Take 5!

[By Jennifer Vedrani]

This month kicked off our first companywide wellness campaign. Our first challenge has our associates moving! The “Take 5” challenge is a 4-week event and a very simple way for each of us to make time doing something that will benefit our overall wellness. The focus is to take 1 minute out of each day to do something for yourself. This could be exercise, meal planning, a random act of kindness, you name it! The only rule is that you focus on doing something that will positively impact your mood and/or health.

This week, I decided to carve out time to achieve a variety of exercises. I selected a few activities that could be accomplished within the week. A few of the exercises encouraged are: 1 set of squats, a random act of kindness (I gave out a blessing bag on my way to work to a person in need) and connecting with a dear friend. The best part? When my family saw me, they asked to join and now the whole household is taking 5. Watching my 3-year-old do squats was as funny as watching a comedy, but it was so much better for my health!

We all deserve to “take 5” for our health, yet sometimes that is hard to do. Our wellness initiative for 2017 incorporates many different activities into our lives, but it’s also designed to remind us all to celebrate the victories, make time for loved ones, strengthen your body and share the fun and benefits with your family and friends. Encourage those around you to make time to take 5 for themselves, they deserve it!


Hear it from our associates themselves on their Wellness journey!

“I have found it easy to maintain my Goal of 75 minutes of Cardio weekly, The daily and weekly tip’s have assisted me in making healthy lifestyle choices. “-James Duncan, Sales and Operations Coordinator


“I have always considered myself to be in good shape. But once I started tracking things I realized my activity was inconsistent. I try and eat well and after losing almost 30 pounds several years ago, I stick to a strict nutrition plan. Well usually anyway. I have began to see the benefit of regular activity like walking, biking and lifting weights. This has brought me a better level of health and wellness.”-Allyn Bonney, Inside Sales


“After tearing my ACL, MCL, and meniscus last May. It was easy to pack on some extra weight. The tracker has been an awesome way to keep myself motivated and focused to get back to where I was. Very excited to finally be running again, and playing sports with friends.”-James Clark, Outside Sales​

No “I” in Team

[By Alan Gould]

“Getting to One” may sound like a sales slogan, Power of One or Getting to Yes, but in fact it is neither. I see it as a goal of getting the A.H. Harris team and the Kenseal team to become one. This past January nine employees representing A.H. Harris and Kenseal, met at Kenseal’s corporate office in Baltimore, Maryland for two days of interaction. We were asked to attend so we could become aware of a new learning path.

The meeting was based around an assessment of your personality traits and your sales traits. Once you know and understand your traits, you are given a strategy on how to best work with people with their own unique traits. The first task we needed to complete before we arrived was to take the Advanced Personality Assessment. We were then sent our results and asked to review them before class.

Upon arrival we did the customary go around the room and introduce ourselves to the group. Hector Silva was the newbie to the team with 6 months on the job. Ken Stevens was the veteran with 31 years under his belt. Next, our instructor Kyla told us we were going to be playing a day long game of poker. If you participated and answered questions you would get additional cards to add to your hand. At the end of the day  the person with the best hand wins a prize. I knew I was up against some card sharks so I was up for the challenge but I really did not think this would be a good way to bring two teams together. Every hour we were told to keep our best five cards and pass the junk to the person on your right. At noon the person on my left admitted he did not know how to play poker. Well the person on his left (a card shark) offered him some advice. Great, no more aces getting passed my way. This was also the first sign of the team coming together. The rookie from Kenseal getting advice from the veteran from Harris, the bond started. Ken and Hector started the team getting to one.

During the rest of the day we went over everyone’s personality traits. Some had similar traits but no one was even close to matching. Learning about each other in this manner really leaves you with nothing to hide. The barriers were down.

