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Can Your Business Survive and Even Thrive in These Trying Times?

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Submitted by” Schmersahl Treloar & Co.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused difficulties for millions of businesses — from family-owned restaurants and niche manufacturers to multinational airlines and oil companies. As the economy slowly reopens across the country, old ways of doing things clearly won’t work for most business operations.

But there’s a potential upside: Major economic disruptions may provide opportunities for managers and owners who can reject the status quo and “think outside the box.” Over the short run, businesses that “pivot” in a timely manner may be able to stay afloat until things decisively turn around for the better. There also may be long-term opportunities to add value and update your existing business model.

Old Concept, New Twist

Pivoting isn’t a new concept. Some of the most profitable and recognizable businesses in the country changed paths midstream before they truly became successful.

A classic example is Starbucks. The company didn’t start out as a franchiser of coffee shops. Initially, it sold coffee makers, bulk coffee beans and other items before shifting to its current model of coffee houses with a sense of community, like those in Italy and other European countries. Now it seems as if Starbucks has a coffee shop at every busy intersection in the country — and a loyal following of coffee aficionados.

What makes the current situation different is the sense of urgency and uncertainty. With some states in various phases of slowly reopening, local businesses may have to modify their operations and adapt to the “new normal.” What’s more, astute business people are seizing on pandemic-inspired opportunities for creating goodwill. (See “Successful COVID-19 Pivots,” at right.)

8 Tips to a Successful Pivot Strategy

Pivoting requires a transition period, especially if you’re shifting to a new product line or paradigm. It’s not as easy as snapping your fingers and announcing a change of plans. Here are eight practical suggestions to smooth out the rough edges.

  1. CommunicateLet your customers know that you’re still there to serve them and that safety is your main concern. Explain the extra precautions you’re taking — including use of employee face masks, contactless payment methods, and cleaning procedures — to ensure that doing business is a safe experience.

Also, tout new products and services — such as free delivery or curbside pickup — on your website. If customers don’t know what you’re selling, they won’t be buying. Expand the reach of your social media accounts.

  1. Modify your business hoursWhether you’re an essential business that’s been open throughout the lockdown or you plan to reopen soon, shorter business hours may be necessary. You’ll need more time for cleaning, and you might need to scale back nonpeak business operations to control labor costs. Many businesses are also carving out special senior-only shopping times, say, between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Post changes in your business hours at the physical location, as well as on your website and social media.
  2. Adapt to meet new demands and needs.Be creative about serving customers who are staying at home. Can you offer pick-up and/or delivery services? If a car dealership can drive a new vehicle to a buyer’s residence, can you do the same for your products? Or can you use teleconferencing to walk a client through the steps of a purchase?
  3. Think ahead.If people can’t buy your services or goods right now, you may be able to encourage them to purchase later. For example, if you own a retail outlet that’s had to close its doors, you might offer gift cards for future purchases at discounted rates. When restrictions in your area have been lifted, customers can cash in. In the meantime, you’ve boosted current cash flow.
  4. Update your website.Now may be a good time for a complete overhaul of your website. Test your online order system from the perspective of a customer and consider ways it can be updated to facilitate customer orders.

At the very least, freshen up your site and make it more visually appealing. Include all the latest information, ditch outdated or inaccurate information and fix any broken links. When it makes sense, hire a professional to handle the changes. In addition, if you don’t already have an app, now might be a good time to create one to allow customers to order from your business using their smartphones.

  1. Learn a new skill.Faced with necessity, managers and owners may delve into areas they previously hadn’t touched. For instance, if you aren’t proficient in social media, navigate new platforms. Or you could become adept at scheduling pick-ups through software. Or maybe you can do some administrative work that had previously been delegated to others.
  2. Protect your employees.Remember that safety concerns should extend to both customersand employees. Let your staff know about the measures you’re taking to keep them clean and safe in the workplace. In times of crisis, owners and managers should practice what they preach, because employees look to leaders to set the example.

Workers also appreciate honesty. So, inform them as soon as possible if layoffs are coming, benefits are being scaled back or bonuses won’t be paid this year. When the economy starts turning around, companies will likely continue to face the long-term talent shortages they’ve experienced in recent years. These challenging times present an opportunity to build long-term loyalty among your workers.

