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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.
I read thousands of customer surveys every year – THOUSANDS!  This customer insight gives me a unique perspective on many home building topics, like today’s “Finding Your Special Agent 007s For Huge Sales Increases."
There’s a new business buzzword spreading like Strep Throat. I’m betting it’s still in the early adoption phase, but these viral epidemics (pandemics?) move quickly. 
After my January 2013 article in Professional Builder, “3 Ways to Huge Profits Through Lean Design,” was published, I was thrilled to get a shout-out from a faithful reader regarding a costly insulation mistake. It was too good not to share. Here is what he wrote:
I wrote my first article on the coming trade shortages last October about the perils and politics of immigration policy. I wrote the second one in December providing a 10-step immunization plan to protect a builder from the effects of trade shortages. I receive so much mail, pro and con, that for February I published two of the best letters and commented on them.
Michelle Jennings Wiebe is helping to spread the message that new homes are better than resales. Wiebe, president and principal designer of Studio M, an interior design firm in Tampa, Fla., offered tips for house hunters in a recent article. Some of the items on her “what’s in” list include:
Considering the millions of people wandering around with chins buried in their chests, thumbs ablaze on glass keyboards, few would suggest the smartphone is underutilized.
When I travel with my wife, or sometimes just run to the grocery, cleaners or hardware store, she frequently has to remind me, “Scott, remember, you are NOT in charge here.” Many of you fellow Leanistas know the drill. You hardly ever see a restaurant, a checkout, a meat counter at the supermarket, a parking lot or God help us a TSA line at the airport – in our out – that we could not spend 5 minutes rearranging and save folks a ton of time and money.

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