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y ar t en m y i pl op C m Co

December 2013

Home Decorating & Remodels Hot looks and trends to consider now

THE $10,000 BACHELOR’S DEGREE High quality without the high cost

Three lessons to help grow a business

Growing a business can be compared to growing a plant

OCIATION O ASS FH AL

ILDERS E BU OM

NATI ON

Home Builders Association of Berks County

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Home Bu ilders As sociatio n of

4 Balancing the Busy Business Schedule

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Scheduling is a juggling act. As long as all of the balls are in the air, the act is going smoothly.

Berks Co unty December 2013 SSOCIATION OF AL A ON

BUILDERS ME HO

Features:

Home Decorat & Remo ing dels

NAT I

Contents

ry ta en m pli py m Co Co

BES T-I PUB N-NA LICA TIO TION N

Hot looks to cons and trends ider now

THE $10,000 BACHELOR’S DEGREE High qu

ali the hig ty without h cost

Three lesson to help grow s a business Growing a bu

siness compared to growingcan be a plant

Communication: the Key to Success Miscommunication is no less an issue in home construction and remodeling than it is in other areas of life.

8 A Mid-life Career Change

Ballooning student loan debt, a looming college bubble, and a return on the bachelor’s degree that is flat or falling - all these concerns portend the inevitable change that lies ahead.

12 The Ultimate Twitter Primer 16 20

We are all trying to cut costs and squeeze pennies. The biggest non-product business costs are: people, advertising, and postage. Twitter helps with the latter two.

Three Lessons to Help Grow a Business Growing a business can, in some ways, be compared to growing a plant. You start with a seed, water it, and give it some attention - like sunlight & occasional food – helping it to grow and be healthy.

Home Decorating & Remodels Whether you’re looking to change the look of a room or repurpose space within your home, there are guidelines you should keep in mind before tackling a project.

Angles 18

Reduce Winter Fuel Costs Reducing fuel costs can involve both short-term and long-term solutions and range from simple, inexpensive changes to major home modifications.

24 Heaven for Beginners

We lost a number of pillars of our community. Our Members. Our Friends. Our Family. We pray that they may rest in peace.

Departments

26 2

From the President

HBA of Berks County President Cathy Sloan.

Membership Pages

New and returning members, member to member discount programs, and an overview of all Association-related events from December 2013 to February 2014.


2013 HBA Berks

Board of Directors

From the President

Officers: President Cathy Sloan, CGR, CAPS, CGP Aluminum Associates/Sloan Corporation

First Vice President

Farewell.

Patrick Dolan, AIA, LEED AP Dolan Construction, Inc. (Reading)

business, and then there is always the budget? The cost of dues to become a member may to some be a bit much until you realize that it gives you a membership to three separate associations that you can get involved with. There is the local (HBA of Berks County), the state (Pennsylvania Builders Association) and national (National Association of Home Builders) all of which takes a piece of the dues you pay directly to the local and each serving as a resource to the building industry on separate levels.

Second Vice President Ed Anewalt Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting (Bernville)

Secretary Chad Camburn, P.E. Bursich Associates, Inc. (Pottstown)

Treasurer John Schmoyer Fulton Mortgage Company (Wyomissing)

Immediate Past President Kevin Kozo, CGP Turnberry Custom Homes (West Reading)

Builder/Remodeler Directors Daphne Frownfelter, CKD Deer Mountain Kitchens (Robesonia) Diane Salks

Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. (Temple)

Brad Kehres

L A Kehres Building & Remodeling (Leesport)

Eric Keller

Berks Fire & Water Restorations, Inc. (Reading)

Bryan Moll

B & G Glass (Reading)

Associate Directors Jim Gavin, Esq. Masano Bradley Attorneys At Law (Wyomissing) Sherrie Hallowell

VIST Bank (Wyomissing)

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

HBA Staff Executive Officer & At Home in Berks Editor-in-Chief Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM

S

ince 1957, the HBA of Berks County has been through many Presidents and changes over the years, but it is our member’s knowledge and commitment that makes you want to be part of the association. The association has been the resource for the building industry whether it is building a home or remodeling an existing home and I am proud to have served as the first female President for 2013.

Over the last couple years sitting on committees, the Board, and moving up the ladder to President, I have come to realize how valuable the Home Builders Association really is, not that I didn’t before but I have learned a lot more. There are many associations out there that I could join and become a part of. But what fits my personality, my

As President, it makes you want to experience being part of all three levels, which I did. It was exciting to be able to interact with builders and associates, from not only Berks County, but throughout the state and nation. I have made many friendships and learned valuable resources that I may not have done if I had not become a member and gotten involved. I also realize how much all three levels fight for what they believe will be beneficial to the building industry as well as beneficial for the consumer. It doesn’t always turn out the way you would like it to, but without our associations out there fighting for us we do not stand a chance.

I ask that next time you are approached to join the HBA of Berks County Association before you say you cannot fit it into the budget - you do some heavy research into what the benefits are, not just locally, but state and nationally. I suggest you also look into possibly attending one of our more casual events and get to know some of our members and see what they have to offer. I find it very hard to say you don’t see the value in something if you don’t participate on some level. As this is my last article as President of the HBA of Berks County I would like to take this opportunity to ‘Thank’ the office staff, for all their hard work and dedication. I would

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. I 610.685.0914 2921 Windmill Road, Suite 4, Sinking Spring, PA 19608


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like to give a special ‘Thank You’ to all the volunteers (Board members, committee members, etc.) who give their valuable time and energy to make this association what it is today. It was a pleasure working with all of you. There is also the entire membership to ‘Thank’, because without you there is no association. We value your membership and support throughout the year. Lastly, I need to give a ‘Special Thank You’ to my husband (Kert Sloan) who has always supported me in everything I have ever done. This year, however, he not only supported me, but has helped to take on some of the extra office work, household chores, and even had dinner waiting when I came home from a meeting late. I could not have asked for any more support than that. Thank You, Honey!

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Once again, I am proud to have served as your first female President of the association and appreciate all the support I received from our members and even some of the consumers I deal with every day. Best wishes to everyone as we move towards the Holiday Season and New Year.

E

Happy Holidays to all of you and your families!

Cathy Sloan Cathy Sloan, CRG, CAPS, CGP Aluminum Associates/Sloan Corp. 2013 HBA President

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features

smaller, and there is much more flexibility in the schedule when parts are delayed or sickness plagues the workforce. Plus, small clients often grow, with the most ethical of them remembering who “brought them to the dance” as they say. Medium-sized clients are the perfect balance - there are just not enough of them out there for a medium to larger business to keep busy. The answer is obvious: a healthy mix of all three client sizes. But, how does one schedule such a mess?

The Scheduling Mix

BALANCING THE BUSY BUSINESS SCHEDULE

S

Scheduling becomes even more complicated when implementing a diversification strategy by mixing in various sized tasks for various sized clients (juggling different sized balls). Diversifying the company by simultaneously performing for small, medium, and large clients can reduce risk significantly.

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Fill Your Calendar with Holes

Small, Medium, or Large?

First, place into the jar (the schedule) all of the large rocks (large client tasks). As you peer through the side of the jar (the weekly or monthly schedule) you will see plenty of holes and dead space.

