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Your Leadership Journey

INSIDE: The Evolving Leader Becoming a Trusted Leader Q&A with Larry Bonine Member Spotlight: Hazard Construction Co.

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Publisher’s Letter Dear Readers, It’s my pleasure to introduce this special edition of “California Asphalt” magazine with an emphasis on something that affects every single one of us: leadership. This is the first time in the 10-year history of this publication that we’ve taken on such an ambitious topic. Once you finish reading this issue, however, I think you’ll agree that good leadership is essential to the success of our industry and one worth exploring in depth. I’ve been in supervisory and leadership positions for the past 28 years, and the issues I faced on Day 1 are pretty much the same ones I face today. The key to overcoming any challenge is people. If you get the people part of your business right, success is sure to follow. I have found that the key to being a good leader is leading by example, and doing the right thing, whether it is corporate and social responsibility, environmental stewardship or being a good neighbor. You need to believe in what you’re doing, that it is the right thing to do, and have employees at all levels of the organization buy-in to the concept. I never need to tell anyone to work hard. I set the tone with my own work ethic and professionalism, which speaks for itself. People also need to know what their job is, carry it out to the best of their ability, and with a sense of urgency. Too often when things go wrong, I have found it is because people got distracted from what their job is. Part of establishing this credibility with your people is transparency. In our company, we have regular “town hall” meetings every quarter, and I share everything that is possible to share. That includes financial performance, safety statistics, celebrating our successes and, yes, even speaking candidly about when we come up short of expectations. We never humiliate anyone, but we also don’t sugar-coat it when we are not meeting expectations. One of our core values is that everyone is responsible to everyone else. This isn’t some lofty mission statement that sits framed on an office wall and forgotten. This is something we talk about frequently and make sure our actions back up our words. Transparency helps all employees see and understand the goals of the company, and see their own role in helping achieve those goals, and hold each other accountable. My advice to new managers? Challenge your people, but don’t scare them. Make sure they know what their job is, are accountable, and execute the plan with a sense of urgency while always keeping an eye out for ways to improve. Be serious about safety and performance, but also try to have fun along the way. Lead by example and your people will follow, and make you proud.


Kari Saragusa President - West Region Lehigh Hanson 4

California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue


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Contents 4

Publisher’s Letter


The Evolving Leader


34 leadership lessons (and counting)


Becoming a Trusted Leader


Q&A with Larry Bonine


Hazard Construction Co.


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Founder, Pinnacle Leadership Inc. A quality ‘Zen Master’ talks leadership & partnering

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Page 24

Industry News: Rita Leahy Retires

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HEADQUARTERS: P.O. Box 981300 • West Sacramento • CA 95798 (Mailing Address) 1550 Harbor Blvd., Suite 211 • West Sacramento • CA 95691 • (866) 498-0761 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Russell W. Snyder, CAE, rsnyder@calapa.net MEMBER SERVICES MANAGER: Sophie You, syou@calapa.net GUEST PUBLISHER: Kari Saragusa, Lehigh Hanson PUBLISHED BY: Construction Marketing Services, LLC • P.O. Box 892977 • Temecula • CA 92589 (909) 772-3121 • Fax (951) 225-9659 GRAPHIC DESIGN: Aldo Myftari & Juben Cayabyab CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Russell W. Snyder, CalAPA; Sue Dyer, OrgMetrics, LLC.; Toni Carroll, Graniterock; Brian Hoover, CMS ADVERTISING SALES: Kerry Hoover, CMS, (909) 772-3121 • Fax (951) 225-9659 Copyright © 2016 – All Rights Reserved. No portion of this publication may be reused in any form without prior permission of the California Asphalt Pavement Association. California Asphalt is the official publication of the California Asphalt Pavement Association. This bimonthly magazine distributes to members of the California Asphalt Pavem­­ent Association; contractors; construction material producers; Federal, State and Local Government Officials; and others interested in ensuring that asphalt remains the high quality, high performance pavement choice in the state of California.


California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue




I admit it. I don’t have an original thought in my head. Everything up there is something I collected from one of my life experiences, the library of books I’ve read, mistakes I’ve made, etc. To use a construction materials analogy (this is, after all, an asphalt industry magazine), I like to think of my leadership “style” as not a solid piece of granite, but rather many different pieces of rock I have collected over the years, in different shapes and sizes, held together by a high-quality binder (my core values). I have found it to be durable and flexible, and it has served me well. What follows are random bits of life wisdom and leadership lessons drawn from multiple sources over the years. Some may sound familiar and echo a business book or management article from the past. In other cases, it is a leader I have worked for or admired from afar. In every case, I have plucked the valuable nugget and made it my own, and they have stood the test of time. This list is not comprehensive, but meant as something to stimulate some thinking for you on what makes up your own leadership style, which should be unique to you. By the way, I numbered this list for ease of reference, but it is not necessarily in ranked order. I have found that, over the years, I have shuffled the importance of the different “leadership lessons” on this list based on the current situation. To the list:

➊ BE REAL Spend time to get in touch with your true, authentic self. If you’re faking it, everyone will know it and no one will respect you, and they certainly won’t follow you (even if you think they are).

➋ L IVE IN THE MOMENT, BUT OCCASIONALLY LOOK OVER THE HORIZON If you don’t watch where you’re going, you’ll trip over your feet. But if you are heading in the wrong direction, it probably doesn’t matter. You must think strategically and tactically, often at the same time. 8

➌ HAVE A PLAN, BUT DON’T BE HELD CAPTIVE BY IT Spending quiet time to plan helps focus the mind, cuts through the clutter and helps you rise above the tyranny of the urgent to see the truly important. But be prepared to change course in a moment’s notice if conditions warrant.

➍ CONNECT WITH PEOPLE Be genuinely committed to the success of others, as they would define it, and help them reach and exceed their potential. This takes time. Make the time. They are all volunteers. Make them want to be there, to have a shared purpose. This may be particularly difficult for introverts, engineers, IT people, etc., but it is a skill that can be acquired with practice.


No amount of book learning, experience or advice can prepare you for every possible eventuality. But as long as you have a fix on magnetic north, you’ll be able to plot a course through the most difficult circumstances.


Why do you think Shakespeare is still relevant today? He was a great storyteller. Use great stories to illustrate life lessons and business principles, and be sure to draw from your own experiences and bring your people into the narrative. There are many different ways to communicate. Become expert in all of them.

➐ WHEN DEALING WITH YOUR PEOPLE, CUSTOMIZE I learned a long time ago that, when dealing with employees, “fairness is not the same as sameness.” Every employee is unique and responds to how you interact with them in their own way. Know what motivates each person, and tailor your approach accordingly.

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California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue

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➑ TRY TO FIND A BALANCE Yes, this is on every list, but there is a reason it is -because too often we are frustrated by the lack of balance in our lives. Strive to nourish your soul with experiences and interactions that nourish your mind, your body and your spirit.

➒ OWN THE ROOM Get out there. Arrive at meetings early, and be sure that by the time you leave everyone knows you were there. Not because you were the obnoxious “look at me!” guy (Ugh!), but because you were engaged, lively, memorable, and added value for all participants.

•• ASK QUESTIONS The best business consultants or marriage counselors never tell people anything. They simply ask questions and follow the answers. And if they aren’t satisfied with the answers, they drill deeper. Help people reveal the truth for themselves.

•• LEAD BY EXAMPLE Set your own standards for excellence, and routinely surpass them. Expect everyone around you to do the same. Hold each other accountable.

•• DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’RE GOING TO DO Every. Single. Time. If something comes up that prevents you from meeting a commitment, immediately contact the person or persons you made the commitment to, and renegotiate. Nothing undermines your credibility faster than not following through with your commitments. That’s why they say “talk is cheap” and “walk the walk.” Your words are meaningless unless you back them up with your actions.

•• STRIVE FOR THE WIN-WIN-WIN If "me winning" means you or someone else is losing, then keep working to find a better solution. Winning for you, for me and for others that may not be part of the negotiation (such as, the environment or society) is the only real win-win-win.

•• LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES AND MOVE ON. QUICKLY As Frank Sinatra sang in “My Way,” “Mistakes, I’ve made a few.” Everyone makes them. Learn from them, but don’t dwell on them. Thomas Edison once said that his failures were simply identifying the many different ways something won’t work, and eliminating them. But be quick to learn, fix and move on or you’ll develop a reputation as the person always making mistakes. You certainly don’t want that. You need to keep fighting forward to get to that big breakthrough.

