Hot off the press: Under California's Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), your small business can be crippled by a claim filed by an aggrieved employee who decides to sue retroactively for violations as minor as missed break periods, wage errors, or incorrectly labeled paycheck stubs. However, before you move out of the state or get rid of all your employees, read this helpful advice from ASA Affiliate Gustavo Rios, PE, Esq.
Your ASA president says ...

My name is Toby, and I’m a San Diego ASA-holic.

One of my duties as your chapter president is to attend numerous meetings of our various committees throughout the year. This gives me a ringside seat where I can watch our fantastic volunteers in action, and, believe me, their dedication, creativity, and team spirit are an inspiration. Their enthusiasm is contagious. They are why I’m hooked on San Diego ASA, and why I can’t wait to see what they’ll accomplish in 2019.

Speaking of the New Year, what better time to launch a new program? In the coming weeks, our community outreach committee – which, by the way, is in need of members – will ramp up efforts to promote careers in construction. The message we’ll be carrying to young people is that our industry offers a great opportunity for success, without a college degree, in the real world.

Initially, we’ll be taking that message to the students of Literacy First Charter Schools through speaking in classrooms, participating in trade fairs, and perhaps offering internships at some of our ASA-member companies. We’ll be reaching out to all of you who might be willing to share your experiences and insights with the middle- and high-school students of Literacy First.

So, as we ring in 2019, I urge you to make joining a committee one of your New Year’s resolutions. I can personally guarantee you’ll get more out of it than you put in, and I’m guessing you’ll become hooked on ASA, too.

Toby MacDonald
ASA President

"Let's build together"

You can meet personally with the Align Builders team on Jan. 23 at our Meet Your General Contractor event. In this casual open forum, you'll have the chance to discuss operational, contract, payment, or other issues, with the goal of forming mutually beneficial and profitable relationships.
Align's client list is a who's who in healthcare, so if you're interested in this field of expertise and in becoming a trade partner with one of our newest ASA Industry Partners, this event is for you.

Jan. 23 -- 2 pm to 4 pm
5451 Avenida Encinas, Ste. A
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Members only
Free to attend
No walk-ins

Legal update ... with an added twist

ASA's annual legal update will have a new component this year: a Member Showcase spotlighting both new and affiliate members.

The event will kick off with cocktails and light snacks during a meet-and-greet mixer where you can learn about the products and services of our participating showcase members.

This will be followed by a Legal Update presented by ASA's Counsel, Kevin Cauley, along with Kristen Bush and Sierra Palmer, all of Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Moot.

The three presenters will discuss employer communications about prospective employees, mandatory sexual harassment training, OSHA reporting requirements, new requirements for competitive bidding on public projects, and CSLB reporting requirements on judgments/settlements over $1 million for multifamily construction (to name just a few of the seminar's topics).

We'll conclude with heavy appetizers and additional time to visit the showcase display area.

See you on Feb. 13!

Like to plan ahead?

Members-only event
Non-members welcome

JAN 23
Meet Your General Contractor @ Align Builders
FEB 13
ASA Legal Update & Member Showcase @ Admiral Baker Clubhouse
MAR 12
Stress Management Seminar & Happy Hour @ Division 23 Brewing
MAR 22
Sporting Clays Tournament @ Lemon Grove Gun Club
APR 10
San Diego Gulls vs San Jose Barracuda @ Valley View Casino Center
Spring Fling Golf Tournament @ Carlton Oaks Golf Club
JUN 27
Meet Your General Contractor @ Clark Construction Group
JUL 26
Installation & Awards Banquet @ TBD
Meet Your General Contractor @ Hensel Phelps
AUG 21
ASA Board of Directors Strategic Planning Retreat @ University Club
SEP 25
General Contractor & Public Agency Showcase @ Bali Hai

Community outreach

Encouraging young people to choose careers in construction -- which ultimately will help address future labor shortages in our industry -- is the focus of our community outreach efforts.

ASA has partnered with Literacy First Charter Schools as a first step (read about this in Toby's message at the top of this newsletter). Literacy First embraces 1,650 children in four schools, including 400 high-school students who attend Liberty Charter, so we have a great opportunity to start a conversation with future generations of construction workers.

