Friday, April 18, 2014

Proud to Receive the 2014 Starnet Environmental Stewardship Award

Sheri,Randy,and Harold
Over this past weekend we had the incredible honor of receiving receiving the 2014 Starnet Environmental Stewardship Award in Fort Lauderdale from Allegheny Contract. Not only did we win the environmental stewardship award but we were also number one on the “Starnet scorecard” that measures how engaged the members are. 

This scorecard looks at how much we support the various Starnet initiatives from webinars, to seminars, meetings, reclamation certificates etc. Thanks as always for your support.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Eileen Fisher Job.

RD Weis did the flooring in partnership with Spartan Surfaces laying cork flooring throughout the store, sealed with WaxNoMore. We'd like to thank Christopher Cap on supporting RD Weis Companies and all parties that were involved to get this done.

To read more about Eileen Fisher and to see the work that was done in their new space, click here.

Monday, November 4, 2013

What If All The Ice Melted.

What would the earth look like if all the ice melted? In this interactive map from National Geographic shows us what it would look like.

To read the article from National Geographic and view the complete map, just click here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Blog Series from Antron: Why Fiber Matters.

Here's some information that Antron shared with us on why fiber matters. Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be sharing even more information on why fiber matters.

Friday, October 4, 2013

RD Weis Companies 6th Annual Flooring Expo

If you couldn't make it to our 6th Annual Flooring Expo don't fret. We have a recap of all the great products that were shown this year.

Monday, September 16, 2013

STILE Flooring at Sweaty Betty.

 Here's some photo's from our recent job at Sweaty Betty in New York City. We installed STILE hard surface flooring in their showroom.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

RD Weis Companies at the “Ceramic Tile College” training seminar held in Dallas, TX on August 6th and 7th, 2013

These twenty happy faces, representing eight Starnet Member firms, only begin to tell the story of how valuable we found the Daltile two-day “Ceramic Tile College” training seminar held in Dallas, TX on August 6th and 7th, 2013 to be.

The participants’ experience level with ceramic tile varied greatly, but everyone came away from both the classroom training, and the Marazzi Plant, R&D, Design, and Regional Distribution Center tours, with learning they can put to immediate use. Need to understand the difference between Porcelain and regular ceramic tile, what ColorBody really means, how to order the correct amount of tile for a modular pattern floor, or how to waterproof wet areas? Mike Ferris at Dal-Tile not only ensured we all walked away with the clear answers, he gave us each a reference workbook no one is going to let out of their office.

Todd Lehr and Risa Vega planned and organized an extremely educational and enjoyable seminar, including the best steak dinner many of us said we've had in a long time! From the nineteen Starnet participants, THANK YOU, Daltile!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Leadership Part 3: A Desire to Be Different.

Desire to be Different.

The desire to be different takes on many forms, but is in part about being noticed in a positive way. Being different for the sake of being different is not always successful.

One of the things I saw watching my father work at his white-collar job in the 50’s and 60’s was that he did several things differently than others in our neighborhood. He was always early to work—usually an hour before everyone else—getting things situated for the day, trying to do more than the next person. Likewise, he was not bristling at the end of the day to run out the door, as there was always something else to do to separate him from the pack. Dad has a tan leather briefcase he carried every day with paperwork and reading material, and often, when not traveling, would spend time at night at the kitchen table going over things and taking care of mundane items like filling out his expense report—something I am sure his colleagues did on “company time” at their desks. Dad also kept up some basic appearances: white shirt, tie, dark suit, every day—hardly the most practical things for a person working in an auto factory, but that was part of his brand and he wanted to represent himself as a professional. Every Sunday night, Dad shined his work shoes so hat he started the week out with his best foot forward. The following Sunday, the shoes and the shine kit came out.

When I began working, I did some things to be different, as well. I noticed that when I got my first job, the VP who interviewed me, a Harvard MBA, wore cuff links every day, wore starched shirts and always looked like a million bucks. Later I would learn that how you present yourself is an important door opener in the business world. If you look the part, you automatically remove some roadblocks when dealing with the leadership of most companies. Today, I know before I go to bed what I am wearing the next day based on who I am seeing, and I always have an eye for being dressed equally to or better than everyone I am meeting that day. In John Malloy’s famous book Dressing for Success, he talks about how the right combination of classic dress sets the tone when you meet someone. I read this book when I was 20 years old, and the principles are with me today.

Being different is more than how you dress. It is attitude, the ability to look at a minority point of view on an issue, listening more than talking, and not rushing to judgment when the rest of the world is doing so.

In my company, we have a group of people who clean carpets in corporate office buildings at night. Sometimes a client will call us and accuse our men of taking something the night before or turning a radio dial to a different station in someone’s cubicle. These complaints get reported to our salespeople, and they are escalated to me. I always make sure that I have the full story (yes, customers are not always right) before I judge my own people or accuse them of something. More often than not, these complaints are unfounded.

