table. The Agenda: The schedule allows for mingling during the registration process and before the sit-down portion of the program. This affords you time to speak with legislators other than the one with which you will share lunch. After a brief introduction, lunch will be served buffet style. Once the meal is complete, each legislator will give a brief statement on their position on this year’s theme. Finally, general questions from

Pennsylvania is faced with many challenges legislatively and a myriad of regulations that keep Pennsylvania from attracting new jobs to the Commonwealth. In fact, if Pennsylvania doesn’t become a business-friendly state, our economy will have a negative impact on the consumer’s ability to purchase. We are already losing population, relative to historical trends, as our best-educated are going to other states to elevate their careers and many tradesmen are “following the work.” One of the state’s biggest concerns is property tax elimination. But, what can the average Joe or small business woman, Jane, do about it? Who is listening? What’s going on in the Capitol? Where are the answers? The Legislators are fully aware of the hardships and difficulties faced by the housing and building industries and are just as concerned. However, they have a better playing field advantage as they know what’s going on at Capitol Hill, which issues will be addressed, and when. Each Representative, Senator or Commissioner will be given some time to discuss their stance on Property Tax Elimination and, afterwards, there will be plenty of time for questions.

Be Sure to Come

This event is always very well attended and is the perfect opportunity for some one-on-one time with your legislator. If you haven’t planned on attending, put it on your calendar and RSVP to the HBA right now! Bring your employees. Bring your mom. Bring your best friend. And, bring your spouse. Most of all, bring your concerns and opinions. Enjoy a mouth-watering hot/ cold buffet lunch and join in on some lively discussions about the state of Pennsylvania. Legislative Lunch at Green Valley Country Club on April 16th from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm brought to you by Reinsel Kuntz Lesher LLP and UGI. Call the HBA at (610) 777-8889 to RSVP or email Info@HBAberks.org. Cost is $30 for Members and $40 for Non-Members. APRIL 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Membership happenings 2014 Upcoming Events…


APR 16

APR 24

May 3

Easter Egg Hunt HBA Property 10:30 am   –    12:00 pm

Legislative Lunch Green Valley Country Club 11:30 am   –    2:00 pm

Member 2 Member Discount Program As one of the many benefits of membership in the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA), the following members are offering the discounts listed to HBA members only. If you would like to join the HBA or offer a Member 2 Member Discount, contact the HBA office: 610.777.8889.

Aluminum Associates / Sloan Corporation Contact: Kert E. Sloan 610.921.2201

5% discount on all services Berks Transfer

Contact: Bob Quinn 610.926.7626

$50 off 1st can order to new customers Wind Down Thursday Chef Alan’s, West Reading 5:00 pm    –    7:00 pm

Quality Floors Inc.

Contact: Chuck Smith 800.446.6035

10% off any order (Not valid with any other offers or prior purchases) Geoff Penske Buick GMC

HBA Spring Clean-Up Day HBA Property

8:00 am   –    12:00 pm

Contact: Victor Popescu 610.777.1300

GM affinity program & partnership with HBA (Call Victor for more details on how you can save)

Martin’s Flooring, Inc.

Contact: Richie Zook 877.445.7799

May 12

May 21

May 29




1, 6-8

JUN 3-7


Spring Golf Outing Reading Country Club

Free Interior Design & Special HBA Contractor Pricing (Ask about our contractor referral program)

11:30 am    –5:00 pm

“I can help!”

Remodeler’s Council Mixer By Kohl Building Products

Full Cooperation with all Licensees

100’s of Commercial Properties... www.JimAdamsNow.com

The Eagle Hotel, Bernville 3:00 pm    –    4:30 pm

Jim Adams

Parade Gala

Masters in Commercial Real Estate, CNE, Master Municipal Planner, e-PRO Web 2.0 Cert. Ranked #2 of 2,861 RE/MAX agents PA/DELAWARE-1st Qtr 2013

Stokesay Castle



6:00 pm    –    9:00 pm

RE/MAX of Reading 610.670.2770 x 3157

1290 Broadcasting Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Parade of Homes Berks County Fri: 3:00 pm    –    7:00 pm, Sat & Sun: 12:00 pm    –    6:00 pm

Parade of Homes Berks County Fri: 3:00 pm    –    7:00 pm, Sat & Sun: 12:00 pm    –    6:00 pm

Spring NAHB Board Meeting Washington, DC All Day


Spray Foam Insulation Services



• Residential • Agricultural • Commercial

Existing or New Construction Elmer Swarey 484-256-1079

E-mail: elmerswarey@gmail.com Fleetwood, PA

Charles Swarey 484-256-2015

HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Your bank for mortgages

welcome new members Decorating Den Interiors Yvonne Staskel 5044 Old Farm Lane, Mohnton, PA 19540 PH: (610) 777–3313 Email: Yvonne@decoratingden.com Sponsor: Patrick J. Dolan

Jonathan P. Brightbill Construction Jonathan Brightbill 2057 Old Lancaster Pike, Sinking Spring, PA 19608 PH: (610) 775–2167 FX: (610) 775–0257 Sponsor: Cathy Sloan, CGR, CAPS, CGP

Thank You to renewing members of the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA) 1st Year Anniversary

16–20 Years

Advanced Construction Solutions, LLC Esterly Concrete Co., Inc. Lehigh Valley Contractors Association The D&B Groups UGI HVAC Enterprises, Inc.