  1. Monitor your pivot strategy regularly.Don’t rely on gut instinct or quarterly financial statements to monitor your company’s performance. Timely, accurate financial reporting is key during volatile market conditions. Consider producing daily or weekly “flash” reports that highlight what’s working and what’s not — and then take corrective measures. For example, you might need to adjust your pricing, staffing or hours of operation to improve profitability.

Which metrics should be included in your company’s flash report? Keep a close watch on revenue, payroll costs, and sources (and uses) of cash. Your CPA can help determine what other metrics would be most beneficial in your situation.

For example, a restaurant’s flash report might break down revenue by day of the week and compare those numbers to the previous week, the same week in the previous year and the budget. Other important metrics for a restaurant might include average order size, food costs, gross margin and spoilage.

A Brave New World

During the COVID-19 crisis, there’s no universal pivot strategy that will work for every business. Contact your financial, tax and HR advisors to help identify, monitor and seize potential opportunities in your industry

 

Successful COVID-19 Pivots

“Pivot” strategies can be short-term or long-term. They might, for instance, target new types of customers, introduce new products or services, realign the company’s supply chain, employ innovative distribution methods and/or build goodwill with stakeholders.

Here are some examples of successful pivots that have made the news the last few months.

  • Many retailers and restaurants are now offering online ordering and curbside pickup — or they’re partnering with delivery services, such as TaskRabbit, DoorDash and Uber Eats.
  • Some distilleries and breweries, as well as perfume manufacturers, are making hand sanitizers instead of sticking to their regular product lines.
  • Certain fast food restaurants have offered free meals to health care workers and first responders.
  • Increasingly, farms and restaurant supply companies are selling products directly to consumers to make up for lost fine dining, hotel, cruise ship and corporate revenue.
  • Many gyms and dance studios are coordinating Zoom classes or using other teleconferencing means to keep customers engaged.
  • Some vacation house rental services are offering discounts and promoting extensive cleaning measures to attract last-minute summer road-trippers.
  • Trucking companies are partnering with logistics companies to help replenish empty grocery shelves.

A growing number of manufacturers are adapting their factories to focus on making personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies for frontline workers. For instance, one petrochemical plant voluntarily converted into a “live-in” factory. Its employees agreed to remain onsite for 28 days working 12-hour shifts to manufacture raw materials for face masks and surgical gowns.

This pivot strategy offers numerous benefits: The company’s revenue stream is preserved, workers stay employed and safe, and the health care industry receives much-needed PPE. It also adds long-term value by showcasing socially responsible corporate behavior and engendering loyalty among employees, supply chain partners and investors.

These stories are both inspiring and heartwarming. They also may give you an idea of what your company can do to find a silver lining in today’s stormy marketplace..

CARES Act Provides 4 Possible Reasons to File an Amended Return

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Submitted by Schmersahl Treloar

The $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act delivers good news to individuals and businesses, including valuable tax-relief measures. Some of that tax relief is retroactive. These provisions can affect 2018 and 2019 returns that have already been filed. One retroactive provision can, in some cases, go all the way back to 2013. Some taxpayers that file amended returns may receive a tax refund from prior years.

Here’s a summary of four retroactive CARES Act provisions that can potentially benefit you or your business entity after amended prior-year returns have been prepared and filed.

  1. Liberalized Rules for Deducting NOLs

Business activities that generate tax losses can cause you or your business entity to have a net operating loss (NOL) for the year. Many businesses are currently operating at a loss. But there’s a bright side: The CARES Act significantly liberalizes the NOL deduction rules and allows NOLs that arise from 2018 to 2020 to be carried back five years.

That means an NOL that arises this year can be carried back to 2015. In addition, an NOL that arose in 2018 can be carried back to 2013. Such NOL carry-backs allow you to claim refunds for taxes paid in the carry-back years. Because tax rates were higher in pre-2018 years, NOLs carried back to those years can be especially beneficial.

