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A little off the beaten path—but well worth the drive—is Mason City, Iowa, home to the last standing Frank Lloyd Wright hotel. My partner and I had the pleasure of staying at the Historic Park Inn last week. The 1910 landmark is so named because of its location across the street from Mason City’s Central Park.
Do you remember the last time you received a piece of personal U.S. mail (not counting bills)? According to a recent study, the average American receives a piece of personalized U.S. Mail every six to seven weeks – and this includes birthday, holiday and other family generated cards. Wow, what a metamorphosis in personal communications in the past 20 years!
A question that regularly arises is how to sustain quality management or to put it another way, what are the reasons for quality management failing?  There have been two significant studies on this issue and their findings cited the following obstacles. Lack of leadership for quality Lack of planning for quality Inadequate resources for quality Inadequate human resources development and management Lack of customer focus
As a self-confessed Frank Lloyd Wright dork, you would think I already knew about the Historic Park Inn in Mason City, Iowa—the last remaining Wright-designed hotel on the planet. But it wasn’t until I received my copy of Arts and Crafts Homes magazine that I learned about this national treasure. Originally built in 1910, the Park Inn Hotel was recently restored to all its Prairie School glory. The hotel has 27 guest rooms, one of which has been renovated in period style complete with the original claw-foot tub.
As we closed the books on 2012, many readers reported to Professional Remodeler that business has been picking up steam, according to a survey conducted in late 2012. Forty-six percent of remodelers reported their 2012 revenue increased compared with 2011; 20 percent reported no change in their revenue 2012 versus 2011, according to “Forecast Looking a Little Brighter,” which appeared in the December 2012 issue of Professional Remodeler. As for 2013, nearly 80 percent of respondents expect 2013 to be the same or better than 2012.
In late October, Hurricane Sandy destroyed much of the Eastern Seaboard. In the days following the superstorm, Professional Remodeler was on the phone with remodelers located in the devastated aftermath asking them what, if anything, they could do to help residents impacted by this natural disaster. Many remodelers reached out to their customer base in an effort to assess damage, which primarily consisted of roof damage to residential and commercial properties caused by high wind and uprooted or fallen trees.
A good friend of mine who is also a 40-year veteran of the construction industry has taught me a lot about relationships over the past few years. He has been a tireless advocate of relationships his entire life, spending countless hours working, molding, and shaping both his personal and professional contacts. I have to admit, I admire the amount of time and effort he puts into his relationships, and it’s paid off tremendously. Often times I’ve walked with him on a jobsite, a tradeshow floor, or visiting a contractor’s office, and everyone knows him.
This past summer, staff members of Professional Remodeler convened in a conference room on the outskirts of Chicago to review this year’s Design Awards. Sorting through a few hundred entries over the course of a day and a half is a Herculean effort to say the least. So we enlisted the help of our remodeling friends: Gino Benvenuti, owner, Benvenuti & Stein; Craig Durosko, founder and chairman, Sun Design; Tom Kelly, owner, the Neill Kelly Co.; and Michael Klement, principal, Architectural Resource Inc.
Many of you are looking at this editorial page and probably wondering: Where’s Jonathan? And who is this new guy? Recently, long-time Professional Remodeler Editor in Chief Jonathan Sweet decided to take on another position in publishing outside of the construction industry, one that would allow him to return to his roots in Minnesota.
You probably missed it.  Nearly everyone did.
Sept. 20, 1977, was the day that I breathlessly awaited the conclusion of the shark-jumping episode of "Happy Days." All week long I had fretted about Fonzie’s mid-air cliff hanger. While Fonzie (clad in leather jacket and water skis) successfully made the jump and lived to be cool another day, the series "Happy Days" was not so lucky--it took a turn for the worse and was never the same again.
In your personal and professional life, being easy to talk to is a skill worth developing. But good conversationalists are rare. 
  As you may have noticed by now, I am a flat-out junkie for lessons. Nearly every article I have written for Professional Builder, including my monthly editorials, offers some sort of list of takeaways, lessons learned, do’s and don’ts, and other pieces of advice. The fact is, I love the process of problem solving, and I’ve been absolutely fascinated by the countless number of creative ideas that you — the builders, developers, and designers of America — have dreamt up over the years.
  A few years ago, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) initiated a lobbying effort to get Congress and the administration more focused on fixing housing. They called it Fix Housing First. At the time, billions were being spent on stimulus, and the industry argued that more needed to be done to jump-start housing. 
Standards provide crucial communication, alignment and compatibility at an international, national, industry and individual organizational level.  These standards, accessible to everyone from global powers to developing countries, from international corporations to the Mom and Pop small business, provide guidance and infrastructure, state of the art technical knowledge and management best practices.  In a global environment they ease the crossing of borders, cultures and languages.
An article in the Chicago Sun-Times this past Sunday featured the Chicago bungalow, an architectural style much beloved in the Windy City. Former Mayor Richard M. Daley launched an initiative in 2000 to encourage restoration of these iconic homes, which started to become popular in the United States in the early 20th century. 
A CNN Money article this week elaborated on what many construction firms already know: good labor is now hard to find. 
To a remodeling contractor, saying “no” to a potential client could possibly be the best decision you make for your company.
  For over 20 years, the National Housing Quality Award has been helping some of America’s best home builders improve their operations and make more money! Learn how applying for the NHQ Award can help your company: Increase profitability Improve customer satisfaction Sell more homes Submissions are due April 5, 2013. This link will take you to the 2014 NHQA Application document.
  A new theme park just opened in Houston, and it’s not Six Flags. MainStreet America is a collection of 12 show homes, ranging from 1,800 to 6,000 square feet and representing a smorgasbord of architectural styles.

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