Get to Know Us: Large-Scale Commercial Project Team

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Fox Blocks has a dedicated large-scale commercial project team that works tirelessly to bring the development, design and commercial construction industry an extremely efficient building envelope with superior strength, sound, air quality and double-insulated walls.

In this article, Randy Daniels and DC Mangimelli, two passionate team leaders driven to assist in the success of ICF commercial projects for clients across the country, share their insights, values and an inside look into their everyday work and accomplishments with commercial ICF installation.

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Tell Us About the Team and What You Do

Randy: Fox Blocks decided to take a direct approach in offering support for large-scale commercial projects like military bases, theatres, hospitals, schools, retail centers, federal buildings and more. The volume our team has produced has grown big enough to assign dedicated members to our Large-Scale Commercial Project team.

My wheelhouse as the Western U.S. Business Development Advisor is overseeing bigger projects and dealing directly with architects, owners, developers, general contractors, structural engineers and subcontractors.

DC: While Randy is on the West Coast, I’m on the East Coast as the Eastern U.S. Business Development Advisor and handle spearheading and bidding on commercial projects for the other half of the country. Randy and I are pretty thorough in showcasing potential new clients on what we can provide and work together to ensure our team finds success.

The overall team, both outside sales and inside sales, works on supporting Fox Blocks and TRUEGRID sales growth. We’re either going to market through dealers, which are distributors of Fox Blocks, TRUEGRID and other building products, or we’re supporting projects directly, all the way through from start to finish.

What Does Your Role Consist Of?

Randy: Well we get to go out and generate high-volume projects and get ICFs specified. We do that via AIA presentations, attending meetings/securing meetings with development groups, property owners, school districts, military boards, etc.

What we’re trying to do is fairly simple. If you’re going to build a commercial building and you’re sitting in a meeting with an architect and a structural engineer, the question, “What are we going to build this out of? Masonry block? Stick frame?” we generate an additional question “What about ICF?”...we make sure that get’s asked.

Hopefully, we generate a value proposition that sways a decision and hit the road running to get in front of the developers with educational product training, timeline scheduling and budget management. The role is simple:

  1. Generate large-scale commercial/institutional/federal work.
  2. Support that work with takeoffs, pricing, value design, value engineering, and more. Then, if you do get a project specified with Fox Blocks…
  3. Put together the installation subcontractors group for bidding.
  4. Secure the project.
  5. Get to work!
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Do You Go Out to the Actual Project Sites and Help?

Randy: Yes! Selling our ICF is the tip of the iceberg. During the delivery process, we do a lot of contractor training on-site these days via virtual meetings. We assist on-site with an array of technical support, whether it’s initial training or sub-trade training and support for the plumbers, drywall installers, exterior installers, etc.

We are on-site to support the ICF installation itself and everything that accompanies it to ensure it all runs together smoothly.

You Have 20+ People On Your Team. How Do You Work With Them?

Randy: It’s kind of a unique setup. We are commercial business development advisors and responsible for bringing home the big stuff. We work closely with regional advisors who are responsible for a certain territory and all sales within that territory (primarily dealer sales, distribution stores that sell the product with a focus on residential).

DC: These guys are our peers, and they’re looking to us to help them generate more volume and more visibility within their region. Bigger projects help with nice visibility for our products and our concept.

We have team members based all over the country, regionally servicing our dealers, specifiers and contractors. We support them with commercial project management and assist in any way we can.

What Is Your Favorite Part of the Job?

Randy: I love getting on project sites and shooting videos — the teams that are actually putting our product to use are phenomenal to showcase. When we get these big projects, it’s also that feeling of driving up on a job site and being able to say, “Wow, I helped make this happen.”

You develop such great relationships with everyone at the site and everyone is proud of the work they contributed. If you go to the Fox Blocks YouTube channel, you can see some great stuff on our commercial playlists. It’s fun getting guys on camera to interview them, have some chuckles and showcase the great work that’s happening in our industry.

We have been blessed with a lot of growth and new opportunities over the past few years. Working under Mike and for the executive team at Fox Blocks is just a blessing; these are world-class guys at the helm of our company.

