PBA Members and Friends:
We regret that the news relating to the COVID-19 virus (novel coronavirus) continues to be negative. Specifically, the Governor has issued an administrative order closing ALL “Non-Life-Sustaining Businesses.” The Governor’s office has supplied a list of those Non-Life-Sustaining Businesses. Specifically identified are “Residential Building Construction” and all of the trades relating to our industry. The Governor’s order goes into effect at 8:00 p.m. on March 19th. Beginning Saturday the 21st at midnight, various state enforcement agencies will ensure that businesses do not attempt to violate the order.
We encourage all members to comply with the Governor’s order as expeditiously as possible. We will do our best to keep you informed of any changes in the business landscape affecting our members. On behalf of the PBA leadership, we wish that you stay safe.
CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF THE "LIFE-SUSTAINING BUSINESSES"
PBA received the following message from the Pennsylvania Health Care Association. We are hearing this on a national level, but this is a good connection right here in the Commonwealth. Please help if you are able.
I’m Zach Shamberg, the President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA).
Here at PHCA, our membership consists of Pennsylvania’s long-term care providers: nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living residences. We represent providers and hard-working staff, as well as the residents of these facilities.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, our providers have been working tirelessly to protect their residents and mitigate the spread of this terrible virus. But this has been a real challenge thus far – and it will only get more difficult.
for staff and residents.
But they’re running low. Gowns, masks, gloves and goggles are in high demand, yet there is currently a very limited supply.
I am asking you and your membership to consider donating any PPE supplies that aren't immediately needed – especially gowns, masks, gloves and goggles (whether they are surgical, N95 or other) – to help our caregivers on the front lines who are protecting Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable population from this virus.
If you and your membership would like to donate PPE supplies, please reach out to Shayna Varner, our Director of Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can coordinate your donation to ensure providers most in need receive these supplies.
Thank you for your consideration.
President & CEO
PA Health Care Association
Pursuant to the swiftly changing environment surrounding the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) and the latest order issued by the governor, PBA’s office will be closed to the public for the next two weeks. All those of you in “nonessential” businesses know exactly what we’re going through.
The PBA staff will continue to work but will operate primarily on a remote basis for at least the remainder of the month of March. That does not mean that PBA will never be in the office or that we will be totally unavailable. We will attempt to be as responsive to your communications as circumstances allow. But disruptions and delays will occur. So please, go ahead and call, send that email or text. Just don’t expect an immediate response because we may not be available. For the duration of the health crisis, email is probably the communications mode best calculated to reach us. In any event, we will try to get back to you as soon as possible.
We know that the spread of the virus and the many closings ordered by local, state and national officials presents a novel challenge to many of your businesses. We will be as happy as everyone else when this strange and trying situation comes to an end. You have our best wishes to outlast this test.
PBA will continue to monitor breaking news and will respond as wisely and astutely as we can. We encourage everyone do what they can to slow and prevent the spread of the virus. In the meantime, PBA staff will not be attending any meetings in person. That said, we’re more than happy to schedule a conference call.
To the extent we can, we will provide further updates. We don’t want to inundate you with the exact same news that you are getting from traditional news sources; but we want to give you the best information we have regarding PBA and its operations.
Let’s stay strong and battle our way through this. Best regards to all.
A Word from the PWB Council By Rebecca Turner
Getting the Most out of the New NAHB Website
Did you know that now, more than ever, NAHB.org can help increase your membership benefits? The completely redesigned and redevelopment website is your tool to reaching new clients, new friends, education sessions and becoming more visible to the online community. The site features an upgraded search engine and an updated secure e-commerce engine.
Ever met someone at a meeting and wanted to connect or wanted to know more about someone’s company background? Maybe you want someone to discover your unique product and professional background. With the new and improved member profile section you can do just that. The enhancements that have been made to this section provide networking opportunities and a superior engagement experience. First thing to do is check your profile, it is simple to do, just sign in to www.NAHB.org and then click edit profile. If you had an old profile your basic information was brought over. The new features include adding a short bio which can introduce you professionally, adding your company website and social media links and then your profile picture. Once you have updated all your information make sure you save it so that it can be added to the easy-to-use directory. Now potential customers and new friends can find you.
Without a login into your account on NAHB.org you could be missing out of some membership benefits. Who knew that you can create an Amazon Business account and have access to NAHB Amazon Store? The Amazon Store can tailor products to your specific industry while unlocking business savings. Your dashboard is your access to all NAHB benefits.
