November 2011
DECCO Is Now on Facebook!
Find Us on Facebook

We recently created another internet bookmark on Facebook. We will use this platform to announce the most current DECCO news, upcoming events, and any other news worthy of sharing with our "friends." If you "Like" us on Facebook, you'll receive notifications every time our site is updated with everything that is going on at DECCO. This is a continued effort to keep our friends and clients up to speed on what we're doing. We recently determined that we had all these great stats and stories about what we're doing, and it's a shame we weren't getting them out to our clients. Well, we're hopeful between the DECCO e-newsletter and Facebook we'll be able to do just that. It won't be just about tooting out own horn, it will also contain industry news that will apply to the industries we work in.

In addition to the DECCO main Facebook page, we've also created a "DECCO Partners" page. This page is exclusive for DECCO employees and is provided to give all of our people with a community bulletin board in order to check in on what everyone is up to. With almost 200 people working throughout New England, it seemed the only practical way for us to keep in touch with one another.

We're really excited about the possibilities the new social media provides and look forward to expanding its application in our business.

DECCO Receives ABC's Excellence in Construction Award and Chairman's Award for Keene State Project
Keene State Boiler Steam Turbine Generator Chris MacMaster

DECCO once again rises to the challenge! DECCO has been named a recipient of an "Excellence in Construction Award" by the New Hampshire/Vermont Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) for our work on the Central Heating Plant Upgrades at Keene State College in New Hampshire.

In addition, and recognizing our work as the "best of the best," we also received the "Chairman's Award"—which is awarded to the premier contractor of all the award recipients. The winner was determined through an extensive process by independent judges and based on execution of design, craftsmanship, attention to detail, and safety.

The Keene State College Central Heating Plant Upgrades proposed many challenges from the start—including the critical need to supply heat during construction to a 4000+ student campus, its location in the middle of the campus, and having the DECCO jobsite serve as an OSHA classroom. The installation, start-up, and commissioning of the steam turbine generator will reduce the school's carbon footprint by 538 tons! The crew assigned to this project met every deadline in the installation of more than 4200 feet of carbon steel pipe, 1600 feet of copper tubing, and 600 feet of stainless steel and PVC pipe.

Keene State was a dream client; they were very knowledgeable, and the Supervisor of Plumbing and Heating Plant Operations, Bill Rymes, knew exactly what he wanted both in design and benefits of the new construction. There were no mid-course changes. DECCO's proprietary "Project Control System" was crucial in the pre-project planning, the execution of the work, and the successful closeout.

Logistics were a major challenge. Scheduling deliveries of large equipment (including the two 700 HP boilers and the steam turbine generator) and coordinating with other contractors on the site needed to be executed with no disruption to campus activities. Special considerations were also needed for a college setting as opposed to an industrial facility, where normal equipment operating noise is expected. Due to this, the steam turbine generator was moved to the back of the plant and seated on a specially prepared pad and support structure in the building's basement. Another challenge was the demolition of the original heating plant. DECCO had to extricate an existing boiler from the basement in order to provide temporary heating throughout the course of construction. When the new structure was in place, DECCO was able to run one of the new boilers for a few months at low pressure to keep winter heating in operation. The team then re-piped and switched to high pressure for turbine use. Engelberth Construction, Project Manager Brad Walker noted, "This was a really tight site and logistics were difficult. DECCO was great at handling all of it."

Mr. Rymes proudly gives tours of the facility to students and visitors, highlighting the complex piping and equipment installations which benefit not only Keene State's operating budget, but the quality of the environment. He was not short on praise for DECCO's crew, supervised by Chris MacMaster. "They were easy to work with, responsive, and efficient. It was a challenging endeavor, but this was a fun project!"

This award represents DECCO's 26th "Excellence in Construction" award. That is almost twice as many as any other contractor in New England.

Tom Roche Wins Bronze Medal in ABC's National Craft Championships
Tom Roche

Each year, ABC conducts a nationwide competition in search of the "best of the best" apprentice from their member companies in each of more than 14 specific trades. The competition begins locally where individual member companies send their highest skilled third or fourth year apprentice to go head-to-head with their peers from other member training programs.

Competitors are tested on their knowledge in classroom training as well as a practical exam covering numerous elements from their work related experience. Each chapter competition determines the winner who will represent that chapter at the National Craft Championship.

The National Craft Championship is an integral part of the ABC EdCon & Expo held each year where ABC's continuing commitment to foster growth and excellence in training is on display. During the intense two-day event, young men and women compete in written and practical elements just like they did at the local level. This time, the competition is as intense as it can be with only the highest scoring apprentice from each chapter in attendance.

