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NJ-based contractor, distributor and Johnson Controls join forces to support Building Homes for Heroes® Recently, Air Technical Services and F.W. Webb Company partnered with other local contractors and Building Homes for Heroes® during a Welcome Home ceremony in Barnegat, NJ, for Navy Hospital Corpsman First Class Corey Reed. After serving his country for more than 20 years, he suffers from severe PTSD, a traumatic Read more

NJ-based contractor, distributor and Johnson Controls join forces to support Building Homes for Heroes®

Recently, Air Technical Services and F.W. Webb Company partnered with other local contractors and Building Homes for Heroes® during a Welcome Home ceremony in Barnegat, NJ, for Navy Hospital Corpsman First Class Corey Reed. After serving his country for more than 20 years, he suffers from severe PTSD, a traumatic brain injury, migraines, left foot fasciitis, elbow fractures, right knee injuries and tinnitus. His injuries require specific modifications to his home in order to live safely and focus on his recovery.

To support Reed, F.W. Webb Company donated a YORK® heating and cooling system with a Wi-Fi®-capable touch-screen thermostat to better assist him with adjusting his home’s temperature without the need to get up. In addition, Air Technical Services donated the HVAC installation services for the veteran’s new home.

“Having the support of companies like Johnson Controls, Air Technical Services, and F.W. Webb Company gives us the opportunity to honor injured veterans with a mortgage-free home,” said Chad Gottlieb, director of construction development, Building Homes for Heroes®. “The customized amenities Johnson Controls can bring to these homes allows veterans to live their lives in greater comfort and dignity.”

Building Homes for Heroes® is a national organization that recognizes those who serve in the United States Armed Forces by supporting the needs of severely wounded or disabled soldiers and their families. The organization strives to build or renovate quality homes and donate them, mortgage-free, to injured veterans nationwide.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to work together with Building Homes for Heroes® to be able to give back to real heroes, like Corey Reed and his family, who have made enormous sacrifices for our country. Contributing our services to their home was a great privilege,” said Raymond Dietrich, president, Air Technical Services.

The YORK brand of Johnson Controls has been a proud sponsor of Building Homes for Heroes® since 2014. The company has been recognized by U.S. Veterans Magazine as a top veteran-friendly company. Johnson Controls is also committed to hiring veterans and military spouses. Veteran employees are honored to design, engineer and assemble systems that help improve the lives of fellow veterans.

Building Homes for Heroes® invites anyone wishing to volunteer or donate to the organization to contact them at info@buildinghomesforheroes.org. To learn more about the organization, please visit www.buildinghomesforheroes.org.

To learn more about Air Technical Services, please visit www.airtechnj.com, and to learn more about F.W. Webb Company, please visit www.fwwebb.com.

For additional questions about Building Homes for Heroes® or the ceremony, please contact Ashleigh Ostermann at ashleigh.ostermann@buildinghomesforheroes.org or Jazmine Jean-Francois at jazmine@buildinghomesforheroes.org.

About Building Homes for Heroes

Building Homes for Heroes®, Inc. is a national organization committed to helping severely combat wounded or disabled US veterans and their families by gifting them a mortgage-free home. For more information on these projects, please call (516) 684-9220 or visit the organization’s website at www.buildinghomesforheroes.org.

In July 2020, we ran a feature highlighting the release of Marcum LLP’s first annual Marcum National Construction Survey. Overall, the survey reflected a fairly positive outlook by respondents about the current and future state of the industry, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was conducted in the first quarter of 2020 by Marcum’s national Construction Read more

In July 2020, we ran a feature highlighting the release of Marcum LLP’s first annual Marcum National Construction Survey. Overall, the survey reflected a fairly positive outlook by respondents about the current and future state of the industry, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey was conducted in the first quarter of 2020 by Marcum’s national Construction Services group, a premier provider of accounting, tax, and advisory services to the construction industry.

