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The Joint Science Technology Institute (JSTI) will be held July 19 – Aug. 1, 2014 in Aberdeen, Md.

May 25, 2014

JSTI for Students is a two-week, all expenses paid, residential science technology engineering & math (STEM) program for current high school students in the United States. The purpose of the program is to expose students to scientific research through hands-on projects, to enable students to work with real-world scientists, and to increase students’ awareness of STEM career opportunities. 36 participants will be selected for JSTI 2014.

Eligibility for students:

*Student must be 16 by July 19, 2014
*Student must be a U.S. citizen
*Student must be a high school student in the 2014-2015 school year
*Student must have a teacher recommendation
*Student must be willing to work cooperatively in a group and follow instructions

Students should apply at http://www.orau.org/center-for-science-education/events/ jsti/default.html

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Design Basics for a New Master Bath

April 23, 2014

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So You Want to Remodel Your Kitchen

June 15, 2013

You have been thinking about remodeling your kitchen. So you have gone on line and looked at cabinets, hardware, sinks, faucets and now believe you are ready to negotiate with a contractor. You know what you want and how much it will cost you for materials. So, all you want is the contractor to provide the labor to install it, right!  Well not so fast.

A good contractor is not only an installer, but can solve problems as they arise. A good contractor is a manager of the entire construction process, design consultant, plan reviewer, purchasing agent, material expediter, project manager and trouble shooter. In order to get the best project, we ask questions that will help us meet your needs. By listening carefully we can take the work you have done online and meld it together to create a unified design and construction process.

While our clients are most often concerned with the style and look of what is to be installed, we must also consider HOW it is to be installed. Only experience and expertise can look at what currently exists and make assessments of how the new materials will be coordinated seamlessly into the renovation. This is often a problem with older homes. The materials used 30 – 40 years ago are often of different dimensions compared to what is used today. Walls are not plumb or square, floors are not level. Making these adjustments add not only to the material cost but add time to the project as well.  These must be considered in the total cost of the project.  And then there are the hidden costs: do outlets need to be adjusted, do electrical connections need to be modified, will the new plumbing fixtures fit in existing fixtures etc.

A remodeling project, especially in an older home, may be more of a renovation project. Not only are you installing new materials, you must also ensure that it matches up with the existing materials. Remember the old saying “You get what you pay for.” It takes experience, expertise and dedication to detail to ensure that the final product has the fit and finish consistent with the excellence you deserve.

For more information, check out our new website: www.FlamingoConstructionNJ.com

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Considering Remodeling Your Kitchen?

June 15, 2013

The first step in problem solving is Problem Identification. So, last week we asked you to focus on what is wrong with your kitchen. In this installment we will look at one of the most difficult things to address in kitchen remodleing:

Step 2.           Assess the kitchen layout. Does it work for how you want to use it?

A myriad of non-cooking activities such as watching TV, entertaining, homework and talking on the telephone have been a “but of course” comment for many families when it comes to what is done in the kitchen. Have you ever asked the kitchen designer did they cook? Does your kitchen match your life style? Do you entertain a lot and need the capacity to serve a lot of people. Do you need to cook for a lot of people? Do you like folks to hang out while you cook? Maybe you have kids that like to help out so you want a separate prep space (and sink) for them or whoever is that second cook in the kitchen. Multiple cooks mean multiple work triangles or at least minimize their conflicts. Design and color are wonderful, but if they don’t enhance the cooking experience, then we can never have a truly GREAT kitchen.

So what is a “Work Triangle” and why does it matter? The concept for the kitchen work triangle was developed in the 1940s,  The kitchen was looked at as a space where only cooking took place. The kitchen work triangle connects the three main work areas in the kitchen — the sink, the range, and the refrigerator. As a general guideline, the distance between these areas determine the effeciency and the amount of energy you expend in the kitchen. The total of all three sides of the triangle should be between 13 feet and 26 feet. If the distance is too small, the kitchen will feel cramped, too large and you spend a lot of energy going from station to station.

Today, more activities are done in the kitchen, so this concept has changed. In addition to the big three, you may have a clean up area, food prep, serving, computer/homework areas as well. If there are more than one person that cooks, then you have to envision how they will work together in the same space while reducing conflicts and improving flow in and around the space.

Adequate prep space is often forgotten because it’s not explicitly thought about. It’s a good idea to have one prep space near the sink and one near the stove. Put utensils, pots and spices near the stove for easy cooking — it’ll save additional steps. Your clean up space should be near your dish and tableware storage, or maybe you want them near your serving area. In kitchen design, there are no hard and fast rules, it’s how you want and use the space.

While all this is good, do you have the space for making these changes? Do you have the infastructure to support it (plumbing and electric), will the appliances fit, are there structural walls that make it difficult to optimize your design concepts. Now you know why I say this is the most difficult thing to address.

