nora donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

nora and its employees recently made a fourth donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The $5,200 gift is the result of a matching gift program that invited employees to donate $1 every pay period to the hospital. Since May of 2014, nora® employees and the company have donated $27,600 to the pediatric treatment and research facility.

“For 57 years, St. Jude Children’s Hospital has pledged to provide care to children battling cancer and other deadly diseases without ever sending a family a bill – not for treatment, travel, housing or food,” said Amy Ouellette, human resources manager at nora. “The generosity of our nora employees helps sustain this mission, and we are proud to continue to support this amazing organization.”

The program will continue through 2019, challenging employees to again support the hospital and its lifesaving mission.

The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of the hospital’s founder, Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay. To learn more, visit their website at

To learn more, visit the nora website at

nora is the commercial rubber flooring systems and solutions brand of Interface, Inc. Produced in Germany for more than 65 years, nora premium rubber works to improve operations, efficiencies, health, safety, and wellness with sustainable flooring that eases maintenance, absorbs noise, and provides added comfort underfoot. For additional information: Follow nora on LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Posted in Vendor News |
Cicero’s Development Corp. to Renovate DoubleTree Hotel

Cicero’s Development Corp, one of the country’s leading renovation contractors for the hospitality industry, announced it has been selected by Weglarz Company for the transformational renovation and rebranding of the Holiday Inn® Midway hotel, located one mile from Chicago’s Midway International Airport, to the DoubleTree® by Hilton Midway.

The multi-stage renovation calls for updating the four-story building’s 145 spacious guestrooms and suites, and corridors to DoubleTree branding standards. The hotel’s business center, indoor pool, three meeting spaces, lounge and fitness center will be renovated in a planned next stage. The hotel will remain open to guests during this first stage of the renovation process with anticipated completion in May 2019.

“This rebranding underscores our ability to fully reposition a hotel in a very short period of time,” said Sam Cicero, president of Cicero’s Development Corp. “We are excited to work with IHG on a renovation that truly speak to the wants and needs of today’s business and leisure travelers.”

In this first stage of the hotel’s renovation, Cicero’s will focus on the guestrooms. All 145 rooms will receive new comfortable beds, new furniture with rich sophisticated woods, new carpeting, drapes and paint with rich hues and lush textures, and sleek wall mounted TVs, along with contemporary artwork and lighting. King room bathrooms are being upgraded with bathtub-to-shower conversions for walk-in convenience. Remodeled showers will be surrounded by upscale tile with clean lines and modern glass enclosures, creating a modern, city-smart aesthetic. Further enhancing the guest experience will be stylish new vanities, ceramic tile flooring, and backlit mirrors.

Corridors are also being upgraded to DoubleTree brand standards, creating an approachable yet modern environment from the moment guests step inside.

“The new DoubleTree Midway will focus on delivering superior hospitality to allow guests to relax and create memorable moments throughout their stay,” said Mark Weglarz, Co-President, Weglarz Company. “While it may have a new look and a new name, the hotel will continue to provide the same first-class visitor experience that has made busy travelers feel at home for many years.”

For information, visit

Established in 1970, Cicero’s Development Corporation is a General Contractor specializing in commercial renovation. Headquartered in Plainfield, Ill., the company’s best value practices and deliverables include: Renovationomix®, the systematic method of renovating to increase revenue; $ensible Green®, increasing property owner income through low-cost environmentally-friendly renovations; Disruption Avoidance Management to minimize any renovation disruption and maximize cash flow; and a Surprise Management Program to identify and anticipate potential challenges and roadblocks, and develop contingencies to ensure adherence to timeline and budget. The Cicero’s team brings decades of commercial renovation experience, and is comprised of in-house architect and design teams, experienced project superintendents and foremen, and highly skilled craftsmen. Cicero’s superior workmanship, attention to detail and project management leadership fuels the company’s complete on-time and on budget project track record.

Posted in Vendor News |
peerhatch: The Team Collaboration Wall

peerhatch is a non-ghosting dry-erase wall covering.

Your entire wall becomes writable.

Within the writable surface is a custom printed mural graphic.

peerhatch turns any wall into a branded center for collaboration.

It lets teams work together encouraging communication and creativity.

This patented technology redefines what a writable surface should be.

The non-ghosting writable wall covering –an alternative to whiteboards & dry-erase paints. More info at

Posted in New Products |
NanaWall Systems Best of Houzz 2019

NanaWall Systems, the pioneer of opening glass wall systems, has
won “Best of Customer Service” on Houzz® for the fifth year in a row.

