Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 22

INDUSTRY CHALLENGES
While the fence and door industries have
come a long way in the past decade or so, the
journey has not been without its challenges
Thomas says finding, hiring, training and
retaining employees are the top challenges
faced by contractors.
"And that seems to be the case in every
market," he says. "There is no easy answer to
this challenge, but the best formula for success is to find quality individuals with good
character, and then train them professionally
and train them to be professionals."
Offering a good mentorship component
during training can also go a long way, he
says, and give young people who are willing to
apply themselves an opportunity for a better
quality of life.
"A lot of workers left our industry from
2008-2011, and many of them haven't come
back," continues Thomas. "We have to attract
potential employees to our companies just as
much as we attract customers. And, we have
to stop assuming that young people don't
want to work. There are young people who
don't want to sit in classrooms anymore and
would rather work with their hands and use
their brains to build something of value. We
just have to find them and give them the
opportunity to grow as individuals and not
just as company employees."
Bailey says that what Fortress Fence looks
most for in an employee is attitude and
work ethic.
"The best employees are engaged employees who want to come to work every day, like
what they do and work hard."
And when encountered by those in the
industry who say they don't have time to take
courses and certifications, Bailey is quick to
respond by saying, "We live in a competitive
world and work in a competitive industry,
so anything you can do to differentiate your
company and yourself, you should do. You
wouldn't buy a new work truck and then weld
the hood shut never making improvements or
adjustments. Likewise, don't neglect taking
time or resources to improve yourself, your
employees and your company."
Miller concurs and says when he hears
objections such as "I can't afford the time" or
"I can't have one of my guys gone for a week,"
he does acknowledge this can be tough, but
it is necessary.
"The things they learn can significantly
improve your entire approach to selling
installing and servicing automated gate
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6/3/17 3:41 AM

systems," Miller says. "If your technicians can
install things better, find problems quicker,
provide solutions for customers, it can only
help your company's overall business."

WHAT'S NEXT?
Over the past 10 to 15 years, the fence
industry has undergone numerous changes-
the biggest one being the changes in technology in automated gate systems.
"Fifteen years ago, you would put an operator on the gate with a 'clicker' or a keypad to
open it, says Miller. "Now gate operators are
much more advanced. Gate systems may use
various types of access devices-from card
readers to highway toll tags or Automatic
Vehicle ID. Access control systems are computerized. And gate systems may be very
sophisticated, sequencing barrier arm operators with slide or swing gates to minimize
tailgating opportunities. So keeping up with
the evolution of technology is important."
One of the trends Miller is also seeing
is increased awareness and emphasis on
safety-always a good thing.
"Many states and cities are implementing
increased safety requirements. The National
Safety Codes, UL 325 and ASTM F2200, are getting more defined on standards for gate safety.
States are starting to require licensing and/or
certification to install automated gate systems.
This is having a wide-ranging effect on manufacturers and installers. The AFA schools and
the IDEA Certification programs are a key way
to keep up with these changing requirements."
Thomas agrees that technology is impacting the industry; he would also like to see
more outreach with high school students,
encouraging them toward trades rather
than degrees.
"It's absurd that kids come out of college with $100,000 debt and then can't get
a job. College isn't for everybody and-as a
society-we ought to stop telling them that
it is the only way to succeed in life. For many
people coming out of high school, they can set
course for a high quality of life by learning a
skill and then using it to build things of value."
Thomas adds that by putting these two
things together, traditional trades will become
technology industries in many respects.
"Young people today have grown up with
technology and they understand it. The evolution of technology is going to change the nature
of our work. In terms of a labor supply, the
traditional blue collar job is going to become
a specialty, and I see that as a good thing." ■


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fencepost - July/August 2017

Editor’s Note
Executive Director’s Message
President’s Message
Board of Directors | Board of Governors
Setting Yourself Apart From the Competition
VMA
Cutting Fuel Costs With Fleet Tracking
Blue Ribbon Companies
The Right Gate for the Job
CLFMI
New Technologies Provide Global Reach for Access Systems
New Members
All About I-9s
Calendar
Good Fences and Good Neighbors
Minding Your Business
Fencesense
Index to Advertisers
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - Intro
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - cover1
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - cover2
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 3
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 4
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 5
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 6
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 7
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 8
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 9
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 10
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 11
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 12
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - Editor’s Note
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 14
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - Executive Director’s Message
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 16
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - President’s Message
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 18
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - Board of Directors | Board of Governors
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - Setting Yourself Apart From the Competition
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 21
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 22
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 23
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 24
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - VMA
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - Cutting Fuel Costs With Fleet Tracking
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 27
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 28
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - Blue Ribbon Companies
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - The Right Gate for the Job
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 31
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 32
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - CLFMI
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 34
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - New Technologies Provide Global Reach for Access Systems
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 36
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - New Members
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 38
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - All About I-9s
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 40
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 41
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 42
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - Calendar
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - Good Fences and Good Neighbors
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 45
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 46
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 47
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 48
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - Minding Your Business
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 50
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - Fencesense
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 52
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 53
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 54
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 55
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 56
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - 57
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - Index to Advertisers
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - cover3
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - cover4
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - outsert1
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - outsert2
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - outsert3
Fencepost - July/August 2017 - outsert4
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