Want to know what purchases you have made, what associations you belong to, or need to pay a bill? It is all right there for you on your dashboard along with your all-important NAHB pin and those precious SPIKE points.
This section of the dashboard took my fancy! Now I know why I was always sitting there wondering why I wasn’t so updated as the person talking in our meetings. They are getting information pushed to them on important topics that they have selected. This is one easy step but gives you such a wealth of knowledge. Select those topics of interest to you and get that extra boost in your knowledge and education.
Professional Women in Building
Now your profile and dashboard are all set up it is time to get the most out of your PWB Membership. By navigation to www.nahb.org/NAHB-Community/Councils/Professional-Women-in-Building-Council you will find access to up and coming events, articles, and latest publications of the Building Women magazine, available scholarships and you can learn all about those generous PWB sponsors we have. Once you have navigated and explored; let’s not leave it there. Make sure you are linked to all the PWB social media handles. Let’s share our experiences, show each other all our exciting chapter events and get connected on a national level.
If you find yourself having a wee bit of trouble with the website or updating any of your information have no fear as you can email email@example.com. and someone will get back to you to assist. Make sure you scroll through the directory and see you updated profile loaded.
The rapidly changing series of events surrounding the spread of the COVID-19 contagion (coronavirus) has presented a great challenge to all of us. PBA is continually monitoring the situation and reacting as best we can. We encourage all our members to engage in the safest of practices for the duration of this public health problem. At present, PBA plans to continue its normal office practices. However, as events dictate, we may be forced to adopt remote working arrangements or suspend working on certain projects. We will try to keep you informed. In the very short term, we are cancelling all staff travel to large meetings both within and outside the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our staff may engage in “social distancing” in interactions with you. Please do not presume that this is a negative reflection on our relationship with you. For now, we prefer to love you from afar.
As you attempt to implement the best practices for your own businesses, we encourage you to rely upon reliable, informed sources such as the Centers for Disease Control – https://www.cdc.gov/ - rather than whatever you may see on social media. Don’t hesitate to check out the resources available from NAHB – https://www.nahb.org/Advocacy/Industry-Issues/Emergency-Preparedness-and-Response/Coronavirus-Preparedness - and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry – https://www.pachamber.org/coronavirus/.
As we learn more, we will endeavor to keep you informed. Both now and in the future, we hope that you will make efforts to keep yourselves, your family members, your customers and your employees healthy. One way to make the situation worse is to needlessly risk sharing your own infection with others.
As they used to say on the old Hill Street Blues television show, “Let’s be careful out there.”
Grande Construction in West Lawn, PA is a successful family business. Laura Grande is a huge part of that success. Her passion and commitment are fantastic examples of professionalism. She is dedicated to her clients and the community. Laura, a member of both the HBA of Berks County and the BIA of Lancaster County, steps into the spotlight today as part of PBA’s celebration of Women in Construction Week.
What is your current position and what does your company do?
I am with Grande Construction Company in West Lawn, PA. We’re a residential construction company in Berks and Lancaster County with nine active developments. A lot of the work we do, especially inside the home, is custom in nature and catered to our clients’ wishes. I work with all of our clients guiding them through the entire process – from the initial lot purchase to designing floor plans, interior design, walkthroughs, and settlement. In my current position as Controller, I’m responsible for running day to day operations of Grande Construction and work hand-in-hand with new homeowners designing their dream home. My goal is to make the whole process as transparent and enjoyable to every one of my clients.
When did you realize you wanted to work in construction?
We’ve always been a hard-working family business built on strong morals and loyalty. Growing up with my father, mother, and siblings a lot of important decisions were made at the dinner table and brought us together. My father’s passion for the industry has driven me to strive for the best in all I do. I share that same passion. I love the day-to-day challenges and most of all just love providing people with a top-quality home that exceeds their expectations.
What has been the most surprising part of being a woman working in construction?
As a woman in man’s world, I feel that I’ve earned the respect of my male/female co-workers through my hard work and dedication.
What is your favorite part of your career?
There are many favorite parts to this career. The acquisition process, finding new land assets, laying out the plans for a new development, and working with homeowners from start to finish. It’s a great feeling to seeing the community come together with each development we build. Meeting with buyers at the initial meeting of the building process, assisting every step of the way with schedules and designs, and knowing at the end the finished product is their dream home.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Learn from the experience, embrace challenges and obstacles, ask questions, don't be afraid to fail as there is always a solution, put 120% into every day. Treat each home as it was your own, and each client as family.
