Reshaping the Construction Industry

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

Recently, I participated in a panel discussion for the Houston AGC Construction Leadership Council (CLC), the future stars of our industry.  The three panelists were Howard Tellepsen, Stan Marek, and Charlie Nelson – three legendary figures in the Houston construction community.  My privileged job was to interview them, using questions provided by the CLC members.

They shared their experience and their insights into success and leadership; you could not pick three better models of “best in class.”  Howard and Stan, as company owners [of Tellepsen and Marek], represent outstanding examples of leading extremely successful companies while giving their time, talent and treasure to the industry and to the community, in amazing amounts.  Charlie, a senior vice-president with Gilbane Building Company, is an iconic and revered field leader.   Read more » about Immigrant Construction Workers – A Proud Industry Heritage

We are thankful for
all of our readers!
Read more » about Happy Thanksgiving!

The mission at Construction Citizen is straightforward but it is not simple at all: “the advancement of a socially responsible, sustainable and value added construction industry” cannot happen without our industry sponsors, community organizations, and others working diligently on a daily basis.

The Construction Citizen team has made great strides in recent years by bringing to light the scourge of worker misclassification, putting in focus the workforce challenges of the Gulf Coast, championing solutions like the Construction Career Collaborative, and featuring the great work of community colleges and service organizations like Community Family Centers and Neighborhood Centers.

Our sponsors make all this possible and we cannot thank them enough.   Read more » about A Time of Thanksgiving

My name is Alejandro Velez, and I have 10 years in retail work experience and roughly five months of industrial construction experience. I have an associate’s degree in sociology and will have an Associates of Applied Science degree in Instrumentation Technology in December of 2015.

While working retail, I saw that I wasn’t getting paid what I was worth. After the ninth year, I made a decision to change my future, for myself and my family. Slowly, I did some research on various industrial careers. I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to pursue since all I was familiar with was retail. After a few months, I made the decision to go back to school for an Instrumentation Technology degree.    Read more » about The Pursuit of Happiness: One Aspiring Craft Professional's Approach on Achieving a Career in the Construction Industry

I ran into my college classmate, colleague and friend Jim Furr, Managing Principal Emeritus in the Houston office of Gensler, this week, and he reminded me of the Rain’s Rules of Marketing. I thought that I would share them with you.

Jack Rains, attorney, former Secretary of State in Texas and earlier in his career, the President of 3D International, had three rules for successfully marketing the AEC services of the firm to clients around the globe. He drilled these into everyone on his team daily. Rains' Rules of Marketing are very simple.

Rule No. 1 – See the people.

Rule No. 2 – See the people.

Rule No. 3 – See the people.    Read more » about Rains' Rules of Marketing AEC Services

More states add construction jobs in October; construction price and cost PPIs diverge

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.

Seasonally adjusted construction employment rose in 43 states and the District of Columbia from October 2014 to October 2015 and declined in seven states, an AGC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released today showed. The number of places with year-over-year (y/y) gains was the most since February. California again added the most construction jobs (49,800 jobs, 7.3%), followed by New York (21,900, 6.4%) and Florida (18,700, 4.6%). Arkansas again had the steepest percentage gain (18%, 8,200 jobs), followed by Idaho (12%, 4,400), Kansas (12%, 6,900) and Nevada (11%, 7,100).    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: November 10-20, 2015

Recently, C3 Operations Manager, Maria Aimone, and I had the privilege of participating in the Associated Builders and Contractors Construction Careers Expo held at the Pasadena Fairgrounds. Given that Maria and I do not have much experience with career fairs, we were not sure what to expect. However, we were very impressed! All totaled, there were 390 high school seniors from 12 different school districts and 24 high schools who participated, and many of these young people used the opportunity to investigate the many job opportunities available to them as they graduate high school and possibly enter the construction workforce.

C3 passed out information regarding the wage scales of various craft trades in the construction industry compared to other jobs in different professions. We also distributed documentation that described the cost of a college education in Texas versus the income-earning opportunity available to an individual entering the construction craft workforce today.    Read more » about Craft Career Opportunities in the Construction Industry

The owner of a commercial subcontracting company which specializes in metal studs, drywall, and acoustical ceilings was arraigned last month on workplace misclassification violations and perjury charges for lying to a grand jury about them.  He faces a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison with a $45,000 fine, if convicted.

According to an article by Anthony Salamone in The Morning Call, a daily newspaper serving eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, Mark J. White, owner of Salukas & White Contracting Inc. located in Bethlehem, PA was found by a Northampton County grand jury to have violated PA’s Construction Workplace Misclassification Act by “misclassifying workers as independent subcontractors – instead of employees – to avoid paying fair wages as well as taxes and workers' benefits such as unemployment insurance.”

The article goes on to report:

“In addition, the grand jury found that from 2011 through 2013, White and the company funneled nearly $900,000 to individuals, one of whom was described as a middleman, who ‘acted as ATM machines’ in paying those workers off the books.  The actions defrauded the state and other entities of thousands of dollars in taxes, authorities allege. ...   Read more » about Commercial Subcontractor Charged for Worker Misclassification and Perjury

How many times have you heard or used the phrases, “We are too high” or “We can’t get low,” as an excuse for losing a bid or a presentation? I have heard it (and used it a time or two) over my career and it has been a long career. I recently heard it again in a focus group that I was leading and got flashbacks that I thought I might share with you.

First, I would make the case that you do not want to be the low bidder on any project in the design-bid-build process. My favorite saying from one of my clients is that, “The low bidder is most likely the one who screwed up and overlooked something in their bid process that will cost them and their clients dearly when construction gets underway.” Then there is one from a mentor of mine who said, ”The high bid is either a 'courtesy bid' or someone who thinks we are idiots.” This was usually followed by, “Throw out the high and the low bids and then do a spread sheet for me to evaluate.”

Five decades later, the same conversation is still held daily across the AEC industry whether the project is residential, institutional, commercial or industrial and whether you are owner, architect, general contractor, sub or tenant.   Read more » about “We Can’t Get Low!”

I was encouraged during the last Republican presidential debate to hear Sen. Marco Rubio talk about the need to "Make higher education faster and easier to access.”

"For the life of me, I don't know why we have stigmatized vocational education,” Rubio said. “Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers,” he said, adding that “if we do this we will be able to increase wages for millions of Americans."

Here is what he said in full:   Read more » about Welders vs. Philosophers: A False Choice


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