I have had the good fortune to meet with and work with many great leaders over m career. None stands out larger than Roger Milliken, who was Chairman of the Board of the Milliken Textile and Chemical Company almost until his death at age 92. Mr. Milliken, as he is known by his employees, had a building fire in 2004 that eliminated his entire US carpet production capability, reported to be at that time a $150 million-a-year business. The plant and warehouse was roughly one millions square feet, and was one of the largest employers in the town of La Grange, GA, an our or so south of Atlanta. The fire started as a result of an equipment malfunction, but by the time the first responders could arrive, the entire facility was a total loss. Within hours, Mr. Milliken was on the site himself surveying the ruins, getting an update on the safety of his employees, and having conversations with a general contractor who has built other plants for him about getting going rebuilding the factory. Twenty-four hours later, Mr. Milliken addressed the media and said the following:

  1. 1.     First and foremost, there were no injuries to any of the responders or his associates.
  2. 2.     No one would lose his job, as he need to transfer some workers overseas where other plants were, and would need to rest to work on the rebuilding efforts.
  3. 3.     He also said that in a way, the loss of the factory gave them an opportunity to rebuild a new plant far superior in technology, etc., than the old one.

It was reported that the insurance deductible against the loss was about $10 million, and here stood the chairman of the board stating all of the positives and looking toward the future with great optimism. This is how leaders lead!

Leaders are not born. Name one born leader, and I will challenge your findings. Leadership is not DNA-driven; it is environment, and is around us every day. Those that keep an open mind, look at the success traits and patterns of others, and have the influencing ability that Dale Carnegie talks about will rise to the top.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Leadership: A Different Perspective,Part 2 Challenging the Status Quo.

Challenging the status quo

Challenging the status quo is perhaps the riskier pillar to implement. This is where failure has its greatest potential. Midway through my corporate career with a large pharmaceutical company, I accepted a job transfer to a division in Stamford, CT. This division made hair care products, and in our warehouse we had 125 people employed in the process of putting together orders for customers—sometimes 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. This was 1981, and technology and industrial engineering were challenging how things had been done in the past. With the assistance of an outside consultant, we took a look at our workforce productivity and also looked at making a capital investment in new computer-aided order picking processes and ways to make this function less labor-intensive. Our analysis told us that we could eliminate 50 positions if we invested two million dollars in new technology, technology which has never been proven or used yet, but on paper the idea seemed bulletproof. We knew there were several outcomes by challenging the way things had been done for years, and some were very positive, and some potentially career-altering for me. I could have chosen to stay with the status quo, or I could have moved forward with a factory automation program that revolutionized how we ran our warehouse for decades to come. If the project succeeded, our annual savings would have been $2.5 million with a $2 million dollar initial investment, and if it did not work, we could have wasted $2 million and lost the confidence of our workforce and our management. Since I understood the technology being proposed, I did not see 100% assurance to move forward; we made the investment, and with the exception of some start-up issues, the project was a huge success, leading the way for a promotion that soon followed.

The courage to speak out

The courage to speak out is how leaders get the most recognition. Martin Luther King Jr. was known for speaking out eloquence and is an example that most of us can readily identify with. But speaking out does not always assure that tings will work out the way you had hoped, as there are consequences associated with speaking out. King was jailed; other political leaders have fallen on their own swords, as well.

In my last corporate position before starting my own business, I was the head of corporate real estate for my firm. The firm was nearing the end of a lease on our corporate headquarters, and my role was to put together a strategy for the next 20 years as to where our corporate staff would be located and what was in the best interest of the shareholders first and employees second. To accomplish this, we hired a well-known real estate consulting firm, looked at the demographics of our workforce, and looked at what functions needed to be in New York City and which ones might be suitable to locate in more urban, less expensive areas. Throughout this process, we took a blank sheet of paper approach and decided to be open to a complete relocation or just stay where we were for another 20 years. After an exhaustive one-year study, we presented our results to our senior leadership, and my immediate supervisor was irate at our findings. Our findings were that we needed to split the corporate functions and take 80% of them out of New York City, and keep 20% or fewer of the senior leadership in midtown Manhattan.

So the day finally came, and the consultants and I made our recommendation to the EVP of the company, who got very angry wit the conclusions. First, we failed to factor in that the EVP has just bought an expensive apartment on Central Park West, was friends socially with our building owner and his comrades in top management—about a dozen or so—liked walking to work on nice days down Park Avenue… All of that has not been factored in. Being a bit of a novice, I thought our responsibility was to our shareholders first, as the new lease would be approximately $1 billion, and second to our employees, who every day were trying to save the company money in their jobs—but we missed the point. The point was that a company with 50,000 people does not make a decision like this for the greater good; it was more about feeding into the needs/habits of the top dozen people. We knew some of this going in, but felt that we needed to speak out, as this was an issue the firm would have to live with for the next 20 years. In the end, I stepped down in nine months, the company proceeded with a status quo direction of keeping things as they were, just giving the landlord a new lease, and the consultant collected their fee. Three years later, the EVP was fired, and the company split up their real estate and followed the strategy that was proposed.

I learned a valuable and expensive lesson. When you are in a corporate environment, doing the right thing has consequences. Standing up for what is right has consequences. At the end of the day, everyone knew what was right and everything got righted for the company. I on the other hand, decided I was born to lead, not follow, so I started my own business. For many, following is easy; for me, it was never an option.