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Kreg Thornley

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Jack Whitworth on Benefits of Working in the Industry & Challenges of Finding Good Employees

Posted by Kreg Thornley on May 28, 2020 11:11:38 AM

Banner-Jack Whitworth on Benefits of Working in the Industry

Body-Jack Whitworth on Benefits of Working in the IndustryThis article is an excerpt from Episode 6 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring industry veteran Jack Whitworth. The Injection Connection is hosted by Jim Spiegel: Vice President of Alchemy-Spetec and Board Member at the International Concrete Repair Institute. (If you'd rather listen, an audio version of this exchange is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Jim Spiegel: Obviously, you have a ton of experience, so I’d like to get some insights from you. What do you think are some of the strengths of the chemical grouting industry? What's kept you in it for 26 years? What do you like about the industry and why do you think it has such a strong future?

Jack Whitworth: I like the industry because it's challenging, no job typically is the same. You have to be quick on your toes, you have to be able to react to emergencies and that also ties into the fact that chemical grouts will always be necessary - but the job never gets boring. Plus, you get to see a lot of locations and areas that the general public (or probably at least 75 percent of the population) doesn't even know exist. It's exciting to get out there and be a solution provider. That's probably what really keeps me interested in it the most.

Jim: Yeah, I agree. That's a good point that the places that the chemical grouting industry takes you is just unbelievable - walking the gallery of a dam or something like that, it's a place you would otherwise never know existed. There are some really interesting projects out there. One of the things that is a concern, is the fact that no kid will say, “I want to be a sales professional for chemical grouts when I grow up.” How do you get young talent interested in chemical grouting?

Jack: Typically, you almost have to be lucky to run into somebody that has interest in it because it is the unknown that's out there. There is no magic because if we went to college fairs and different things like that, they’d think we were crazy because it's not that understood. But I think where we find most of our opportunities for representatives is typically in the field. That could be a contractor, that could be a distributor. We typically have a good knowledge of what their work habits are and really they have some fairly decent knowledge of chemical grouts because if you take a distributor salesman, for instance, you might find a guy that's selling a ton within one location. I want to meet that guy. I want to know why he's finding these opportunities and those are people we try to look out for.

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Alchemy-Spetec Customized Estimate Rocket Software for Automating Quote Prep, Customer Tracking, & Follow-Up

Posted by Kreg Thornley on May 21, 2020 10:30:00 AM

Banner-Estimate Rocket Alchemy Spetec

Body-Estimate Rocket Alchemy SpetecDid you know that Alchemy-Spetec offers a customized version of the popular Estimate Rocket invoicing, client management and CRM tool for contractors?  The custom version includes material estimating calculators for Alchemy-Spetec geotech polyurethanes.  These calculators make it easy to figure out the amount of material you'll need for any given job.  Sign up now via this Alchemy-Spetec link to get the customized version!  (Visiting the Estimate Rocket site in any manner aside from the links we provide will get you the generic, non-customized version.)

Paperless Workflow

Creating impressive proposals has never been easier with Estimate Rocket’s easy-to-use business templates. Leave a lasting impression with professional paperless estimates and invoices you can create and deliver to clients in seconds. 

Job & Client Management

Keep your clients most important information organized and at your fingertips 24/7. The system automatically saves and organizes current and previous jobs, contact information, notes, and more.

Powerful CRM Tools

Stay connected with customer relationship management tools that keep you more responsive than ever before. Automated reminders and appointment scheduling let you know when to take action. Automated Follow-Ups stay in touch with your customers automatically.

Team Collaboration

Bring your entire team with an easy to use web-portal where crews can view appointments, field estimators can build estimates, and accountants can send out invoices.

Financial Reports

View up to the minute reports and know exactly where every job stands. Advanced reporting gives greater depth with detailed job statistics. Easily export to QuickBooks or other accounting software that imports CSV files.

Access on Any Device

Whether you’re on site with a customer or back in the office, you always have complete access to all features. Estimate Rocket works on Mac, PC, iOS, Android, Blackberry and any other web-enabled device.

