Rick Dover is the general manager of Family Pride Corporation, a family owned and operated company in Knoxville, Tenn. Rick Dover and Family Pride Corporation have been in the building restoration business since 1993.
A Gathering of Experts: Rick Dover is meeting with us to talk about creating jobs through restoration. Thank you for joining us today, Rick.
Rick Dover: My pleasure. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to talk about Family Pride Corporation and our restoration ventures.
A Gathering of Experts: Tell us why you prefer renovation over new construction.
Rick Dover: Everyone today is worried about the economy and jobs. Renovating a building takes twice the labor and half the material as new construction.
A Gathering of Experts: So you feel renovation is better for the economy?
Rick Dover: It only makes sense that in difficult economic times we need to stop building new structures and utilize what we have available.
A Gathering of Experts: I can see the savings in material, but it seems like it wouldn’t significantly affect the job situation.
Rick Dover: The University of Massachusetts ran the numbers using 2009 national data. The results showed that restoring existing buildings produced about 50 percent more jobs than constructing new ones.
A Gathering of Experts: Those are surprising numbers.
Rick Dover: Not when you take a hard look at the facts. Nationally, approximately 41 percent of the cost of residential renovation goes to labor, but the number drops to 28 percent when you look at figures for new construction.
A Gathering of Experts: Why the disparity?
Rick Dover: Restoration of old buildings is more labor-intensive because much of the cost of new construction is not in labor and jobs; it’s in equipment, material—and freight charges to move the equipment and material.
A Gathering of Experts: Even in a bad economy, some businesses need a new location because they’ve lost their lease or need an extra facility.
Rick Dover: The economy won’t sustain a great deal of new construction these days. If it comes down to an immediate need, a business owner may walk away from new construction because of the cost. A restored property will give them what they need with a much lower outlay.
A Gathering of Experts: But new construction also creates jobs—right?
Rick Dover: True, but not on as large a scale. Also renovation over new construction holds a big advantage for a community because of the type of labor involved. Restoration uses a different type of labor force that is typically made up of local job seekers with more basic skills.
A Gathering of Experts: But new jobs of any type are good for the economy, right?
Rick Dover: For the economy overall, of course; however, the main consideration should be putting money earned doing neighborhood projects back into the local economy. Local workers keep that cash in the community. They spend the money they earn locally and that helps create more jobs in the community.
A Gathering of Experts: How do you find these properties?
Rick Dover: That hasn’t been a problem. There’s hardly a city that doesn’t have housing stock in need of rehabilitation.
A Gathering of Experts: What about the real estate market? Doesn’t it depend largely on new construction?
Rick Dover: Unfortunately, the real estate industry doesn’t often think along the lines of restoration and preservation. They are programed to produce and sell new buildings. Perhaps this would be a good time for the industry to rethink the standard and incorporate a “greener” ideology in their business practices.
A Gathering of Experts: Is that belief a part of your company’s business practice?
Rick Dover: I do think we should leave the smallest footprint possible on the world so future generations don’t pay for our mistakes. Environmentalists are beginning to see that maybe the new, cutting-edge eco buildings aren’t necessarily the best choice for sustainability. They are realizing that rehabilitating old buildings is considerably less wasteful than replacing them.
A Gathering of Experts: So you’re saying city governments should think “greener” when looking for ways to add jobs into their community?
Rick Dover: I suppose adding politicians to the mix wouldn’t be a bad idea, but it isn’t about politics—it’s about jobs and improving communities. Cities trying to incorporate jobs would be smart to take a close look at the housing they already have.
A Gathering of Experts: Do you have any parting comments for us?
Rick Dover: We still have a deeply depressed economy and labor market. Consumers are tapped out. We as employers have a responsibility to do everything we can to help boost the economy and add jobs.
Rick Dover and Family Pride Corporation gain satisfaction from the restoration of properties for senior housing and for residential and commercial use. Rick Dover knows that improving communities by restoring existing properties is the best way to revitalize a neighborhood and add jobs. For more information about Rick Dover and Family Pride Corporation, visit familypridecorp.com.