Rick Schwolsky

Rick Schwolsky, construction manager for the 2015 Greenbuild Unity Home, has worked in the residential construction industry for more than 40 years with a special focus on high-performance homes. Before joining Hanley Wood in 1993 as BUILDER’s construction editor and later launching EcoHome magazine, he was president of Grafton Builders, a successful custom home building company in Vermont. 

Rick Schwolsky's Posts

  • There's an interesting dynamic at play within the tool industry that I'm trying to figure out. On one hand, there are clear effects on the industry of the historic decline in new-home construction. It has affected everyone from jobsite subcontractors to tool store suppliers. We've never seen anything like these conditions, which some are calling The Perfect Storm: months and months worth of unsold housing inventory, subprime mortgage failures, and newly emerging credit problems all adding up to an unpredictable market and recovery time frame. As a result, some tool industry executives have told me, U.S. tool sales are down at least 5%.

  • The January 16th anti-dumping ruling on nail imports by the U.S. Department of Commerce caused nail prices to jump an average of 30% within days of the announcement. Help us track this important issue by answering the following survey questions.

  • It was a bumpy ride for U.S. pickup and medium-duty truck makers in 2007, no doubt about it. Daimler divested itself of ailing Chrysler. Ford picked an outsider to replace its founding-family CEO. General Motors faced a labor challenge that threatened to send it into bankruptcy. Even seemingly error-proof Toyota slipped from the top tier in customer satisfaction.

  • I remember the winter of 1985–too well. My crew and I were working on a frigid remodeling job, five layers deep in turtleneck, flannel, vest, sweatshirt, and parka, every breath freezing in my beard. And the only song on the boombox seemed to be Dire Strait's 'Money For Nothing.' You know, the one that goes, 'That ain't workin', that's the way you do it, money for nothin' and your chicks for free.' That song was as far from our reality as you could get, but we made it our anthem that winter and challenged ourselves to tough it out. To quote another song, 'we worked hard for our money,' and took great pride in what we did, even if we froze our backsides doing it.

  • Watching the tool industry consolidate under larger and larger umbrellas is a fascinating process, and one that we track closely. It is a topic that comes up in almost every meeting I have with tool industry execs from companies large and small. I've said many times that the tool industry is one of the most dynamic sectors within the construction industry because of the pace of technology and product breakthroughs. But lately the acquisition and shifting of brands lend even more fuel to my case.

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