Posts written by Graham Johnson, Eastern NC executive director of Duncan-Parnell. Duncan-Parnell specializes in providing high quality hardware, innovative software and services to construction contractors, engineers, surveyors, architects and designers. Duncan-Parnell is committed as a $65,000 Platinum Hammer Sponsor, providing financial and volunteer support for the materials and construction of Brandy's future home in Raleigh. Brandy will work alongside Duncan-Parnell employees to build and purchase her home.
Final stretch (Duncan-Parnell Week Eight)
Painting begins! (Duncan-Parnell Week Seven)
Rain, Rain, Go Away (Duncan-Parnell Week Six)
Siding and Soffits (Duncan-Parnell Week Five)
Exterior Siding (Duncan-Parnell Week Four)
Roof Sheathed (Duncan-Parnell Week Three)
Trusses Up (Duncan-Parnell Week Two)
Walls Built and Raised (Duncan-Parnell Week One)
Duncan-Parnell Week Eight
Week eight was dominated with participants from the Charlotte region, many of which were from their sales team. Keep in mind, it was Friday, so working past noon for these sales guys really pushed them out of their comfort zones. Team Charlotte consisted of our fearless leader Mark Duncan, Charlotte Regional Executive Eddie Brown, as well as Brent Keightley, Bill Ashley, Jason Bright and Jeremy Rietman. Carlton McFadden, who is our 3D Executive was there to represent our Virginia brethren and I joined the group of D-P employees to ensure a local presence. It was great to have all of the employees mentioned above one site, but we were fortunate enough to also have John Hluck from Suntrust Bank join us for the day. I didn't know John before this workday, but I am guessing he is a man who makes sure he is on time to scheduled events. John left Charlotte at 4 a.m. to come work on our Habitat wake project. Needless to say, John was on site before even the Habitat folks showed up. John not only came out to help us work on the project, but Suntrust Bank sponsored our lunches for the weekend as well. Duncan-Parnell is humbled and grateful to have many great partners like Suntrust Bank and John helped make the Habitat Wake project a success.
Day two of week eight produced a small group, but once again members of the D-P family who might not have met any other way, got to know eachother at the Habitat Wake site. Keith Gannett made the long trip to Raleigh from Charleston to help out and he was joined by Kristan Whalen (D-P Raleigh customer service) and her husband Brian. I wasn't there on this particular day, but it sounds like Keith, Kristan and Brian were joined by local County Commissioners John Burns and Sig Hutchinson, who independently volunteered.
Most, if not all, of you have heard the saying "We're getting down to the short rows," which is a phrase commonly used by farmers when they are nearing the end of their harvest. That is where we are on this year's Habitat for Humanity build in Raleigh. We are in the final third of the project with approximately four weeks left to go. If you haven't signed up to work on the site yet, you need to do so now. It is going to be rewarding for those of us who've been involved in this project and watched it evolve from a slab of concrete into a home. I hope you won't let the opportunity slip away before it's too late.
Duncan-Parnell Week Seven
The Friday of week seven saw much of Duncan-Parnell's old regime on site. Dan Duncan, Toby Funderburk, and Vicki Hafele were all there to help for the day. We had a group of 10 on site, which worked very nicely. We were able to split up into three groups and all made good progress. Two groups worked outdoors, while the other group accepted their fate and began the painting process. By the end of the day, the vinyl siding around the house was complete leaving only the slow process of installing soffit and wrapping the roofline with metal. The inside folks were able to completely paint the kitchen and hang cabinets by the end of the day. The house is definitely taking shape.
Day two of week seven brought a smaller crowd of six, but Duncan-Parnell has gained the reputation of bringing out folks that dive in and get the job done. My son, Gray, and his girlfriend, Claire, were there along with Mark Duncan, Grant Stickler (Geomatic Sales in Virginia), Susan (my wife) and myself. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday so Mark Duncan and I strategically positioned ourselves outside on roof duty. Grant and Susan took on the task of covering the roofline with metal, Gray and Claire found their way to the back of the house to finish up soffit.
It works nicely to pair off on the Habitat Wake project and whether it is two, three or more working together, it is a great teambuilding opportunity. Of course, there is also conversation about kids, special interest and things outside of work. If you haven't signed up to work on the project yet, please sign up so you can experience this first-hand. If you have worked on the project, you know what I'm talking about so come back soon before it is finished and experience it again.
Duncan-Parnell Week Six
Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day. We've all heard that nursery rhyme recited to us as children and it would have been appropriate for day one of week six. We had strange weather on this day. It was gloomy, chilly and overcast in the morning with on and off showers. Then the sun would pop out and warm us up in a hurry, soon after another cloud would come overhead and rain on us again. That cycle continued throughout the workday. Chanra So was seen donning a scarf around her neck with a short sleeve shirt at one point during the day. That wardrobe choice speaks to how flaky the weather was on this Friday. The volunteers on this workday were: Chanra So and Patti Kater (aka The D-P Marketing Team), along with Mark Duncan (el Presidente), Erik Gorski (Canon DSM) and yours truly. Many thanks to Erik and Canon for sponsoring lunch for the weekend but more importantly to Erik for coming all the way from Columbus, Ohio to help on our project. He currently holds the prize for traveling the farthest to participate.
