What an Owner Wants (feat. Howie Ferguson)


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What does an owner really want in construction? We get into the head of an owner in this episode of Construction Brothers Podcast with Howie Ferguson of Construction Owners Association of America. This is a must listen for general contractors, designers, and just about anyone else in the construction industry.


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TRANSCRIPTION


Tyler: (04:49)

So without further ado here is our conversation with Howie Ferguson.


Eddie:

Thanks for joining us today, man. Why don't you tell us who you are and what you do?


Howie:

Glad to be here. Tyler, Eddie appreciate it. My name's Howie Ferguson. I'm the executive director of COAA, the construction owners association of America. And prior to that, I was an owner myself for about 27 years. US Navy, civil engineer corp, CBS, all that kind of stuff. And then my Alma mater University of Florida, which is where I got involved with COAA as a volunteer. So that's the short version of me.


Eddie:

Gotcha. We're familiar with that school. There's an altercation down in Jacksonville every year. That happens. That is kind of, yeah,


Howie:

I've heard about that. I think I might've driven by there once or twice memory serves.


Eddie:

Lots of fun. Well, man, we want your perspective today because the whole owner realm is something that honestly, we've just been trying to crack for a long time. And so we want to learn more about it. What kind of owners are involved with COAA though? Like, kind of set the table there.


Howie:

Right, right. And that's a great question to begin answering your questions about owners, Eddie, because we have a pretty diverse collection, but even that is kind of the tip of the iceberg. When you think about what owners are, these are people who don't do construction for a living at their core mission. They teach, they do research, they find the cure for cancer. They sell products and services. They do other things. But if they're big enough, like the people who are our members, they have support staff that manages their design and construction, but it's not the ultimate mission. Right? The ultimate mission is those other things. So that's important to remember. And it's also important to remember that again, what owners do at their core is very different across the board, as opposed to contractors at the core, they all build essentially. Owners are very different. It's a hodgepodge collection. So that's a preface. Our membership right now, and we're trying to grow certain sectors, is roughly 50ish percent higher education. So colleges, universities, big ones, small ones all over the country. The rest of the pie, the other 50% is kind of a mixture. Government entities, so that would be like cities, counties, states, and federal, GSA is a member. Also K-12 school districts, airports, financial services, and insurance providers. It's kind of a mixture, but a lot of public, I would call institutional or quasi institutional type members. That's kind of our breakdown.


Tyler:

For me, I'm always curious about how I can help people. So from a business development standpoint, I'm always looking around saying, "what sort of services can I get for people that they would find use in?" So in owners it's, again back to what Eddie was saying, just something that has just been so elusive for us. And we know the value that we can present through building information modeling, but finding those owners is something that is so difficult. So how can you begin? I guess I'm looking for some advice here, I guess is how can we begin to start to find those owners and try to develop relationships in a way that we can start to help people? Cause I know there are a lot of general contractors that are also listening to the show that would probably wonder the same thing. How can we start developing those relationships?


Howie:

Yeah. Well, without at all, cause this is not in my nature to be a salesman and this is going to sound salesy, but seriously Tyler, the reason COAA and other organizations exist is for education, helping owners be better. In our case better owners, but also for connections and networking and the informal peer-to-peer learning or colleague to colleague. So we count as our members, not just owners but builders and a few trade contractors and software vendors like Autodesk or Ebuilder or Procor architects, engineers, all the players in a project, and the companies that are not owners that are members of COAA. I believe they'd tell you to a man or woman that one of the reasons isn't necessarily because it gets them more business or gets them more projects, but it's because they're plugged in and they can have a better understanding of what's on these owners' minds before it hits the fan, so to speak. It's the connections and the finger on the pulse kind of thing. So that would be a piece of advice. It could be COAA, obviously, I'd root for that, but there are other organizations, Tyler, to your question, where a contractor big or small could plugin. And again, as long as you don't have the sort of the ultimate goal of "I'm going to do this and immediately I want to see a return and get a lot more projects." It may not work like that, but you just may become a lot smarter and more sensitive to what owner's pain points are.


Eddie:

I'm curious about that. What matters to your group of owners? What are the top things that they're concerned about?