Smaller clients have the opposite pros and cons. Checks flow regularly, though

Once all the pebbles are in the jar, add in the sand (smaller client tasks) using the same approach. The smaller the client task, the less time and company resources it will take to complete; so, the easier it is to find a hole in the schedule.

By Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM

cheduling is a juggling act. As long as all of the balls are in the air, the act is going smoothly. Oft times, however, when one ball is dropped, the juggler may drop a few more balls while attempting to pick up and add back into the routine the first one that fell.

A mind’s eye visual can bring the scheduling process into full clarity. Imagine a large glass jar into which you must place baseball-sized rocks, marblesized pebbles, and sand. If you put the pebbles in first, the large rocks will sit on top and the sand will overflow the brim. It is a puzzle analogous to client task scheduling; wherein the rocks represent large clients, pebbles the medium clients, and sand the smaller clients. The solution, both to the jar puzzle and to client task scheduling, is the creation of holes.

Large clients have “all eggs in one basket” benefits and associated problems. All of your employees are working and life is good when things are going well with the client. However, when a significant supplier delivery is a few days late or some other “ask” cannot be met, the whole relationship may come to a screeching halt. Even more importantly, if the client does not pay fast enough, your company’s cash flow and finances similarly stop on the dime.

Next, finesse in the pebbles (medium client tasks) by adding a few into the mix. Then, gently shake the jar (massage the schedule) to allow the pebbles to sift into the available holes. Allow the mediumsized client tasks to fill in the holes created by the ebbs and flows of the large client tasks.


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Software Simplifies

Creating such an intricately-woven schedule can no longer be easily accomplished with a paper desk calendar and a pencil. Business managers must turn to software applications to sort various sized client tasks while also managing the milestone accomplishments within each client task. Almost all PCs with basic office application software come standard with Microsoft Outlook, which has a simple and easy-to-use calendar tool to accomplish basic scheduling for the small to medium business. Outlook can be customized using colors to represent departments or client types; so, client tasks can be easily moved as the days pass and schedules slip or accelerate. Outlook does have its limitations and can be quickly outgrown.

Companies that like the feel, colors, and flexibility of Outlook; but, have simply By Representative outgrown it, can switch to anyMark numberGillen of commercially available applications; such as: Milum’s Office Tracker Scheduling Software. Programs like Office Tracker have a larger capacity while still performing the same as Outlook. Additionally, such applications allow conference rooms and large/specialty equipment to be scheduled along with employees, managers, client meetings, and departments. The sophisticated business manager will want to add a detailed scheduling layer to manage steps within a particular client task (sales, design, proto-type, client meetings, delivery, invoicing). Again, there are many software choices from which to choose. Microsoft’s Project, which allows advanced users to produce calendars, schedules, progress completion, and Gantt charts to track each individual task or department within a project, has dominated the marketplace for years and is the industry’s benchmark for comparison purposes. No matter which application is chosen, scheduling software is clearly a must-have tool for all business managers.

Business Management is no longer just about providing parts, manpower, and management. As products & services become more customized and the clients’ options continue to increase exponentially, the mastery of scheduling the client tasks themselves and the steps within each client task is essential to achieving client satisfaction at every phase of client interaction.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 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 Christian@HBAberks.org or follow him on Twitter @CDMalesic.

december 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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features Even if two people are standing face to face and being completely forthright and honest, there is still going to be a chance of miscommunication. In today’s world of hectic communications including cell phones, e-mails and texts, the likelihood of miscommunication is increased.

COMMUNICATION: THE KEY TO SUCCESS By James E. Gavin, Esquire

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good friend once said to me, “under the absolute best of circumstances, there will always be miscommunication.” In other words, even if two people are standing face to face and being completely forthright and honest, there is still going to be a chance of miscommunication. In today’s world of hectic communications including cell phones, e-mails and texts, the likelihood of miscommunication is increased. Even worse, sometimes people are not completely forthright and honest. Miscommunication is no less an issue in home construction and remodeling than it is in other areas of life. It is not at all uncommon for me to have a contractor coming into my office asking for my help to get paid by a homeowner. It is also not uncommon for me to have a homeowner come into my office complaining that a homebuilder or remodeler is overcharging them for work that was promised, or failed to perform work that they said they would perform. More often than not, the problem comes down to a lack of clear communication.

The intent of this article is to provide simple and practical advice to both homeowners and contractors to set a solid foundation upon which they can build. 6

AT HOME IN BERKs december 2013

Write It Whether you are the contractor or the homeowner, it is extremely important that you place in clear writing the services that are to be provided or requested. We all know of the importance of putting things in writing, however, we often forget the need to make sure those writings are very clear. A writing that is not clear is of no more value than no writing at all. If you are remodeling your home and you are requesting a certain type of window, describe it in the purchase order or contract clearly. If there is a model number, include it. If there is a specific color, specify it.

The few minutes that it takes to make the contract clear at the beginning saves a lot of heartache at a later date.

Read It Once it is written, read it.

It absolutely amazes me how often I am speaking to people that have not taken the time to read what it is that they signed. It serves you absolutely no purpose to put something in writing, if you do not read it and understand it. You should not be signing any purchase orders or contracts without reading them.

When I say read it, I mean read everything. It is not unusual for documents to have fine print. This is being placed in writing for a reason. Fine print is also a part of the agreement between the homeowner and the contractor. It is absolutely essential that you understand what you are agreeing to. Again, I often speak to people, both contractors and homeowners, that have not read the fine print. You need to know what you are agreeing to do. If you do not agree to something in the fine print, you need to raise it before signing the documents.

One of my favorite writers is Mark Twain. He once noted that there is no difference between a person who cannot read and a person who can read but chooses not to. In both cases, they are not reading. Take advantage of the ability to read, and read what you are being asked to sign.


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Be Polite If your parents and teachers are anything like mine were, they spent a great deal of time when you were growing up teaching you to be polite. In this hectic world, a lot of those lessons have been forgotten. There is still a lot to be said for being polite.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions. If you do not understand what it is you are supposed to do or what is required of you, ask a question. Nevertheless, the question should be polite and respectful.

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Part of being polite is listening. A lot of problems can be avoided and / or resolved by taking the time to calmly and politely listen to what somebody else has to say. Again, there is no requirement that you agree with what they say, but you should show them the respect to listen to what they have to say.

Be Humble Whether you are homeowner or contractor, I have news for you – you are human. Human beings are not perfect and are prone to making mistakes. Miscommunicating and not understanding are two of the more common human frailties. When someone is explaining their position, be humble and recognize that they may be right.

Be Honest It is of paramount importance that you be honest. Whether you are the contractor or the homeowner, you must be honest and forthright with each other at all times. If you have concerns that are honestly presented and honestly answered, they can be easily resolved.

