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Kreg Thornley

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Charlie Lerman: Who I’ve Learned the Most From in the Industry

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Oct 15, 2020 10:00:00 AM

1. Banner - Charlie Lerman - Who Ive Learned the Most From in the Industry

2. Body - Charlie Lerman - Who Ive Learned the Most From in the IndustryThis article is an excerpt from Episode 9 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring Charlie Lerman "The Grout Geek". Charlie is Director of Technical Services - Leak Seal® Division at Alchemy-Spetec. 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 excerpt is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Jim Spiegel: One of the questions that I really want to start incorporating into a lot of these episodes is, "Who have you learned the most from in the industry? We’ll take a little opportunity to name drop a couple of people but who have been some of your beacons in the industry who have taught you what you’ve learned?

Charlie Lerman: There are two main names that come up real quick. First there is John Ziebell. I worked directly with him for the six years that I was at De Neef and he was quite the resource for me. And then Scott Anderson also taught me a good amount and just really helped me out. And really the only reason I probably didn’t get more from Scott Anderson is just that I lived in Houston and he lives up in the New England area. Those are the two main people. I really think that they gave me my foundation to build from. But where I learned the really cool minutiae stuff is from all the intelligent engineers and contractors that I deal with. Because again, when we sit down at the table and we try to design a job, it’s not just one person. I mean, when I got in this industry, I’d never worked on a dam before. But I’d done crack injection. I understood that. So when I went to my first dam project, I had a lot to learn about that structure per se but we had the engineer and the owners. They knew the dam. I knew my product. And then we had us coming together. So I’m in a unique position where I get to pick up all this little nuanced stuff. So when you look at someone who’s out there doing crack injection or doing chemical grouting every day, they’ve got a good routine and they know their stuff for that - but they’re typically looking at similar types of projects. Whereas I get to see anything from a dam to a manhole. I’ve actually consulted on a job where we drilled into a window and grouted between CMU block and glass. That is the kind of unique stuff that just comes from those kinds of travels.

Listen to the audio version of this excerpt...

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Business Tips

Charlie Lerman: Grouting as a Game

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Oct 1, 2020 10:00:00 AM

1. Banner -Charlie Lerman -Grouting as a Game

2. Body -Charlie Lerman -Grouting as a GameThis article is an excerpt from Episode 9 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring Charlie Lerman "The Grout Geek". Charlie is Director of Technical Services - Leak Seal® Division at Alchemy-Spetec. 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 excerpt is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Charlie Lerman: I’m very honored and happy when people say, “You’re very passionate about this.” And I am. I do enjoy it. It’s a lot like a game to me. And you know I’m pushing 50 here and I still play video games. I’ve played video games all my life. And I just love the strategic element. Kind of like a chess game. I look at every grout job just like that. When I go out there, I know what my pieces do; what my product, what my pump, what my drill, I know what all those pieces can do. The thing is, the game is, that I can’t see into the wall or see into the substrate and know exactly what’s going on in there.

So I have to take my knowns and then rule out things that aren’t working or figure out why something is working. It’s a big game. And then, on the other side of that is I’m the hero. When you come out there and you help somebody with a project or something that they’re having trouble with and you’re successful, everybody is happy to see you, they’re buying you lunch. So, it’s a great thing because first off, it’s just mentally stimulating and you’re solving an issue the proper way. And then everybody is happy about it. So to me, it’s just a win-win all the way around with that.

Listen to the audio version of this excerpt...

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Business Tips

Charlie Lerman Discusses the Chemical Grouting Industry

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Sep 8, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Charlie Lerman Discusses the Chemical Grouting Industry

Body - Charlie Lerman Discusses the Chemical Grouting IndustryOn this episode of The Injection Connection, Jim Spiegel welcomes colleague Charlie Lerman "The Grout Geek". Charlie and Jim do their best to take off their Alchemy-Spetec hats and to discuss the Leak Seal® chemical grouting industry through the eyes of a Field Services Manager. With over 16 years of field experience representing some of the most well-known brands in the industry, Charlie is a wealth of knowledge for any listener. (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 leaks products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Are You Tuning in to The Injection Connection?

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Aug 25, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Are You Tuning in to The Injection Connection

Body - Are You Tuning in to The Injection ConnectionIn January of 2020, Alchemy-Spetec launched The Injection Connection podcast, hosted by Jim Spiegel. Jim is the Vice President of Alchemy-Spetec and a Board Member at the International Concrete Repair Institute. As of August 2020, there are eight episodes packed with valuable industry information.

