Reshaping the Construction Industry

Those of us in the construction industry are aware of the vast opportunities that exist for individuals who are willing to build.  October is Careers in Construction Month, and it’s the perfect time to spread the word about these opportunities.  According to new research from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International, 73 percent of high school seniors reported that they already know which career they want to pursue.  Research like this tells us that we need to start early when promoting careers in construction as we seek to recruit the next generation of craft professionals.

Informational resources are paramount to recruitment, and NCCER’s Build Your Future (BYF) initiative offers numerous resources to support the recruitment efforts of our industry’s next skilled workforce.   Read more » about Kicking Off Careers in Construction Month This October

Editor's note: The following article was originally posted on

On July 23rd, Marek was pleased to recognize several of our workforce development participants for various levels of graduation within our program. An earlier post by Arthur Ehmling, our corporate training coordinator, outlined the specific levels attained by the 21 helpers, 8 mechanics, and 18 foremen, who worked very diligently to reach these levels.

In addition to our graduates, we wanted to acknowledge the contributions of our coaches, whose daily guidance is critical to each of their trainees. Also instrumental are our supervisors and workforce development executive committee, whose support, leadership, and vision establish the culture of expectations for both trainees and coaches.

At Marek, we regularly put our new trainees through on boarding sessions, commonly referred to as the “Bus tour”, a term coined by our Dallas Division President John Hinson. “If you’re coming with Marek, you’d better get on the bus," John would say to the Dallas trainees. The saying stuck around Houston too.   Read more » about Building Blocks: A Story from the Marek Workforce Development Graduation Ceremony

Editor’s note: The following was originally published by BRI Commercial Roofing.  Reprinted with permission.

Focusing on safety is important in any industry, but in the roofing industry it’s imperative.  A company can do everything right in terms of production for their customers, but if safety isn’t a top priority, there can be serious repercussions.

Here are a few ways that a focus on safety is a benefit to not only the employees, but the clients as well:

  • Fewer work-related accidents means less work interruptions
  • Lower risk of liability

  Read more » about Why Safety is Important in the Roofing Industry

The work we do at Construction Citizen to advance a socially responsible, sustainable and value added construction industry isn't just being noticed by those in the industry itself.  Others, including professional services firms, have started to take note and some even are taking action.

I recently sat down with Tony Fierro, President of K & S Insurance Agency in Rockwall, Texas, to talk about why he's made the decision to “join the movement,” as he put it.  Until Fierro made his commitment, all of our great sponsors had been contractors.  Since K & S Insurance is the first non-contractor to join, Fierro felt it was important to explain why he made the decision and encourage others to do the same.   Read more » about K & S Insurance Joins Construction Citizen [VIDEO]

Employment hits 5-year high in August; Manpower poll implies more hiring next quarter

Editor’s note:  Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 142,000, seasonally adjusted, in August and 2,482,000 (1.8%) over 12 months, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on September 5. Construction employment rose by 20,000 for the month and 232,000 (4.0%) over the year to 6,068,000, the highest total since May 2009. Residential construction employment (residential building and specialty trade contractors) climbed by 13,200 for the month and 123,100 (5.7%) for the year. Nonresidential employment (building, specialty trades, and heavy and civil engineering construction) increased by 6,400 in August and 108,600 (3.0%) year-over-year. All five residential and nonresidential segments added workers for the month and year.   Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: September 5-15, 2014

Editor’s note: More and more news outlets are covering the epidemic levels of cheating in the construction industry and we’re thrilled to see it.  One of the latest and best examples is The Dallas Morning News Editorial Board, which has now said worker misclassification is part of the “Dark Side” of the Texas economic miracle.  We are told that the editorial board, at least in part, was inspired by the work we’ve done at Construction Citizen to expose the problem.  The following editorial was originally published in The Dallas Morning News.  Reprinted with permission.

Editorial: The dark side of Texas’ economic miracle

Every day, Texans celebrate the fruits of light government regulation: Housing is cheaper here, the economy is healthy, and jobs are available.

The construction crane easily could be declared the state bird.

But our economic miracle has a troubling byproduct: Texas leads the nation in worker fatalities, according to a recent Dallas Morning News analysis of federal data.  The special report by James Gordon reveals that over the last decade, 579 more deaths happened on the job than statistically should have occurred in a state the size of Texas.   Read more » about The Dallas Morning News: Texas Taxpayers Should be “Incensed” Over Worker Misclassification

The following article originally appeared in the August newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.

In this robust market, there is a terrific amount of positive activity, and it appears that it could last for another 3-5 years!  Companies will have many opportunities to get work and make money.  No company will have to particularly excel to do this.  If a company has capacity and basic building competency, they should prosper.  They can just drift with the momentum of the market.

But there will also be another group of companies that will not only prosper, they will thrive.  They will take advantage of this rare market to build multiple generational organizations.  Their executive teams will not just drift with the market momentum; these leaders will drive their companies to pre-determined goals and reinvest profits to build more solid foundations; they will drive the necessary changes to move to the next level, to truly become, as heralded author Jim Collins says, “Built to Last.”   Read more » about Drifting or Driving?

President Obama over the weekend backed away from his own timeline on executive action for immigration policy, something that's been a top concern for construction and other industries that find it difficult to find a sufficient number of authorized workers.

In the 3½-minute video below from NBC’s Meet the Press, Obama blamed the delay on the shifting politics of the issue brought on by the crisis along the Texas-Mexico border.  That’s after NBC’s Chuck Todd pressed the president on whether he is dragging his feet because Democratic senators in Republican states fear a backlash at the polls in November:

“‘The truth of the matter is that the politics did shift midsummer because of that problem,’ Obama said.  ‘I want to spend some time, even as we're getting all our ducks in a row for the executive action, I also want to make sure that the public understands why we're doing this, why it's the right thing for the American people, why it's the right thing for the American economy.’”   Read more » about The Trades Go Wanting for Workers While Obama Stalls on Immigration [VIDEO]

Construction spending hits 5-1/2 year high; more metros add jobs; Beige Book is sunny

Editor’s note:  Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.

Construction spending in July totaled $981 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, up 1.8% from the rate in June, up 8.2% from July 2013, and the highest level since December 2008, the Census Bureau reported last Tuesday. Census revised up the totals for June (by $14 billion) and May ($5 billion). Private residential spending increased 0.7% for the month and 8.0% over the latest 12 months; private nonresidential spending, 2.1% and 14%, respectively; and public construction spending, 3.0% and 2.1%.   Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: August 25-September 4, 2014

The advice KBR Pipe Supervisor Chris Pullen offers to new craft professionals on the worksite is a testament to his own career.

“Don’t stop.  Don’t give up.  Get the training you can.  Try and learn from everyone around you.”

Pullen applies his own advice during his regimented days, fitting in a work schedule, night classes and family time.  His career goals in the construction industry push him to fill his agenda, even from the very start of his craft profession.  The option to enter the construction industry seemed like the right decision to Pullen.  He says he likes to build things, and the industry presented opportunities for growth.  But at times, his path up the career ladder was a trying trip.   Read more » about CMEF Student Climbs Career Ladder While Offering Good Advice [VIDEO]


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