Project Management

Building a Team, Not a Family with Jef Forward – [Best of the Tim Faller Show]

While having a family-like culture is a well-intended premise, it is oftentimes impractical.

Companies may notice that one or two employees are intolerant of the family-like culture in place and leave the “family” dysfunctional. 

Creating an environment where there is a structure that resembles a team, rather than a family, is a way to avoid intolerance, and grow as a company.  In this episode, guest Jef Forward describes how he was able to achieve a team-like culture in his business, and why it has been successful.

Jef has a Masters Degree in Architecture from the University of Michigan and started Forward Design Build in 1997, focusing on a design and build method to ensure successful projects. He defines a successful project as a happy homeowner with a beautiful, functional home completed within ‘stated’ expectations of cost, service and schedule from the beginning of design to the end of construction.

Tim, Steve and Jef talk more about:

  • The “locus of control” 
  • How to address and correct the path of someone who is trending sideways
  • How to efficiently communicate with different team members
  • And more…

Culture in Practice with Chris Stebnitz – [Tim Faller Show] S4 E13

Today on the Tim Faller Show, Chris Stebnitz joins the show to discuss building a culture in a remodeling company and the impact it has on the client experience. Chris talks about how building trust with your employees can enhance the company culture. While building a culture is important, there are also ways you can destroy your company culture including gossip or being a demanding leader. Chris says if the business owner is the only way the company succeeds, you will never build a culture.

Chris Stebnitz is the owner of Stebnitz Builders located in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Chris is a Third-generation owner of Stebnitz Builders. He started as cheap labor for the family when he was in his teens. Chris then moved into sales in his 20s, marketing shortly thereafter and then focusing on sales management before purchasing the company in 2008 from his father and uncles.

Chris, Tim, and Steve talk more about:

  • How Stebnitz Builders built a company culture 
  • Why trust is important for a company culture
  • and more…

Design and Production: What Happens When the Job Starts? with Morgan Thomas and Candice Rania- [Tim Faller Show] S4 E12

Candice Rania and Morgan Thomas rejoin the Tim Faller Show for a follow-up from their last episode, Design and Production: Can we really get along? In this episode, Candice Rania and Morgan Thomas join the show to discuss what happens once the job is started. They discuss challenges at the job site, whether it is unforeseen circumstances or supply chain delays. Candice and Morgan discuss how they resolve these challenges with the communication between the design and the production teams during the job.

Morgan Thomas started at Leff Design Build in Sonoma County, California 5 years ago as a project manager and was then promoted to her current role as the production department manager. She is excited and proud of her team’s input to the project’s budget, which she thinks has created an improved sense of ownership among her coworkers.  Candice Rania is the pre-production manager at Leff Design Build and works closely with Morgan.

Tim, Steve, Morgan, and Candice talk more about:

  • How the production team helps with client experience
  • Connection between design and production during construction
  • Limiting slippage
  • Design’s impact on change orders
  • And more…

The Key to Good Management is Listening with Christine Miles [Tim Faller Show] S4 E9

Today on the Tim Faller Show, Christine Miles joins the show to discuss how better listening skills lead to better communication. Christine explains why listening is so complicated and suggests some easy ways to listen better. She also highlights the importance of communication in creating trust between co-workers.

Christine is an author, professional keynote speaker, consultant, executive coach, thought leader, and entrepreneur. She is the Founder and CEO of EQuipt, a training and consulting company that helps leadership teams grow sales, develop people, and create cultures of understanding. She developed The Listening Path™, a transformational workshop on listening to understand, which has been taught at various Fortune 100 corporations, universities, law firms, and privately-held companies. She is the author of What Is It Costing You Not to Listen? which will encourage you to examine how you are listening. You’ll discover that not only are many of the problems in your life due to not listening effectively, but listening helps to solve most problems.

Tim, Steve, and Christine talk more about:

  • Failure to listen can cause culture problems within an organization
  • Improving turnover through listening
  • How listening can help your company’s bottom line
  • And more…

Production System Shifts with Tim Faller and Steve Wheeler- [Tim Faller Show] S4 E8

Today on the Tim Faller Show, Tim and Steve go solo to discuss production system shifts and the changing world of the lead carpenter and project manager. Tim talks about the most significant challenge facing the remodeling industry: increasing sales with the lack of skilled labor. The challenge comes from controlling growth with a limited number of people to handle that growth.  This is causing many companies to reevaluate their project management systems.