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Conclusion After twenty-five years of practicing law, it has become abundantly clear to me that the vast majority of problems between people are problems with personalities and communication. The homebuilding industry is not immune. If you write it, read it, be polite, be humble, and be honest, you have the foundation for a very professional relationship. In the end, both the homeowner and the contractor have the right to have a beautiful home to be proud of and a relationship that will last for years. It all depends on a good foundation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR James E. Gavin, Esquire is an attorney at Masano Bradley Attorneys at Law (www.MasanoBradley.com). Though Jim has a breath of experience in all areas of civil trial practice, he concentrates in commercial litigation, mortgage foreclosure, bankruptcy, insurance defense litigation, and personal injury litigation. Contact Jim by email at JGavin@MasanoBradley. com or by phone at (610) 372-7700.

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features

A MID-LIFE CAREER CHANGE By Stephen E. Doyle

Reinvention There are a myriad number of likely reasons behind the rising tide of reinventions. Events beyond one’s control, such as the Wall Street debacle of 2008, affect the career decisionmaking process. After all, Wall Street directly impacted Main Street leaving millions of Americans in financial straits, which led to numerous panicked-fueled comparisons to the Great Crash of 1929. Lots of people lost their jobs through layoffs and jobs obsolescence.

Corporate job security has all but become a relic of the distant past. Millions of Americans are blazing their own trails as free agents, telecommuters, and entrepreneurs. It is not uncommon for former employees to maintain ties to previous employers where they resurface as consultants while picking up new clients. Abandoning the corporate track may have once been stigmatized; but now it has cachet. The traditional corporate track has all but disappeared. 8

AT HOME IN BERKs december 2013

Career Change Happens People are living and working longer, which presents a greater opportunity for rediscovery through career changes.

The reality of life passing too quickly also gives pause for personal reflection: the desire to “feel good” about the chosen career path has gained a newer significance. It’s important to find fulfillment in the new career.


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As mid-life looms on the horizon, many people begin to view life through a different lens. Perhaps the eureka moment comes while reading Dr. Seuss’s “The World Is Your Oyster” to the kids; or maybe it happens while yawning for what seems like the one hundredth time while trapped under a mountain of mind-numbing routines that require little, if any, thought.

Statistics As Excuses There is no difference between a reason and an excuse when it comes to making needed changes in one’s life. The perfect time will never present itself. Make the move now. The economic climate, though fraught with many anxious and understandably angry citizens, was never as bad as the Great Crash. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics the unemployment rate in 1933 was 24.75%. Unemployment reached a high of 10% in October of 2009, but that was only for one month following the crash of 2008.

There’s a fundamental change sweeping all industries and professions. According to the U.S. Labor Department, “the average person born in the later years of the baby boom held 10.5 jobs from age 18 to 40.” And, in 2006, the most recent year for which there are statistics, 54 million Americans, or 40 percent of the work force left their jobs.

This is My Story, Too One of the reasons that this intrigues me is that I am both an actor in the career change story and someone who covers it as a writer. After approximately 17 years in the healthcare field, I did what several former coworkers had described as the unthinkable: changing careers during a bad economy. One went as far as to say that “writers are chronically unemployed or under-employed; you’ll be miserable.” She also added that writing was too solitary a pursuit for someone as sociable as myself.

I had job security working as a crisis center caseworker, despite not having a bachelor’s degree like most of my coworkers. But, I wanted something new. I had always loved writing and decided to pursue my long overdue love of writing by

returning to college to earn a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am really enjoying the solitary aspect of writing, much more than I ever thought was possible. I finally discovered an outlet for my passion. I can enjoy conversations with various people from all walks of life and get their stories.

I have not been underemployed as a writer, though still a student. I have written news reports covering municipal meetings (throughout Berks County) for The Reading Eagle newspaper throughout the spring and summer of 2013. I worked throughout the summer and fall as a copywriter intern at JC Ehrlich in Reading. I have been a regular contributor for the Home Builders Association of Berks County’s award-winning magazine, At Home In Berks, and I was recently hired as the new Marketing Specialist for the HBA of Berks County.

The Future Is Now According to Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, the future of the jobs market looks bleak. The unemployment rate has been north of seven percent since December of 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. And, as if that weren’t enough, futurist Thomas Frey recently told AOL Jobs, 50 percent of all jobs in existence today will no longer be around in 2030. As certain jobs fade into extinction others pick up steam. There’s a plethora of opportunities. However, too many workers in America lack the proper training, education or both. According to Ferguson’s book The Talent Equation, 45 percent of human resource managers report that they cannot find qualified candidates for vacant positions.

Live Your Life The need for personal growth through new challenges is as motivating a reason for changing careers as financial necessity. If ever there was cause for change it is one’s inner drive. Necessity is the mother of invention certainly is a common mantra for the movers and shakers who decide to return to school. But, the noble goal of self-improvement is often its own just reward. The new challenges of college are often quite rewarding.

Jobs that are expected to see at least 8% growth with at least 30,000 new positions created nationwide between 2013 and 2017 are: Home Health Aides (21%) Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (13%) Medical Secretaries (14%) Medical Assistants (10%) Registered Nurses (9%) Pharmacy Technicians (9%) Social and Human Services Assistants (9%) Computer Systems Analysts (8%) Management Analysts (8%) Insurance Sales Agent (8%) Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses (8%) Receptionists (8%) Software Developers (11%) Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists (14%)

There are many good reasons to seek out a career change, a return to school, and additional job skills development. But, the best reason is to continuously challenge yourself as much as possible. Life is too short for excuses and regrets later in life. Fortunately, my loving and supportive wife was behind me throughout my decision to return to school. I am very grateful to her. Her being there made my decision that much easier. There was still much work to do. But, she made the journey all the sweeter. Go for your dreams. I sure did.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Stephen E. Doyle is the Marketing Specialist for the Home Builders Association of Berks County. He is also a university student at Penn State Berks (in his 4th year) majoring in professional writing and is a regular contributor to At Home in Berks as he hones his craft. Stephen can be reached at Stephen@HBAberks. org or (610) 777-8889. december 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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features

THE $10,000 BACHELOR’S DEGREE High Quality Without The High Cost

By Stephen E. Doyle

M

uch is being discussed about the exorbitant cost of college education in our country. Ballooning student loan debt, a looming college bubble, and a return on the bachelor’s degree that is flat or falling all these concerns portend the inevitable change that lies ahead. According to the New York Times, “The median inflationadjusted household income fell by 7 percent between 2006 and 2011, while the average real tuition at public fouryear colleges increased over that period by over 18 percent.” The average tuition for just one year at a four-year private university in 2011

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AT HOME IN BERKs december 2013

was nearly $33,000, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Formerly unthinkable, college tuition has increased at double the rate of health care costs over the past quarter century.

A Ray of Hope? A notable idea gaining currency is the $10,000 college degree - the so-called 10K-B.A. It was inspired by a challenge to educators from Bill Gates, and Arthur C. Brooks, who earned a 10K-B.A., has recently led to efforts to make it a reality by governors in Texas, Wisconsin and Florida, as well as a state assemblyman in California. Brooks also earned his

master’s degree for $5K. He would go on to earn his PhD and teach at Syracuse University. He is living proof that it works.

Arthur C. Brooks 10K-B.A., offers much food for thought regarding how best to make college more affordable. One notable advantage of this type of program is a significant online component, which reduces the issue of traditionally exorbitant university infrastructure. There are already several traditional Texan universities that offer a version of this. According to Brooks, “Tuitions, nationally, have risen 440 percent in the last 25 years.” The


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10K-B.A., is a lifeline for many people who are otherwise priced-out of the American ideal: a future career, family, possibly marriage and overall self-sustenance.

