Feb. is here, and we’re not sure whether we should be celebrating or lamenting its arrival. We’re seeing some upticks from our customers, but most indications are still headed in the wrong direction. Hard work and good controls are the hallmarks contributing to the limited successes of our clientele- nothing new. We attended the World of Concrete in Las Vegas. All in all the show appeared to me to be successful, with somewhere between 66%-80% of the anticipated 85,000 attendees. That’s not bad by this economy’s standards, (although it clearly would have been viewed as a disaster in recent years past).
Also at World of Concrete: when we spoke with Steve Watt, president of WinEstimator Inc. of Kent, WA he showed us Modelogix, its new conceptual modeling component. In our opinion, it’s the best, easiest-to-use parametric estimating tool that we’ve seen. Don’t own WinEst? No problem- as long as you can export your estimates to Excel, WinEst’s new tool can intelligently sort, query, and evaluate your entire historical estimate library, weighted for estimate date AND locale, in just minutes!! Finally, we can’t leave our WoC review without offering our congratulations to Adam Vaske, of Seedorff Masonry of Strawberry Point, IA, for his performance at the World’s Best Bricklayer Contest. We were among nearly 5,000 people jammed into the stands in ideal, 75-degree sunshine on Wednesday in Las Vegas. So how many bricks do you think the best guys in the world can lay in an hour? (and yes, we’re talking within a 1/4″ inch of plumb and level)- 150, 250, 400? Not even close- Adam laid over 750, in ONE hour- and didn’t finish in the money! (these guys are GOOD!)
Our travel schedule is busy this month: after attending World of Concrete Feb 2-4, we’re down in Phoenix talking to our customers in the Valley of the Sun. We’re seeing some good signs in commercial concrete, but Todd Stecker of SCP Construction reports that residential starts are down another 50% from last year’s dismal figures. The week of Feb 9th we’re down in Port Hueneme, CA working with the Navy Sea Bees, updating training on their new US Cost Success estimating system. The last week of February we are scheduled to offer our first M.O.B. (Marketing-Operations-Back Office) presentation at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, WA. We’re working with Market Accelerators and Golden C.P.A.’s to offer the first in a series of lunchtime programs to help contractors deal with the current economy.
Our fly on the wall at Sage Timberline Estimating has positively ascertained that Estimating will, in early 2010, drop its (temperamental) Pervasive db engine in favor of the industry-standard Microsoft SQL. (is that wild cheering we hear from your IT departments? – I think so!) Also look for:
- direct interface from PJ Change Orders to Estimating
- copy assemblies between estimates
- upgrade estimates, right from Estimating
Also new at Sage – its biggest dealers have decreed that it isn’t in your best interests to work directly with us Independent Consultants anymore. (??) Starting in March, Sage intends that its new, highly-restrictive policy towards its consultants takes effect. Many of us, who have made our living making sure that your Timberline software needs are met, will face punitive action by Sage. None of us are sure where this will go. But be assured: we’ll be here for you, when you need us- you have our word on it. At the end of the day, you the customer have the right freely choose whom you want to work with, to achieve your company’s goals. It’s all about you, not us- and that’s the way it should be. Stay tuned.