Tag Archives: project management

Broadway Health Center, 6550 Broadway, Mesa

Multi-Million Dollar Renovation Begins on 2 Medical Office Buildings in Mesa

 

Renovations have begun on Baywood Health Center and Broadway Health Center, two, 2-story medical office buildings in Mesa across the street from Banner Baywood Hospital.

Archway Holdings Corp. of Beverly Hills, Calif., which purchased the properties in February 2012, is implementing significant exterior and interior upgrades. Improvements to the properties include a complete redesign of their exterior façades, renovations to the interior lobbies and common areas, new garden and monument signage and water saving landscaping features.

Construction started in December 2012, with completion in March 2013. LGE Design Build is the general contractor; Cawley Architects will handle the design work.

Kelley Ahrens of CBRE’s Phoenix office will handle the leasing assignment for the property owner.

“In addition to repositioning the buildings into class A assets, Archway is providing tenants with generous improvement dollars to perform renovations to their individual office suites in order to keep up with the improvements to the buildings,” Ahrens said.

The assets are located directly across the street from Banner Baywood Medical Center, a 342-bed hospital providing complete acute care services to the East Valley communities of Mesa, Gilbert, Apache Junction, Queen Creek, Fountain Hills and areas of northeastern Pinal County. The assets are also close to Leisure World, the largest retirement community in Metro Phoenix.

Baywood Health Center, a 36,127 SF medical office building is at 6553 E. Baywood Ave. Broadway Health Center, a 25,277 SF medical office building is at 6550 E. Broadway Rd. The properties are 83% and 19% leased, respectively.

“The renovations will not only add value to these properties, they will add significant value to the surrounding community too,” Ahrens said. “The new look and upgrades will attract additional healthcare professionals to the area, which, in turn, provide more medical services and create more jobs.”

 

fastsigns

FASTSIGNS Launches New Brand Initiative

FASTSIGNS of Scottsdale, the local visual communications/sign and graphics solutions provider, has unveiled a new branding platform with updated messaging: “More than fast. More than signs.”

“We want people to know that while we are fast, more importantly, we provide a wide variety of products, services and comprehensive visual communications solutions to help companies meet their business objectives,” said Jim Sloan, owner of the Scottsdale FASTSIGNS. “We have always known that we are more than fast and more than signs, and this new brand platform is a way of better communicating what FASTSIGNS offers. We have capabilities and service offers beyond what many realize.”

FASTSIGNS of Scottsdale first opened in 1990 and Sloan took ownership in 2009. Originally known as the “the next day sign and lettering experts”, FASTSIGNS’ business concept has grown from just offering banners and vinyl to providing complete visual communications solutions for way-finding, creating business visibility, helping launch new products – everything to meet the needs of businesses who are trying to have a consistent visual message. Some of the wide range of solutions provided by FASTSIGNS includes window shades, vehicle graphics, digital signage, exhibits and displays, architectural signs, channel letters and mobile web sites.

Trained to be consultative and knowledgeable about the full range of visual communications options, the FASTSIGNS of Scottsdale team works with businesses, organizations and events to better understand their needs, and then put together the right mix of innovative graphic solutions to achieve the business or organization’s objectives. To meet the needs of companies large and small, FASTSIGNS offers design, production, project management, delivery and installation.

“Our experienced team knows how to help move businesses forward—we’re not selling a commodity, but helping businesses solve their unique visual communications challenges so that they can reach more customers and accomplish more than they ever thought possible,” said Sloan.

For more information on FASTSIGNS, visit FASTSIGNS’ website at fastsigns.com.

Online Productivity Tools for Business

Online Productivity Tools For Small And Large Businesses

Online productivity tools: There is a growing category of apps that aim to help businesses be more productive. The problem is, it’s such a broad category and includes hundreds of different solutions depending on what is needed to be more “productive.” An IT department in a large company, for instance, has a very different idea of productivity than a small marketing agency.

But there are some tools that span industries and can be applied to large teams or even large businesses.