Howie: (10:10)

So I know you guys have heard, or you've actually said from the perspective of a builder "okay Mr. Owner or architect there's quality, schedule, budget, pick two. You can't have all three." I'm sure you've heard that before, right? Yeah. Well, informally we say no, no, we want all three. We want our cake and to eat it too. I'm kidding. But I'm serious. What owners typically, and remember when I say owners these are institutions that do something else at their core, want is all three. The people that you're working with that like I used to be a project manager, I'm kind of just support staff, but I'm representing that entire institution. And all kidding aside, typically we do want it all. We do want a project that's within our budget and on time and of the quality or scope for that whole thing. Programmatically, it delivers what we want, it solves, it scratches, the itch, whatever that is. Having said all that, it is sometimes difficult to get all three. And sometimes, and this is where COAA really kicks in because we can say this as fellow owners to our owners, we're our biggest problem. Sometimes the owner himself or herself is the biggest impediment because they can't make decisions or they can't stick to them. The budget wasn't good to begin with, the scope wasn't clearly defined to begin with. Sometimes the owner is his worst own enemy.


Eddie:

Yeah. We jokingly talked about, what kind of questions to ask? And one was like, why are owners so bad at budgeting for projects? So I want to throw that one out there. Why, is it so hard to budget for projects?


Howie:

And Eddie, you may edit this out, but let's be honest in the talk we had, the initial talk weeks ago, I actually said specifically and verbatim "why do owners suck so bad at budgeting."


Eddie:

Yeah. That's it.


Howie:

That's the real question, right? I said it instead of you. So, yeah, sometimes we are not very good and there are some reasons and here's two or three. One that's pretty common, especially with, again and I'm thinking of our members, which are more governmental institutional public if you will, is that a lot of times those budgets are set years before the project hits the street. That's a problem in and of itself. Think about how much has changed in our world in the last 12 months. And okay even if it wasn't the last 12 months, obviously we're really bizarre in a lot of ways. Even if it was several years ago, way before COVID, there are things that happen in the world that change the market, obviously. I can remember 15, 20 years ago when I was still at UF and there was like every single price that increased it was "the Chinese took the steel." Do you guys remember that? It was like the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics or something and the Chinese had grabbed all the steel? So it's always something that's affecting the market. And so if you budget a project in the year 2021, but it doesn't get approved or it has to go through all these hoops and it finally gets approved four or five years later, but the budget didn't change and the scope didn't change. Well, there's probably a misalignment right out of the shoot and the owner in a lot of cases, doesn't have the option to go back and say, "Hey, listen, funding authority, whoever that is, can we give some more money? Because remember that we put this together..." It doesn't work like that. That's one big reason.


Another reason why our budgets are sometimes not aligned has little or less to do with the market and more to do with changes in leadership personnel staffing. Great example. Okay. So I used to work at the University of Florida, did a lot of different projects, sometimes that involved research type folks. Those researchers change jobs a lot, what they were at the University of X one day and they're now here. And not only that, but just vice-presidents and deans, all these people change. And they all typically want to have a voice and a say in a project. And let's say, once again, it's a time thing. Let's say we had a great plan, clearly defined scope, a good budget, and we're ready to go. And then the project happens a year later, but key leadership changed. Different vision, different scope, different everything. The budget's not going to change. We've got a problem because there's a misalignment. So a lot of times it's not, well these owners are really stupid so actually, that could be the case sometimes like owners who aren't involved with COAA, you know, probably aren't as smart because they're not involved with COAA. Right. But yeah, self-Serving ba dam bum cha. But, all kidding aside, a lot of times, it's not because they're evil or dumb it's because the circumstances changed or time passed since the budget was originally established. That's a very common reason.


Tyler:

It's a moving target, in other words, you know, and I can't remember if I had mentioned this last time we talked, but I mean, we had a steel package, a couple oh my gosh, a couple of weeks ago that we were talking to a guy on. And the project team delayed it three months. And as a result of that, I think it was just the overall project budget had to increase $300,000 because material pricing shot through the roof. And I mean, there is no way to pin down this information ahead of time. Like, we didn't know that there was going to be a pandemic. We had no idea. We had no idea that our material prices were all going to shoot through the sky. You know, we had no idea. And so I can feel for you guys there because you're trying to nail this down five years ahead of time. And if something gets delayed, you have really no metric or way of telling, "okay, here's when we're going to start. So I'm gonna adjust 10% every single month for however long, this drags out." It's going to be very difficult to do that. I said 10%, that's pretty crazy, but regardless, that's hard to nail down.