A n e w a l t s L a n d s c a p e . c o m

Critics Give Their Two-Cents Worth Critics, such as Darryl Tippens, Provost of Pepperdine University, are quick to point out that these financially affordable degrees are watered down diplomas, thus ultimately worthless. Tippens said, “No PowerPoint presentation or elegant online lecture can make up for the surprise, the frisson, the spontaneous give-and-take of a spirited, open-ended dialogue with another person.”

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Not many people would argue against the benefits of open-ended dialogue and face-to-face discussions. Pepperdine University is located in Malibu, California, a beautiful and pristine campus that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. It looks more like a grand resort than a university and for the not-so-low tuition of $57 thousand dollars per year one can, and should, quickly dismiss Tippens as an expert on the collegeaffordability crisis plaguing the majority of Americans today.

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According to the Pew Research Center, a recent national study finds that 75 percent of prospective students deem college unaffordable. National student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt, slightly eclipsing $1 trillion dollars. A less than favorable jobs market only exacerbates matters. It is easy to see that for many people, the overpriced college tuition simply fails to justify the endproduct: high student loan debt plus worrisome levels of unemployment-in spite of having a college degree. The need for change is imminent. A recent study conducted by Sallie May, in which, 1,600 college students aged 18 to 24, as well as their parents, revealed, not surprisingly, that college education is an investment in the future. However, drawing from savings, income and loans, students paid 30 percent of the total bill, up from 24 percent four years ago, while parents covered 37 percent of the bill,

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down from 45 percent four years ago. The social and economic implications of a higher educational system that can no longer meet the diverse needs of its students are quite unsettling. Our nation’s future hangs in the balance of whether we embrace the 10K-B.A., or something very similar. The old educational model is a dinosaur.

Ultimately, the case for the 10K-B.A., is fundamentally moral, not financial. Entrepreneurs who envision a way for millions of Americans to attend college affordably have a firm understanding of

the American Dream. And, that dream is the opportunity to make a good life through hard earned success. That starts with education.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Stephen E. Doyle is the Marketing Specialist for the Home Builders Association of Berks County. He is also a university student at Penn State Berks (in his 4th year) majoring in professional writing and is a regular contributor to At Home in Berks as he hones his craft. Stephen can be reached at Stephen@HBAberks.org or (610) 777-8889. december 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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THE ULTIMATE TWITTER PRIMER By Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM

M

y name is Christian and I am a Twitter-aholic (you respond: "Hi, Christian"). Like most people on Twitter, I check it multiple times a day - usually 6-12. Mostly, I do fly-bys, spending only a few moments with my device, tablet, or desktop screen. Other times I spend 5-10 minutes. I get most of my news by starting on Twitter then following the links to read articles or watch video clips of the longer story. I follow the companies, brands, people, and organizations that I like the most.

BTW (By the Way - for those that do not know the lingo yet), did I tell you...I am a Generation Xer. Want to reach me? 12

AT HOME IN BERKs december 2013

Or, those in my age demographic (and younger)? Get our attention on Twitter

Sorting thru “The Noise” I have created special "lists" of the other folks on Twitter that I like the most. I have an associations list, news list, politics list, quotes / inspirational thoughts list, entertainment list, business list, and Builders Assn’s (NAHB) list. I make only the last one public. All of the others are private for me alone. I tweak each list occasionally adding those Tweeps (means: people on Twitter) I want to try and deleting those of which I have grown tired. These lists keep

me from sorting thru all of the noise, allowing me to see the content and read only the opinions of those I have come to trust or enjoy. Not all of us Tweeps use lists - only the real die-hards. But, a lot of people are on Twitter

Change or Die We have read in our business magazines and heard at seminars that we must change or die. We must include the Gen X and Gen Y (and sometime soon, the Gen Z) or our businesses will slowly shrink and then perish as the Boomers retire. The Xs, Ys, and Zs are on Twitter! The "next great thing" may change all


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

that in a year, or a decade; but, right now: they are on Twitter.

The “next great thing”...well...that is Twitter. On November 7th, Twitter had its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). With the initial sales price set for $26 a share, the demand for the stock was so large that the first trade debuted at 10:09 am at $45.10 a share. To give you perspective, at $45 a share Twitter is valued as a $24.4 billion company and has made 1,600 new millionaires out of rank and file Twitter employees.

will quickly lose interest. Your potential customers and lifetime clients alike care about themselves, simplification, their family, the neighborhood, trends, maybe a little about Washington or the State Capitol, new products, gee whiz funfilled facts, etc. Fill your timeline with as much of that as you can. Get their attention. Make them want to come back to read your next Tweet. Once you have their attention, you can drop an advertisement on them. Your ratio should be at least 4 ‘useables’ for every 1 ad.

Save Money, Invest Time

You are Not Alone

We are all trying to cut costs and squeeze pennies. The biggest nonproduct business costs are: people, advertising, and postage. Twitter helps with the latter two. It costs you nothing in hard money. Only time. Everything you currently mail, fax, email, or carrier pigeon can be put on Twitter... as long as you can say it in 140 characters (spaces & punctuation count).

Where do you get the ‘useable’ Tweets? Tweet things you read in a good book, hear on the radio, observe in real life, or from your manufacturers and suppliers. ReTweet Tweets from other businesses in your area or industry, the news, and from trade associations. Ensure that these Tweets are relevant to who your clients are currently or who you want to help them be eventually.

At the HBA of Berks County, our business is a little different from yours. Our mission is to help our business Members grow their businesses. There are a lot a ways we do that, such as this magazine.

It would be a drastic over-simplification that belittles HBA Membership to do so; but, one could make an argument that we are in the meetings and events business since those are two of our deliverables. The HBA increased attendance at every single event last year (with one small exception, and that one was close) after we got our social media campaign fully up and running. Though not always true, that means we made more money on each event in income; but, we also spent less in expenses attacking the profit equation from both ends.

What to Tweet? It's all about the tweets. Of course, you are doing this to increase interest in your business and its products & services; but, if your timeline is filled with you selling things from your offerings - they

You do not need to do all of the work! We are all scouring the web for content. Find Twitter accounts, like @HBAberks, that are doing the same thing. If you ReTweet or favorite one of our Tweets we will be most appreciative. And, if you do it often, we will begin to think of you as a Tweepi (friend on Twitter). Tweepi’s help Tweepi’s; meaning: “you scratch our back and we’ll scratch yours.” Thus, unless you are a Member who wants to stay active in the HBA, you are going to ignore all of our Tweets on our meetings & events and ReTweet only that stuff that is relevant to YOUR clients.

How Do They Know You Exist? This is the hardest part. If you build it... they won't necessarily come. From our point of view, you get three kinds of Tweeps. At first blush, you might think you only care about the first type; but, think again: clients, non-customer locals, non-customer non-locals. Clients - The obvious group we want to reach. This is our target market and why we do what we do. We want them

to know what we are up to; so, they can be a part of it making their relationship with us more valuable.