According to Joseph Natarelli, Marcum’s national construction industry leader, said, “The industry was well-positioned prior to the pandemic, even with a potential recession looming. Those going into COVID-19 with weaker balance sheets will be negatively impacted. We believe that as long as firms work with their internal teams and professional advisors to address labor safety issues and material sourcing, and have a pandemic plan in place, they will come out of this in good shape.”

We recently conducted a Hub Chat with Mr. Natarelli to expand on the survey, industry trends, hot button topics as well as discuss his direction of Marcum LLP’s Construction Services Group, which is dedicated to assisting contractors with personalized and attentive service, strong technical expertise, and uncompromising integrity.

Mr. Natarelli is leader of the Firm’s national Construction Industry Practice group, as well as the Firm’s office managing partner in the Long Wharf Drive office in New Haven, Connecticut. In addition, he is a member of the Firm’s Management Committee. Natarelli has more than 30 years of experience with international accounting and consulting firms. He frequently serves as the lead audit engagement partner for a variety of consulting matters.

Mr. Natarelli frequently speaks on accounting and auditing matters. For more than two decades, he has served as a technical reviewer for the AICPA’s Audit Risk Alert for Real Estate and Construction Industry Developments and the AICPA Audit and Accounting Guide — Construction Contractors.

He has been interviewed by a number of prestigious media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Businessweek, Fox Business and now, Mechanical Hub Media.

The following is our Hub Chat with Mr. Natarelli.

MH: Thanks for taking some time to chat with us. What’s the Marcum LLP elevator speech and how does your team create construction curriculum for construction contractors and industry observers such as the National Construction Survey, which we shared with our readers last month?

JN: Marcum is a top national accounting and advisory firm that places a high value on being industry experts and resources for our clients and friends in the marketplace.  We know contractors can get their basic financial reporting needs met at a lot of firms but what sets us apart is our commitment to excellence and leadership in their specific sector. This mission is further realized in a curriculum of in-depth thought leadership, instruction, benchmarking and more. For example, our nationally renowned Chief Construction Economist, Anirban Basu, provides hard data and analysis about and for the construction industry each quarter to our subscribers.

MH: Tell us a bit about yourself – how long have you been involved with Marcum, focused on Construction Services and what has your journey looked like up to this point in your career?

JN: For over 10 years, I have served as the Firm’s office managing partner in New Haven, Connecticut, and the leader of our National Construction Industry Practice group. I previously served as the national construction leader at UHY LLP before the UHY’s New England region merged with Marcum in 2010. I have over 30 years of experience with providing auditing and consulting services and remain a resource on various construction projects, offering expertise on job performance and enhancing profitability to contractors. I also spend my time providing thought leadership on accounting and auditing matters for various industry events and publications, and I have served for more than 10 years as a technical reviewer for the AICPA Audit and Accounting Guide – Construction Contractors and the AICPA’s Audit Risk Alert for Real Estate and Construction Industry Developments. I had the privilege of chairing the AICPA National Construction Program Conference Committee from 2012-2014. With one of the best teams in the industry, I have helped lead Marcum to become a top national accounting services leader for contractors.

MH: The COVID pandemic has created disruption and uncertainty across all segments of society, how is Marcum working to address issues that affect construction markets such as loan programs, taxing issues, and business interruptions?

JN: In a crisis, people need answers and they need them right away.  Marcum established a Coronavirus Resource Center in mid-March and has been producing timely and essential thought leadership specific to the construction industry, ever since.  Whether that takes the form of an alert, a tax flash or an in-depth webinar, our construction industry clients and other subscribers have access to the newest information available via the resource center.  We have been leading the charge with our construction clients to make sure that they are taking full advantage of governmental programs that can support and preserve their businesses during this difficult time.  At the end of the day, we know that our clients aren’t just companies, they are people who have worked to provide for their families and communities for years and we will do everything in our power to see that they make it through this intact.