For 2011, Tom Roche was the winner of DECCO's internal competition and went on to win the Gold Medal at the chapter event. As noted above, the chapter winner represents ABC MA in the National Craft Championships. Tom traveled to San Antonio, TX and went up against some stiff competition from across the country and prevailed as the Bronze-medal winner.

DECCO has been fortunate in achieving a winning medal at 8 of the last 10 annual events. With that level of achievement we can truly say that we have the "best of the best" students and teachers participating in our program.

Construction Unemployment Rises To 13.7 Percent in October

Following a strong 27,000 job gain in September, the nation's construction industry lost 20,000 jobs in October sending the unemployment rate up to 13.7 percent, according to the November 4 jobs report by the Department of Labor. The construction unemployment rate increased from 13.3 percent in September, but is down from 17.3 percent the same time last year.

Nonresidential construction employment decreased by 4,500 jobs for the month with employment standing at 667,900 jobs. However, the sector added 10,300 jobs or an increase of 1.6 percent from October 2010 levels.

The heavy and civil engineering sector added 3,700 jobs in October and has added 6,000 jobs or 0.7 percent from the same time last year. In contrast, the specialty trade contractor sector lost 22,100 jobs for the month and has lost 6,400 jobs, or 0.2 percent, year-over-year. Within that sector, nonresidential specialty trade contractor employment dropped by 22,500 jobs from September and lost 20,700 jobs, or 1 percent compared to October 2010.

Residential building construction employment gained 3,300 jobs for the month and has added 3,100 jobs, or 0.6 percent, over the last twelve months. Across all industries, the nation added 80,000 jobs as the private sector expanded by 104,000 jobs and government lost 24,000 jobs. Year-over-year, the nation has added 1,501,000 jobs or 1.2 percent. The unemployment rate stood at 9 percent in October.

"Though the addition of 80,000 jobs in October fell short of consensus expectations, the news for the overall economy was hardly terrible," said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. "Unfortunately, the good news does not encompass the construction industry.

"Due largely to the chilling effects of the soft-patch that emerged in the nation's economy in March upon the confidence of lenders and developers, many construction projects that were set to break ground have been put on hold," Basu said. "This has translated into weaker activity in many construction segments including architectural services and specialty trade contractors.

"One of the implications of this has been a sharp reduction in hiring in a segment that has been adding jobs recently, as witnessed in today's report," said Basu.

"No private industry lost as many jobs as construction," said Basu. "Construction activity is likely to remain soft in the months ahead for a variety of reasons, including stretched state and local government capital budgets, the winding down of federal stimulus, and still disciplined lending."

DECCO, Inc. wishes all our customers a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
Study Predicts Industries with Fastest Wage Growth

Construction and environmental cleanup are among the industries expected to offer the greatest prospects for wage growth in the next five years. A new study released by the research firm IBISWorld lists the 10 industries with the fastest wage growth predicted for 2011 to 2016. At the top of the list is sustainable building material manufacturing, which is anticipated to grow 22.7 percent over the next five years from about $8.3 billion in total this year

"Construction-related industries will experience wage growth as the economy begins to turn around and companies add staff to handle increased demand," wrote IBISWorld senior analyst Justin Molavi. However, he added that the construction industry is not expected to return to pre-recession wage levels.

The increasing use of voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, in the telecommunications industry is expected to produce the second-fastest wage growth, of 16.3 percent, over the next five years as wireless carriers and other entities adopt the technology.

The eight other industries expected to have the fastest wage growth are remodeling, home builders, investment banking and securities dealing, commercial building construction, correctional facilities, remediation and environmental cleanup services, environmental consulting, and generic pharmaceutical manufacturing.

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Employee Spotlight—Did You Know???

Did you know that Bill McCarthy, the Business Development Director at DECCO, is also an official for Women's Hockey East?

That's right! For 5 years, Bill has officiated Division 1 Hockey East games which include Boston College, Northeastern, Boston University, Providence, UNH, Maine, CT and UVM. Bill also officiates High School games in the area for NIHOA. For the last two years, Bill has also officiated the upstart women's professional team "The Boston Blades." This team consists of ex Olympians and Division 1 college players.

Bill McCarthy

Hockey has always been in Bill's blood. He helped win a Massachusetts State Championship at Arlington Catholic, played a year of prep school hockey at Canterbury in CT and played 4 years at West Point under Hall of Famer Jack Riley. Bill was an assistant captain his senior year at West Point and is one of the top 50 all-time leading scorers. Bill hopes to continue to be a referee, as long as his knees hold out!