Today I had the privilege of attending the dedication ceremonies for the “Morgan & Morgan Hunger Relief Center” which is the newly constructed food distribution center for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. I was invited there as a former four-year member of the Board of Directors of which two years were spent as the organization’s President. This enormous facility receives donated food, stores it on racks or inside massive drive-in refrigeration units and then distributes the food to over 500 service organizations that feed the hungry of Central Florida. While it is sad to know that so many of our neighbors are having a difficult time providing for their family’s basic nutrition, it is an incredible demonstration of our community’s compassion that it has invested so much in a modern and effective facility to provide relief from hunger. I spoke to John Morgan, the local celebrity lawyer, before the ceremony and he reminded me that when we both were serving as volunteers in our church I had discussed my service at the Second Harvest Food Bank. He said that it was that conversation that led him to the Food Bank and ultimately many years later to being the largest financial donor to the new distribution center. While I always felt that my service was important, little did I know that it would inspire others to help such a worthy organization such a significant manner. I hope that my current service as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida can be equally transformative. Big Brother Big Sisters is an extraordinary organization that provides one-on-one mentoring to children on the edge of going astray. Their success rate […]
Over my thirty years of real estate development and construction experience I have seen the development and improvement of word processing and spreadsheet tools scheduling programs contract administration software materials, engineering and computer aided design Yet what I haven’t seen is the same degree of improvement in the human interactions among the project team members. Consistently, the design team prefers to work without the input from the project manager and contractors and instead they rely on solutions used on other projects to reduce the time required to complete their assignment. Contractors generally insist on being right even when there is more than one right answer as they protect their contract and anticipated revenue. Project Managers tend to be process managers and not inspirational team leaders. And sometimes owners fail to accept the advice of the team and acknowledge that there might be a better way, or that an expectation may be unreasonable. What I have learned is the one rule that works almost all the time is, “Leave your ego at the door and put the project first!” One of the ways to implement a “Put the Project First” program is to carefully scrub the legal agreements of the team members and eliminate conflicting requirements. For example, often the architect’s agreement is drafted with a seven day review period of shop drawings while the contractor’s negotiated agreement requires a three day review period. Contracts should be specific as to the responsibilities of each party, including payments. An owner should never knowingly enter into an agreement with provisions that the contractor, vendor or design professional can’t fulfill. These can be monetary or time in nature. It makes little sense to begin a long term relationship knowing […]
For the past few years I have been using a nicely designed website that functioned well as an on-line brochure when accessed by typing www.planbholdings.com directly. What we were missing were website visitors that found the site through search engines or links from social media. In the past two weeks Plan B’s website has been totally reworked. A more current version of Word Press was used providing greater internet security. The creation of social media sites and links to those sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn were incorporated. In addition, a service called NetworkedBlogs was used to automatically distribute any blog posts to the linked social media sites. Clients and consultants we have worked with over the years provided us with testimonials that were utilized on the site. I am sure that there were many more techniques used by our website developer in order to increase the visibility of Plan B Holdings on the internet. The best part about creating our more effective website was that I didn’t have to learn all these techniques myself and I could rely on the talents of the team at Bexby. While the jury is still out regarding conversion of website “hits” to clients, I am pleased to announce that our website traffic has increased 50 times with a rapid reduction in the bounce rate. The ability to increase awareness of a small business is the first step to growing it.
Too many times developers have implemented their real estate program without laying the foundation through proper market research. Because a neighboring property has met with some success may not be enough justification to duplicate it in the same market. Nor does the success of a particular development in a different region or country translate into success elsewhere. There are times when the new development survives but with a few adjustments in the initial program it might have been a stellar investment; and there are the times when a development doesn’t survive its first year. Market research can do so much more than determine that there is a demand for a particular product in a particular market. The research can provide a guideline as to the size of the new building and the features that can drive customers to the core business or provide the basis for increasing the rents in a commercial property. In the case of a hotel, identification of the profile mix of guests in the marketplace will help determine the brand, the food & beverage strategies, desired amenities such as spas, meeting rooms, retail, recreation and total number and type of guest rooms. In addition to defining the physical improvements, a determination of “warranted investment” will be become apparent. In order to meet your specific return on investment goals, containing the cost of the improvements through an accurate determination of likely net operating profit and development costs are essential. Once you have determined the right product, with the right amenities, at the right time, and with the right investment you can move on to the next three keys to successful development: the right team the right legal agreements the right financial structure