September 2019

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Volume 15, Issue 4 October | November 2019

DOING THINGS UNIQUELY DIFFERENT

Why a Successful Construction Superintendent Traded Developing Strong Buildings for Developing Strong Professionals


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Georgia Contractor


GEORGIA

CONTRACTOR

w w w. t h e g e o r g i a c o n t r a c t o r . c o m Editor-in-Chief: Roland Petersen-Frey Art Director: Pamela Petersen-Frey | (770) 521-8877

The Georgia Contractor is published bi-monthly on a calendar year basis. It is a magazine designed around the construction industry associations and their members. It is supported by associations and their members. Executive, editorial, circulation, and advertising offices: 1154 Lower Birmingham Road, Canton, Georgia 30115 • Phone: (770) 521-8877 • E-mail: rfrey@a4inc.com. Send address changes to your association and/or to A4 Inc. Opinions expressed by the authors are not necessarily those of any of the associations or publisher nor do they accept responsibility for errors of content or omissions and, as a matter of policy, neither do they endorse products or advertisements appearing herein. Parts of this magazine may be reproduced with the written consent of the publisher.

October | November 2019

On The Cover ~ This issue of the GEORGIA CONTRACTOR is dedicated to exceptional instructors in our industry. DOING Mark HornTHINGS buckle (left) is UNIQUELY an extraordiDIFFERENT Why a Successful Construction Superintendent nary leader and Traded Developing Strong Buildings for Developing Strong Professionals entrepreneur, a creative instructor, and is involved in workforce development and guiding individuals to reach their professional goals. Mark is an exceptional individual in the construction industry in Georgia. See Mark Hornbuckle’s story on page 6.v Volume 15, Issue 4 October | November 2019

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TABLE CONTENTS OF

Recognizing Exceptional Instructors

COVER STORY Laser Doing Things Uniquely Different Focused

6

Mark Hornbuckle

Why a Successful Construction Superintendent Traded Developing Strong Buildings for Developing Strong Professionals

9 Breaking Though

Finding Answers to Labor Shortage

11 Opportunity

on Display

Gateway Center Tours Give Students First-hand Look at an Active Construction Site

12 From Apple to Airports Instructor Josh Mueller

14 Brannon Baxter Brannon Baxter

Plumbing Coordinator at Mechanical Trades Institute

16 Yes, You Have a Talent

Pool

18 Empathetic Instruction 20 Creating a Mural for Our

Future Construction Leaders

4

23

The CEFGA CareerExpo Led Sam Parris to a Job ’I Absolutely Love’

24 Importance

of Proper Interviewing

26 Mutual Admiration Society

High School Welding Instructor Jeff Owings Inspired Protégé to Follow a Similar Career Path

28 Clear-cut Career Path

Carpenter Miles Terry Has Capitalized on the Guidance of Mentors and Learning Opportunities at Every Turn ADVERTISERS IN THIS ISSUE

Ace Electric

Atlanta Electrical Contractors (AECA)

17

19

City of Atlanta Dept of Watershed Mgt.

IFC

Georgia 811

BC

Georgia Trade School

24

GEICC

Georgia Construction Aggregate Assoc.

25 3

Independent Electrical Contractors

31

Metro Power

26

MTI - Mechanical Trade Institute

5

Georgia Contractor


October | November 2019

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Doing Things Uniquely Different: Why a Successful

Construction Superintendent Traded Developing Strong Buildings for Developing Strong Professionals By Ryan Boling | Training Manager | HB NEXT

INNOVATORS AND PIONEERS ARE SELDOM COMFORTABLE WITH THE STATUS QUO. hen Mark Hornbuckle answered his first advertisement for a construction job opportunity in Augusta, GA, he was venturing out on his own, away from home for the first time as a young adult. While construction has never seemed to enjoy the mainstream appeal for teenagers of other career pathways like medicine, law, or business, Mark found in his first construction job (as an entry-level rod man on a survey crew) something he enjoyed, something he was good at, and leadership that not only recognized his potential, but inspired him to reach it. Those who have had the privilege of working alongside Mark -or, been fortunate to know him personally- would readily speak to his passionate and exuberant work ethic, which he developed at an early age working at his family’s printing business. While many of his schoolmates and friends spent their summer months at home, playing, Mark went to work. It was construction, in the end, that won him over; and, while his aptitude for map reading and mathematics made the planning and engineering side of the construction business a natural fit for his skillset, sharing knowledge and teaching oth-

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ers, over time, emerged as Hornbuckle’s true passion in life. Having reached the pinnacle of a 20-year career in construction as a General Superintendent with several high-profile projects on his resume, in 1998, Hornbuckle (nicknamed ‘HB’ by his colleagues) felt compelled to pursue new endeavors; although, he had no plans on disconnecting himself from the construction industry. His love of building, passion for the industry, and approach to quality never diminished; in fact, they only grew from that point. Beginning in January of 1999, Hornbuckle founded HB Training and Consulting (HBTC), a professional services firm offering training, inspections, and consulting services to the construction industry. Having spent several years attending training seminars and courses taught by many instructors who were qualified, but lacked specific hands-on construction expertise, Hornbuckle felt the industry could benefit by having instruction and consultation delivered from the contractor’s point-of-view; and, combined with the wisdom that can only be obtained from years of experience working in the field. Georgia Contractor


October | November 2019

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For most of his career in construction, Hornbuckle was acutely aware of his daily responsibility to manage budget, schedule, quality, and safety on the job. While he successfully built projects throughout his career with zero worker fatalities to his credit, Hornbuckle also learned that a very safe job, was not always compliant. Taking a uniquely different approach from the training he received throughout his career, Hornbuckle’s vision for HBTC was simple, but brilliant: To provide companies in the construction industry with the education needed to keep their workers safe, the knowledge needed to keep them legally compliant, and, in turn, the empowerment to protect their hard-earned profits. And, to provide it in a language that they can easily understand. Fast forward to 2008, Hornbuckle meets Tony Middlebrooks, owner of a technology-enabled environmental services company called NEXT. After getting to know Tony, learning of his background in residential construction, and the technology solutions he was developing for the industry at the time, a partnership was born; and, for the better part of a decade, HBTC and NEXT operated side-by-side, powering innovative safety and environmental compliance solutions with innovative technology. As both companies grew in size and capacity, the challenges around managing two different and unique operations revealed an opportunity to merge the two companies into one. Joining forces and combining resources, Hornbuckle and Middlebrooks made the decision to bring HBTC and NEXT together; and, in 2013, HB NEXT re-emerged in the market as a technology-enabled compliance solutions provider, led by Hornbuckle as CEO, and Middlebrooks, as Company President. When approached in 2014 with an opportunity to coarchitect a workforce development program supporting construction efforts in and around the City of Atlanta by Scott Shelar, President and CEO of the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA), Hornbuckle immediately recognized an opportunity for HB NEXT to be a part of something special. With a renewed business focus and new market opportunities to explore with Middlebrooks managing the day-to-day operations of the company, Hornbuckle was able to redirect his attention toward his passion for education, with an emphasis on leadership in construction and workforce development. Along with Shelar and his team at CEFGA, Hornbuckle jumped right in to help design -and, over time, refinethe award-winning workforce development program now known throughout the State of Georgia as Construction Ready. This was not the first time that Hornbuckle and Shelar collaborated on workforce development, however; having worked together previously in 2010 to develop a pre-apprenticeship training program at the Vogtle Electric Generating 8

