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False and India. There’s twig furniture intricately woven from tree scraps and lighting with all-natural elements like seashells or wood bark or twigs. Woods like mango and acacia are favored, since they’re only harvested when fully mature. And fi nishes are going from oil- based to water-based. Four Hands is also a founding member of the Sustainable Furniture Council, a nonprofi t group formed to promote sustainable practices in the home furnishings industry. In terms of challenges, Briggs says the most signifi cant change he’s currently seeing is an increased effort required in order to get paid. “ Money has tightened, and people are stretching their terms. We’re living in uncertain times right now. I think we’re just seeing the tip of it, and we are waiting to see how people react. The furniture industry is directly affected by the housing situation in the US.” so that he can comfortably make 150 pieces per month while maintaining quality. He can then pay us back $ 1,000 per container of goods, perhaps over the next three years. We’ve invested money, time, and effort into developing an effi cient, cost-effective supply chain with quality, realizing that you can have the greatest merchandise in the world, but if it’s overpriced, or arrives damaged, or doesn’t arrive at the right time, you’re not a solution for a retailer. And since retailers can go overseas themselves for products, we’ve made it easier for them to come to us.” Four Hands was environmentally conscious long before it was in vogue. Hatton says that being eco- friendly wasn’t a choice for him but rather a natural instinct. He found recycled elm being used in China, aluminum from cans being recycled in India, recycled teak from old fl oorboards, factories, and ships in Indonesia FourHands 124 www. bus- ex. com May 08

False May 08 www. bus- ex. com 125 Man- ShieldConstruction President Bill Sharpe tells Gary Toushek how this general contractor developer continues grow, with an eye on institutional and green projects for government, educational, and healthcare sectors Thenextmountain Joe Bova has been a familiar builder on the Winnipeg, Manitoba skyline since 1972, when he and partner Terry Ferraro launched B & F Masonry Ltd. In 1979 the pair partnered with Henry Eismendi to found Gibraltar Concrete Canada Ltd. The three partners added general contracting to their mix in 1989 when they invited Ted Nocita to join them and established Man- Shield Construction Inc. In 2000 Man- Shield opened a branch office in Thunder Bay, Ontario; a year later they added one in Calgary, Alberta, then added Edmonton in 2002. Today, the Man- Shield Group of companies includes the original founding company, B& F Masonry, Gibraltar Concrete Canada, Laureate Developments, and Man- Shield Construction. Each company and office has its own management structure with an equity partner in charge of those operations. In 2007, corporate revenues exceeded $ 225 million. Construction may be slowing or stalled in parts of America, but in Western Canada it’s chugging along steadily in the major centers, and in places like Winnipeg it’s been going gangbusters for several years. Bill Sharpe, the partner in charge of Man- Shield’s Winnipeg office says the building market is “ extremely active, probably the busiest in twenty years. It’s not a huge city, but there are limited resources in the construction trades and building supplies industries for large projects, and so that’s taxing on our industry at this time. We’re having to work harder on forging more loyal relationships with our trade contractors, and trying to balance our workload so that we can maintain a suitable