•• BE DEVOTED TO CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT By the time you finish reading this, some information or skill you have acquired is becoming obsolete. Don’t become obsolete yourself. Constantly strive to stay on the leading edge of your field, or if necessary, change your field to stay relevant throughout your working career. I’ve had four distinct careers in my working life, and each one required me to completely reinvent myself. You can, too.

•• THINK LIKE AN ENTREPRENEUR You might not be creating the NEXT BIG THING in your garage, but that shouldn’t stop you from thinking like an entrepreneur. Be open to a creative idea, or building on the work of others, always looking for the next big game-changer. Opportunities don’t come along that often. When one presents itself, pounce!

•• FIND YOUR INNER CHEERLEADER! If you aren’t enthusiastic, how do you expect anyone else to be? Be positive, excited, confident and infect others with your enthusiasm.

•• DARE TO BE GREAT Don’t shy away from the BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal). Think of what accomplishments you want to be remembered for. It’s not answering those five e-mails that just arrived in your in-box.


Provide outstanding service to everyone you come in contact with, demand outstanding service of others, and recognize outstanding service when you encounter it.

I was fortunate to have a front-row seat for the dawn of the real Information Age, in the mid-1990s with the advent of the World Wide Web. Although I worked for a government bureaucracy, a few of us established a “skunk works” of evangelists and pushed through many innovations before anyone


California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue


knew what happened. Our mantra: “It’s gotta be cool, it’s gotta be fun, and it’s gotta be GREAT.” That kind of esprit de corps attracts followers and helps build unstoppable momentum.


Battlefield commanders call it “situational awareness.” You must know what is happening around you, including where the threats are, before you deploy your resources. Cast your net far and wide, synthesize the data, and put your battle plan in motion guided by the best available information.

•• BE A RUTHLESS BRAND MANAGER Think about your brand and the brand of your organization or company. You should be able to articulate it. Now start carving out everything that doesn’t fit or support the brand. You are a curator of information that helps define how the rest of the world views you. After a while your brand will be obvious to everyone, and your people will naturally gravitate toward activities that build the brand and eschew activities that diminish it.

•• MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS The management axiom, “What gets measured gets done” has been around so long for a reason. Don’t be bogged down by measurement, but pick a few key ones that are representative of the whole and use them to track your progress. Financials, for sure, but also other measures that could give insight into future trends. Calculate and quantify the value of your efforts.

•• REALLY LISTEN This is perhaps the hardest one on the list. If you are talking to someone, make sure you are fully “there.” Fight the temptation to allow your attention to wander. As Stephen Covey says, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” You’re not learning when your mouth is open. Make the effort to really listen, not just to wait for a pause to begin speaking. Who knows? You might learn something.

•• CELEBRATE THOSE SUCCESSES! Resist the temptation to rush off to the next adventure without fully recognizing the success of an accomplishment, and everyone who contributed. Be generous with your praise. There’s an old saying in PR: “Tell ‘em what you’re going to do, do it, and then tell ‘em what you did.” The last part is the celebration part. Pop those corks! Success breeds success. Everyone loves a parade. California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue

•• PUT A FORK IN IT Sometimes it is difficult to let go of a legacy project, program or simply the conventional wisdom that “that’s always the way we’ve done it.” Constantly question existing programs, procedures, processes, lore, etc., and look to jettison any that are no longer paying high returns for the time and money invested. There is a constituency for everything, but that doesn’t mean it is a BROAD constituency that will support whatever is on the chopping block. Just like you must prune a tree periodically to maximize growth, prune the dead or dying leaves in your organization periodically so that you can focus energy on new things that may be game-changers.


•• DON’T CONFUSE DRAMA FOR PASSION Passion for the mission, your people, and your customers is essential. Drama is not. It is like a cancer that, once it takes hold, will metastasize into a toxic work environment before you know it. Root out and crush the negativity, silos and other bad behavior and bad structure that inhibits teamwork. Know when you are contributing to the problem.

•• EMPOWER YOUR PEOPLE Create a positive, trusting environment where people can feel free to take a risk, try something new, for the possibility of a big payoff. Surveys show most people want to have greater control over their work, and that their greatest frustration is things at work they don’t control. Give them a greater hand in fixing what’s broken and they will reap the benefits and feel better about (and take pride and ownership) in the job.

•• TRUST, BUT VERIFY This phrase made famous by President Ronald Reagan during nuclear arms negotiations with the former Soviet Union. Yes, trust your people. But that does not mean blind loyalty. After all, it is ultimately you who will pay the price if something goes wrong. Trust you people, but also exercise due-diligence. Ask questions. Get independent verification from other sources. Make a well-informed decision.

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•• SIGN UP FOR PEER COUNSELING It is said that it’s lonely at the top. But it doesn’t need to be. Seek out trusted friends and colleagues who may offer a fresh perspective about your job and your challenges. Participating in organizations where you will come in contact with others that work at your level can give you new ideas and a new outlook. Re-connect with that former mentor or trusted colleague, have lunch, and just let the conversation flow. You’ll come back rejuvenated. My wife, an experienced manager, once commented how there are “energy givers, and energy sappers.” Seek out those who energize you, and energize them as well.

•• KNOW HOW TO NEGOTIATE This is one of the most celebrated skills in business, but it is often overlooked in business and even more frequently in other areas of life. Being a good negotiator is a skill that is acquired. There are many books on the subject. Start reading, and then realize all the different areas of your work and your life that being a skilled negotiator comes in handy. Including the interview for your next promotion.

•• BE LOYAL There’s a reason the dog is man’s best friend. They are loyal to the core. Be loyal to your people, and they will be loyal to you. That doesn’t mean blind loyalty, however (see No. 30 above).

•• MAKE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE UNIQUE TO YOU Now that you are finished reading this list of leadership lessons, you probably found that some resonated with you and some did not. That’s because to be an authentic leader you must develop your own leadership style that is unique to you. One way is to develop your own list like the one above filled with the leadership lessons that are most meaningful to you. Keep it handy, refer to it periodically, and add to it. That is one small way of constantly evaluating yourself and your own leadership style and making sure it is relevant. CA Editor’s Note: An excellent case study on effective leadership is contained in the profile of former Graniterock CEO Bruce W. Woolpert, which was featured in the 2012 Quality issue of California Asphalt magazine. It can be downloaded at: http://calapa.net/ Woolpert.pdf. About the author: Russell W. Snyder, CAE, is Executive Director of the California Asphalt Pavement Association.


California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue

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Positioning yourself FOR THAT NEXT PROMOTION By Russell W. Snyder

“Leadership” is probably the most abused word in the English language, right after “natural.” But many people aspire to leadership positions, either of their company, division, unit, team or other human grouping we find ourselves in. Often this involves angling for a new position with more responsibility and (hopefully) more pay and benefits, such as additional freedom to make your mark. The following are a few tips I’ve collected over the years that you might find helpful. WHEN YOU ARE STARTING OUT, SEEK OUT THOSE WHO ARE SUCCESSFUL, LEARN FROM THEM, AND EMULATE THEM My first career was in journalism, and during my first internship, and first few reporting jobs, there were many more skilled writers and reporters in the newsroom at every place I worked. I wanted to be among the elite as well, but just wishing wasn’t going to make it happen. I studied very closely the star reporters on the staff. I didn’t just admire good writing, I pored over their copy to try to better understand why it was so much better than mine. I watched them as they practiced their craft, gathered facts and conducted interviews. I even picked up on the swagger you get when you’ve “scooped” the competition. After a while, I was one of those elite reporters snagging the Page 1 exclusives and collecting awards. DRESS APPROPRIATE TO THE NEXT LEVEL UP In sports, athletes talk about the importance of painting a picture in their mind’s eye of success. They call it visualization. If you have your eye on that next promotion, it’s not enough to wish for the job. You must visualize yourself in the job, and conduct yourself in such a manner that others will be able to picture you in the job as well. Improve your dress to mirror what those in that position wear (but don’t overdo it, or you’ll look foolish). Listen to how managers talk and pose questions, and note how they focus on the long-term (strategic) as well as the day-to-day (tactical). It will help you see the world through their eyes. If you have an opportunity to take the lead on a project, or 14