Jill Allan, of The Meritage Group, is a member of the Builders Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and has been a huge supporter of PBA for many years. She is also a member of PBA’s Board of Directors. In honor of her contributions to the home building industry, we are highlighting Jill as part of Women in Construction Week.
I am the Vice President with The Meritage Group, LP in Pittsburgh. We specialize in land development.
I decided in my 40’s to try something different. I didn’t set out to obtain a position in this particular field.
For the most part I was welcomed in the industry and colleagues were willing to help me understand the industry.
The days and projects are never the same. The challenges associated with always having to find a solution make the field interesting. There is always the opportunity to learn something new.
Don’t ever be afraid to ask someone for help, to clarify what they need or to let them know you are new. I found the majority of people are willing to assist you.
We continue our celebration of Women in Construction Week by showcasing Anne Hunyady of S&A Homes in Duncansville. In addition to her work with S&A Homes, Anne is currently serving the Blair/Bedford Builders Association as the 2020 President.
I am currently the New Homes Sales Consultant for S&A Homes, located in Duncansville, PA. We serve five counties in Western Pennsylvania. S&A Homes is a plans and options on-site stick built new home construction company.
When I initially met with S&A Homes, the possibility to help clients fulfill their dream of owning a new home was what got me on board. It is a terrific felling when you can see a project through to completion and be with those clients at such an exciting time!
I have SO much support from my company. S&A has given me all the tools I need to be successful – from product knowledge to constant behind the scene’s support.
I love being able to see my projects from an initial consult, all the way through to a completed home. I find it to be very fulfilling to work with clients from contract to design work. Even after many years of working with clients, each client and their dream home is so special and such a unique experience!
Every day is a learning experience! Always ask questions and find support from like-minded colleagues. Don’t be afraid to fail, that’s when you learn to most, just try again.
March 1-7 is Women in Construction Week. PBA is rich due to the fact that so many of our members are inspirational women who have carved a path for others and have made such a huge impact on the home building industry.
We celebrate these contributions by profiling some of these fantastic business leaders this week.
First up, meet Cindy Cepko. Cindy, a member of Wayne Pike BIA, currently serves as the PBA Vice President.
I am co-owner of Granite Homes, Inc. a women-owned business registered in Pennsylvania. My business partner and I, Maria Coutts, market and sell modular construction and also help existing homeowners improve their homes by remodeling or refinishing parts of their home like basements, bathrooms, and other rooms.
I was approached by the Coutts in 2003. They asked if I would work for them as their sales manager out of one of their model homes in a large vacation community. I knew nothing about new home sales or construction. I knew I had a lot to learn but was willing to try. It was a great experience, many people were buying second homes and the market was great.
For me it has been the welcoming feeling I get working with our trade contractors. I thought as a woman I would be looked at as not belonging. However in my quest to learn all I could about new home construction I asked a lot of questions of our subcontractors, spent many hours on job sites watching them work, finding out how things are built, and more.
The people you get to meet. I know everyone says the same thing most of the time but it's really true. People come to you and share their dreams and plans with you and it really becomes your dream as well. It is a satisfying experience working with people who are happy to have a new home or newly remodeled room and are truly happy with it.
Don't be afraid to jump in. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Learn all you can. The one thing I didn't like doing was saying "I'm sorry I don't know." I would say "I’m sorry I don't know but I will find out and get back to you." And then I would. I would strive to know the answers before someone asked me a question so I would never have to say I didn't know.
Carmen and Jared Witmer, owners of J.D. Witmer Drywall, Inc. located in Dover, PA, have been awarded the Hammers & Gavels Award by the statewide Pennsylvania Builders Association (PBA). The Hammers & Gavels Award is one of the Association's highest awards representing statewide legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of the residential construction industry.
The Witmers testified on behalf of PBA when sharing their family business’s experience of being audited twice under Act 72 – the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act. Because of that testimony and meetings with members of the House – two bills amending the Misclassification Act never made it out of the House Labor and Industry Committee – and Union Leaders were forced to admit publicly that Act 72 was never intended to have a detrimental effect on small contractors.
“Not only did they have the courage to step up and speak on behalf of other hard-working businesses and stakeholders, but their message was persuasive and effective,” remarked Jim Rumbaugh, Chair of the PBA Governmental Affairs Committee, when presenting the award to the Witmers.
In addition to their advocacy efforts, the Witmers have offered their time and help to other association members facing similar situations. They are now active members of the York Builders Association’s Government Affairs Committee and their family is also supportive in volunteering at Association events.
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