The company was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 2.1 million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

“We strive to deliver exceptional performance in every aspect of our company, from our innovative engineering to our award-winning customer service and this Houzz award is a testament to our ongoing commitment to quality,” said Ebrahim Nana, CEO of NanaWall Systems.

A “Best Of Houzz 2019” badge will appear on NanaWall’s profile as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.
TWEET THIS: “Best of Customer Service” awarded to @NanaWall Systems for fifth year in a row by @houzz home building, remodeling and design industry professionals #nanawall

“Best of Houzz is a true badge of honor as it is awarded by our community of homeowners, those who are hiring design, remodeling and other home improvement professionals for their projects,” said Liza Hausman, Vice President of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We are excited to celebrate the 2019 winners chosen by our community as their favorites for home design and customer experience, and to highlight those winners on the Houzz website and app.”

The Best Of Houzz badge is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design awards honor professionals whose work was the most popular among the Houzz community. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including a pro’s overall rating on Houzz and client reviews submitted in 2018. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award.

For more information about NanaWall and their products, please visit

Posted in Vendor News |
Weil-McLain High Efficiency Gas Boilers

Weil-McLain® introduces its full line of advanced, high efficiency gas boilers designed to meet the unique heating demands of residential and commercial applications. The industry-leading line now includes the Evergreen®, Ultra™ Series 4, GV90+® cast iron boiler and the AquaBalance® Series 2 – all operating with natural or propane gas and featuring the latest hydronic heating technology for ideal heating comfort and energy-saving performance.

“Our high efficiency boiler line is ideal for all heating applications, including residential, commercial and institutional spaces,” said Dave DeVries, director of product management with Weil-McLain. “By partnering with Weil-McLain, building owners and contractors can choose from a variety of energy-saving, cost-effective and user-friendly units that offer easy maintenance, simple controls, optimal performance and durability.”

Evergreen® – Premium Stainless Steel
For the homeowner who seeks heating comfort while maintaining low utility bills and a reduced carbon footprint, the Evergreen stainless steel condensing boiler features an AFUE rating of 95 percent and is designated as Most Efficient by ENERGY STAR®, a distinction that recognizes highly efficient products. The boiler’s straightforward and user-friendly design makes installation easy for contractors. The unit features a guided setup wizard, an easy to understand graphical user interface, simple controls and 10 heating system presets for quick setup.

The recently expanded Evergreen line is now available in six sizes, ranging from 70 to 399 MBH input, accommodating both small and large residential projects, as well as light commercial applications. The units are adaptable for most heating demands, ensuring heating comfort through multiple zones. For the residential and light commercial customer who requires a multiple boiler setup, the Evergreen line can cascade two to eight boilers together, and ZoneStacking® up to 24 programmable zones with no external panel required. With this advanced control feature, the Evergreen boiler maintains optimal efficiency through lead-lag rotation and balanced heat loading.

Ultra™ Series 4 – Great value, corrosion-resistant
The new Ultra Series 4 boilers feature a state-of-the-art heat exchanger with nanotechnology coating that works like Ultra Armor, protecting the unit from buildup in the heat exchanger while maintaining high efficiency. The nanotechnology coating repels exhaust residue formation on the heat exchanger surface while preventing acidic condensation penetration, ensuring the unit requires no cleaning for a full five years after installation.

Available in six sizes, the Ultra Series 4 offers quiet operation, ease of set up and control, and unmatched comfort with the potential to provide immediate payback in energy savings – making it an ideal choice for single-family residences. The Ultra Series 4 also is a good fit for light commercial applications, allowing contractors to pair boilers in sequence to heat larger buildings and control multiple boilers from a single control panel.

GV90+® – Longevity and high efficiency
The GV90+ high efficiency cast iron boiler line is designed for homeowners who seek the right balance between ideal heating comfort, low utility bills, reliability and product longevity. The unit features streamlined controls with a simple setup, and a low maintenance, durable design. The GV90+ offers an AFUE rating of 91 percent, exceeding ENERGY STAR® program requirements, and available in four convenient sizes.
The GV90+ is designed with a high performance durable cast iron primary heat exchanger. A corrosion resistant stainless steel condensing secondary heat exchanger recoups heat energy from exhaust normally wasted, to further increase system efficiency.

This unique, durable unit easily adapts to satisfy various comfort heating demands, from multiple in-home zones to driveway snow melting and even pool heating. Unlike most traditional cast iron boilers, the GV90+ line allows easy integration of outdoor reset to take advantage of low water temperatures and improve overall system energy cost savings.

