World of Concrete can be hard to navigate. With so many exciting and important events taking palce, you can't possibly see them all at once. That's why we've put together a quick summary of some of the noteworthy seminars taking place on Jan. 24, 2008.

Improve your estimates, boost profitability

During Thursday's "Preparing an Accurate and Profitable Construction Estimate" session, presenter James Adrian, president of Adrian International, shared with attendees ways to prepare a competitive and profitable estimate/bid, and how to quantify elements of project risk. He also demonstrated a range of bidding strategies that included overhead costs, productivity variables, and estimate adjustments; historical data, correlation analysis, and risk analysis needed in preparing an estimate/bid; and the value of optimizing crew size and structure. "Estimating is arguably the most important construction process," he said. "It sets out the potential for improvement. Each and every firm has the potential to improve at least one of the steps of estimating."

Get a fix on financial matters

"Project managers often feel that paperwork is a waste of time," presenter Leslie Shiner, owner of The Shiner Group, explained during the "Project Manager's Guide to the Financial Stuff" seminar on Thursday. She shared with attendees information aimed toward helping them identify key construction accounting terms and principles (i.e., revenue recognition methods, job costing and job cost analysis, progress billing, overhead, and profit); apply financial management understanding to decisions, projects, and staffing; and improved their financial management and communication skills.

Good employees can ensure good profits

During the session "Yes, You Can Hire Winners!" on Thursday, Brad Humphrey, of Pinnacle Development Group, and Bob Dusin, of Gangbox Inc., laid out ways to spot winning attributes in potential and current employees, understand how to handle legal issues, get the right answers, and ask effective questions in an interview. Before the session started, Humphrey said he and his co-presenter would "demonstrate everything a contractor or leader wanted to ask but couldn't, or shouldn't."

Understanding immigration issues is key

The Department of Homeland Security has stepped up its worksite enforcement and is targeting employers across all industries, explained presenter Jacob Monty, managing partner of Monty Partners LLP, during his Thursday "Hispanics in the Concrete Construction Industry" session. Because Hispanic employees constitute a large percentage of construction-industry workers, employers need to know how to understand immigration laws, capitalize on Hispanic workers' strengths, and avoid common pitfalls. To that end, Monty showed attendees how to effectively communicate with their staff, understand cultural differences, and implement effective policies.