Spotlight On: Carl H. Bagell, Managing Partner – Southern NJ,Friedman LLP

Spotlight On: Carl H. Bagell, Managing Partner – Southern NJ,Friedman LLP

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read February 2020 — Friedman LLP has been serving the accounting, tax and business consulting needs of numerous businesses in a wide variety of industries since 1924. Friedman’s South Jersey offices have more than tripled in size since they started doing business in the region. Southern NJ Managing Partner Carl H. Bagell discussed the firm’s main areas of growth and industry trends in an interview with Invest:

 

What services are seeing the most demand?

 

As a multidisciplinary firm with a growth mindset, we provide a wide variety of services and seek new opportunities to better serve our clients. In South Jersey, we focus on tax preparation, business valuation, forensic and matrimonial, international tax and tax controversy, and every area is expanding. For example, we expanded the number of our international tax practice partners in response to our clients’ growing needs in the face of ever-evolving global trends; the qualified Opportunity Zones segment of our real estate practice is seeing an increased demand for investment advisory; and our cybersecurity division is one of the fastest-growing areas in the region and abroad due to the cyber-threat landscape. 

 

Notably, SEC audits consistently play a major role in driving revenue for the firm and as such, we have offices in China with about 50 team members to address our clients’ needs. 

 

Not only has our client base expanded, but so have our employee numbers. To accommodate this growth, we almost doubled our size by relocating to a new office in Marlton. We have a lot of room for expansion and an amazing, flexible space where we can hold seminars, staff meetings and business events. We have a great collaborative working environment. 

 

What impact is technology having on the accounting and financial sectors?

 

Technology is a crucial part of our workflow. We have advanced technology at Friedman that allows us to leverage data to support our clients and attract new clients. Our cloud-based accounting software allows us to have faster, more effective internal communication. We also have a team specialized in cryptocurrency and blockchain, and we are now seeing more and more clients coming to us for advisory services. 

 

What are some trends in the region’s accounting sector?

 

A big trend is outsourcing a significant amount of our tax work. This helps reduce costs for clients and increases production. There is also a trend of clients looking for education and advisory services. Clients are looking for a customized experience and a trusted adviser. 

 

More broadly, a trend we continue to see is the impact of changes in tax law with each year and each administration. Our clients today need to be even more engaged with their accountants due to the ever-changing federal tax laws, especially when it comes to estate planning.  

 

What are your main areas of focus in South Jersey in 2020?

 

We have more than tripled our size since we started doing business in South Jersey. Our goal is to continue that growth and keep informing our clients and the community about all of our divisions and services. We provide support to numerous industries and types of businesses. We are also focusing on attracting top talent to support our expansion. 

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Friedman LLP: https://www.friedmanllp.com/ 

 

Spotlight On: Scott Lyons, Business Unit Leader, SE Region DPR Construction

Spotlight On: Scott Lyons, Business Unit Leader, SE Region DPR Construction

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read January 2020— DPR Construction is leading the charge in delivering large construction projects faster and with better quality by employing prefabrication solutions and utilizing their own self-perform crews to put the work in place. Central Florida Business Unit Leader Scott Lyons discusses the prospects for the construction industry in Central Florida.

What has been the impact of DPR moving into Downtown Orlando and what opportunities are you finding there that promoted the move?

 

We moved Downtown in October 2018, which helped us combine two existing DPR Orlando offices into one. There is a great vibe Downtown, and many of our business partners and clients are now our next-door neighbors. This has been a path to strengthening our connections to the local business community with close proximity for lunch meetings or spending time with people in-person. Our new space was designed to host large groups, with a large training room and 10 conference rooms.

 

Our Orlando office is one of the largest for DPR, in terms of square footage, which provides us with the unique ability to host meetings for our national and regional teammates. Providing our visitors with walking-distance access to some of the city’s best restaurants and venues means they get the very best of what Orlando has to offer and DPR gets to contribute to the economic success of our Downtown district. We just fell in love with the Downtown vibe, it is where the energy is.

 

What are the most relevant projects DPR is working on in the region? 

 

We are finishing the KPMG Learning & Innovation facility, which will be completed by the end of 2019. It is the largest project being built by DPR in the Southeast this year. KPMG performed a lot of due diligence in choosing Orlando and the Lake Nona area and it has been one of the more rewarding, incredibly designed and fastest projects for us in a long time. Mega projects are historically tough to execute on time and on budget in the Central Florida area since finding enough skilled craftsmen to build these projects can be a challenge. However, our collaborative approach with the client and the design team plus integrating a lot of prefabricated components into the design has allowed the project to be built at a very good pace. This was truly a collaborative effort and success on behalf of our entire team, including the designer and our owner. KPMG is a huge regional project and a huge win for the city.

 

What are the clearest trends in construction in the Orlando area in recent years? 

 

At DPR, we are very passionate about driving forward the concept of prefabrication in our construction projects. There are multiple reasons for this. There is a shortage of skilled construction workers, so prefabrication decreases the demand for workers onsite and when you prefabricate components they are usually of a higher quality and safer generally, resulting in a better product for the client. For the KPMG project, we prefabricated 800-bathroom pods. We built them in a factory here in Orlando, called SurePods, and the quality was beyond anything we could get building them in place. It changed the dynamic of how the project was executed, resulting in a faster speed-to-market with fewer people needed on the project. Prefabrication is the way of the future for construction and DPR is well-positioned to lead this trend.

 

What other advanced technologies are you employing in your work? 

 

We are believers in technology where we can find a great use for it, and where it adds immediate value. We beta test a lot of ideas and technology, apps and software, and generally settle quickly on things that help the client or our people. One is laser scanning. We use it before rebuilding a client’s existing space, like a corporate office, to create a digital model that captures the exact reality of the designed space.