Day two of week six was neat because it was just my wife and me working for the day. Susan (my wife) has been a trooper about helping on the Habitat Wake project. She has been out several Saturdays and it's a real pleasure to have her by my side as we watch the project progress. Together, we were able to complete soffit along the front porch, which involved some very intricate calculations and cuts. There were a few "I told you so" comments exchanged between us but in the end we made progress and felt good about what we accomplished. I encourage everyone to bring their family and friends out to work on the site. It's a unique experience and fun to enjoy with the people you care about.
Duncan-Parnell Week Five
We had a good mix of folks from various Duncan-Parnell locations attend on day one of week five. Raleigh employees: Michelle Shanewise, Andy Langdon, Andy Baker, Matthew Davis and Jason Horner were all there for the day, Jason also brought his friend Fred to help. Building Point SE was represented by Scott Mayer and Ryan Pastor. Joe Holmberg from our 3D division came in from Virginia to join our group. Lastly, Toby Funderburk and his buddy Lyn Slaton got up bright and early to drive in from Charlotte to help for the day. Rumor has it those two men spend more time telling jokes and cutting up than actually working. But some comedic relief is welcomed on the construction site.
On day two of week five, we had the couple, Cheryl and Coy Emory, representing our Charlotte constituents along with the Raleighites Kristan Whalen, Andy Langdon and our old friend Bob O'Brien. The group was small, but productive.
On this weekend, our voluntees focused on siding and soffit. The house is really taking shape and we assume the outdoor work will be completed soon and we'll be moving indoors. If there are some of you out there that prefer a paintbrush to a hammer, you time to volunteer is coming soon. Please take the initiative to volunteer for the project, I am confident that you'll find it rewarding once you come out.
Duncan-Parnell Week Four
During Week 4, more attention was paid to the roof and exterior siding. I wasn't personally able to be there this week so I'm relying on information from the other dedicated folks that participated in the project.
Day one of week four was dominated by Team Baucom. Teresa Baucom is a 30+ year employee of Duncan-Parnell in the Raleigh office. Teresa took her significant other Tony Parker who has been in the construction business for many years so he was a skilled and welcomed volunteer. In addition, Teresa had both of her daughters on site, Alexis who has been a D-P employee for 15 years and her younger daughter Laura. The Baucom crew was joined by David Bowers who is a trained with D-P's Geomatics Division. Thankfully some other volunteers jumped in and helped our crew as well. The group made good progress on the house, but rain ended the day early. Not a bad surprise for our staff, who rarely get the opportunity to head home early on a Friday afternoon.
Day two of week four saw an entirely different crew at the site. Denise Vann, another D-P veteran employee and her husband Tim were joined by Mark Duncan and Jason Horner. Thankfully Mark and Jason are both skinny fellas because it sounds like they spent most of the day crammed in the rafters after adding braces to support the ceiling joists to the trusses. What Mark didn't realize coming into the day was that Jason would use this one-on-one opportunity to sell Mark on spending more money on Raleigh's Spot on Graphix operation. There's no rest for the President of a company, even when he's doing a good deed on a Saturday.
Once again, we had a small crew on Saturday, but thankfully there were some spare volunteers that jumped on our project to help. Honestly, one of the really cool things about working on a Habitat project is meeting new people and working alongside them. It's surprising how nice the folks you meet onsite are to one another. It's similar to the Holiday season when everyone greets strangers with a warm and sincere acknowledgement. Helping others make us feel better as individuals while at the same time making the world a better place.
Duncan-Parnell Week Three
We were welcomed with a nice surprise when we arrived on site on day five. The other half of the roof was sheathed and some doors and windows had been installed in the house. It seems that a crew came in during the week and helped move the house along. Therefore, our goal for week three was to finish construction of the roof and prepare it for shingles.
Week three brought out the most eclectic group of volunteers yet. We had plenty of current and former Duncan-Parnell employees, but we had customers, friends of customers, two waves of Bank of America employees, friends of employees, and Glenwood South neighbors throughout the weekend. The diversity of this group made for a really neat experience for all.
I personally worked both days with a couple of different team leaders constructing the front porch of the house, something I would never have been able to do on my own. By the end of the weekend, I was talking about 3/12 pitch roofs and how to construct a valley where two roof lines meet; it almost sounded like I knew what I was talking about. If only some of those team leaders would volunteer to work at my house a few weekends here and there.
There are many people involved in Habitat Wake who deserve credit for all that they do, but the real unsung heroes from my perspective are the "Green Hat" Team Leaders. Those guys are volunteers just like the rest of us, the difference being they do it week after week, house after house. One of the Saturday team leaders that has worked on our project from the start is Steve McCulloch. Steve is the managing partner of Winnow Creative and, I'm proud to say, is a customer of Duncan-Parnell's Spot on Graphix Division. Steve has been volunteering on Habitat Wake projects most Saturdays for the past 12 years -- now that's dedication. All of these team leaders show incredible patience and display a positive attitude while sharing their skills with those of us who wish we had them.