J & L Building Materials, Inc. Whitegate Contracting Gentile Homes, Inc. Herbein & Company, Inc. Barnhardt Remodeling

2–5 Years

21-25 Years

All Green Lawn & Tree Care, Inc. D & S Elite Construction, Inc. Eisenhauer Nissan Hollenbach Construction, Inc. Leesport Farmers Market, Inc. Taylor Wiseman & Taylor Bechtel Kitchens Masano Bradley Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. Telco, Inc.

Aluminum Building Products M L Construction Rolling Rock Building Stone, Inc.

6–10 Years Brookside Builders, LLC Birchcraft Kitchens ServiceMaster Assured Cleaning Van Cleef Engineering Associates Berks Transfer McElderry Drywall, Inc. RE/MAX of Reading

11–15 Years Comfort Pro, Inc. MRD Lumber Co., Inc. Calvin L. Smoker-Builder, Inc. Fromm Electric Supply Blatt Construction, Inc.

26-30 Years Holt’s Remodeling Quality Roofing Supply Co., Inc. Jeffrey L. Zimmerman Keystone Interior Systems, Inc.

31+ Years

• Flexible Financing Packages • First-time Homebuyer Program • Competitive Construction Mortgages with One Settlement

E verywe mortgage write strengthens our community

LeRoy Schannauer Plumbing & Heating, Inc North Temple Builders, Inc. Shank Door Company Aluminum Associates Berks Products Culligan Water Conditioning Fronheiser Pools Greth Homes Kohl Building Products


fleetwoodbank.com EQUAL HOUSING


Member FDIC

What you want your bank to be APRIL 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

What’s HOT ON



Private Tour: 2013 Build of HBA Restoring Hope

Platinum Tier

Your personal, private tour of the Pieller home (2013 Build) of HBA Restoring Hope brought to you by the Home Builders Association of Berks County in Pennsylvania, USA. The HBA of Berks County has always represented the best builders, remodelers, trade contractors, and associated professionals in the construction industry. This is our way of thanking and giving back to a community that provides us our livelihoods. The HBA Restoring Hope Foundation (RHF) is neighbors helping neighbors so a community can rebuild itself. It is not a ‘hand out’ but a ‘hand up’ for one family in the country each year. (Length: 10:22)

Electronic Window Shades: Home Automation

Gold Tier

Silver Tier

There are times when windows are far out of reach or it is not convenient to adjust the window shade by hand—for those situations, Electronic Window Shades are the answer! They can be controlled from your iPhone, iPad, tablet, smart phone, or separate remote control and can also be tied into systems that allow one touch of a button to set the lighting, adjust the shades, turn on the stereo & TV, secure the house, etc. (perfect for home theaters). Can be retrofitted even where there is no power (battery operated). Charles Bock, President of Stereo Barn, presented to a live audience at the Habitat for Humanity of Berks County ReStore on 9 Mar 13 the basics, definitions, conveniences, and products of Home Automation. (Length: 4:35)

Big Reveal: 2013 Build of HBA Restoring Hope

Bronze Tier

Masano Bradley Roland Stock, LLC B&G Glass Berks Surveying & Engineering, Inc. Berks Fire Water Restorations, Inc. Fromm Electric Supply Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc.



Watch the family react as they see their “new” home for the first time. The Big Reveal (Saturday, September 14th, 2013) of the HBA Restoring Hope 2013 Build to Lisa Pieller and her children, Ashley & Eric, organized by the Home Builders Association of Berks County in Pennsylvania, USA. (Length: 14:14)

Common Contract Clauses As part of an on-going educational series of business topics, Executive Officer Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM presented “PA HICPA & Contracts in Plain English” to a live audience of HBA members. This video explains, in simple language, the following clauses: Signature Block; Complete Agreement AKA Entire Agreement; Notices; Amendments, Additions, Changes AKA Change Orders; Dispute Resolution; Time is of the Essence; Indemnify Against Loss AKA Indemnification; Legally Binding; Counterparts; Severability; Governing Law, Jurisdiction, and Venue; Title and Headings; Event of Default; Terms; Scope of Work; Background; Opening. (Length: 14:35)

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