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“A Day in the Life” with Steve

Remodelers Advantage 2012

Steve Ramaekers, President of MainStreet Design Build (standing) hosts the National Remodelers Round Table Team. From L to R first row: Stephanie Simons (Kohler Company), Dan Hurst (Hurst Remodeling), Andy Haste (Riverside Construction); 2nd Row: Dave Caputo (G&L and Sons Renovations), Tom Barber (Barber Construction), Pat Hurst (Hurst Remodeling), Dale Sahr (McAdams Builders); 3rd row: Stanley Acton (Acton Construction), Paul Morse (Morse Construction), Lynn Bigelow (Bigelow Enterprises), Judith Miller (Facilitator and Consultant at Remodelers Advantage, Owner at J. Miller and Company).

Monday, May 7th

Today is a huge day.  Last night we welcomed the arrival of 12 members of our roundtable peer group from Remodeler’s Advantage.  They are gathered here in Birmingham, MI to spend four days participating in a variety of interactive meetings; the most important meeting being a case study of our company.  To say my nerves are on edge is an understatement!

By 7:30am I am greeting the members at the Townsend Hotel.  We have breakfast, catch up since our last meeting in San Antonio (last fall) and proceed to head over to our offices.  I know Christine has been at the office preparing coffee and doing last minute touch ups.  Unfortunately the beautiful walk I had planned from the Townsend through downtown Birmingham has been ambushed by rain so we all caravan over by car instead.

In addition to having the 12 members meandering through our offices, we also have an industry guru in our midst, Judith Miller is here to moderate the meetings.  By 9am, she gets everyone settled in and it’s my turn to present a complete overview of our company.  Not only do I share information about the inner-workings of the company and our staff, but I feel it’s important to provide a overview of our surroundings.  I am so proud to be part of this wonderful community and beautiful state. It is really important to me that our guests from out of town leave Michigan with a positive view of our state.

At 10:30am our staff arrives ready to meet the group.  Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and begin the hard work.  Judith breaks the members off into groups and sets up four interview sights.  Each MainStreet employee (including me) is interviewed by each group.  This is grueling and nothing is held back.  They are really digging in to find out the good, bad and ugly about our business.  The philosophy is that only armed with this information can they help us to become a better company for our employees as well as our clients.  But, it is really tough to say the least.

Somehow we mix lunch into all of that (Frank Street Bakery delivers a wonderful spread!) and wrap up the interviews by about 2pm.  Everyone takes a final look around the office then Christine and I head back to the Townsend Hotel with the group to begin the analysis.  I’m a bit weak in the knees and nervous about what will be shared.

The rest of the afternoon is spent in a conference room talking about all aspects of MainStreet Design Build.  They are extremely nice and start out with positive feedback, but that is just to butter us up!  Most of the time is spent working on narrowing down four specific challenges faced by our company.  It is the group’s responsibility to help establish a clear path to working through these challenges, which will be given to us in specific commitments that we must accomplish before we meet again in September, 2012.

Wow – 5:30pm rolls around, we are all still working hard on these challenges, but the group has put together a plan of action.  It’s time for a break.  We will meet up again tonight for some good food and conversation, along with our staff, at Mitchell’s Seafood in downtown Birmingham.

Come Tuesday morning, we need to be ready to receive our challenges and make our commitments.  All of this is done in the interest of offering our clients the best service possible!

Wishing you the best remodeling,


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