For more information on kitchen design, see our new website: www.FlamingoConstructionNJ.com

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Christie Administration Announces Launch of “reNew Jersey Stronger” Housing Assistance Initiative

May 28, 2013

$780 Million Available for Homeowners Impacted by Superstorm Sandy

Beginning May 24, 2013, eligible homeowners can now apply for grant assistance at www.renewjerseystronger.org or by calling 1-855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946).

The housing assistance programs comes less than a month after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Action Plan. The Action Plan details how the State will utilize $1,829,520,000 in federal funding to help homeowners, renters, businesses and communities impacted by Superstorm Sandy. The reNew Jersey Stronger housing assistance initiative will utilize $780 million of the allocation.

Homeowners will be able to apply online and by phone starting today. They will also be able to apply in-person starting June 8 at Sandy Housing Assistance Centers which will be located in those counties most impacted by the storm. “Housing counselors both at the centers and over the phone can help applicants navigate the entire process by providing support and clear guidance,” said Richard E. Constable, III, Commissioner of the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which will administer the distribution of CDBG Disaster Recovery funds for New Jersey.

Under the reNew Jersey Stronger housing initiative, homeowners whose primary residences were damaged by the storm in the nine most-impacted counties (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union) may apply for two grant programs. Vacation homes, second homes and recreational vehicles or trailers are not eligible for the programs based on federal restrictions on the use of the funds.

  • Homeowner Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program: This $600 million program will provide eligible homeowners up to $150,000 in grant funds to aid the reconstruction, rehabilitation, elevation and mitigation of damaged primary homes. The program is intended to fill the gap between the costs needed to repair the home and other sources of funds the homeowner has received to repair their home such as insurance payments or assistance from FEMA or the U.S. Small Business Administration. Additionally, the program will help homeowners with the construction process by developing repair specifications, identifying qualified builders to do the construction work, and ensuring the quality of the work completed. Seventy percent of the funds will be reserved for low-to-moderate-income households in accordance with federal requirements.

All applicants under the RREM Program must have registered for assistance with FEMA and must have a household adjusted gross annual income of less than $250,000. Priority will be given to homes that are deemed “substantially damaged” (damages exceed 50% of a home’s assessed value) as a result of Sandy.

  • Homeowner Resettlement Program: This $180 million program is aimed at encouraging Sandy-impacted homeowners to remain in the nine counties that were most seriously affected by the storm. This program will provide $10,000 grants to eligible homeowners to encourage them to resettle in their existing home or resettle in the same county and in so doing will help to restore home values and stabilize many devastated communities. Homeowners must agree to remain in the county of their damaged residence for three consecutive years following the grant award. Sixty percent of the funds will be reserved for low-to-moderate-income households in accordance with federal requirements.

All applicants under the Resettlement Program must have registered for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and must have sustained at least $8,000 in damages or more than one foot of flooding on the first floor as a result of Sandy. There is no formal deadline for accepting applications, there will be an initial application period that will run from May 24, 2013 to June 30, 2013. All completed RREM and Resettlement applications received by June 30 will then be in the first group to be processed. Once the application period closes, selection will prioritize those homeowners with the most damage (i.e., substantial, severe and major), whose homes are in the most impacted counties (i.e., Atlantic, Monmouth and Ocean), and who are of low- to moderate-income.

In early July, applicants will be notified of their place on the list and whether they will receive an award out of HUD’s initial allocation of funding. Anyone who is not successful in getting an award will be placed on a waiting list pending a future allocation from HUD. An announcement on future allocations is expected in September.

Applications will continue to be accepted after June 30, 2013, but these applicants will be processed only after all the most impacted homeowners from the first group have been served.

For more information on the reNew Jersey Stronger housing assistance initiative, including details about the application process, determination of eligibility, and award calculation, visit www.renewjerseystronger.org or call the hotline number 1-855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946). Locations and directions to the Sandy Housing Assistance Centers that are opening June 8 will be posted at www.renewjerseystronger.org as the information becomes available.

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Hurricane Sandy Resources

January 2, 2013

Some time has passed since Super Storm Sandy hit. However, if you know someone who is still in need please make use of the following resources:
Call 211 or go online at www.nj211.org for help with non-emergency issues, including basic human needs, support for seniors or persons with disabilities, children, or mental health issues.