Non-Customer Locals - This category has two subsets: those who are potential customers and those that are not ever going to be potentials. In the first group is the potential customer who just started their business, the business who never tried us before, and the one that used our product or services before and didn't come back (maybe they loved us and just didn’t need us again yet). The second subset is the group that will never use your product / services by virtue of what they do and who they are. Chances are extremely high that they will never even consider you. For example, the US Postal Service will probably never use your service if you are a local printer; however, the individual carrier may if you are a local accountant. These subsets change for each one of us reading this article – you have to do your own analysis.

Should you market... er, I mean, Tweet to them? Absolutely! You WANT the local public to follow you EVEN IF they are not a potential customer. They have friends, family, neighbors… oh, and they change jobs, sometimes, too.

Non-Customer Non-Locals - Why do you care if someone from Napa Valley, CA follows you? Or, from Paris? Or, South Whales? You do! It is more complicated and beyond the scope of this article; but, I'll give you the elevator version: it comes down to reach & influence as measured by metrics such as the Klout Score. The greater your reach, the higher you will rank in searches by search engines. If you tie your Twitter account to your web site, Facebook posts, YouTube, etc. your status will elevate as people do Google searches causing your information to come up as the best solution to the user's inquiry. Isn't this also important as we emphasize that the buying public should buy from us? In fact, might this even be one of the very definitions of the word “advertising”?

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the ultimate twitter primer

Gain Followers When HBA Berks does our printed Membership Directory each year, we send out a form to each member to ensure we have the proper names, phone, email, etc. We added social media accounts to this form to allow us to expand our social reach. You can do this with your clients. How cool do you think a client will think YOU ARE if you ReTweet them on occasion?

We also put our linkable social media icons on each page of our web site and on our email signature block. It is not an accident that they are on our business cards, flyers, and letterhead. We publicize our accounts in each issue of our publicfocused magazine with a circulation of 3,000 (At Home in Berks), put up a large vertical banner at every association event, and push Social Media at our Home Show and Parade of Homes. As if that wasn't enough, we go searching each Social Media platforms for new accounts in those rare moments when we have a few minutes to do so. Even after all that, we wish our follower count would be larger; but, it is growing... steadily.

Cross-utilize Twitter Everything we post on Facebook also posts to Twitter (and visa-versa). When we put up a new YouTube video, it goes to Twitter. LinkedIn and Pinterest are a little trickier. Thus, we are crosspopulating various social media accounts with one staff action.

Some "experts" are arguing now that this is bad. Facebookers are different than Tweeps, they argue, and posts should be presented differently. In a college classroom, I'll agree with that theory all day long. The pragmatist in me, however, argues two points to the contrary: (1) Most people prefer one or two social media accounts over the others. I tried FB, for example. I tried, I really tried. My high school friends are all into it big time. It wasn't me. I now check my personal FB account once or twice a month. So, as businesses, we need to be on more than one type of Social Media

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platform to expand our reach to our clients and our future customers alike. (2) I don't have the time or the staff to log on to each Social Media platform to customize the same message over and over to make it specific for that platform. Do you? When I get two or three more staff, maybe I will add that to the task list.

Make Your Website Current Our web site went from “sucks” to “the pride of our family” over the last year. We did a lot to make that happen, the most significant of which was to post the most current, cutting-edge topics to our home page the moment they happen. Our events appear on our web home page. Our awards appear. Latest breaking news in the construction industry appears. And, the Best Part?... we don't do any of it from the web page or by programming it or calling our IT guy, etc. We do nothing to make this happen. That’s right… zero staff action, zero expenditure of time or money. In one action a year ago, we set up a Twitter "widget" on our home page. Twitter did all the work and HTML coding for us. We went to Twitter settings and copied the code to our web page... again... we did this ONE TIME in ONE ACTION a year ago. Now, every time we post to Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube the information goes on Twitter (as a Tweet) and then to our home page of our website. It is a beautiful thing.

Check out HBAberks.org Do it on YOUR Schedule. We do most of our Tweets for the month at one sitting. Wait? What, you say? Oh... you thought Twitter was only used live. You thought that, like an email, when I hit send it goes to you to read. NOPE. It CAN be used like that. We use it like that to ReTweet and for live content. For example: who won an award, did the Members pass a dues increase at the

national Board meeting (unfortunately, they did), did Senator Pat Toomey address us at a state Board meeting in Hershey (he did).

For all of our events and "advertisements" we schedule the Tweet. Before writing this, I wrote and scheduled all of my tweets for December. I can set the date, time, and verbiage. Up until the moment they go live, I can edit any of those three areas or delete the Tweet entirely. A little known fact is...I can even delete a Tweet after it goes live. I cannot as easily, however, delete it from all of the places it cross-posted. I like using HootSuite for all of this. (It also allows me to view those lists I spoke of in a form I prefer). Before HootSuite, I used TweetDeck, which was purchased by Twitter and is now theirs. There are others. Google or Tweet the question to the world if you don't like either of those two. Your Tweepi’s will reply to you. They have opinions. If you learn nothing else when you start using Twitter...you learn that everyone has opinions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 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 Christian@HBAberks.org or follow him on Twitter @CDMalesic.


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

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features

Three lessons to help grow a business

Growing a business can, in some ways, be compared to growing a plant. You start with a seed, water it, and give it some attention - like sunlight & occasional food – helping it to grow and be healthy.

T

he same can be said for a business. So many aspects, from the day-to-day running of a company to the bills and other financial considerations, can take attention away from some of the simpler things needed to keep it afloat. Here are three simple lessons to remember that will go a long way in helping your business to prosper:

Serve the ones who serve you. When your employees feel taken care of then they will be more loyal to you. John Williard Marriott, founder of Marriott, once said, “Take care of your people, and they will take care of your customers.” Throughout his time in the workforce, Marriott surrounded himself with a strong team of workers. He moved up 16

AT HOME IN BERKs december 2013

By Sue Wilson

Lesson #1 Take Care of Your Employees the ranks by being a good manager and building the best possible team around him. “Employee loyalty is of great importance,” he said. “That comes by treating employees the way management would like to be treated.” Building a positive work environment for everyone he employed was extremely important to Marriott. The first step he took was to make sure that his employees’ needs were met. From giving his wait staff clean and professional-looking uniforms to installing hose reels on the sides of

his buildings so that workers could easily hang up the hoses they used for cleaning, Marriot considered no detail too small in trying to make his workers' lives better. He knew that building employee loyalty and pride began with the small details like proper equipment and clean uniforms.

Dave Gallen, Vice President of Gallen Insurance in Shillington, knows that without a strong staff, their company – which has lasted 56 years – would spiral downward quickly. "The employee/ employer relationship is a two-way street," Dave said. "Money means a lot to employees but not necessarily everything. The work environment is just as critical along with respect."


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Lesson #2 Lesson #3 Customer Service. Period

According to Entrepreneur.com, the definition of customer service is “the degree of assistance and courtesy granted those who patronize a business.” That degree of assistance can be big or small. It's an investment. And, since customers are a source of free advertising, it's an important little detail to keep in mind. Happy customers pass along recommendations – good or bad – to friends looking for similar items or services. Excellent customer service is more than what you say or do for your customers. It also means giving customers a chance to make their feelings known.

