Tag Archives: greg mortenson

Phoenix construction costs expected to rise in 2015

On February 5, Mortenson released its quarterly Construction Cost Index report for Phoenix along with five other metropolitan areas in the U.S.  According to the report, non-residential construction labor, material and equipment costs in the greater Phoenix area are forecasted to increase 3% in 2015.While costs fell in the latest quarter and there was 6% decline in local, non-residential construction employment last year according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Phoenix is expected to experience labor shortages due to the effects of healthy construction activity in California, Utah and Colorado.After recording flat growth throughout 2014, a dip in quarter four brought the Phoenix index two points below the national average. This is the first time the local index has dropped below the national index since early 2011.

“I’m concerned about the upswing in costs in the surrounding states.  Those in California, Utah and Colorado have been and will continue to pull labor from Arizona,” said Ty Bohlender, chief estimator, Mortenson. “At some point we will be dramatically affected by the depletion of local labor as work picks up again in Arizona. Moreover, at some point the national trend for material price increases will surface here regardless of local market conditions.”

Currently prices of building materials and components for electrical systems in Phoenix experienced a decline. All other categories experienced remained flat or experienced a slight decline.

Mortenson tracks and reports on six metropolitan areas in the U.S. including Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix and Seattle.  The Mortenson Construction Cost Index is calculated quarterly by pricing representative non-residential construction projects in various metropolitan areas. It is part of a portfolio of industry insights and market studies provided by Mortenson.  The Construction Cost Index is available for download at http://www.mortenson.com/company/news-and-insights/construction-cost-index.


Girl reading book, Photo: Flickr, o5com

Intriguing Reads: Memoirs, Diaries And Biographies To Read


The Diary of a Young Girl

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

Author: Anne Frank

“Riches, prestige, everything can be lost. But happiness in your own heart can only be dimmed; it will always be there, as long as you live, to make you happy again.”

Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father and sole survivor of the family, recovered his daughter’s diary after the war from the small apartment above his old business, where they hid for over two years. The diary begins on June 12, 1942, Anne’s 13th birthday, and tells the story of her family and the Van Daan’s as they lived and hid in that small apartment with little contact with the outside world.


Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson

Author: Greg Mortenson

“The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest.”

Three Cups of Tea is about adventure and philanthropy. Greg Mortenson, a mountaineer, finds himself in a remote village in Pakistani after losing his way and falling ill in 1993. After that, it became Mortenson’s mission to build them a school. It’s a compelling story and an effort to rid the region of poverty and bring education to the children in a fight against a warring world.


Eat, Pray, Love

Eat Pray Love, Photo by 飞鱼Calibre

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

“You are after all what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”

Many will immediately recognize this as “that movie that Julia Roberts was in.”  Elizabeth Gilbert, the character played by Roberts, is a real person though with a real story to tell. This book is an interesting blend of self-discovery and travel.

Gilbert is 32 years old when she begins her journey. She divorces her husband, enters into a relationship with another man, which doesn’t work out either, and then decides to take the next year to travel the world — four months in Italy to eat and enjoy life, four more in India developing her spirituality, and the remainder of the time in Bali trying to balance the two.


Swallow The Ocean: A Memoir

Swallow The Ocean, Laura Flynn

Author: Laura Flynn

“People talk about how fast life can go from good to bad. How one day you’re happy, everything is going fine, and then something happens. Someone dies or someone leaves. There’s an illness or an accident. Life as you know it slips away. But it can go the other way too. You can go from god-awful to pretty OK in a single day. That’s what happened to us, and it was just as jarring.”

This memoir is about Laura Flynn’s life growing up with a paranoid schizophrenic mother. It takes the reader through the dread of having a parent who slowly becomes unhinged and what that can do to a family.  Flynn’s experience is one that readers are inspired by.


Marley & Me

Marley & Me, John Grogan

Author: John Grogan

“He was a big, loving dope of a dog whose defense strategy against intruders would surely have been to lick them to death.”

Who doesn’t like a story about a dog? This true story of a lovable and unique canine, and how he changed a family, has warmed the hearts of many. John Grogan goes into details about life with a dog that any dog owner would find familiar, and yet Marley’s story stands out from the rest. He is a 97-pound Labrador Retriever that had more to teach Grogan and his family than they managed to teach his wild spirit.