Editor’s note:  In our final post relating to the workforce development meeting held at Marek Brothers Systems in Houston this year, Jim Kollaer writes about the process he used as facilitator of the meeting.

My approach to this session was based on these premises:

  1. Do no harm – I know that it is corny, but it is important to the work that I do to make the sessions as productive as possible.
  2. Positive actionable results – The session is not an end into itself.  It was designed to leverage their current state and help them develop a direction towards the future state.
  3. It’s their company – The key reason to bring in an outside facilitator to lead these sessions is that we can ask the hard questions, drill down on the uncomfortable areas, put the owners or leaders on the spot without worrying about our jobs, poke the box and generally get it done.
  4.   Read more » about Approaching the Session

In a continuation of our series about a workforce development strategy meeting held at Marek Brothers Systems earlier this year, we bring you some interviews taken following the session.

We spoke with Authur Ehmling, the training coordinator who has been with Marek for 30 years.  He explained that his job is to raise the level of the current workforce and to ensure that new hires fit the standard so that the Marek workforce is better than any other.  One of the techniques for achieving this higher standard is the use of workforce “coaches”.  Every worker that comes into the company is partnered with someone who has been trained so that the new worker is trained to the standards expected of him or her.  Ehmling stated that during the first year, each person receives 600 hours of training as well as 1400 hours of actual Read more » about Workforce Development Post-Meeting Interviews

I was asked to say a few words about the approach to the Marek Workforce Development session that we noted in several blogs recently.  The session, according to the interviews and feedback that we have received, was on target and productive.  That is exactly the result that I wanted to help them achieve.

I was pleased that they let us tape the session and then blog about it.  Most of the facilitation that I do is confidential since I typically cover the most intimate of company issues like, “How do we make it through the next two years or two weeks?”; “How do we improve our marketing efforts?”; "How do we design a succession plan for the next generation?”; “How do we restructure the company for next year?" or similar subjects.   Read more » about Workforce Development at Marek Brothers

On January 12, Marek Brothers Systems Houston held a meeting to establish goals for improving and increasing their workforce.  This post is a continuation of a series we are bringing to you about this extraordinary event.

Marek’s Director of Workforce Development, Katrina Kersch, opened the session stating that the two objectives for the day were to prepare for the future and to improve the company’s existing workforce.  She introduced Jim Kollaer who was present to lead the 24 superintendents, foremen and managers through a process to determine Read more » about Marek Workforce Development Goal Setting Meeting

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.   Read more » about Groundbreaking Workforce Development Initiative at Marek

Mike Holland, Division President for Marek Brothers Systems Houston, shared his thoughts with me prior to a goal-setting meeting earlier this month about workforce planning.  Marek is one of the companies investing in their workforce development in order to provide the highest quality to their clients today and also to be ready when the construction industry recovers.

At Marek, workforce development planning has always been part of an annual process, but on Jan 12 they held a meeting which Holland described as an evolution of that process with the key stakeholders in Marek’s Houston office workforce development group gathered together to establish goals for the upcoming year.  Key stakeholders are Marek employees with a “stake” in a dedicated effort to improve the quality of the company’s workforce.  The group includes Katrina Kersch, Marek’s corporate workforce director, and other workforce development staff specific to the Houston office, superintendents, and key foreman and coaches who must support the program out on the job sites.  These are leaders who understand what Marek is endeavoring through training and workforce development.  Looking for solutions not only from their own job perspectives, but also in recognizing the problems and needs of those in other job descriptions, they show their commitment to creating one of the most qualified teams in the industry.   Read more » about Holland Explains the Importance of Workforce Development