  1. Better Depreciation Rules for Real Estate QIP

The CARES Act includes a retroactive correction to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that allows much faster depreciation for real estate qualified improvement property (QIP) that’s placed in service after 2017.

QIP is defined as an improvement to an interior portion of a nonresidential building that’s placed in service after the date the building was first placed in service. However, QIP doesn’t include any improvement for which the expenditure is attributable to the enlargement of the building, any elevator or escalator, or the internal structural framework of the building.

The retroactive correction allows you to claim 100% first-year bonus depreciation for QIP expenditures placed in service in 2018 through 2022. Alternatively, you can depreciate QIP placed in service in 2018 and beyond over 15 years using the straight-line method.

Amending a 2018 or 2019 return to claim 100% first-year bonus depreciation for QIP placed in service in those years may result in a lower bill for the tax year the QIP was placed in service. It may even generate an NOL that can be carried back to a prior tax year to recover taxes paid in that prior year.

You could also amend a 2018 or 2019 return to claim 15-year straight-line depreciation for QIP placed in service in those years. That might not create an NOL for 2018 or 2019, but it would still lower your tax bill for those years.

  1. Suspended Excess Business Loss Disallowance Rule for Noncorporate Taxpayers

An unfavorable TCJA provision disallowed current deductions for so-called “excess business losses” incurred by individuals and other noncorporate taxpayers in tax years beginning in 2018 through 2025. An excess business loss is one that exceeds $250,000 or $500,000 for a married joint-filing couple. The $250,000 and $500,000 limits are adjusted annually for inflation.

The CARES Act suspends the excess business loss disallowance rule for losses that arise in tax years beginning in 2018 through 2020. Amending a 2018 or 2019 return to reflect the suspension of the excess business loss disallowance rule could result in a 2018 or 2019 NOL that could then be carried back to a prior tax year to recover taxes paid in that prior year. Or it could just lower the 2018 or 2019 tax bill. Either way, you’ll come out ahead.

  1. Liberalized Limit on Business Interest Expense Deductions

Another unfavorable TCJA provision generally limited a taxpayer’s deduction for business interest expense to 30% of adjusted taxable income (ATI) for tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond. Business interest expense that’s disallowed under this limitation is carried over to the following tax year.

In general, the CARES Act temporarily and retroactively increases the taxable income limitation from 30% of ATI to 50% of ATI for tax years beginning in 2019 and 2020. There’s no change for tax years beginning in 2018. Amending a 2019 return to reflect the liberalized taxable income limitation rule could result in a 2019 NOL that can be carried back to a prior tax year to recover taxes paid in that prior year. Or it could just lower the 2019 tax bill. Either way, you’ll come out ahead.

Special complicated rules apply to partnerships and LLCs that are treated as partnerships for tax purposes.

Important: Taxpayers with average annual gross receipts of $25 million or less for the three previous tax years are exempt from the business interest expense deduction limitation. Certain real property businesses and farming businesses are also exempt if they choose to use slower depreciation methods for specified types of assets.

To Amend or Not to Amend?

The four retroactive tax-relief measures provided by the CARES Act can impact prior tax years for which returns have already been filed. Amended returns can allow you or your business to benefit from these changes and recover taxes paid in prior years. Contact us if you have questions, need more information or want to authorize us to start preparing amended returns for you or your business.

Forty Percent of Construction Firms Report Layoffs Amid Widespread Project Cancellations As Economic Impact Of Coronavirus Grows

in Associations/News/Uncategorized

Survey of Construction Firms by the Associated General Contractors of America Finds More Than Half of Firms Have Had Projects Halted as 74 Percent Seek New Paycheck Protection Loans to Retain Staff

With the covid-19 pandemic worsening by the week, an ever-increasing share of contractors are reporting cancellations of upcoming projects and shortages of equipment or materials, forcing nearly 40 percent of firms to lay off employees, according to an online survey released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials added that 74 percent of firms are seeking new Paycheck Protection Program loans and urged Congress to quickly add more funding for the over-subscribed program, among other recovery measures needed.

“Owners are not only halting many current construction projects but are canceling a growing number of projects that have not yet started,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Inevitably, that has caused a growing number of contractors to furlough or terminate jobsite workers.” Click here(link is external) for additional video comments from Mr. Simonson.

