Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Schultz and Summers Engineering Turns Up the Heat

The Hottest place in town Thursday night
was the Cajun
Shrimp Boil hosted by SSE
and Branson Creek Properties

BRANSON- Even though the temperatures have cooled down, things were hot and spicy at the Cajun Shrimp Boil hosted by Schultz and Summers Engineering Thursday night.  Over 350 business and community leaders attended the festivities.  Janet Akers of Corporate Business Systems said, “What a great party!!  The food was outstanding and the whole night was fun!!  I haven’t seen a crowd like that for a business event in quite some time.”

Owner Stan Schultz said, “This was our best Boil so far.  The music, food and crowd all made for a fun night.  We love working in Branson and it was nice to see so many community leaders and customers having a good time at our annual Cajun Boil.”


Pictured: Bob Summers & Stan Schultz

The festivities started at 5:00 pm with several people already waiting for the first batch of shrimp to finish cooking.  “I was raised in Louisiana and it was a real treat to get some Cajun food here in Branson.  I had a wonderful time visiting with everyone who came and the food was outstanding,” added Jami Anderson owner of Kajun Kleaning.

McMillin Homes hosted the event at their Branson Creek Properties location and Communities Relations Director Shelia Walker said, “We had a wonderful time hosting the SSE Cajun shrimp boil.  The pool house at our Fieldstone Estates worked perfectly.  The food was outstanding and we were pleased that so many people were able to get a closer look at some of the homes here at Branson Creek Properties.”

This year Cedric Benoit and the Cajun Connection band had the crowd clapping their hands and stomping the feet to some fun Cajun tunes.  SSE event director Rodney Jetton added, “We are very thankful McMillin Homes offered to host our event this year.  Last year we held it at our office but we couldn’t handle a crowd this size.  Folks enjoy the music and food, which is why our boil gets bigger and better each year.”


They also gave away several door prizes including an 870 Remington shotgun and an Apple I-Pad.  Bill Houghton won the I-Pad and Marc King with Keller Williams Realty walked away with the shotgun.  Owner Bob Summers commented, “Seeing folks enjoy the food, music and fun made the whole party a success!  This was the biggest group I have ever cooked for and getting to say thanks to all our customers and friends was a blast.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Last day on Guam



By Rod Jetton
A look at the Guam radar
 We had a very busy last day.  It rained most of the day, which cooled things off.  Did I mention it is the rainy season here?  We have a big tropical storm swirling around the south pacific that is keeping things wet.  

Me with several of the Guam Senators
I started my day at 7:00am meeting with Senator Blas.  He is one of the 15 Guam Senators who pass all the budget and laws for Guam.  Right now they are working to pass the Guam budget so I was very honored that he took the time to meet with me.  He also introduced me to a few of the other Senators before their session started at 10:00am.  Hearing them talk about passing their budget brought back memories of when I was Speaker in Missouri trying to work out the compromises needed to pass a budget. 




While I was visiting with the Senators, Stan was meeting with some of the local contractors.  We joined up again at 10:00 and stopped by Hensel Phelps Construction and talked with their senior estimator Jos’e Luis Vasquez.  After that we came back to the hotel and Mr. Lam visited with us about the Guam contractors association.  Mr. Lam was an example of everyone we met on Guam.  He is one of the kindest and most helpful people you could ever meet.  

Stan Al and Rod
Jaime Cea from Kiewit joined us for lunch and then Al Sampson who is the Small Business Advisor for NAVFAC on Guam.  Al was very very helpful!  He is a Marine so I knew he was good to go.  He had an excellent understanding about contracting in this region as well as the base buildup.  He gave us some extremely helpful pointers and told us to call him if we had any questions.




Our last meeting of the day was with Michael Ady from M80 systems.  They are a company that sells furniture and appliances.  They also do contracting and were a great source of information on Guam and the region.  After that the night ended with a reception Steve Maramonte by Guam Base Buildup where several folks who are interested in the base buildup attended.  
All of us at the reception 

Stan and Steve Maramonte of Guam Base Buildup

Stan and Dot Haymann from SunPorts


We left fairly early because we have to get up at 3:30am to start the long trek home.  We leave here at 6:00am on the 24th and arrive in St. Louis at 11:15 am the 24th.  That may seem amazing but we gain a day heading back.  Hopefully we have safe flights, don’t lose our bags and make it home in time for the Branson Cajun Boil.

