A Note from the VP, Jim Greatorex: November 2023
on November 22, 2023
By Jim Greatorex, VP, VGM Live at Home
I am writing this month’s note after a successful and energizing VGM Live at Home Building Opportunities Summit. Our attendance was 39% higher than last year, and altogether with vendors, we had 155 people in attendance! That shows that our industry is on an upward trend, and the need and desire to meet as a group is increasing as the industry continues to evolve. San Antonio provided a great setting for the group, and the vibe was very positive.
I may be biased, but in my four-decade career I cannot remember a more engaged and passionate group of business leaders as those that were in attendance. It is truly an honor to work with, and for, committed companies who want to help people and at the same time take their business to the next level with higher efficiencies and profitability. We can make money and execute meaningful projects that make the communities we serve a better place. We discussed doing work in the low-income market with discussions on state waivers and the MCOs they bring in to administer their plans. We talked about the middle-income market and funding resources through potential grants and financing options available. We discussed private pay and the great opportunities in bathroom remodels and sharing marketing tactics to win the business.
A discussion was held on how we see the medical community being much more aware of the need for home modifications and will become a much more engaged referral source in the next three years. Our panel discussion on marketing to medical referrals was exceptional, and some excellent insights and advice were handed out by our panelist and moderator.
We also discussed our #1 pain point in retaining and hiring our staff. We got some great, fresh ideas on how to retain our staff and improve our culture. We also previewed our collaborative effort with Vets Access to provide a two-year apprenticeship program for field techs. We expect to have a program available for members in the second quarter of 2024, and we all have the Vets Access team to thank for that as they developed the program for the industry and not just their needs.
There was also an excellent discussion on mental health in the workplace. We learned that the construction industry has one of the highest rates on mental health issues out of all professions. We realize it is an issue in which business owners need to acknowledge that it exists and a plan on how to address.
Sessions on producing professional quotes and business acumen topped off our offering with some tips on foundation that makes up our business platform.
I want to personally thank all our speakers who volunteered to present and share their knowledge and experiences. We can’t provide an event like this without the participation of great leaders like yourselves.
On Friday night, we took a few minutes to acknowledge three individuals who have contributed to the industry in a very positive way.
Our Pay it Forward award went to Cindi Petito from CHAS Consulting. Cindi has a dedication to this this industry that goes deep. She sees the potential in our member companies and wants to help us move into the future and become the #1 resource for the medical referral. Her commitment is pure, and she wants to help companies who want to embrace the medical community and build a network that will serve our clients well and build mutual respect for contractors and clinicians. As one of our new consultants, you should check out her services on our website.
The Member of the Year award went to Justin Oakley and Mike Vieira of Oakley Home Access. We had presented earlier in the day the need for legacy builders, and Justin and Mike coordinated an effort to get a bill introduced into the MA legislature that would allow residents to get up to a $5,000 grant or 50% of an approved home access project covered. The primary criteria were that their income needs to be within 110% of the median income in the county that they live. This grant was put into effect three years ago in RI, Justin’s home state, and has sold out every year and has had funds increased every year. Programs like this will help our most vulnerable clients, the middle class, get the boost they need to pay for their needed home mods. Leading an effort like this in his state and a neighboring state will be part of the Oakley’s team legacy. Let us know if you want to start a similar initiative in your state.
It was a highlight to honor Scott Crosswhite from EZ-ACCESS with the Live at Home Vendor of the Year award. EZ-ACCESS was the third corporate partner ever to sign on with VGM. Six years ago, they hired Scott Crosswhite to be their National Vice President of Sales. Scott immediately brought on Gary Caldwell to run the East and Dan Radacosky to run the West. That team has piloted tremendous growth that has taken EZ-ACCESS to being the #1 residential ramp manufacturer in the US. But it did not come without constant challenges, one of which was moving the primary manufacturing plant from the Seattle, WA area to halfway across the country to Kentucky in 2022. Fortunately, Scott was born with a V-8 engine in him and his energy, resiliency, business smarts, and competitive drive allowed him to navigate way too many challenges to mention to get EZ-ACCESS to the top and battle to keep them there. Scott inspires me, and EZ-ACCESS is a great partner to this membership. Give a shout out to Scott if you see him!
No newsletter next month. We have decided to give our members a break from emails next month and are going to go dark in December. It will give us a chance to reboot and take a close look at our email and overall marketing methods and where we can improve.
Live at Home to have a new website on Jan. 1. We are revamping our website and a new-and-improved site will be up and running at the beginning of next year. The website will be much the same, but we are excited to add a discussion board for members. You will be able to ask a question or share best practices, and all members can engage in the conversation.
As we enter the holiday season, I hope you all get to a chance to connect with your family and friends. Some of you I have gotten to know in the last seven years, and in many cases I consider you as my friends and not just a business colleague. 2024 is going to be another great year for the home access industry. I can’t wait to go on the ride with you.
Thanks for your membership!
- home modifications
- vgm live at home