Jan Burchett, Executive Director of Kansas City National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) recently caught up with Chris Peterson on her radio program NARI Home Time on KKLO. Listen to the show's recording.
NARI is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the professional remodeling industry. Nationwide NARI has over 6,000 members and the Kansas City Branch has nearly 350 members.
Chris Peterson is the new Kansas City Chapter President for 2018. He holds several certifications including Master Certified Remodeler (MCR) and Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC). Chris mentioned he went through the CLC class 15 or 16 years ago where he learned more about the industry as well as met others to share experiences with. The MCR certification requires you hold two certifications for at least 10 years. All certifications require continuing education for recertification.
KC NARI Workforce Development
Chris is excited about the upcoming year at Kansas City’s NARI and to serve as the president. He’s especially excited about the workforce development initiative NARI has been working on for the past few years. KC NARI recently created the Futures Fund, a charitable foundation to raise money for workforce development. In addition to the Futures Fund, KC NARI has also put together a workforce development committee.
The workforce committee has worked to build relationships with trade schools and high schools. The relationship allows the schools to know what the real-world industry is looking for. It also offers apprenticeships and some schools create internship programs using these apprenticeships. A student will receive school credit and an income through the internship program. A few schools KC NARI is already working with are the Independent School District, KCK Community College, Olathe Advanced Technical Center and Herndon Career Center. So far there has been lots of positive feedback on the program.
Jan and Chris discuss how an apprenticeship could lead to a long-time career. Chris himself is a great example of someone who has excelled in the industry.
Chris went to Vo-Tech school in 1993. He’d worked in trades and in new construction prior to that and continued to work in new construction after school. He then joined Schloegel in 1996. He started as a carpenter at Schloegel and then moved to Lead Carpenter. After being a Lead Carpenter Chris moved to Project Management and then the Production Management. As of January 1st of this year, Chris is now on the ownership team. Charlie Schloegel and Chis join Jake Schloegel on the ownership team.
Jan discusses how great the industry is and that you can be about anything you want to be. While some members are large, most NARI members are locally owned and operated companies. She says it’s a great industry to be involved in, especially if you don’t want to sit behind a desk and a computer.
Jan asks Chris what his favorite part of the remodel process is. Chris says there’s is a lot to do in kitchens and baths and a lot of design elements making it fun from that aspect. He says now that he doesn’t work with his hands much anymore the part he really enjoys is the schedule side of things. Schloegel is very schedule driven. Scheduling is very tangible, you set a goal and you meet that goal.
Why be the President of KC NARI?
Jan mentions the KC NARI President position is a volunteer and doesn’t have a paycheck so she asks Chris why he would want to be president?
Chris says, “It’s been fun over the last several years, the more I get involved the more I feel I get out of it personally.” He goes on to say it has helped him to build a lot of personal relationships within the organization but it has also helped push him in his career. Schloegel Design Remodel runs an ethical and moral business and fights the image the remodeling industry has out there every day. Both Schloegel and the organization are fighting that image. The more companies and people push each other to be more professional, the greater the industry is. By doing this the companies belonging to NARI are helping to police the industry.
Chris gets a kick out of seeing the industry grow and learning from other groups across the country, such as new laws coming out or typical battles of small business. It’s a great group of folks to share knowledge with.
Jan mentions NARI helps keep professionals up to date in the industry. Silica is an example of one of the things the industry is dealing with right now. There is a new OSHA rule dealing with the particles from cutting cement based products. She mentions this is one thing that sets NARI members apart from others in the industry. Members are licensed, insured, they know what to do with permits and know the OSHA rules.
Jan asks Chris to share more about Schlogel and their current offerings.
Schloegel Design Remodel Offerings
Schloegel’s original core business model was high-end residential remodels including room additions, kitchens, and baths. Over the last 5 – 8 years Schloegel has diversified quite a bit. We now have Express Custom and Bath Division which is more of a pull and replace model. It is still a total remodel on a kitchen or bathroom but everything stays in the same location. The high-end design remodel is moving walls, windows, and totally redesigning the space.
We now have an in-house Paint Division, a Handyman Division which is no project too small all the way up to fairly large partial kitchen and bath remodels. Jan asks if Schloegel does any light commercial and Chris responds Schloegel has done very little. We’ve done some through our Handyman Division but the bulk of our work is residential.
Jan mentions they’ve found in their NARI members there isn’t a one size fits all. Some remodelers focus only on insurance restoration and then there are other companies similar to Schloegel who have a lot of different expertise. So, if you have something you need to be done at your house more than likely a Kansas City NARI company can get it done.
Workforce Development at Schlogel
Jan mentions how Schloegel is helping workforce development internally. Chris shares how Schlogel hired a student from Herman Career Center this past summer and he has stayed on part-time. After that, Schlogel hired another student and also have a third student starting in the next week or so. So, we’ve had three students working as apprentices with us. Through one of the students, we’ve also hired two of his friends, who are not students. So, a total of five new team members to our company in the apprentice role and learning the skilled trade. It’s paid off huge for Schloegel already.
Jan says that’s the purpose of the workforce development. Helping students who may not know what they want to do find their future. A future with hope and possibilities. The housing stock continues to age and with homes aging they continue to need to be remodeled. Right now, with the great economy, people are wanting to remodel and it’s a great industry to be in. There is always going to be a need for remodeling. Remodeling can be as simple as new paint and carpet or blowing out walls.
Chris shares Schloegel is seeing that to be true, we’ve had the largest backlog we’ve ever had this time of the year. That is why we’re hiring and looking to build relationships with these students. All signs are pointing up right now.
On a final note, Jan shares Schloegel Design Remodel has won 7 REMY awards in 2017. A REMY is NARI’s Remodel of the Year award. Schloegel submitted their projects last fall and out of the eight entered, they’ve won seven REMYs. The winners will be revealed at the awards dinner on January 23. These awards are a testament to the good work that Schloegel Design Remodel does.
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