Standing Out in the Crowd


If you attended last month’s NAHB International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla., you may have seen or heard the buzz surrounding Dennis Lavrynenko, a student at Northern Kentucky University, majoring in construction management, who is looking to begin his career in construction upon his graduation this May.

Lavrynenko came to IBS as part of the NAHB Student Chapters Residential Construction Management Competition. He and his team presented their proposal on the first day of the show to a group of construction company executives who acted as judges. Lavrynenko thought he would go home after the presentation and learn who won the competition from his teammates later. But he got an idea that made him stand out in a sea of about 47,000 building professionals who attended IBS and still has people talking about him a month later.

“I realized there were lots of employers at the show,” he said when I spoke to him after IBS. “Although nobody was promoting jobs, I thought they might be interested in hiring me. So I got an idea to put my resume on my T-shirt.

Lavrynenko wore the T-shirt to IBS on the second and third days of the show. Each time someone approached him about it, he handed them his printed resume and took their business card. “A lot of people said they loved the idea and took pictures with me and put them on Facebook,” he commented. “I attended a marketing class, just to listen, and they had me stand up and tell everyone about my idea.”

By the time IBS had ended, Lavrynenko had handed out about 40 resumes. Since he’s returned to school, he has begun following up with the people whose business cards he acquired and has gotten four positive leads for potential jobs so far.  

Being innovative, like Lavrynenko was with his resume T-shirt, can differentiate your company from your competitors and provide new opportunities in this tough marketplace. Maybe you want to try offering past clients handyman services as Mike Weiss suggests in “On Your Business,” page 18. It may sound like a step backward, Weiss says, “but the multitalented team was the forerunner of yesterday’s giants.”

Maybe you’ve been thinking about offering energy-efficiency improvements as one of your specialties. David Johnston breaks down what these improvements entail in “Home Performance,” page 40. Johnston also illustrates how offering energy improvements while doing other remodeling projects will help you increase the size of each job while you’re onsite. In addition, George D. Sullivan explains on page 46 how incentives can help you close the sale when it comes to doing energy-efficiency work.

There still is work out there for you. According to a January survey, 90 percent of Angie’s List members who responded say they plan to spend, on average, 5 percent of their homes’ value making improvements and repairs this year. (Read more in “Overview,” page 10.) You just need to find what will make you stand out from your competitors. If you’re looking for an employee who can generate innovative ideas, you should contact Lavrynenko at (513) 485-7375 or


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