Plant in Waynesboro, GA, one of the largest nuclear power plants in the southeast United States. When asked about what drives his passion, Hornbuckle often mentions how easy it has been to give back to an industry that has given so much to him, both personally and professionally. Hornbuckle’s involvement with the Construction Ready Program affords him regular opportunities to evaluate and directly connect with the industry’s future workforce, in a way that was not possible for him as a superintendent being responsible for budgets, schedules, quality, safety, and hundreds of job site personnel. Now, instead of using his skills and expertise to develop ‘strong buildings’, Hornbuckle gets to use his skills for developing ‘strong people’ into construction professionals. Hornbuckle will tell you personally, that while there is a great deal of personal satisfaction that comes along with the successful completion of a construction project, an equally rewarding sense of accomplishment is achieved in workforce development, witnessing individuals reach their professional goals; most especially, when those individuals go out of their way to openly express gratitude for your guidance and support along the way. That gratitude is a form of currency that you can’t deposit in a bank account; but holds a value higher than any monetary reward you might receive. As HB NEXT continues to grow and position for future endeavors, Hornbuckle’s involvement in workforce development will also continue, while he transitions from the role of company owner to his new role of Co-Founder. The operating reins of the company have now been handed to Middlebrooks, Hornbuckle’s long-time business partner, and newly appointed CEO of HB NEXT. With a suite of products and services ready to offer nationwide -including the addition of DOT consulting services for corporate vehicle fleets and exciting, new cloud-based software options- Middlebrooks is prepared to lead HB NEXT into the future of construction, with technology-enabled solutions designed to complement and enhance the safety, environmental, and compliance services that HB NEXT has delivered to the industry over the last 20 years. As a construction superintendent, Hornbuckle’s direct leadership was always ‘foundational’ to the success of his projects. In fact, there are several construction firms throughout the industry today, who have Hornbuckle to thank for the professional development and career success of many of their leaders and field superintendents. Hornbuckle has long expressed this desire for, as he puts it, “building strong people, to build strong buildings”; and, while his influence is still very much helping to lead HB NEXT into the future, in true Hornbuckle fashion, his leadership impact this time around is, and will be, uniquely different. v Georgia Contractor


Breaking Through Finding Answers to Labor Shortage By Burns & McDonnell | Story first featured in BenchMark

“Will we overcome the shortage? Yes, we have to.� - Joe Podrebarac

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o keep a multimillion-dollar refinery project on schedule, 37,000 linear feet of complex piping is required to be installed within five months. Forty welders and several hundred other skilled craftspeople are needed, but several megaprojects in the region are making available labor hard to come by. If the deadline is missed, the refinery could be at risk for significant financial losses. The lack of available qualified craft labor and front-line supervision is about to make this project very complicated. The construction industry isn't plagued by a lack of projects or a struggling economy. Instead, one of its main challenges is a shortage of craft labor, and this shortage, unfortunately, is only increasing. October | November 2019

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“The skilled labor force challenge has been building for years, but now it’s hitting a point where it poses a real risk to the success of projects,” says Matt Nordhus, a vice president in the Construction/Design-Build Group at Burns & McDonnell. While not a new issue for the construction industry, the shortage in craft labor — such as electricians, plumbers, boiler-makers, instrument technicians, iron workers and concrete finishers — has taken hold over the years and has made its mark on how engineering and construction firms plan and design projects. From skilled laborers leaving the industry during the economic downturn in the late 2000s and a rising number of current retirees to a consistent lack of new entrants to the field, a significant gap in experience has continued to widen. According to a recent survey conducted by Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk, 80% of the 2,500 respondents reported having difficulty filling hourly craft positions and 56% said filling salaried craft positions was also a challenge. In addition, 81% of firms said that in the short term it would continue to be hard or even get harder to find craftspeople. Leaving no industry untouched, the effects of the shortage have affected projects nationwide, straining abilities to complete execution in a timely manner. And in regions booming with opportunities, adjacent projects compete to lure workers to fill spots with increased per diems or completion bonuses. “I experienced this firsthand on a power plant project in Louisiana back in the early 2000s,” Nordhus says, “when a competing project 3 miles away raised its per diems and travel allowances and we were forced to hike our pay to retain staff. As you exhaust the labor supply in a region, the projects 10

begin poaching each other’s workers.” Solving for Shortages Though it might be tempting to see the craft labor shortage as a construction industry issue that the construction industry needs to fix, its ripple effects have no boundaries — and all will have to live with the results. If something is constructed incorrectly, it can take triple the time to repair it, which could wreck a carefully planned schedule and drive up costs. Or, worse yet, it could jeopardize the safety and integrity of the final product. “This will be something the indus-

try as a whole is dealing with for a long time to come,” says Jeff Allen, a vice president and regional office manager at Burns & McDonnell who focuses on engineer-procure-construct projects and program management throughout the Southwest. “The construction companies that will make their clients successful over the coming years are going to be the ones that are best able to deal with the shortage and overcome the challenges associated with it.” One path to overcome the shortage involves approaching each and every project with that challenge in mind, which has borne several solutions. Modularization and Fabrication The widespread adoption of off-site construction through modularization or