To file a claim with FEMA:
• Call 800-621-FEMA (800-621-3362). Make sure you register with FEMA. Make sure your insurance company is informed about your issues even if you have contacted FEMA!
To file an insurance claim, if you can’t find the company or agent’s number:
• Call the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance at 1-800-446-7467 or go to www.dobi.nj.gov.
To provide volunteer assistance in the cleanup and restoration effort:
• Call 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397). Backup numbers: 609-775-5236 or 908-303-0471.
• Volunteers may also send an email to rowena.madden@sos.state.nj.us. This service is managed by the NJ Business Action Center and the Governor’s Office of Volunteerism, both divisions within the NJ Department of State.
To request volunteer assistance:
• Call 211 or go online at www.nj211.org.
State Aid:
• Department of Health and Senior Services
• New Jersey Department of Health – Directory of Local Health Departments in New Jersey
• NJ DEP’s Hurricane Sandy Page – precautionary wastewater measures, how municipalities can apply for emergency land use permits, when to boil their water, and much more.

Do You Have Property Available to Assist Sandy Evacuees?
NJAR® continues to seek properties available for short-term or long-term rental for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. If you’d like more information on temporary housing for Sandy evacuees at age-restricted communities or if you currently have a listing you’d like placed on FEMA’s Housing Portal and the NJ Housing Resource Center’s webpage, please contact NJAR® Local Government and Regulatory Affairs Coordinator Bruce Shapiro at (732) 494-4713 or bshapiro@njar.com.
In addition, more resources geared to both REALTORS® and the public have been added to the Get the REAL Story® Relief webpage. They include tips from the New Jersey Housing Resource Center (HRC) and a timeline of updates on the Fort Monmouth temporary housing efforts.

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Dep’t of Labor Internship in Philadelphia: Deadline 4/2

March 17, 2012

The Department of Labor is actively recruiting for their 2012 Public Affairs summer and fall internships at the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Public Affairs in downtown Philadelphia. Please see info below for additional information about the internship. They are looking for undergraduate and graduate Journalism, Communication, Public Relations, Advertising, and/or English majors.

NOTE: This is a credit only internship. Students typically receive up to three (3) credit hours for successful completion of the internship. DOL provides a transit subsidy for interns who commute using SEPTA or PATCO.

The deadline to submit all application materials for both semesters is April 2, 2012.


The US-DOL Public Affairs Internship is open to Junior, Senior and Graduate Student Communication, Public Relations, Advertising, English, and Journalism majors. This is a great opportunity to use your creativity, gain real-world, government public affairs experience, hone your writing skills, add to your professional portfolio, and contribute to meaningful projects!

• Writing press releases, media advisories, news briefs, blogs
• Writing blurbs for publication in DOL’s weekly online national newsletter
• Writing feature stories and photo cutlines for DOL internal website Labor Net and internal, monthly e-magazine Frances Magazine
• Pitching regional media representatives and coordinating media interviews/opportunities for DOL agencies/staff
• Garnering publicity and news coverage of agency outreach programs and initiatives, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Summer Heat Campaign that promotes water, rest and shade for outdoor workers and the Wage and Hour Division’s New Jersey gas station enforcement initiative
• Developing media relations database
• Conducting research
• Performing light administrative work

Participants must have excellent written and verbal communication abilities, experience (preferred) using AP Stylebook guidelines, good computer skills, and a professional and positive attitude. Students must be able to meet the minimum time commitment, 8-10 hours/week. Bi-lingual students (Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Gujarati, and Hindi speakers) are encouraged to apply.

Candidates selected for an interview will be given a brief test assessing their writing skills and knowledge of AP Stylebook guidelines.

Email a cover letter, resume, three (3) writing samples and three (3) references to:
Joanna Hawkins, Deputy Regional Director


Interested candidates should contact Joanna Hawkins at 215-861-5101 or hawkins.joanna@dol.gov.

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Solar Training Opportunites in Philadelphia

November 28, 2011

Federation of Neighborhood Centers Logo

The Federation of Neighborhood Centers has a new solar training program that is now enrolling.  The rough draft of the brochure is attached.  Please pass this on to anyone at JEVS who may have someone in their program who could benefit from this.  We are currently enrolling for a class that will be held Dec 5 – 9.  Infinite Solar is conducting the training for us. 


 -         2 or more years experience in construction, carpentry, electrical, remodeling, roofing or HVAC (doesn’t have to be 2 continuous years)

-         Basic electrical knowledge

-         Some familiarity with equations, fractions, algebra          

No cost for training for those who qualify and are accepted. 

 Here is the link to our page on our FNC website about the program.  There is a link at the bottom of the webpage for the brochure.


 Interested potential trainees can call 215.989.3566 ext. 28 to reserve a spot at our info session (to be held on November 17th) or to get a call back with more information.  Those interested in the info session should call the number above and someone will return their call and provide the information about the event.

 Jerry Tapley

Chief Operating Officer

Federation of Neighborhood Centers

1528 Walnut Street, Suite 200

Philadelphia, PA  19102

215.989.3566 x 11

215.989.3568 – fax


 Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”Voltaire


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Application Available for two SERVE Philadelphia VISTA Positions (Due No Later Than December 7th)

November 14, 2011

Are you interested in giving a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA?  Consider applying for one of two SERVE Philadelphia VISTA positions – applications due no later than Wednesday, December 7th!  

