Construction is a large and complex worldwide industry constantly shaped by new information technologies, advanced materials, environmental policies, regulations and changing building methods. Most importantly, though, construction is shaped by people. Sustaining a strong industry requires attracting and valuing a skilled, career-driven, high quality workforce... who also like to build! How is the construction industry attracting the skilled workforce for future growth market demands? Do prospective candidates see construction as a viable career choice?

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

The increasing realization that talented people are truly the strategic separator for successful construction companies is significantly changing how HR initiatives are developed and executed.  The leadership of this activity has moved to the executive suite (the C-Suite in magazine jargon), because a growing amount of resources are being strategically deployed to ensure the company is a winner in the escalating “war for talent.”

It has been interesting to watch the change in this function over the years, and the respect it has steadily gained.  It has moved from being the ancillary responsibility of the payroll clerk, who worried about paperwork, through the Personnel Manager phase, where the concerns were about process, to the Human Resource Director phase where policies became the concern.   Read more » about Attracting and Retaining Talent – Now an Executive Level Function

Women account for 19 percent of the total employment in the combined oil and gas, and petrochemical industries, according to a report from the American Petroleum Institute. Meanwhile, it's projected that petrochemical refineries will need to replace up to 40 percent of their current employees over the course of the next decade due to plant expansions and an aging workforce.

Nine Texas Gulf Coast community colleges, working as the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI), will address these issues and more during the Women in Industry: Petrochem Conference on Friday, Feb. 19.

Women in Industry is a one-day conference for women interested in well-paying career positions in the petrochemical industry. It is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 19, at Hotel Galvez in Galveston.

Attendees will hear from women already working the industry about actual job experiences, how to best prepare for these careers, what training is required, and how to network with other women while on the job.    Read more » about Texas Gulf Coast Community Colleges to Host Conference to Focus on Women in Petrochemical Jobs

Calling it a "revolution" in education, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Friday laid out plans for what he called a "statewide model" for Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-TECH. The idea is focused on targeting workforce-ready partnerships between K-12, higher education and industry.

The program has been growing and allows students to earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in six years with a much higher rate of completion.

Speaking at Lone Star College in Houston, Patrick said students will benefit from the guidance of business community mentors and graduates of the program will be first in line for interviews for good-paying jobs. The effort, Patrick said, is meant to build on sweeping education reforms passed by the Texas Legislature in 2013 under House Bill 5, which created multiple pathways for students to earn a high school diploma.   Read more » about Plans to Offer P-TECH Education in Texas Take Shape

Safety is all around us, and it is not just something you practice at work. There are hazards all around us. From everyday tasks, such as plugging in your devices into the outlet, to toys or clothes on the floor. Safety should be something we practice every day. It should be a part of our culture. Cutting corners can lead to catastrophic consequences and can ruin someone’s life in an industrial or construction setting. It can also cost your company a ton of money, not to mention having your reputation tarnished.

Companies have become more safety oriented with time, but there are still people out there who are willing to sacrifice safety just to gain that almighty dollar. There are some who preach safety on one end and speak a different language on the other end. With that being said, it is always good to have a refresher in some of the basic safety topics. There are training modules in place to help those coming into the industry and modules to remind those that have been in the industry for awhile.    Read more » about Safety First: Not Just a Slogan, But a Lifestyle

At literally almost any time of the day, there are Houston-area residents on the campus of San Jacinto College in Pasadena acquiring skills they need to be able to pursue good-paying careers in construction. Delores Tarin, for example, is a young woman who spoke with the Construction Citizen Team during an evening welding class this past week.

“The fire and the power is cool,” Tarin said. "After this, if I don't get a job with my new certification then I’ll continue and get my Associate's Degree,” she said. Tarin has previously worked as a helper on a pipeline and felt an upgrade in her skills will lead to a better-paying job.

Educators stress that the opportunities aren’t “just jobs.” Careers are available.

“There’s a career ladder out there,” said Dr. JD Taliaferro, Director of Applied Technologies at San Jacinto. “Some of these larger companies are being run by people who started as pipefitters, welders, and electricians out on the job,” he said. “Just because you’re starting somewhere, that doesn’t mean that’s where you end. Your fate is really up to you."

   Read more » about San Jacinto College: Working Around the Clock to Meet Workforce Needs

Hi there.  The Chamberlin Man here.

Dallas Love Field, a city-owned public airport in the heart of Dallas, Texas, serves seven million passengers a year providing a vital link for the economy of Dallas, the region and the nation. The airport has come a long way since it was established by the U.S. Army on October 19, 1917. Commissioned during World War I, when the top speed of even the fastest aircraft barely exceeded 100 miles per hour, the airport was little more than a grass landing strip. After more than 85 years in service, Love Field was designated as a Texas State Historical Site in 2003. Like all landmarks, it has a rich history and quite a few interesting facts surrounding it. It was at Love Field that Texan Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office on Air Force One following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

The airport greeted the 21st Century with the Love Field Modernization Program, the largest and most ambitious construction effort since its establishment. The airport was extensively renovated and expanded with a design that maintained the basics for which Love Field is known: passenger convenience, operational efficiency and maintainability.   Read more » about Four-Year Roofing Project Touches Down in Dallas

Six men have been arrested and charged with racketeering and fraud charges after allegedly paying employees of a Florida construction company through shell companies in an attempt to avoid paying more than $12 million in workers’ compensation premiums and more than $3 million in federal payroll taxes.  Meanwhile, the men appear to have made over $17 million in profits over the period of the investigation, which lasted from October 2013 to August 2015.

The Sun Sentinel, a publication based in Fort Lauderdale, reports that a Broward County Sheriff’s Office affidavit said that the owners of Richard and Rice Construction LLC and four other men used over 20 shell companies to hide the number of employees they hired.  The article says that police detective Benjamin Dusenbery wrote in the affidavit that:

“Although laborers were under Richard and Rice Construction control, they were said to be employed by the shell companies.  This allowed Richard and Rice Construction to hide the number of employees it had, lowering its insurance premiums and payroll taxes, while appearing to comply with necessary coverage requirements.  It allowed the company to submit lower bids for work.”

The article talks about the pay that trickled down to the actual workers – many of whom were paid off the books:   Read more » about Florida Contractors Accused of Racketeering and Fraud in Scheme Using “Shell Companies”

Last fall I had the opportunity to visit one of the Lone Star NGL Fractionator Projects in Mont Belvieu, Texas which S & B Engineers and Constructors was building.  At the jobsite, I met James “Cajun” Folse, the Welding Program Manager, to learn about the in-house welding program at S & B.

The day I visited the jobsite, three NGL fractionation units in the immediate vicinity were already operational (Frac I, Frac II, and Mariner South); Frac III and Frac IV were under construction; and construction was scheduled to begin soon on Frac V – making a total of six fractionator projects that S & B constructed and would construct for Lone Star NGL LLC.

Folse explained that S & B developed their onsite welding school to offer to employees as an after-hours self-enrichment opportunity.  Students go through an extensive 8-week classroom portion before then learning “hands-on” in the welding labs.  To become certified, they then have to pass inspection by the S & B quality control department.  Graduates of the Combination Welder course receive a certificate and a hardhat with the S & B Welding Program logo and their own names.

The original welding classroom was built inside of a trailer in which six students could train at a time, usually twice a week after work.   Read more » about Craft Focus: “Once I Became a Welder, Everything Changed” [VIDEO]