If you've missed any of these podcast posts, we invite you to review the guide below...

Episode One - Introduction

Episode 1 is a brief intro about the host, Jim Spiegel, and the intended content of the show. The Injection Connection is produced for contractors, distributors, and design professionals in the infrastructure repair segment, or broader construction industry. The podcast aims to provide unique insights through the lens of the chemical grouting industry.

Check Out Episode One

Episode Two - The QP Factor

This episode is an overview of the patented QP Factor system used to quantify chemical grout leak seal success. The presentation was originally given at the ICRI National Convention by Jim Spiegel, and is being reproduced remotely for an engineering firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is the industry's first patented method for leak seal quantification.

Check Out Episode Two

Episode Three - Interview with Kevin Earles

Guest Kevin Earles is a long-time friend of Jim Spiegel, and the National Sales Director for EPMS Supplies based in Nottingham, UK. Topics covered include how they met one another, the future of online distribution, Brexit, and more. Kevin has been in the speciality construction distribution industry for almost 25 years.

Check Out Episode Three

Episode Four - Interview with Adam Tracy

Guest Adam Tracy, of A-1 Foundation Crack Repair, 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.

Check Out Episode Four

Episode Five - Helms Polyfoam

The Injection Connection welcomes two guests from Helms Polyfoam: JR Crowell, VP & COO, and Morgan Helms, President & CEO. In this episode, Jim Spiegel discusses the history of the Helms business, the future of customer support, and the importance of relationships.

Check Out Episode Five

Episode Six - Jack Whitworth

Jim 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.

Check Out Episode Six

Episode Seven - Ann Thaxton

On Episode 7 of The Injection Connection, Jim 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.

Check Out Episode Seven

Episode Eight - Matt & Travis of Lift It Rite

On Episode 8 of The Injection Connection, Jim sits down with Matt Chittick and Travis Germick, co-owners of Lift It Rite, LLC., a residential slab-lifting business servicing the Greater Atlanta and surrounding markets. Matt and Travis offer valuable insights on how to start a lifting business, production considerations, and the under-appreciated value of showing up with a smile (and perhaps a hamburglar costume!).

Check Out Episode Eight

Check out the podcast on TheInjectionConnection.com and the following platforms:

Want info on Alchemy-Spetec products & applications?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Business Tips

Matt and Travis from Lift It Rite on the Best Blade for Cutting Bound Slabs

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Aug 11, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner-Matt & Travis from Lift It Rite on the Best Blade for Cutting Bound Slabs

Body-Matt & Travis from Lift It Rite on the Best Blade for Cutting Bound SlabsThis article is an excerpt from Episode 8 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring Matt Chittick and Travis Germick, co-owners of Lift It Rite, LLC, a residential slab-lifting business. 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 watch the video clip of this exchange, it is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Jim Spiegel: When you’re on slab lifting job, what do you think holds you up the most often?

Matt Chittick: I would say binding slabs are the hardest thing that we deal with. But we've done a couple of jobs here recently where the bind was good and it allowed something to come up together like we needed it to, versus breaking that crack that was binding apart and lifting one side versus the other side. But binding slabs are generally the hardest thing to figure out and make work for you, I would say.

Jim: So, when you have something binding, when do you make the decision to cut into it?

Travis Germick: Well, you can look at it and say, okay, there's a possibility of it binding or something like that, we'll go ahead and take care of it. I mean, those saw blades we were talking about earlier in the podcast are amazing that we picked up. So we’re not as scared to pull it out and saw through what we got to saw through.

Matt: They cut like butter. That was an actual company that we met out there at the World of Concrete. We bought three blades from the guy. Well, actually he sent us one first. We tried it, we were like, yeah, need more of these. And I don't think we've used any of the ones we just bought. I think we're still on the first one.

Travis: We are. I mean, they're really good blades.

Jim: You want to give them a plug? What kind of blade is it?

Matt: Diamond Blade Warehouse.

Travis: There you go.

Jim: Super blade from a Diamond Blade Warehouse and of all the blades you've used, you think that's one of the better ones?

Travis: Yeah it really is, whether it's a cured concrete, old stuff where the house has been there for forty years or whether it's stuff that’s two years old.