Guam- Brown Snake Invasion repelled

The dreaded Brown Snake
Here on Guam they have a major brown snake problem.  We have been told a brown snake snuck on a plane in Vietnam and jumped off when it landed in Guam.  These tree snakes have multiplied since then and killed all the birds on the island.  Evidently there are thousands of them.  They killed all the birds, caused numerous power outages from crawling into transformers and invaded lots of homes.

This guy caught a bunch
They are poisons and have fangs at the back of their mouth.  Because of this they can not get a full dose of venom in adults and they say the bites are not fatal.  For children it apparently is more of  a risk.  They are nocturnal and can grow up to 10 ft long.


They have set up traps all over the place to catch them.  They catch and kill as many as they can to protect the birds and children.  I did see a few birds, but I must admit it's weird to wake up in the morning and not hear any birds singing.

They must be making progress, because we did saw several birds and have not seen a brown snake yet.  We only met 1 person who had seen a brown snake and that was years ago.  They have specially trained dogs that go through all ship cargo and places to make sure the snakes are not sneaking on and trying to hitch a ride.  They have no predators here so all they do is eat and reproduce.



The traps are small wire cages with a live mouse in them.  They have food and water for the mouse and he is just walking around in the cage like its a normal life.  The warning sign on the top keeps him dry and in Guam he doesn't have to worry about the cold.  I felt kinda sorry for the mouse.

Here is the trap
His job is to attract the snake into the cage.  Once in he can't get the mouse or get out of the cage and that mouse has to sit there with that snake who is now mad and hungry.  So I guess it's an ok life for the mouse but I'm sure he gets stressed out from time to time.  I doubt he realizes the snake can not get him.
This is the mouse inside


 
Don't worry they can't live in the cold so if one gets in our bag it will not survive our Missouri winter.     

Guam
By Rod Jetton

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meetings in Guam

Our view from the room each morning
  Today we had a full day of meetings in Guam, leaving no time for surfing.  Things started off at 8:00am and didn’t end till out last one was over at 6:00pm.  We have learned allot about the island, base build up and cost of living.  

Typical rent on a three bedroom condo runs from $1,200 to $2,200 depending on where it is located and the view.  Some 2 bedrooms without beach views were as low as $800.  Office space can be rented for $.90 to $1.20 a square foot, and warehouse space is a bit cheaper than that.  Electric cost .35 cents a kilowatt in Guam, but back home its .09 cents.  Food is a lot more expensive here with milk costing $7 a gallon while eggs are 2.69 a dozen.  I guess the shipping costs makes some things more expensive.  We did find that labor costs here are very affordable.  A typical construction worker makes $13 an hour which is less than Missouri wages.  

 The good news is there are plenty of apartments, offices complexes and warehouse space available.  Also, the labor force is large and no one is having trouble finding local workers.  The bad news is the slow pace of the base buildup has contributed to the extra space and labor availability.  We talked to several folks who told us about numerous companies that came to Guam, set up offices, and have since shut them down because no work was available.  

Today we met with folks from DCK, Oyo Pacific, Ambyth Shipping, as well as representatives from the Guam Chamber.  All these meetings are providing us with the information we need to make a decision.  Tourism is a big industry for Guam with about 1 million tourists visiting a year. These are mostly Japanese but also Korea visitors.  The military is another key aspect to the economy here.  The Air force and Navy bases pump a lot of money into the local economy.   Adding a major Marine Corps base to the island would almost double the military presence here.  

Stan, Joe, Mark and David
Our Chamber meeting was particularly helpful.  David Leddy, the Chamber President set up our meeting with Chamber Board members,  Joe Arnett of Deloitte and Mark Sablan of South Pacific Petroleum Corporation (SPPC).  They started by giving us a very informative rundown of the base buildup situation and then did an excellent job of helping us understand how the state and local governments are organized.  They also gave us a rundown of the steps needed to register a business in Guam.


The day started out sunny, but it has rained off and on since then.  Yesterday was the same.  We have learned this is the rainy season and during the rainy season, it rains a lot! Ha ha.  They get just over 100 inches a year here.  The thing we are happy about is there are no typhoons in the forecast.  That is basically just like a hurricane.  Evidently, they occasionally hit Guam and do major damage. 
Stan and the same view from our hotel room as this am.  It's the rainy season

Overall, it was a very productive day.  While we are not hearing that the workload is crazy busy and they desperately need us to come to Guam as soon as possible, we are gathering the information we will need when it comes time to decide if opening a branch office in Guam is the right decision for us.           

