Hot off the press: How low can you go? Your company’s Experience Mod is just one of the factors that ultimately determine the net insurance rate you’ll be charged, but it’s the one factor you can control. Learn the keys to lowering your Mod in this article by Jeff Cavignac of Cavignac & Associates .
Your ASA president says ...

Have you ever been at an ASA event and noticed that some people's name tags have a colorful ribbon attached that says "SPONSOR"? These are the good and generous folks who've answered our call for Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Beverage (my personal favorite) or some other level of financial support. The thing is, that kind of financial support from our members represents a huge chunk of our income and is what makes it possible for us to put on such a wide variety of top-notch events at such a reasonable cost to all of you who attend.

True, these sponsors get special recognition with signage at our events, but I'm a firm believer that personal thank-yous go a long way. So, next time you spot a sponsor ribbon in the crowd, I encourage you to go over to the person wearing it and say thanks. I can guarantee, they'll appreciate it.

Now, if you've read this far, you no doubt know what I'm going to write next: Wouldn't you like to wear one of those ribbons yourself and have bunches of people say thank-you at one of our upcoming events?

Right now, we're seeking sponsors for the ASA Night at the Gulls Game, so you can try this whole idea on for size really easily. Just click on the link below my signature, and get ready for the thank-yous.

Toby MacDonald
ASA President

"We are passionate about making a difference in the community we serve and call home."

Do you share this general contractor's desire to make a difference? If you answered yes, you'll have the chance to meet personally with the Clark Construction team on June 27 at our Meet Your General Contractor event. In this casual open forum, you'll be able to discuss operational, contract, payment, or other issues, with the goal of forming mutually beneficial and profitable relationships.

Listing Clark Construction's clients and projects feels like we're name dropping: Petco Park, FBI, UCSD, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Naval Hospital at Camp Pendleton, the new $250 million SDSU stadium ... well, you get the idea. If you're interested in becoming a trade partner with Clark and dropping a few names of your own, this event is for you.

June 27 -- 3:00 - 5:00 pm
Ballast Point Brewing Miramar
9045 Carroll Way, San Diego, CA 92121
Members only
Free to attend
No walk-ins

A night on the ice ... with extras

You, your employees, and your customers can enjoy a cool night out at the ASA gathering where the San Diego Gulls beat the San Jose Barracuda. Before the puck drop, we'll enjoy pregame networking and tasty BBQ. REGISTER now for this April 10 event.
Calling all MBE/WBE/DBE subs

Our ASA Industry Partners sometimes reach out to us when they're looking for subs they can work with to help them meet MBE/WBE/DBE goals. Is your company one of those subs? Let us know, and we'll pass along that information when we're asked. Contact .

Members-only event
Non-members welcome

APR 10
San Diego Gulls vs San Jose Barracuda @ Pechanga Arena San Diego
Spring Fling Golf Tournament @ Carlton Oaks Golf Club
JUN 20
Employee Handbook Seminar @ Filippi's Pizza Grotto Kearny Mesa
JUN 27
Meet Your General Contractor - Clark Construction Group @ Ballast Point Brewing
JUL 26
Installation & Awards Banquet @ Catamaran Resort
AUG 21
ASA Board of Directors Strategic Planning Retreat @ University Club
SEP 25
General Contractor & Public Agency Showcase @ Bali Hai
Fall Golf Classic @ TBD

Is your employee handbook ironclad?

We're guessing your answer is 'no,' which is why we're offering a seminar on June 20 that will go a long way toward changing your answer to 'yes.' Sarah Evans of Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Moot will discuss mandatory, recommended, and optional policies to include in your handbook; common pitfalls and how to avoid them; and how to ensure your policies and procedures comply with California's new harassment-prevention laws that require all employers with five or more employees to train all workers by Jan. 1. Watch your inbox for an invitation to this informative seminar.
Community outreach

Volunteers on the ASA's new Community Outreach Committee held their second meeting recently and have jumped into the deep end. They're busy developing strategies to encourage young people to choose careers in construction -- which ultimately will help address future labor shortages in our industry. First on the agenda was to participate in a trade fair at Liberty High Charter School in Lemon Grove; more and diverse activities will emerge later.

Pictured above, left to right: Committee Chair James Simpson of Pacific Southwest Structures; ASA President Toby MacDonald of Western Fire Protection; ASA Governor David Blackston of D.A. Whitacre Construction; Matt Huddleston of Ryan Companies; Danny Sanchez representing Liberty High; and Gustavo Rio of Law and Consulting Office of Gustavo Rio.
What is the most gratifying aspect of working in the subcontracting industry, and what is the most frustrating?

When we put that question to our subcontractor members, we got back diverse, interesting – and sometimes surprising – answers. Here are some of them.

Gratifying: "Working on unique local projects and building long-lasting relationships in our industry.”
Frustrating: "Finding the manpower and labor to keep up with local project demands."– John Isham, Casper Company

G: "Being part of a team building a great project that everyone feels proud of."
F: "Lack of communication and commitment from any other trade or G.C.on a project ."– Kevin Grogg, Associate Mechanical

G: "Solving a problem or getting a difficult installation done that everyone thought could not be done."
F: "Working with others who are not like-minded and don't believe teamwork is a key to a project's success ."– Billy Sheldon, Sheldon Site Utilities

G: "Seeing our customers (general contractors and end users achieve the goals of their contract and feeling we've done our part in that success."
F: "Working with superintendents and project managers who do not understand good-quality partnerships with give and take on both sides, but who just look for subs to simply fall in line ."– Alan Lopez, Shore Total Office