At night we met at an Irish establishment named after famed novelist and poet, James Joyce. While James Joyce is no longer with us, there were some famous characters in the house that night. As I stood talking to Ian Redd we noticed a gentleman coming through the front door and while he looked familiar, I could not place him. Ian informed me he was a character from House of Cards. As the night went on, more of the cast showed up. It appeared they were out to do a little team bonding as well.

Cinghiale, “wild boar” in Italian,  was the inner harbor restaurant we visited that night. Kenseal President Paul McKinnell joined us in the final team building event of the night. Sharing starters, swapping stories and finding common ground as the night rounded out a great day of getting to know one another.

Day two started with a team that was ready to get to work. Everyone contributed to the day and there was a feeling of drive for the better good of the organization. At the end of our training we were asked to get into two teams and come up with at least ten items that resonated with us. Our team decided the number one take away was, Harris and Kenseal go together, we got along great, had a good time and look forward to being better together in 2017. The group got to one!  ONE TEAM/OUR TEAM.

Below is Jen Vedrani’s favorite photo of the class work we accomplished.

Stretch Out The Stress!

[By Ray DeWitt]


What is the right way to start your day?  Stretching? Warming Up?  Or Nothing at all?

Which do you think is the correct answer? Chances are you aren’t sure and you are not alone! For the longest time, we have all been taught that static stretching was the proper way to loosen up our muscles for training or competition. But research over the past several years points to the fact that performing a static stretch prior to sport is not only ineffective but can be potentially dangerous! The evidence shows that aggressive static stretching can cause a reflexive tightening of a muscle and can also cause as much as a 30% decrease in muscle strength. This means that not only can static stretching create a window where you are more prone to injury, but may also negatively affect your sports performance. Conversely an active or dynamic warm-up done correctly will accomplish two things: increase blood flow to the muscles and tendons to loosen them up and increase the comfortable range of motion in your joints allowing you to work at your full potential.

Great now you know the answer to the above question, but it begs another question “how does that affect me? I’m just going to work; I’m not training or competing in a sport.” Just like a person participating in an athletic event throughout the day you are required to lift, push, pull, climb, etc. The amount depends on your specific  job; warehouse, form yard, counter sales. All these require a lot of repetitive motion and you are subjected to the same sprains, strains and muscle soreness as an athlete. It becomes just as important for you to warm-up those cold muscles in the morning and after any break lasting longer than 20 min as it does for an athlete preparing for their training or competition.

To effectively get yourself ready for your day of safely moving form panels, bags of repair material, carrying that box of sealant for a customer, etc. and not injuring yourself in the process, taking the time to do a proper warm-up is the key. Start with about 5 min of light aerobic activity to get blood flowing to the tissue. Example routine would be as follows:

  • 1 min light side to side shuffle of feet
  • 1.5 min easy run in place
  • 1.5 min jumping jacks (arms stay below shoulder)
  • 1 min twist and pivot
  • 30 sec each direction shoulder circles start small then increase size of circle.
  • Follow with some light dynamic-stretches (slow controlled movements)

There are many more exercises you can find on the internet that will allow you to customize your warm up to your personnel work situation or specific area of your body that needs more attention.

Finally, the most common mistake that is made is that people will do static stretches before an activity and then do nothing afterwards. Static stretching at the end of the day will help elongate the muscle and improve flexibility, remember to hold the stretch for about 30 seconds. Never stretch to the point of pain when it comes to stretching the old “no pain, no gain” doesn’t apply here. You should stretch only to the point of slight discomfort and intensity.

There is an added benefit to warming up and stretching and that is to De-Stress. Our days can be hectic and that can cause stress and stretching can help.”As you know, your mind affects your body, and your body affects your mind,” says Dean Ornish, MD, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif., and author of The Spectrum. During times of emotional stress, the muscles in our  bodies contract. This is an adaptive response to acute stress, as it fortifies your ‘body armor’ so that in times of danger, if you get hit, for example, your muscles help to protect you.

