A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Reshaping the Construction Industry

According to a recent headline in Bloomberg, Stagnant August Hiring in U.S. May Signal Renewed Recession, the numbers don’t look promising.The article quotes James Hamilton, an economics professor at the University of California, San Diego who has studied what has led to previous economic downturns in the United States.  Hamilton warned:“At this stage of the typical expansion we expect above-average growth and instead we are barely seeing any growth at all.  We have to be more worried.  Overall, the economy is in a delicate position and another shock could send us down.”Julia Coronado, the chief economist for North America at BNP Paribas, also offered a grim forecast for the US economy.  Predicting that the economy will drop at a 2 percent annual rate during the last quarter of 2011, she stated:“September could mark the start of the slump.  When there are no jobs and no income, there will not be a lot of spending either.”With the latest job growth number at zero, it looks as though we might be in stall mode
Jim Kollaer's picture
September 08, 2011
As part of the upcoming jobs push by the Administration there is one item of particular interest to those of us in the industry: the renewal of the Federal Highway Act that is set...
Jim Kollaer's picture
September 07, 2011
It has been a rough three or four years for the commercial construction business and with the drought that has plagued the industry for those years, cracks are beginning to show up around the foundations of some very strong companies.We work with a number of developers, contractors, specialty subcontractors and designers, and it is becoming apparent that many of them across the country are running out of projects, out of reserves, and a number of them are running out of gas.“These are the times that try men’s souls!”  These are the testing times, these are the times when we create our new future and for some that future will not be as bright as they might have imagined.I wrote a poem a decade ago to use in some of my marketing and strategic planning speeches and workshops to help people begin to look forward, to stretch their vision and to see how quickly their new future would arrive.  
Jim Kollaer's picture
September 03, 2011
Construction on the new Isle of Capri Casino in Cape Girardeau, Missouri continues this week as  Delta Companies Inc began pouring the massive concrete “swimming pool” which will lie beneath the casino floor.  Missouri law only allows casino gambling on certain types of licensed excursion boats; therefore the gaming floor of the resort will be constructed on a “barge” which will float in water two feet deep.An article in the newspaper Southeast Missourian by Melissa Miller reveals the enormity of this concrete job.  Jason Barber, account representative with Delta Companies explained:“To make up the 2,300 cubic yards of concrete needed for the project, Delta Companies used 500 tons
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
September 02, 2011
Shell Oil, has for the last few decades, brought the best and brightest thinkers and futurists together to create scenarios for what the emerging futures might be for the next 50 years around the globe, what the implications might be for the energy business during that period and what the underlying assumptions might be for the countries where they operate.The scenario process usually takes two years and the team interviews business and government leaders, thinkers, futurists and reviews the most current literature from the academic world.  As the futurist and author Joe Jaworski told me, the scenarios for the possible futures emerge from the dialog and the conversation.Perhaps it is like the multiple colored tracks we see on the weather report when a hurricane like Irene is approaching.  
Jim Kollaer's picture
September 01, 2011
This month, the market research firm Harris Interactive surveyed 2450 adult Americans and determined that Americans have a conflicted opinion about labor unions.  As explained in today’s press release, the latest Harris Poll reveals several interesting contrasting results from the survey.  Even people from households with union workers are critical of some union conduct, although they are less critical than those from nonunion households.Survey results include:Most Americans (including both union and nonunion) agree that unions improve wages and working conditions of workers.Even among union households most people believe that unions are too involved in politics:   
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
August 31, 2011
The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) issued a press release yesterday claiming that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is overstepping and favoring the unions. The release says:“Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today criticized two decisions issued by the Democrat-appointed majority of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that negatively impact employees’ rights.  First, the NLRB overruled a 2007 decision granting employees the ability to file a decertification petition for a secret-ballot election within 45 days after an employer recognizes a union as a monopoly bargaining agent.  Second, the board ruled in favor of creating a new standard for a bargaining unit, despite the fact that the current 20-year old standard has been without controversy.”The release quotes ABC Vice President of Federal Affairs Geoff Burr as stating:
Jim Kollaer's picture
August 31, 2011
The construction industry has begun to place an even greater focus on safety on the jobsite.  According to the latest National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2010 conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, that effort is beginning to pay off in fewer workplace fatalities.According to the study, “The number of fatal work injuries in the private industry construction sector declined by 10 percent in 2010.  Fatal work injuries in construction have declined every year since 2006 and are down nearly 40 percent over that time.  Economic conditions may explain much of this decline with total hours worked having declined another 6 percent in construction in 2010, after declines in both 2008 and 2009.  Even with the lower fatal injury total, construction accounted for more fatal work injuries than any other industry in 2010.”  
Jim Kollaer's picture
August 29, 2011
As Hurricane Irene approaches New York and other cities on the east coast of the US, construction sites everywhere are halting work and securing work sites in preparation for the...
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
August 26, 2011
Last week, we attended a dinner of the Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center at which a vote was taken on the worst case of wage theft and worker abuse on  the cases where...
Jim Kollaer's picture
August 25, 2011