Howie:

And honestly, Tyler, if you're a public/governmental, the type of owners that a lot of our members are, you may have even more shackles on you, so to speak, than a corporate, a private owner who doesn't have to answer to anyone. That doesn't mean they don't have to follow laws, but there are procurement rules they don't have to follow that a public or institutional owner does have to follow. The University of Georgia, they're a member of COAA, the same thing, and a lot of other universities. So a lot of times it's those constraints because of procurement laws that make it where, for example, they're not, maybe they are, but maybe they're not allowed to put in an escalation allowance in the budget that says to what you said, "Hey, I think this is going to go on the street in four years. So we're going to put in 5% escalation per year, just in case as a contingency." There are some entities that that's not allowed "Hey, that's taxpayer dollars. You can't do that." Even though it would be the smart thing to do.


Eddie:

You know, it's interesting in the world of, let's say production-oriented ownership like manufacturing, for example, it makes a lot of sense that delivering before the schedule would equal dollars back in the owner's pocket because now productive activity can increase and I get in my facility quicker. To your point at the beginning of the show, you said, "Hey, I want budget. I want quality. And I want the time." And that makes good sense. We should do what we said we were going to do. How much does it matter to the institutional owner for me to come to them and say, "I could get you in your building six weeks earlier, six months earlier." And then how do the differing priorities, like, I just want to be in there for next school year kind of make that different than say a production-oriented manufacturing-oriented owner?


Howie:

Yeah. It's a fabulous question, Eddie. Unfortunately, I'm going to give you a less than fabulous, but true answer. It depends on the facility. Okay. So we have a lot of members ship types of owners besides higher ed, but that's what I came from. So I know it really well. So I'll give you an example. Think about any college/university campus you've been on and the very different...there may be an image that comes to mind of some iconic building or a brick tower or a football stadium or whatever. But if you expand that mental image to the very different types of buildings there are food service facilities, there are residence halls. We used to call them dorms, but the housing people don't like that so we call them residence halls. Now there are athletic facilities for varsity like scholarship athletes, and then just rec centers for students to go lift weights or do aerobics, whatever. And you can go on and on all these different kinds of facilities, it depends on the facility.


If it's a revenue generating facility like housing, for example, our housing department, there were no taxpayer dollars. They survived on the fees that a student pays to live in those residence halls. Right? So they were a self-sufficient thing. They absolutely had deadlines with serious impacts. We don't have that new residence hall built in time there are 600 kids who were promised a room that the university now has to pay for to be in a hotel. You can actually calculate the liquidated or real damages. As opposed to some other type of building where yeah, "we'd like to have it then, but if it slips until two months later, and it's not the start of a new semester anyway." Yeah, it depends. So like I said, Eddie, it's not a great answer, but it's true. It depends on the facility type.


Okay. Here's another example. Another owner segment that we're hoping to grow. We have a few large airports that are members like the Toronto airport, but we think airports would be a great fit and we hope to have more airports join us. Think about the big time correlation of revenue or lost revenue if a new terminal expansion is not done on time. You can't even calculate the impact. Then again, that could be that some other large upgrade renovation, new construction on an airport property, a hanger or something, there may be no economic impact. It's just like, "well, we'd sure like to have it done by then." So it depends on the facility is what I'm saying.


Eddie:

Yeah. I guess I'm lining that up in trying to think through from an owner's perspective, like, "Hey, I've got this facility that I want to get into and you know, I've just got these certain goals and then I've got the shackles on." And from my perspective that more institutional type of owners, is just maybe less inclined to be concerned about business, but it sounds like that's not true. There's definitely business to be had here and value and delivering early, delivering quality, delivering innovation where we're not just being stymied so much by the, that we're disinterested in innovating.


Howie:

Totally a hundred percent. And I'll go you one better. This is not a yes-but Eddie, this is a yes-and. What you said is true but here's an even better idea. How about if we all, and by all I mean the whole project team, or if at the trade contractor level, if those team members haven't been brought on board yet, fine, we'll do it later. But at least at a minimum, the major three legs of the stool, as we say, the owner, the design team, and the builder, the CMGC, whatever they are. If they're on board early in design, as we suggest when possible, how about at a minimum, we talk through all that stuff as a team, candidly openly. And I would do that with my projects at UF. We would have a kickoff meeting and basically, pardon the phrase, kind of drop trout and say, "look, man, you got the job. You're not marketing anymore. Welcome. We're glad to have you. And here's the bold truth. Okay. We told you here's our published schedule. And we mean it, and that's our goal. But at the end of the day, if we are five or six weeks late, it's not the end of the day, but we absolutely must stay on budget. That's a showstopper." The team appreciated me saying basically that the whole three, I won all three. I was basically telling them, I do want all three, but if I have to sacrifice one, this is the one, and this is why. They appreciated that candor. I think that's what, I would guess, folks like you and other contractors like, "Hey, I don't care what the deal is. Just be honest with me. Just tell me, make me part of the team, bring me to the big kid's table." That's what I tried to do.