However, in times of chronic stress, these same mechanisms that have evolved to protect us can create problems , such as chronically tensed muscles, especially those in the back and neck, which can predispose us to chronic pain or injury. Stress Management techniques such as relaxation techniques, time-management skills, exercise, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle can help prevent this. Gentle stretching of chronically tensed muscles provides relaxation to the mind as well as the body.

Start your day the right way!

Better Together in New Haven, CT

[By Liam McGowan]

It has been 3 months since the Kenseal West Haven team joined forces with our New Haven, CT A.H. Harris crew. Todd Gregory, Liam Mcgowan, Rick Turcotte, John Ryan, and John Shugrue have been great additions to the New Haven, CT team. From new products to new computer systems, the team has worked diligently to make this move a success!

The Move-

Thanks to the combined efforts of four company trucks and Harris and Kenseal team members from West Haven and New Haven the team moved $668,000 of inventory, 80 warehouse transfers, equipment, furniture, office supplies and 30 years of dust in just 8 days during year end inventories.


Entering and moving new inventory accurately to the New Haven location and updating our computer systems to accommodate the new material was a great challenge. The Harris and Kenseal teams joined together to overcome these hurdles. They worked side-by-side to better understand the products (what products are for what applications and how they go together), to accurately enter new codes into the computer system, to create new bin location set ups and to decide where to stock certain products for ease of access. This is still a work in progress, but the team is pushing forward and making great strides!


Bringing two great teams together to make one great team has many advantages. A huge stocking facility with multiple delivery vehicles and a giant store and showroom are just two of the many benefits. What will make us even better is not only how we plan to integrate with each other’s products and systems, but also one another. We have the most talented team and as we learn from each other’s strengths to help our weaknesses, we will continue to grow and have One Great Team, our New Haven Team –  that is an advantage our competitors do not have, but our customers will truly appreciate.


A.H. Harris Partners with Reed & Reed

[By Michael Griffin & Tad Spiller]

The A.H. Harris team is proud to be recognized as the supplier of choice to Reed & Reed Inc. on the Bath Viaduct project. MaineDOT recently awarded Reed & Reed the $13.75 million contract to replace the West Approach Bridge in Bath. The bridge carries RT-1 traffic through Bath onto the Sagadahoc Bridge over the Kennebec River. Work includes the demolition of the old 1200 LF viaduct superstructure and 19 pier shafts. 19 new cast-in-place concrete pier shafts will be constructed on the existing footings. Precast concrete pier caps, weighing 60 tons, will be erected and grouted in place. The new superstructure consists of 80 precast concrete beams, weighing 50 tons each. Closures between beams will be made using Ultra-High-Performance Concrete, with strengths of 20,000 PSI.  The wearing surface will be membrane and pavement.

Originally expected to wrap up by Memorial Day, reconstruction of the viaduct could conclude about two weeks ahead of schedule. For the latest pictures of the project head over to Maine.gov and for a short clip check out WCSH6. The viaduct has served as a vital transportation link since its erection in 1958. In 2006, MaineDOT replaced the surface of the Viaduct in hopes of extending the life of the structure for ten years. Ten years later, MaineDOT is about to undertake the construction of a new Bath Viaduct that has been designed to last for 100 years. With 18,000 vehicles traveling across the Viaduct daily, minimizing disruption to motorists, businesses and residents is a top priority for MDOT.

According to their website, “Reed & Reed, Inc is one of northern New England’s largest and most versatile general contractors. Founded as a bridge building firm in 1928 by Captain Josiah W. Reed and his son Carlton Day Reed, the company has prospered under four generations of family leadership to build a long-standing reputation as one of Northern New England’s top heavy contractors.”