Simonson noted that that 53 percent of firms report they had been directed to cancel current projects or ones scheduled to start within 30 days in this week’s survey, which was conducted April 6-9.There was a steep increase in the share of firms reporting that an owner canceled an upcoming project – from 7 percent a week ago to 19 percent this week. In a question asked this week for the first time, 11 percent of the survey’s 830 respondents reported that an owner had canceled a project that was still in the preconstruction phase.

In addition, 39 percent of respondents in the latest survey said they had encountered project delays or disruptions due to shortages of personal protective equipment such as masks for jobsite workers, while 23 percent reported shortages of construction materials, equipment or parts. In the previous survey, which had combined those questions, only about one-third (35 percent) of respondents had reported equipment shortages.

The share of respondents who reported furloughs or terminations rose to 40 percent in the latest survey from 31 percent a week earlier. More than one out of three firms (36 percent) had furloughed or terminated jobsite workers, while 18 percent had laid off office or other workers.

In a sign that contractors are eager to maintain their payrolls if possible, three-fourths of the respondents said they had already applied or intend to apply for the new Paycheck Protection Program loans. However, only 10 percent said they had already received a loan through the program, which began on April 3. Association officials noted that 48 percent of respondents said they wanted Congress to increase funding for the federal loan program, given the widespread demand for the program.

They called on Congress to quickly inject more capital into the loan program. Association officials also urged Washington leaders to begin work on broader recovery measures that include new funding for infrastructure programs, among other measures to rebuild the economy. “The construction industry is ready to rebuild our economy, but that can’t happen without strong federal support and investments,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

View AGC’s coronavirus resources and survey. View comparative data here.

Legal Analysis of the Treasury Department’s Latest Guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program

in Associations/News/Uncategorized

Submitted by the AGC of Missouri

At AGC’s urgent request, one of Washington’s leading law firms, Crowell & Moring, has provided the association with the attached analysis (click HERE to read) of the Treasury Department’s latest guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). That guidance provides, in short, that a construction company can qualify for a PPP loan even if the company does meet the small business size standard that applies to the company, provided that it has fewer than 500 employees.

In the process, Treasury’s new guidance appears to overrule the “interim final rule” that the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued late last week, where the SBA indicated that the program is only open to small businesses. On its face, and given its nature, the new guidance does not, however, dispel all doubt that a company above the relevant size standard — but with fewer than 500 employees – can now certify – as the PPP loan application continues to require – that at the time of applying for the loan, the company “is eligible to receive a loan under rules . . . that have been issued by the [SBA}.”

Crowell & Moring’s current view is that, yes, a construction company can now make that certification, even if the company does not meet the relevant small business size standard, if these three conditions are met:

  • the company has fewer than 500 employees; and
  • all of the information that the company provides to the lending institution in conjunction with its application form and all supporting documents are true and accurate; and
  • the company is otherwise eligible for a federal loan pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program.

The law firm adds that “successful enforcement actions” under the federal false Claims Act would be “unlikely” in the current scenario, and that loan applicants can “further bolster their position by noting on the face of [their] application[s] that they are relying on the government’s own FAQ documentation in support of their eligibility and certification.”

Crowell & Moring held a webinar recently to discuss the “Paycheck Protection Program Essentials: Current Tripwires, Guidance, and Lessons Learned in the Sprint to Apply for Loans,” and it featured Ken Dodds of Live Oak Bank, a leading SBA lender and Crowell & Moring attorney and policy advisor.

The webinar also addressed program eligibility, the current SBA Form 2483 borrower application, and loan calculations and forgiveness based on the SBA’s interim final rules and guidance that have been issued in the past week. The webinar also provided insight into the lender perspective following the opening of the application period on April 3, 2020.

32-hour live-streaming event to feature ‘Living Room Talent Show’

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What – Streamathon for St. Louis

When- Friday, April 10th starting at 4PM. Ends midnight, April 11th.

Where – Online at www.StreamingforSTL.com with additional access via Facebook and other social media platforms.