MH: As we started 2020 the construction market had seen significant growth over the past 5+ years, how is the current economic climate affecting the industry? What are some of the challenges and how is Marcum addressing those challenges? How can contractors use market data to set their business in a better direction?

JN: The crisis has really put a spotlight on challenges that have been haunting the corners of the industry for a while.  Specifically, the labor shortage.  In our quarterly Marcum Commercial Construction Index we’ve seen access to skilled labor bubble up to the top of the challenge list for the past few quarters.  While unemployment is up in general, a lack of an organized trade educational system and other factors have put commercial contractors in a vice where there aren’t enough workers to execute all of the jobs they have and those that are available are being paid at a premium.  Our annual JOLT survey is an essential tool for contractors to reference as it indexes wages across subsectors and positions and would be a valuable benchmark.

MH: Tariffs and trade policies are hot button topics as we get deeper into the election year. What are a few trends you’re seeing based around the election or how is the election affecting the market?

JN: The threat of trade war and an uncertain diplomatic future with China can have a bottom line impact on construction contractors, today.  For example, tariffs on essential material such as steel or aluminum can cause hard cost price increases.  The global pandemic has also choked off or threatened to choke off supply chain routes and sources – another area worthy of concern and, more importantly, innovative solution.  Industry best practice should be to secure your key materials from a geographically diverse but still economical set of sources, lock in your pricing, and get those goods stateside and on the jobsite, ASAP.

MH:  How is Marcum addressing environmental issues in the industry?

JN: The construction industry has been at the forefront of changing the way America interacts with its environment, since the beginning.  Whether it is the use of innovative materials, high tech insulation techniques, green technologies, water recapture, or the reclamation of abandoned or “brown field” land for redevelopment, there is someone in a hardhat making it happen.  Aside from the obvious social capital that helping the environment provides, there are credits and incentives from the government which construction contractors can take advantage of to align their environmental goals with their financial success.  We work with numerous clients in that exact position and it can really make a difference.

MH: What are a few trends that Marcum has identified in the industry?

JN: There are several issues and trends Marcum has identified in the construction market.  These include ESOPs, revenue recognition, cybersecurity, succession planning, burden analytics, SALT consulting, valuations, due diligence & quality of earnings, public private partnerships and Section 179D energy deductions.   Additionally, we have identified 3 trending categories for construction:  technology and innovation (i.e., project management software, building information modeling, drone usage, green design & construction technology, improved safety equipment), profitability (i.e., growing material costs, maximizing labor while decreasing labor force, targeting Gen Z in the work force, analytics and data) and sustainability (preservation of the environment, efficient use of resources).

MH: How do you see Marcum helping to create change in the future?

JN: Marcum, as a firm, has embraced technology in all parts.  For our clients, we take the same approach.  Whether it be through software consulting, robotic process automation, cloud computing or other new tech, we’re always looking to help our clients improve their processes and increase their profitability.

MH: What are some of the things you’re doing to boost Marcum’s visibility and grow market share?

JN: Marcum’s Construction Group is proud of their long history of membership and leadership with all of the major national and regional construction trade organizations.  We just can’t overstate how important it is be shoulder-to-shoulder with your clients in the places where they play. To see and be seen.  Of course, we hope that our commitment to the creation of business-critical content such as the Marcum Commercial Construction Index, the JOLT report, the national Marcum Construction Survey, our newsletter and flashes also helps keep us in front of decision-makers and position us for growth with them. We also host our own large-scale industry events in several regions, the Marcum Construction Summit.  Our events are dedicated to updating construction contractors and finance and accounting professionals on the economic state of the construction industry. The Summit features high-profile, nationally recognized speakers who are experts in the construction arena.

MH: Crystal ball time, what’s 2021 and 2022 look like in the construction industry after all the turmoil of 2020?