For many years, A.H. Harris and Reed & Reed have partnered on Bridge, Wind, & Hydro Projects. In fact, the Bath Viaduct is an excellent illustration of Reed’s “Partnering Initiatives” demonstrated by taking part with MaineDOT  in the design of the Viaduct replacement prior to award of the project. This effort established a cooperative effort from day one, bringing the project at this point, ahead of schedule, focused on safety, and orchestrated with precision.  Harris’ role as supplier of choice to Reed & Reed is based on trust and reliability. Daryl Harvey and team out of the Harris Augusta, ME branch provide quality and consistency for every need that Reed & Reed has on every project. (related: Harris Road & Bridge Solutions)

[Sources: Reed & Reed, Maine.gov, A.H. Harris]


Steel Sense

[by Pat Maillett, HarMac Steel & Rebar]


Positive Indicators

There are just a couple of work days remaining in the first quarter, the sentiment within the steel industry is that the tide may finally have turned, as we are seeing many positive signs for 2017. Leading market indicators that we have not seen for many years!

It has been said that the U.S. manufacturing base is on the verge of a renaissance thanks to the business friendly policies of our new Trump administration. Predictions have been made by a top steel executive that we may very well be on the verge of a new American industrial resurgence. Macroeconomic indicators such as consumer confidence, employment levels and inflation are getting pretty solid and most steel end markets in North America are “headed in the right direction”.

Some of the positive indicators mentioned above were noted by the President’s message to Congress stating that, our infrastructure at home has so badly crumbled. The President went on to say that the crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our land. The time has come for a new program of national rebuilding. In order for that to happen the President will be asking congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States.  This will be financed through both public and private capital. And will create millions of new jobs. In addition to infrastructure work, pipeline projects such as Keystone XL and Dakota Access have been fast tracked by the administration. Providers of steel line pipe are optimistic that demand will improve as a result of Trump’s emphasis on energy infrastructure and his pledge to reduce regulatory burdens on drilling.

More positive news for the steel industry is the favorable ruling by the U.S. Commerce Department on imported steel.  The agency has levied preliminary anti-dumping duties of 5.29% – 7.07% on Turkish rebar imports. This will enable the domestic producers to supply additional long steel products with an improved margin.


Since our last report scrap has climbed 34% from November to January, then in February scrap dropped  8%. Mills published increase letters to cover their substantial increases in raw material. There is speculation with all of the positive indicators within the steel industry that scrap as well as steel pricing will begin to climb upwards. Supply and demand will come into play especially with the lack of imported materials, allowing the mills profitable growth. As we have been saying for many years or at least since 2003 when basically the steel industry was redefined and restructured, volatility is a concern and we must continue to try to plan for the unexpected.

U.S. Raw Steel Production

More positive indicators for raw steel production; for the week ending February 25  raw steel production was up 0.2 percent from the previous week. Mills have produced 13,836,000 tons thus far this year, up nearly 5 percent from the same period last year. This is the first time in three years that the first quarter has outperformed the previous year. The past two years steel production lagged behind the previous years. Let’s hope the momentum continues and the steel industry has a great season.

As always we will attempt to keep our customers up to date on the latest developments within the steel industry, call our HarMac office for assistance. 207-935-3531

Steel Price Increase Notification



January 12, 2017

Dear Valued Customer,

Steel is a global commodity, and that means the price of steel can be volatile. Prices can be influenced by several factors, including the price of scrap, the strength of the American dollar, and the general condition of the world economy.

Over the last 90 days we have seen steel and steel based construction materials increasing at an alarming rate. The combination of a stronger dollar and the expansion of the global economy have caused commodity pricing to increase sharply and all signs point to further increases in commodity pricing in the upcoming months.

Prices for scrap steel, wire rod, resins, and crude oil have all increased substantially.

  • Scrap steel prices have climbed significantly. Due to higher scrap steel costs, domestic rebar manufacturers announced $115 per ton in increases over the last 90 days.
  • Concrete reinforcing wire mesh manufacturers also received notices from their suppliers that their cost for January shipments of wire rod have increased and will continue to increase in the future.
  • Manufacturers of construction chemicals continue to announce price increases due to the rising costs for solvents, polymers, and other components used in their products.