step into a role of greater responsibility, embrace it, even if it is more work. It also can be a tryout of sorts. If you look at ease in positions of higher responsibility, it may not be long before you’re getting promoted. FIX THINGS BEFORE THEY ARE BROKEN But make sure the higher-ups are aware. Show them that you have the good foresight and judgment to identify problems before they get out of hand, and fix them quickly or at least minimize the damage. They will appreciate you for it, and before long you’ll get the reputation as a “fixer.” And fixers are always valuable in any company or organization. BE VISIBLE Being a snarky self-promoter is one of the most obnoxious sights in the workplace, but it is important that your accomplishments are recognized. Look for the “big win” and, even if you only play a small role, you’ll develop a reputation as being associated with successful projects. OWN THE ROOM Going to a meeting? Don’t dread it -- look at it as an opportunity. Be prepared, get there early, re-connect with those you know and introduce yourself to those you don’t. A good “pre-meeting” can really set the stage for a successful meeting. Be sure you are engaged and are perceived as a solid contributor. Volunteer for action items to work on between meetings to keep things moving along. If you demonstrate your value at meetings, and develop a solid track record for meeting your commitments, you may get invited to other meetings with the higher-ups, which could be an audition for your next promotion. BRING A SOLUTION OR TWO ALONG WITH A PROBLEM Rather than just dump problems in your boss’s lap, bring in a couple of proposed solutions. That is always appreciated. California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue

MAKE YOUR BOSS LOOK GOOD Especially in front of his or her boss. You might work for one of those narcissist who just take credit for the success of others, and if so, quietly plot your exit strategy. But most bosses will appreciate it if you make them look good to the higher-ups, and that could come in handy when that key promotion becomes available. CARVE OUT TIME FOR YOUR OWN INITIATIVES Progressive companies make sure employees have dedicated time to do this, but most don’t. That’s why you’ll need to bust your butt to get your regular assignments completed, leaving enough time for you to work on that special project that may set you apart from the pack. Let your boss know that the way to reward you for getting all your work done is to allow you the freedom to work on something you are passionate about. If they are smart, they will step aside and resist the temptation just to pile more work on you. STOW THE NEGATIVITY If you are one of those people who has an overinflated sense of your abilities and your value to your organization, then you’re probably also one of those people who keeps getting passed over for promotions, and gets more bitter about it with every real or perceived slight. The fact is, you’re probably not as good as you think you are, or have some blind spots, that you won’t ever really recognize unless you take a cold, hard look at yourself. Take your annual reviews seriously and try hard to show improvements where noted. If you are passed over for a promotion, politely ask to meet with the hiring manager to better understand what you need to work on so that you’ll be the successful candidate next time. Get feedback from coworkers, friends and others who may be able to offer some valuable insight. Offer to take a successful supervisor to lunch to pick their brain and learn how they were able to position themselves to succeed. Look at your workspace. Is it neat and orderly, exuding organization and competence? Take down the Dilbert cartoons and hang up the awards or other indicators that you know what you are doing, and that it has been recognized by others.

navigate the system and get things done by making deposits into the favor bank. In other words, do something extra for someone else, and perhaps that person may be able to return the favor someday. That could translate into the shortcut that saves your project, or helps you clear away a stubborn obstacle on the road to success. Even if that person is never in a position to return the favor, it still feels good to do them “a solid” anyway. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR JOB, AND ALSO FOR HELPING OTHERS It’s easy to say “that’s not my job.” That’s the lazy answer. The harder answer is “I’ll find out who’s job it is.” Even harder still is, “I’ll help you.” The people who constantly say “not my job” are virtually guaranteed not to get promoted, and they might not be long for the job they DO have with that attitude. Make it your passion to help people, even outside of your job description. You’ll learn something allow the way and you’ll make yourself feel better while delivering outstanding customer service. CA About the author: Russell W. Snyder, CAE, is Executive Director of the California Asphalt Pavement Association.

LEND A HELPING HAND In Tom Wolfe’s “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” he wrote of how government bureaucrats learn how to California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue




to emerge. The team finds new ways to do things and this leads to improvement. Improvement allows the team and organization to grow and succeed.

What Defines a Leader?


f I were to ask you what makes a person a leader, you are likely to say that it is the person with the top position, or the person with the right title, or that they have authority or expertise; maybe that they have the right track record. A leader is the person in charge! These are the things that we usually think of when we think of leaders. Here’s a new perspective: there is no leader without followers, and following is completely voluntary! You can’t manage your team to success. It is only through leadership that your team will follow you, with a strong sense of purpose and commitment, and accomplish, together, what you set out to do. Why do people volunteer to follow? Because they trust the leader! When people follow they make themselves vulnerable to the leader. In order to feel comfortable with this vulnerability, they need to feel confident in, respect for and admiration of the leader. This is your responsibility as the leader – to develop this type of relationship with your followers. It is important to note that leadership is not limited to those who have authentic power. Leadership can be established at all levels of the team. Leadership is available to anyone in your organization and should be encouraged. 16

The Dictator

Continuum of leadership There is a continuum of leadership. At one end of the spectrum is the Trusted Leader, who develops high-trust relationships and builds a hightrust atmosphere. At the other end there is the dictator, who uses fear to drive people. Let’s look at what happens within the team under these different leadership styles. The Trusted Leader With a Trusted Leader people are following because they choose to do so. They feel they have a choice. When everyone on the team is there because they chose to do so, cohesion begins to develop between the team members. This leads to a sense of commitment to the team, the leader and to their mission. From this cohesion creativity begins

On the other end of the continuum is the dictator. Under a dictator people do what the leader wants because they are afraid not to. They fear that they will be punished. The coercion spreads among the team members until they too begin to coerce others. This sense of coercion leads to compliance, where people just go along. They don’t want to make waves. Compliance results in stifled communication and decision making. No one is going to tell the leader the truth. No one is going to stick his or her neck out and point out a problem. Over time, the organization and team become rigid, unable to respond to changes. Eventually the team fails and, potentially, the organization dies.

B B 6

C C 9

F F 5

S S 9

S L 6

S S 5

T T 2

How can you build trust within your team and become a Trusted Leader? Here are four steps you can start with right away. Step No. 1: Stop managing and start leading Stop managing your team (and projects) and start leading them. Managing deals with transactions. We create a schedule, develop [ Continued on page 18 ]

California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue


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[ Continued from page 16 ]

Continuum of Leadership





Coercion Compliance Stifled Rigidity Death/failure

minutes, order materials, and delegate tasks. These transactions are what we do, but they are not what make your team succeed or fail. They are the tasks of the job, which is where we focus far too often. Leading deals with transformation. Leading engages people so they become what the team needs – and not just a task performer. By focusing on transactions instead of focusing on transforming mindsets and behaviors, you undermine your team’s potential, along with your ability to teach your people how to be successful on a team. Being is always more powerful than doing. By focusing on developing the mindset and behavior required for success you will be heading in the right direction. Over time, the right atmosphere and attitudes always equate to success. Step No. 2: Drive out fear Some people feel that with authority they can make people follow. When you make someone do something through coercion you can’t help but to create fear. As stated before, if fear is the underlying motivation you don’t have leadership because no one will volunteer to follow if they are fearful. Fear and trust cannot coexist – they are mutually exclusive! By definition, in order 18