JN: The long-term effects of COVID-19 are unknown, and the future of the construction industry is uncertain; however, we remain optimistic. Pre-COVID, 72% of economists were predicting a recession would occur by the end of 2021.  As such we were encouraging firms susceptible to business cycles to take steps in building up cash reserves and strengthening relationships with bankers and insurers to prepare for 2022 and 2023.  However, the pandemic affected the economy at a faster pace than expected and moved up the predicted timetable.  With the country slowly reopening and with the hopes of a vaccine in early 2021, we are now more optimistic about the construction industry in late 2021 and 2022.

MH: In closing, is there anything you’d like to add?

JN: Stay the course, continue the blocking and tackling. We are going through a tough time but we are optimistic moving forward.

CUSTOMER: Kansas City Royals’ Kauffman Stadium SCOPE: Upgrade 130 existing ductile iron control valves in the stadium fountain with new Watts stainless steel automatic control valves CHALLENGE: Original control valves became completely rusted due to continuous submersion and needed replacement SOLUTION: Approximately 130 Watts stainless steel automatic control valves (ACVs) – ranging from two to Read more

CUSTOMER: Kansas City Royals’ Kauffman Stadium

SCOPE: Upgrade 130 existing ductile iron control valves in the stadium fountain with new Watts stainless steel automatic control valves

CHALLENGE: Original control valves became completely rusted due to continuous submersion and needed replacement

SOLUTION: Approximately 130 Watts stainless steel automatic control valves (ACVs) – ranging from two to six inches

RESULTS: Fountain’s stainless steel ACVs modulate, open, and close for reliable and trouble-free operation, providing an eye-catching display of vibrant colors for spectators. The entire operation is controlled via a remote programmable logic controller.

Kauffman stadium, Kansas City royals, Kauffman Stadium fountains, Watts stainless steel automatic control valves, plumbing, Watts Water Technologies, Mack McClain & Associates

Kauffman Stadium is home to two-time World Series winning KC Royals—a central division Major League Baseball team founded in 1969.

Kauffman stadium, Kansas City royals, Kauffman Stadium fountains, Watts stainless steel automatic control valves, plumbing, Watts Water Technologies, Mack McClain & AssociatesThe park’s best-known feature is the “Water Spectacular”—a massive fountain and waterfall display behind the right field fence. Built in the 90s, the fountain is now a focal point for ballpark fans.

At 322 feet in length, it’s the largest privately funded fountain in the world. Half a million gallons of water surge through fountain pipes before and after games and between innings; the waterfalls flow continuously. The impressive display changes colors often and—on occasion—serves as an off-limits swimming pool for overenthusiastic Royals fans, or rivals.

Kauffman stadium, Kansas City royals, Kauffman Stadium fountains, Watts stainless steel automatic control valves, plumbing, Watts Water Technologies, Mack McClain & AssociatesOver a period of time, the control valves—fully submerged under water—became corroded and were completely rusted through. Needing a better solution, ballpark owners chose to replace the original ductile iron control valves for the fountain in 2017, replacing them with approximately 130 stainless steel Watts automatic control valves. They worked with Watts’ local representative Mack McClain & Associates on the project.

Kauffman stadium, Kansas City royals, Kauffman Stadium fountains, Watts stainless steel automatic control valves, plumbing, Watts Water Technologies, Mack McClain & Associates

The fountain now has valves that modulate easily, assuring park owners that fans will enjoy the dramatic water feature for years to come.

This Northern California plumber’s tenacity matches the company name through hard work, perseverance and a willingness to learn and to keep getting better at her craft. Self-employed and co-owner of Bulldawg Plumbing, Red Bluff, Calif., Laura Nobert’s (@bulldawg_plumbing) real first experience in the trades was working for a few years in general construction with a Read more

This Northern California plumber’s tenacity matches the company name through hard work, perseverance and a willingness to learn and to keep getting better at her craft.