fabrication is transforming the construction industry in several markets. With a higher percentage of construction within a structured environment away from the job site, the labor can be more tightly controlled. With this approach in mind, engineers can design specifically for modular components that can be transported to the site when needed. “It keeps the quantity of tasks down for an individual craftsman,” Allen says, “which increases efficiency, improves safety and allows the training process to be a bit more streamlined.” Advanced Work Packaging While every project is unique, performing certain tasks earlier in the project timeline can save time and money, such as prioritizing the development of pipe racks for oil, gas and chemical projects. Known as Advanced Work Packaging (AWP), the process of construction driving the sequence of engineering and procurement deliverables for a project is having a positive impact on schedules and productivity. “We optimize our engineering and procurement to facilitate starting work earlier,” says Joe Podrebarac, a vice president and construction director at Burns & McDonnell. “This allows us to reduce the total on-site manpower for an extended duration without extending the overall schedule.” For example, a 12-month project approached traditionally might peak halfway through with 150 craftspeople on-site. However, by identifying scopes of work that could be moved forward in the schedule through AWP, 100 craftspeople could perform the same amount of work but over a longer period of time in the schedule, per the graphic above. Design Adjustments Engineering a project design with conGeorgia Contractor


struction in mind applies to more than shuffling timelines. Actual design decisions can be made to address craft labor constraints by choosing solutions that require substantially fewer people and time. For example, look into incorporating helical steel piles into a design rather than concrete piers because they require less labor. Or, when designing electric transmission poles, select a design shape that is more conducive to flying the line in with helicopters rather than installing manually. Technology The use of technology is increasingly being embedded into job sites to help plan and monitor work in the field. Various programs exist to manage the overall progress of work packages as well as give a digital snapshot to track and identify work scope available per week. Combining technology with AWP can build efficiencies in the

tain safety, quality, timeline and costs for projects in the interim, the industry is still focused on filling the pipeline for future craft workers. Whether organized by unions, private companies or construction-focused organizations, programs and workshops are building awareness among students of all ages across the nation. Specifically, the ACE Mentor Program of America has established a mission to engage, excite and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in design and construction. Trade schools also are becoming more active in the recruitment of high schoolers. “There’s a significant focus on encouraging college-bound students to select majors that are construction-focused,” Allen says. “We’re even seeing large construction firms taking an active role in construction science schools across the country.” These firms are taking the initiative

“The skilled labor force challenge has been building for years, but now it’s hitting a point where it poses a real risk to the success of projects.” - Matt Nordhus schedule and reduce congestion of onsite manpower to improve safety performance. A concerted, team-led effort incorporating one or all of these solutions can help most any project manage the craft labor shortage. “Will we overcome the shortage?” Podrebarac asks. “Yes, we have to. The projects will get done. The question is if we will be able to overcome it safely, with good quality, while still maintaining good productivity and predictable schedules. That’s our industry’s biggest challenge, and that’s where these solutions come into play.” Prepping the Future Pipeline While these solutions can help mainOctober | November 2019

to support the educational activities of these institutions and help students select and stay in construction science-focused degree programs. Some companies also are developing and implementing in-house training programs to fill the experience gap in new workers with on-the-job opportunities on active projects. “Private firms have a valuable role to play in helping build the craft labor pipeline for the construction industry,” says Renee Gartelos, a vice president and director of human resources at Burns & McDonnell. “We want our construction partners to identify and train talented workers, and together, we can make the biggest impact.” However, these efforts still present ongoing obstacles. Aside from the facts

With a booming oil, gas and chemicals market, the U.S. Gulf Coast region is feeling a different pinch in the craft labor market than the rest of the U.S. Experienced and qualified workers thrive with strong wages and abundant work; however, the closeknit web of competing projects and the abnormally high ratio of megabuilds have strained the labor market anyway, driving up costs. that the work can be hazardous, longterm retention is becoming more uncommon, and often the highest paying opportunities tend to be mobile jobs, the qualities that are expected of new craftspeople are shifting a bit, too. “Our projects are getting more complex with more technologies in use and are slowly moving toward design-build executions,” Allen says. “The interfaces that construction professionals will face in the future will be multilayered and more complex.” Building Confidence in Construction With demands high and the future unknown, it will take collective voices from all industries touching construction to move the needle — a collaboration style that managed to drive interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers not that long ago. “People began talking about STEM and the significance of STEMrelated careers, which increased awareness over time,” Gartelos says. “We’ve seen success, so I have confidence that it can be created in the construction space for the long term.”v 11


From Apple to Airports By Ryan Blythe | Georgia Trade School

C

hanging perceptions about what a welder looks like and where they come from has been among my favorite actions during my time in this industry. When I was contacted about providing an example of the new generation of talented welders who are helping to rebuild our infrastructure I immediately thought of Josh Mueller. Just 31 years old, Josh has been teaching at Georgia Trade School for the past year and his graduates have gone on to work for some choice employers including Trinity Rail, Hayward Baker, Berkel, AeroBridge Works and Chart Industries. What makes Josh unique is that prior to joining the skilled trades, he worked for seven years at one of the world’s big four tech companies, Apple Inc. A New York native, Mr. Mueller spent his formative years in Northern Virginia and attended Warren County High School. After graduation, he matriculated to Lord Fairfax Community College for core classes and then Old Dominion University to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering. But after just a semester at ODU, Josh recognized he wanted a more hand on program, so he transferred to Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, Virginia where he studied design and drafting against the backdrop of one of the nation’s top Shipbuilding communities. A technical elective in welding gave Josh a taste of what would ultimately become his trade and career, but first he would enjoy a seven-year run working for one of the worlds most valuable companies. At Apple, Mr. Mueller began as a 12

GTS Instructor Josh Mueller left a technology career to become a welder sales representative in their retail stores. Once again seeking more of a hands-on role, he transferred to inventory and later earned a supervisory position when Apple opened their store at the Avalon development in Alpharetta, GA. Feeling that he had plateaued in technology, Josh liked welding but had never really pursued it. He applied for a scholarship with Mike Rowe Works and enrolled at Georgia Trade School. Josh was even featured on Mike Rowe’s social media pages highlighting his decision to become a welder. After earning multiple certifications from GTS, Josh went on to work for Aero Bridge Works where he installed passenger boarding bridges in major Airports including Orlando,

Memphis, Washington D.C. and Boston. When his alma mater expanded their night class, Mr. Mueller retuned in 2018 to teach. He is responsible for a range of activities during his workday which begins in the early afternoon. In addition to teaching, he cuts metal for test plates, supports the afternoon instructor, fabricates projects, builds equipment bags for new students, works on machines, researches consumables inventory and orientates new students. He reaches approximately fifty students a day but works closely in the booths of about 12 or 13 as the school aims to keep a low student teacher ratio. His favorite aspect of the job is how different it is, every day. He deGeorgia Contractor


mands of himself to use examples from the field to help keep his students engaged and not just to rely on a print reading book. His goal is to exhaust all resources in order to teach new welders everything he can. One significant adjustment to teaching was becoming comfortable with public speaking. Josh is excited about the future of welding, but he advises prospective students to recognize that it won’t always be easy, to stick with it as you will continuously learn. New welders should never overestimate their skills and must keep a good attitude with their employer. Simply responding with a Yes