Tyler: (22:22)

Getting to the big kid's table is something that I love that analogy. That's great because yeah, we talk about that constantly. So I wanted to kind of go back to the three things that we had talked about, right. And how COAA and how you guys are trying to educate the owners in those three things, how they can get all three if possible or get close to getting all three to the best of their ability, what are you telling them? And what can we be aware of that they're out there looking for? At your advice?


Howie:

When you say the three things, you mean schedule, budget, scope, the big three?


Tyler:

Correct.


Howie:

Yeah. Well, here's the, I know exactly what you mean and it's not a word semantics thing, but I wouldn't say that we're telling them anything. Our mission isn't to say, "okay, we have the, 10 commandments for Moses, you listen up all you owners, we know all the right things. And if you do it this..." It's really more about peer to peer stuff. It's really about us as COAA we try to facilitate connections and shared experiences, even the bad ones. Cause that's where you learn the most, right? You've seen presentations where you're like, "look at this great project it's beautiful. And we all got along and it was on budget and on time and everything was perfect." And you're partially thinking that's a load of crap. And you're also thinking, "well, that's nice, but I don't learn anything from this. I learn from people sharing their mistakes." That's a big part of who we.


So back to your question, Tyler, I wouldn't say that we're not telling them anything. What we do tell them or what we espouse or remind them is that look, your job as an owner is to be what we call a good, and I'm putting air quotes up, a good owner. And we don't mean perfect. We don't mean here's the script follow this. We don't mean goody two-shoes we mean fair, timely, collaborative, open, transparent. Tell them what you don't know. That was another one of my tricks quote-unquote tricks is when I would write what we call a facilities program. This was a document that described what we were building and why and the budget and the schedule. And it's how we got the approval of the project internally. But it's also what we shared with the design construction teams when we were soliciting, you know, RFP, that kind of thing. So again, we wanted to be transparent. Well, a lot of times I would put in there, here's what we know. You know, this it's going to be this, or you know, this many square feet etc. But here's what we don't know. That's why we're hiring you guys, the experts. We need help understanding what this is, what that is. I think that's what people at the big kids or not the little kids table. I think that's what they crave is information, truth, collaboration, honesty.


What COAA espouses you guys, is look the tools of the trade, the innovation, the technology, everything from prefab lean, for sure. That's great stuff. Great. BIM, a hundred percent. But ultimately it's people that deliver bad or good projects. That's what it comes down to. That's kind of the core of our philosophy. We do all kinds of educational sessions and networking about all those BIM and information exchanges at the end of a project. And now what's the new one, digital twins. You guys I'm sure know about that. Like all that stuff is awesome, but people deliver projects. That's what we try to remind our folks and the owner's role in being a good and actual leader of the project through good times and bad that that's kind of our, our philosophy. I don't know if that really answered it, Tyler, but yeah, that's my answer.


Eddie:

I love that you bring it back to people because that's something that we have actually hit numerous times on the show is that technology is not going to fix your problems. That a new tool is not going to fix your problems. The thing that is going to help the construction industry as a whole move forward is people acting in a collaborative way, which we overused collaborative. I don't even know if we really define what that means anymore. But working together thinking through problems, getting to the table, being honest and open, having the candor to say, "I can't do that, but I can do this." I love that you bring it back to the people element of construction. Is that something that's a hard sell to the owners that are in your organization? Is that something that's like a "yeah duh, we are on for this."


Howie:

Okay. So the quick answer is no, it's not at all llike that. In fact, it's the other way. They were probably attracted to us because they think that way and people want to be around people who kind of think like they do. Our struggle is to reach the owners who don't think that way. You know what I mean? Like the ones who need us. This sounds like possibly arrogant or something negative, but the owners out there, and I've encountered them that's people or organizations or both, who most could use some COAA up in them, so to speak, are the ones who probably realize that the least. That they're the owners who act like he with the gold rules and yeah, you probably do rule, but ultimately, are you really getting what you want?


