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 2004
Use it to your advantage Down time erodes profit, frustrates field employees and annoys managers. Even the best scheduling won’t completely eliminate all gaps in field productivity. A late material delivery, broken piece of equipment, crew relocation or design change by your customer can leave everyone standing around looking for guidance. READ MORE
May 2004
Know when it’s time to sell ‘old bessie’ If you’re a typical electrical contractor, you’ve probably accumulated fixed assets as the business grew. Calculating ROA, or Return On Assets, will make you aware of just how fixed asset-heavy your company has become. Divide net profit by total assets and compare the percentage to the 2002 NECA Financial Performance Report. READ MORE
March 2004
What’s the status of women in electrical contracting? READ MORE
January 2004
Anger and violence in the workplace are definitely increasing, and one in six workers has been angry enough at work to want to punch a coworker. Understanding how to prevent anger from erupting into violence is imperative. Anger is a strong feeling of antagonism associated with extreme displeasure. As anger escalates, the quality of judgment decreases, and logic evaporates. READ MORE
January 2004
People are your most important asset, and also the hardest to manage. Employees talk back, loyalty seems to have disappeared and the traditional work ethic appears to be eroding. You are probably experiencing the confusion inherent in managing employees of different generations. Workplace diversity is no longer limited to ethnicity or gender. READ MORE
November 2003
Information is power, within reason, so today’s business environment puts a premium on such. We’re told that computers reduce paperwork; more often they increase it. And one of the biggest workplace complaints is the inability to catch up on business reading. How do you reconcile these conflicting ideas? For each company, the solutions will be different. READ MORE
September 2003
Are you running a sprint or a marathon on the technology track? Do you feel like a hamster on a wheel, trying to evaluate new gadgets and systems? Even electrical contractors aren’t immune to technology headaches, especially when you’re spending all of your time just serving your customers. READ MORE
August 2003
Remember the “good old days” of construction? The electrical contractor scribbled an estimate on the back of an envelope, shook hands with the general contractor, and they danced into the sunset sharing a reasonable profit, to the delight of the project owner. Labor was cheap, benefits were minimal and regulation was manageable. READ MORE
July 2003
Customers are placing a higher priority on time than money, and it seems that nearly all projects are now “fast track.” Managing money is easier than managing time, and every electrical contracting company struggles with waste, inaccurate records, or even time theft. You can tolerate lost time—or look for ways to decrease the waste. Start with the source documents in your accounting system. READ MORE