Qualified Remodeler Magazine

DEC 2018

Qualified Remodeler helps independent remodeling firms to survive, become more professional and more profitable by providing must-have business information, namely best business practices, new product information and timely design ideas.

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and experience what it would be like to actually do specific jobs. ey were able to hook up drains and water supplies. ere were brick masons showing how to lay block. An electrician showed how to run wires to supply lights. In my booth, the kids could spread thin-set mortar and lay some tile. And the kids really responded." e event, which Lantz helped organize, was a heavy lift, but the success of the event means that it will be con- tinued in 2019 and beyond, Lantz notes. Here was a local association addressing the critical workforce development problem in a positive way because of the committed efforts of many volunteers like Lantz. And for him, it's just what everyone should be doing: volunteer, get involved and be a part of the solution. Lantz has been in construction his entire life. As a professional he started in business about 29 years ago with his brother, Wayne. Together, they ran a success- ful, diversified residential and commercial remodeling business in Richmond, Virginia, until 2007, when they went separate directions. Leo stayed focused on residential remodeling, while his brother earned a broker's license to focus on real estate investments. In life, they say timing is everything. Well, the same is true of the decision the Lantz brothers made in 2007. By August 2008, in Richmond and most other places around the country, remodeling activity had completely stopped. Newly independent, Lantz had to get scramble to find business. For a while, it meant spending weeks at a time working jobs via connections through his in-laws in Baltimore. At the same time, Lantz joined the Home Building Association of Richmond. New construction was totally stalled. Minor remodeling and repairs were the only game in town. And by the end of 2008, Lantz had immersed himself in HBA participation. He saw it as a matter of survival. "In 2008, people were shell-shocked. e stock mar- ket had gone down to 6,000. A lot of older, experienced craftsmen retired. Many younger professionals moved to Washington, D.C., or Houston to find work, and I was lucky enough that my brother-in-law, who lives up near Baltimore, had friends who wanted work done. To him I am eternally grateful. And that's how I got through it," Lantz recalls. "But in order for me to survive, I also knew that I had to associate with the best in the industry. e people who were surviving were still members of NAHB. I wanted to know the business practices I needed to adopt. I had to learn about marketing, about running a business. NAHB members were surviving somehow, and I wanted to know what were they doing. So that's why I joined." By 2015, when Lantz was elected president of the HBA of Richmond, he was also active in NARI, NKBA and other professional groups. His intention in joining these organizations was two-fold. He wanted to avail his busi- ness to member-only discounts. And he wanted to cast the widest possible net. He wanted to know as many other professionals and tradespeople as possible. To Lantz, it was these connections to the industry's joiners and survivors that would enable him to grow, and to burnish a strong The Leo Lantz Construction team: Chontrelle Price Asuman, office manager; Lantz, president; Bradley Seay, CAD designer and project facilitator. In order for me to survive, I also knew that I had to associate with the best in the industry. Leo Lantz QualifiedRemodeler.com QR December 2018 23

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