G: "The diversity of locations every few weeks and the variety of things we install -- this work is never boring."
F: "When the GC pushes to hurry and get it done, and high quality is required, and we have limited man hours in our bid, and it seems no one cares about our needs onsite or the time we need to complete our scope of work – this can be frustrating, especially if it leads to loss of income." – Shawn Halverson, Surfacing Solutions

G: "Completing the firestopping scope correctly provides passive fire protection for the future occupants of the project. This gives my team great satisfaction that they take a part in helping save lives."
F: "Having to deal with 5-7 contracts on one project (plumbing, mechanical, electrical, fire sprinkler, drywall, etc.). I wish the G.C. would sub all the firestop as a separate trade under one contract; this would save a ton of paperwork and be more efficient." – Karl Stoll, West Coast Firestopping

G: "Working with the same subcontractor teams on job after job together. It is refreshing to know when I start a project with peers of the same caliber that we are working together, so not only do we succeed, the project succeeds.
F: "Inexperienced supervision and management that is placed on projects by G.C.s who no longer have enough qualified participants. -- Doug Ladderbush, Rocky Coast Builders

G: From a mechanical view, knowing that some of the installations that we perform cannot be done by just anyone. It's also great to drive around the area and realize just how many lives are touched by all of the buildings that we erect.  That is a great feeling.
F: There are problems that occur building after building. Ceiling space is never enough, ceilings are always too high, yet get lowered due to spatial issues with duct, electrical, hydronic, plumbing, ceiling supports, etc. Wall width -- it takes a lot to install piping in walls, yet they are rarely wide enough to accommodate until the questions are asked to get them widened. How many buildings need to be erected before the industry gets it right? -- Mike Hearne, University Mechanical & Engineering Contractors

G: Completing projects that have major impacts and contributions to our society. When you really think about it, construction subcontractors shape the future of our society.
F:   The concern or potential for litigation, which creates a need for contractors and subcontractors to protect themselves contractually. -- Jeff Walker, ISEC

G: Providing my team members a work environment where they are able to develop their skills, grow in our trade, and provide for their families. It's their smile of achievement that keeps me driving forward.
F:   Not having the flexibility in the labor code to allow my team to work alternative and adjusted schedules. -- John Funderberg, Black Hawk Electric

G: Reflecting on the many projects we have worked on throughout San Diego County and the relationships we have developed with our peers and customers over the 42 years we have been in business.
F:   Change order work. Quite often, we perform the work per our contract requirements and incur the costs of material and labor, and it takes months and month to get the “formal” change order issued from the owner so that we can bill for the work. -- Kim Clark, Clark Steel Fabricators
Food for thought

This year, Millennials are aged between 23 and 38, which means our industry is just about out of strategies to attract them to careers in construction.

Now it's time to focus our energies on Generation Z, those kids who were born between 1995 and 2010 and who are aged 9 to 22. They're graduating from high schools in huge numbers each year, at the very same time that Baby Boomers are retiring and construction companies are feeling the pain of being short on skilled workers.

Luckily, the construction industry may appeal to Gen Z for a number of reasons.

Gen Z knows the effects of economic crash. Unlike the Millennials, who were raised in 1990 boom times, Gen Z watched their parents weather recession. They're spooked by Millennials' college debt, and research shows their top worry is drowning in it.

According to a study in GenZ@Work , 75% of the respondents said they think there are other viable alternatives to college for getting a good education.

This is good news for the subcontracting community.
Sporting Clay photos online Check out pix taken at the 2019 ASA Sporting Clay & Trap Tournament. They're in the ASA website photo gallery. CLICK
You can be a superhero, too

ASA Affiliate Cavignac & Associates and Industry Partner C&S Companies recently signed on to sponsor our website for a full year. For a $250 sponsorship fee, their company logos will scroll across the home page to show the world they support ASA.

If you're ready to join these firms as one of our generous sponsors, contact
Marketing on a shoestring

Construction is a boom or bust industry. We all know that. When times get tough, what's the first thing you cut from your budget?

If you're like most people in this industry, you probably answered, "Marketing."

Yes, marketing can seem prohibitively expensive, but even when your customers aren't spending money, staying on their minds is of critical importance. Quitting marketing during a recession, rather than saving you money, simply allows your competitors to win market share and court your clients ... with the result that, when times get good again, your former clients will now be your ex-clients.

That said, what can you do today, in busy times, to lay the groundwork for affordable or even free marketing when things begin to slow?

Beef up your online presence.

Social media is a powerful but inexpensive way to keep in touch with customers. By sharing company and industry news, or by promoting your company as one to look toward for industry expertise, you can stay in front of your customers without spending a huge amount of money.

Here's the important detail, though: This method will only work if you have a large following on your social media sites. And that's why it is important for you to to be building up that following now , during good times.Think of your following as money in the bank for the future.

There are easy yet effective ways to build up your following. Here are a few to consider:

* Personally invite current, former, and prospective clients to follow your social media.
*Make a point of following and commenting on their posts.
*When you post something, be sure to tag as many relevant companies, people, and organizations as you can.
*Ask your fellow employees to include a link to your company page in their own LinkedIn or Facebook pages.
*Ask them to follow, like, and share company posts with their own connections.
*Post eye-catching photos -- they really are worth a thousand words.
*Include links to your social media sites on your company website and at the bottom of your signature line in emails to make it easy and convenient for people to follow you.

By the way, did you know ASA Member Services Manager Diana Clark is here to help you promote your company on the association's social media sites? Send her your appropriate news, and she'll post it for you. You can reach her at
Easy money

Jennifer Hartpence of Orbit Industries is the latest winner of a $100 Visa gift card for bringing in new member AllSale Electric .

You can be a winner, too , just by referring a company that becomes a new member. It's easy to do: Just contact Nancy Grimes , and she'll take it from there.