AquaBalance™ Series 2 – The cold-weather combiThe new AquaBalance Series 2 units feature an energy efficiency of 95 percent and combine the warmth of high-efficiency space heating with the convenience of on-demand domestic hot water in a reliable, space-saving, easy-to-install package. AquaBalance boilers are ideal for retrofits or new construction in single-family homes, apartments or condominiums. Now available in three sizes (80, 120 and 155 MBH input) in both combi or heat-only versions, the units feature an aesthetically pleasing design and simple, user-friendly controls, while delivering contractors and homeowners easy installation and worry-free operation.

With the industry’s latest stainless steel, titanium-infused heat exchanger technology, the AquaBalance Series 2 provides advanced condensing technology to deliver efficient space heat and domestic hot water in a sleek, compact design that can fit in a closet. The AquaBalance Series 2 boilers were awarded the ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient designation to deliver maximum operational cost savings to homeowners.
To learn more about the full line of high efficiency boilers, visit or contact a Weil-McLain regional sales office at

About Weil-McLain
Weil-McLain® is a leading North American designer and manufacturer of hydronic comfort heating systems for residential, commercial and institutional buildings. Founded in 1881, Weil-McLain is based in the Chicago suburb of Burr Ridge, Ill., with manufacturing facilities in Michigan City, Ind., and Eden, N.C., and regional sales offices throughout the United States.

Weil-McLain hydronic boilers and indirect-fired water heaters integrate the latest in advanced controls and materials using cast iron, stainless steel and aluminum with sophisticated heat exchanger technologies that deliver optimum energy efficiency and reliability. Architects, engineers, contractors, facility managers and homeowners rely on Weil-McLain to address a variety of comfort heating needs. Products are engineered with aesthetics, functionality, safety and structural tolerance in mind. Additional information is available at

Posted in New Products |
Navien NFC Series Fire Tube Combi-Boilers

Navien, the leader in high-efficiency condensing technology, introduces the new NFC series stainless steel fire tube combi-boilers. This innovative product is available in two sizes, NFC-175 (175,000 BTU/H) and NFC-200 (199,900 BTU/H), with enough heating input for larger homes and continuous domestic hot water supply for up to three bathrooms. Best applications include retrofits and new installations in single-family homes, multi-family houses, and light commercial buildings.

The new Navien NFC combi-boiler package comes with a patented in-house designed and manufactured heat exchanger, Low Profile Burner for ease of service, advanced controls offering intuitive user navigation, an advanced built-in DHW module (pump, flat plate heat exchanger, 3-way valve, mixing valve, water adjustment valve and auto water fill valve), common venting capability up to 8 units (1 NFC and 7 NPEs), cascading capability up to 16 units (1 NFC and 15 NPEs), and built-in hardware to connect up to 3 zone pumps without a need for additional external controllers. Plus, each unit ships with 16 accessories including a NaviClean™ magnetic filter, an isolation valve kit and an NFC primary loop manifold for easier installation.

Other NFC combi-boiler features include:
• 5 modes of external domestic recirculation control built-in (Always on, Intelligent, Scheduling, HotButton, Aquastat)
• 95% AFUE for energy savings – Energy Star Most Efficient 2019
• 11:1 turndown ratio delivering wide operating range without cycling
• Low NOx < 20 ppm SCAQMD certification
• PVC, CPVC, polypropylene and stainless-steel venting materials up to 150 ft.
• Easy field convertibility from natural gas (NG) to propane (LP), conversion kit included
• High altitude approval for up to 10,100 ft.
• Modern space-saving design
• Easy access to all serviceable components
• Industry leading residential and commercial warranties

To learn more about the Navien NFC series fire tube boilers, visit

Posted in New Products |
New Shockforce measuring tapes now available

Tradesmen who use a tape measure thousands of times a year know what makes one stand out from the rest. It’s with their input that Apex Tool Group—a premier tool manufacturer—developed its new Crescent Lufkin Shockforce and Shockforce Nite Eye tape measures with patent-pending two-sided blade design and an industry-leading 14 feet of standout.

“Our extensive research determined what users were really looking for in a tape,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, product manager. “Saving time was critical, so when measuring on a jobsite one person can now do a two-person measuring job using this tape. And, since a tape measure is one of the most used tools on a job site, we also focused on durability to create a product that withstands drops and lasts longer.”