AS Material Estimation Calculators

As mentioned previously, the Alchemy-Spetec customized version of Estimate Rocket features AS geotech material estimation calculators built in!

Sign Up for the AS Version of Estimate Rocket

Topics: All Posts, Business Tips

Ann Thaxton on Marketing for Slab Lifting & Foundation Repair

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Apr 23, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner-Ann Thaxton

Blog-Ann ThaxtonOn Episode 7 of The Injection Connection, host Jim Spiegel sits down with Ann Thaxton, from Concrete Titans, a marketing and advertising agency offering services to the concrete lifting, and residential foundation repair markets.  Ann offers great insights into the most current lead capture strategies, trends in the industry, and how marketing dollars are actually worth more in the current Covid-19 crisis.  (Jim Spiegel is Vice President of Alchemy-Spetec and a Board Member at the International Concrete Repair Institute.)

Listen to the episode in its entirety below, or check it out on TheInjectionConnection.com and the following platforms:

Want info on Alchemy-Spetec slab lifting products & applications?

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Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, Stabilize Soil, Business Tips

Interview with Jack Whitworth

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Apr 21, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Interview with Jack Whitworth

Body - Interview with Jack WhitworthJim and guest Jack Whitworth, 26-year chemical grouting sales professional, discuss the importance of education, mutual benefits of competitors working together, and driving our families crazy during the Covid-19 lockdown time. (Jim Spiegel is Vice President of Alchemy-Spetec and a Board Member at the International Concrete Repair Institute.)

Listen to the episode in its entirety below, or check it out on TheInjectionConnection.com and the following platforms:

Want more information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Business Tips

JR Crowell of Helms Polyfoam on the Importance of Engineer Outreach

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Mar 24, 2020 10:00:00 AM

JR Crowell of Helms Polyfoam on the Importance of Engineer Outreach - Banner

JR Crowell of Helms Polyfoam on the Importance of Engineer Outreach - BodyThis article is an excerpt from Episode 5 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring JR Crowell and Morgan Helms of Helms PolyfoamThe Injection Connection is hosted by Jim Spiegel: Vice President of Alchemy-Spetec and Board Member at the International Concrete Repair Institute.  (If you'd rather listen, an audio version of this exchange is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Jim Spiegel: Do you guys do quite a bit of engineer outreach?

JR Crowell: Yeah. That’s probably where I spend the majority of my time. I love engineers because they love to learn. They're extremely open to us coming in and talking about what we do because it is exciting stuff. It's a neat process, with neat products and you're solving some huge issues. I love talking to them because they ask a lot of questions. For us, as a company going after innovative repair projects, it certainly helps when we can pick the brain of a hundred engineers a year or better and make sure that we're doing everything that we need for them to spec a project.

Jim: Is that one of the metrics that you look at as far as your sales KPIs? Along with the number of calls, average ticket price, close rate, do you also look at engineer presentations?

JR: Yeah. At the end of the year, we'll break down where our revenue came from and we certainly measure the engineering piece. You'll have some projects that are right there and you'll have a lot of them that come maybe a year, two years down the road. They just don't need you till they need you. But then, when they do, they remember the company that came in and tried to educate them a little bit and stayed in touch with them.

Jim: Yeah, you nailed it. I think the end game with the engineer effort really is two, three, even longer years out sometimes.

JR: I think it takes a while just like when a new contractor starts out, he has to figure out what all he could do with polyurethane. And so, these engineers are the same way. We get a lot of calls for the first month or two just testing, “Hey, is this a good opportunity? What do you think about this? Come look at that.” Then when you finally get a product or process that's "ginning" if you will, they already know what to call you in on, so they’re not wasting your time either. But we've got some that we work with so much now, they'll call us and say, “We're thinking about doing this. Is there anything you have that would be better? If so, I'd love to hear about it.” They've kind of started calling us pre-job, pre-spec, pre-bid.

Jim: That's the table you want to be at.

JR: That's right.