I am humbled by how many people are willing to donate their time to help others who need a hand up. We live in a fast-paced world where it's easy to become self-centered, but what I've seen at our Habitat project is that the desire to help your fellow man is alive and well. I'm glad to be a part of it.
Duncan-Parnell Week Two
We had another successful weekend at Brandy's new home during week two of our build. As discussed in my last report, the keyword during week one was "WALL!" During week two, there were two words that got our attention -- ROOF and WIND.
Since the walls were complete, it was time to put the roof trusses up. This process seemed to move along quickly and by the end of day three, all of the roof trusses were in place. A special shoutout should go to all of the green hat volunteers who climbed around precariously on the rafters to make sure the roof trusses were hung properly. If you're wondering who the green hat volunteers are, well you'll just have to come out and work with us one day and find out yourself. Some additional praise should be given to Metlife. They are sponsoring a house just down the street from ours and had so many volunteers that they shared some with us.
Overall, we have been fortunate with the weather while working on building the house. It seems a valuable lesson was learned last year when Duncan-Parnell built its first Habitat for Humanity house in Charlotte. The lesson learned being don't start your project in the dead of the winter.
Spring is a perfect time of year to be outdoors, but it is also a transition time and along with transitional weather comes wind. On day four, we were under a clear blue sky without a cloud in it, but the wind was howling. As mentioned above, the roof trusses were in place so next up was sheathing the trusses with 4'x8' plywood. Passing those 4'x8' boards from the ground to volunteers on scaffolding to more volunteers on the roof was tricky with a steady 15-20 mph wind and gusts up to 40 mph. After figuring out that, if turned the wrong way, a 4'x8' board becomes a sail in that kind of wind, our crew adapted and got their assembly line working efficiently. At day's end, half the roof was sheathed and great progress had been made.
There were a few notable attendants in week two. Emily Langdon attended three of the four workdays of our build. Emily is a kindergarten teacher who can cut a board as straight as an arrow! We hope she will be back again soon. Emily brought her friend Marilyn, also a school teacher, who overcame a minor fear of heights to be part of the crew and nail down sheathing on the roof. She arrived as a rookie, and left as a pro.
The most notable volunteers of week two were Mary and Joe Albanese. Joe was very involved in last year's build in Charlotte, so we are thrilled to have his experience and positive energy. What's most impressive about Mary and Joe being there though is that day four was their 28th wedding anniversary. Joe is a real Romeo to bring his lady down to Raleigh to help us build a house on their big day. I hope he took Mary out for a nice dinner afterwards.
Duncan-Parnell Week One
The Habitat Wake House in Raleigh is now underway. This past Friday and Saturday (April 1 and 2) was week one of our build. There was one word that resonated throughout those two days -- WALL! That was the battle cry yelled each time one of the walls for Brandy's new house was completed and moved to the truck or in place at the jobsite. The Habitat Wake staff made this process both fun and safe by instilling that method of notifying the other workers that a wall was on the move and they needed to pause. By the end of day two, all of the exterior and interior walls were in place and the slab of concrete we started with began to become a home.
We had a great crowd of volunteers on Friday with people coming from as far away as Atlanta and Richmond (also known as Ashland) to help get the project off to a great start. As a matter of fact, it is worth noting that Duncan-Parnell set a record for constructing the walls at the Habitat Wake construction facility with a completion time of 90 minutes. The Habitat Wake folks are going to post a banner at their facility recognizing our feat.
I believe everyone involved last weekend had a good time and there's no doubt it was a great team building exercise. Speaking of exercise, it's safe to say that all of us got plenty of that during week one. Andy Langdon reported at some point during day one, his right arm simply stopped working from hammering nails. It seems that being an account executive at Duncan-Parnell doesn't qualify as a blue-collar job. I can speak from experience that being an Executive Director at Duncan-Parnell isn't a blue collar job, but Daryl Huffman hammered (pun intended) that point home on day one of the build. Daryl loaded his tool belt up with a dozen or so nails at the end of the day. There were many sore backs and busted fingers at the end of the weekend, for example Pat Flanagan's left hand was practically glowing with all of the bright yellow duct tape he used to wrap up his wounded fingers. Another noteworthy distinction from our group on week one; Kristan Whalen was awarded the lightning hammer trophy after we finished building the walls Friday morning. Now you might think that indicates Kristan was quick on the draw with her hammer; however, in reality it is given for a different reason. You see lightning never strikes the same place twice and apparently, neither did Kristan's hammer.
During last year's build in Charlotte, Mark Duncan did a terrific job of sending out a weekly reprise and in it he gave everyone nicknames. Now, I'm not as slick as Mark, but I did come away with a nickname from last Saturday that I thought was worth mentioning. Devin "The Big Easy" Vincent joined our crew Saturday. Devin stands 6'5" and having him there to put in nails at the top of the boards or hold something higher than anyone else was invaluable. I heard one of the crew chiefs say they wanted Devin to be at all of his work sites.
I'm sure there are other stories worth telling from the start of our project, but I hope this gives you a sense of the fun and camaraderie we all experienced in just two days. I encourage each of you to come join us these next few weeks as we make another person's life and our community better while adding fulfillment to our own lives.