The compact design features metal “roll bars” to protect the lock button against drop impact damage, while the simulated diamond-coated end hook provides 50 percent more hook grasp to prevent surface slippage. The dual-sided print combined with enhanced print size provide superior legibility for quicker measuring. The Nite Eye offers the same features, but with a high visibility green-on-matte black blade to be seen in any light condition.

Crescent Lufkin Shockforce Tape Measures are available in 16-foot, 25-foot and 35-foot options at hardware stores, home centers, online retailers, and industrial and commercial distributors.

For more, visit the Crescent Tools website.

About Crescent®
Crescent is a premier brand from Apex Tool Group, one of the largest hand tool manufacturers in the world. The product line includes Crescent® adjustable wrenches, mechanics hand tools and sets, Crescent Wiss® snips, scissors, shears, knives and trade tools, Crescent Lufkin® measuring tapes, rules, and wheels, Crescent Nicholson® files and saws, Crescent H.K. Porter® heavy duty cutting products and Crescent JOBOX® on-site, flammable liquid and truck storage products. Visit

About Apex Tool Group
Apex Tool Group, LLC, headquartered in Sparks, Maryland, is one of the largest worldwide producers of industrial hand and power tools, tool storage, drill chucks, chain and electronic soldering products. Apex serves a multitude of global markets, including automotive, aerospace, electronics, energy, hardware, industrial, and consumer retail. Visit

Posted in New Products |
Property Values Rise In GA Historic Districts

alues for single-family residential properties in the National Register and local historic districts in Georgia rose 13-14 percent and 7 percent before they were designated historic properties, according to research by Georgia State University economist Carlianne Patrick.
Patrick decided to do the research when she found there was not a wide array of available research on property values of historic district designation. She is an assistant professor in Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.

“I felt that I could design a study to help fill this gap,” she said. “It seemed to me that the often passionate debates around historic district designations would benefit from causal evidence on some of the key issues, particularly causal evidence that differentiated between National Register and local historic districts.”

The research addresses a common belief that historic districts are associated with negative property values.

“Some homeowners are concerned that historic district designation will impose restrictions that make property improvements or sale to potential homebuyers difficult,” said Patrick. “My results suggest that demand for homes in these areas is not hurt by designation, and that the value-added from preserving neighborhood character outweighs any increased costs.”

Historic districts have also been thought to stifle development in surrounding areas. Patrick points out that the historic status does not preclude development. She provides Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn and Grant Park historic districts—which have both seen instances of new development since their National Register designations—as evidence.
In the report, published by the Center for State and Local Finance, Patrick uses parcel-level transactions and district boundaries of properties listed to national and local historic registers in Fulton and DeKalb counties. The data focus on the period between 1990 and 2015.

While Patrick believes her findings can provide insight on one of the potential consequences of a change in historic district status, she welcomes additional studies.
“More research,” she said, “is needed to understand the extent to which the difference in estimated effects is attributable to preexisting trends as opposed to the preservation grants and tax credits available through listing on the National Register and the added regulation associated with local historic districts.”

About the Author: Carlianne Patrick is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. Her research investigates the spatial distribution of economic activity, with a particular focus on the role of economic development policies, agglomeration externalities, and local provision of public goods.

Posted in Vendor News |
BLUEFIN’s Commitment to Safety Results 0.85 EMR

BLUEFIN, LLC, a national facility asset management firm for roofs, pavement, and building envelope portfolios, announces its 0.85 Experience Modification Rating (EMR).

EMR reflects the amount of risk associated with a business. Companies consider a business with an EMR below 1.0 as safer than the industry average.

“Thank you to everyone in our company for prioritizing safety,” said Richard Rast, president of BLUEFIN. “This is particularly true to the safety team under Dave Greene’s leadership and the field teams who work on the roofs and pavement. This also includes all who support and drive our safety into our culture.”

Safety is a top concern for companies who work on roofs, relating to fall protection.

“The credit belongs to each person working at heights and in harm’s way every day. You are the backbone of BLUEFIN,” said Dave Greene, RRO, REWO, project manager and safety director for BLUEFIN. “Your hard work and commitment to safety is a wonderful thing and is much appreciated.”

BLUEFIN’s vigilant Health and Safety Plan is a daily practice to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all employees and is a cooperative effort of all employees to identify and eliminate hazards in the workplaces. The Program spans daily onsite “toolbox talks,” appropriate orientation and training when new equipment, materials, or processes are introduced, appropriate training qualification to perform duties and job functions, which are not limited to CPR, first aid, and OSHA 10 and 30 certifications, safety manual training, and company-wide employee participation and commitment in the program.

