I recently had the privilege of offering testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) in Washington, DC related to the expansion of apprenticeship programs designed to create new opportunities. I was testifying on behalf of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a national construction trade organization with 21,000 members, through the lens of my experience with MAREK.
August 02, 2018
It is always gratifying to witness a group of construction leaders gathering to discuss the state of our workforce and what might be done if we acted in concert.I experienced that recently in Atlanta, Georgia at a meeting of the Construction Industry Employer Roundtable. As a guest of MAREK and MEMCO Atlanta, I joined approximately 12 construction trade associations represented by about 20 executives, along with a few contractors and specialty contractors, who were recognizing the one-year anniversary of their existence.The formation of this group acknowledges the workforce challenge facing the construction industry, across our nation, and the need for the industry to come together to collaborate, develop a collective voice, and align strategies.
January 25, 2017
ABC Greater Houston Celebrates the Men and Women in the Construction IndustryThe skills, work ethic, and safety of our craft professionals represent the foundation of our nation and community’s built environment. These men and women also contribute to an industry that accounted for $1.1 billion in spending in 2015.Ensuring that this critical resource is perpetuated for the generations ahead is the mission of the Construction Career Collaborative (C3), an alliance of socially responsible Owners, Contractors, and Specialty Contractors, with a mission to positively affect the issues facing the craft worker for the commercial construction industry, and endorsed and led by executives/members of ABC/CMEF, AGC Houston, ASA, and several other trade associations. C3 is based on three principles to support the craft professional: Financial Security, Health, and Well-Being; Safety Training; and Craft Training.  :
September 05, 2016
The following article was originally published on Marekbros.com.This business is just as much about the relationships we build over the decades as it is about the projects we build for our customers. Perhaps more so. After all, without those relationships, the projects for those customers would never go from concept to reality.Each year at Marek, we pay tribute to select partnerships by honoring some of the most trusted and respected companies in construction. We host an annual dinner where we have, for years, honored a Supplier of the Year and a General Contractor of the Year. In 2014, we’ve added something new: An Architect of the Year.
October 02, 2014
Editor's note: The following article was originally posted on MarekBros.com: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.
September 18, 2014
Originally posted by Mike Holland on MarekBros.com.On Thursday, November 21st, of this year I, along with 50 other executives, “slept out” on the grounds of the Covenant House, a homeless shelter for kids, to help raise awareness and much needed funds. For me, it was the second time to participate in this wonderful and transformative event. I was introduced to this by a good friend Kurt Nondorf, who has served on the Covenant board for several years. Admittedly, when Kurt first asked me, I really did not know what I had agreed to. I just did it because I trust him, and if he thought it was important, then I was willing to do whatever he asked.With a little help from my assistant Whitney, and the Covenant House staff I soon had a fund raising page up on the Covenant website, and after a few e-mails and calls the money started rolling in. I was surprised at the amount of passion and interest in the plight of the homeless, but my own level of concern was yet to be determined.What an experience the Sleep Out turned out to be! The evening began with the “intake process”, where homeless youth are interviewed and introduced to the staff and facility. Each of us “sleepers” experienced the intake process, similar to what a young man or woman would when entering the Covenant House.
December 20, 2013
Editor's note: The following article was originally posted on the MarekBros.com blog in connection with Marek's 75th Anniversary Open House:Our proud tradition at Marek is born of the fact that three Czech brothers from South Texas overcame the economic storm of The Depression in the 1930’s by mastering the art of drywall. Since that time, we've branched out in ways that folks in 1938 could probably never have imagined. Sure, we still hang a lot of drywall and our industry recognizes the fact that Marek takes on some of the biggest and most complicated jobs, but I think the story that rarely gets told has to do with the wide variety of services we provide to our customers on a daily basis.Marek is able to maximize efficiency on the projects we tackle through the use of Building Information Modeling, or BIM. In the three-minute video below, you’ll see what I mean. It’s a good example of not only being able to show what kind of information technology is used to control costs and resolve issues, but you can look around the rooms that were actually built using that technology and really see the finished product.
November 08, 2013
Last Wednesday was a great day for reflection about the workforce issue, at least for me. It began at a lunch gathering of Associated Builders and Contractors Past Presidents and the current executive committee to gather insight and input for the coming year’s planning session objectives, as requested by the ABC Greater Houston Chapter incoming chair Tim Ricketts. As Tim asked the past presidents for recollection of significant issues, accomplishments, and struggles during their respective terms, the issues of workforce, craft training, and unions dominated the discussion. Familiar themes of owner input and related issues, union difficulties, and economics were brought up. For example, owners were paying a significant training contribution via the union wage and fringe benefits to contractors, but didn’t see the value in paying contractors or ABC to do training in a merit shop environment.
May 22, 2013
I attended the Bisnow – Office of the Future breakfast on Tuesday, April 3rd, and was once again impressed with the overall quality of the event and the information. I was part of a fairly large Marek contingent, as we were partnering with Office Furniture Innovations (OFI) and Modular Architectural Interiors (MAI). We had an exhibit highlighting our Novawall and Mecho Shade systems for the design and brokerage communities. This was not my first Bisnow experience as I had attended several previously. The crowd at this event was a little different due to the “Office of the Future” theme, and consisted of a significant number of design professionals, as well as those brokers who were interested in the office of the future theme. The Marek exhibit drew considerable interest and several quality leads were generated. In addition, we held a drawing for an iPAD based on business cards dropped in our box.
April 16, 2012
On November 17th, the Houston Chapter of the American Subcontractors Association held its monthly membership luncheon at the HESS Club. The topic for the meeting was a panel discussion covering the Construction Career Collaborative (C3) initiative. Panelists were Peter R. Dawson, AIA, Senior Vice President, Facilities Services, Texas Children’s Hospital; Joe Savala, Associate Vice President, Facilities Administration, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center; Jim Stevenson, CEO, W.S. Bellows Construction Corporation; and Tom Vaughn, CEO, Vaughn Construction. I served as the panel moderator, leading the panel through a series of questions covering:
December 06, 2011