So yeah, our struggle is to reach the owners who could use a little infusion of people matter. And collaboration actually does work. And even if you're constrained by delivery method, right? So two of our members, just to call them out, are Auburn University and the State of Wisconsin or whatever division of the state of Wisconsin handles all the construction. In both cases in those two states, they're constrained by law. They pretty much have to do design bid build old-school hard bid jobs. So collaboration's tougher. You can't have a contractor until you're a hundred percent through a design and you've bid the job out. It's a lot easier to collaborate upfront when the builder is at the table, if not the trades, at least the cm or the whoever. Well, in those two cases, those two owners are still figuring out ways Auburn and the State of Wisconsin, despite the constraint of that delivery method that they're kind of forced to use. They're still figuring out ways to basically value people, collaborate. You can still do it, even if you're constrained in that way. That's how I think it is. And what my goal is, is to reach the owners who don't think that way and have them come into the tent and explain to them that whatever their measures of success are, whether it's schedule, budget, quality, return on investment profit, whatever it is, they could probably get there better if they had a more open, collaborative, focused mind.


Tyler:

I think it's interesting that you talk about the person with the gold, they rule, right. And talking about the person that's very closed minded as an owner from our small little pond of experience here it seems those are the ones that end up paying more longterm. And I say, it seems. They do end up paying more long-term because every single one of their subcontractors underneath them ends up taking a little bit more of a chunk than they normally would. You know, you're trying to help your friends out. The people that you've developed a relationship with you want to help those people out, you're willing to cut them a deal. But it's the ones that push you around for no good reason. It's the ones that just say, yeah, we're going to make it happen, throw money on the table, and get them to work harder. It's those are the people that we kind of roll our eyes at and say, "okay, sounds good." Well, we're going to charge you an extra 15 grand for that work, because you're just that much of a pain in the butt to us.


Tyler:

Yeah. We see that. We see that constantly. And you know, we're working a job right now that is very much like that. The pain in the butt factor is very, very real. And anytime we get a chance for a CEO, then we're making sure that we're getting our money's worth and then some on that. So it pays to be one of those people that is willing to bring your trades to the table. Trades and builders to the table.


Howie: (30:41)

Well, I think it's a matter of respect. And, going back to the people thing, here's a great example of something, COAA didn't invent this. I just happened to attend maybe early calendar year, so January, a couple of months ago, I attended a virtual, of course, workshop that our Pennsylvania chapter, we have 11 chapters around the country, put on. One of them's a very strong chapter in Pennsylvania, and they were doing a joint workshop with AIA Philadelphia and some other organizations whose names I can't remember. It was a good workshop on a variety of topics, but this particular workshop or this segment of the workshop was talking to everyone from owners, designers, to builders, and asked, what did you do or learn during the craziness of the last 12 months that you think will stick? It wasn't just something like we got to wash hands and wear masks but something maybe bigger that's going to be permanent like, "Hey, that was actually a good idea. Let's keep doing that."


One of those things and my favorite comment, just burden wire, just listening, fabulous from the heart totally honest comment was from, I wish I could remember, a fairly large mechanical or plumbing, one of those two, trade contractor in the Northeast. So it wasn't just Pennsylvania, but they work up there, up where it's cold, where we aren't. And his story was that, because of COVID, they started providing hot water to all workers on the job sites so they can wash their hands with hot water. And then it hit them one day. "We have, typically in our jobs for a variety of reasons, easy access to hot water all day and it's costing pennies. Why haven't we always done this?" Cause think about it. If you work up there, it kinda sucks to wash your hands when it's January and the water that's coming out is 35 or 40 degrees. It's like, no one wants to wash their hands. And he's like, it's a matter of remembering that people are people, not resources, right?


You come out of a construction management school or something, and you're talking about resource leveling and metrics. Hey man, like I said, our COAA philosophy it's about people. So this guy's light bulb moment was born from COVID. "Hey, wait a minute. We should have always been providing hot water so people can wash their hands, pandemic or not. What the hell is wrong with us?" Well, let's remember that people are people, let's treat them like that going forward. Chances are that guy's going to probably retain a hell of a lot more of his workers. Be more successful, make more profit. I'm tying it back to your point Tyler, pay me now or pay me later. Depends on how you treat people.


Eddie:

Exactly. Well, I want to know, I mean, COVID aside, what, outside of people is the one issue that you hear out of your owners that they're interested in? And I mean, be that technology, a project delivery method, a certain type of approach. What is the thing that you hear a lot out of that group that matters to them?