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Topics: All Posts, Business Tips

Morgan Helms and JR Crowell on the Subject of Sales

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Mar 19, 2020 10:31:34 AM

Morgan Helms and JR Crowell on the Subject of Sales - Banner

Morgan Helms and JR Crowell on the Subject of Sales - BodyThis article is an excerpt from Episode 5 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring JR Crowell and Morgan Helms of Helms PolyfoamThe Injection Connection is hosted by Jim Spiegel: Vice President of Alchemy-Spetec and Board Member at the International Concrete Repair Institute.  (If you'd rather listen, an audio version of this exchange is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Jim Spiegel: How do you go about your sales effort? Do you have people that are specific to just selling or are all your salespeople both technicians and sales professionals? How does that work?

J.R. Crowell: No, we have it divided up, we're very aggressive on the sales. We say all the time we're an outbound company not an inbound company because we are new. A lot of what we're doing, there's just not a lot of people searching for. So, a lot of it is an education piece. You certainly understand that as Alchemy-Spetec is a progressive company and you spend a lot of time educating us and our customers on what you do. And so, we do the same thing. So yeah, from a team standpoint, we do have a business development side, a sales side and we have a technician side. But everybody is cross-trained. When I came on board, I started on the rig with Morgan and we worked every day together. Then once we got somebody to replace me, I moved on and started handling more the operations and the sales and financial piece of the company. That's how we work. If you can train somebody to do what you do, you get to move up. Congratulations!

Morgan Helms: If you can't do the work, you can't sell it either.

Jim: If you need a large number of sales, obviously it can be pretty daunting to some of the sales team. They have these big goals and there's a fine line of discouragement so to speak with setting a goal too high and pushing for the optimal results.

JR: I'm really big on measuring what we're doing at the end of the month. So if we know that if we want to close X amount of business, I need to make X amount of sales. But to get those sales I've got to get X amount of appointments. So I have to make X amount of calls to get those appointments. When you reverse engineer back from that, and you’re able to teach your sales team that way of doing it, it doesn't seem as daunting.

Jim: Talking through the process and how you got to that number. Again, it goes back to planning.

JR: That's right. Hope is not a plan.

Want more information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

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Interview with JR Crowell and Morgan Helms of Helms Polyfoam

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Mar 12, 2020 11:54:31 AM

Banner Graphic - Helms Polyfoam

Body Graphic - Helms PolyfoamJR Crowell and Morgan Helms of Helms Polyfoam are the guests on Episode 5 of The Injection Connection. In this episode, host Jim Spiegel discusses the history of the Helms business, the future of customer support, and the importance of relationships. (Jim Spiegel is Vice President of Alchemy-Spetec and a Board Member at the International Concrete Repair Institute.)

Listen to the episode in its entirety below, or check it out on TheInjectionConnection.com and the following platforms:

Want more information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, Stabilize Soil, Business Tips

Adam Tracy on How Long It Takes to Develop Field Competency for Leak Seal Grouting

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Mar 5, 2020 9:46:27 AM

Banner - Adam Tracy on How Long It Takes to Develop Field Competency for Leak Seal Grouting

Body - Adam Tracy on How Long It Takes to Develop Field Competency for Leak Seal GroutingThis article is an excerpt from Episode 4 of The Injection Connection, featuring Adam Tracy of A-1 Foundation Crack RepairThe Injection Connection is hosted by Jim Spiegel: Vice President of Alchemy-Spetec and Board Member at the International Concrete Repair Institute.  (If you'd rather listen, an audio version of this exchange is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Jim: Where do we find talent? That’s a big thing in our world especially being so niche of an application. How do you find talent? One of the things that we like to look at is, getting somebody with an engineering mind, such as yourself - engineering or architectural mind that just knows buildings and knows the X’s and O’s of the construction world and just get them on site, just to learn. We think that could be the one-two punch to really get good, competent people out there. You’re a perfect example of it. You come in with a very high level of understanding of the construction world and building in general and then couple that with some field training and you’re pretty lethal as far as your effectiveness in the field.

To that point, how long do you think it takes? Say somebody coming out of college: I have a bachelor’s in engineering, maybe I don’t want to work in an engineering firm, maybe I want to get into the sales side with the manufacturer building products. How long do you think it takes in field time with chemical grouting until you’re up and running and you really know the nuances of a lot of what happens out there?

