After spending 21 years in the construction business, Shawn Van Dyke is committed to helping construction professionals change the way the world views the trades. His years of being “a numbers guy with a tool belt” gave him the skills and experience he now uses to help owners, executives and mangers grow and streamline their construction business.
At the NAHB International Builders’ Show® (IBS) in February, Shawn will present two sessions, “3 Simple Numbers to Measure the Financial Success of Your Business,” and “Hunting for Unicorns: Creating the Skilled Labor You Need by Attracting & Cultivating Talent.” We caught up with him to get a sneak peek into his session.
NAHB: Without giving too much away, what will people learn at your session, “3 Simple Numbers to Measure the Financial Success of Your Business”?
SHAWN: Running a construction business is hard enough. Business owners need a simple way to check the pulse of their construction businesses. This session will help you focus on three areas of your business in a short amount of time and give you the necessary information you need to make decisions without the help of a CPA or other financial professional.
NAHB: What is the one aspect you are looking forward to the most while attending IBS?
SHAWN: I am most looking forward meeting my clients in person. I work with construction business owners from all over the world, and IBS gives me a chance to meet many of them in person.
NAHB: What’s the best hangout spot in Vegas?
SHAWN: Hanging out in the Speaker’s Lounge because I can speak with and learn from many people I admire in this industry in a more personal setting. Plus, there’s free coffee. You can’t beat free coffee.
NAHB: What’s the biggest challenge for this industry in 2019?
SHAWN: The growing skills gap. I believe construction business owners and managers have a great opportunity to showcase the wonderful careers available in our industry right now. It’s a huge issue, but one that we can solve by creating construction businesses that attract the right talent and train the heck out of people. But we can’t wait for someone else to solve the problem. We have to do it ourselves. All of this we’ll discuss in my other session, “Hunting for Unicorns: Creating the Skilled Labor You Need by Attracting & Cultivating Talent.”
NAHB: How has the industry changed in the past 5 years? What do you predict will happen in the next 5 to 10 years?
SHAWN: The use of technology to connect and educate people to what it is we do. There has never been a better time to be in the construction industry, and I believe the use of technology to create “on-demand” construction services is pretty exciting. Consumers are searching for faster and easier ways to purchase everything. Construction services will be no different.
NAHB: What is one piece of practical advice you would give to someone starting out?
SHAWN: Learn how to read a Profit and Loss Statement. When you understand how the math of your business works, you’ll have confidence to turn down work that doesn’t produce a profit and build a business that will thrive.
NAHB: If you had to work but didn’t need the money, what would you choose to do?
SHAWN: That’s easy. Exactly what I’m doing now: coaching, speaking and writing.
NAHB: What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
SHAWN: My wife and I are planning that trip right now … a trip to Iceland. Three weeks on the road with the entire family (five kids range in age from 13 to 4) in a foreign country. That seems pretty adventurous to me! But then again, it’s an adventure just trying to get them ready for school each day.
NAHB: If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you’d live in the rest of your life, what are the top three features it would have?
SHAW: 1) It would be a sprawling single-story house with large open interior spaces that connect to the outside via stackable sliding doors. With 5 kids we need room for lots of running. 2) It would have the ability to be off the grid. 3) It would have a plunge pool.
NAHB: What’s in your fridge right now?
SHAWN: Milk, salsa, spinach, and nearly empty bottles of vodka and Jack Daniels. Like I said … 5 kids.
NAHB: Which TV-sitcom family member are you most like?
SHAWN: That’s easy. Red, the dad, from That 70’s Show.
NAHB: If you could witness a historical event, what would you want to see?
SHAWN: Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile.
NAHB: Do you have a success quote to share?
SHAWN: Being busy is the enemy of being focused.
NAHB: In three words or less, what is your prediction for the building industry in 2019?
SHAWN: Train Your People.
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