Howie: (33:42)

Yeah. I'd say with the caveat of, remember we don't represent every single owner, so I'm sure it may be different, different places, but a lot of our owners struggled the most, you guys, with the so-called small or minor projects. A lot of times they may have, we kiddingly say fewer zeroes, but more headaches. Right? So they may not be the big, giant high visibility gleaming new Greenfield project. So that's preface number one preface two, is that a lot of our owners are what we call serial builders that do projects a lot. They're constantly building and renovating and they have a full-time staff. I


'd say, Eddie, to answer your question, a huge, it may not be number one, but it's up there in the top three, concern of owners is just their own internal workload, their staff's workload, and kind of a corollary to that improving and building that staff. Think about it, there's no degree program for owners, right? You can get a degree in construction management. You can get a degree in civil engineering, mechanical engineering, all kinds of engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, all the players if you want to go to college route you can get training. But the training for an owner is OTJ, on the job, right. There's no school, except COAA, for how to be an owner. So a lot of times these are folks, owner reps, who came from the construction world or the design world. But in some cases, some of our members have owners who are handling 20, 30, 40, 50 smaller/minor projects. You can't run a project well, any of those. So I'd say workload cause remember we're all governmental institutional organizations, we're the support staff. We're not going to get funded for, "have all the PMs you need. No problem." It's do more with less. And so I'd say delivering projects with a challenged workforce would be way up there for our members.


Eddie:

We can relate to that, honestly. And I mean the small projects we talk about, I think Tyler said this five times in the last week, are like swatting nats. You feel like you're constantly trying to swat the nats because I've got one large project that I'm focused on that has a larger budget and therefore should deservingly get more of my focus, but then I've got, you know, 15 others that are just, they're small, they're important in their own right but they're small. And so you're always trying to fit them in, pepper them in. And so I think that probably would be something that most of our listenership would resonate with that they would kind of know that pain.


Tyler:

Yeah. And for me as somebody who's standing in there as a manager of our team, right. It's really hard to let those things go to other people to manage because they're dealing with those other Goliaths out there. And I'm trying to make sure that they're doing a good job with that. And they're not having to swat flies. Meanwhile, who does that fall to? It falls to me. So workload is huge. I was counting up the other day, I had seven jobs that were small on my plate and they require a lot of coordination. They require a lot of this, a lot of that. And on top of that, I'm also trying to manage our team and make sure that our QC is good. So it comes with so many challenges. So just to go back to what you were saying, like, we understand that from our end in a big way, that is so difficult to manage.


Howie:

Well, Tyler, just to round that out, I love to think about it from a trade contractor or let's say an architect was part of this. It's cool when all of us for maybe different reasons have something like, "yeah, that sucks for us too." It may be very different because you're looking at it from this way, but we all see this insight share the same pain, that's where we can really come together. So it's kind of cool. And that relates to why, here's a blatant COAA plug, last fall we started an initiative we should have started years ago, to be honest with you, and that is to put more focus on these small or so-called minor projects. I even hate the words, cause it sounds like dismissive, like "it's just a minor project." We should call them peta projects or, you know, something cause they're tough for the reasons you and I both said. So anyway, we created a cute little graphic it's like a goldfish with a shark fin strapped on him. You may call it small but mighty projects. And so we have a whole initiative to develop like a body of knowledge to help owners in one way or another, a kind of best practices manual for how to do small projects better. And if we can make some headway with that, that'd be great.


Tyler:

All right. Well, I think we continue to talk for probably another four hours like we do with a lot of our guests, but I want to go ahead and move us over to our megaphone question. So if we gave you a megaphone that the whole industry could hear in around 60 seconds, and I do mean around 60 seconds, what would you want to say?


Howie: (38:53)

Okay. I would say as cheesy as it might sound or almost cliche Tyler, I would say work together. The word collaborate is almost overused. We've mentioned that both, all three of us, several times in this discussion, but it works, man. People like to be, any people in any relationship, like to be involved, like to believe that their voice matters, like to be in the kitchen, helping make the stew so to speak. And there are different degrees of that, right? That doesn't mean we're all going to agree on everything. We're just going to hold hands the whole time and everything's gonna be great. But like one of our members famously said, and it's true, it's funny because it's true, collaboration is messy and he's right. Like if you're really doing it correctly, it can be kind of a pain like it's tough, but it works, man. It absolutely works. And when I say collaboration, I mean, for an owner who typically has a big pool of internal clients that they're doing this project for there's that collaborative effort, then there's the owner with his or her design team, construction team, the builder with his or her subs. Like there are all these levels of collaboration. It's hard to imagine instances where that doesn't improve the delivery of a project. Even if it doesn't make it cheaper or faster, it at least improves the experience for everyone. So that would be my megaphone thing.

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