Stan's Business Trip Causes Confusion and Concern in Doniphan


It sounds like we almost had a small crisis in Doniphan Missouri this week.  During the High school booster club meeting they were talking about who they should contact for raising money and somebody mentioned Stan Schultz.  Stan’s friend Brad Smith said, “We can’t contact him right now he is in Hawaii.”

Somebody else quickly added, “That can’t be possible because I just saw his wife Kathy at the grocery store.”  At that point all eyes turned to Kathy’s best friend Dana Wetzel and someone asked her, “Are Kathy and Stan having troubles?”

Thankfully, Dana let everyone know that there were no ‘troubles’ and that Stan was on a business trip.  I can also testify that they are talking every day.  Although I think Kathy may be a bit jealous that I’m with Stan and not her.  

My wife Jami is missing me too.  I will admit that this ranks right up there as my best business trips ever.  I saw some interesting places in the Mediterranean back when I had to travel without my family in the Marines.  But the accommodations were not quite as comfortable and there was always this chance of getting shot, which makes it not as relaxing.  This trip we are getting a lot of business done and while it is definitely not a vacation, it's a great place to 'have' to come for business!

I just want everyone to know that we are not on vacation, we seriously miss our families and we will be home soon!!  

*****NEWS FLASH***** 

Stan and I are both very sore from surfing!!  This is not and easy or relaxing sport.  We are having a hard time raising our arms.  I guess we are getting old. But I want to do it again!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

1st Day in Guam

Guam
By Rod Jetton

We arrived in Guam late last night because the plane was delayed so today we took of to explore the island.  It is Sunday and everything is shut down here.  We are one day ahead of everyone back home because we crossed the international date line.  It's very hard for me to understand but we are now way ahead of Missouri.  

All we did was go to church and then drive around the whole island.  We also stopped in a grocery store to compare prices.   Here are the photos.  There were some beautiful beach and island spots I tried to capture on camera.

Stan in front of St. Anthony Church

A jungle Trail

Me on a beautiful beach

A big mountain

A rock formation Stan wanted a photo of-engineer stuff

The lagoon and beach where we were

Tidal pools the Guamanians had made a swimming whole with

The tide coming in on the tidal pool

Veterans Memorial over looking deep valley

Some sail boats I thought Bob would like

A captured mini-Japanese sub at the war museum
video
Some looks at the beach and lagoon



Meetings in Hawaii-Then Surfing

 Honolulu Hawaii
By Rod Jetton

We arrived in Honolulu on Tuesday at about 2:00pm.  By the time found our bags, picked up the rental car and checked into the hotel it was late afternoon.  I wanted to see the mighty MO so we headed down to Pearl Harbor just in time to get on the last tour of the day.  It was very interesting to stand right where General MacArthur and the Japanese ended WW II. 

It was special to me for two reasons.  My best friend in the Marine Corps had served on the U.S.S. Missouri in the 1st Iraq war.  He had gone to the big retirement celebration for all former crew members when they moved the Missouri out to Hawaii and he had sent me a cap.  Train McCloud was a fine Marine and unfortunately he was killed in the 2nd Iraq war.  Being on that ship brought back some great memories of Trane.  

You can see the Arizona behind me  
 From the front of the Missouri you can see the U.S.S. Arizona memorial.  It was sad to think about all the lives lost in the Pearl Harbor attack.  Looking around now you would never know there had been a war except for the Arizona memorial.  Taking time to tour those ships and reflect on how America has changed since December 7th 1941 was very sobering.




After our tour we had dinner and then hit the rack.  Hawaii is 5 hours behind Missouri so even though it was only 9:00pm it had been a very long day for us.  We knew we needed to get some sleep and be ready to go in the morning.  

NAN Inc. meeting with Ms. Kim and Mr. Lucas
Some of our most productive and informative meetings were with Ken Loui from Parsons and Sharon Thom for Kiewit.  Parsons is the overall program director for the base buildup and Kiewit is a part of the $4 billion mega MACC that has already been awarded.   We also met with Mr. Lucas and Sandra Kim form NAN Inc.  Their company is also part of the mega MACC.  The small business adviser for the Navy in the Pacific Fleet is Flora Pang.  She was very supportive of helping us understand the contracting process in Hawaii, as well as the whole Pacific Rim.  Then we met Brian Zachmeier of AMEC for lunch on Thursday.  AMEC is one of the largest engineering firms in the world and Brian retired from the Air force and has lived in Hawaii for the last seven years.    We hoped these folks could give us an idea if a small company providing civil engineering and materials testing services like ours would be needed on Guam.

