52 Skilled Trades Teachers up for $1 Million Prizes

Fifty-two skilled trades teachers and teaching teams from across the country and their high schools were named today as semifinalists for the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools 2018 Prize for Teaching Excellence and are in the running for a share of $1 million in total cash awards.

The semifinalists hail from 27 states and specialize in trades ranging from construction and carpentry to automotive repair, welding, advanced manufacturing and agriculture mechanics. Their collective experience includes teaching students to work with solar power systems and hydraulics systems, build tiny houses and rebuild diesel engines, and more.  The semi-finalists—some competing as individuals and some as teacher teams—were selected by an independent panel of judges from among a field of more than 500 skilled trades teachers who applied for the prize. The list of the 52 semifinalists is available here.

Through two more rounds of judging, the field of 52 semi-finalists will be narrowed to 18 first- and second-place winners, who will split $1 million in total cash awards. The three first-place winners will each receive $100,000, with $70,000 going to their public high school skilled trades program and $30,000 to the individual skilled trades teacher or teacher team behind the winning program. The 15 second-place winners will each be awarded $50,000, with $35,000 going to their public high school program and $15,000 to the teacher or team. Semi-finalists whose school, district or state policy prohibits receipt of the individual portion of prize earnings were eligible to apply on behalf of their school’s skilled trades program. The first- and second-place winners are expected to be announced on Nov. 15.

“These semi-finalists represent amazing depth and breadth in high school skilled trades education, and they exhibit incredible enthusiasm for teaching students to work with their hands, to love learning and be prepared for the future,” said Danny Corwin, executive director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools. “We are thrilled to recognize their exceptional teaching and to raise the profile of their excellent work through these awards.”

For the second round application, the semi-finalists will respond to a series of online expert-led video learning modules that are designed to solicit their insights and creative ideas about their teaching practices and how to inspire their students to achieve excellence in the skilled trades.

Each round of winners is selected by separate panels of judges independent of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools.

This is the second year of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, which was started by Harbor Freight Tools Founder Eric Smidt to recognize outstanding instruction in the skilled trades in American public high schools.

“Skilled trades teachers are unsung heroes,” Smidt said. “They teach our students skills that help them in life and in careers. We respect and value the men and women who work with their hands to design, build and repair homes, schools, hospitals and businesses in our towns and cities, as well as our cars, trucks and tractors. These skilled and creative workers keep our communities thriving. At the same time, there are now hundreds of thousands of great skilled trades job openings, and that number is expected to grow. We want to elevate the dignity and importance of this work by recognizing exceptional skilled trades teachers from our country’s public schools who open the door to learning and opportunity.”

News of the prize and other information about skilled trades education will be posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About Harbor Freight Tools for Schools
Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is an initiative of The Smidt Foundation, established by Harbor Freight Tools Founder Eric Smidt, to support the advancement of skilled trades education in America.  With a deep respect for the dignity of these fields and for the intelligence and creativity of people who work with their hands, this program was created to foster and shine a light on excellence in skilled trades education in public high schools. Believing that access to quality skilled trades education gives high school students pathways to graduation, opportunity, good jobs and a workforce our country needs, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools aims to stimulate greater understanding, support and investment by public entities and others in skilled trades education.  Harbor Freight Tools is a major supporter of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools program. For more information, visit https://harborfreighttoolsforschools.org.

Posted in Vendor News |
Construction tech new investment VC Funds Darling

The construction industry continues to tackle the challenges of rising construction materials costs, a skilled labor shortage and overall lack of productivity improvements, offering an expansive opportunity for disruption. According to the newly released JLL research report, “The State of Construction Technology,” Silicon Valley investors are stepping in to seize that opportunity. Venture capital funds are funneling unprecedented levels of cash into Construction Technology startups’ pockets.


In the first half of 2018, venture capital firms invested $1.05 billion in global construction tech startups, setting a record high. The 2018 investment volume is already up nearly 30 percent over the 2017 total, with six months still remaining in the year. To date, the Construction Technology sector has found three Unicorns—startups valued at more than $1 billion—in Katerra, Procore and Uptake.