Trusted Leader

Natural Progression of a Leadership

Natural Progression of a Dictatorship


Cohesion Commitment Creativity Improvement Growth

for leadership to exist, there must be high levels of trust. So as a leader you must constantly be looking for where fear exists. Even small pockets of fear can undermine the trust required for success. To combat “fear” you must create an atmosphere that allows for a dialogue to occur. This will allow the “truth” to surface in a safe fashion. Only then you can deal with the issue and work to understand the cause of the fear. Step No. 3: Build trust We’ve asked everyone on dozens of teams to tell us the level of trust on the team. There was never more than a half point difference among the responses. Everyone knows how much trust exists within the team. Trust is your critical path to success. So monitor the level of trust within your team and work to improve it. You can do this with a monthly scorecard to determine the level of trust and teamwork that is occurring. We often measure budgets, production, output, schedule…so why not the most important measure – the level of trust and how the team is working together. Step No. 4: Don’t let the past predict your future Many times we just can’t let go of something that occurred in the

past. It keeps playing out in our minds and we begin to project it into the future. As a Trusted Leader you must not allow the past to predict your future. You must create a strong, positive vision for your team that overcomes past problems, issues or failures. Trust (or lack of trust) is evident to everyone in a team. Part of creating a high trust culture is looking at the level of trust in your policies and transactions. This is most evident in your transactions with outsiders. Look at a sample contract. Is there “fear” built in? Are there pages and pages of boilerplate language trying to manage every potential risk? No matter how long a contract is, you can never cover all of the potential contingencies – you cannot replace trust. Look at what exists and don’t let what has occurred in the past to decide the future of your team. Keep moving toward the trust side of the continuum You must always strive to become a trusted leader if you want to produce consistent and great results. This is not a onetime event, but rather a lifelong process as part of your evolution as an effective leader and champion for the success of your team members. If you get it right, you won’t need to look behind you to see if anyone is following. CA About the author: Sue Dyer founded OrgMetrics, LLC in 1986 as a partnering facilitation firm dedicated to helping construction organizations and project teams develop collaborative cultures. Sue has become the thought leader on collaboration in construction, and has worked for over 30 years to perfect the model for Collaborative Partnering. In 2009 Sue founded the International Partnering Institute; the industry’s only non-profit focused on researching and sharing best practices for Collaborative Partnering. Today, Sue serves as the CEO and Founder. You can contact Sue at SueDyer@orgmet.com

California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue


The glue that holds our industry together.

By Toni Carroll


ike many of you, much of my job depends on forging strong connections with construction industry leaders, including those at Caltrans and other public agencies.

Trust doesn’t come easy, and can take years to build as you demonstrate a willingness to listen, practice transparency, share expertise and keep your word. It’s sort of like a bank account in which trust is the money you deposit and withdraw. You have to constantly be adding more money to the account to keep up with the check writing and cash withdrawals.

In addition to my new position as Director of Quality at Graniterock, I have served for the past year as co-chair of Caltrans’ Rock Products Committee, which is charged with helping to improve materials specifications and testing methods used on transportation projects across California. I’m a math and science type, who thrives on data and problem solving. Over the last decade I’ve found myself in situations where I’ve been able to demonstrate my understanding of how an asphalt or concrete plant works and the best methods for ensuring individual projects pass inspection. But no matter how much of the construction science I get right, I can’t succeed in my role as Director of Quality unless I put building trust first in all of my professional relationships. Whether I’m overseeing the testing of cores from a highway project to provide compaction results, or describing the oil content of a particular mix design, my reputation and Graniterock’s depend on people believing we’re testing correctly and delivering accurate results. 20

Earning the trust of my colleagues, customers, agencies and community members is vital – it’s the foundation of every discussion I have and commitment I make. Trust stems from a willingness to be transparent in our work and to own our failures, not hide them or make excuses. With that in mind, for the Rock Products Committee to be effective, Caltrans must believe the industry members are dedicated to making California’s infrastructure stronger, not simply lining the pockets of contractors. At the same time, industry members should know the committee is attempting to write new specs to build better highways and bridges, not make their jobs more difficult.

One of my favorite experts on integrity in business is David Horsager, author of “The Trust Edge: How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships and a Stronger Bottom Line.” In his book, Horsager identifies eight keys to healthy trusting relationships. Each time we demonstrate one of these traits, we’re “depositing” trust into the bank accounts of our relationships. 1. Consistency: The more you conduct yourself with integrity and predictability, the more people know what to expect from you and what you stand for. 2. Clarity: Presenting a clear message shows you’re honest and trustworthy. This is often demonstrated with accurate data and evidence. 3. Compassion: Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and show compassion for [ Continued on page 22 ]


California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue




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their struggles. Strong teams are built on consensus and compromise. This is achieved by understanding what the other side wants and working to find solutions that benefit both parties. 4. Character: Always do the right thing. If your words and actions are based on doing the right thing in every situation, people find it easier to trust you. 5. Contribution: The best plans mean nothing if you can’t deliver with positive results. Get involved and share your attention, time, resources and expertise. 6. Competency: Look for ways to learn and grow your expertise. Technology and procedures change over time, so it’s important to

continue educating yourself. Admit when you don’t know the answer. That builds character and trust. 7. Connection: Be yourself. Ask questions. Listen. When people feel you care about them, they’re more accepting of your ideas. 8. Commitment: Follow through on your promises and be ready to make personal sacrifices when the situation calls for it. Knowing you’ll be there during difficult challenges goes a long way in building trust. Personal relationships are the key to our success, which makes it vital to keep Horsager’s factors in mind when building “accounts” with every customer, agency, colleague

and community member. Deposits and withdrawals are not equal when it comes to trust. You need to build the account over a long period of time to make up for the big withdrawals that can happen if you are inconsistent, unclear, indifferent or disengaged. Trust is not something we are entitled to, rather it’s a privilege earned through the choices we make daily. How will you build your relationship wealth today? CA About the author: Toni Carroll is Director of Quality for CalAPA member Graniterock. This article first appeared in 2016 in the Graniterock “Rock. Paper. Scissors” blog and is reprinted with permission.


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California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue


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Q&A with

Larry S. Bonine Founder, Pinnacle Leadership Inc.

A Quality ‘Zen Master’ Talks Leadership & Partnering By Russell W. Snyder

Editor’s Note: Larry S. Bonine is one of the nation’s most respected voices on the topic of leadership and partnering between public agencies and the private sector. The former director of the Arizona Department of Transportation in the 1990s, he ushered in a collaborative approach to industryagency relations while he pushed his management team to focus on and develop leadership at all levels of ADOT. He was chairman of the Standing Committee on Quality at the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and has authored numerous articles on partnering and leadership over the years, developing a cultlike following as a “Zen Master” of change, Total Quality Management and Continuous Improvement. Many of those he has mentored have gone on to top leadership positions at companies and organizations. An engineer by training, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Tennessee Tech. in Cookeville, Tenn., and a master’s of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri at Rolla, Mo. In addition to his civilian accomplishments, he also had a distinguished, 26-year career serving his country in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including holding positions of district engineer, and eventually colonel for U.S. Army Activities in Korea, where he oversaw a 5,000 person agency at a $1 billion design-construction budget. He later served as the Chief Executive Officer responsible for the military construction program at 19 Army, 14 Air Force one Navy and three NASA installations in the Southeastern United States, Honduras, and the U.S. Defense areas in Panama. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Penn., and the U.S. Army Command & Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. A sought-after speaker, writer and management consultant, he is the founder of the Partnering Institute and the Pinnacle Leadership Group, Inc. And, yes, in keeping with his “Zen Master” reputation, he believes in the power of meditation and mindfulness. 24

Larry S. Bonine, President Pinnacle Leadership Group, Inc., Granite Bay, California

California Asphalt Magazine: As someone who is wellknown in transportation leadership circles, we would like your perspective on your approach to leadership. I recall in the 1990s when you were the director of the Arizona Department of Transportation you came to California and spoke to Caltrans executive managers on leadership and transportation, and the speech was memorable and very well-received. When you talk to other leaders, or emerging leaders, what is some of the advice you give them? Larry S. Bonine: The first thing that comes to mind, when I’m speaking to a group of engineers, or a group of managers and leaders, I will say, “Everyone in this room has authority, and you know what that authority is. It’s probably written down, and you’ve probably signed something or shaken a hand with someone who said ‘that’s your authority, and you will work within that authority.’ But it has absolute limits.” And then I’ll point to the top person in the room and say, “You have authority over everybody here, but still, your authority has limits.” But leadership has no limits. I will tell the group, “There isn’t a person here who can’t lead us all given the right set of circumstances, whether it’s just responding to a question, giving your point of view in a way that is effective, asking the question, challenging – that’s part of leadership.” California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue

CAM: Regardless of rank. Regardless of position in the company or organization. Anyone can be a leader.

CAM: You’ve just turned everyone’s organizational model on its head.

LSB: That’s exactly right. You can go way beyond your authority. Leadership has no limits. So study leadership. Be a student of leadership. I don’t want to say leadership is hard – it probably is – but it’s fun, because it’s about people. It’s all about people. So that’s the most important thing – how powerful leadership is, and that you can effect change through leadership.

