Marks adds that advancements in the industry have helped Form Works become more productive on the job too. "Continuous advancement in forming systems has made our jobs easier. In general, we've seen better engineering in the products so less qualified labor is required to use them. One example is the addition of panelized slab systems," he says, "which offered a big boost in our productivity on certain jobs."
Despite the size and efficiencies in the company, Form Works still faces many of the challenges that companies of all sizes face across the country. "Getting good, qualified employees is tough. We try to find people who are willing to work hard and learn, and we can train them as we go," Marks explains.
On the immigration issue, Form Works finds itself in the same place as many other contractors. "To the best of our knowledge, we fill out proper documentation on employees, but we don't know if it's legitimate or not," Marks says. "If there was an enforcement crackdown, we have no idea how much of our workforce would be left."
Marks says his involvement with the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) and attendance at shows like the World of Concrete have given him insight into the concrete industry and new products that have helped him improve his business. He advises other contractors to stay on top of the national trends to help them expand and improve their businesses. "Contractors should be aware of what's available to them," he says. "Don't get locked into your environment, but look around to see what's out there."
Don Marks, president of ASCC
Marks says the most important resource he's taken advantage of through ASCC has been his involvement with a MIX Group (Management Information eXchange), which connects six to eight contractors from different parts of the country who share in-depth business management ideas on a bi-annual basis. "We've meet for 12 years, and being able to share ideas with other companies and see how they do things is very helpful," he says.
Marks adds that the ASCC's most recent membership benefit offers contractors easy access to expert opinions from contractors in all parts of the country. "With the E-mail Forum a member can e-mail a question into ASCC about some issue he's having and it gets blasted out to 120 members, people from all over the country who can respond to his request," Marks explains.
For more information about ASCC, visit www.ascconline.org.