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September 20, 2011 - What does it take to start and keep a small business going? This is just one of the many questions that Stephen J. Blakesley host of the internet radio show Entrepreneures-R-Us asked Vic Cherubini, President of the epic software group on this weeks show. If you have not yet tuned in, Entrepreneurs R Us is a gathering place for anyone who wishes to succeed in a business start-up. Blakesley, a Serial Entrepreneur, Author and Speaker has interviewed a number of successful entrepreneurs and provides the listener with ideas they can put to immediate use.
Click here to listen to the interview with Vic Cherubini. You can read a transcript of the show below.
Blakesley: "Good Afternoon Vic and welcome to Entrepreneurs R Us. Glad you can join us today."
Cherubini: "Thanks Stephen - I am happy to be with and appreciate the opportunity to be on your show."
Blakesley: "Tell us about your background before launching the Epic Software Group."
Cherubini: "I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and attended The State University of New York at Geneseo where I got a degree in Photography. I worked as a professional photographer and taught Photography at Illinois Central College in Peoria Illinois in the mid-70's; I got interested in Industrial sales, and spent 15 years selling for Johnson & Johnson, Nitto Denko, and Shaw Industries. In 1987,I completed an MBA at The University of Houston, and launched the epic software group in 1990's; We are in our 21st year in business and operate epic from a state of the art production studio in The Woodlands, Texas."
Blakesley: "What does Epic Software actually do? "
Posted by Vic on September 22, 2011
April 9, 2011 - Our goals for this week were to get the building painted, get the water and sewer lines working, install the main electrical lines, and get started on the HVAC installation. By Sunday evening we had met all of our objectives.
Glidden was kind enough to extend a professional discount to us, so we opted to go with them for the exterior and interior paint on the project. We visited the local store and met with Jack Biggs, the Field Service Rep for Glidden who has years of construction experience, Jack asked us a number of questions about our project, then suggested a Glidden formulation that was developed specifically for external metal surfaces. This paint is not cheap, but we wanted something that will give us years of service and not fade. Mike Huffine of Silver Rock spent a great deal of time trying to get just the right color for the containers. We decided on blue, but were not sure of exactly what shade of blue we would go with. Jack gave us 3 samples of paint and suggested we do some tests. He offered to come by after the paint has set up (72 hours) to see the results.
Posted by Vic on April 11, 2011
December 7, 2010 - Over the past week, Mr. Brooks and his crew completed their dirt work on the site; then turned their attention to drilling the piles, setting the beams, and building the foundation walls. Besides a few clouds now and then, the weather has been near perfect. To say it is important to get the foundation right is a bit of an understatement. An error at this stage can cascade in all kinds of rework and additional costs later. This is the time to check and recheck all drawings.
Posted by Vic Cherubini on December 08, 2010
November 15, 2010 - Sometimes it takes "out of the box" thinking to come up with just the right solution. Since the inception of the project, we had the Creative Co-Op building to the south of our studio. Since we have 3 acres to our south, and just a 1/2 acre to the north (ie. in front of our current building), it seemed to make the most sense to put it in the back. For the past couple of weeks we have been battling with this choice. What seemed to make so much sense in the computer, was giving us fits in the real world. The south placement would require a retaining wall, a fire lane, and other access issues that involved us (and our future tenants) making compromises.
Truman and David Cox posed the question of turning the building 90 degrees. At first I resisted (we had spent months moving things around and now it was "time to lock things down and get going on construction". There was no doubt that the suggested orientation would help, but for every problem it solved, another appeared in its place. That is when we came up with the idea of moving the building in front of our current studio. Instantly, we no longer needed the retaining wall, and fire access lane. By also turning the building 180 degrees, we could move the access ramp to the west side, and provide Silver Rock Productions with a much nicer entry option.
Posted by Vic Cherubini on November 15, 2010
November 2, 2011 - It is hard to believe that almost a month has passed since we did our last blog entry on the project. Over the past few weeks we have made significant progress.