In the world of carpets and floor covering, Dottie Boyer who owns Boyer’s Floor Coverings, Inc. in Laureldale with her husband Dave, said that customer service is most important in her line of work. "We may have an occasional problem with carpet or materials on a job, but it is most important to take care of those situations promptly for the customer and make sure, at the end of the day, that the customer knows we are going to make things right," Dottie said. With a company that has been around for 90 years, Dottie said a cheerful sales staff goes a long way in helping a customer feel comfortable and at ease when they come into the store. "It's not every day you buy carpet, so it can be over whelming for some people," she explained. "Each day is an opportunity to help customers make their most cherished house a better and more beautiful, practical place to call home." In today's world, where everyone has a smartphone, customer service is even more vital as experiences – positive or negative – can be shared instantly.

Use Social Networking

In the past, everyone coming out of college, especially with a business degree, was given the advice to "network, network, network." Who you knew went a long way in helping you down the road to success. Enter a new millennium...it's a whole new, and sometimes confusing, world (wide web) of networking out there. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube – so many different ways to keep in touch with customers these days. But, it's also a free way of reaching out to those who may not have heard of you yet.

How to do it?

Some companies set up blogs and pages on Facebook and LinkedIn to give advice or share stories and ideas related to their business. Some even promote products or special sales only to online subscribers. Getting friends and contacts through that expands your client base by the number of friends each follower has. For those interested in a quicker approach, a Twitter feed allows business owners to keep a more moment-bymoment touch with customers, with tweets that can happen in real time. The best part of online social networking is that - it's free, for the most part.

Years ago, Walter Everson, owner of Zee Medical Services in Bern Township, said their sales staff would do cold calls in person. That was in '70s, '80s, and '90s. Fast forward to today, and business has changed. "Now you can't even get in the doors of some places," he said. "Our sales people need a special badge or a background check. It's tougher and tougher to get in front of people." At the advice of his sales manager, Walter said they made some changes. They began using a website, social media, and online marketing, as well as having an ecommerce presence online, allowing for customers to buy products, do business, and contact them on their schedule. "It's not 8 to 5 anymore," he

said. "You can have a 24-hour presence. And, we get substantial revenues through it.”

That said, according to Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media, "real social media marketing takes dedication." "If you’re new to social media marketing you might believe that a few blog posts, daily, random status updates, and a healthy number of 'followers' and 'likes' are going to magically grow your business," Brian said. "The truth is: this stuff takes real planning and dedication." Online marketers who are serious about harnessing the power of social media know that you "need to incorporate a deliberate mixture of: listening to your audience, sharing your relevant message, and enabling others to share your relevant message," he continued.

Connect with the HBA...

Home Builders Association of Berks County

@HBAberks

HBAberks

Group: HBA Berks

Channel: HBAberks

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Angles fuel to keep the rest of the house at its usual temperature.

Install a programmable smart thermostat that allows you to lower the heat during the workday or at night when you are asleep, and automatically increase the setting before you get home or awake in the morning.

Install Energy-Efficient Products

REDUCE WINTER FUEL COSTS By HBA Staff

A

s temperatures drop during the winter, home fueling costs often increase for home owners. Fuel options for home owners largely depend on the region – in the Northeast, fuel oil or electricity are most prominent while in rural areas, propane and wood are often the main choices. But, whatever your heating fuel options are, you have options to reduce your costs.

Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances and products such as new HVAC systems, high-performance windows and ENERGY-STAR rated appliances will also help lower your electricity bills. Windows with low-E glass may cost 10 to 30 percent more than conventional glass double-pane windows, but their effectiveness in keeping your wintertime heat indoors will make up for it with lower heat costs over time. Replacing incandescent lights with compact fluorescents can save home owners up to three-quarters of the electricity previously used by incandescents. The best targets are 60-100 watt bulbs used for several hours a day. Check the fixtures to ensure they will accommodate the slightly larger compact fluorescents.

The best way to reduce your home’s overall energy consumption is to hire a professional energy auditor to evaluate your home and identify all the inefficiencies. It may cost a couple hundred dollars, but will save you much more over the long run.

Reducing fuel costs can involve both short-term and longterm solutions and range from simple, inexpensive changes to major home modifications. Here are some ways that you can keep the cold out and the costs down this winter:

Reduce Air Leaks By caulking and sealing air leaks in a home, an average household can cut 10 percent of their monthly energy bill. Use caulk to seal any cracks or small openings on nonmoving surfaces such as where window frames meet the house structure. Make sure your weather stripping in exterior door frames hasn’t deteriorated and cracked, if it has, replace it.

Sealing windows and doors will help, but the worst culprits are usually utility cut-throughs for pipes (plumping penetrations), gaps around chimneys, recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards & closets. You can buy material that expands to fill the gaps and keep air from flowing through.

Use Energy Wisely Set the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120 F). If your water heater is older, get an insulating blanket to wrap around it and reduce heat loss. Newer heaters are much more energy efficient and a blanket won’t make a noticeable impact. Lower the thermostat setting to 50 or 55 degrees when you are using your fireplace and the furnace is on. Some warmed air will still be lost, but the furnace won't have to use as much 18

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19


features

Home Decorating & Remodels By Susan Shelly

W

hether you’re looking to simply change the look of a room, open up living area, create outdoor living space or repurpose unused or little used space within your home, there are considerations and guidelines you should keep in mind before tackling a project. Two Berks County professionals weighed in with advice for homeowners who wish to undertake remodeling or redecorating projects. Budget, project objectives, space, allotted project time and local home resale values are among the factors you should keep in mind when considering a project. Jeff Fink, owner of New Spaces, LLC in Mohnton said the first thing to consider before starting a project is cost. “Deciding how much you want to spend is key,” Fink advised. “No matter what it is you’re looking to accomplish, you should think about whether the improvements you’re planning will give you a return on your investment when you’re ready to sell your home.” You might think about converting an uncovered patio space to a covered or enclosed space to expand or extend its use.

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Unless budget is not a concern, you should limit improvements or expansions to those that will not increase the value of your home to an amount that is greater than what you are likely to get if you decide to sell. “You’ll want to look at the expenditures you’ll incur for your home improvement project, then decide

whether they’ll give you the return on your investment that you’ll want when you go to sell the house,” Fink said. Improving your home to the point where its value far exceeds that of any other home in the neighborhood lessens the possibility that you’ll be able to recoup the cost of your investment at the time


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Association of Berks County, agreed that your budget should be your first consideration when planning a home improvement project. Prioritize what is most important to you, and then

HOT LOOKS AND TRENDS TO CONSIDER NOW

Check out flea markets, second-hand shops, craigslist and yard sales for finds that will add pizazz and color. of sale. “In other words, don’t fix up your home like the Taj Mahal when the rest of the housing around you is more modest in nature,” Fink said. Cathy Sloan, co-owner of Aluminum Association/Sloan Corp. and 2013 president of the Home Builders

Glass tile for kitchen backsplashes or as accent tiles in master bath custom shower stalls. Imported, exotic granite, concrete or quartz countertops. Bamboo flooring and tile flooring with new styles and textures, such as tile that looks like real wood planks. Laminate style flooring such as Pergo is still popular due to its relatively low cost, ease of installation and low maintenance. Oil rubbed bronze, brushed nickel, copper and satin nickel finishes for fixtures. Custom-tiled, walk-in showers that replace little-used Jacuzzi tubs in master baths. For more 2014 home trends, visit elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends.