Self-employed and co-owner of Bulldawg Plumbing, Red Bluff, Calif., Laura Nobert’s (@bulldawg_plumbing) real first experience in the trades was working for a few years in general construction with a company that did remodeling in San Francisco. “That job introduced me to power tools, jackhammers, sheetrock, etc. I started as a laborer and grunt and absolutely loved the challenge, and found the work incredibly fulfilling,” says Nobert.

Bulldawg Plumbing, plumbing, women in the trades, Hub Spotlight, Laura Nobert, Bulldawg Plumbing Red Bluff Calif.

In a yoga-like move, Nobert works to loosen a fitting.

Although Nobert is a first-generation tradesperson, she credits family first. “I had a twin sister who always had my back and supported and encouraged me no matter what my endeavors, successes or setbacks.”

Bulldawg Plumbing, plumbing, women in the trades, Hub Spotlight, Laura Nobert, Bulldawg Plumbing Red Bluff Calif.

She said it. When asked when was the last time she said she had a great day, she was probably crawling out from under a house.

One such setback—an unfortunate incident a bit later in her foray into the trades—Nobert had an industrial accident where she fell from a significant height and landed directly on her head. “The doctors said it was a miracle I wasn’t dead or paralyzed, but I definitely was injured and was pretty much in bed for three years,” says Nobert.

Shortly after recovering, Nobert made neon signs and worked with hot glass, which was fulfilling, creatively. “But when I got the opportunity to try plumbing, I jumped at the chance, both boots in. Luckily, the idea of learning such a valuable and challenging trade TOTALLY eclipsed my lifelong ‘poop fear.’”

Bulldawg Plumbing, plumbing, women in the trades, Hub Spotlight, Laura Nobert, Bulldawg Plumbing Red Bluff Calif.For the past eight years she’s been killing it as a plumber working mainly service work and drain cleaning. “I love the satisfaction that comes from solving a complex mystery or the feeling that comes with overcoming extreme physical challenges to get the job done,” says Nobert.

Yet, being a woman in the trades has its share of funny looks—from others. “When I knock on a door, I almost ALWAYS get met with confused or incredulous looks. Sometimes people blurt out stuff like, ‘Is the real plumber still in the van?’ Or: ‘You’re the WHAT?!’”

A real facet of working in a male-dominated industry, Nobert feels like she is under a higher level of scrutiny than male counterparts. “I’ve noticed that when I work with men, people will automatically talk to them first or make comments like: ‘Oh, is she your sidekick?’ Some will laugh at the idea of me crawling under a house, because they think it’s a joke. Oh, and I worry that if I ever need to find another job, seeing a female name on my resume might keep companies from considering me.”

Bulldawg Plumbing, plumbing, women in the trades, Hub Spotlight, Laura Nobert, Bulldawg Plumbing Red Bluff Calif.

Being a mentor or trailblazer for other women to follow in the trades, Nobert never really stopped and considered it. But perhaps she is already. “I guess I’m more of a one-on-one kind of person because I usually just focus individually on the people I come in contact with. Like when I work for women who seem interested in the trade/tools/mechanics, I try to explain things, show them how things work, how to do it themselves, etc. More often, I encounter women who are intimidated and scared by the whole process. Often, it’s just because no one has ever explained or showed them how things work, so the topic is just a big, scary mystery. I have a lot of compassion for those women, so I try to help them feel more secure by explaining things—showing them how to shut off water and gas supplies, clean aerators, etc. I always tell them they can call me if they have questions or are nervous about anything.”

Bulldawg Plumbing, plumbing, women in the trades, Hub Spotlight, Laura Nobert, Bulldawg Plumbing Red Bluff Calif.And the best advice she can give anyone, “I would tell any person wanting to enter the trades that the desire to learn and the willingness to work hard and not give up are traits that really make a difference.”