Sir, No Sir approach to supervisors will usually lead to additional learning opportunities as most employers recognize they can develop skills but cannot teach attitude. The first time you are welding in the field it can be very intimidating and you also must contend with weather extremes. Josh is also hopeful that as the skills gap grows, perceptions about careers in the trades will change. He suggests that technical schools do a better job educating the public and promoting their oerings in the marketplace. More focus on social media and emphasizing that technology will not eliminate the need for

skilled craft workers. Additionally, he would like to see more buy in from public schools. Considering Mr. Mueller is 25 years younger than the average welder; he has a long and very bright future ahead of him. In just a year at GTS he has made quite an impression. His example goes to show that college capable students can absolutely pursue a career in welding or another skilled trade instead of a 4-year University degree. He is a great example of disruption and why that concept is so crucial to filling our skills gap. v

GTS Instructor Josh Mueller working with stu-

dent Bill Bauma in the welding laboratory

October | November 2019

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Brannon Baxter

Plumbing Coordinator at Mechanical Trades Institute

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ooking for an instructor at post-secondary apprenticeship program can be challenging at times. Mechanical Trades Institute only utilizes members of Local Union 72 as instructors. While all members have the skilled trade knowledge gained through attending an apprenticeship program or through years of experience, not all possess the necessary skills needed to be an instructor at first. It is rare to find an instructor candidate that has the trade knowledge and the natural ability to communicate and share this information in a clear and understandable manner to students. The ideal characteristics of a good instructor include expert communication skills, superior listening skills, a deep knowledge and passion for their subject manner, the ability to build relationships with students, friendliness and approachable, excellent and organization skills, a strong work ethic, and high expectations. Brannon Baxter, the Plumbing Coordinator, of Mechanical Trades Institute is one of those rare instructors. He possesses those characteristics which make him an exceptional instructor. He has always had a passion for learning and has continued to acquire knowledge and information that would better equipment himself for the trade and as an instructor. He is continuing exploring to new opportunities and is willing to try to new best practices and procedures. Having grown up around the construction industry, it was natural for 14

Brannon to purse a B.S. degree in Construction Management from what is now Kennesaw State University (Southern Polytechnic State University). He successful earned his degree while simultaneously attending the apprenticeship program at Mechanical Trades Institute. Even then, Brannon was a standout in the plumbing program as he was named as the Outstanding Plumbing Apprentice for his graduating class in 2011. In 2013, Mechanical Trades Institute restructured its instructional delivery to a night school format. Along with this change, the institution implemented online training for its first-year

apprentices to accommodate its growth. Brannon was hired as the Lead Plumbing Instructor to fill one of these newly created positions. He was instrumental in the online program development that was later extended through to the second-year apprentice training. Having the trade knowledge and experience and the ability to communicate to students has helped the institution’s online training to flourish. He also developed the idea of a credit recovery program to assist students that needed additional assistance or who struggled. While many of the younger students have grown up using computers, they prefer the hands-on aspects of the training. Georgia Contractor


Brannon communicates how the construction industry will continually be impacted by technology changes and that current students need to be willing to embrace and adapt in order to be the most marketable and employable journeyman for Local Union 72. As MTI’s online training grew, so did the Brannon’s knowledge and reputation among other apprenticeship programs in the Southeast. He was eventually asked to assist and now instructs at the annual United Association’s Instructor Training Program in

Ann Arbor, Michigan. Here Brannon trains and shares MTI’s best practices to instructors throughout the country. Brannon takes his own advice as continued to add to professional certifications while at MTI. He recently earned his Georgia State Master Plumber License and has also graduated from the United Association Instructor program while maintaining involvement in national plumbing organizations such as ASSE and IAPMO. He wears many hats at MTI and is

always willing to get involved in any institutional related activity. Mechanical Trades Institute, its apprentices, and the members of Local 72 are fortunate to have Brannon Baxter as the Plumbing Coordinator of the apprenticeship program. He is passionate about the plumbing industry, his apprentices, and Local Union 72. He believes his role in assisting in producing highly trained apprentices strengthens Local Union 72 and the signatory contractors of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Georgia. v

To Lease or Purchase Equipment... That is the Contractor Question

By Wayne Snelson | CRI Partner

C

ontractors are inevitably faced with the decision of lease versus purchase of equipment and for most contractors this is a significant decision because it has such a major impact of their financial statements. If a contractor chooses to finance the acquisition of equipment or leases under a capital lease, it results in essentially adding a long-term asset to their balance sheet that’s offset by both a current and a long-term liability. The current liability representing the principal portion of the debt is going to be paid off within the next twelve months. So the fact that we’re adding a current liability but not adding a current asset means that there’s a negative impact to both the working capital and the current ratio of that contractor and those two ratios are critical to sureties who are the main users of a contractor's financial stateOctober | November 2019

ments. Those two ratios are used to help determine the bonding capacity available to contractors and so the negative impact of that decision could actually result in loss of work for the contractor because they don't have the bonding capacity to take on additional work. Fortunately, the contractor does have the option of having the lease structured as an operating lease which really has no impact to the balance sheet, as the monthly payments are just expensed as incurred. So we recently had a contractor who was faced with a similar decision—ten-year old piece of equipment…do we lease or do we go out and finance and purchase the equipment? So what they did is they went out and got proposals for both sides, came and sat down with us, we helped him determine the balance sheet impact of the

decision, and they basically from that determined that the hit to the working capital and the current ratio was unacceptable. Therefore, they were able to structure on the lease or focus on the lease structure to make sure it met the operating lease requirements and therefore there was no impact to their balance sheet. So really what all this means is a contractor has to be proactive in regards to this decision. They need to assess the financial statement impact prior to it being made, which is probably the right time to reach out to their CRI engagement team where we can help them analyze that impact and we can also review the draft lease agreements to help them determine that the lease is going to qualify for whatever

accounting treatment they desire. v

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Yes, you have a talent pool. By Irene Munn | The Munn Firm LLC.

