Renovating the Workforce: The Bonadio Group’s 2024 NYS Construction & Real Estate Industry Conference

By Nancy Cox, on March 19th, 2024

On February 8, 2024, we hosted our annual NYS Construction & Real Estate Industry Conference at the del Lago Resort & Casino. This year’s theme, “Renovating the Workforce,” focused on a persistent challenge identified by the industry since 2014: labor shortages. This issue has been highlighted in our annual State of the Industry Study for NY Contractors, emphasizing the need for innovative solutions to combat this ongoing problem.

The conference featured keynote speaker, Kathy Cole, CPC, Founder and President of DK Cole Company. With over 25 years of experience in construction recruiting, Kathy is an expert in recruiting key leaders, accounting professionals, construction operations management, and other roles for privately owned businesses. She has been a speaker at various construction trade association events around the country, including regional and national Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), AGC, and AICPA conferences.

Kathy’s presentation offered insights into the secrets of successful hiring. She noted that hiring in 2024 is nothing like hiring in 2019, and companies need to adapt and adopt new practices in order to remain competitive. She also emphasized the importance of focusing on performance rather than pedigree when seeking to attract key talent. Companies should define performance goals for positions, emphasizing specific tasks and outcomes rather than specific qualifications. Kathy also reminded the attendees that a very significant portion of the candidate poll consists of individuals who grew up using social media. In other words, when deciding whether to join a certain company, they will almost certainly heavily weigh the company’s social media presence, such as LinkedIn and Instagram. Investing in a digital footprint is no longer a nice thing to have – it is a necessity. Lastly, Kathy discussed the critical role of compensation in attracting top talent. She advised companies to be transparent about compensation early in the hiring process and to confirm compensation needs before final offers are made.

Following Kathy’s presentation, she moderated a panel of industry experts, including Chris Montgomery, Director of Syracuse Build, CNY Works Inc.; Anthony DiTucci, President & COO, Livingston Associates, Inc.; John Cleary, Senior Project Executive, Gilbane Building Company; and Lee Sommerman, Senior VP, LeChase Construction Services, LLC. The panelists discussed strategies they are using to combat the current labor shortage, including internal training programs, investing in company culture, and utilizing workforce development programs. Some of these companies are currently engaged in significant construction projects in various regions, including the Bills Stadium in Buffalo, Fairlife Dairy in Rochester, and Micron in Central NY. The attendees were eager to hear their insights on how these major construction projects will influence the labor shortage, including the challenges in hiring subcontractors and the potential impact on project budgets. The panel noted that they have been unable to obtain three quotes for subcontractors as they have done historically. Subcontractors are being pickier as far as what work they will take, which means certain work will also become more expensive.

The conference also highlighted our specialized outsourced accounting practice for the Construction & Real Estate industry here at TBG, emphasizing how outsourced accounting can enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and improve competitiveness for businesses of all sizes.

The event was made possible by the generous support of sponsors, including Gallagher Insurance, Risk Management and Consulting, ADP, Admar Construction and Equipment Supplies, M&T Bank, Rupp Pfalzgraf, Tracey Road Equipment, MS Consultants, and High Probability Advisors.

As part of our commitment to giving back, we are proud to share that we have donated all registration fees from the event, totaling $4,000, to Western New York YouthBuild. YouthBuild is a transformational youth development program that helps participants acquire their high school equivalency while receiving workforce credentials and support services. Participants gain valuable experience in construction, advanced manufacturing, or hospitality while making a positive impact on their community. Learn more about YouthBuild here.

If you need further guidance or have any questions on this topic, we are here to help. Please do not hesitate to reach out to discuss your specific situation.

This material has been prepared for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. Should you require any such advice, please contact us directly. The information contained herein does not create, and your review or use of the information does not constitute, an accountant-client relationship.

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Written By

Nancy Cox June 21
Nancy Cox
Industry Leader, Construction & Real Estate

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