“The construction sector is on the verge of major disruption as tech start-ups tackle head-on the industry’s biggest pressure points,” says Todd Burns, President, Project and Development Services, JLL. “These startups can provide technology that helps deliver projects faster, cheaper and with fewer resources than ever before, effectively addressing the existing challenges in the industry.”


Emerging technology is opening a significant opportunity for venture capitalists and construction executives. JLL recognized this opportunity early, and last year brought on two Silicon Valley veterans to launch JLL Spark, a global business that identifies and delivers new technology-driven real estate service offerings, including a $100 million global venture fund.


JLL’s research uncovered three primary focus areas of construction tech startups:


1.     Collaboration software. Considering that dozens of professionals can be working on a given construction project at the same time, leveraging cloud-based software to optimize the workflow could profoundly improve collaboration and impact the bottom line. Front-runners such as Procore Technologies, PlanGrid, Clarizen and Flux Factory are utilizing cloud capabilities, mobile platforms and dedicated design software to enable collaboration.

2.     Offsite construction. As skilled construction labor becomes harder to find and general competition for construction inputs heats up, offsite construction startups are championing a different approach to how buildings are built: building component manufacturing. Offsite manufacturing and delivery of finalized components to the construction site equals shorter assembly time and more centralized production to help offset the labor pinch and rising costs. Industry leaders include Katerra, Blu Homes and Project Frog.

3.     Big data and artificial intelligence (AI). From materials delivery to equipment maintenance, predictive data and automation tools can collect data on nearly every aspect of a construction project, resulting in data pools at risk of going to waste. Armed with big data and AI software, construction teams can make more informed business decisions to save time and money by extending the life of expensive equipment, reducing worksite risk and automating simple business processes. Top startups in this area include Uptake Technologies, Flux Factory and SmartEquip.


Since 2009, investors have closed 478 Construction Technology funding deals totaling $4.34 billion, underscoring the continued volume of construction projects and the recent urgency to innovate and offset industry costs. The huge bump in Construction Technology investment in 2018 is hopeful proof of an impending surge of technology and hardware marvels, promising to optimize the industry.

About JLL
JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. Our vision is to reimagine the world of real estate, creating rewarding opportunities and amazing spaces where people can achieve their ambitions. In doing so, we will build a better tomorrow for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with nearly 300 corporate offices, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of 83,500 as of March 31, 2018. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit www.jll.com

Posted in Vendor News |
Viewpoint New Construction Management System

Viewpoint, a Trimble Company (NASDAQ: TRMB) and construction management software leader, today announced the next generation in construction cloud productivity with the launch of ViewpointOne™, the industry’s most comprehensive, cloud-based construction management system for contractors of all sizes.

Unlike software that solves a single need for customers, ViewpointOne provides construction companies with Viewpoint’s integrated software suite to connect office workers with project teams and field operations. Hosted in the cloud, ViewpointOne combines Viewpoint’s leading construction enterprise resource planning (ERP) offerings with its Team and Field products, giving customers an integrated and flexible system for managing operations, improving productivity and enabling better decision making.

Developed by working closely with existing customers, ViewpointOne increases the functionality and scalability of a contractor’s software investment by allowing contractors to build their own software bundles based on specific needs for individual end users. Delivering the right solution for the right person, both inside and outside of a contractors’ organization, enables the flow of trusted data and information in context and encourages technology adoption and real-time information sharing across project teams.

“The construction industry’s technology needs continue to evolve as solutions are added to solve specific problems, however those solutions don’t often integrate so information becomes siloed and inaccurate as a result,” said Viewpoint CEO Manolis Kotzabasakis. “ViewpointOne solves that problem by enabling shared data across the company and project teams. Our extensive and integrated software suite allows contractors to choose the right solution, at the right time for the right people – whether within the organization or a member of the broader project team.”

