ASA President’s Monthly Newsletter-July 2012
Dear ASA Member:
I am Walter Bazan Jr., president of Bazan Painting Company, a commercial and industrial painting contractor based in St. Louis, Mo., and a member of the ASA-Midwest Council. And now, I am very proud to say that I am serving as president of the American Subcontractors Association.
I have been involved in ASA for well over two decades; in that time, I have had the pleasure of meeting many notable and wise national presidents — none of them any a wiser or a greater thinker than Kerrick Whisenant, who now serves as ASA’s Immediate Past President. As one of ASA’s youngest presidents ever, Kerrick demonstrated great wisdom and clarity. It was a pleasure to follow him “up the ladder” through the national officer positions of ASA. Other national leaders influenced me even earlier in my involvement in ASA, including my dear late friend, Timmy McLaughlin, not to mention Mac Sullivan, Gordon Kaufman, Sharon Dobson, two-time John H. Hampshire Distinguished Lifetime Service Award winner David Miller, and others. All of these individuals worked hard, and unselfishly, for the greater good of specialty trade contractors everywhere, members and non-members. They worked for our profession.
I will do the same. One way in which our profession has changed in the last five years (and even longer for some trades) is that cell phones and electronics have vastly increased the speed at which we do business. Another way is that things that used to cost us practically nothing now cost each and every one of us quite a lot of money. The delivery of construction documents is a clear example.
Specialty trade contractors used to go to a GC’s office or a plan room and “take off” drawings, read specs, meet with the estimators, and put bids together. Not any more! Documents are distributed via e-mail or online plan rooms. This change has caused a dramatic increase of costs to each and every specialty trade contractor. Even on a conservative basis, a plotter printer is going to cost at least $5,000, not to mention the ongoing monthly costs of paper, ink and maintenance on that printer. In my own company, I know we spend over $7,500 a year on printing drawings.
However, this cost is paltry compared to another “hidden” cost for specialty trade contractors, namely the cost of the lost opportunity to network with customers since we do the take-offs in our own offices. We now have to work harder to accomplish the same level of networking with customers that we had before!
Customers are the very lifeblood of our companies, and that’s why ASA is doing more to help members network. ASA successfully produced the first national GC Expo at its 2012 convention and is planning an even better GC Expo at the ASA Business Forum and Convention 2013 in Las Vegas (March 21-23). On Sept. 17 at the ASA Champions Academy 2012 in Alexandria, Va., I will lead a panel discussion on a new tool developed by ASA to help chapters produce local GC Expos so they can expand networking opportunities for members. Several chapters already offer expanded networking opportunities through GC Expos or GC Partners in Construction groups. All of these avenues complement each other and make it easier for us to connect with our customer base.
Through ASA, you can avoid losing business and not fall into the trap of becoming isolated by electronics. Use your membership in ASA to communicate and build relationships with your customers!
I look forward to serving you this year.
If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very truly yours,
Walter Bazan Jr.
ASA President, 2012-13