Q&A with Vernon Schaefer

February 1st, 2015 / By: / Uncategorized

By Sigrid Tornquist

Q: You’ve been in the tent and awning industry a long time and have seen it fluctuate. What is your opinion of how the industry is doing now?

A: I think as a whole the industry is pretty strong right now as compared to the last couple of years. I think the challenge for the awning industry is to revitalize the residential side of the business. Commercial sales are strong, but the residential side has become almost nonexistent. PAMA has done a great job increasing the commercial side and involving architects. I’d like to see it turn its attention to reviving the residential side now.

Q: Do you have any tips for motivating employees?

A: I don’t care how good your employees are, there’s always a time they need motivation. You need to get them involved from the time the sale is made until the thing is finished. Let them know their portion of the process is vital to the finished product. Awning installers, of course, get to see the finished product, but the sewers don’t necessarily get to see it. In the last five years or so we started taking the sewers to the project site to see the results of their work.

I also encourage the employees to walk around and talk to each other if they have a question or concern. I’ve been to companies where the sewers aren’t supposed to leave their machines and the installation crews have no business being in the sewing room. If they need to talk to each other, they should get up and do it. It only makes sense.

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