Building products manufacturer Versatex has launched a digital platform dedicated to learning and networking.
The Versatex Community allows for builders or a renovator, an architect or a designer, an industry veteran or a trade-school student, to connect . The platform was aunched this spring to weave together education, creativity, growth and innovation throughout residential design and construction.
CEO John Pace likens the Community to a town square where members of every trade and profession can rub elbows.
“Our company has always been an advocate for learning and collaboration,” Pace said. “Early on, we understood that sharing knowledge is a key to success for our customers, our industry peers and ourselves. And, lately, the various social media platforms have made it clear that there’s an endless thirst for virtual interactions that generate useful information.”
Bryan Abdallah, who curates the Versatex Community and manages social media marketing at the manufacturer said, “Our focus is simple: to bring the construction and design community together online. It’s our way of bridging resources and tools to the industry now and to the next generation. We provide experiences that educate people not only about VERSATEX trimboard, but also about other, complementary building materials through best practices for installation, design and custom fabrication.”
The Community is also designed to give something back to an industry that can only prosper if it attracts a new wave of young people, Versatex said. The company also fosters mentorships and knowledge-based programs for high schools and trade schools.
Working professionals describe the Community as a wellspring of ideas, technical tips and networking opportunities.
“One big reason I joined the Verastex Community is for inspiration,” said Maryland-based homebuilder David Parraguirre. “But it’s also a great source of practical knowledge, and it’s even given us leads for new business.”
An online content creator in his own right, Parraguirre is known for his plainspoken YouTube channel, The Mexican Carpenter. He credits Abdallah with encouraging his successful, Spanish-language foray into social media.
A visit to the Versatex Community shows its broad scope:
• An introduction to the Versatex Scholars Program details a collaboration with a Washington, D.C., high school devoted to architecture, construction and engineering. The Program prepares young people for fulfilling careers by exposing them to real-life tradecraft, mentorships and decision-making perspectives.
• A podcast library highlights Abdallah’s revealing conversations with industry professionals. Typical is a dialog with Robin Carroll of KARP Associates, a custom homebuilding firm based in New Canaan, Conn. Carroll shares insights on the demands of constructing modern-style dwellings, and stresses the importance of keeping pace with innovations in products and technologies.
• Under “Learn Something New,” website visitors will find video segments detailing best practices as well as new tools and techniques.
• A “Social Feed” section offers links to hundreds of short-form videos. They range from glimpses of hands-on, classroom presentations by industry veterans to scenes from news-you-can-use events like the VERSATEX Road Show, in which expert deck builder Bobby Parks brings practical training sessions to dozens of regional building-materials dealerships. Prefer to drop in and comment via TikTok, Instagram or Facebook? The community is active there, too.
“Our Community welcomes everyone,” says Abdallah. “We want to empower all of you to be better builders, better business people, better designers and better students, as you work with better materials and processes—and form better relationships with one another.”