An aside: Guests who attended the 2018 Holiday Mixer donated three huge bins full of food to help support Literacy First families.
Pictured above: Troy Beyer, Literacy First Specialized Student Services Coordinator
What important New Year’s resolution should a person working in the subcontracting industry make for 2019?

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

“Continue to support your local trade associations and have a voice in the legislative process.” – Steve Friar, Hensel Phelps

“Stand by your margins and don’t negotiate them. Negotiate product, clarifications, and labor. Never your margins.” – Adam Orozco, Diversified Window Coverings

“Resolve not to over-commit to a project schedule … and if you do, be open and honest with the project team early enough so a contingency plan can be prudently thought through and implemented.” – Hans Muecke, Ryan Companies

 “Resist e-mail only communication! Person-to-person is key. Yes, landline calls make for real relatlonships, and they humanize and add goodwill. Also, if you haven’t already, put your phone number at the bottom of all your emails.”
Jeff Clinkscales, Rossin Steel

“Work as a team member and partner; it makes the projects much more successful.” – John Luft, Southland Electric

“Invest in training your team(s) on technology (e.g., laser scanning, drones, outsourcing, layout) to increase efficiency and offset the shortage of skilled workers.” – Nancy Matus, Kelar Pacific

 “Make more friends.” – Matt Becker, Cement Cutting

“Work toward getting paid for change orders in a timely manner.” – James Simpson, Pacific Southwest Structures

“Give up worrying so much – schedules, deadlines, manpower, materials, equipment, etc. Although what we do is important, it not the most important thing we do in our lives.” – David Blackston, D.A. Whitacre Construction

“Identify ‘bottlenecks’ and fix them. Every company has them.” – Jorge Vargas, Balfour Beatty

 “Seek life balance. Always make time for family.” – Frank Robledo, Dynalectric-San Diego

“Practice great communication with customers and business partners!” – Gil Koury, Life Deck Coating Installations

“Re-review your risk-management and loss-control programs with your insurance brokers to position your company to leverage these risk controls when negotiating insurance renewals. The insurance market will continue to reward subcontractors that maintain a culture of safety throughout the organization, which will result in preferred pricing and coverage.” – Bill Bodenstadt, CMR Risk & Insurance Services

“Perform a thorough review and replacement of equipment and tools based on condition and age as it relates to safety.” – Randy Minnier, Ickler Electric Corp.

“Be responsible in who you pursue work with and the projects you pursue; hire competent and high-character tradesmen first and then pursue the work; demand that you are part of a project’s planning process and then make reliable commitments!” – Steve Sherrer, Align Builders

“Never give up!” -- Rich Collins, Collins Plumbing
Food for thought

A cross-section of construction-industry blogs written by experts throughout the industry revealed some observations worth considering. Here are a few of them:

Construction companies are three times more likely to fail in an economic recovery than in a downturn, so managing risk is one of the most important aspects of running a construction business.

Contractors die of gluttony, not starvation.

With the U.S. experiencing one of the longest recoveries in history, contractors must be especially vigilant not to run out of cash.

As the economy nears a tipping point to contraction, the labor shortage will drive innovative strategies. Contractors who are willing to provide some technical training in-house , for example, could benefit from bringing on workers that excel in soft skills, whom they may have otherwise ruled out.

The construction industry is in the habit of constantly improving, and if it devotes the same energy into the workforce as it did to improving safety, companies will be in better shape.

To minimize enterprise risk, smart companies maintain an abundance of working capital and stay liquid so that if interest rates rise, they can generate investment income.
Do you bid on public works projects?

With California’s AB 3018 being implemented beginning Jan. 1, subcontractors on certain types of public works projects face yet another challenge: You’re required to have a percentage of your journeymen be graduates of a state-approved apprenticeship program, and the consequences of non-compliance are harsh.

The percentage requirements vary by trade and for certain trades will increase year by year. Regardless of trade, be prepared for the prime contractor to periodically monitor your use of a skilled and trained workforce throughout the project.

You’ll also be required to provide the prime contractor with a declaration, signed under penalty of perjury, stating that you’ve met the requirements before receiving your final payment.
Easy money

Randy Minnier of Ickler Electric is the newest ASA rich guy. He won a $100 Visa gift card for bringing in new member Apex Mechanical Systems .

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.
Holiday Mixer photos online Check out pix taken at the 2018 ASA Holiday Mixer & Casino night in our website photo gallery. CLICK