Adam: That’s a tough question. I’ve used myself as a little bit of an example because while I’d been around it for a while because I had gone my own path for a period of time right out of school, it was kind of just there and didn’t really know much about it. Doing it every day, it was a good with my educational background being an engineer in the civil engineering space.  Knowing building and construction, it took me a good two, three months of every day (hands-on application to really understand the limitations, the successes, how it works, why it works, which product is going to be most successful, in which application) until I was comfortable being able to see the solution before I even put a drill to a wall. The fortunate thing is that I was able to rely on years of construction experience and being in these green builds whereas somebody who might be right out of school has never been on a site, has never thrown on the hardhat and the vest and walked around. So there’s a whole learning curve to that as well. But again, the field experience I think is critical in any industry. Especially as you get into more and more isolated niche industries, your opportunity to learn is few and far between on a study level. The field experience becomes your classroom.

When we bring people on, talking about finding good people, if we find somebody who has any experience in injection grouting, it’s a diamond, it’s a needle in a haystack so to speak. There’s a significant training curve on our end to bring talented people who have this construction experience to a level of being able to be proficient in the trade.

It’s a tough thing because everyone’s individual but the more time in the field, I think, is critical because, again, if you happened to be taught it in some educational level, it was a leap on the radar and it was quickly moved past as part of envelope education study whereas the actual time in the field really becomes your classroom, like I said.

Jim: Absolutely. It’s your point though or kind of to the point, two or three months was effectively your gut, visceral reaction there to time in the field. Compared to some other industries, that’s not all that long.

Adam: No but that was an everyday obligation.

Jim: Exactly. You take like a manufacturer rep for instance who might be on site once a month for a few hours to add that time up to be two months, constant trained would take years to become that well-versed.

Adam: In like anything. I’ve lived in that sales role as a manufacturer sales rep and while you may know the spec sheet of your product inside and out, that doesn’t tell you the whole story of the product that you’re going to use. It’s when it’s applied in the field whether it’s a pump or a truck or a crane or chemical grouting, it’s the performance in the real world beyond the spec sheet that tells you or completes a picture of your education on the product.

For those who are on the manufacturing side, the time in that field, actually doing the work I think is one of the most critical parts of it.

Jim: For sure. We liken it to a mechanic who can listen to an engine and give you a pretty good of what he’s up against. Very similar in the field, Charlie, who I mentioned, I think he’s been in the field services role for 15, 16 years as well and he can tell you what’s happening by the way the hose is jumping for instance on each stroke, and the sound of the stroke for instance. There’s a lot of that mechanic level field support that just isn’t that readily available in the chemical grouting world. We put Charlie in the field services director role because, and this is not intended to go into a sales pitch but just to your point that a lot of manufacturers are kind of shying away from the field support where you have to be out there seeing so many customers and making so many calls and it’s like a telemarketing solution sometimes for an industry that is so critical for accuracy in the field.

I agree with you completely. We actually tell our guys, you said you had experience on the sales side of it from manufacturer, and we tell all of our guys and girls – get in the field and spend time with the contractors. I still go out in the field. I was just on a job a couple of Fridays ago, we were doing polyacrylate gel injection. I was on the gun and I was saying to the technicians – you guys tell me, instruct me a little bit what you see out here because a couple of people who were out there had significant experience.

To your exact point, manufacturers can read spec sheets and tell you little nuances of performance from TDS but until you know what the gun feels like, the guys in the field are still probably head and shoulders above you.

Adam: Yeah, for sure. And it’s always tough to be in that role where you’re supposed to be the expert and asking for help. I’ve been in those situations, it’s always uncomfortable as being on the manufacturer side to say, "okay, what would you guys do here?"...you know, being the guy with 30 years of experience.