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nyone reading this article knows the challenges of recruiting, hiring and retaining talent, and the most recent reports shows no sign of this changing. So why do we sit around waiting for someone else to solve this problem. If you rethink the investment of your time and resources, there is a better approach. Many top recruiters create a talent pool of candidates they draw from to fill openings. While that sounds easy, many employers in high skilled careers like construction feel it’s easier said than done. But you have a HUGE talent pool right in your community. It’s called a College and Career Academy or local high school. Fifteen and sixteen-yearold students are sitting in classrooms bored with traditional education paths and looking for engaging opportunities totally different from their “sit and get” academic experience. These students are a captive audience, their parents make them show up to school every day, and there is a good chance they have not taken up any disqualifying bad habits. They are also eager to learn. The other important thing to remember is that your tax dollars are paying to educate this talent pool, if you recruit here, you capitalize on this investment. So how do you recruit from this talent pool? Here are five ideas: 1. Take look at this Department of Education web site and find the high school closest to you who has a CTAE program for your industry. 16

https://gacareerpipeline.gadoe.org/ The students in these programs have already expressed interest and just need an employer to express interest in them. 2. If you have a local College and Career Academy (CCA) call the CEO and ask if you can serve on the Academy Board. This link (https://tcsg.edu/gcca/ ) takes you to CCA information and provides more about the Technical College that supports their work. 3. Get to know the instructors who are teaching the CTAE or Dual Enrollment programs for your industry. These instructors need your support. Serve on their advisory board, come to the classroom to tell students about your careers, help improve their curriculum. Getting to know program instructors is the key to getting to know your talent pool. 4. Provide students with a workbased learning opportunity. It’s a win—win: you get to know if a student is a good fit and the student gets to leave school early and gain valuable work ethic and experience. One of the best examples of how apprentice programs work come from the over 100-year-old successful German model. Replicating this approach, Georgia created Georgia Consortium for Advance Technical Training in partnership with the German American

Irene Munn

After serving 12 years as Leg-

islative Counsel and Police

Advisor to Lt. Governor Casey

Cagle, Irene’s workforce solu-

tions and government affairs

consulting practice, The Munn

Firm, LLC helps businesses

create strategic partnerships

with Georgia’s college and ca-

reer academies, high school

CTAE, and post-secondary

programs. She provides

workforce solutions support

to the construction, manufac-

turing and healthcare indus-

tries. Her legal practice areas

include charter school, state

and local government law and

policy.

Georgia Contractor


Chamber of Commerce providing high school students paid apprenticeship opportunities at Georgia manufacturing sites and providing the opportunity to complete their high school diploma, Technical College Associate Degree, and the Advanced Manufacturing Technician certification through the German Chamber. Creating this kind of apprentice opportunity for your company is worth your time. 5. Recruit based upon student aptitudes not just interest. Starting in 2017, the state of Georgia provides every middle and high school student an innovative career planning tool known as YouScience. This should also be a tool for every em-

October | November 2019

ployer to find a larger and more diverse talent pool. Here’s why – in an analysis of 71,284 YouScience users in Georgia, interest only guidance misdirects students away from high-demand careers. The top 50 most frequent career recommendations on both an interest basis and an aptitude basis reveal the following: 74% of the interestbased career recommendations were industries like Arts & Entertainment, Teaching, Social Work, and Life Sciences. None of interest-based recommendations direct users toward high-demand industries like engineering, construction, manufacturing, programming. However, 40% of the top 50 aptitude-based career recommenda-

tions are in high-demand careers. In short, students have the natural ability to do the work that employers most need if we use tools that guide based on aptitude. Why aren’t you using the above opportunities and resources for your company? Reach out to your local high school or College and Career Academy. Get to know and support instructors. Create your own pipeline using an apprenticeship. When you interview, ask to see a high school student’s YouScience profile to determine if they are a good fit. In this competitive environment rethink your investment of time and resources. Go find your talent pool sitting right down the street. v

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Empathetic Instruction

By Russell Smith | Director | Atlanta Electrical | JATC’s Electrical Training Center

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ave you taken a class lately? If you have, you probably walked into the classroom (or sat at your computer) with the expectation you were about to receive something important, or at least necessary; that you would be guided to a clearly defined, essentially guaranteed, result. Were your expectations met? If so, congratulations, time and money well spent! If not, what did you do? Silently suffer through it? take charge and push the teacher/instructor to provide more and dig deeper? What was it that motivated you to suffer, or to push for more? Of course, that challenge, the one of figuring out what will motivate an individual to take charge of their own learning instead of just sitting there in miserable silence, is nothing new. However, the students challenging us to motivate them are new, a new generation with new attitudes and ways of thinking. The ground is shifting right under our feet and the reality is, our beloved Electrical Industry doesn’t provide us with the option of “allowing” students to silently suffer through classes that don’t meet their learning needs. It isn’t news to anyone who’s a regular reader of this magazine that providing our learners with the means and the motivation to take charge of their learning and their future (and our future to boot), is absolutely essential! We at the Atlanta Electrical Training Center have been blessed with a diverse team of highly motivated motivators who are meeting that challenge head on. Each one deserving of many pages of praise and repeated accolades for the skillful, caring approach

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they bring to bear on the world of technical education each and every day. I’ve chosen to briefly highlight one of those team members here; JATC Master Instructor, Alan Elkins. As with all of our Instructors, Mr. Elkins is an Industry Professional who has worked in the field at many levels. His installation and supervisory skills are impeccable. But what sets him apart from the average is his ability to transfer that knowledge, skill, and ability to other people. And this isn’t a cloning process, he isn’t in the business of producing a bunch of mini-mes; forcing individuals into a robotic mode of personal emulation. Mr. Elkins understands the value of individuality and diversity and labors to produce a structured support system that allows students to create and express without fear. Essentially providing a set of guardrails that keep them safely within standardized limits, but give plenty of room for expression and individual creativity. With a clear goal of producing safe and reliable electrical workers, competent supervision, innovative contractors and beyond, Mr. Elkins demonstrates the kind of “he cares” that provides learners with an environment within which they can confidently take charge of their own learning. He does it in ways that motivate them to discover and achieve their goals (and ours in the process). Truly empathetic instruction, like parenting, involves a kind of caring that may not always look like caring. But it also isn’t the harsh, demanding, drill sergeant who’s constantly on you about every deviation from the norm. It is a

delicate balance. That’s probably the best description for what Mr. Elkins does, and he has an eye, an innate talent, for identifying individual strengths and weaknesses quickly. These insights he uses to find that individual’s balance and build an essentials-based foundation from which that student can explore the amazing possibilities of the Industry he loves so much. I guess you’re beginning to realize that I could go on endlessly about our team and its members. Although I’m highlighting Mr. Elkins in this article, he would be the first to speak up and say that what he does would be impossible without the other members of the team. Since the beginning of his time here, Mr. Elkins has sought out the participation of Industry Training Partners who provide product specific and non-specific training in our classrooms and labs as well as host field trips for our Apprentices that provide new, exciting experiences and an educational change of scenery. These carefully nurtured partnerships have paid huge dividends both for our Training Partners and our Training Program, all carefully coordinated to enrich and encourage the development of dreams, and the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to achieve them. Do you plan to take a class soon? When you do, I hope and pray you have an Instructor like Alan Elkins. By the way, we always need more good people! Whatever your background, whatever your learning level, our people can provide a solid foundation from which to take charge of your learning and your future. v Georgia Contractor