GETTING STARTED Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to undertake a project and have thought through your budget, you’ll want to refine your ideas and come up with a solid plan for what you hope to accomplish. You’ll need to have a clear idea of your goals in order to be able to communicate your wishes to a builder, decorator or other professional. Consider whether you want to add space, create “new space” out of existing space or simply upgrade or change the look of a room.

Transforming Space

You might think about converting an uncovered patio space to a covered or enclosed space to expand or extend its use. Creating an outdoor kitchen can be a good idea if you’re really attuned to outdoor entertaining, Sloan noted. Continued on page 23 Brighten up the look of your kitchen by choosing light-colored cabinets.

determine how much work you can afford, Sloan advised. “Once you know that, you can seek out a reliable contactor and start getting references,” Sloan said. “But, it’s best to have a clear idea of your priorities for the project in case you underestimate the cost and aren’t able to complete everything you had hoped to.”

Replace carpet with tile, hardwood or laminate flooring.

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home decorating and remodels You can transform a kitchen that’s separated from other living space by opening it up to the dining room and/or living room to create a larger living area. Another option for opening up space is to combine the basement living areas, such as a game room, bar or TV room, into one, larger space. “These kinds of spaces make it easier to entertain friends and family during the holidays and on special occasions,” Sloan said. Creating new space doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to add another room or knock out walls. “An outdated kitchen or bathroom or even an unfinished basement can become “new space,” Fink said. “The reason I’m so passionate about remodeling and renovating is that it allows you take something old and make it new again.” Consider converting a garage into a family room. The garages of many homes have become storage areas instead of useable garages, Fink noted. Why not consider sorting through the clutter, getting rid of unneeded items and turning the space into living area? If your family is still growing and you’re running out of places to sleep, consider converting attic space to an extra bedroom.

Getting the look you want

plants can go a long way in decorating a space, Fink said. “In my opinion, a house is not a home until it’s been decorated,” he said.

FINDING THE HELP YOU NEED Sure, you can go it alone, but even do-it-yourselfers usually require guidance and direction before starting and during a home improvement project. Unless you are trained and certified in any of these areas, be sure to consult a professional if you’re going to be addressing electrical, plumbing, structural or mechanical issues in your home. It simply doesn’t make sense to undertake projects for which you’re not qualified. Some resources to help you find reliable builders, painters, home remodelers and other contractors are listed below:

• Home Builders Association of Berks County. hbaberks.org

• The Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry. greaterreadingchamber.org

• The Better Business Bureau. dc-easternpa.bbb.org

Because the possibilities are nearly endless, it’s a good idea to spend some time deciding on the look you want for your home. Make yourself aware of the latest trends, techniques and materials available by perusing home magazines, watching TV home shows or browsing home improvement websites. Here are some current trends and ideas to consider. Replace carpet with tile, hardwood or laminate flooring. This updates the look and may make it easier to keep floors clean. Brighten up your look with new colors. A coat of paint can make a huge difference, especially if your walls are basic builder-grade white. “It doesn’t matter if you choose pastel, earth tones or primary colors, just adding color can be amazing,” Fink said. Brighten up the look of your kitchen by choosing light-colored cabinets. If new cabinets aren’t in your budget, you could consider painting dark wood and changing out cabinet hardware for a fresher look and feel. Getting new doors and windows may not only improve energy efficiency, but can create a new look for your home as well. Doors don’t have to be white or wood-grained, but come in a variety of colors and shades. “A lot of people are looking to match door, window and exterior trim colors to create a good contrast to the exterior of the home,” Sloan said. Lower maintenance by replacing worn wooden decks with composite decking that doesn’t require staining or painting. Decorate. Even on a budget, it’s possible to decorate your home to create interest and appeal. Check out flea markets, second-hand shops, craigslist and yard sales for finds that will add pizazz and color. Artwork and prints, bright-colored pillows, pretty window treatments, a throw rug, pottery and

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Angles When such thoughts weigh heavy on our minds, association staff oft times turn to our contemporaries for solace and advice. Such a moment brought friends Christian Malesic, Editor-in-Chief At Home in Berks magazine / Executive Officer of the HBA of Berks County, PA, and Paul A. Kane, Executive Officer of the HBA of Greater Tulsa, OK together once again.

Heaven for Beginners By HBA Staff

Home is the most popular, and will be the most enduring of all earthly establishments. Channing Pollock (1880-1946) American Playwright

T

he HBA of Berks County had a couple of tough years in 2012 and 2013. It wasn’t because of the economy, or Obamacare, or the price of fuel, or the lack of young folks entering the trades. Those things were all present and caused us to toss & turn at night. What really made the year tough, however, was how many times we had to say goodbye. We lost a number of pillars of our community. Our Members. Our Friends. Our Family. We pray that they may rest in peace and their loved ones find peace with their passing.

Two gentlemen specifically come to mind for the difference they made in the HBA of Berks County, to the construction industry, and in the lives of the many people they touched:

Paul shared the following passage with Christian that he had documented for posterity after the passing of one of their beloved. Though Oklahoma is a world away and Ray Grimshaw is unknown to us, we can all find a piece of ourselves in the story’s telling: In January, the HBA of Greater Tulsa lost one of its most enduring and endearing members: Ray Grimshaw. At Ray’s funeral, the eulogy, given by Reverend Irving Cutter of St. John’s Episcopal Church, was touching and inspirational. Rev. Cutter made several scriptural references in an attempt to describe and define heaven. Ultimately, the description that seemed most comforting to the construction industry folks that filled the pews that evening was of the “House of God” or a “coming home”. From this jumping off point, Rev. Cutter touched upon the importance of a home and what home means to people. Naturally, this turned into a beautiful segue into Ray’s life as a “home builder.”

I was moved by this analogy. We are not known as the Dwelling Builders Association or the Structure Builders. We are the Home Builders Association. On the surface, it may appear that home is synonymous with house. But, of course, it’s not.

The concept of home conjures emotions, not just a vision of a structure. Home is a place of comfort and security. A person’s home is often not only the biggest financial investment many will make, but the most Joseph “Joe” Dolan emotional as well. Home is where we grew (2000 HBA President) up, and where we, in turn, raise our Richard “Dick” Rhoads own families. (1964 HBA President) I’m sure that Rev. Cutter would agree with May God have mercy on your souls so a quotation I admire from Charles Henry that you find yourselves this day with the Parkhurst (1842-1933), an American Almighty. Clergyman: “Home interprets heaven. Home is heaven for beginners.” Death in the HBA family has a huge impact on the association. We are often the clearinghouse of information, repeating the story from Member to Member. We have to live it over and over...almost as a biological family member does. 24

AT HOME IN BERKs december 2013

The HBA and many of its members often get jabs from those in our community who disfavor progress and growth. The term “home builders” is sometimes said with a hint of disdain as if the HBA is the

epicenter of “good-ol’-boyism” and greed. I find these characterizations to be ironic and misdirected. I would guess that every one of these protagonists live in a home that was built by a home builder.

