Greetings! 2011 is certainly moving by quickly. Summer is well under way, our industry continues to search for sound footing and we are seeing some small but positive signs. We are not likely to see the construction industry rebound for another two or three years in my belief, and it remains to be seen if that rebound will include a normalization of fees to a business sustaining level. Healthcare will remain strong for those entrenched, especially OSHPD hospital work, and military will keep a well-established group of contractors going, certainly not without trials. Solar PV is moving well when a PPA can be applied, and we remain without a solution for funding for retro-commissioning and energy efficiency projects in existing buildings, which would be a great market to put people back to work, reduce energy consumption and see some positive cash flow in our community. Hospitality and interior work rounds out the field, played to the same theme of extremely competitive pricing by revenue starved contractors.
We have been active however, and are making strides in crafting our future.
Best Practices in Action
Earlier this year, Reno was the recipient of the Environmental Stewardship Award of the San Diego Associated General Contractors, citing a commitment to sustainable best practices in offices, in the field and at home.
Reno consistently applies solid values to our vision. Our Efficient Sustainable Practices (ESP) division continues to define itself and increasingly will play a pivotal role in our company’s future. Recently awarded a five-year contract with the County of San Diego, Reno has transitioned into energy consulting with the help of a unique Southern California strategic alliance. When considering the options, it was impossible for the County to select anyone other than Reno; we presented nine firms as a collaborating alliance to perform energy audits and recommendations to the County. There is no single company that has what this alliance offers: diversity of services combined with the quality and commitment of principals of respected firms in Southern California. The premise of Reno ESP was to form strategic alliances in order to provide unparalleled customer service and comprehensive solutions that ensure the building owner is informed and compliant in our quickly changing sustainable economy. This new engagement with the County is that strategy in action.
ESP, and Reno Contracting for that matter, sees our value as a critical management layer coordinating the typical disciplines of a traditional project or jobsite as well as the new and evolving energy efficiency work disciplines and consultants. It is an understanding of the scope of work, an experience-based knowledge of timeframes and vendor relationships and the proven ability to isolate, fine tune and aggressively price and effectively coordinate the people and the work. We excel at this.
As work opportunities arrive at Reno, we apply the ESP Roadmap and ensure that the project review includes options for energy efficiency goals, incentives, upgrades, ROI payback and Energy Star Benchmarking. This simply will be how it is done. In the next few years, our industry will view what seems highly sophisticated today as standardized best practices for sustainability, energy efficiency and alternative energy sources.
The Strength of Solar Power
Speaking of strategic alliances, I hope that you all saw the announcement of the strategic alliance and joint efforts of Envision Solar and Reno. Envision Solar’s pv array is a shade structure with structural column integral charging stations providing a solution to the growing demand for a source of charging power for the AEV and Hybrid; plugging into the wall socket with coal burning energy as its supply source is not a workable solution. The Southwest will house 85% of the solar produced in the US. We stand ready to take our program on the road in these six states and service the client who wants a values-based relationship.
We continue to provide quality service to SunEdison, embarking on multiple projects, and we recently have started two Borrego Solar PV projects. We have developed a system that is of very good value.
We have engaged Michael Vargas as Energy Program Manager, to join our team of energy efficiency focused players:
This is a time of transition and development. We recognize that we must carefully redefine ourselves by focusing on our future, training our team and educating our clients, to allow them to be appropriately positioned to understand and take advantage of the new economy. We must continue to find the market opportunity within it and align and attune ourselves to understand and deliver solutions to our clients’ evolving needs.
- Eric Scheidlinger, Manager of ESP
- Mark Corbae, Director, Marketing and Business Development
- Carl Rowland, Project Developer
We have already planted a firm foundation.
Adapting to Meet Client Needs
We recently launched a tenant improvement division, specifically designed to meet the needs of our clients with smaller interiors work. This standalone division will provide a very cost effective solution on smaller projects, with the established financial backing, estimating and executive support of Reno Contracting.
We have been working with the Marriott in Coronado and at the Harbor with different projects of interior remodel. Through challenging times, hospitality remains a bright spot sector-wise, and we are hopeful that we can apply some of our energy efficiency know-how to their benefit. It seems like a perfect fit.
We are hard at work as prime subcontractor with Maryory Contreras, owner and president of Marcon Engineering, at Camp Pendleton and together look for further opportunity in the Federal arena. Maryory has worked with the Federal government for more than 30 years and has the relationships and knowledge of the process and work involved. We are happy to have the opportunity to work with Maryory and her firm.
We recently took part in yet another presentation at the California Center for Sustainable Energy; education and participating in discussion about our changing economy and energy are critical for all of us. It seems to me that we are all in a bit of a spin cycle; from politics to natural disasters to energy costs/consumptions and war. Demands are great upon contractors and their limited resources (limited because of G & A costs and lack of income); budgets and schedules are visited and revisited. We spin, we price out, we spin, price it again, we call a subcontractor who we spin, they spin, we spin, we re-price and they spin us again. Without a doubt it is unlike anything we have ever seen, but I remain faithful to America, our industry and our clients! The core and character of our awesome country will pull us through. Reno today continues to send our people to school, to train, to meet and explain, and establish ourselves as a reliable working resource for sustainable best construction practices.
Make no doubt about it, for contractors, it is all about construction. We love to build, but today it is critical that we understand what is going to be built, get well trained to direct and guide that process, lay the ground work to take it very public and be ready, willing and in charge when the economy and our industry come back to somewhere near center.
It is here to stay, we understand it, we train it and we will implement it one project at a time.
President, LEED AP
New Tenant Improvement Group Focuses on Small-Scale Projects
Reno announced in April the formation of a new division dedicated exclusively to tenant improvements. Specializing in build-to-suit services, Reno’s new Tenant Improvement (TI) Division is focusing on providing competitively priced tenant improvement projects on a small scale—approximately 1,000-10,000 sq. ft.
While Reno is known for providing build-to-suit services on any scale, the company believes that smaller-scale tenant improvements will continue to be a strong sector as businesses regroup, re-negotiate lease terms, and modify their work space, in navigating to a stronger economy, according to Reno Contracting President Walt Fegley.
"We have the people and expertise, made evident on larger scale projects, to apply to the smaller tenant improvement market,” said Fegley. “We will adjust our processes, ensure the same quality, and bring our buying power, financial and bonding strength and extensive project experience to these types of jobs."
Previous tenant improvement projects have ranged from corporate offices, law firms and cafeterias to spas and salons. Ed Wenz heads up the new division for Reno and Gary Magill will provide field coordination.