Earlier this year there was a glut of shipping containers and Hi-Cube Cargo Containers (Ocean Worthy Quality) were running about $1900 each for units that were just 5-6 years old. A variety of market forces has turned the container business upside down, and for the past 3-4 months, the price of containers has shot up 25-30% and the quality of the units has gone down. I checked with the container company that was so helpful to us in the past (EMS Containers) and talked with both Kevin Smith Jr and Sr. who were both helpful. Unfortunately, their inventory of 7000 units earlier this year was now 1800 units and most of them were being held for their customers.
Posted by Vic Cherubini on November 05, 2010
October 8, 2010 - The Woodlands, Texas - this afternoon we got a call from the Permitting Department in Conroe, TX informing us that the Fire Marshall and County Engineer signed off on the building plans we submitted on September 6th. With the 4 permits in hand (TX Accessibility Standards, South Montgomery MUD District, Fire Marshall, County Engineer), we are officially into the construction phase of the project. Yes!
Posted by Vic on October 11, 2010
August 30, 2010 - Work on the Creative Co-op building continues at a brisk pace. Last week we reached a significant milestone on the project - We completed the technical plans and drawings for the building and our project Engineer - Ron Saikowski - signed off on the drawings. Wally Westbrook the President of Wally Westbrook Designs, was there for us every step of the way. For those who have not gone through the process, I will share with you what we learned. This phase of the project took way longer then I anticipated - but hopefully, all that hard work will allow our plans to go through the permitting process without too many changes or delays.
Posted by Vic Cherubini on August 30, 2010
August 13, 2010 - Several years ago, marketing guru Seth Godin gave a presentation at the TED conference on the importance of standing out. We have all heard the term..."Best thing since sliced Bread", but did you know it took 15 years after the invention of sliced bread before it was widely accepted? Until Wonder Bread came along and SOLD the concept, no one wanted it. Your product or service must stand out for someone to first notice it, before you ever have a chance at selling it. The example he gives is... "you drive down a road and see a cow - so what? But if it were a purple cow, you would stop (or at least slow down) to take a closer look. If something is different or remarkable, it gets talked about. Average products for average people will no longer work. We live in an age of specialization. You sell to people who are listening, and hopefully those people will tell their friends." Bottom line - Don't be boring! Gordin goes onto say that "The riskiest thing you can do now is to be safe". So how can you apply this to your business?
Posted by Vic Cherubini on August 13, 2010
May 18, 2010 - When our architects first mentioned using cellulose as the primary insulation for the Creative Co-Op, I have to admit it was not even on my radar screen. I have a great deal of trust in their material choices, but the idea of using recycled newspaper for serious insulation alluded me. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY in a bungalow style house built in 1922. When built, most of these homes had no insulation in the walls and attic whatsoever. Cutting holes in the walls and pumping in cellulose was how many of these homes were later retrofitted to provide some degree of protection from the heat and cold. It never seemed to do a very good job.
I started my online research not on Google, but on You-Tube. I wanted to "see" the latest in cellulose technology, not read about it. After I looked at some videos, I then went go to Google to locate a source. As I was doing my search, I heard a news report that it was YouTube's 5th Anniversary, and the narrator started spouting off statistics that were simply mind boggling (24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute!). This was music to my ears. Since one of the key reasons we are building the Creative Co-Op is to handle the increase in business for sales and training videos our clients want for their corporate web sites.
Posted by Vic Cherubini on May 20, 2010
May 15, 2010 - The idea of being inside of a large metal box in the heat of a Houston, Texas summer is a bit scary. The insulation decision is a big one because of its long-term impact on the comfort and success of the Creative Co-Op. The challenge is to get the building property insulated from the elements, keep the occupants comfortable, and do it in a cost-effective way. Part of the fun of building a non-conventional structure is doing the research to find out what others have done and their experience. The internet is excellent for this kind of research. Unfortunately, for cargo container insulation there is not one single source of great information, but I was able to glean some information from blogs, online forums, and web sites.
Below I will share my findings with you, followed by my ideas for an insulation system and some comments from our architects.
Posted by Vic Cherubini on May 19, 2010
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