Due to price increases from our suppliers, we will be instituting price increases on steel, chemical and petroleum based products.

In addition, due to the volatile nature of raw materials costs, all existing quotes are only good for ten (10) days from date of issue. Please visit an A.H. Harris Branch or speak with your A.H. Harris Account Manager for additional details

A.H. Harris is committed to offering you value-added products and solutions to meet your construction needs.  We look forward to continuing to provide the service that you expect and deserve and trust that our business relationship will continue to strengthen in 2017.


Kimberly J. Corwin, President & CEO A.H. Harris & Sons, Inc. Construction Supplies

Preparing for Winter Weather

Winter weather brings concerns about heat and maximizing its retention, frozen pipes, and access to your place of business & home. The following checklist will help you identify the areas of your business or home that are most susceptible to winter hazards and to suggest ways to minimize damage. It is a good idea to develop a plan of action for your business, your staff and your family to be ready for this type of interruption. Below you will find critical information and preparedness tools to assist in protecting both your business and your home.

Before the Storm:

  • Check your insurance coverage for protection against all types of storm hazards.
  • Add the following supplies to your disaster supplies kit: rock salt (to melt ice on driveways), sand (to improve traction), and snow shovels (or other snow removal equipment).
  • Determine your greatest risk potential: loss of heat, frozen pipes, and/or loss of access due to snow/ice.
  • Identify who is responsible for snow/ice removal, verify the how much you will be charged and in the case of a very large snowfall any additional charges that maybe accrued for heavier equipment needed to clear or move snow off site.
  • Are portable heaters or other emergency equipment needed/available?
  • If snow and/or ice prohibit access to your home or business via the main entrance, are there alternative ways to enter your premises safely?
  • Seal all openings with caulking and insulation where cold air can enter.
  • Repair walls and roofs to prevent drafts; inspect roof drains for debris.
  • Make sure storm windows are effective, if appropriate.
  • Make sure heating and heat-producing process equipment is in good condition and operating efficiently.
  • Provide proper lubrication on equipment for cold weather operation (i.e., emergency generators, snow blowers).
  • Mark hydrants near your home & business for ease in locating and clearing after a heavy storm.

During the Storm:

  • Heaters, snow blowers, generators, and cold-weather equipment should be located where it is most likely to be used.
  • Keep driveways, walkways, and doorways clear of snow and ice.
  • Open water faucets slightly to let them drip in order to keep water flowing through the pipes that are vulnerable to freezing. Ice may still form, but the open faucet helps prevent the pipe from bursting by allowing relief for any built up pressure.
  • Names and phone numbers of your heating contractor, plumber, fire department, insurance agent, should be easily accessible.

After the Storm:

  • Assess any and all damaged.
  • Stay away from downed power lines!
  • Call insurance agent if needed.
  • Clear all sidewalks, driveways and fire hydrants.

Winter storms may range from a moderate snow in a short amount of time to a blizzard lasting for days. Some storms are regional and may affect several states, while others are more localized, depending upon geography and terrain.  Common characteristics of winter storms are dangerously low temperatures, strong winds, ice, sleet, and freezing rain.

Common Terms to know:

  • Winter storm watch > be alert, a storm is likely
  • Winter storm warning > take action, the storm is in or entering the area
  • Blizzard warning > snow and strong winds combined will produce blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill. Seek refuge immediately!
  • Winter weather advisory > winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous, especially to motorists.
  • Frost/freeze warning > below freezing temperatures are expected and may cause damage to plants, crops and fruit trees.

Follow news on the most recent winter storm “Fortis” on weather.com

View our Harris & Kenseal Fall and Winter Flyer here. Stay Safe!

