Software and business technology are seductive sirens to many remodelers and home improvement pros. Each new CRM or lead-gen software is a beacon to those entrepreneurs who are always looking for an edge in the market: new ways to increase efficiency, boost profit and enhance customer experience (UX). But that is also a problem. Chasing the latest-and-greatest software and technology is often distracting and counterproductive.  

That is why FAST Remodeler Live, V2, a live event for remodelers and home pros focused on agile systems and technology, will be designed to help attendees make good technology decisions and help them develop realistic time lines for implementation and deployment. Instead of always chasing the latest-and-greatest, remodelers must strike the right balance between solid long-term technology performance and being nimble enough to make use of a game-changer, like ChatGPT, that might come along. 

The event, which will be held May 16-17, 2023 at the Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor is open to remodelers and home improvement pros of all types. It is for this reason that the program is separated on two distinct tracks: one for design-build and full-service remodelers who manage medium and large projects as well as specialty and replacement contractors. The software needs of both groups are different enough that the conference’s roster of peer-to-peer speakers are tailored to fit those differing needs. 

Top Speakers and Topics 

On the design-build, full-service side of the roster, the event will feature Scott Seigert, chief operating officer of BuilderTrend; Bruce Case (CEO) and Bill Millholland (SVP) of CASE Architects & Remodelers; and Michael Anschel of OA Architecture and Remodeling. For replacement and specialty contractors FAST Remodeler Live leads with Danny Fisher, Chief Technology Officer of West Shore Home; Ken Kelly, CEO of Kelly Roofing; Beth Biron, CMO of Reborn Home Solutions; and Rich Harshaw of Level 10 Contractors.  

“This is a conference for individuals who want to learn about new business technology and grow their businesses,” said Patrick O’Toole, co-owner of SOLA Group Inc., which owns the conference host Qualified Remodeler magazine. “Last year the focus was on identifying new opportunities, and while that will also be the case in 2023 for Version 2 of FAST, the theme of how best to select software and how best to implement it has emerged as a key need within market. It’s also a theme that many of our speakers identified in preparing their sessions.” 

Below are the some of the latest session topics to be posted to the FAST Remodeler Live website. To learn more and register, go to FASTRemodelerLive.com and bookmark it. The final agenda and placement of speakers by day and time will be released by Friday, April 14. 

Using Technology to Analyze your Marketing – For Small and Large Budgets 

Presenter: Shaina Anderson, Marketing Manager 
Case Architects & Remodelers | Fred Home Improvement, Bethesda, Maryland 

Whether your full-service or design-build company is billing over $5 million or significantly less, the marketing principles are the same. Drawing on her years of experience as marketing manager for Case Architects & Remodelers, Anderson outlines current trends in overall branding, marketing, and advertising strategy and how technology increasingly plays a critical role in execution, analysis, and effectiveness. From a data analytics standpoint, this session will dive deeper offer ways to analyze specific advertising and marketing campaigns using CRM data, Google Analytics, phone-call tracking and more. 

Take Your Social Media and Email Marketing Programs to the Next Level 

Presenter: Maddie Millholland, Social Media Manager 
Case Architects & Remodelers, Bethesda, Maryland 

  It’s harder than ever to reach potential clients. Why not leverage the technology tools in social media to work better for you? Social media is a relatively easy, low cost, and probably already have lots of content. In this session, we’ll review what to post, where to post, and how we use technology to track the outcome. We will also review how to incorporate email marketing and outreach efforts into your marketing mix to stay in touch with current and past clients. With today’s technology, we can target our ideal audience and understand how our efforts are performing. 

How to Use Existing Apps and Technology Ecosystems to Bootstrap a Next Level Business Environment 

Presenter: Ken Kelly, President 

Kelly Roofing, Naples, Florida 

Very few home improvement company entrepreneurs can relate a business technology story quite like Ken Kelly. A second-generation roofing contractor, Kelly identified technology as a key differentiator beginning in 2013. He wanted to sharpen their game on a seamless platform, do it affordably, and allow his business to scale up and scale down according to the variable market conditions related to storms. Kelly explains how starting with Office 365 in 2013, then later using Microsoft Dynamics, he and his tech team created an effective end-to-end business operating system—from lead generation to production to accounting and finance. His success was spotted by Microsoft, and he has twice been asked to speak at the company’s annual meeting tell this story.  

How to Build a Business Technology Platform to Boost Client Experience and Achieve Maximum Operational Efficiency to Grow Profits and Scale Up 

Presenter: Danny Fisher, Chief Technology Officer 

West Shore Home, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania 

As the CTO of fast-growing West Shore Home, Danny Fisher has had his hands full. In the past two years the company has completed nearly a dozen acquisitions of other firms in locations hundreds of miles from home base. The firm has also grown through the startup of new branches as it expands its coverage east of the Mississippi and initiates its coverage in the Western U.S. Fisher and his team must assimilate new companies quickly and get their teams up and running on West Shore systems without missing a beat. Using the Salesforce platform as a backbone, Fisher and his team have onboarded and seamlessly integrated a variety of home-improvement specific solutions. Fisher describes the company’s process for evaluating and selecting solutions and their process for rolling them out to achieve maximum efficiency and productivity. 

Three Silos in Your Stack: A Remodelers Guide to SaaS, Suites and Social Media 

Presenter: John Newland, Co-Owner 

JOMA Construction, Athens, Ga. 

Choosing software requires a big investment of money and time. Considerable commitment is also required when software must be successfully integrated and deployed to staff and clients. JOMA Construction, a full-service, design-build remodeler, has built an admirable business-technology ‘stack’ it relies on. All of it works together for gains in efficiency, profit and user experience. Owner John Newland, who worked in the software industry before he and his wife started JOMA, can attest it takes time and energy to arrive at the right combination of software to match the way your company operates. He breaks that process down into three parts. Saas or ‘Software as a Service’ refers to cloud-based software services that dominate tech distribution today. Suites are platforms that offer fundamental services like spreadsheets, word processing and e-mail as well as video meetings and chat. How well all of it integrates with your social channels is the third and final piece. Newland will offer his perspective on the mindset needed to be a FAST Remodeler: how to select software, how to implement it and how to deploy it. 

Case Study: Selecting and Implementing a Design-Build Estimating Software 

Presenter: Dave Exten, Estimator 

CASE Architects & Remodelers, Bethesda, Maryland 

Every remodeling estimate generated by CASE Architects & Remodelers, one of the largest design-build companies in the country, is created by Dave Exten. In 2021, the company produced $47.4 million, including a handyman division. (Exten is not responsible for handyman jobs, just remodeling.) It’s a very big job. How is this possible? Technology has long been an aid. Exten will step through the process that CASE followed in selecting a new software for estimating. The company is now in the final phases of fully deploying their new solution after many months of carefully working in tandem with the previous software solution. You will learn about the gains the company can expect from incorporating their new solution. There are many. This example highlights the gains in efficiency and profit that are possible when a company is FAST for all areas of its business, especially in the very important function performed by estimators. 

Thinking Human. Being Tech: Striking the Right Balance 

Presenter: Michael Anschel, Owner

Otogawa-Anschel Design+Build

The promise of technology can dazzle. The packaging is inspirational. So why does it so frequently fizzle, flop and frustrate. Humans sit at the center, and with it a critical need to understand and consider human behavior when selecting or applying technology. Applying the lens of the user to understand the human experience and probable interaction, reaction, and path of action is crucial in our frictionless technology engagement.

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