Jason Schneider

The idea for BOWA Builders’ Project Cost Savings Award came from the company’s goal to provide even greater value to clients. Especially in this economy, says director of marketing Kathy Kelly, people are conscious of where every dollar is going. “Our team members act as client advocates and identify opportunities for better pricing, smarter selections, more efficient techniques, etc.,” she says.

The award program, launched in January, is open to employees of BOWA, in McLean, Va. Staff may nominate themselves or may be nominated by a co-worker or supervisor. “The nominations to date have been internal, but we have communicated this award to our clients and would certainly welcome nominations from them,” Kelly says.

For the first quarter of 2009, the company received 10 nominations and awarded two prizes. The winners are selected by BOWA’s leadership team. The winning employees received a $100 Visa gift card.

One winner, a project coordinator, suggested a more cost-effective recessed fixture than the $1,200 per unit specified by the designer of a whole-house project. With 50 fixtures, the comparable alternative saved the client more than $35,000.

The other winner was a senior carpenter who was working on a timber frame barn project. He recommended reconsidering the process used to install the tongue-and-groove flooring. By reducing the frequency with which the hydraulic jacks needed to be reset, he saved the client $10,000.

Kelly says that the number of winners depends on the type and number of nominations that the leadership team receives. “It’s to our benefit to share all the good ideas with everyone,” she says. “This is just another way to capture best practices and share them.” The company’s vice president of best practices is using the nominees and winners to help set standards for the company.

—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.