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Reshaping the Construction Industry

This recent commentary in Bloomberg brings up an interesting point about the role of the Yakuza or Japanese mafia in the reconstruction of the earthquake damaged parts of Japan.  Because of the need for construction to get underway as soon as possible, some think that the Yakuza will take advantage of the situation and become more deeply involved in the construction industry again.  They have been banned from several projects in the country and the government is trying to distance themselves from the crime organizations, but that might be hard to do in the light of the massive destruction caused by the earthquake.This article brings up a major question in my mind.  We know that there is a history of crime involvement in the construction industry in the US that extends back into the 1800s.  Stories of links between organized crime and the unions is the stuff of novels.The question that I am wondering about is the involvement of the Mexican cartels in the construction industry in the US today.
Jim Kollaer's picture
March 27, 2011
This morning a group of construction workers and supporters of the Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center held a protest across from the site of a new discount store to demand justice for nine workers who are owed more than $16,000 in unpaid wages by their employer, subcontractor Carole Johnson Builders LLC and the general contractor on the project, Williams Development and Construction Inc.  Fifteen workers who did interior construction work on the building were not paid for all of the hours they worked during January and February of this year.  
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
March 24, 2011
In the mid 80s the economy was so bad in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction and Real Estate worlds that we started to give slogans for each year to provide a little...
Jim Kollaer's picture
March 23, 2011
How do we overcome the stereotypes that many younger students have about the construction industry?  There is definitely an image issue that the construction industry is...
Stacy Gunderson's picture
March 18, 2011
Today is St. Patrick’s Day and spring starts officially next week.  Both of those dates are signaling the start of the construction season for 2011.  Sure, there is snow on the ground in parts of the country, but already daylight savings has started in a number of states and the temperatures in the south are in the 70s and 80s.What are some of the other signs that spring is here?  Besides the big blue jay sitting outside the window and the robins in the yard, several economists in the industry have recently stated that we are in a Design Recovery period in that the design firm indexes are indicating that their business is improving, certainly not to the levels of 2006-07, but improving nonetheless.
Jim Kollaer's picture
March 17, 2011
We got this one from one of the friends of Construction Citizen, John Hinson in Dallas.Pennsylvania enacted a misclassification law last month and within a week, officials had...
Jim Kollaer's picture
March 16, 2011
Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) was in Phoenix today to release a plan to increase the demand for construction and in so doing, grow the national economy.  The plan is titled Building a Stronger Future, A New Blueprint for Economic Growth.  According to AGC’s press release, the plan “outlines measures to help boost private sector demand for construction, help tackle a growing infrastructure maintenance backlog and reduce needless red tape and regulations. ... The association developed the plan to overcome the years-long construction downturn that has left over 2.2 million construction workers unemployed and the industry’s unemployment rate at 21.8 percent, more than twice the national average.”  
Construction Citizen's picture
March 15, 2011
Jim Stevenson, CEO of Bellows Construction, talked recently about his view on the Ethics Matrix, which is a way to explain what we consider to be right versus wrong as a society and as individuals.  Jim introduced the topic by stating that although many people might think that the laws a society makes are the highest form of law, in fact these are actually the lowest.  These laws which communities enact are called Human Positive Laws, and reflect what the community and society regard as important and “moral” at one particular point in time.  Above these laws are Ethics, which include standards which groups such as doctors or lawyers hold themselves to across regions and throughout history.
Elizabeth McPherson's picture
March 10, 2011
According to ENR (Engineering News-Record - subscription required), a new 3D Model Viewer is rocking the BIM world.Tekla has released BIMSight, a free 3D viewer for BIM modeling...
Jim Kollaer's picture
March 09, 2011
Judy Schreiner at Engineering News Record (ENR) has, in her latest column in the February 28 issue, talked with author Chuck Underwood about ways that we will have to work with the Millennials who are showing up at your offices looking for work on your construction sites.  Underwood is the author of The Generational Imperative and the founder and principal of The Generational Imperative, Inc.  According to Underwood, the Millennials are people who were born from 1982 through the present.  His comments were focused on the First Wavers who are 18 to 29 years old this year.  According to the statistics there are 40 to 50 million of them and they are likely already working for some of us.I was interested in the article as it compares the various generational similarities and differences between Gen Xers and the Millennials.Most interesting to me is Underwood’s comment:  
Jim Kollaer's picture
March 07, 2011