 

We are also working in partnership with Reigl to utilize LiDAR technology and bring some of their technology into the vertical construction market. It is a drone-borne scanning technology that flies over an existing site, scans it and provides the contours of the land, so you can see elevation changes and other useful data. A civil engineer can take that data to minimize how much dirt is moved around, for example. This type of real-world use of technology on our projects keeps us nimble. We are innovating in ways that not only change the landscape for the construction industry, they are helping our client successfully expand their products into new markets. 

 

What kinds of projects are in greatest demand in the Orlando area? 

 

The attractions companies have very robust plans for the next few years and we also see healthcare companies continuing to invest in their existing and new facilities. We also believe that advanced manufacturing will play an increased role in the Orlando economy as well, so we’re also keeping close tabs on those upcoming projects.

 

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

DPR Construction: https://www.dpr.com/ 

Spotlight On: Scott Zuckerman, Principal, Domus Construction

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read November 2019 — Philadelphia-area general contractor Domus was established in 1976. The company has now become a $100-million construction firm with expertise in managing housing, restaurants, retail/commercial and academic construction projects. Domus Construction Principal Scott Zuckerman spoke with Invest: about the company’s diversity of place, construction trends and more. 

What are some highlights for Domus Construction in the past year?

 

One of our most recent projects is the Dwell at 2nd Street, which is expected to be completed by December 2019. The project will include 198 apartments with a variety of amenities including onsite parking, a swimming pool and a dog park. One hundred and twenty of the units will be modular, which is a concept that seems to be getting more of a push in Philadelphia because of increasing construction costs. 

 

What key trends have you observed in the sector?

Modular construction and smaller, efficiency-style apartments are trends we’ll continue to see in Philly. Domus introduced live streaming construction in 2019, beginning with our Dwell at 2nd Street project. It’s a good marketing tool because 120 units out of 198 are modular and a lot of people are very interested in seeing the process of installing them in real time. The modular process is also friendly to the environment since it provides more ways to control waste.

 

What actions are you taking to ensure diversity in the workplace?

Domus has a strong and long history of diversity. We actively participate in community outreach and advertising to increase minority participation for all our projects regardless if it’s a requirement. Minorities comprise between 30 and 40 percent of the workforce on our jobs.

 

What is your outlook for 2020?

The outlook for Philadelphia’s construction sector seems very positive. We’re booked up until the end of 2020. There are new hotels that are rising around the city of Philadelphia, which seems to be a big trend. Most professionals and companies in the sector seem to be busy, which is a great indicator.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Domus Construction: http://www.domusinc.net/

Spotlight on: Gary Jonas, President & Principal, The HOW Group

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read AUGUST 2019 — Philadelphia’s real estate market has been growing steadily over the last few years. Many international and national investors are targeting the sector, where rents are affordable, when compared to surrounding markets, and there are numerous low-risk investment opportunities. This week’s “Spotlight On,” with Gary Jonas, president and principal of the The HOW Group, illustrates the landscape for the city’s real estate industry, including the most in-demand services, top neighborhoods and the trends in the sector.

What HOW Group business lines are seeing the most growth in Philadelphia today? 

The two divisions that are seeing the most growth are construction and real estate. We attribute that to the hole in the market between companies working for themselves and building a small number of units and companies building hundreds of units. There is a spot in the middle where people need contractors to build 50 to 100 units. It is hard to find companies to fill that space because of the labor shortage. It is also hard to find companies that are capitalized enough to work in that space. Because we are able to fill that gap, we have seen significant growth in our construction division over the last year. There is a huge need for that type of work.

Our real estate company does a lot of new construction sales, which speaks to the Philadelphia market. We expect this division to double its business this year. We made a big investment three to five years ago to launch this division, and now we are seeing significant growth. Between those two companies, we are going to do north of $100 million this year.   

 

What areas of Philadelphia are most in demand in residential real estate?

There is a huge growth opportunity in neighborhoods where you can provide housing that is in the $300,000 to $400,000 range. That is an underserved market and there is a lot of development starting to happen in that price range. For example, Mantua is a neighborhood right on the edge of Schuylkill Yards, education centers and the development going on in the area, and it is a great place for these types of projects. University City has a 17% to 20% homeownership rate, but it’s the second-biggest job hub and there is a need for affordable housing in the area. The edges of University City are primed for significant growth. There is a neighborhood next to Grays Ferry, known as the forgotten bottom, which is another great area for development because of its location and access to major highways. We also expect to see growth in south Philly. 

 

What are some trends in Philly’s real estate sector?

We are seeing people who want to do co-living spaces. We are seeing a lot more buildings that provide a product similar to Airbnb. We are also starting to see more micro units because affordability is starting to become an issue. As construction and land costs continue to rise, we are seeing unit size starting to decrease and become a popular option. Because of the inadequate labor pool, we are also starting to see more manufacturing stock like modular and prefab units being placed.

We are always looking to create advancements within the construction division. We are working with manufactured housing developers to figure out ways to use technology to build in a more efficient and cost-effective way. We are working with foundation companies that use proprietary systems and build foundation walls that are more energy efficient and cost-effective than concrete. We are doing these things to differentiate our products.

 

How does The How Group impact the community?

Our charity division, HOW Charities, supports underserved families with homeownership and financial literacy. We want to get people to financial freedom and this year, we are donating two houses. We are working with the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia (BIA) to figure out ways to duplicate this effort on a broader scale. Along with the BIA, we are looking at solutions with the private sector toward affordable housing and job placement within the industry. There is a lot of momentum because of how great the sector and the city are performing.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

The HOW Group: https://howgroup.com/