Tim and Steve talk more about:

  • Lead carpenter systems
  • Changes in the remodeling industry
  • Hybrid systems
  • And more…

Co-Building Long Distance Jobs with Jordan Smith [The Tim Faller Show] S4 E6

Jordan Smith joined the show to discuss partnering with another remodeling company to complete a job two hours outside his service area.  He discusses the benefits, risks, and challenges associated with the job type and the steps he took to mitigate problems.

Jordan and his wife Veronica started the Smith House Company four years ago to create beautiful and functional spaces that harmonize with their natural surroundings.  

Join Jordan, Tim, and Steve as they discuss:

  1. How to handle projects that are outside of the current service area
  2. The risks and benefits of partnering with another remodeling company to complete a job
  3. How to handle the relationships between the design company, build company, and customer

Click here to listen…

The Tricks of a Lead Carpenter with Doug Horgan- Season 4 Episode 5

Tim and Steve welcome Doug Horgan to the show to discuss the role of a lead carpenter. Doug talks about his responsibilities, including research, being an internal “help desk,” managing people internally and externally.  He also manages scheduling and explains the meaning behind the saying “make ready planning” and why it’s essential for a lead carpenter.

Doug Horgan is Vice President–Best Practices at BOWA, the Washington DC area’s premier custom and remodeling builder. In this training, quality, and troubleshooting role, Doug’s goal is reducing construction defects through sharing knowledge. Doug’s thirty years of tools-on carpentry, warranty troubleshooting, and instruction experience, are the foundations for visually rich presentations on how to build properly and avoid construction problems.

Tim, Steve, and Doug talk more about

  • Having an organized job site
  • Client relations and communication
  • Advice for a lead carpenter
  • And more…

Emotional Intelligence as a Management Tool – Season 4 Episode 4

Jesse DeBenedictis joins the Tim Faller show to talk about emotional intelligence. Jesse tells us his definition of emotional intelligence and how he, as a leader, uses it to better his business. He discusses how being self-aware is the most critical piece of emotional intelligence. He also talks about how having good emotional intelligence can help your clients.

Jesse DeBenedictis is the proud owner of Works by Jesse DeBenedictis located in Beverly Massachusetts. He is focused on building long-term relationships with clients and vendors, some of whom he has worked with since the company was founded in 2001. Jesse continues to drive the company to deliver a better higher quality service to their customers.

Tim, Steve, and Jesse talk more about:

  • How to use emotional intelligence as a business owner
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • And more…..

Concierge Service With Aimee Cianfarani – [The Tim Faller Show] S4 E3

Today on The Tim Faller Show, Aimee Cianfarani discusses how her company has made concierge services (a/k/a handyperson services) a successful part of the overall business.  In this high-failure segment of the industry, Aimee and her team have overcome significant odds to find great success by applying a strategic approach and using marketing as a key part of the process.  Aimee said hiring the right person for this role is also critical.  

Aimee is the Concierge Services Coordinator at Teakwood Builders in Saratoga Springs, NY.  Aimee has helped grow Concierge Services from a one-person operation into significant operations with jobs booked into 2023.

Listen to this episode where Aimee, Tim, and Steve talk about:

  • How to use this to service upsell customers to more significant projects or as a follow-up to other projects to keep them happy
  • Determining the right customers and employee talent for this service
  • And more…

Time Management for Project Managers – [The Tim Faller Show] S4 E2

Today on the Tim Faller Show, we welcome guest John Vendafreddo to discuss time management. John talks about how to organize jobs based on importance or urgency, and how planning can help with time management. John also discusses how to handle in-office meetings while working on job sites. John finished the show by giving some advice to new project managers.

John has been interested in building since he received his first Fisher-Price toolset. Upon graduating high school there was no question about what field John would enter. John joined the Hogan Design Build team as a laborer but his drive and eye for perfection helped develop him into the company’s head trim carpenter. As Hogan Design Build grew, John’s attention to detail led to him being promoted to Project Manager and now, Senior Project Manager. John is married and has three sons. He lives in a house that he built from the ground up in Batavia.

Tim, Steve, and John talk about:

  • How to prioritize your time
  • How much time to spend with clients
  • On the job site time management
  • And more…