A few comments, meanderings, and observations over the last few weeks that may be of interest to the industry.
This week marks the start of building week in Northern California and the opening of the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) in San Francisco. This is the 52nd year for the event, and is by all accounts, the most important trade event for the residential and light commercial constructions sector in the Western United States.
While the Industry south of the border and especially in California has taken a beating from the sub-prime mortgage fiasco and subsequent recession, this trade event brings builders from across Western US together and in many respects, acts as a bellwether for the current health of the construction sector as a whole.
PCBC itself has not been immune to the downturn in the sector and has experienced a significant downturn in both participants and attendees. At the height of the building boom in 2007, the show attracted over 40,000 participants and took up all three halls of the massive Moscone Convention Center in downtown San Francisco.
This year, the show will be reduced to approximately 1/3rd of the size, taking up one hall with a projected attendee rate of 17,000 —a significant decline from the heady days of years past, but reflective of the current states of the construction sector. That said, PCBC is still a very important trade and networking event and will continue to be so for builders, architects, developers, and suppliers from across the Western US. BC Wood and 5 member companies will participate at PCBC this year. It will be interesting to get a feel from the attendees on the current state of the market and the potential opportunities that it holds from BC value added manufacturers. It is important to remember that even with the current downturn, the State of California has a population base greater than all of Canada (38 million). Last year, at the height of the recession, they still had 65,000 residential housing starts in 2009 which was a record low. For 2010, the California Home Builders Association projects an increase of approximately 22% in the state. These numbers alone indicate the size of the market and importance of the PCBC trade event.
For more information on PCBC, visit their website: www.pcbc.com.
On another note, I enjoyed participating in a sales seminar organized and sponsored by the Business Innovation Partnership (BIP). The seminar featured Randy Hnatko of Train West Management, the guy you hear on radio station TEAM 1040 giving snippets of sales advice on his 30 second ads. Well, his 1 day seminar was excellent and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their sales skills. He makes you think about the way you present yourself, your company, and how others may perceive you. His advice, like his ads, was concise, to the point, and made the participants really think about work that needs to go into the sales cycle and the closing of a deal. I hear that the BIP program will be offering more seminars in the near future, so keep an eye out for an upcoming event you won’t be disappointed.
For a list of upcoming BIP events, please visit their website: www.iforwood.com