Denise Norberg-Johnson

Financial Columnist

Denise Norberg-Johnson is a former subcontractor and past president of two national construction associations. She may be reached at

Articles by Denise Norberg-Johnson

July 2017
When I ran the family contracting business, we still employed some of the old guard from my father’s term as owner. It was clear that they considered their training complete when they received their journeyman credentials. Thankfully, today, employees accept the mandate to upgrade their skills, especially in a field such as electrical work. 
June 2017
Have you noticed the trend in the business press connecting employee happiness with loyalty and retention? For young workers, money is no longer the sole consideration. Now, they seek unquantifiable factors, such as enjoyment and fulfillment. The lists of “best employers” always include companies that offer unusual perks and flexible choices. Are these ideas applicable to electrical contracting?
May 2017
News coverage of the health insurance debate should serve as a reminder for electrical contractors that have not fully evaluated or updated their business insurance plan. At renewal time, it’s important to update coverage and implement a plan to meet out-of-pocket costs.
 What does this mean for ECs?
April 2017
Productivity improvement is more than reducing waste. Understanding how routines and environment affect our physical and mental states can help you and your employees get the work done more efficiently and accurately without spending a fortune or revamping your organization.
 Motivation and mental state
March 2017
In the original “Jurassic Park” movie, mathematician Ian Malcolm warns the creator of the park that control is an illusion. Regardless of how many electric fences, backup systems and contingency plans are in place, there is ultimately no guarantee of safety in the park. “Life finds a way,” the chaos theoretician observes. READ MORE
February 2017
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter issued an amended executive order that, within four years, required tradeswomen to perform at least 6.9 percent of the labor hours on construction projects. Contractors on federal projects are still expected to make a “good faith effort” to hire tradeswomen, but, after nearly 40 years, women still perform only 2–3 percent of construction work. 
January 2017
Despite political and social controversy surrounding the 2016 election, there are reasons for electrical contractors to be optimistic about the next four years. One potential benefit of electing a business executive is the expectation of economically minded policies and regulations.
November 2016
My September column, “America’s Money,” explained the basic structure of the Federal Reserve, including the 12 Federal Reserve Banks, Board of Governors and Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). All checks are cleared through this system. READ MORE
September 2016
Most taxpayers know the Federal Reserve Board of Governors meets periodically to set interest rates, but too often, they leave the deeper analysis to economists. Since monetary policy affects the economy’s health and stability, everybody—including electrical contractors—should be familiar with how these decisions are made.