Here’s a look at four online productivity tools to helps execs:

Basecamp

Basecamp is catching on as a powerful project management and collaboration tool for businesses in the small-size range, in just about any industry.

The company that developed it, 37 Signals, has taken users away from the charts, graphs and complex analytics that seem to jazz up big company execs and has put the focus on simple UI, organization and collaboration.

For freelancers and small companies, Basecamp provides a really great way to get all of your projects and the tasks associated organized and transparent for the entire team.

One great feature is that you can share projects with clients and invite them to collaborate, reducing some exporting and sharing, while giving insight as to where you are in each project scope.

Pricing starts at $49 for 35 projects and goes up from there.

Easy Projects .NET

Easy Projects .NET is similar to Basecamp, but it’s probably better for mid-size or large companies that need bit more robustness in their reports and features.

It includes all that great charting, graphing and other reporting features that are more in tune with a large company workflow.

Keeping in mind that managers will use it to stay on track of their teams’ output, Easy Projects .NET includes a unique page called My Assignments, designed to help
 manage the day-to-day activities. Managers and users can tag higher priority items, set deadlines within the app, log time on tasks, share files and post comments.

Don’t want your boss on your back? Easy Projects .NET communicates progress on tasks to the people who need to know. This can certainly reduce time usually spent 
on routine tasks like chasing down progress reports (and creating them).

Starts at $75 a month for five users, and you have the option of hosting it yourself or having them host it for you.

LazyMeterLazyMeter, online productivity tools for business

Having trouble motivating? Have a couple procrastinators on your team? You might benefit from the LazyMeter.

Aptly named, this app was designed not just to help you manage projects, but also to help motivate you. No, it doesn’t include audio clips from Tony Robbins.

LazyMeter has developed a software activity list that helps you focus on completing tasks and projects just one day at a time and shows you the progress day to day so you feel more
 accomplished. It is like your favorite teacher reinforcing the great work you’ve done, as you’ve completed it, then gently moves you on to the next task or project.

LazyMeter is both an online and mobile app, so you can feel good from anywhere. It is a newer company and right now the application is free. The company explains on its website that it will start to provide premium services later.

Harvest

Those who work in services find themselves spending an excessive amount of time tracking hours. And translating the time into reports is usually the last task addressed at the end of the month because it’s so tedious.

Harvest tries to alleviate that by making time capture, reporting and even invoicing a lot faster and simpler. This is probably best for small businesses or even consultants that need an easy and affordable way to manage their time, budgets, expenses and reports for projects.

The company has an iPhone app so hours can be 
captured on the go from anywhere. One really cool feature for the mobile exec: use your iPhone camera to scan, categorize and 
upload receipt that goes straight to invoicing.

Starts at just $12 a month for solo users and up to $90 a month for the business package.

Casino.del.Sol.update

Cash is King, but Wrong Choices Can Bring Down a Contractor

You’ve heard the phrase a million times – “Cash is king.” But what are we trying to accomplish with cash? Does cash equal success? Profit? Stability? Does a lack of cash signal a problem? It all depends on your perspective.

Contractors are in a unique business where everything is based off of estimates, so revenue is recognized under the assumption that your estimates are accurate, although subject to change. For this reason you cannot afford to just focus on the profit/loss information driven by your income statement or WIP schedule.

We all know your jobs are typically not going to generate the EXACT amount of profit you estimated at bid day, so the income statement is just your “best guess” as of that day as to how your year is going. The list of why profit on jobs can fade is endless – requested change orders are performed but never approved by the owner, subcontractor issues, site conditions, weather, labor quality, project management, poor estimating, ambiguous bid specs, difficult owner, unexpected delays, etc. The point is that in addition to monitoring the status of all your jobs which will drive your profit, you must also be keenly aware of your cash position and cash flow, both now and on a projected basis.

Why should cash flow be targeted as a key measure of business performance? Because the income statement and balance sheet, although useful, have all kinds of potential biases as a result of the assumptions and estimates that are built into them. However, when you look at a company’s cash flow statement you are getting an indirect look into their bank account. In the end, cash does not lie.