I am happy to report their advice and information was extremely helpful to us.  There was some good news and bad news in what we learned, but overall, the information we gained and the relationships we started will be very helpful to our future endeavors.  They all felt the buildup on Guam would require more engineers and technicians than Guam currently has available.  They each emphasized that in their planning they were looking for dependable companies like ours.   That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the funding and original time line for the Guam base buildup has not been approved.  The budget debates in Washington have put the funding on hold and the earthquake in Japan has given them other priorities to deal with.  

This has caused several companies to change their plans.  Many companies had already set up offices and moved staff to Guam.  It sounds like everyone is closing offices and bringing staff home while they wait for the Department of Defense to finalize a new master plan and appropriate the funding.    

This only confirms what I was hearing and reading about Guam before the trip.  For SSE the stalled timing is actually a good thing.  Our operations in New Orleans are still going strong and we have another year before they start slowing down.  Twelve to eighteen months from now would be a perfect time for us to start gearing up for a Guam operation.  

Overall the trip has been a huge success so far.  We are taking quite a bit of ribbing from our co-workers back home about this business trip to Hawaii and Stan and I feel a bit out of place with all the couples and honeymooners around, but the meetings we had were very helpful.  Clearly, like New Orleans the need for a dependable company is there.  The big question for everyone is, when will the DOD decide to move the Marines to Guam.
My Board and me 
Stan the Man!!
Catching a wave!
Stan and his board

On a side note we did work in some relaxation right before our plan left on Friday.  Stan and I signed up for Surfing lesson and they guaranteed success or “your money back.”  I am happy to report we are both now officially ‘surfers’.  It turns out surfing is a serious workout, we didn’t relax then, but it helped us sleep on the plane.   We had to rush but we surfed, rinsed off and were at the airport just in time.  It turns out the plane was delayed 1.5 hours which means we would not have had to rush.  I don’t know how good we smell but were sitting next to each other so I guess it doesn’t matter.    

Friday, August 19, 2011

STOPPING IN HAWAII BEFORE ARRIVING IN GUAM

Honolulu, Hawaii
By-Rodney Jetton

Stan and I drove up to St. Louis Monday evening because we had to catch a 6:00am flight to Hawaii.  I stayed up way to late working on a few letters and all too soon the 3:30 alarm went off and we were getting ready to head out on our trip to recon Guam and see if SSE should open up a branch office there.

You’re probably wondering why we are thinking about opening an office in Guam.  The short answer is because the Department of Defense (DOD) is moving the Marine base in Okinawa, Japan to Guam.  They have estimated it will cost about $14 billion to build the new base there.  The Japanese also want us to leave Guam and have pledged $6 billion to help pay for the move.  The move means there will be a lot of construction on Guam, but that doesn’t explain why a small civil engineering company from Missouri would consider moving there.

Here is the rest of the story.  Our work in New Orleans has been tremendously successful.  Stan went there, met with the local contractors, and quickly had a USACE validated construction testing lab operational.  In the beginning, most of the big firms would not hire SSE.  They had never worked with us before and they were afraid to trust something as important as testing to a small firm from Missouri. 


After several months CKY hired us for a little testing job and soon after that, our workload exploded.  Southern Services, Tetra Tech, Grillot Construction, Archer Western Contractors-The Walsh Group, WRCompass, The Shaw Group, Volkert, Odebrecht, and Integrated Pro Services were just a few of the major contractors who started requesting our services on their projects.  

The big contractors were not the only ones noticing the dependable testing services we were providing.  The USACE also took notice of our quality tests and accurate reports.  The Corps quickly awarded SSE a $5 million Blankest Purchase Agreement (BPA) to do Quality Assurance (QA) testing for them.  

Things were rapidly expanding for us in New Orleans.  Stan kept sending more of our Missouri employees down there to keep up with the workload and he also started looking for local qualified technicians who could join our team.  He had initially planned for 5 to 8 employees but within 18 months we had over 30 engineers and technicians providing both QC and QA tests in New Orleans.

During this time Tetra Tech was having some difficulty finding a surveyor to keep up with their timeline on one of their major projects.  They mentioned this to Stan and soon we had one of our Missouri crews helping them get the floodwalls and gates near the 17th Street canal laid out for construction.  Our company had done construction staking on hundreds of lane-miles of Missouri highways as well as the largest privately owned airport in America, which is in Branson Missouri.  

