“We are finding that many times, the greatest minds in the construction industry also have the biggest and most generous hearts.”
2021 has rejuvenated a housing market boom; the construction industry added 110,000 jobs in March, recovering over 80% of the jobs lost during the pandemic. There is a newfound optimism for the sector emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic is on the horizon but not without its own struggles, from material shortages to labor shortages, and the unpredictability of COVID-19 variants can leave construction executives in limbo.
As part of our small business resilience showcase, we were able to sit down with construction business owner, entrepreneur, and founder of US Construction Zone, Jeremy Owens.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us a little bit about your background and what inspired you to start US Construction Zone?
Thank you for having me; we are really excited to have others get to know us better as well. I currently own a remodeling business called 3 Generations Improvements in Folsom, California, and you guessed it, I am the 3rd generation. My roots in construction, with grandpa, started way back in 1956, and I started running leads with my Dad, Kurt, when I was nine years old. Safe to say, construction and an entrepreneurial spirit was in my blood from the beginning.
The idea for US Construction Zone began 3-4 years ago at a trade conference where a group of my peers and I shared our experiences, success stories, and failures. It was a very positive experience, whereupon leaving the event, we exchanged numbers, but as happens with many after-conference plans, we all knew we would likely not stay in touch. A business owner from Tennessee said he wished there was an easier way to stay connected as a peer group, and we all just nodded our heads in agreement. Fast forward a year, and that experience kept bouncing around in my mind, and I started writing down my thoughts and ideas for a useful way that peers could stay in touch and learn from each other long after a conference ends.
Your business seems quite unique in how you facilitate networking and knowledge transfer for small, medium, and large construction companies can you tell us about that?
The goal with USCZ always has been to create the vehicle where powerful networking can occur, but the secret ingredient is to find the correct user. We have been very deliberate in our messaging and mindful of who we are after because we want our users to have a positive, productive, and inspiring experience – from self-employed to those working at large corporations. We seek executives, management, and decision-makers in the construction industry who have something to say, share, or give back to the industry. We are finding that many times, the greatest minds in the construction industry also have the biggest and most generous hearts. I can’t wait to meet more of these professionals and once they are connected together, witness what they can fix and construct in our industry!
This past year was very difficult for tens of thousands of businesses can you share some insights into what challenges many construction firms have faced?
Yes, the pandemic, lockdowns, and lack of in-person events just highlighted to me, even more, the value that USCZ can have on our businesses, but more importantly, to our everyday lives. I found in speaking with other business owners that even though we may have our team around us, it does not mean that we have a peer group to talk to about high-level issues. We have a lot of high-stress problems that we are facing right now, including the labor shortage, skyrocketing material costs, crippling regulations, and an ever-changing selling and business environment. We want to make sure these owners connect to this community so that they do not feel like they are on an island when the struggles arise and that they feel comfortable sharing their successes when the sun is shining! The bottom line is the pandemic placed a giant spotlight on the problems that exist in construction right now, but an even bigger spotlight on the need for connection before these problems can be solved!
Thanks for that answer, now can you tell us what do you think the next 18 months will look like?
We are very excited about what is in front of us in the next 18 months and beyond. We expect the USCZ platform to launch in September and then will spend the rest of the year pursuing passionate members to join us while collaborating on how the platform can best serve us all as business owners next. One thing that our entire team has understood about USCZ is that we are just creating the vehicle, but our members will tell us what kind of features they want to be added. You will likely find me up late at night sending emails and trying to connect with other professionals, you will see us in trade magazines and promoted by trade associations, and you will hear me on podcasts. Hopefully, everyone gets the same message – if you are looking for a positive and inspiring community experience for the construction industry, join US Construction Zone now!
I noticed that you started a podcast called “In the Zone” as well, can you please tell us more about that and what kind of guests you are looking for?
I have been a big fan of podcasts for years, especially those that leave you inspired and more knowledgeable by the time you are done with them. We thought it would be a great value add to the USCZ brand, especially because we are seeking out inspiring guests who are changemakers or doing great things in the community. I wanted my wife, Valerie, to be my sidekick on ‘In the Zone’ because she is strong at digging deep and seeing the big picture. We also wanted an additional way to highlight our peer-nominated USCZ ‘In the Zone’ national awards that we will be starting later this year. Our podcast guests and award winners will get a nationally syndicated press release highlighting their achievements or business. Essentially, we are doing our best to find creative ways to feature exceptional people in the construction industry!
Speaking of Valerie, besides the podcast what kind of role will she play in US Construction Zone?
Yes, thank you for asking. Valerie has created success in many fields, including education, the non-profit sector, and real estate, so her insight is vast. I call her the yin to my yang! She is my balanced contrast and not my voice of reason, but my heart of reason! We are opposite in many ways, and her valued perspective and thoughtful insight is oftentimes exactly what I need at the exact time! She is excellent on the podcast offering a different perspective, and she is an even better writer, so virtually everything that USCZ produces will have her stamp on it!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I am a big fan of work/life balance, yet the process of how to achieve that is above my pay grade! Having two businesses myself does not make me a poster child of success in this area, but I will always make time for my loving wife Valerie and three imperfectly perfect kids – Aubrey, Shelby, and Andrew. I enjoy coaching, sports, and fishing, and I can envision myself a retirement golfer, though not a great one. I also have tremendous empathy and compassion for those struggling with mental health concerns in our country and believe that, in whatever ways an individual finds their inner peace, we should support that – downtime, exercise, meditation, unplugging. I think the best managers in the world understand that not everyone fits in the same box, and will seek to answer how we can customize an employment program that works for all parties – a true win-win that will create loyalty and an even more productive employee!
Finally, thank you for your time, and how can our readers get in touch with you to learn more about the fantastic work being done at Us Construction Zone? How can they connect with you on Social Media?
I’d love for construction professionals to consider joining the USCZ community by logging onto www.usconstructionzone.com. You will always find me available by simply reaching out! I also will be peeking into LinkedIn every now and then. Thank you, and I look forward to connecting with you soon!