Creating a Mural for Our Future Construction Leaders By Tony Varamo | Metro Power

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ach year I get the opportunity to speak to hundreds (maybe thousands) of high school students as I attend recruiting fairs, class presentations and career exploration events in the Southeast. One of the first questions I ask the class is “How many students plan to attend a 4-year university after they finish high school?”. Inevitably, 95-98% of the students raise their hands and the other 2-5% either didn’t hear me because they had ear buds in, or they had their head on the desk taking a cat nap (seems like that anyway). The fact of the matter is that 30% of college freshmen will drop out their first year, and of those remaining, only 66% will graduate. In addition, 43% of those graduates will start jobs that do not require a Bachelor’s degree. So, many of these students will merely follow their friends to universities and colleges just to experience one or two years of college and it will cost them dearly, and most times, mom and dad as well. So what do employers say about students coming into their companies? I constantly hear the same statements over and over from veteran professionals “these kids are lazy” or “they only care about their cell phones and social media.” Yes, students today do enjoy using electronics but I don’t think that makes them lazy. Their desire and passion to outperform competitors in online games is just as real as our desire to complete projects on time and in budget so they just have different priorities than seasoned professionals. So 20

how do we attract high school students into our entry level positions who bring with them the same desire and passion as they find using electronics? A picture is worth a thousand words… We, as industry leaders, must take the time to create a mural of our industry and make the student the main subject. A well painted mural will pique the interest of students who have a strong work ethic, driven by increased responsibility, and who enjoy being part of a winning team. Students who have knowledge of their inner motivation can direct action to what they perceive to be fulfilling so the mural must be action-packed, vivid in colors, and tells the story of a student who enjoys meaningful work, dedication to excellence and the satisfaction of a job well done. Why a mural and not a painting? Murals are placed on walls and ceilings where the architectural elements of a given space are harmoniously incorporated into the mural. Students today want to bring their creativity, intelligence, dreams and passions to work with them so we must give them the opportunity to feel like work is an extension of their home, school and essentially their own life. Basically, the old saying of “strong backs and weak minds” is no longer valid with today’s students. The “leave your brain at the door” work philosophy will keep a student on the job for only 3-5 days before they quit. As construction industry leaders, how do we create this mural? First,

make a conscience decision to get involved with school construction related advisory boards and recruiting events so you can get in front of students. The AGC is offering 5 Skills Challenges in November throughout the state which you and your company can participate (contact AGC for further info). Secondly, take a real interest in a student or two and begin telling them about the rewards of being in the industry; great pay, benefits, training, promotion and increased responsibility—a real career path! Tell the student about having an exciting development plan using their input and explain the training they will receive to increase their knowledge as well as the variety of task assignments they will be given to give breadth and depth to their experiences. Finally, tell them about his/her mentor who is responsible to keep them safe and help them gain all the competencies needed to be a professional in the field. The mentor who has the drive, charisma and emotional intelligence to help the student become successful. I mention emotional intelligence here because yelling and cursing at people is disrespectful, and again, the student will quit in 3-5 days. Finally, tell the student how technology has transformed the construction landscape and how they will be using i-pads, cell phones, project and estimating software, and other electronics to run projects and maximize time and minimize inefficiencies. As we move further away from traditional construction methods and dive Georgia Contractor


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headfirst into our continuously improving technology-oriented work environment, we must refine our recruiting pitch for students who enjoy working with their hands but also enjoy being entertained with new

technology. What we want (and need to have) is the same passion and desire students have using electronics and direct them to our industry and trades. The only way to continue to attract students is by creating a mural of our

technologically savvy industry and making the student the main subject. When you come right down to it, we must all be artists.v

Murals from my hometown Post Office in Port Chester NY. Murals were painted in 1936 when the “New Deal� was passed. The worker is the main subject of each. 22

Georgia Contractor


Laser Focused

The CEFGA CareerExpo Led Sam Parris to a Job ‘I Absolutely Love’ By Allen Allnoch

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am Parris never knows what a workday is going to bring. As an HVAC service technician for McKenney’s, Inc., Sam is dispatched daily to customers around Atlanta’s northeast perimeter and beyond. But there’s one constant in his work: “I return people’s lives to normal,” he says. And he finds tremendous satisfaction in that. “I’m fortunate to do something I absolutely love,” says Sam, who was hired after meeting McKenney’s personnel at the 2016 CEFGA CareerExpo and SkillsUSA State Championships. “I really enjoy having direct contact with customers, where I’m not questioning whether what I’m doing is really valuable to the person who’s paying the bills. I know it is, because I get to interact with them, find out what their need are and take care of it.” Sam hails from Gillsville in Hall County, where he grew up on a 70-acre farm. As a homeschooled student, he says he had leeway to experiment with mechanical things in addition to his regular courses of study. “I enjoyed tinkering,” he recalls. “I had this mechanical tendency and I was always finding some outlet for it. So any kind of equipment—refrigerator, microwave, weedeater, lawnmower, whatever it was—I was tearing it apart.” Encouraged by a brother who preceded him in the HVAC industry, Sam enrolled at Lanier Technical College, graduating with an associates degree in 2016. That same year he competed in the SkillsUSA State Championships and won a silver medal in HVAC. While exploring the CareerExpo, Sam was intrigued by McKenney’s, a longtime sponsor of the World of Heating and Air Conditioning exhibit. He asked questions, gathered contact information, followed up and had a job within two weeks. He returns to the CareerExpo each year to represent the company in telling students about HVAC careers. He also was part of a panel discussion of former competitors at the 2017 CEFGA VIP and SkillsUSA Champions’ Breakfast. His advice to students pondering their career options? October | November 2019