LSB: I’m sure there’s someone reading this right now saying, “I’m a supervisor. I have to supervise.” To that person, I would say, “Well, how do YOU feel about being supervised?” NONE of us like it. But do we like to be led? You better believe it. If we recognize leadership, if we are being guided by a true leader, and we can talk about what that looks like a bit later, but that’s when things really start to take off.

CAM: That certainly is something that the military instills in everyone in uniform, right? LSB: Right. My background is the U.S. Army. That’s where I was introduced to leadership. When you start in as a 2nd lieutenant, or even before that, when you are in R.O.T.C., it’s all about leadership. That’s the only word that is used. CAM: So, you are learning about the importance of leadership from Day 1. LSB: Exactly. You know, I think I was a Major at the Command & Staff College before I really heard the term “management” used. Everything else up to that point was leadership, leadership, leadership. 2nd lieutenant, 1st Lieutenant, Captain – it all about leadership and “follow me.” And then we got into management – management by objective, and some of those terms. And that was really interesting to me. I’m not saying it’s bad. It’s just that we first needed to learn how to be leaders before managers. CAM: Management is another way of saying “implementation.” That’s important as well, isn’t it? LSB: It’s almost as important. But the fact is, we human beings have to do both to be effective. CAM: And many times those two things are in conflict. LSB: Our left brain, or so the theory goes, is about management -- budgets, spreadsheets, schedules and metrics. But leadership is about people, period. That’s the right brain. But you have to mesh those two. If you are using the left side of your brain with people, if you are managing people, you are screwing up. CAM: Ouch! (laughs) LSB: People don’t like to be managed, do they? (Laughs) CAM: Really? (Laughs) LSB: And, while we’re at it, here’s another piece of shocking news: people don’t like to be supervised. They HATE it! California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue

CAM: So, getting back to the original question, what do you tell budding leaders to put this principal in practice? LSB: Here’s one thing I always say, in all my workshops, training classes, seminars: I tell people that your technical skills and abilities are important. The P.E. (Professional Engineer certification) behind your name, I don’t want to diminish how important that is. But they pale in comparison to your ability to understand and get along with people. If you get that part right, regardless of gender, race or whatever, there’s just no ceiling. You must understand and get along with people. CAM: You served your country as part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has many technical and engineering personnel and is a highly structured environment, and later at the Arizona Department of Transportation, which again is a structured government agency with engineering at the heart of what it does. Isn’t that a special challenge for any organization with a “technical DNA” to groom its leaders to develop those people skills? People with a natural talent for technicalrelated skills are most comfortable in that world. Isn’t it difficult for them to develop the so-called “soft skills” that are essential to be successful but may not come naturally to them? LSB: This is my world (laughs). This is where I live. This is why I do what I do (leadership and management consulting). That’s the dynamic I had in the Army, and certainly at ADOT. In my classes I see that in many of my students, and I try to walk them through the process of understanding that concept. But let’s take a partneringleadership workshop, between a contractor and an owner. There is where you have the dynamic on full display. You have the owner and the contractor with all of the mistrust. CAM: Lots of baggage and built-in conflict. [ Continued on page 26 ]


[ Continued from page 25 ]

LSB: Oh, yes. And then you have the personality of one or more of the parties – they were what they were when they chose to be an engineer. In other words, they were a left-brain person. And now they are in a situation where they need to resolve conflicts on a project, and many times it may not have anything to do with engineering. CAM: And that’s part of what the partnering process is all about, right? Learning, or re-learning how to resolve conflicts quickly to keep the project moving. LSB: I found at ADOT, and many other large organizations, that they need to spend more time talking about and learning about and teaching leadership so that they understand how to do these things. Don’t get me wrong, there were and are many great leaders at ADOT and other large organizations. But it needs to be widespread. This isn’t just survival of the fittest. This is about people helping other people do what needs to be done. A theme of mine, in my classes, is that if you can’t teach, you can’t lead. CAM: It seems like we don’t hear the word “teacher” much in supervisory classes. LSB: Think of it this way: If I’m your leader, and I’m about to send you on a task about which you don’t know everything there is to know about it, but I do, then I need to be able to teach you and coach you to motivate you to go out and complete the task successfully. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. CAM: But organizations don’t always think that way, do they? I’ve seen plenty of examples over the years of topdown, command-and-control management. LSB: Let’s talk about big organizations for a minute. One of the big mistakes many of them make is sort of a systemic approach. They equate people and resources with achieving the mission. In other words, the more people you have under you, the higher grade you are. Isn’t that generally correct? CAM: Yes. Particularly in government. It often seems like the answer to every question is “more funding” or “more people” and, of course, more taxes to pay for it. Within a bureaucracy, it is sometimes called “empire-building.” LSB: Right. And then when you convince somebody that your workload has grown, you get more people, and you also need an assistant. It starts with self-interest, and things get bigger, and so-forth. CAM: So, we’re not going to cure world hunger in this article, or even reinvent government. But what can be done at the office level, at the branch level? How do we make sure we have the right people in the right slots? Give us an example of deploying leadership. 26

LSB: Let’s say we have a group of electrical engineers. Now I have a vacancy and I’m leaving and I need to select my replacement, so I select the best electrical engineer from among my group. But he’s not the best leader. He doesn’t know people, but, boy, does he know electrical engineering! So he takes charge. He says, “We’re going to do it my way” and “you can’t do it that way, I’ll show you.” He is the smartest of the bunch. He is the best electrical engineer, so if they’re going to be all they can be, he’s going to work with this one and that one, and everyone has to do it “this way.” Pretty soon you become bogged down. Now you are going slow. I wrote this book called “Partnering Leadership Keys,” and the idea comes from golf. In golf you have to have “swing keys.” If you don’t have swing keys in golf, you won’t make it. Well, some of those swing keys are also leadership keys. And one of those is a loose grip. In golf you have to have a loose grip. That same is with people. So getting back to the electrical engineers, this new guy has a pretty strong grip because he’s got to. He’s got to keep his reputation, so he has a very tight grip on his people. Well, he’s controlling his people. The problem is, control is an illusion. In the 1990 movie “Days of Thunder,” Nicole Kidman’s character says to Tom Cruise, “Control is an illusion you infantile egomaniac.” She was letting him know, there’s really no such thing as total control, even though we sometimes like to think there is. CAM: A classic movie line! LSB: When I heard that line I want back to my ADOT managers and I told them about it. That’s the key point. To continue the racing theme, champion race car driver Mario Andretti once said, “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” So, this hypothetical young man, who is the world’s greatest electrical engineer, he’s controlling his people far too much, and they are turning out a product, but probably later than it needs to be, and not as good as it could be. So he needs to loosen up. He’s got to have a loose grip. He’s got to understand that their “good way” is just as good if not better than his “good way.” He’s got to coach them and teach them, and accept some mistakes along the way. CAM: To that point, isn’t it scary for the person who has been the “super worker,” when they were solely responsible for their reputation, and then to step into the role of a “supervisor,” when their reputation is in the hands of others? They have to learn to trust others. LSB: That’s well said. CAM: But it requires relinquishing control, which can be very uncomfortable for many people, especially at first. [ Continued on page 28 ]

California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue



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LSB: That’s exactly the crux of it. I have a cousin who is 10 years behind me, and he studied mechanical engineering at the same school I went to. One day many years ago he had been given the opportunity to be a leader, and he was asking me about it. And, of course, with my military background, I was saying, “Do it! Do it!” Well, he did it, and he was miserable. And he ended up quitting. He went on to be a private consultant working on his own. Why? It just wasn’t his bag. Now, circling back to our hypothetical electrical engineer, what if he’s that guy? He wants more money and the prestige that comes with the promotion, with more responsibility, but he might be miserable in this leadership position. CAM: The higher you go in an organization, the less and less you will be doing the kinds of things you did when you were a front-line worker. You will be relying on a whole new set of skills, people skills, that you may or may not possess. In many cases you are way outside your comfort zone. Organizations that are committed to workforce development recognize that and make sure people have the right skills at the right time, so when they are called upon to take on those additional responsibilities they are prepared.