Perhaps home builders are like politicians, in that, they are all viewed as crooked, except for the one who built MY house. My time here at the HBA has exposed me to some of the nicest, most honorable, hardest working, and ethical people I have met in my life. We should all be proud to be connected to an industry, which builds homes that bit of heaven on earth. It is both an honor and a responsibility that we are the industry that provides the shelter and comfort for countless families. Since I’m on a roll with quotations, I’ll conclude with another one of my favorites. German Bohemian immigrant Ernestine Schumann-Heink (18611936) American Operatic Contralto and founder of President Grover Cleveland’s museum penned these words on her thoughts:

What is home? A roof to keep out the rain? Four walls to keep out the wind? Floors to keep out the cold? Yes, but home is more than that. It is the laugh of a baby, the song of a mother, the strength of a father, warmth of loving hearts, lights from happy eyes, kindness, loyalty, comradeship.

Home is first school and first church for young ones, where they learn what is right, what is good, and what is kind, where they go for comfort when they are hurt or sick; where joy is shared and sorrow eased; where fathers and mothers are respected and loved, where children are wanted; where the simplest food is good enough for kings because it is earned; where money is not as important as loving-kindness; where even the tea kettle sings from happiness.

That is home. God bless it! Thank you to Christian D. Malesic and Paul A. Kane, Executive Officers of the HBA of Berks County and HBA of Greater Tulsa, respectively, for contributing greatly to this article.


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

We build your complete backyard living room. Custom built in-ground swimming pools and spas Serving the tri-county area since 1984 Serving Oley, Reading, Pottstown, and Douglasville Full service pool care

mitchellpools.com / 3339 Friedensburg Rd., Oley, PA / 610.987.0888

december 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Membership happenings 2013 Upcoming Events...

dec 6

Christmas Party & Installation Banquet Green Valley Country Club 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

dec 12

All About YOUR Membership HBA Conference Room 3:00 pm-4:00 pm

jan 15

Remodelers Council Mixer Location To Be Determined 3:00 pm-4:30 pm

jan 30

Wind Down Thursday Location To Be Determined 5:00 pm-7:00 pm

A

s 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

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 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

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

feb

IBS & NAHB Board Meeting

feb

RMCTC Career Roundtable

4-6 5

Las Vegas, NV

Spray Foam Insulation Services

PA098824

Reading Muhlenberg CTC 9:00 am-2:00 pm

feb 27

Member 2 Member Discount Program

Inc

• Residential • Agricultural • Commercial

Existing or New Construction

All About YOUR Membership

Elmer Swarey 484-256-1079

E-mail: elmerswarey@gmail.com

HBA Conference Room

Charles Swarey 484-256-2015

Fleetwood, PA

4:00 pm-5:00 pm

welcome new members

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B. Miller Mechanical & Contracting

Keystone Custom Homes

Brian Miller. 430 Franklin St., West Reading, PA 19611 PH: (610) 709-2642

Janette Hawkins. 227 Granite Run Dr. Suite 100, Lancaster, PA 17601 PH: (717) 464-9060

brian@bmillermechanical.com Sponsor: Steven J. Symons

keystonecustomehome.com Sponsor: Cathy Sloan, CGR, CAPS, CGP

AT HOME IN BERKs december february 2013


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

2013 Foundation Club Members: (alphabetically by company name)

Bob Keeney

Kert & Cathy Sloan

Aluminum Associates SALES

Daphne Frownfelter

Deer Mountain Kitchens, LLC

MANDERBACH FORD

Patrick Dolan

4450 5th St. Hwy.

Dolan Construction, Inc.

Fleet Manager

bkeeney1@netzero.net manderbach.com

Temple, PA 19560

Steve Bright

610.929.3683

E J B Paving & Materials Co. John Schmoyer

Fulton Mortgage Company Aritec LLC Grande Construction Greater Reading Economic Partnership Hosty Equipment Co

Custom Deck Specialists   

Terry Maenza

Pennsylvania American Water James Gaspari

Inspect Repair Design Build

PA 010620

PMJ Properties, LLC

610-376-8086

Kevin Kozo

BreyerConstruction.com

Turnberry Custom Homes York International Call the HBA office at 610.777.8889 to learn how to become a member of the FOUNDATION CLUB. These members understand the important role legislation plays in their businesses and the importance of electing and supporting legislators who are sensitive to the issues affecting the building industry.

Health Care Reform offers an opportunity for employers to rethink how health care benefits should be designed and delivered. – Mark Kunkle

Thank You to renewing members of the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA)

There will be dramatic changes in the future of the employee benefits landscape. We’re experts at benefits consulting. We’ll perform a Health Care Reform Readiness Analysis for your organization. • We’ll review your existing benefit programs and determine which will be affected by the health care reform provisions now and in the future.

Is your company prepared and complying with new regulations? What do you need to know? What plan do you have in place? Are you heading in the right direction? Contact us today. We’ve gained the confidence of over 450 local employers.

• We’ll determine the financial impact of healthcare reform to your organization. We’ll steer you in the right direction and help 1st Year Anniversary ProBuild you implement your company’s health care

Berks Commercial Renovations, Ltd. Kelly’s Kleaning

2-5 Years

The Water Guy/Shinn Spring Water Co.

A P Merkel Inc. Bieber Electric & Remodeling Liberty Environmental, Inc. Masano Architects Group, Inc. Mast Roofing & Construction, Inc. PMJ Properties, LLC

610-685-1790 | www.pkbenefits.com | 999 Berkshire Blvd., Wyomissing L e a d e r s h i p | S u p p o r t | S o l u t i o n s

11-15 Years

Blatt & Zaffary Electric, Inc. 24-7 Electric LLC Dennis Gass Contracting Anewalt's Landscape Contracting Redstone Company Berky's Transfer and Site Container Spring Valley Millwork, Inc. Service 16-20 Years Control Alt Energy E.G. Smith, Inc. A D Moyer Lumber & M & M Mechanical, LLC Hardware, Inc. Precision Fire Protection, Inc. Boyer's Floor Covering, Inc. Quality Floors, Inc. Santilli Oil Company Verizon Wireless Small Plumbing & Mechanical

6-10 Years

reform strategy.

Stereo Barn

26-30 Years Keepsake Homes, Inc.

31+ Years B & G Glass Bachman Iron Works, Inc.

Gilbertsville (610) 367.2036

Pottstown (610) 327.1120

75 YEARS STRONG! admoyer.com

december 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

What’s HOT ON

HBAberks

channel

Private Tour: 2013 Build of HBA Restoring Hope Your personal, private tour of the 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 county each year. (Length: 10:22)

Electronic Window Shades: Home Automation 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).

Rd

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 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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AT HOME IN BERKs DECEMBER 2013


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Myerstown 800.887.7555

Brownstown 800.224.3612

Cleona 800.518.7555

Reading 866.497.2481

Ephrata 877.733.7730

Quarryville 800.786.7231

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PA # 005859

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AHIB Dec 2013  
AHIB Dec 2013