ElkCorp merges with GAF

Dallas-based ElkCorp has entered a definitive merger agreement with Building Materials Corp. of America, Wayne, N.J., parent company of GAF Materials Corp., Wayne.

ElkCorp announced Feb. 9 that GAF Materials will amend its existing offer to acquire all of ElkCorp's outstanding common stock for $43.50 per share in cash. This represents a premium of almost 73 percent more than ElkCorp's closing share price Nov. 30, 2006, the last trading day before ElkCorp announced it was reviewing its strategic alternatives.

Following the purchase of outstanding shares of ElkCorp stock, the stock will be cancelled and converted into $43.50 per share without interest. The offer values ElkCorp at about $1.12 billion, including the assumption of $173 million of net debt. Building Materials Corp. of America has received financing commitments from Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt, Germany; Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., New York; and J.P. Morgan Chase Bank N.A., New York.

ElkCorp has terminated its previous merger agreement with Washington, D.C.-based The Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm, and is subject to a $29 million termination fee to The Carlyle Group.

GAF Materials and ElkCorp brands will remain separate through 2007 and continue to offer the same products, services, programs and warranties.

Handle office politics with care

Office politics are difficult to avoid, especially when three or more co-workers interact. Use the following tips to handle office politics carefully:

  • Let employees know what you are working on or planning—withholding information only will cause problems.
  • Talk to people from all levels of your company. Ask open-ended questions, and let people respond without interrupting. Hearing different perspectives will help you learn what others consider important.
  • Acknowledge employees who deserve credit, and accept credit for your own work, as well.

Source: Adapted from Ways To Make Office Politics Work For You as cited by Communication Briefings, March issue

Beware of nonverbal communication

People often communicate using facial expressions, body positions or gestures. Follow these suggestions to respond appropriately to your employees' nonverbal communication methods:

  • As you enter a meeting, keep in mind nonverbal communication is inevitable. Be aware of employees' various nonverbal cues, but do not immediately respond to them.
  • Don't assume you understand what nonverbal behaviors mean. If you assume incorrectly, your assumption could damage your relationship with an employee. Approach employees cautiously to discuss nonverbal cues.
  • Look for consistent nonverbal cues. The first time you notice a nonverbal cue, don't react; but if an employee consistently responds in a certain way to similar situations, acknowledge the behavior and discuss it with the employee.
  • Be wary of patterns—if several employees respond nonverbally to something, there may be a significant disagreement. If you notice collective negative reactions—people shaking their heads, pushing back from the table or rolling their eyes—seek out disagreements.

Source: Adapted from Meeting Excellence as cited by Communication Briefings, February issue

IRS offers credit for Ford vehicles

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that purchasers of qualified Ford Motor Co. vehicles can continue to claim alternative motor vehicle credit. Purchasers of Ford Motor's qualified vehicles should continue to rely on previously issued IRS certifications concerning the vehicles' qualifications for credit.

Previously certified vehicles and their credit amounts follow:

  • Ford Escape 2WD, model years 2005, 2006 and 2007—$2,600
  • Ford Escape 4WD, model years 2005, 2006 and 2007—$1,950
  • Mercury Mariner 4WD, model years 2006 and 2007—$1,950

IRS also has announced it has certified four additional qualifying 2008 Ford Motor hybrid vehicles, which follow:

  • 2008 Ford Escape 2WD Hybrid—$3,000
  • 2008 Mercury Mariner 2WD Hybrid—$3,000
  • 2008 Ford Escape 4WD Hybrid—$2,200
  • 2008 Mercury Mariner 4WD Hybrid—$2,200

Taxpayers can claim the full amount of credit until the end of the first calendar quarter after the quarter during which the manufacturer records its sale of the 60,000th vehicle. For the second and third calendar quarters after the quarter during which the 60,000th vehicle is sold, taxpayers can claim 50 percent of the credit. For the fourth and fifth calendar quarters, taxpayers can claim 25 percent of the credit. No credit can be claimed after the fifth quarter.