Tell Congress to OPPOSE the Timber Innovation Act

Earlier this year, the Timber Innovation Act (S. 2892/H.R. 5628) was introduced authorizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to place ‘mass timber’ as the material of choice for all tall building structures exceeding 85 feet or above. The bill advocates the acceleration of research and development, education, marketing, technical assistance, and training and promotion of engineered, cross-laminated wood otherwise known as mass timber. This bill will give the timber industry a market share advantage above all others in tall building structures. We believe The Timber Innovation Act unfairly authorizes the USDA to:

  • Provide federal funding to place CLT’s as the materials of choice in the tall building market
  • Fund a Tall Wood Building Prize Competition at the USDA
  • Fund grants to state, local and private sectors for education, R&D, promotion and marketing;
  • Fund technical assistance programs to architects and building designers for mass timber applications in tall building structures 85 feet and above.

Congress shouldn’t pick winners and losers at the taxpayer’s expense. They should be promoting fair competition in the marketplace, which will drive innovation while reducing consumer costs for all material selection in the built environment. The wood industry already benefits from the federal Softwood Lumber Check Off program, which would make authorizing these new programs duplicative.

Click here to generate the below email and send it to your Congressman in less than 30 seconds

“I oppose H.R. 5628, the Timber Innovation Act (TIA), which could undermine the safety and soundness of the built environment – including tall wood buildings – and also provide an unfair advantage to one building material over all others.

Specifically, the legislation directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a research and development program “advancing” the use of wood in tall buildings more than 85 ft an above. It also creates a grant program for state and local communities to promote the use of wood materials in construction of these buildings over other materials and establishes a competition for tall wood building design. Furthermore, this legislation creates an imbalance in the marketplace by allowing the federal government to choose winners and losers.

I also have serious concerns about the safety of extensive wood use in tall building construction.  Model building codes, including the International Building Code (IBC), classify mass timber as a combustible construction material with longstanding limitations on building height and area to mitigate the inherent risk to firefighters, first responders and building occupants.  Recent code proposals sponsored by the wood industry seeking to amend these limitations have been considered and rejected.  The code development process provides the appropriate consensus mechanism for interested parties and building science experts to evaluate changes in the interest of public safety.  I encourage the federal government to allow the code development process to continue to evaluate the risk associated with timber construction in a comprehensive manner without the appearance of a preference for any one construction material, as suggested by the TIA legislation.

Again, I believe it is inappropriate for the federal government to pick winners and losers for building materials in the construction industry – especially at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. The wood industry already benefits from a federal checkoff program, which is entirely appropriate.  Putting the federal government in the position of promoting one industry at the expense of others would be inappropriate and counterproductive for job growth. The federal government should instead be promoting fair competition in the marketplace.  It is critically important to allow the engineers, architects, general contractors, material suppliers and other interested and affected parties to determine the best practices for designing and constructing buildings based on sound science and engineering standards.

As Congress considers this, or similar legislation, I ask you to consider my thoughts and concerns and oppose this legislation.”


Some Benefits of using CONCRETE instead – Click Graphic to learn more (via CRSI)


Take Advantage of The End-Of-Year Tax Deduction Program



2016 Deduction Limit = $500,000
This deduction is good on new and used equipment, as well as off-the-shelf software. This limit is only good for 2016, and the equipment must be financed/purchased and put into service by the end of the day, 12/31/2016.

2016 Spending Cap on equipment purchases = $2,000,000
This is the maximum amount that can be spent on equipment before the Section 179 Deduction available to your company begins to be reduced on a dollar for dollar basis. This spending cap makes Section 179 a true “small business tax incentive”.

Click here for a printable flyer!


It gives you the ability to:
• finance or lease the concrete forms that you need!
• realize significant tax savings by buying now.
• gain benefits even if financing or leasing.
• invest in your business and save in taxes.

Reference source: www.Section179.org. For more details on limits and qualifying equipment, as well as Section 179 Qualified Financing, visit their website. Remember, financing is available through Harris Partner Direct Capital.