As a former commercial loan officer, I had to continually advise business owners that even profitable companies can fail if they run out cash. Unfortunately, a strong income statement is not necessarily indicative of a financially healthy company. Contractors can fail from a lack of cash for a number of reasons:

  • Growing too fast without the appropriate equity or bank financing to keep up
  • Too many large projects undertaken at once with slow paying owners
  • Letting receivables get beyond 60-90 days past due
  • Working for owners with cash flow problems of their own
  • Bad debt that takes a long time to be recognized/written off
  • Purchased too much inventory or equipment using cash
  • Cash taken out of the business and loaned to shareholders/employees/other business interests
  • Excessive reliance on bank debt and leverage
  • Excessive distributions to shareholders
  • Excessive underbillings
  • Problems collecting retainage

Remember, every bank will have a limit they are willing to lend in order to support your business and cash flow needs. It’s up to you as the owner or chief financial officer to know your banking limits and compare those to your needs and identify solutions to make up any shortfalls. What are some ways you can help improve your cash position?

  • Forecast project cash flows when bidding new work to determine if there are periodic drains on cash for items like equipment or material purchases, mobilization, or peak labor periods and the delay in the outflow versus projected inflow (do you know how long the owner/GC typically pays after receipt of a submittal?).
  • Compare the project forecasts against your general cash flow forecasts to determine your cash flow needs and whether you have the available cash on hand or working capital line of credit to support the project. Be conservative in your assumptions.
  • Be sure to establish on ongoing dialogue with your banker around the size of your line of credit and understand how large of a line your bank is comfortable extending and the requirements to obtain that limit. Be sure they understand the seasonal nature of your business and cash flow cycle and that you may request an increase to your line at a time when you are cash rich and seemingly do not need the increase. It’s always better to ask for the increase before you actually need it. Typically banks do not charge a non-use fee for contractor bank lines so the additional credit limit should not come with much of a cost.
  • Discuss with your banker the ability to have a separate capital expenditure line of credit available for equipment purchases so you are not using your cash on hand or working capital line of credit to buy fixed assets.
  • Are you having a problem with getting your submittals approved the first time? This can cause unnecessary delays and impact your cash flow. Create a best practice in getting these to your owner/GC’s in a timely manner each month in the format required.
  • Are punch list items to blame for slow paying owners? Holding up retention? Again, this can often be avoided with a system of procedures to address them in a timely manner and keep the cash flowing.
  • While you need to keep your key suppliers happy, are you paying them faster than you are paid? Is this necessary? Can you work with your suppliers during a cash crunch to allow for extensions of time without an interruption of service or terms for new orders?
  • What role do your project managers play in getting paid by your client? Can they be more proactive and involved in the collection process?
  • How do you determine distributions or bonuses at year end and throughout the year? Do you analyze your cash on hand versus your cash flow forecasts to consider the impact of these items? Can they be accrued but not paid in order to conserve cash? How about deferring a portion of these payments? While we all want to reap the rewards of the most recent year, we also need to focus on the long term health of the “golden goose” so it can keep laying eggs, year after year.
  • Are you in the middle or beginning of a shareholder buyout plan? Can this be structured to be paid over time rather than cash out all at once? Are there provisions in your agreement to curtail payments in a given year if the company’s performance was below a certain target?

If time is taken to understand the cash flow needs of your business, the return on that investment in time can be considerable. In difficult times like these, it could likely mean the difference between success and failure. You must keep track of your effectiveness and timeliness in turning profit into cash. This will also allow you to see early warning signs of trouble and take appropriate action. Being able to proactively manage your cash needs is critical to the short and long term success of your business. Don’t forget though that you may experience times when you have good cash flow even without profit. Look at your statement of cash flows to determine the sources of your cash. A large reduction in A/R or increase to overbillings may boost your cash positions temporarily, but the income statement or backlog schedule may be painting a different picture. Be prudent with your funds as you determine how best to deploy you cash and always keep one eye on future needs.

