Can you guess which area of construction has never been bigger?
Newsletter cover photo
Our September so far
We must have gone through a time portal because it feels like late April yet it’s mid-September.
The latest: West coast wildfires mean California is sepia-toned like a bad Instagram touchup job and so much as cracking a window is as bad as smoking 14 packs of cigarettes.
The NFL returned
so we now have all four major sports at once which is as good a reason as any to stay indoors. While we’re here, we might as well do some link-clicking.
We hope you enjoy this week’s construction (and non-construction) news and notes—

Construction

The
U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Florida
announced
the arrest
of a Florida construction company owner charged with Paycheck Protection Program fraud. Casey David Crowther of Fort Myers, FL, owner of Target Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc., apparently received $2 million from the government in PPP funds and spent it, in part, on a nearly $700,000 boat. Crowther could be facing 30 years in prison.
This is the second such story we’ve mentioned in as many weeks that revolves around a contractor illegally qualifying for PPP money and brazenly spending it on a flashy vehicle (last week it was a Harley). Crowther’s boat in question was a $689,417 2020 40-foot catamaran. We’re on pace for the owner of a landscaping company to get caught next week spending their PPP money on a
2020 Aston Martin Valkyrie
.
Buildr
and
Levelset
will have a joint webinar (checks watch) in less than two hours: “Closeout Documentation Strategies to Supercharge Cash Flow” will begin today at 11am PT / 1pm CT. Buildr’s Caleb Taylor and Levelset payment expert Michael Williams will be breaking down the crucial differences between faster vs. better closeout.
Be sure to register here
, as word on the street is that attendees will be eligible for an exclusive offer and virtual seats are filling quickly.
Architectural Record
listed ENR’s 2020 roster for
the top 300 architectural firms by annual revenue
. Topping the list for the ninth straight year was (drumroll not needed) Gensler. The top 10 are as follows:
1. Gensler (San Francisco) 2. Perkins and Will (Chicago) 3. HDR (Omaha) 4. Jacobs (Dallas) 5. AECOM (Los Angeles) 6. HKS (Dallas) 7. HOK (St. Louis) 8. Stantec (Irvine, CA) 9. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (New York) 10. Perkins Eastman (New York)
It should be noted that each year’s list counts the revenue of the prior year, so the 2020 list is actually tabulating the best of the best of 2019. This is notable if only because the success of all of these firms was established well before anyone knew how to pronounce “COVID.”
Will Gensler rank at the top for the tenth straight year in 2021 (technically 2020)? We can definitively predict: yes, considering Gensler nearly tripled the revenue of the second place Perkins and Will in 2019. Every firm dealt with COVID so this isn’t your run-of-the-mill possibility of a tortoise and hare scenario. It’s a tortoise and hare scenario where both animals caught COVID and the hare and tortoise both took a breather.
The North Bay Business Journal
shed light on an unusual silver lining of COVID-19 and all the horrible wildfires ravaging the West Coast: they’ve created
a booming business for firms
that design, install, and renovate high-end entertainment systems and outdoor spaces for entertaining.
When the going gets tough, the tough get secondary homes with luxurious outdoor offices that have power outlets near the hot tub. With many of the nation’s wealthy either naturally displaced or the self-imposed kind of displaced—they’re moving. And they’re doing it in style, at least according to the design firms that have more business than they can handle.
In another hard-to-predict-but-in-retrospect-makes-perfect-sense-surge,
NPR
reports that home improvement has not only skyrocketed due to COVID-19,
it’s changed the country forever
. U.S. homeowners are on track to spend more than ever this year on refurbishing that den into a home office.
Chief economist Max Anderson, noting increases in deck construction (275%), hiring landscapers (238%), and fence construction installation (144%), rightly notes that “in unsettling times, spending on one’s home can be a comforting investment.” Spending bells on our
Animal Crossing
home renovations? Another comforting investment.
How much does busy work play a factor in trips to Home Depot these last few months? We'll go with 82%, until anyone says differently.
From
Construction Executive
, here are
some post-COVID-19 success tips
for construction companies looking to assert themselves as the dust continues to settle.
From
Construction Dive
, the future is finally here:
the world’s first cordless heated lunch box made for construction workers
. Keeping that sausage egg and cheese breakfast burrito warm until lunchtime will be a game-changer for the microwave-less.
From
some guy on YouTube
, check out
oddly mesmerizing drone videos
of the Tesla plant construction in Austin, TX (still no word on who the GC is). How this man finds the time to shoot, score, and upload these videos almost daily is almost as strange as the fact that Elon Musk hasn’t personally sniped the drone yet.

Non-Construction

Be Your Way
: In light of COVID, Burger King
has undergone a store redesign
that writes their new slogan for them: “Guess we’re just Sonic now.”
Go to your room
: 52% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29
now live with their parents
, which is the first time the majority of this demographic has done so since the Great Depression.
Tick Tock
: The clock is still ticking but here are the details on
the down to the wire deal
between Larry Ellison’s Oracle and Chinese company ByteDance to save TikTok in America.
An Apple+ a day
: Check out everything you need to know about
the Apple event
that unveiled the likes of the new iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple Fitness+. Those that invested heavily in the plus symbol two years ago must have more money than they know what to do with.
Polar opposite
: Like far too many cute redesigns of classic animals, Canada’s
white spirit bear
is sadly near extinction.
Venus
: Signs of life were just discovered in the clouds of Venus. Check out
the implications
of something that many have seen coming for years, as women are reportedly from there. Note: Scientists demanding that we undertake an inspection mission to Venus is the NASA equivalent of COVID-19 provoking more home improvement projects.
Flytrap
: Here’s
an article headline
that reminds us of that one
Breaking Bad
episode where Walt wants to kill a fly really badly, “Man blows up part of house in France while trying to swat a fly.”
Mando Calrissian
: The
trailer
for the second season of The Mandalorian dropped, and we’re already adding the necessary ingredients to our Instacarts for some
Baby Yoda cookie recipes
in light of the near-Halloween premiere.
If you'd like some news and notes in your inbox every Wednesday morning,
be sure to subscribe here
.
See you next week!