LSB: He should be led, invisible to his team, with almost an authoritarian model. This is what you do, this is when you do it. When he graduates from that phase, then you move him to a coaching model, where I’ll check in with you, I’ll coach you. Then you go to an encouraging model, because by now, if you have done your teaching and coaching job right, they are finding success and you are cheering them on. And that’s where he stays, in the encouraging zone. We all need those words of encouragement. CAM: Since we’re both fond of memorable quotes, and movie lines, I’ll bring up another one I heard you reference when you gave a speech at Caltrans back in the 1990s. You were emphasizing the importance of middle-managers to getting any big change-management initiatives implemented, and you referenced the 1995 movie “Braveheart,” a biopic about the legendary 13th century Scottish warrior William Wallace, who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against England. In the movie, Wallace, played by Mel Gibson, spoke of the importance of having the nobles on board with Scottish independence. In effect, he was talking about middle managers. You said those lessons are still relevant today. If the middle managers aren’t on board, then everything from fomenting revolution to implanting the latest corporate initiative are doomed to failure.

CAM: If this person is committed to climbing the organizational ladder, then what? Some organizations or companies may have been grooming him, coaching him and training him for some time, but maybe not. Sometimes you are just pushed into the deep end of the pool to see if you can swim.

LSB: After I saw that movie, I started thinking about it when I drove home, and I said to myself, “Darn it – the middle managers are the nobles. I’m the director of ADOT, I’m the monarch, the royalty, if you will. But we have all these middle managers and we have all these foot-soldiers, all the folks who are doing the work and are really the important ones. And in the movie, some of the nobles were not so nice, right? And that’s the same way with middle managers. And by “not-so-nice” I mean, “don’t agree with the boss.” And that’s fine. But this reminds me of when I studied refraction in school. The monarch, the leader, can send a direction down, and it hits the middle managers. The middle managers have the choice of multiplying it, putting a rocket behind it, and sending it on its way. And, boy is that ever effective! Or they can hit it and deflect it a little bit, so it changes. Well, that’s OK, but it may not have the same impact as if they put the rocket behind it. Or they can just divert it and say “not on my watch.” They could be a short-timer or whatever. We had a term in the Army called “DEROS ” (which was the date you’re going to rotate or leave.) So you know exactly when your commander is going to leave. You can pretty much set your watch by it. Now, you can’t really set your watch to an ADOT director or a Caltrans director, but you know you don’t have to wait too long. AASHTO (the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials) will tell you they have less than two years on average.


California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue

LSB: You’re exactly right. We have to do that. But what about the person who wants to make more money and is really good at what he does? We must have a path for this person, too. Big companies and big organizations need to understand that. And young men and women need to understand that everyone who’s rich, or at least richer than them, is not necessarily happy. CAM: That’s going to take an unflinching self-assessment and self-awareness. That seems to be another trait that is in short supply these days. LSB: So if our electrical engineer is happy. If he takes inventory of himself and he’s happy being the world’s greatest electrical engineer, and he generally feels he would be not happy being the world’s greatest leader of electrical engineers, then he needs to stay right where he is, and just be happy. That’s your measure of success – being happy.

CAM: I’ve seen that too often, where bureaucrats will play along and just wait you out, before slipping back into old habits. How do you instill that sense of urgency that everyone has ownership of? How do you convince everyone that this change, whatever it is, is in everyone’s best interest? LSB: That is why I had such a passion for Total Quality Management, for Continuous Improvement. CAM: As I recall, you were the chairman of the AASHTO Standing Committee on Quality, which was a champion for making continuous improvement part of the culture of all transportation organizations, from top to bottom, all across America. One of the hallmarks of an excellent culture devoted to continuous improvement is that it is supported at all levels of an organization, including the middle managers charged with implementing it. LSB: Right. And you can go grab that middle manager, that leader, and that will show you where it’s happening and where it’s not. If it’s not being implemented, they didn’t share the passion. For truly excellent organizations, it needs to be working at all levels. CAM: It’s a never-ending struggle to effect positive change, isn’t it? It can wear on you. LSB: (Sighs). You know, as leaders, we come to work some days and we just don’t feel it, and it shows. You have to fight through it. Enthusiasm and attitude – those things are all contagious. CAM: And when you are a leader, everyone’s watching you. LSB: Oh, they are! Remember, smiles are contagious. The boss has to do that. In my classes I talk about the four agreements, and one of those agreements is to always do your best. Some days you just don’t feel like doing your best, but you must. Any leader is a role model – a role model for good or for bad. CAM: People want to feel good about where they work, and about what they do, and it’s hard if the boss doesn’t project that. Surveys show that large percentages of workers are unhappy on the job, and many leave at the first opportunity. Recruiting talent is important, but even more important is retaining and developing the talent you have. LSB: The goal of leadership should be the overall effectiveness of the organization, and the people being happy in the organization. If they are happy they are going to do such a better job than if they are unhappy. They will be content and feel that this leader cares about them. California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue

CAM: You obviously have had some great coaches and mentors in your career, but what about those above you who didn’t emulate some of the leadership traits you have been describing? LSB: Probably the person I learned the most from was my first battalion commander – and it was what not to do. I promised myself I would never talk to people in public that way, I would never show my emotion in public that way, everything from pouting to kicking chairs. I got to see that as a 2nd lieutenant, even though I was well below him. Then he rotated out, and a new guy came in, and I said to myself, “I want to be just like that.” I got to see the difference in the way the unit felt and how it worked just because this new guy came in. CAM: In another article in this special leadership issue, we reference authentic leadership, and how it is an amalgamation of study, coaching and life experiences that help people develop their own leadership style that is unique to them, authentic. LSB: This is something I could talk about for days. In many of my speeches I reference a brief poll conducted by the magazine “FastCompany” about leadership styles, and I ask people to self-identify the style they either use themselves or they think is the best. The choices are “orchestra leader,” “General,” “coach” and “teacher.” Usually the first two choices get very few, if any, votes. The most popular by far are “coach” and “teacher.” And then I remind everyone that, for public agencies at least, “General” is the model. CAM: Command and control. LSB: General is the hierarchy they are under, yet nobody raises their hand. They want teaching, they want coaching. Interestingly, in the magazine survey, “orchestra leader” was the most popular response. And if you think of it in terms of construction, that makes sense. The orchestra leader comes in, but he has all these contractors and subcontractors ready to go, and they know their different roles, but they can’t get going without the orchestra leader. In the survey, by the way, “coach” and “teacher” were also popular, but “General” got very few votes. The point is, you’ve got to use all of those attributes at different times. There’s a time when the General must step forward. CAM: Sometimes just making a decision is difficult, isn’t it? [ Continued on page 30 ]


[ Continued from page 29]

LSB: When I was working on the “Big Dig” project in Boston, I got to hear former Secretary of State George Schultz give a speech. You may recall that he was once president of Bechtel, so he knew about construction. I’ll never forget, he said, “Take all the time you need to make a decision.” Now most of my engineers want to make a decision. But George Schultz was talking to them. He was saying, make a decision, but take all the time you have to make it. If you don’t have time, then you need to make it right away. But if you have the time, talk to people and gather the information you need to make a good decision.

CAM: I think he knew a thing or two about leadership. It’s interesting how you take many different ideas and make them your own, even modifying some as you go along. LSB: To use the “FastCompany” survey as an example, I later modified it to include “facilitator,” because I think facilitator is the best leadership model. You’re going to use all of the roles, but as many times as you can impose yourself as facilitator. If you went into an executive management meeting when I was at ADOT, we always sat in a circle. We had one of our group be the facilitator, at the flipcharts. Anyone who was sitting there knew who the leader was. It’ wasn’t me. It was the facilitator. That person wasn’t telling us what to do, they were asking us questions and bringing out the wisdom of the group. That was the leader. That’s why, at ADOT, we had a comprehensive facilitator training program. Being a good facilitator, and seeing yourself cause positive change in a team or group, is amazing.

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CAM: Sometimes just asking the right questions can be powerful. It’s not teaching, or preaching. It’s helping people think for themselves and come to the learning on their own. LSB: I like to think I do that in my partnering workshops. It’s pretty easy for me because I rarely know any of the answers (laughs). CAM: That’s funny, but there’s also an element of truth there. You are in a group of subject-matter experts, who are dealing with the problems every day. Sometimes the answer is right in front of them, but they are so focused on the day-to-day battles that they need someone to help them step back and see the forest for the trees, so to speak. LSB: I agree with you. CAM: Building a culture of trust, where it is OK for anyone to ask a question, and for the company or organization or team to not be afraid to look for answers, is essential, isn’t it? If people are afraid to speak up, the potential for learning and improving is diminished. It has to be part of an organizations DNA.