Features include:

–          Living Room Talent Show – St. Louisans can show off their unique skills live from their homes during the event.

–          Sit Down Comedy Show – Local and national comedians will perform their acts virtually during each hour of broadcast.

–          Cooking demonstrations, fitness tips, restaurant of the hour feature, trivia contest, lip sync challenge and much more. All fed from participant’s homes and living rooms.

–          Special guests and surprise co-hosts.

Viewers can donate throughout the event to help small & independent businesses in St. Louis.

Performers, participants and businesses in need can submit information through the website.

All funds raised throughout the Streamathon will support local organizations and will be awarded as $1000 gifts per organization.

Streamathon funding goal is $100,000/100 businesses.

The Streamathon is presented by NexCore Coworking St. Louis.

Industry COVID-19 Cancellations & Postponed Events

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St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers Annual Awards Gala

Given the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, we are postponing our Annual Awards Gala until August 2020. The Board made this decision last Friday prior to the latest announcement recommending to postpone or cancel and was hoping to have a new date before our announcement to postpone. We are working with the venue on a rescheduled date and will communicate the new date as soon as possible. We will have the ability to still honor all our award finalists and enjoy networking time with each other when it’s safe to do so.

If you have already purchased a ticket or table, we hope you will join us at the rescheduled date. We will hold all payments for the events for the postponed date. If you require a refund, please email us at info@slccc.net. As for future events, further communication will be sent. All committee meetings will be conducted over conference calls or cancelled. Please see specific communications for those meetings.

Thank you for your understanding and know your support for the SLCCC is very important to us! On behalf of our Board and Staff, be safe!

St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers Fundraiser Golf Tournament

As with many other events including our Gala, we have rescheduled our Golf Tournament to August 31st. It’s our hope this pandemic will be over and public safety and health restored. We also hope you will be able to join us on this new date!

UPCO Career Expo Scheduled for March 12th Cancelled

Masonry Institute of St. Louis

Due to the rising concerns over COVID-19 and the rapid developments that have occurred over the last 24 hours, we have made the difficult decision to cancel today’s Career Expo out of an abundance of caution.

We encourage anyone interested in applying for a job at The UP Companies to visit theupcompanies.com/careers to submit a resume online. Thank you for your understanding.

In response to COVID-19 national health guidelines and local St. Louis City and County Executive Orders, the Masonry Institute of St. Louis (MISL) is announcing the following changes to currently scheduled events:

April 8, 2020  –  Code Official Seminar  –  2018 Masonry Special Inspections  –  Postponed

April 15, 2020  –  Engineering Seminar  –  TMS 402 Appendix C Limit Design Method  –  Postponed

April 22, 2020  –  Architectural Seminar  –  Masonry Project Tips: Design & Detailing  –  Postponed

Helmkamp Construction Distributes Maximum Impact Donations

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Rob Johnes (President & Owner of Helmkamp Construction), Tori Freeman (Sr. Development Manager at JDRF), Kristina Linden (Development Manager at JDRF), Kevin Feldott (Superintendent at Helmkamp), and Brandon Howard (Superintendent at Helmkamp)

Although Helmkamp Construction Co., a local business since 1938, has supported many charities over the years, it has been a long time goal of current and former owners to create an employee guided program that allows the company to give back in an organized, consistent, and impactful manner.

Last July, the general contractor introduced the Helmkamp Cares Foundation, with the intent to better direct their focus and culture on the type of local business they aim to be… a good neighbor who cares about the community.

Helmkamp President, Rob Johnes, gave an overview of the new foundation by saying “The Helmkamp Cares Foundation is comprised of an employee-based committee to manage the charitable requests that we receive on a regular basis.  Helmkamp would like to be able to give everyone support, but it’s simply not possible to do so.  Helmkamp Cares will allow us to allocate and focus charitable giving based on the initiatives our employees are collectively most passionate about.”

