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What a Year! 2013: In review, by Christopher Gould

2013 has come and gone, seemingly in the blink of an eye. 2013 brought many, many pleasant surprises with it…and also some disappointments. I would like to dedicate this article to looking at the highs and lows from my own perspective, both professionally and personally standpoint. While I cannot possibly list them all, I will focus on the 18 things that are the most glaring.

Highs:

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  • The “highlight”: It’s official! The recession has lifted in North America. What a great feeling it is! As a consultant doing work throughout North America, I have seen indications in numerous regions indicating positive growth. Optimism is high for 2014.
  • Gould Design, Inc. was selected as the 2013 Best Construction Blog, though the combination of judged and popular vote. What an honor this was. Striving to provide value in every post, it was nice to get recognition from the industry.
  • BCMC 2013 was a huge success this year, after several years of “less than stellar” attendance by manufacturers and industry professionals. It was nice to be able to go to the show and walk out of there with new clients. Well worth the expense of the trip!
  • BCMC Build 2013 joined with the Building Systems Councils and Operation FINALLY HOME (Organization that rebuilds lives and builds homes for wounded United States Veterans). Cody Allen Nusbaum was given a home for his service, to go along with receiving a purple heart along with numerous battlefield excellence awards from the President of the United States as well as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  • Securing business with 2 of the biggest manufacturers in the United States. ProBuild and Universal Forest Products represent nearly half of the revenue in the industry. We are very excited to be a part of such a national movement and look forward to servicing as many locations as possible.
  • Several clients in The United States and Canada have heard about our training program and have called on GDI to train their staff. Since there is nowhere in the world you can go to learn component design, this was a highly successful endeavor in 2013. I expect it to grow even more in 2014. GDI has actually trained itself out of workflow because of this! At the end of the day, the industry is better for it. For that I am grateful.
  • On-Site consultations of design efficiency and company practices were also welcomed more frequently than in years past. Income is flowing in to manufacturers and they have the resources available to allow an expert to come in and provide an assessment. After all, efficiency is profit right? Well what if you could spend a dime to make a dollar? That’s what these companies realized and the feedback is tremendously positive.
  • Fostered a relationship with MiTek USA, similar to the one we have had with MiTek Canada for several years. GDI had been getting an individual licensing seat for each new USA client. In 2013, we were fortunate enough to become a customer, with full access, utilizing MiTek software exclusively for engineered truss and panel design.
  • Fostered a relationship with On-Screen Takeoff estimating software. GDI is pleased to have the privilege of assisting OST’s new clients that are transitioning to its software. We have helped fill the gaps in their output and also offer training to new users of the software.
  • Fostered a relationship with International Beams. As a “green” building solution, GDI is very excited about the potential here. This is a very new relationship and it sounds very promising.
  • Health and prosperity of my growing family. My children are thriving at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School in their respective grades. I am very grateful to the school and take every opportunity I can to volunteer and help out.
  • Spiritual growth. This is something that I am always striving to reach new levels of. I met some fantastic people this year that enabled me to discover things within myself that I was not previously aware of.

As high as those “highs” were, the “lows” were just as low:

Lows:

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  • The “lowlight”: Parting ways with 2 different Vice Presidents. I am not sure if I should be happy about this, or sad. Both of these individuals are now competitors with GDI in the same line of work, with the same client base. At the end of the day, the industry is better for these individuals having learned to be successful with design outsourcing and managing multiple remote designers. For that I am grateful.
  • In losing the above mentioned administrative staff, GDI also lost over a dozen active or potential team members to their respective companies. All of these individuals were exposed to the GDI Professional Development program learning to be productive and profitable.
  • Profitability was in the negative. After spending so much growing new staff (We trained the competition’s team on our expense!), GDI’s profitability was in “the red”.
  • Stepping away from designing Wall Panels last fall. The demand for these components just is not what is needed to allow the ongoing expenses of training and development needed to keep designers busy. I imagine this will change in time, when Building Information Modeling (BIM) becomes more prevalent in residential design. We will need to look at this again in future years and re-visit Wall Panel design.
  • Having no choice but to make our cat Lila an “outside” cat. It was a tough decision, but after the “flea invasion”, it was necessary, to keep us all proactively healthy.
  • Another year has passed without making amends with my brother. We have not spoken since 2006. I called him numerous times and sent multiple cards/letters unsuccessfully.

Well there you have it! 2013 in 1000 words or less. May 2014 grant you and your family all your wishes!

Christopher Gould – President

Gould Design, Inc.