California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue

LSB: You’re absolutely right. The DNA – that’s a good way to describe it – must be throughout the organization. CAM: It’s been said that during your time at ADOT and elsewhere, you devoted time at meetings to leadership discussions, including having people share lessons gleaned from reading books or attending lectures on leadership. That’s one way of imbedding it into the culture, isn’t it.? Make being a leader and being a coach everyone’s responsibility. LSB: I did. When I first came in to ADOT, I had some books that I recommended people read if they wanted to get into my head. We had each leader read a chapter and we talked about it. We would start our meetings with something I called “coach’s comments” and I would work up a lesson plan of something I was going to coach and teach. We did that for five years. And what did that do? Well, if you can’t teach, you can’t lead. I was learning to teach. I was building a rapport with this team, and learning as I went along. Does that help me today? Yes! I still use many of those lesson plans that I would work up on a Sunday getting ready for the Tuesday meeting. CAM: You also brought in leaders from outside of government, outside of construction, leaders of successful companies to help with the learning and benchmarking, right? That’s definitely outside-the-box thinking. LSB: We brought companies in like Ritz-Carlton, Greyhound, Cadillac, Motorola and Intel. They would come every month and sit down with our executives and the subject was quality. Intel gave us some great ideas on how to run our meetings. CAM: A lot of waste, inefficiency and lost opportunities for improvement are a result of dysfunctional or non-productive meetings, right? LSB: That’s the lowest-hanging fruit to get, for your first step of improving your organization. The quality of your meetings. You want to talk about things that mean something. People should want to be there and be part of it. CAM: In the strategic plan for our association, we state that we aspire to a positive and productive working relationship with all public agencies, and many times that relationship manifests itself in meetings. That’s where the relationship can succeed, or break down into mistrust. LSB: Yes, but somehow we need to sit down and make it work. We have mutual interests of a vibrant program of improving the infrastructure of the state. CAM: And we must be accountable, both industry and agency, for our actions. California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue

LSB: Accountability is a loaded term. I know a lot of us engineers, ego-driven managers, will use the word accountability almost punitively. It’s the way we use it. I like to think that we all will hold ourselves accountable if we know what we’re supposed to do, if we know our jobs. The way you do accountability is strictly metrics. You measure stuff, and you let the team figure out their own metrics. You’ll know if they made it or they didn’t make it. It’s like saying, “I’ve got a job. I know what my mission is. I’m supposed to finish the project by this date and with this much money.” And if I do it, what are you going to do? I did my part. I was accountable. Now what are you going to do? It’s just like a contract. If you’re going to have a punitive side of it, you’ve got to have an incentive side of it. As a leader, I need to make it easy for you to be accountable, to know where the milestones are, so you will know what you are accountable for. CAM: But so often agency and owner are at odds. It’s like a win-lose type of situation. LSB: When I conduct a partnering workshop, I’ll often say that “In the mindset of people in this room, imagine a football field with a scrimmage line. The owner is on one side and the contractor is on the other side, I know you’re going to say that’s not true, but it’s absolutely true. You’re in a fight with each-other. One is trying to run though the other, and the other is trying to stop him.” And then I say, “Now cut that out! We’ve got to move the contractor and the owner to the same side of the scrimmage line.” Now, we just can’t say that and skip all the way to a touchdown. There’s things between us and the end zone. What are they? They are problems. But we are problem-solvers. There’s not a problem that can present itself that we can’t solve if we’re both on the same side of the scrimmage line. And if you can define the problem, you’re halfway to a solution. Get the people issues out of the way so there are only problems to overcome. And each time a problem comes up you can say, “Oh boy! We have a chance to work together to solve a problem!” Now you will score the touchdown. CAM: Any final thoughts? LSB: Writer and spiritual thinker Eckhart Tolle talks about ego, and says when your ego is in charge, you are either in the past or in the future, but you’re not in the present. But that’s where you need to be to be to solve a problem – in the present, with no ego. The task of the leader, the facilitator, is to get everyone away from the past, away from the egos and the personalities. Then all that remains is the problem to solve, right now, in the present, and we can solve it together. CA About the author: Russell W. Snyder, CAE, is Executive Director of the California Asphalt Pavement Association.




90 YEARS OF DEDICATED SERVICE TO THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GENERAL ENGINEERING CONTRACTING INDUSTRY By Brian Hoover Hazard Construction Company (Hazard) is fast approaching its centennial with nine decades now firmly in the books. 90 years is no small feat and those that belong to this rare fraternity are certainly few and far between. Roscoe Elwood Hazard, Sr. (Pappy) began his legacy in 1926 when he purchased a small fleet of trucks and wagons, along with nearly every horse and mule in the region, to begin his hauling, excavation, and site excavation business. R.E. Hazard’s eldest son, Bruce R. Hazard entered the family business in 1935 at the age of 17. He began managing the operation in the early 60s, greatly expanding the company’s interests during his tenure. The company was originally founded as R.E. Hazard Contracting Company and they earned a solid reputation for excellence in road construction and general excavation, eventually rising to the ranks of one of San Diego’s largest general engineering contracting firms. They remained on the forefront by building thousands of miles of interstate freeways, bridges, and roadways throughout Southern California. 32

As the local construction environment changed, so did Hazard by taking on additional private construction clients and getting more involved in site construction, as well as site development and construction management for commercial, residential and industrial projects. The company eventually changed its name to, Hazard Construction Company (Hazard) as the main focus of their work began to also change. Around 60 percent of the company’s work is now dedicated to public works projects, with Caltrans being their main client. Mark Thunder serves as vice president of operations for Hazard and oversees all of the company’s general engineering projects. “We have cultivated a good working relationship with Caltrans as one of the industry’s highest quality, top tier contractors,” says Thunder. “We are often entrusted with their emergency work and are currently on a few of their high profile projects at this time.” Hazard is currently closing out the Highway 67 project, which rehabilitated the pavement on the main lanes, shoulders, and ramps from

Interstate 8 to the San Diego River Bridge. “We have been on the Highway 67 project for around a year and a half and will have the job completed by the end of September,” says Thunder. “We worked on 6 miles or 29 lane miles of pavement and this included two to three lanes in each direction. The end result was a very smooth, high-quality pavement.” Thunder points out that the HMA pavement rehab job began by milling the existing pavement down 35 hundredths of a foot, replacing it with 15 hundredths of ½ inch HMA and then capped with a two-tenths lift of ¾ inch RHMA. Approximately 20,000 tons of HMA and 41,000 tons of RHMA, supplied by Vulcan Materials, were put down by jobs end. All of the milling and paving was completed under stringent quality control requirements and paved with a new shuttle buggy and paving machine with full automatics. An inertial profiler equipped with laser sensors was also used to measure the pavement smoothness every 10th of a foot. “We worked very hard at meeting the project smoothness requirements and feel the

California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue

Hazard Corporate Office with equipment from early years of construction on display.

r, ident and Larry Mille Thunder, Vice Pres k d. ar un M R: gro ck to L ba e in ov Ab ved SR 67 dent with recently pa General Superinten

final ride quality bears this out. This requires training and experience, along with the highest quality people and equipment and is just another example of what separates one contractor from another.” Hazard is also currently on another project for Caltrans and the City of San Diego on State Route 163 at Clairemont Mesa Boulevard. The project involved constructing new on and off ramps for the Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and southbound 163 interchange. In the process, Hazard will widen Clairemont Mesa Boulevard from four to six lanes between the bridge and Kearny Mesa Road. Additionally,

Above L to R: Jaso n Mordhorst, Pres ident, Larry Miller, General Superinten dent and Mark Thun der, Vice President.

the southbound SR-163 offramps will be removed and replaced with a four-lane ramp and a signalized intersection. “We are utilizing very creative methods and techniques on this project, designed to create less of an impact on the local community,” says Thunder. “We have remained on schedule, despite the fact that a semitruck ran into one of the bridges, which required our crews to perform emergency work to repair and replace part of the bridge. This is a high-profile project with many stakeholders and we are very pleased to be part of such an important project.”

