Keys to a robust construction industry in an era of emerging technologies

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For the Associated Builders and Contractors, helping members win work, develop a skilled workforce and cultivate a world-class safety culture are top priorities.

Mike Bellaman, ABC’s president and CEO, said the organization’s 21,000 members have an impact on the construction industry nationwide.

“They build all of America,” he said. “They build infrastructure, hard – meaning utilities, roads, etc. – as well as social – which means schools, churches and educational institutions. They build office buildings, retail complexes, stadiums – all the special places that we live in, learn, go have fun in, get healed, etc.”

Bellaman said ABC members win work by standing out in a competitive environment.

“Our members focus heavily on being world class,” he said. “World class in terms of creating value, world class in safety performance, world class in innovation and technology. Anything that they can do to differentiate themselves in terms of adding value to the bottom line for the construction user, and through that value differentiation they really dominate the markets that they’re in.”

Bellaman also noted the construction industry is facing a skilled worker shortage that must be addressed immediately, including 500,000 jobs ready to be filled.

To combat the skilled worker shortage, Chuck Goodrich, president of Gaylor Electric and ABC’s 2017 chairman, said companies have to focus on the bigger picture.

“We focus on a career culture, not just a job opportunity,” he said. “We want folks to embrace the construction industry as a career. So we want them to see the vision of their goals and their dreams coming true as they work and build America.”

Goodrich said Gaylor Electric brings people to the industry in three ways: an internship program, a retraining program and a second chance program.

Bellaman said the construction industry is one that is full of opportunity.

“It’s amazing the possibilities,” he said. “It’s one of the most fragmented industries, and therefore offers one of the biggest entrepreneurial opportunities. Many of our craft people actually end up running their own companies.”

When it comes to keeping workers protected, Bellaman said ABC members are “maniacs” about achieving world-class safety. “All incidents are preventable,” he said.

“It really begins with leadership’s uncompromising commitment to that world-class safety,” he said. “Then you have to take that leadership commitment and transform your culture so that your culture believes all incidents are preventable. When you have that leadership commitment and that culture, then you can embrace a world-class process captured in our Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) framework.”

Developed in 1989 by industry safety experts, the STEP process lets contractors evaluate every aspect of their safety performance program – from their safety culture to the processes and procedures they have in place, said Greg Sizemore, ABC’s vice president of safety and workforce development.

“We at Associated Builders and Contractors use that data that we collect from our members to build our safety performance report annually,” Sizemore said. “And we distribute that out to our members as well. Being a product of the industry, I’ve seen very safe projects in my lifetime. What it would come down to is everyone learns in a different manner, everyone comprehends things in a different way, but when leadership is behind safety, safety will occur on a project.”

 

Moderator

Jason Fornicola, Director of Custom Media, WTOP and Federal News Radio

Jason Fornicola joined WTOP and Federal News Radio in February of 2014 as the Director of Custom Media, where he manages the stations’ sponsored and custom content initiatives. Fornicola provides clients with access to high-quality content consistent with the stations’ standard of excellence and works to solve clients’ needs through a multi-platform approach which includes on-air, digital, video and social media. His journalism and social media experience support the stations’ efforts to ensure the client message is conveyed in a way that will achieve their marketing campaign objectives.

 

Guests

Mike Bellaman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Associated Builders and Contractors

Michael D. Bellaman was named president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) in 2011 after a 26-year career in the construction industry. He leads the association toward achieving four strategic goals: establishing ABC members as the world-class standard for health, safety and environment; increasing the political influence of ABC; being the leading force for workforce development and training; and continuously growing and delivering value to a diverse and committed membership. Bellaman champions ABC’s industry-revolutionizing Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) and is a cofounder of the Construction Coalition for a Drug- and Alcohol-Free Workplace. He leads the association’s advocacy for the merit shop philosophy, which emphasizes excellence and high performance on a fair and level playing field in the construction industry. He serves as a trustee for the Trimmer Construction Education Foundation, which awards scholarships and grants for construction education, and on the ACE Mentor Program board of directors. Bellaman earned a Bachelor of Science degree in architectural engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

 

Chuck Goodrich, President, Gaylor Electric Inc, 2017 Chair of Associated Builders and Contractors

Chuck Goodrich, 2017 chair of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), is president of Gaylor Electric Inc., an Indianapolis-based electrical contractor with 13 offices across the country and 1,400 employees. Previous leadership roles in ABC include national secretary, Mid-America region vice chair and member of the Free Enterprise Alliance. A leader in the business community, Goodrich is the chair of the Riverview Health Foundation, chair-elect of the Purdue Construction Advisory Board for Building Construction Management, a member of the Metro Indianapolis Coalition for Construction Safety and Design-Build Institute of America and a professional member of the National Honor Society for Construction. Goodrich has been recognized for his professional leadership and philanthropic passion with the James J. Leonard Memorial Award, the ABC Outstanding Chapter Support Award and the Gaylor Optimist Award, and was named Business Person of the Year by the city of Noblesville, Ind. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in building construction and contracting from Purdue University.

 

Greg Sizemore, Vice President of Safety and Workforce Development, Associated Builders and Contractors

Greg Sizemore is the Vice President of HS&E and Workforce Development for the Associated Builders and Contractors in Washington, D.C., and has over 30 years as a leader in the engineering and construction industry championing organizational development initiatives and developing and implementing competency-based professional and craft workforce development programs. Under his leadership, his teams have designed and implemented multiple nationally recognized and award-winning educational and workforce development programs and training interventions that have brought value to the companies he has worked with. Sizemore is past chair of the ABC National Craft Championships Committee and NCCER Workforce Development Committee, and he currently serves on several boards. He has been the keynote speaker at workforce development conferences across the country on topics such as high performance work teams, effective communications, and generations in the workforce.

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