The second annual Deck Specialist Symposium was a success as deck builders and outdoor living professionals around the country rallied together in a virtual setting to hear from industry leaders and product experts.

“Judy and I were very honored to have been a part of this.  It really inspires us to see a younger generation raising the bar in our industry,” said builder Bruce Verblaauw, NJ Decks and Railings, who participated with his wife Judy in our Deck Specialists of the Year Award presentation.

The first day kicked off with renowned builder and contractor Bobby Parks who discussed the industry and the best business practices for builders to safeguard their businesses in any type of economy. He offered very useful tips, including how to use photography to its fullest, adding that builders can “probably charge 5-10% tomorrow” on their projects “because the impression it makes and the confidence it gives the homeowner” when they can clearly see the before and after pictures.

The event then went into a discussion with Marv Johnson, a builder and regular columnist for Deck Specialist Magazine. Marv demonstrated his favorite tools including his handy Stiletto framing hammer with a titanium head that he’s used for approximately 15 years and his 25’ Stanley Fatmax tape measure that all his employees use.

Day one ended with a special video by BroLaws’ Dave Kenney and Joey Fletcher about “rethinking the contractor.” They discuss ways to change how homeowners view their contractor and to help the homeowner be excited about their project. For example, when it comes to problem solving, it’s important for contractors to explain why the problem occurred, what it will cost to correct the problem, and what it will cost to fix it.

The second day of the event saw just as much excitement when the 22-year-old Schoonover twins, Ben and Andrew, and their father Greg, discussed how they became a family of builders and how differences in their ages has shaped how they run their businesses. The trio shared some of their family stories and what it meant for the twins to grow up with a father in the building industry.

The symposium then moved into a segment on social media with Gordon South, owner of Wood Bully Ltd., who has amassed a significant following on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook with his “Pay Attention, Brian” building-related videos.

Emphasizing that it’s never too late to get into the social media game, South explained how he noticed how Facebook made a comeback and so he posted his TikTok videos on Facebook and garnered 100,000 followers over six months and nearly 12 million views on some of his videos. He stressed consistency and the value of content are important for creating a following.

The event ended with Brendan Casey, owner of Casey Fence and Deck, who sat down with our Deck Specialist of the Year award winners Scott Kelly, Precision Construction; Wayne Paulsboe, Backyard Builders, and Bruce and Judy Verblaauw. The builders talked about leveraging elite product brands, what’s in store for their businesses and the evolving world of digital marketing.

The second annual symposium was designed to bring the industry together in a virtual setting for two-days of education, insight and encouragement.

“I can’t say thanks enough for all the magazine does and for letting me be a part of this again.  I am honored and humbled,” Kelly said about the event.

Couldn’t make the show? The full recording of the event at

Source: Deck Specialist Magazine.  See original article published HERE