This week we have the honor of spotlighting CEO and President of Euramax International, an international producer of aluminum, steel, vinyl, copper and fiberglass products, specializing in products used in residential and commercial construction. Mitch Lewis is a long time friend and client of Hartman Simons. We happen to think he is a pretty interesting guy who provides a global perspective on the construction industry. Check out his interview below.
ML: There are three steps.
1) Residential New Construction. Across the nation, new residential construction is bumping along the bottom. We really are not seeing any significant improvements. Any small movement looks like a spike on a percentage basis, even thought it has little to no effect on the overall state of such a depressed residential market.
2) Repair and Remodeling. This is a little better than residential new construction. However, the reality is people who stay in their homes long enough will ultimately need to make maintenance repairs. Unfortunately, the bulk of repair and remodeling is done when people are preparing to sell or buy a house. So we need housing turnover to jumpstart this market.
3) Commercial Construction. It is on its back much like residential.
HS: What trends are you seeing internationally?
ML: Euramax has manufacturing plants in the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands, but we also sell products to the Middle East and Asia. The UK is struggling much like the United States because the government makes up a high percentage of their GDP and they have established austerity measures. Residential construction is down. France and Germany are doing relatively well. Statistics show consumer confidence from a construction standpoint is decent in these countries. Asia and India are continuing to experience good growth.
HS: Describe the role environmental sustainability plays in your business?
ML: Euramax is very committed to environmental sustainability. We continue to utilize green technology to make our products greener and help our customers reduce their carbon footprint. Unfortunately, some of the latest green technology and innovation is still very expensive and not self-sustainable without government intervention. We are currently involved in several government initiatives to continue our work on innovative products and hopefully move towards making them more commercially viable.
HS: We know you have been a close friend of Bob Simons and Hartman Simons for years. What keeps you both going in such demanding industries?
ML: Bob and I probably are good friends because while our colleagues are relaxing on the golf course, we like to enjoy a McKendrick’s filet mignon and a scotch (or two). No better way to rejuvenate after a long day…right Bob?