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December 31, 1999

RE: Knowledge Trumps Information
October, page 9

Dear Professional Remodeler:

I would like to applaud your vision of the importance of "Knowledge Trumps Information." I have often heard comments from potential customers that major retail is hurting their business. A distributor or contractor should be pleased to carry the same brands that are present in the major retail outlets. After all, if the largest building material retailers have chosen to carry a certain brand of product, they are putting their reputation on the line as well. Companies like The Home Depot do not make these types of decisions unless they know the manufacturer can back them up.

Tony Muljat, Sales Manager
Viking Industries
Sacramento, Calif.

Dear Professional Remodeler:

["Knowledge Trumps Information"] was very thought-provoking. I am a one-man remodeling company. I work alone and I do my own work-no subcontracting. I have worked hard to build a reputation for doing high-quality work, being fair and honest. I am proud to say I have been successful at that. I also have developed a reputation for having rather short patience with people who think I should be paid for being a hammer operator. I am much more. Sometimes I am an architect, designer, interior decorator, and/or lawyer. I believe in equal pay for equal work. I will be paid the same as other people in the field that I am competing with. (I have to accept a pay penalty for not being licensed/certified in some of the above fields.) But I will not allow anyone to reduce me to a hammer operator. How much a door cost at the "Big Orange" is irrelevant to my services.

David Bobenhausen
Oak Brook Remodeling, Inc.,
Carterville, Ga .

Re: Solving the Labor Shortage Problem
November/December, page 24

Dear Professional Remodeler:

We see it every time we pick up a building magazine and every time we inspect a job site: The improper use of tools and the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worn by construction workers. This is a serious safety issue. Now, look at the picture you printed in the latest issue. The picture shows a worker wearing his head protection improperly (backwards), the foot protection is the common tennis shoe, and one can just imagine that no fall protection plan is in place or being monitored. Most employers and workers feel when they use PPE and safety methods it is an added burden and doesn’t add to their productivity.

Unfortunately, what they don’t understand is that PPE and safety programs are often the last resort in protecting them from injury because the hazards that they are exposed to cannot be completely eliminated or controlled. Recently Nike, in cooperation with Operation Lifesaver, Inc., pulled a national ad showing a teenager zooming in and out, and around trucks and cars in a very unsafe manner while wearing their product.

Employers have a difficult time training and encouraging workers to use safe work practices and PPE on construction sites. Seeing examples of unsafe work practices or no PPE being worn as recommended by OSHA and tool manufacturer’s in ads and articles is not unlike the skateboarder performing daring stunts in the middle of a busy street; it does a great deal of harm by reinforcing the wrong stereotype.

I would encourage you to set the example. It has been said; a picture is worth a thousand words. Let’s make the pictures in ads and articles as safe as possible.

—Peter Kuchinsky II
Construction Building Analysts
Vista, Calif.

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