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Adam Tracy on What Can Be Improved in the Chemical Grouting Industry

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Mar 3, 2020 3:20:58 PM

Banner - Adam Tracy on What Can Be Improved in the Chemical Grouting Industry

Body - Adam Tracy on What Can Be Improved in the Chemical Grouting IndustryThis article is an excerpt from Episode 4 of The Injection Connection, featuring Adam Tracy of A-1 Foundation Crack RepairThe Injection Connection is hosted by Jim Spiegel: Vice President of Alchemy-Spetec and Board Member at the International Concrete Repair Institute.  (If you'd rather listen, an audio version of this exchange is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Jim: In a more general sense with the chemical grouting industry, what do you think, and I may be putting you on the spot here a little bit, but what do you think is lacking or what could be improved in the industry? Do you have opinions on that? Maybe from a product standpoint, maybe from a service standpoint, from the manufacturer’s side? Do you have any thoughts on that?

Adam: I’ve had a pretty unique entry into this industry because I’m from totally outside of the industry. Even though this is a family business, I actually spent the first ten plus years of my career as a manufacturer rep in the fire protection space. So, I’m coming at this industry as a very different set of eyes. I’m actually an engineer in civil engineering and I would definitely say that it’s a niche industry in a lot of ways, which prevents its usage I think because I don’t think it’s well taught on an educational level and I don’t think the awareness is very high amongst a lot of engineering firms as well. 

It’s a process that is unique in a lot of ways but it’s not revolutionary. I think while it’s one tool in the tool belt as we discussed, I think having that in an engineer’s hands is very important because a lot of times solutions that are tried more often or may have a higher success rate on the positive side are just cost prohibitive. And the building is not set up to be able to do that kind of stuff post construction and where chemical grouting is really just the best, most cost-effective, high result solution for that particular application.

I would definitely say that on a commercial level the grouting process needs to have a little bit higher expansion in educational areas to make sure that kids coming out of schools and going in for their PEs and trying to get their feet under them and provide solutions to their clients know that this is a proper solution that is tried and true and is very successful.

In my world, where it’s a lot of residential, that’s half of what my job is on a day to day conversation with a customer is explaining what we’re doing because it’s a lot of black magic in their eyes because it’s something totally different. They were looking for the black spray in the can that you used to spray in the bottom of your screen door boat there, off the shelf as a solution and they‘re trying to figure out why it didn’t work. And really, we’re trying to just educate them a little bit as well.

We’ve had projects in the past where they’ve spent a tremendous amount of time on the specifications and the procedures on how to address an issue. We had a project at a wastewater treatment plant where it’s 24-inch walls, thick walls with rebar everywhere, and they were tall. And they’re just trying, there’s not a lot of experience, there wasn’t a lot of manufacturer help in terms of how to really identify the process to do this successfully. So, when we get in there and we look at the specifications, it’s hobbled together by somebody who’s never seen this process in the real world. It was essentially set up for failure in a lot of ways because the process was wrong for this particular application, and trying to go through change orders of the process was a very difficult situation - just because we knew as a contractor doing it for as long as we have that the amount of time and effort that they were going to be focused on their particular process was going to be set up incorrectly and set up for failure mostly because, again, they had a set of people on this thing who have read about it and were very unaware of the infield techniques that are required to be successful in it, and really just tried to be by the book on it without any sort of experience.

I think that in the industry, there would be a huge benefit across the board in my eyes to really start at the educational level, civil engineering programs, construction management programs, to really focus on that. I think manufacturers have some responsibility as well as contractors to give a two-pronged approach so that people are educated both on the technology itself and the actual application and how it gets done.

Jim: I couldn’t agree more.

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Interview with Adam Tracy of A-1 Foundation Crack Repair

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Feb 25, 2020 5:35:39 PM

Banner-Graphic---Injection-Connection-Episode-4

Body-Graphic---Injection-Connection-Episode-4Adam Tracy, of A-1 Foundation Crack Repair, is the guest on Episode 4 of The Injection Connection.  Adam offers a unique perspective into the residential leak seal industry through his Civil Engineering education. Adam and Jim discuss differences in residential vs.commercial projects, as well as finding new talent, learning from contractors, and more.

Host Jim Spiegel is Vice President of Alchemy-Spetec and Board Member at the International Concrete Repair Institute.

Listen to the episode in its entirety below, or check it out on TheInjectionConnection.com and the following platforms:

Want more information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Business Tips