“Find something you can do well and that you enjoy doing, then pour everything you have into it,” he says. “And take mistakes and obstacles and realize there’s always something you can learn from it. It makes you stronger and it prepares you. Focus and do what’s required and you’ll see it pay off. “You don’t always have to follow the conventional path,” he continues. “I chose this career for its path. I talked to engineers, I talked to doctors, I talked to lawyers, friends of mine who had done those things, and I came to the conclusion that it’s not for me. I want this. I knew I wanted this. And it’s been very rewarding.” Looking back on his career to date, Sam says it’s “been a neat journey and progression” and has “gone by like five minutes. To get up in the morning, pull on your uniform, get in your van, put your tools in and go to a job that you really love, that’s worth a lot.” Many of Sam’s customers are hospital accounts. He remembers one job in particular that represents the kind of satisfaction he gets from his work. “The whole steam system had gone down—sterilization, everything,” he says. “There were about 15 guys and we were all trying to get it fixed. It was a stressful moment. To be able to start from what’s wrong, find out what’s needed, put the puzzle together, and an hour later, they’re back up and running—just to hear that sincere ‘Thank you,’ to see it in their eyes, it meant a lot to me.”v 23


Importance of Proper Interviewing By Eileen Levit | President | HR Team

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nterviewing is a critical element of the hiring process. All too often organizations allow managers to participate in the interviewing and hiring process without proper training. Poor interviewing leads to costly bad hires which in turn leads to high turnover, low employee morale, damaged customer relationships, and low productivity. To ensure your organization selects the most qualified candidates, interviewers need to understand how to conduct effective interviews. It is not enough to understand the legalities of interviewing, interviewers must have the skills to accurately assess candidates and identify top performers. Obtaining

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wants to reveal pieces of themselves. A few common mistakes interviewers make are: • not being prepared for the interview •

not preparing/updating a job description

asking questions or engaging in conversation that may not be legal

assuming good work history predicts performance level of the candidate

relying on feelings or chemistry

not considering the total package a candidate has to offer

Eileen Levit

President, HR Team useful information about a candidate can be difficult when the candidate only

Georgia Contractor


After all, what do we really want to know? • Can the person do the job? •

What is his/her motivation to change employers?

If the person is committed to a progressive career path or is a “job hopper” always looking for the next offer?

If the person is committed to a career path, can your organization satisfy the individual’s needs/expectations?

What is the person’s thought process? Is s/he able to draw appropriate/sound conclusions, make logical connections? If the person’s current skill level is adequate to perform the job now or is training needed to bring the person's skills to the basic level required for the job?

Can this person be developed and grow with our company as we grow?

How much/what type of training will be needed?

Will the person thrive in your work culture?

Does the person possess the desired work and personal ethics?

How will the individual handle stress, constructive criticism, and “gray areas”?

Does the amount and type of supervision this person requires present a management issue?

How do we prevent the mistakes and get what we want? We conduct a behavioral interview. A behavioral interview is structured interview that focuses on skills versus feelings, specific behaviors/patterns versus the theoretical and abstract. Questions October | November 2019

asked in a behavioral interview cannot be answered with a yes or no. Situational - uses concrete, past experience as indicators of future behavior • Describe the work you did on a project that was the most challenging/complex/difficult •

How does your work style contribute to your department’s/ company’s/ profitability?

Give me an example when you…

Share with me your…

Tell me about a time…

What was your experience with

Self-appraisal - requires people to tell you about him/herself . •

What have you learned the most from in your current/last position?

If you could do something over again, related to your job, what would it be? What changes or different decisions would you make and why?

What makes your work valuable to your supervisor?

What has been the most difficult aspect of…? How have you achieved/overcome the challenge/obstacle?

Describe the supervisor/manager with whom you worked best.

By interviewing properly, you will not necessarily hire the ‘smartest’ candidate. What will you hire? The smartest candidate who fits in with your organization and its expectations. v 25


Mutual Admiration Society

High School Welding Instructor Jeff Owings Inspired Protégé to Follow a Similar Career Path By Allen Allnoch

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arter Woodall and Jeff Owings go way back. Their families attended the same church in Chattooga County. Jeff says Carter’s grandfather was “one of my favorite people on earth.” And he was Carter’s welding instructor at Chattooga High School in Summerville, where he’s taught for more than 25 years. Now Carter is following in his mentor’s footsteps, teaching high school in neighboring Floyd County and preparing his students for SkillsUSA competitions, just as Jeff once trained him. “Carter was as perfect a student as any teacher could ask for,” says Jeff. “He was one of those who just did everything right. He’s a true success story.”

competing in the same region for spots in the SkillsUSA State Championships hosted by the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia. “There’s nothing like building your own competition, I’ll tell ya,” Jeff says with a laugh. “But it’s very friendly. I pull for him when I don’t pull for my own students.” Carter and Jeff clearly hold one another in high regard. Carter has the last word when he says his mentor is simply “the best. There’s no doubt about it. And not just in these competitions, but in life, teaching character and modeling it for people. He’s been there my whole life.” v

Carter furthered his skills at Jacksonville, Florida’s Tulsa Welding School, where he earned a scholarship after winning a welding competition there. After graduating, he traveled as a union pipe welder. Then his old friend told him about an opening for a welding instructor in Cherokee County Schools. I had wanted to be a teacher since I was in high school,” Carter recalls. “I would help underclassman, and I think that’s where [ Jeff ] got the idea I might be pretty good at it.” Carter taught in Cherokee County for a year, then moved to his current position in 2018. And he still looks to Jeff as a mentor. “Everything I do is what I’ve learned from him,” Carter says. “I lean on him quite a bit. We talk just about every day, usually in the morning. That’s kind of how I start my day— either he’ll call me or I’ll call him.” Jeff points out, however, that it’s very much a two-way conversation. “I also lean on Carter,” he says. “He’s up on a lot more of the technology—he’s on top of the game there.” With Carter teaching in Floyd County, the two are 26

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Clear-Cut Career Path

Carpenter Miles Terry Has Capitalized on the Guidance of Mentors and Learning Opportunities at Every Turn By Allen Allnoch

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hen Miles Terry graduated from Macon’s Westside High School in May 2019, he wasted no time beginning a fulltime career. Just three days after receiving his diploma, Miles reported to work as a carpenter with the Bibb County School District. The opportunity was simply too good to pass up: It would allow him to do what he is passionate about—work creatively with his hands —as well as learn from co-workers with decades of experience and earn a salary well above the typical entry-level job for employees his age. “It is very rare to find a young man straight out of high school who is ready and mature enough to work in a professional environment,” says Eddie Montgomery, Bibb County Schools’ long-time Director of Maintenance Operations. “What impressed me most about Miles was his willingness to learn. He is a quick learner, a good listener, very well mannered, and he gets along with everyone in our department. He is working out very well.” Montgomery is one of many adults who have invested in Miles’ development since he and his family moved to Macon at the end of his junior year. Raising four boys on her own, Miles’ mother, Shelia, relocated from the Chicago area for a better job and change of scenery. The move quickly helped launch Miles’ journey toward a 28