Nicole Lanahan (Executive Director for Got Your Six Support Dogs), Kyle Vahling (Assistant Project Manager at Helmkamp Construction), and Recon (Got Your Six Support Dog Mascot)

Jen Jackson, Marketing Director & Chair for the Helmkamp Cares Foundation said “It was important to us when creating the program that we found meaningful ways to help out local organizations where we live and work.  That’s how the Maximum Impact Awards were created.  All employees were surveyed about causes that meant most to them.  Our committee reviewed those and chose three deserving organizations for our inaugural 2019 Maximum Impact Awards.  They were the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Alton Memorial’s Health Services Foundation Cancer Patient Programs, and Got Your Six Veterans’ Support Dogs.  All three of these organizations received $20,000 from Helmkamp Construction.”

Additionally, Johnes announced at the company’s annual holiday party that Helmkamp Construction had its most successful year in business in 2019.  To celebrate, all employees (and their spouses) were given $500 in play money called “Helmkamp Bucks” and asked to distribute them among seven additional charities that were selected by their peers on the foundation committee.  Those Helmkamp Bucks were tallied and turned into real donations totaling $50,000.  The seven organizations that benefitted from Helmkamp’s year-end giving celebrations included: The Alzheimers Association, Fisher House St. Louis, Haven House, Meals on Wheels, MS Society, National Children’s Cancer Society, and the Ronald McDonald Charities of St. Louis.

In 2018, Helmkamp Construction Co. donated $80,000 to charitable organizations in celebration of their 80th year in business in the metro-east area.  In 2019, charitable spending was over double that at almost $170,000.

“It was such a pleasure for us to learn more about the great work of the JDRF, Got Your Six, and Alton Memorial Hospital’s cancer patient programs and to be able to help them do that work,” said Jackson.  “Rob (Johnes) is committed to leading Helmkamp with the top 2 things in mind being safety and philanthropy.  Keeping our employees and customers safe on the job site and being able to give back is what he calls success.  As employees, that leadership gives us all something to feel really great about.”

Pictured at top: Kristen Ryrie (AMH Manager of Foundation and Development), Rusty Ingram (Director of Business Development for AMH), Jeanne Truckey (Development Office Coordinator), Bruce Hartich (Treasurer for AMH Foundation Board of Directors), Toni Brummett (Oncology Nurse at AMH), Mike Farrell (Business Development Manager at Helmkamp), Brian Bechard (Director of Pre-Construction at Helmkamp), Kevin Feldott (Superintendent at Helmkamp), David Braasch (President at AMH), BJ Williams (Superintendent at Helmkamp), Donna Campbell (Asst. Nurse Manager for Infusion Center at AMH), Cole Hagen (Project Manager at Helmkamp), Dr. Gregory Vlacich (Clinical Director of Radiation Oncology at AMH), and Brad Goacher (Vice President at AMH)

Since 1938, Helmkamp Construction Co. has built relationships based on quality, integrity, and safety leadership.  Helmkamp is the builder of choice for the repeat, professional buyer of construction in Industrial, Building, and Life Science markets.  Helmkamp self-performs excavations, concrete foundations and slabs, structural steel, rough and finish carpentry, labs, millwright equipment installations, and laser alignment/precision leveling.  To learn more, visit www.helmkamp.com.

American Society of Concrete Contractors Awards

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Jordan Behrens (R)

The Emerging Leaders Committee of the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), St. Louis, Mo., presented its second Gaining Strength Award to Jordan Berens, director of project management and estimating for Kent Companies, Grand Rapids, MI. The award was established to acknowledge up and coming individuals aged 40 and under, from member companies, who go above and beyond to promote and professionally represent the concrete industry, through their actions in their company and industry organizations.

Candidates are judged based on letters of recommendations and letters of acknowledgement from industry organizations with emphasis on participation, commitment, safety awareness, role modeling, and personal skills and knowledge.

Berens began his career in 2014 as a laborer performing placing, finishing and forming. He joined Kent Co. in 2015 as a field intern. He was promoted to project engineer, project manager, senior project manager, then to his current position. He is a respected project management expert among all seasoned field leaders and general superintendents, and, is widely recognized by customers and field leadership for developing detailed safety plans. From Kent EVP Matt Fennema, “His deep experience in concrete has positioned him as an expert to our customers. He can have tough conversations with clients while maintaining a positive working relationship.”