Watch the excerpt...

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Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs

Tips for New Slab Lifters from Matt & Travis of Lift It Rite

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Aug 6, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner-Tips for New Slab Lifters from Matt & Travis of Lift It Rite

Body-Tips for New Slab Lifters from Matt & Travis of Lift It RiteThis article is an excerpt from Episode 8 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring Matt Chittick and Travis Germick, co-owners of Lift It Rite, LLC, a residential slab-lifting business. 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 watch the video clip of this exchange, it is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Jim Spiegel: If there's one thing that you guys, a piece of advice or some sage wisdom, as I know you guys are full of that as well as punch lines (laughter), what would you say to someone thinking about getting into the lifting business?

Travis Germick: If you're going to get into the industry, I would say get with Alchemy-Spetec and get some training. Hang out with those guys, come down and watch someone do the work. Get with a reputable company, come with us and work for a day or two and see what it's all about.

There's a lot of people that can definitely do this job but there's also a lot of people that could not do this job. There's a work ethic that goes with it. And I think with any spray foam or something like that, if it's insulation or whatever it is but there's a special ethic that has to go with it and special type of person it takes to get into this. But we absolutely love it. Every day, we get up, we're excited to do what we do because our customers’ minds are blown every time they see foam lifting concrete. And we feed off of that. I mean, they're over there like, “wow, that was cool” and I'm like, “I know, right?” That was really neat. We’re really psyched about it as well. There's a lot of times where Matt and I are high fiving each other because, that was a really cool job we just did.

That’s the only takeaway I have with it. I think it's a great industry to be in. I think it's a great service that we're offering and it's cool, too. It really is some neat stuff. What do you think, Matt?

Matt Chittick: I 100% agree. I would tell somebody you can learn all the ins and outs of it but until you get on the job sites and you see some things happen and you kind of roll with the punches, me and Travis, we have fun. If you have fun, it doesn't feel like you're working. And I would say have fun. You want to look for more good jobs than bad, but don't let the bad jobs bring down your attitude because your customers will feed off of your attitude. If you have a great positive attitude, those customers are going to have a great positive attitude. And if they have a great positive attitude, guess what, they love writing checks.

Jim: Yeah. I couldn't agree with you more that the attitude is such a big part of it. And then that starts when you get out of your truck, right?

Travis: Absolutely.

Jim: If you get out of your truck and you’re all smiles and having a good time with them, it just leads into a good experience. Not only do they feel like they trust you, but when things go wrong, they're more tolerant, I feel.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. I would say because of our attitudes and things like that, we've been able to explain some things to customers and show them what happened here, what happened there and whatnot and they know that we're professional because that's the way we come across. We keep them involved in it, and when they see these things happen, I think they are a lot more tolerant and really accept some of the imperfections. That might be because getting concrete back to the original exact part or area whre it was might not always be what you can do. But if you talk about those expectations and you keep the customer informed and you're upbeat and positive, that's just going to transcend right to your customer and then everybody's okay and everybody's having a good day.

Watch the excerpt...

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Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, Business Tips

Colt Hullander Joins Alchemy-Spetec as Director of Technical Services - Geotech Division

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Jul 14, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner-Colt Hullander Alchemy-Spetec

Body-Colt Hullander Alchemy-SpetecAlchemy-Spetec is pleased welcome Colt Hullander! Colt will join us as the new Director of Technical Services – Geotech Division, supporting Alchemy-Spetec customers on a wide variety of polyurethane jobs, from slab lifting to soil stabilization and seawall repair. He brings a decade of geotech experience to the team.

Colt put in many years as a project manager for Stable Soils of Florida where he oversaw polyurethane rig assembly and chemical grout installation projects. After that he briefly worked for Alchemy-Spetec as a Tech Services Rep for about a year. Colt then amicably moved on to Ramjack South Florida to become a Project Manager for their Seawall Division. We are happy to welcome him back in this new role.

Alchemy-Spetec VP of Sales & Business Development Jim Spiegel is excited about the ways in which this hire will benefit the market: “Colt brings many years of invaluable field experience with expertise in a wide range of equipment, products, and techniques. His field experience coupled with his technical acumen for equipment improvements will undoubtedly offer our Geotech customers another industry-leading resource. As most grouting contractors agree, there is no substitute for field experience, and Colt has no shortage of it.”