Mike Marsella is a Surety Producer for MJ Insurance. www.mjinsurance.com

 

 

Ipad vs. Textbooks

IPad vs. Textbooks, A Greener Facebook And More

Some really interesting things happening in sustainability this week. Check out these stories about: Facebook, Japan’s dolphin hunting season, Notre Dame using the iPad in a paperless course, and others.

EarthFest Educators Night
On Sept. 16, more than 400 educators will receive resources on how to make their schools greener.  At this free event, educators can enter to win two full-tuition scholarships to the University of Phoenix to obtain their Master of Arts in education and $5,000 in grant funding for the 2010-2011 school year.

Japan’s Controversial Dolphin Slaughter Begins Again
Yesterday marked the beginning of open season for dolphins in Japan.  This famous annual slaughter is the subject of the Oscar winning documentary “The Cove”, which was turned into a miniseries on Animal Planet called “Blood Dolphins”.  The first episode aired last Friday, Aug. 27.

Notre Dame Starts Paperless Course With iPad
The University of Notre Dame is using the iPad in a project management course instead of a textbook.  The course has 40 students and isn’t the first e-reader classroom test, Princeton University tested the Kindle last year.

Facebook Comes Under Fire to Be Greener
Facebook is the subject of a petition that Greenpeace says 500,000 people have signed.  The petition is protesting the social media site’s planned use of coal to power a facility it is building in Portland, Ore.  The facility is projected to get 67 percent of its power from coal.

U.S. Ban on Drilling Could Be Overturned
A United States ban on deep water oil and gas drilling could be overturned for a second time.  On Sept. 1, U.S. District Court judge rejected the Obama administration’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the oil industry.

Photo Credit: www.apple.com

Lisa Nisleit of Color Repro Consulting

Color Repro Consulting

Lisa Nisleit
Color Repro Consulting
Title: President
Est.: 2001 | www.colorrepro.com

Lisa Nisleit was working for a large format printing company in 2001, when a client suggested she branch out on her own. She liked what she was doing and her accounts were satisfied with her performance, but Nisleit was frustrated that all the services she wanted to offer her clients weren’t available.

That’s when she decided to take the leap and launch her own business.

“The first thing I did was go out and visit as many accounts as I could. I wanted them to know that I would be the one-stop contact,” Nisleit says.

Color Repro Consulting’s primary services include printing for large format projects, trade shows, pamphlets and any other printing needs. Instead of customers dealing with a variety of vendors, Color Repro is responsible for every aspect of the project, from recognizing the types of services needed to completing the job and locating the suppliers and products, to printing and finishing the job on time.

“It’s project management, not just printing,” Nisleit says.

Her determination and focus on vendor-client relationships has helped transform her idea into a successful business.

“We depend on (vendors) to assist us with taking care of our clients. They depend on us to bring them work. Our clients depend on us to complete their project on time and on budget. Everyone is happy,” Nisleit says.

After holding a variety of jobs, including positions in retail and even in the semiconductor industry, running her own business was not something Nisleit expected to do.

“I’m still amazed that I’m still here after all this time. At the beginning, it was a week-to-week thing, but I’m still here,” she says.

The early hurdles of running a business, such as cash flow problems, were something Nisleit encountered but overcame. Now, Color Repro has developed a reputation as a dependable printing company that will work hard to meet its customers’ needs.

“We find ourselves always being the go-to people. So many projects are last minute. One of the biggest industries we deal with is construction and architecture. These companies put together their proposal projects to submit, and then we’ve only got a couple hours to print it,” Nisleit says.

Delivering on her promise to get the job done on time and on budget is a key ingredient to the success of Color Repro.

“It is our job to know who is in this town who can turn things quickly on a budget,” Nisleit says.

Through hard work and determination, Nisleit was able to lead her company to success. Her future plans for the business include moving to a new, larger location and hiring more employees.

For all the potential entrepreneurs out there, Nisleit has these simple words of wisdom: “Take the risk. If it’s something that you really want to do and it’s something that you love, you’re going to be successful at it.”