The president of the West Michigan Chapter of ACT had this to say: “Jordan is recognized within our chapter and the industry as an advisor and mentor to those who are beginning a career in concrete. I’ve observed senior lead construction managers seek his opinion.”

Candidates for the 2020 Gaining Strength Award will be accepted after the first of the year.

Chris Plue

The Safety and Risk Management Council (SRMC) of the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), St. Louis, is pleased to announce that Chris Plue, senior vice president, Webcor Concrete Division, San Francisco, CA, received its ASCC Member Owner Safety Award for 2019, presented September 19 at the association’s Annual Conference in Chicago. The purpose is to annually recognize one owner/executive of a contractor member company who displays a clear focus and passion for safety, and provides the leadership that creates a best-in-class safety culture. Plue is a past president of ASCC and a past council director SRMC. The judges had this to say: “We can’t name a person we feel is more sincere in their decision to manage the people for which they’re responsible in such a way to assume their absolute best chance of working without injury or incident. “He personally has led the change to move his company’s safety culture from good to great. Great leaders make it personal and create positive change. Webcor’s EMR has been trending down to a .58 with almost 3.5 million manhours worked. That takes a lot of effort and focus.” The Safety and Risk Management Council (SRMC) is a specialty council dedicated to making ASCC contractors the safest in the industry. The Council board consists of safety and insurance professionals from all aspects of the concrete contracting industry. The group meets three times a year and spends countless additional hours overseeing safety matters for the organization. Council activities include publication development, review and monitoring of ASCC events and materials for safety compliance, member education, a safety awards program, and a safety/insurance hotline.

Thomas Ruttura

D. Thomas Ruttura, owner of Ruttura & Sons Construction Co., Inc., West Babylon, NY, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), St. Louis, MO on September 19 at the organization’s Annual Conference in Chicago. Ruttura is a past president of ASCC (2003-2004) and of the organization’s Education, Research & Development Foundation. He also chaired and served on numerous ASCC committees. “Tommy has always been extremely generous with his time, talents and financial contributions to this organization,” says ASCC executive director, Bev Garnant. “He has truly ‘enhanced the capabilities of those who build with concrete’ by showing his experience and expertise in concrete construction and business management with so many of his fellow ASCC members.” Ruttura has also been active in the America Concrete Institute (ACI) and with local and regional concrete and construction organizations. The Lifetime Achievement Award is ASCC’s highest honor, acknowledging recipients for their body of work within the industry and their service to ASCC. The ASCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of those who build with concrete, and to providing them a unified voice in the construction industry. Members include concrete contracting firms, manufacturers, suppliers and others interested in the concrete industry such as architects, specifiers and distributors. There are approximately 760 member companies in the United States and 13 foreign countries.

Bank of America to Celebrate 2019 Neighborhood Builders

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Bank of America will celebrate its 2019 Neighborhood Builders®, nonprofits who are advancing economic mobility and providing leadership to solve community challenges. Each Neighborhood Builders awardee will receive a two-year, $200,000 grant, a year of leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader, an opportunity to access capital, and access to a network of peer organizations across the U.S. It is one of the nation’s largest philanthropic investments in nonprofit leadership, with $240 million invested over more than 15 years.

In addition to celebrating this year’s Neighborhood Builders, Bank of America’s area nonprofit partners will join together in support of Operation Food Search (OFS) by packing 1,000 backpacks for community youth. Backpacks will include tuna, carrots, a whole grain snack, and cereal. This menu was developed by OFS’s Child and Family Nutrition Team to mitigate food shortages during the week so that kids have consistent nourishment outside of school.

The agenda for the celebration also includes a fireside chat with St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jordan Hicks along with former pitcher and current Cardinals broadcaster Rick Horton.

  • November 6, 2019, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Joe Cunningham Corner at Busch Stadium
  • 700 Clark Street
  • St. Louis, MO 63102

Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders® program strengthens the network of nonprofit leadership who help the St. Louis community thrive. Bank of America created Neighborhood Builders in 2004 to help nonprofits make a bigger impact by building leadership skills, providing flexible funding and fostering a peer network.

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