Part of the ViewpointOne suite, Viewpoint is also introducing three fully-integrated cloud products from the recent acquisition of Keystyle Data Solutions for Vista customers:

  • Keystyle HR Management: Allows HR teams to provide employees with mobile-friendly self-service environments to access benefits details, update personal information and enter time.
  • Keystyle Financial Controls: Allows project management teams to access and update financial information with easy-to-use tools to manage invoices, bills and purchase orders.
  • Keystyle Field Management: Enables more streamlined field management through digital access to employee jobsite and productivity information as well as field purchase orders, crew and equipment time entry and progress reports.

“Providing customers with all we’ve learned about product flexibility, integration and productivity from 40 years in the construction software business is what ViewpointOne is all about,” said Matt Harris, Viewpoint’s chief product officer. “Our focus is to make things as easy as possible for contractors given the razor thin margins and efficiencies yet to be gained across a variety of mission-critical workflows. The integration across the ViewpointOne platform will help them move faster and with greater efficiency, whether that data is being gathered from their office, team or field operations.”

ViewpointOne is available now. Contractors can learn more at viewpoint.com/viewpointone or at Collaborate 2018, Viewpoint’s annual user conference in October 2018 in Portland, Ore.

About Viewpoint

Viewpoint, a Trimble Company (NASDAQ: TRMB), is a leading global provider of integrated software solutions for the construction industry. Viewpoint software enables customers to integrate operations across the office, team and field to improve project profitability, enhance productivity, manage risk and effectively collaborate across the broad construction ecosystem. With nearly 8,000 clients, including more than 40 percent of the ENR 400, Viewpoint’s innovations are transforming the construction industry by fully integrating operations across financial and HR systems, project management tools and mobile field solutions. For more information, visit: viewpoint.com.

Posted in New Products |
Best 3D Graphics Software: Your Dreams Come Alive

Looking for the best 3d graphics software?

Click below link to view thus comprehensive guide:


Posted in Vendor News |

Philip Walker & Gary Falco

Hardwood flooring company Havwoods International is pleased to announce the appointment of two Business Development Managers, Gary Falco and Philip Walker, a strategic move as the company continues to expand its portfolio and presence in the industry. This announcement comes on the heels of the firm’s continued growth — both in its staff and expansion further into the North American market. Both Flaco and Walker will be based in New York at the company’s showroom in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gary and Philip to our team,” comments Allan Singh, General Manager of North America. “Both come to us with extensive sales and design experience, which will help inform our sales strategies in the coming year. We look forward to their contributions to Havwood International’s continued success, bringing forth a fresh approach and perspective to the company.”

In their new role, Gary and Philip will be responsible for expanding Havwood International’s presence in the architecture and design community throughout New York City. The duo will not only work closely with architects and designers, but with building owners and operators, landlords, management companies, and flooring contractors to follow projects and their flooring needs from conception to completion.

Gary brings previous design experience, particularly within the flooring industry, to his role at Havwoods International. An expert in hardwood product solutions, Gary has secured flooring installations for large-scale, high-end projects across the country. “I join the Havwoods International team humbled by the brand’s incredible collections and innovative designs,” says Gary. “I look forward to ensuring the continuation of the company’s prosperity and being a part of the many accomplishments and advancements to come.”

Philip comes to Havwoods with over 20 years of experience in construction management. Having worked directly with contractors and developers to find the best flooring solutions for their projects, he has gained invaluable insight into the needs of those sourcing product for spaces of all sizes. Philip has delivered solutions to building owners, landlords, management companies and flooring contractors alike. “I’m excited to contribute to such a talented team and it is a privilege that I will have the opportunity to further establish the Havwoods International brand,” comments Philip. “I have spent my professional career dedicated to understanding the way products influence a space, and I’m eager to continue to do this alongside the Havwoods International team.”