SERVE Philadelphia 2012-2013
AmeriCorps VISTA Information and Application

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service is accepting applications for two full time SERVE Philadelphia 2012-2013 VISTA members, beginning in February 2012, to serve for a period of one year on projects designed to increase access to educational opportunities and strengthen community volunteer networks.


Applications are being accepted for the positions listed below.  Please reference pages three through five of the full application for complete position descriptions.

  • Parks and Recreation Volunteer Engagement Support Coordinator
    The Mayor’s Chief Service Officer is looking for an AmeriCorps VISTA to serve as the Parks and Recreation Volunteer Engagement Support Coordinator.  The VISTA will be based in Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PP&R), working closely with staff and friends groups to (1) support development of, and manage updates to, a handbook for citizens interested in volunteering in one of Philadelphia’s parks or recreation facilities; (2) develop and maintain an electronic calendar of volunteer events and opportunities at Philadelphia’s parks and recreation facilities; and (3) under the guidance of PP&R stewardship staff, provide support to Friends Groups interested in building their capacity to engage volunteers and leverage local and citywide resources.
  • Volunteer Initiative Coordinator with the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy
    The Mayor’s Commission on Literacy has been charged with addressing large-scale improvement of education levels for the 550,000 adults in Philadelphia who are at or below basic adult literacy levels.  A key component in the Commission’s work is to increase adult learners’ persistence and retention through matching near-peer mentors with new learners.  Through this model, new learners will gain the support they need when life interferes with learning.  This model will provide new learners the opportunity to know someone just like them is succeeding along with the encouragement and just-in-time help they need to persist and complete each step along the path to achieving their learning goals.  In addition, near peer mentors themselves will gain valuable experiences and recognition they can add to their resumes, including the possibility of college-level service learning credit.  The near peer mentors and learners will be developed in cadres at the neighborhood level.  The AmeriCorps VISTA member will work to develop the model, implement it in one or two pilot neighborhoods, analyze the impact and report findings to the Commission and its constituents.

SERVE Philadelphia 2012-2013 VISTAs will serve full time for a period of one year, beginning February 10, 2012 and ending February 9, 2013.

VISTAs are required to attend a mandatory Pre-Service Orientation from February 6th to the 9th in Boston.   All transportation costs to and from Pre-Service Orientation will be covered.

Both of the VISTA positions outlined on pages three through five of the full application require full time service, with occasional responsibilities in the evening and on weekends.

SERVE Philadelphia VISTAs will participate in local orientation and regularly scheduled professional development sessions throughout the year sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service in collaboration with our network of partners.

AmeriCorps VISTAsreceive a living allowance of $977/month, before taxes.  They also have the option to enroll in the VISTA Health Benefits Program and apply for SNAP (food stamps).  AmeriCorps VISTAs who are part of the SERVE Philadelphia VISTA team also receive a monthly transportation pass.  Finally, AmeriCorps VISTAswho successfully complete their year of service receive an education award of $5,350.  This award, which is subject to taxation, can be applied to any federally backed loan or used to pay tuition in the future.  NOTE: Per the policy of the Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps VISTAs cannot engage in additional paid work during their year of service.

For detailed information about AmeriCorps VISTA, including member benefits, please visit:http://www.americorps.gov/about/programs/vista.asp

Application Process
Please see pages 6 and 7 for of the full application, which can be submitted by email to cso@phila.gov or by mail to the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service, 112 City Hall, Philadelphia, PA  19107.

Application Release Monday, November 14th
Application Deadline Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis through Wednesday, December 7th
Interviews Interviews will take place on a rolling basis.
2011-2012 SERVE Philadelphia VISTAS Announced Wednesday, December 21st
SERVE Philadelphia VISTA Local Pre-Orientation Wednesday, January 11th from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service, 112 City Hall
VISTA Pre-Service Orientation February 6th to the 9th, 2012 in Boston (all travel costs covered)
Program Duration February 10th, 2012 through February 9th, 2013

NOTE: Once candidates have been accepted, they will need to fill out an on-line application through the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Applicant Requirements
Because all of the projects involve working with children and/or ‘vulnerable populations’ in some capacity or another, VISTAswill be required to complete a criminal background check and child abuse clearance.  Finally, individuals must meet the special requirements of the position(s) for which they are applying (see complete position descriptions in the full application for more info).

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Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service
112 City Hall
Philadelphia, Pennyslvania  19107


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A Kiss from Irene

August 29, 2011

While Irene wasn’t as devastating as predicted, it still caused several fatalities. My prayers go out to all those who lost someone or had severe property damage.

My last blog post gave you three simple steps to Be Prepared for Irene. Now I have to take some of my own advise.

Aftermath of Irene, Tree falls on house

Tree roots after Irene



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