That willingness to learn is so critical. “I know that blue collar work used to be kind of an embarrassing career and that tradespeople were considered uneducated but I feel as though shows like Dirty Jobs have really helped to elevate the trades to new levels in the United States. Social media accounts—like Mechanical Hub—are continuing to make great strides in promoting the trades and sharing the knowledge so that important progress continues. I think that encouraging pride and respect for the trades definitely increases its appeal,” says Nobert.

Bulldawg Plumbing, plumbing, women in the trades, Hub Spotlight, Laura Nobert, Bulldawg Plumbing Red Bluff Calif.In fact, social media has had a great influence on Nobert (@bulldawg_plumbing). “I am so grateful I found this community on Instagram because it’s made a huge difference in my life and career as a plumber. It’s given me the opportunity to learn so much more than I ever would have without it—seeing what other people achieve inspires me to keep learning and trying to improve my skills and abilities. There are just so many talented tradespeople on Instagram. I love how supportive people are towards each other and how they are willing to share their knowledge so freely. It’s amazing to have a place to share this passion with other people.”

In closing, the last time Nobert said it was a great day? “I was probably crawling out from under a house, hanging out with my daughter, or playing with my son.”

Oh, and the name Bulldawg? “I’ve had two bulldogs in my life; they are an impressive breed. They never give up, even when they are in pain, and I really admire that kind of heart and tenacity,” says Nobert.

Sloan Highlights Century-Long Partnership with New Web Presence Sloan, the Official Water Efficiency Partner of the Chicago Cubs, is showcasing its legacy partnership with the team through a new webpage highlighting their storied history. As the Cubs get set to begin the condensed 2020 season on July 24 following a four-month hiatus due to the Read more

Sloan Highlights Century-Long Partnership with New Web Presence

Sloan, the Official Water Efficiency Partner of the Chicago Cubs, is showcasing its legacy partnership with the team through a new webpage highlighting their storied history.

As the Cubs get set to begin the condensed 2020 season on July 24 following a four-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sloan’s new web presence highlights its water conservation efforts across Cubs facilities and the surrounding Wrigleyville community, as well as throughout Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz.

Sloan, Chicago Cubs, water efficiency, plumbing, plumbing fixtures

“At Sloan, we’re proud of our partnership with the Cubs that dates back over 100 years, predating even the iconic ivy of Wrigley Field,” said Graham Allen, co-president and CEO, Sloan. “Our partnership with the Chicago Cubs organization gives us the opportunity to help build winning teams through sustainable solutions.”

The new webpage details Sloan’s water-saving and touch-free products throughout Wrigley Field. Sloan’s sensor-operated products provide both players and fans alike with hygienic solutions that can be found everywhere from the concourse and luxurious American Airlines 1914 Club to the clubhouse. Sloan’s touch-free sensor faucets, soap dispensers, hand dryers, and flushometers as well as sinks, water closets, and urinals were installed as part of the 1060 Project—the Cubs’ multi-year restoration and expansion of Wrigley Field.

Sloan, Chicago Cubs, water efficiency, plumbing, plumbing fixtures

Sloan’s commitment to water sustainability also extends throughout the Wrigleyville community surrounding the ballpark. From the boutique Hotel Zachary to the American Airlines Conference Center and popular Smoke Daddy Restaurant across from the field, Sloan products are helping merge sustainability with a hygiene-friendly restroom experience. Sloan flushometers at Hotel Zachary utilize a three-second flush delay to eliminate false flushes and save water. Additionally, the hotel features Sloan Optima® Faucets in a customized brushed amber gold finish to match the existing restroom aesthetic accents for a cohesive design.

The new webpage also displays the full lineup of integrated restroom products throughout Sloan Park, the team’s Spring Training home. Throughout the facility, Sloan products are helping the Cubs reduce their overall environmental impact with state-of-the-art water saving technology.

“Teaming up with Sloan is an important move for the Chicago Cubs,” said Tom Ricketts, chairman, Chicago Cubs. “Sloan brings more than a century of experience and success in creating cutting edge water solutions for a wide variety of venues all around the world.”