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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Posted on   November 27, 2014 8:38 am by  admin  No Comments

Treat Our Veterans Right

Posted on   November 11, 2014 2:44 pm by  Shaun Mannix  No Comments

VA Van Image“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive how the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”

This quote has been attributed to George Washington. The Mt Vernon Library cannot confirm this. Too bad. It’s an outstanding, thoughtful and forward-looking statement about valuing those who have served.

I saw this quote one day while sitting in traffic in West Chester. It was printed on the back of a shuttle bus from Coatesville VA Medical Center, our local VA hospital.

The saying grabbed my attention. It spoke to me, and I hope to all who read it, about what it means to honor fully those who were willing to fight for us…and how we act says about us as a country and a people. And what it says about our willingness to serve in the future.

At Transwall we are lucky. We are close to the Coatesville VA Medical Center. Many years ago our HR Director made a strong connection there. We are fortunate to continue to count the outstanding vets and staff as good friends.

Our business is project-oriented so level-loading our manufacturing facility is no easy task. We adapt and adjust based on volume, product mix, and lead-time requirements.
Finding high quality individuals who can flex according to the needs of Transwall and our clients had been tough.

Then we met the folks at the VA.

Since 2003 we have employed dozens and dozens of recovering vets on a flexible basis in our manufacturing facility. Mostly they’re working through the final stages of their rehabilitation program.

It has been an outstanding and rewarding experience for all of us. Our vets came with experience ranging from tank mechanics to NASA/Air Force scientist (yes, rocket scientists) As you surely suspect, they bring with them a bundle of talents and experiences combined with a desire to get back on their feet and into the workforce.

The goal of the VA program is to provide a transition from residency at the hospital to independent living. Vets in the program have used the dollars earned here and elsewhere to save up for security deposits on apartments and cars, and for all the other things it takes to resume a normal life.

We have been fortunate enough to be able to bring some of them on board in a full-time capacity. They’re valuable additions to our team, for both their skills and the energy they bring.

I was pleased as I watched the VA’s new Secretary, Robert McDonald, being interviewed on 60 Minutes this past Sunday. He brings an interesting background to the job: CEO of Proctor and Gamble; Captain, US Army, 82nd Airborne; West Point graduate..

If you saw that interview, I hope you came away with the same impression I was left with: there is finally someone in that seat who gives a damn and has the character, experience, and training to truly shake things up. I expect McDonald to fix the VA problems we’ve all heard about and enable us to fulfill the statement of President Washington, or whomever made the statement; valuing our veterans with exceptional treatment and appreciation.

It is long overdue.

Ezra Company

Ezra Company
Posted on   November 11, 2014 10:31 am by  admin  No Comments

When the Ezra Company sought to outfit their new Washington, DC headquarters at 1000 Connecticut Avenue, they turned to the talented architects and designers at Perkins+Will.

Working closely with the project team, Transwall delivered and installed the ONE LP system. Featured on the project are over 300 feet of butt-glazed storefronts, frameless glass sliding and pivot doors, streamlined ladder pulls and Transwall’s frameless glass telescoping door product.

The Ezra Company is one of Washington, DC’s largest real estate tenant advisory firms with three office locations in the Greater Washington Metropolitan area.

For a complete look at all project images, click here.


Posted on   November 5, 2014 1:23 pm by  Shaun Mannix  No Comments

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics recently announced that the unemployment rate has declined a bit, but still remains at 5.9%. Apparently, this has to do with the fact the job market is improving, so some people who had quit looking for work have reentered the job market. This translates into 9.3 million people…officially.

I say officially because as near as I can tell, the actual numbers are higher than this, especially when you include those with a part time job or who are underemployed due to their inability to find a job to match their skills.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also announced that there are 4.8 million job openings, which was the highest level of job openings since January 2001. Most of these openings come from businesses although a few were in government.

I find the whole thing confusing. Transwall is growing, which has led to our hiring some new people and looking for more. We have well-paying jobs, but had only a few people applying in spite of all those unemployed people. In March we not only posted job openings for Project Managers and Sales Support positions on Monster and Craigslist, but we also engaged a professional recruiter.

We watched our inbox expecting many applications.

The results were underwhelming. Three months of no or few responses. One phone interview generated by the recruiter – not a good fit. Where are all the unemployed people looking for work?

We manufacture, sell, and service spectacular commercial movable wall systems and related products. Our business is based on new commercial construction and renovation and building and retaining a loyal customer base.

Dedicated, engaged, and informed employees are key to our success. We value them and work hard to take care of them. We really do believe that our people are our greatest asset, so we work hard to be a good place to work, so why so few job candidates?

Our products are engineered to high standards. We are involved in complex projects, so we require skilled workers from the salespeople, designers, and engineers to the painters, metalworkers, and installers. And therein seems to lay the problem.

Millions of people are looking for work with skills that don’t match the needs of businesses. According to that aforementioned Bureau of Labor Statistics, the situation is going to get worse. By 2022 the US will be short 41,700 cement masons, 114,700 electricians, and 218,200 carpenters.

How will these unemployed find work and what will companies do to fill their openings? The worker skills and company needs mismatch is tremendous.

In our case, we continued to look for people through networking and posting on various job boards. We kept our eyes open and mentioned our needs to everyone. Finally, a very good candidate showed up. A couple of months ago, I saw the young gent who has been selling me my mobile phones for 5 years. He was looking for a new challenge.

He started a week later in our sales support group.