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Stay Current at These CONEXPO-CON/AGG Sessions
Federal Drivers’ Hours of Service Regulations in the Construction Industry
Speaker: Kevin Walgenbach
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Business-to-Business Negotiating for Long-Term, Profitable Relationships
Speaker: Ron Black
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Pay Dirt: Mass Excavating Alternatives for Mass Profit
Speakers: Mike Boyle and Bryan Tallyn
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Thursday, March 6, 2014
By Chris Warren
Education has never been more important in the construction industry. With the economy still a chal-lenge and change a constant, staying up to date on the most cutting-edge information is vital. Which is why the education program at this year’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG includes 10 different tracks – everything from aggregates and asphalt to safety and workforce development. Here’s a preview of just a few of the sessions that will take place in Las Vegas.
Kevin Walgenbach likes to joke about how secure his job is. As senior director of legislative and regu-latory affairs at the Maryland-based National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, one of Walgenbach’s main duties is to stay current on the changing federal regulations governing how many hours commer-cial vehicle drivers can spend behind the wheel each day and week – a complex and ever-changing top-ic.
While his might not be the most popular job, Walgenbach says that his presentation at CONEXPO-CON/AGG will provide a reminder of why it’s so important for everyone to be in compliance. “Making sure that companies and drivers understand what is at stake with staying compliant is important,” he says.
Although the rules developed by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have ended up in the courts and have changed frequently through the years, Walgenbach says attendees at his presentation will come away with a firm grasp of the basic rules and potential penalties for not following them. For example, commercial vehicle operators cannot drive for more than 11 hours in any single 14-hour window, although a common misconception is that they have to go off-duty after 11 hours are up. “They can be on duty pushing papers or washing their truck or shoveling gravel,” he says. “They just can’t drive more than 11 hours.” Moreover, drivers can-not put in more than 70 hours behind the wheel over the course of eight consecutive days or, alterna-tively, 60 hours over seven days. Not complying with the rules can result in fines of up to $11,000 for a company and $2,750 per violation for the driver. “That will add up quick for a driver and a company,” he says.
CONEXPO-CON/AGG’s education sessions covering the latest topics and industry trends will help you thrive in today’s economy.
Have you ever walked away from a business negotiation – one where an agreement was actually reached – feeling as though you’ve been pressured and coerced into the deal? The salesperson who used strong-arm negotiation techniques to steer you into an agreement that you were not entirely hap-py about might feel as though he’s won a great victory. But Ron Black, who runs the management con-sulting firm The Mentor Group, insists that that kind of short-term win comes at the expense of a much more profitable long-term business relationship. And Black has the statistics to prove it: Studies show that customers who rate their interaction with a salesperson as negative will not only never again do business with that company, but will also tell, on average, another four potential customers about their lousy experience.
At CONEXPO-CON/AGG, Black will present what for many will be a contrarian approach to busi-ness-to-business negotiation, one that eschews short-term pressure tactics for the cultivation of the kind of rapport and communication that fuels a long-term relationship. “This is not adversarial, this is not a zero-sum game,” says Black, who has founded nine businesses and whose clients include Boeing and Intel. Instead, Black’s presentation will arm attendees with the understanding and skills necessary to build trust and respect. It all starts with listening more and talking less. “The better a salesperson listens, the more able they are to demonstrate that they understand the customer’s point of view and the better the experience is rated,” says Black. “When sales representatives focus first on creating environments of genuine trust and respect, buyers naturally respond with less resistance and greater receptivity.”
For hard-nosed salesmen who have been taught to negotiate aggressively, this may all sound somewhat squishy. But Black says that it’s actually a way of conducting business in a manner that’s both more human and, importantly, more lucrative over the long haul. Changing attendees’ perspective to be more attuned to this approach and then arming them with the tools to do it is Black’s goal. “There’s no magic here. It’s still business and science and precision,” he says. “This just facilitates those discussions.”
Anyone who imagines that mass excavation is anything even remotely close to a one-size-fits-all term should mark their calendars to attend Mike Boyle and Bryan Tallyn’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG education session on moving big dirt. Boyle and Tallyn work for the John Deere Construction & Forestry Compa-ny. One of the very first items on their agenda is to dispel any notions that the “big” in big dirt means the same thing to everyone. “It’s going to be different for each contractor,” says Boyle. “If you think about a mom-and-pop operation, you might have a mass excavation job of 1,000 yards, while for a big company like Kiewit or Ryan Incorporated Central, it could be several million yards.”
But no matter the size of the mass excavation task, Boyle says one of his goals for the presenta-tion is to help attendees understand the many factors they need to consider to select the right equip-ment to tackle it efficiently and effectively. Among the variables that Boyle will cover are the total yard-age involved, the type of material being moved, the terrain where excavation takes place, and the length of the haul. “Every job is different. One may be in clay, another in mud and rock,” he says. “There are a lot of variables.”
The good news, Boyle says, is that there are lots of good equipment choices. Whether it’s single or twin-engine scrapers or articulated dump trucks or tractors and pull pans, some existing combina-tion of machines is right for just about any job. “We want to help people make the decision about the right ones to take out there because that choice will go a long way toward determining the profitability of any job,” Boyle says.