It has been a difficult five years for the public sector. In many parts of America, the Great Recession shrank the tax base to the point where towns and villages were forced to cut spending by any means.
SPRING, TEXAS — Milton Frank Plumbing has been serving the area north of Houston for more than 28 years. For the past seven, Patrick Duffy has been working for Milton Frank as a service technician and team leader.
WATERFORD, PA. — Brian Dwyer is a third-generation plumber. His grandfather James founded the company in 1949 with a focus on residential plumbing. In 1979, Dwyer’s father bought the business and set about expanding it and adding excavating services. The company now owns several excavators and attachments, as well as a bulldozer, loaders, rollers and dump trucks. Brian bought the business in turn in 2008.
DALLAS — Luxury and efficiency would seem to sit at opposite ends of the spectrum. Luxury implies a superabundance that verges on wasteful, while efficiency or “eco-friendly” implies either making do with less or going without altogether.
The Museum Tower residential high-rise in downtown Dallas hopes to be a happy marriage of the two. The 42-story, 560-ft. tower is the tallest residential structure to be completed in the city in more than 20 years.
KOHLER, WISC. —In 1883, John Michael Kohler decided to enamel coat one of his rectangular cast-iron basins. He was so happy with the results that he later listed it in his company’s one-page catalog: "Horse Trough/Hog Scalder —when furnished with four legs will serve as a bathtub." And just like that, Kohler Co. entered the plumbing products business.
APPLETON, WISC. —You will never go broke selling beer in Wisconsin. The Stone Cellar Brewpub in Appleton, Wisc., was started in 2004 by the father-and-son team of Tom and Steve Lonsway. The building they bought and renovated dates back to 1858 and was originally used as a brewery —one of the first in the state.
GLENSIDE, PA. — Arcadia University located in the Philadelphia suburbs has been through plenty of changes since its founding in 1853. It has made the transition from seminary to college to university, while moving twice and changing its name once (from Beaver College). It now serves more than 4,000 students pursuing more than 80 different fields of study.
SOUTHAMPTON, MASS. —Jim Patterson has been the sole owner of Orchard Valley Heating and Cooling for the past eight years. Working alongside his two sons, Patterson has made a name for his company throughout Western Massachusetts, Southern Vermont and Northern Connecticut by specializing in high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. He is NATE certified in six categories of HVAC service and installation, has six mechanical licenses from two states and has won a handful of RPA Showcase Awards.
For all the advantages mobile computing can bring to a contracting business, mobile devices are notoriously a) expensive and b) fragile. Meanwhile the jobsite can be an unforgiving environment, and technicians can be notoriously rough on even the most durable tools.
Right now is an exciting time to be a software developer. Just ask Wayne Newitts, marketing director for Dexter + Chaney, the company behind Spectrum Construction Management software. According to Newitts the world has just entered the third wave of computing, the first wave being the Windows operating system — “It made a quantum leap in usability; it really put computers on everybody’s desk” — and the second being the explosion in mobile data communications.
Heating water costs money. According to the EPA, potable water heating is the second most expensive energy draw in the American residence, accounting for roughly 15% of a home’s energy use. If that home uses hot water for space heating — via a radiant floor system, baseboards, fan coil units, etc. — that can climb to 40%, 50% or even higher. And in commercial applications requiring high volumes of hot water such as restaurants or laundries, the cost can make or break a business.
SEATTLE — For Denis Hayes, president and CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, the best way to advance a cause is by pushing the envelope. The Bullitt center, slated for completion before the end of the year, is what he calls, “A bold attempt to do everything right.”
TOLEDO, OHIO – If one metric for the economic health of a city is to be found in its public transportation system, consider this: in 2010, the Toledo Area Regional Transport Authority (TARTA) completed 219,757 passenger trips, servicing a metro population of 651,409.