Nelson R. Braddy Jr.
President and chief executive officer of King of Texas Roofing Co., Grand Prairie

What is the most unusual roofing project you've performed?
The Capital Development Project at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. It was a three-year project spent roofing the new International Terminal D, new Grand Hyatt Hotel, a 1,500-foot-long pedestrian walkway and eight new stations for the People Mover System.

Why did you become a roofing contractor?
I didn't like my previous job as a mechanical engineer.

What was your first roofing experience?
My first experience was unloading perlite insulation from trucks during one summer.

What do you consider a waste of time?
Dealing with incompetent people who do not try to learn anything but insist on trying to impress others.

What are your favorite items on your desk?
Photographs of my wife and me during our travels around the world.

What do you consider your most rewarding experiences?
Traveling for two weeks on an expedition ship to Antarctica.

What was your first job?
In high school I was a lifeguard. It's true lifeguards have a lot of fun!

What is your favorite vacation?
A week spent fly fishing in the Madison River and staying at Firehole Ranch in West Yellowstone, Mont.

What are your best and worst habits?
My best habit is leaving the office behind at night. My worst habit is talking when I should be listening.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Dealing with people who do 80 percent of their jobs (the easy part) and expect others to finish the hard part.

If you could invite any three people to dinner (dead or alive), whom would you invite and why?
Frederick Smith, founder of Federal Express, because he created an industry that didn't previously exist; Raymond Nasher, a well-known businessman and philanthropist who has given so much back to Dallas and his alma mater, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; and Leonardo DaVinci because he was an artist, scientist and engineer centuries ahead of his time.

What are your favorite stress relievers?
Fly fishing in the Madison River in Montana and mountain climbing in the Grand Teton Mountains in Wyoming.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
Keeping clients, office staff, field staff, architects, general contractors and consultants on the same page and working together toward a common goal.

What is your roofing industry involvement?
I have been involved in various NRCA committees and task forces, as well as The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress. I also previously have served on NRCA's board of directors. This year, after taking a few years off, I am on the board of directors again.

People would be surprised to know …
My wife and I went swimming in Antarctica.

Online recruiting agencies find foreign workers for companies

Companies in the construction, catering and agriculture industries are turning to online recruiting agencies to find unskilled foreign workers, and some are finding that using a legitimate online recruiting agency can be efficient and cost-effective.

One online recruiting agency, Labormex Foreign Labor Solutions, placed about 200 workers in jobs in 2006 and expects to place three times as many in 2007.

Labormex Foreign Labor Solutions is one of many recruiting agencies. The U.S. Department of Labor lists hundreds of officially sanctioned recruiting agencies on its Web site, www.dol.gov. However, many agencies, including www.latinworkers.com, www.ranchworkers.com and www.us-guestworkers.com, do not appear in the database, and the U.S. Department of Labor does not analyze the Web sites to determine whether agencies are legitimate.

Tackle anxiety

People often suffer from anxiety but don't know how to handle it. In her book, Triumph Over Fear, anxiety disorder expert Jerilyn Ross provides a set of guidelines for coping with panic. Following are some of those guidelines:

  • Recognize the symptoms of panic you feel are frightening but not dangerous.
  • Note the physical symptoms you experience merely are exaggerations of normal bodily reactions.
  • Don't wish away your feelings. Facing them will make them less intense.
  • Don't think in terms of "what if"—this will make you feel worse.
  • Establish a simple task for distraction; don't focus on your fear.
  • When you experience panic, accept it, and let it start to fade.
  • Label your panic level from 0 to 10, and be aware of the changes it undergoes. High levels of panic or fear typically do not last long.
  • Keep in mind, you most likely have suffered high levels of panic or fear before and you have survived.

Source: Adapted from First Draft, April issue

Theme days encourage productivity

A good tactic for improving productivity is to establish theme days—days when you and your employees concentrate primarily on one area of business.

Sit down with your calendar at the beginning of each month and choose a day to devote your time entirely to one project. Theme days could include "Administrative Task Day," "Creative Brainstorming Day" or "Planning Day," for example.

Concentrating all of your energies in one area will allow you and your staff to be more focused and productive.

Source: Adapted from First Draft, April issue


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