A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Groundbreaking Workforce Development Initiative at Marek

Representatives from Construction Citizen attended an extraordinary Workforce Development Meeting at Marek Brothers Systems, Inc. on January 12, 2011.  The meeting was opened by Katrina Kersch, Marek’s corporate workforce director, and facilitated by Jim Kollaer.  Participants included 24 other key leaders from Marek’s Houston Division of their workforce development program who gathered that day to define goals to be met by the year 2015 as well as to determine specific action plans and goals for 2011.  Kollaer was hired as an outside consultant to facilitate the meeting and to help the group specify exactly what each goal meant and to understand the items on which the group did not have unanimity once those statements were clearly defined.  

Last month we posted a pre-meeting interview with Mike Holland
, Division President for Marek Brothers Systems Houston, who explained why Marek values workforce development enough to initiate this process for goal setting.  As one of the participants in the meeting, Holland spoke about the need for constant improvement among the entire workforce, and the reason that associates who have worked for the company for years must be required to rise to the level of the new company goals as standards increase.  In the following video clip taken near the end of the 2-hour meeting, Holland asserts:

“If everybody can do something that we consider valuable, and we have someone who’s been here 25 years who can’t do that, does that change our perception of valuable?  I would think it would.  So I’ve got 100 people who can do something, and I’ve got somebody who’s been here 20 years that I consider good, but they can’t do what we consider valuable – we’ve just raised the bar.”

In an interview following the meeting, Kollaer remarked on the success of the meeting stating that Marek will be able to use the action plans which came out of the meeting to build toward reaching their 2015 goals.  He predicted that this would be one factor which would lead to Marek becoming a team of construction specialists “that will be unmatched by anyone in this part of the country.”

Look for future posts in which we will post some interviews and reactions from other attendees of this meeting, and where we will also outline some of the specific goals which were agreed upon and a few which were pushed back until further discussion can yield unified agreement.


Anonymous's picture

My experience in the construction industry was for the most part very unpleasant. You work twice as hard as your male counterparts and get a third of the pay. I was introduced to the construction industry by a relative and my ex-in-laws did not appreciate the work I put into my jobs, went out of their way to make it more difficult than it had to be. The bosses for the most part help them out too because they were related and you know how the good ole boy thing works. Women should get more respect than men for working in such a difficult environment.

Anonymous's picture

Sorry to hear of your bad experience in our industry. I can honestly say that in over 16 years of working in the construction industry I have never experienced what you have. I have worked pipeline, refinery and petrochemical, and commercial projects and have found people to be honest and hardworking and I have been treated with respect and appreciation. For a woman looking to blaze her own trail, you just can't beat this industry. Have you found an industry that is a better fit for you?

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