Denver homebuilders report high demand for skilled workers
By Aldo Svaldi
The Denver Post
The demand for new homes in Colorado has left builders scrambling to find enough skilled workers, a scenario that seemed improbable a year or two ago.
For buyers, that could mean longer wait times for new homes and higher prices to cover the wage increases that skilled workers are now commanding….
Terry Drahota, owner of Fort Collins general contractor Drahota, said apartments now account for three-quarters of his work, up from half. Within a year, he expects they will represent 90 percent.
“We are fortunate to be building apartments,” he said. “That is the only thing going for us.”
The firm has expertise in wood framing, giving it an advantage over commercial contractors specializing in steel. It is working with large national subcontractors to better meet the tight deadlines it faces.
Even then, Drahota has needed to fill the gap, especially in framing.
“We have to figure out how to supplement their forces,” he said. “We have to bring in our own help.” Read more.
Q: What has been your greatest accomplishment in your 40 years in business?
A: “The recognition we’ve received for our work and our project delivery, including the American Subcontractors Association Contractor of the Year Award, BBB Torch Awards, Bravo Entrepreneur of the Year Award and numerous ACE Awards.”
Q: To what do you attribute your success and longevity?
A: “Trust and communication. As a result of those two attributes, we’ve earned a great deal of repeat clients and a reputation for providing quality and value.”
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced over the years?
A: “The biggest challenge we’ve faced is adjusting to the recent recession. It’s been a significant challenge and an ongoing adjustment.”
Q: Who inspires you?
A: “My mentor W. Dean Smith. After starting a commercial construction company in Omaha, Dean took me under his wing in Fort Collins to teach me the carpentry trade. He was instrumental in helping me land my first big job and coached and inspired me to build my business.”
Q: What is your greatest piece of advice for success in business or owning your own business?
A: “Pay attention to the details!”