Even though much of the surveying in New Orleans involved complicated sector gates and floodwalls, our survey crews jumped in and worked with the project managers to keep the jobs on schedule.  Once the word got out about our surveyors, it wasn’t long until we had as many as four survey crews going full time for several different contractors on some of the largest floodwalls and levees ever built in America.

 You’re probably saying, Rod this is an interesting story but what does New Orleans have to do with Guam?”  The short answer is everything for us.  Most of the contractors we have been helping in New Orleans are major corporations with worldwide operations.  They design and build things all over the globe.  For example Engineering News Record (ENR) ranked Kiewit as the 3rd largest contractor in America, The Shaw Group is #7, and The Walsh Group is #12.  They also ranked Tetra Tech as the 5th largest environmental engineering firm, AWC is # 20, and WRCompass is #49.   

Many of these companies are taking a serious look at going to Guam and a few of them are already there.  They started asking Stan to consider going to Guam.  So, we are studying the feasibility of setting up a testing lab to support the work to build a Marine Corps base on Guam.  

That’s why we woke up at 3:30 Tuesday morning to catch a plane to Hawaii.  We needed to stop in Hawaii because many of the contractors in Guam have their pacific headquarters in Hawaii and the Navy is headquartered here as well.  I’ll write more about our Hawaii meetings in my next post.  
Stan arriving at the Honolulu airport
         

Monday, August 8, 2011

Schultz and Summers Engineering Helps Lower the Cost of Flood Insurance

SSE HOSTS THREE RIVERS BOARD OF REALTORS
Marketing Director Rod Jetton presented an overview of SSE’s services.

Attendees listen as Rod explains Flood Elevation Certification
POPLAR BLUFF, MO- Schultz and Summers Engineering (SSE) hosted the monthly meeting for the Poplar Bluff Three Rivers Board of Realtors where marketing director Rod Jetton gave a short presentation on their services and he highlighted the Flood Elevation Certification Survey program (FECSP).  Many consider SSE to be the leading engineering firm in Missouri on Flood Elevation and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) map change issues.  Jetton said, “Poplar Bluff has some great realtors working in our community and I very much enjoyed attending the meeting.  It was a wonderful opportunity for us to show how our FECSP program could help them save their clients money.”     

Vice President Kim King contacted Schultz and Summers about hosting the meeting and she added, “Rod gave a quick and professional overview of the services SSE offers.  With the recent flooding, his information on the FEMA map changes and the elevation certification process was very helpful.  Having the Bread Company cater the event was a big hit too.” 
 
Rod making a point

Schultz and Summers has developed a specific program to address the confusion many Missouri resident are experiencing because of the recent FEMA map updates.  SSE engineers and surveyors have attended several FEMA workshops on floodplain management issues.  Their Flood Elevation Certification Survey Program (FECSP) is designed to have a knowledgeable technician quickly get to the property, survey the elevation and turn that information back into FEMA.  This information allows residents to apply for a letter of Map Amendment (LOM), which many times eliminates the need for flood insurance.



There are several aspects to SSE’s program that have made them to states leader on flood certification including: minimal trip charges, neighborhood pricing discounts and quick turnaround times.  Owner Stan Schultz said, “Our new program has resulted in SSE performing over 300 flood elevation certifications already this year.  We have saved our customers thousands of dollars in flood insurance premiums and even kept a few real estate transactions from falling apart.”          

Other items discussed during the meeting included a presentation by Greg Carda, CEO of Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center on the new hospital location.  President Brock Littles covered other board business and Kurt Knodell gave an excellent update on legislative issues affecting the Missouri real estate industry.

Jetton concluded, “We always enjoy visiting with our local realtors about the many services SSE offers.  Realtors are the lifeblood of our community and we look forward to working with them to help build the infrastructure, businesses and homes necessary to keep Poplar Bluff growing.”

Friday, August 5, 2011

Schultz and Summers Engineering-Branson Cajun Shrimp Boil







2nd Annual
Cajun Shrimp Boil!!!

Join us for all the Fresh New Orleans Shrimp you can eat including Corn on the Cob, Red Potatoes and Cajun Sausage.  Then wash it all down with your favorite tea, soda or beer

Win Door Prizes!!
Apple I-Pad
Remington 870 Express Shotgun
Bionic Plus 10SC reel with a Bionic Blade rod
August 25, 2011 5 to 8PM

 
RSVP–  socialmedia@schultzandsummers.com or 417-337-8820 or facebook- http://tinyurl.com/3k5rgs2  www.schultzandsummers.com