Miles’ mother, Shelia, and twin brother, Makye, celebrated with him at Hutchings’ Career Signing Day. construction career. First, a counselor at Westside, Cathy Denson, suggested he consider dual enrollment at William S. Hutchings College and Career Academy for his senior year. A charter program for Bibb County Schools, Hutchings provides high-interest career pathways and stackable industry credentials to equip students for in-demand jobs or further education. The Construction Pathway caught Miles’ eye when he visited the school and met with the program’s instructor, James Miller. “Growing up, I was always outside, always trying to figure out how things worked,” Miles recalls. “I knew I wanted to do something with my hands

in whatever career I chose. I really liked the Construction Pathway and felt like it was somewhere I could make my mark.” Hutchings proved a perfect fit, with Miles excelling academically, honing his hands-on skills and getting involved in SkillsUSA competitions. He happily recalls one particular assignment, a charge to build a display cabinet for the school’s cosmetology lab. “Mr. Miller came to me and said to pick somebody I would work well with and to come up with a design,” he says. “The satisfaction was tremendous, because I got to see something come out of nothing, and it was my design, and I got to collaborate with a fellow classmate. We were able to learn from each other, and Mr. Miller showed us a lot of techniques about how to build those shelves. It was fun learning new things, and it was great seeing it displayed at Hutchings.” Building Hands-On Experience With the help of Vonnie Angelo, Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator and Work Based Learning (WBL) Supervisor at Hutchings, Miles landed a part-time job that enabled him to gain more hands-on experience. After speaking to Miles’ class at a lunch-and-learn gathering, Angelo was impressed with his engagement and attitude, and introduced him to Andrew Eck, owner of Georgia Contractor


Miles poses with the chapter display he and his team created for the SkillsUSA State Championships.

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Georgia Artisan. Eck, whose Macon-based company creates custom, made-to-order furniture from reclaimed wood, hired Miles at minimum wage in January 2019. Within two months Miles had earned a raise to $9 an hour. “Originally I was just a helper around the shop, but over time I got more responsibility and learned how to build different things,” he remembers. “It taught me a lot.” Angelo continued to encourage Miles as the schoolyear progressed, getting to know his dedicated mother in the process. “When we set him up with Georgia Artisan, I had to have parent paperwork, so his mom came in,” Angelo recalls. “I thought, ‘Oh, now I know why he’s so phenomenal. She and I cried in the parking lot more than once. It was all happy tears. I am just so proud of him.” “Another reason I’m so motivated is because of my mother,” Miles adds. “She taught me things that can only be taught by a mom, but she also taught me things that are taught by a man. To be able to come out of high school and do what I’m doing, I made her proud very quickly.” As winter turned into spring of his senior year, Miles and his teammates in the Hutchings SkillsUSA chapter prepared for the CEFGA-hosted SkillsUSA State Championships in Atlanta. Miles was part of the Chapter Display team, and he also competed in the Woodworking contest. Always eager to learn, he sought out his woodworking competitors with questions about their craft. “I met a lot of students who were more advanced than I was,” he says. “I got to talk to different kids and ask how they built certain things. It was very cool to see students my age who were building complex carpentry projects.” He may have been a novice wood30

worker, but Miles came to the rescue when his Chapter Display team’s centerpiece suffered a mishap on the trip to Atlanta. He explains: “The way it’s built, the base is independent and you slide the rest on from the top, and there’s a motor that moves it. While it was being transported, the wing nuts were bent, so when we went to set it up, it wouldn’t line up correctly. I said to my teammates, ‘Let’s not give up. We came all this way, we’re not going to let a bent screw take us out of the competition.’ I was able to bend them back so we could set up our display. We didn’t win, but the experience was a lot of fun.” An Offer Too Good to Refuse Like Angelo, Eddie Montgomery is eager to invest in helping young people grow and be successful. He began work with Bibb County School as a young man himself, some 46 years ago. As the 2018-19 schoolyear began drawing to a close, he approached Angelo to identify students who might be interested in a summer job in his maintenance department. Then he announced a full-time position had become available. Angelo recommended Miles for the job. Miles interviewed with Montgomery and the maintenance team, made a favorable impression and secured an offer. That meant he would have to leave Georgia Artisan, a process he was careful to negotiate in a professional manner. “I turned in my two weeks notice, and I thanked Andrew for the opportunity and all the experience that he gave me,” Miles says. Eck liked Miles so much he made a counter-offer to try to keep him, but ultimately he couldn’t compete with the school district’s offer. “Miles had a job making $32,000 a year, with benefits, the day he graduated,” Angelo says. “That’s a no-brainer. If more kids could understand the op-

portunities that are out there. Not every kid is made to go to college.” With his decision made, Miles participated in a career signing day Hutchings hosted for soon-to-be graduates ready to enter the workforce. “Mr. Eddie showed up the next day with his whole crew, and we signed our letters of intent,” Miles says. “It was a big deal—it was on the news.” Under Montgomery’s tutelage, Miles is in an ideal position to continue his professional development. “Mr. Eddie is a great boss,” says Angelo. “He will mentor Miles and make sure that the others mentor him, because that’s just the kind of man that he is.” Miles’ official job title is Carpenter 1, a role in which he and a partner cover a territory of 12 Bibb County schools. Every day, he says, brings something different, from changing ceiling tiles to hanging pictures to more complex carpentry assignments, and even welding jobs. “I like the variety,” he says. “It also allows me to learn a lot of new things, like welding. I’ve had to learn how to be creative with problem solving. Sometimes we have to brainstorm and come up with an idea on the spot to solve a problem. “I’m the youngest on the maintenance team,” he adds, “So all of the other guys’ experience is channeled into me. I have a lot to learn, but I’m open to it.” For many high school graduates, and even college graduates, it can take some time to figure out what they really want to do in life. But not Miles Terry —he’s found his lane and he’s moving full-speed ahead in it. “Carpentry is my real passion,” Miles says. “And there’s always a need for carpenters. Twenty years from now I’ll still have a job because I’ll know how to build something.” v Georgia Contractor


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Georgia Contractor