Founded in the United Kingdom more than 40 years ago, Havwoods’ commitment to craft, expertise and service has cemented its reputation as the UK’s foremost wood flooring and wall cladding company for the commercial, hospitality, retail and residential markets. Adding to showrooms in London, Sydney, Rome and Melbourne, the company opened a showroom in New York City’s Flatiron District in September 2017.

Havwoods International 

Established in 1975, Havwoods’ commitment to quality, expertise and service has cemented its reputation as Great Britain’s foremost wood flooring company, supplying architects, specifiers and individuals around the world with its superior-quality floor and wall coverings. With distribution hubs in Europe, North America and Australia, showrooms in London, Sydney, Melbourne, Rome and Berlin, Havwoods is planning to open its first North American showroom in 2017. Concentrating almost exclusively on wood flooring, Havwoods’ collection of engineered and solid wood floors is available in an extensive range of colors, finishes and plank dimensions.

Posted in Vendor News |
10 Best DeWALT Drills for Home & Professional Work

If you’re in the construction business or work on a lot of DIY projects, you’ve likely learned the value of having the best DeWALT drill that you can find. There are a lot of the best brands on the market, but few manage to compare to this industry leader in terms of quality, value, and ingenuity. The brand has come a long way since it was first founded in 1923. If you are looking for any brand of corded drill – click here.

They currently produce over 200 different high quality power tools and an impressive amount of accessories. The company continues to strive for the best standard of excellence that it has become known for, making it one of the most reliable companies to invest in when it comes to power tools (click here for belt sanding tools) .

Though all DeWALT drills are exemplary works of craftsmanship, there are a few that stand above the rest. We’ve taken the time to compile a list of the 10 best drills that DeWALT has to offer. These drills are made from only the sturdiest materials and deliver top quality results. We highly recommend investing in any of these drills if you’re in the market for a new power tool.

For more info, please visit https://bestofmachinery.com/best-dewalt-drill/.

Posted in Vendor News |
Tool shows how office noise impacts performance

Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association (CISCA), the industry’s recognized authority and resource for acoustical ceiling and wall systems, introduces the first online ROI calculator to enable business executives to determine the return on an investment in office acoustics. The interactive calculator reinforces CISCA’s focus on providing solutions to commercial contractors for building owners and occupants through actionable education and leadership.

“A lot of people don’t realize that building acoustics is a science with experts, organizations and effective products. They don’t realize that improving the acoustics in their offices is possible and can lead to better overall financial performance of the company,” said Gary Madaras, Ph.D., acoustics specialist, ROCKFON.

The most frequent complaint among U.S. office workers about their workspace is noise; it contributes to employee distraction, dissatisfaction and turnover, taking its toll on business productivity and profitability year after year. With CISCA’s ROI calculator, business executives can now measure how an investment in office acoustics can benefit their bottom line.

“Calculating the payback period and the lasting financial benefits thereafter has been a regular guessing game. We’re certain anyone in this trade will be relieved to have an easier way to gain that information,” said Shirley Wodynski, executive director, CISCA.

CISCA’s ROI calculator is an intuitive, web-based application developed in collaboration with Cogent ROI (cogentROI.com). Users enter basic information about their office space and the tool calculates the impact on employee productivity, attendance and retention if acoustics are improved — as well as return on investment and approximate payback period. It also calculates the annual expense to a business, for example, if acoustical improvements included in the design of a new office space are eliminated to save initial construction cost.

Users can access CISCA’s ROI calculator at cisca.org/ROIcal. They can also download a detailed report of the findings to share with other management or project team members.

About Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association (CISCA)

The Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association exists to provide the acoustical ceiling and wall systems industry with a network of relevant opportunities for professionals to interact, grow and prosper through actionable education. For more information, please visit cisca.org.

Posted in New Products |
5 Reasons Terrazzo May Be Your Perfect Flooring

If you have a building or public space in need of a flooring upgrade, you may consider using terrazzo tile. A low-maintenance flooring option that’s been around for decades, terrazzo is made by blending marble, granite, quartz or glass chips into a cement binder. The results provide durability, but also visual depth, and its unmistakable mid-century look has seen an enormous resurgence in popularity in recent years, applied at modern hot spots like Warby Parker and Salt & Straw stores. Here are five reasons why terrazzo tile could be the best flooring decision you ever make. 

