More than 60 Unified Group members met at the 2009 Annual Meeting/Owners’ Forum, Nov. 11-15 in Palm Springs, CA.Tops on the agenda was a discussion of individual company goals for 2010.

Jim Bartolotta, Unified Group managing partner, started the meeting by sharing what he has learned over the past year; primarily in areas of efficiency.

“We can’t be stubborn – we have to look at the big picture,” Bartolotta said. “Times like this teach us to reinvent ourselves and think, ‘Are we operating as efficiently as we can?’ The challenge makes us a stronger company.”

Unified Group members met in a roundtable setting to discuss current challenges with their peers. Using the feedback from everyone at their table, each member was asked to write down one thing they plan to implement when they return to the office as a result of the meeting.

“I'm truly humbled by the dedication and sprit displayed within The Unified Group. There's so much untapped wisdom and experience,” said Steve Harvey, Soefker Services.

Guardian Environmental Services, a full-service mechanical contractor based in Livonia, MI, was named the Unified Group’s Member of the Year. Tom Barker, Guardian Environmental Services’ vice president, accepted the award on behalf of the company.

“Tom and Guardian have shown a true dedication to The Unified Group,” said Unnified Group Executive Director Julie Bishop. “Even through a tough economy they continue to grow and help make the group even stronger.”

Barker has served on the business opportunities committee and The Unified Group board of advisors for 2008 and 2009. Guardian Environmental Services is the seventh company to receive the award.