Want more info on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Topics: Repair Seawalls, All Posts, Lift Slabs, Stabilize Soil, Deep Lift

Matt Chittick and Travis Germick of Lift It Rite

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

Banner-Lift It Rite

Body-Lift It RiteOn Episode 8 of The Injection Connection, Jim sits down with Matt Chittick and Travis Germick, co-owners of Lift It Rite, LLC, a residential slab-lifting business servicing the Greater Atlanta and surrounding markets. Matt and Travis offer valuable insights on how to start a lifting business, production considerations, and the under-appreciated value of showing up with a smile - and perhaps a hamburglar costume!  (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?

Download an Info-Packed Slab Lift Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, Business Tips

Alchemy-Spetec Welcomes New Operations Manager Richard Cunningham

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Jun 29, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Alchemy-Spetec Welcomes New Operations Manager Richard Cunningham

Body - Alchemy-Spetec Welcomes New Operations Manager Richard Cunningham

We are thrilled to welcome Richard Cunningham as a part of our team! Richard will join us as the new Operations Manager, overseeing the company’s production process, quality control, and facilities maintenance. He brings 23 years of facility management and environmental safety experience.

Richard began his operations management career with Ardrox, working his way up to the position of East Coast Regional manager, overseeing four facilities in the U.S. and Canada. He was also a plant manager for Brenntag Mid-South, Inc. in Tennessee where he oversaw storage capability optimization for barges, rails, and tankers. He was later promoted to the Atlanta location, where he managed multiple facilities in Georgia. Richard holds an A.S. in Business from Newbury College in Boston, is Lean-certified, and has helped multiple facilities achieve multiple-year OSHA, ISO, EHS, and HACCP certifications.

Most impressively, Richard is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Richard joins the growing list of Alchemy-Spetec employees who have proudly served our country.

Alchemy-Spetec President and CEO Stephen C. Barton is excited about bringing on a skilled expert to optimize the company’s operations: “Richard’s sharp eye for quality control, safety, and production planning will help us as we continue to expand sales across the country. With Richard at the helm, I am confident that our operations are in good hands.”

Want more info on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts

Ann Thaxton on Advertising Strategy & Costs for Contractors

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Jun 25, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner-Advertising Strategy and Cost for Contractors

Body-Advertising Strategy and Cost for ContractorsThis article is an excerpt from Episode 7 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring concrete lifting marketing expert Ann Thaxton of ConcreteTitans.com. 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: As you know in the industry it's very expensive to get into this, just on the equipment side of things. You're looking at 50, 60, 70, even more - $100,000 perhaps depending on your rig setup.  So, one of the questions we get all the time is – “Okay, I'm going to invest in this equipment. What are you going to do for me and how do I get leads?” That's probably the number one question. For the customers that buy the equipment, their biggest problem we see as far as their success is their lack of marketing or advertising strategy. Say I'm Joe the builder and I want to get into this, and my first question is, “How do I start? Where do I even start with marketing, advertising and lead capture?”  Could you talk us through what solutions you may offer on that and any information on monthly budgets?

Ann Thaxton: We've found throughout the industry that for cost per lead, your cheapest cost per lead is digital advertising. Your most expensive cost per lead is TV. And everything else falls in between. Your average cost per lead with digital advertising runs between $40 and $50 per lead. TV runs around $200 to $250 per lead. Direct Mail runs about $150 per lead. Ideally, if you were a more mature company, you would do all of those because studies show that it takes anywhere between 12 and 18 touch points for somebody to convert to become a customer. If you're just starting out in the business, your cheapest cost per lead is digital advertising. But I wouldn't just stop there. If you have time on your hands and if you are able to, then print up some door hangers and hang them up around neighborhoods where you know they have some problems with their concrete. If you level concrete in one neighborhood, you hang door hangers on both sides of that house and across the street for sure. And you ask your customer if they would please refer people to you because referrals are really the gold standard here. Referrals are “free” cost per lead. So, once you get really mature as a company, you get so many referrals that it just becomes gravy on top. But to start out, I would think that you would do a lot of that pounding the pavement type of work to get your name out and then do some lead advertising. And I have different levels of service. From the start, from the starting service up to 4+ rig companies. And for a budget to start out, you can spend less than a thousand a month.

Visit ConcreteTitans.com for more info on Ann Thaxton's marketing services.

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Download an Info-Packed Contractor Marketing Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, Business Tips