DC: My favorite part is that each day on the job is different. I’m always supporting a different client who has different needs. We service projects in many key building sectors and the clients we serve are; owners, developers, investors, school boards, contractors, designers, architects and engineers. It’s fun knowing no two days will be alike. It’s a challenge I’m always up for.

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What Do You Wish Customers Knew Upfront, and What Are Some Common Misconceptions?

Randy: The variety of unknowns about ICF are massive. It always astonishes me that people think of ICF as exotic when it’s within pennies of traditional building materials for wall assemblies.

DC: As we grow, there are times where we’re at a professional building conference, and we still get someone who comes in and has absolutely no idea what ICF is and what Fox Blocks can offer.

While it is immediately a bit discouraging, ultimately, it opens a door for us to be able to educate them, but there is still a lot of missing knowledge surrounding ICF.

There are some very common misconceptions surrounding the installation of ICF. We often get questions like, “How easy does the foam come off after we pour the walls?” (Answer: It does not need to be removed.) Especially when we are in contractor training and they have no previous experience, there is a lot of misunderstanding of what ICF is and what the end result is.

How Have the Last Six Months Changed How You Work With Customers?

Randy: I used to travel three weeks out of the month. We would get up in front of so many meetings and give so many presentations. This year, I’ve made two trips all year. Both of them were to primary markets where volume is big enough to make a trip necessary.

The job has really changed to a world filled with virtual meetings, training and presentations. Just yesterday, I gave a virtual presentation to subcontractors and building developers working on a new hotel using Fox Blocks ICFs.

I’ve been doing this job for 20 years. Travel was significant, and I would have called you crazy if you told me I wouldn’t be traveling this year. I get a little itchy sometimes, wanting to get out and see our projects underway. But we’ve adapted and found a middle ground. It is a little nice waking up in the morning and not having to get on a plane.

DC: It’s been a lot more telephone conferences, Webex meetings and Zoom chats. Education has taken a top priority and our team just put together an Integrated Learning Center (ILC) to deliver online training and education for all aspects of building with Insulated Concrete Forms. It’s been successful for easily and efficiently training subcontractors virtually.

I used to travel just as much as Randy, three weeks out of the month. Now, I travel only around 2-3 days a month at most. Airlite Plastics Co., our parent company, has been committed to keeping the team safe and reducing travel as much as possible.

What Do You Like to Do In Your Downtime?

Randy: I’m based halfway between LA and San Diego, in prime surf country. The ocean is in my backyard, and I love surfing. During normal years, we take great vacation trips like Nicaragua, Honduras, Fiji, Bali and anywhere else there are waves. This year the ocean has saved me from the COVID blues.

My lovely lady Renee and I, together for twenty years, adopted two kittens recently, and they are all over this house. It’s awesome to see that life and energy. I also love playing hockey with the neighborhood kids out on the street. I enjoy woodworking and creating little projects, like toy boxes, for my two granddaughters, who are very, very special to me.

DC: I love renovation and remodeling projects, and often help family and friends with landscaping or home improvement projects. I also love to cook extravagant meals. I recently cooked a prime rib dinner with baked potatoes, salad and green beans for a good friend’s 50th wedding anniversary party. Normally I don't cater to large-scale groups like this but it was a fun challenge and turned out great!

My wife deals with me cooking large-scale meals and taking over our freezer. For example, instead of making one tray of lasagna, I’ll make five trays and save them for a friend or church-family member who may be in need. Some of my specialties are soups, beef stroganoff and quiches. I also love picking up a Sam’s Club roasted chicken to surprise my wife with a Curry Chicken Salad after work.

Get Started With Fox Blocks Today

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Randy and DC are just two examples of a dedicated, knowledgeable team that always puts the customer first. No matter your project, budget or timeline, these guys can help you meet all of your building goals.

Want to learn more about Fox Blocks, their commercial project team and how they can provide you solutions? Reach out to Fox Blocks and find out how the team can help you with your next project. Or, for more information about the new Integrated Learning Center DC mentioned, click here.