In the past two years, BLUEFIN has worked 220,761 hours without a single injury or accident. This includes work on 784.9 million square feet of roof area using ladders, lifts, and other means. Greene notes how safety training is paramount to the success of a robust safety program.

“Training is the single most important aspect of any good safety program,” said Greene. “A good safety plan is no accident, and should be an all-hands approach.”

Before each project, employees must demonstrate the ability to recognize the unique hazards present, and safely perform the tasks required, as well as the comprehension of the subject matter covered in toolbox training. Retraining is another practice BLUEFIN implements and endorses. This is important if an employee no longer has the understanding or skill required in any area related to safety.

BLUEFIN’s employees work in all 50 states and beyond. To achieve standardized onsite safety meetings on a national level, all field teams use the Safety Meeting App. This technology assists BLUEFIN in offering consistent safety to its employees and clients.

Employees also complete a job hazard analysis (JHA) before each project. JHA is a technique for the relationship among the worker, task, tools, and work environment. It helps to recognize potential and unique hazards for each situation. Performing the JHA’s allows an individual or team to properly mitigate the hazards in accordance with the universally recognized hierarchy of hazard controls. From highest to lowest, this includes elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment.

To learn more about BLUEFIN’s safety program for facility asset management, please contact BLUEFIN at

BLUEFIN is a leader in facility asset management consulting for roof, pavement, and building envelope. BLUEFIN serves global clients who have a portfolio of facilities or large footprints. Headquartered in Denver, BLUEFIN has a network of offices throughout the United States. The firm works with government, education, retail, oil and gas, commercial real estate, pharmaceutical, and similar industries. BLUEFIN delivers an innovative approach to its asset management programs. It uses its proprietary data management technology to support strategic management. BLUEFIN has performed facility projects for over 40,000 buildings. BLUEFIN offers an integrated suite of services to give clients cost savings, financial continuity, and improved facility performance.

Posted in Vendor News |
Mixed Signals on Doing Business in Cuba?

While senior administration officials have repeatedly assured the business community that the president does not want to disrupt the ongoing Cuba-related activity of companies operating in compliance with U.S. law, recent statements and developments portend a more robust effort to rollback Obama-era progress toward normalizing ties between the United States and Cuba.

Against the backdrop of the new restrictions issued in November 2017 on U.S. travel to Cuba and creation of a list of Cuban commercial entities with which American companies can no longer conduct business, the administration publicly pledged to respect contracts signed between American companies and Cuban counterparts before November 2017 and to renew any expiring licenses that U.S. businesses require to continue ongoing operations. However, businesses with Cuba interests and operations should note recent statements, including:

In November and December 2018, senior administration officials were quoted saying that Cuba policy is undergoing a comprehensive review.

On November 15, the State Department moved to add additional Cuban companies to its restricted Cuban entities list.

Also in November, National Security Advisor John Bolton confirmed that the State Department is evaluating whether or not to continue to suspend title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act, commonly known as Helms-Burton. This controversial provision, which would allow U.S. persons to sue non-U.S. companies that “traffic” in “confiscated property” in U.S. courts, has been suspended every six months by successive presidential administrations since the law was passed in 1996.

In December, the media reported that the State Department—under pressure from lawmakers in South Florida—would review the terms of a landmark deal between Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Cuban Baseball Federation (Federación Cubana de Beisbol—FCB) to end the human trafficking of Cuban baseball players who aspire to play in the major leagues.

In January 2019, the State Department issued a 45-day suspension of title III of Helms-Burton—instead of the usual six months—leading to widespread speculation that the suspension may be allowed to lapse.

Recently, there have been a number of reports that the Administration is considering adding Cuba to the list of countries considered State Sponsors of Terrorism. This comes in the aftermath of the political turmoil in Venezuela and Cuba’s continuing support for the Maduro regime.

Many American companies, including airlines, cruise lines, telecommunications providers, family remittance providers, online travel platforms, insurance providers, and others, provide vital Cuba-related commercial services and may be significantly impacted by an intensified effort to rollback progress.

Akerman’s Cuba practice has developed a comprehensive analysis of the legal risks, potential actions, and defenses relating to claims which could arise from the implementation of Title III. We are poised to work closely with our clients to identify any potential exposure resulting from the activation of this rule.

By Pedro A. Freyre, Augusto E. Maxwell, and Matthew D. Aho of Akerman. More info at

Posted in Vendor News |