California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue

Hazard also performs a good amount of private work, many times as the construction manager. An example of this would be the current $30 million contract they are currently overseeing as the construction manager for a major golf course and development company in Los Angeles. “We are managing the reconfiguration of the entire golf course and the development of several home lots throughout the course.” Mark Thunder and the folks at Hazard recognize just how tough it is to be a successful general engineering contractor in today’s bureaucratic and [ Continued on page 34 ]


Placing porous asphalt pavement at San Diego International Airport.

asphalt pavement. Above: Compacting porous

[ Continued from page 33 ]

politically charged environment. One of their major topics of concern is the upcoming San Diego ballot measure for a sales tax increase that would pay for road improvements, new trolley lines, and open space projects throughout the county. This halfcent sales tax increase would last for 40 years and generate $18 billion. “We are concerned about the pending public works jobs and funding in general, and are spending a lot of time and energy toward this and the upcoming sales tax measure,” says Thunder. “Revenues are down and the agencies are not receiving nearly as much fuel tax funding. It is important that we do something to stabilize the funding system for public works construction.” Hazard recently joined the California Asphalt Pavement Association (CalAPA) as one of their newest contractor members. “It is a huge advantage 34

Above: Recently comple ted Taxi Hold Lot at San Diego International Airport.

to have an industry advocate like CalAPA representing our company and our industry in general,” says Thunder. “We need their help with the never-ending legislative issues, challenges with agencies, ballot measures, and new specifications like Superpave, smoothness requirements, and intelligent compaction. It is great to have them in our corner and we are proud to be a new member.” Hazard has earned a reputation for quality, integrity and responsiveness over these past nine decades. This is one of the reasons that they have become the contractor of choice for so many private entities and public agencies. With more than $75 million in annual revenues, Hazard serves all of Southern California with more than 120 employees company wide. “We see a great future with Caltrans, with work that will focus more on maintenance and rehabilitation of roadways

in the future,” says Thunder. “We are in a good position right now to handle a variety of work, including construction of a variety of structures, like the bridge we are building right now in Imperial Valley. We are both focused and diversified to handle the changes that are sure to come. Jason Mordhorst became our company president in January 2014 and he has already guided us through a significant growth period that has more than doubled our sales over the past two years. Our people and their safety come first and it is our field and office staff that has been so instrumental to our success. We value our employees and continually strive to provide a quality work environment. The future is bright here at Hazard Construction Company.” CA About the author: Brian Hoover is co-owner of Construction Marketing Services, publisher of California Asphalt magazine

California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue


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California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue

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CalAPA Technical Director Rita Leahy Retires R ita B. Leahy, Ph.D., P.E., a noted expert in asphalt pavements nationally and internationally, has retired from her position as Technical Director for CalAPA. She has agreed to stay on in a limited consulting capacity until a permanent replacement is found.

"Dr. Leahy was the gold standard for professionalism, integrity, technical knowledge and advancing the interests of the asphalt pavement industry," said CalAPA Executive Director Russell Snyder. "Dr. Leahy shared generously with her vast knowledge of asphalt pavements and research, and everyone connected to the industry in California has benefited, either directly or indirectly, by her many contributions." A well-known authority on asphalt pavements, Leahy previously was an associate professor of civil engineering at Oregon State University, a senior staff engineer with the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP), and a principal engineer with the Asphalt Institute. She has authored more than 50 technical publications on asphalt pavements, including an authoritative examination of "Superpave." She has lectured across the country and overseas. “Rita has been a great store of knowledge in both the technical aspects of HMA, but also in how the Caltrans process works,” said Paul Curren, P.E., one of CalAPA’s technical instructors. “I have greatly enjoyed working with her on the Section 39 Superpave classes. She will be sorely missed.” Her encyclopedic knowledge of pavements earned her respect far and wide, and her quick wit endeared her to many more. She evaluated research with a critical eye, and steadfastly maintained that changes to specifications and test methods should be grounded in good science and sound engineering judgement, as well as practical field experience. Those views were highly influential and elevated discussions 36

between industry and agency representatives.

“Rita Leahy has been a strong advocate and a great technical resource for improving asphalt pavements in California, and across the United State,” said Dr. John Harvey, director of the University of California Pavement Research Center. “My personal interaction with her goes back to the early 1990s on the SHRP project and has continued through a number of subjects over the past 25 years, including quality control and assurance, moisture sensitivity, mix design, binder specifications, performance related testing and specifications and pavement design. She has made her contributions working in government, academia and industry, which informed her work and gave her great perspective. We wish her a happy retirement, while CalAPA looks to fill big shoes.” “Rita was on staff at the Asphalt Institute from mid 1987-1989 and served with distinction as one of our principal engineers,” recalled Asphalt Institute President Pete Grass. “We are proud to have her as an AI alumni! Rita’s leadership in our industry is exemplary including her work with SHRP and service as AAPT’s first female President in 2005-06. Her lifelong dedication to quality, sound engineering principles, and advancement of our profession set the example for all of us to emulate.” In 2015, she was invited to be the keynote speaker for the Australian Asphalt Pavement Association's (AAPA) workshop series, which were held in five mainland territories and in Tasmania. At the time the AAPA said her participation was "crucial to the Australian road construction and maintenance community." She has held leadership roles of the Transportation Research Board and the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists. “It has been my pleasure to have worked and been associated with Dr.

Jim Ryan, Alon Asphalt Company (left), Dr. Rita B. Leahy and Steve Takigawa, Deputy Director Maintenance and Operations, Caltrans at the CalAPA Spring Conference in Ontario.

Dr. Rita B. Leahy, left, and Bob Humer with the Asphalt Institute, right, review long-life asphalt pavement project information in 2010 as Caltrans pavement engineer Bill Farnbach, center, looks on. The projects on Interstate 5 in the north state, with a 40-year design life, later won a national "Pavement Pioneer" award from the Asphalt Pavement Alliance and a Caltrans Excellence in Transportation Facilities award.

Rita Leahy during these past 12 years, while representing the Pacific Coast Conference on Asphalt Specifications (PCCAS), as Supplier Co-Chair of the Conference,” said Don Powell, Asphalt Research Chemist with CalAPA member San Joaquin Refining Co. “Rita has always been a very willing and enthusiastic technical resource on issues of asphalt mixture, binder and construction. She has been an

California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue

outstanding professional colleague, personal friend, and has certainly served the Industry well over years of her service. I wish her well in her personal pursuits for the future.” When she wasn’t good-naturedly parrying comments about her height, or lack of it, Leahy cast a long shadow by quietly leading by example and mentoring others. “Rita is a breath of fresh air in the construction industry,” said Toni Carroll, Director of Quality for CalAPA member Graniterock. “As a woman working her way through a male-dominated field it has been amazing to have such a strong, intelligent, and sassy -- when she needs to be -- role model to aspire to be someday. The only thing that has been able to temper my sadness of her retiring is that I also know that she is the type of woman who will continue to work until she has nothing left to give and I know I’ll be seeing her around for years to come. CalAPA, the construction industry, and the world in general needs more Rita Leahys.” CA

'A true engineer'

The first time I met Rita was in the mid-1980s, when she was a young Ph.D. student under Professor Matt Witczak, working in an office at my former workplace, the Asphalt Institute headquarters in Maryland. Little did I know that a couple of years later, in California, our paths would cross again. It has been a good and productive relationship ever since. A true engineer, she is respected by Agencies and Industry alike, not shy of speaking her mind, yet always managing to steer towards a solution acceptable to all without ever losing her technical and professional integrity. She was always willing to take on extra work and assist others. Her achievements are too numerous to list. However there is one I must mention, and that is her participation in the long-life asphalt pavements effort. Some may not realize the significance of promoting this innovative technology and the cost savings it will result in, but they did have the benefit of supplying the materials. Her efforts working on the structural designs and promoting the concept to Caltrans, were key factors in the very successful long-life projects that resulted. Rita, now that you decided to retire, who will I call to brainstorm with? You will be missed. Bob Humer, Senior Regional Engineer Asphalt Institute

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California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue


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California Asphalt Magazine • 2016 Leadership Issue



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California Asphalt Magazine Leadership 2016  

California Asphalt Magazine is the official publication of the California Asphalt Pavement Association. This bi-monthly magazine distributes...

California Asphalt Magazine Leadership 2016  

California Asphalt Magazine is the official publication of the California Asphalt Pavement Association. This bi-monthly magazine distributes...