  • It Looks Amazing. Since terrazzo tile is manufactured by mixing different elements together, you can choose almost any design or color. You can have black, white, neutral or colorful textures. Monochromatic looks are becoming especially popular, with tile’s marble chips and mineral pigments providing more texture and depth than ceramics or wood. Terrazzo tile offers the smooth style and strength of concrete but with more aesthetic versatility.
  • Long-Term Durability. Terrazzo is one of the most durable tiling materials, more so than stone and ceramic. If the surface gets worn down over the years, it can be refinished and polished to look like new again.
  • Easy To Install. Terrazzo tile can be applied as traditional tile, making it valuable for multi-story installations, and perfectly suited for the interiors of large institutional buildings.
  • Custom Design Capabilities. Thinking about a centerpiece logo? Something distinctive to your organization? Go for it. Tectura’s water-jet cut tiles can be pieced together to create whatever’s in your mind’s eye. Moreover, it can be made to match to any existing materials. Have some fun.
  • It’s Affordable. Terrazzo tile holds its quality over a long period of time, with minimal traditional maintenance required. It’s a beautiful product with tremendous value, providing real, economic advantages over ceramic or porcelain tiles, especially when talking about custom color runs at 5,000 square feet. Plus, with Tectura Designs, you can get terrazzo tile shipped for a flat rate of just $495, no matter the quantity, anywhere in the United States.

For more information, go to www.tecturadesigns.com/products/terrazzo.

Posted in Vendor News |
Documentary: SkillsUSA & Building Talent Pipeline

This is a MUST SEE documentary for anyone with an interest in workforce development and the future of trade jobs in the United States.

Building a Strong Foundation: SkillsUSA Prepares the American Workforce” is a new mini-documentary from WorkingNation that follows 20-year-old Logan Thomas and others as they learn and practice in-demand trade skills as part of the SkillsUSA’s TeamWorks competition.

The documentary was produced by WorkingNation, a national non-profit campaign working to expose hard truths about a looming unemployment crisis in the United States and bring the country together to create and amplify solutions.

The video is available to view here.

In the 5-minute documentary, we learn how SkillsUSA  has partnered with education and industry leaders around the country to equip  more than 13 million people with the skills and experience to become competitively employed in highly technical trade and service jobs.

The video is part of WorkingNation’s “Do Something Awesome” series, consisting of heartfelt, human mini-docs that shine a light on programs across the country working to prepare Americans for jobs of the future.

Each episode in the “Do Something Awesome” series highlights a different scalable program that is working to create a more sustainable workforce in a rapidly changing U.S. economy.

Collectively, the episodes illuminate a broader and often difficult to understand narrative facing the United States – that the world of work is changing faster than we ever could have predicted, and we are not ready.

By highlighting these corporations, not-for-profits and individuals, WorkingNation is providing a wide audience with information on emerging careers, pathways to steady jobs, and successful programs that other organizations can adapt for their respective communities, across multiple industries.

Watch every episode of the “Do Something Awesome” series at WorkingNation.com.


Founded by philanthropist and venture capitalist Art Bilger, WorkingNation exists to expose hard truths about the looming unemployment crisis and bring the country together to create new jobs for a changing economy. Bilger serves as CEO of WorkingNation and has assembled a team of talented journalists and media and non-profit executives to carry out the mission. WorkingNation’s efforts include a series of original programming from award winning directors and producers as well as other forms of interactive multimedia outreach to everyday Americans.

For more information, visit WorkingNation.com.

Posted in Vendor News |
Courting capital: Finding the right financing

In a world where the options of working with a capital funding firm are many, it is important to make sure that your company is vetting appropriate partners for your business needs. In order to do this, it’s imperative that you are aware of what to look for not only in terms of your own needs but also what your potential partners can offer your business. 

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