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Spring 2019

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT WE’RE DOING OUR PART TO DEVELOP THE WORKERS OF TOMORROW Workforce development – it’s one of the newest buzzwords in business today. It means different things to different people. In our industry, it focuses on matching workers’ skills to the needs and demands of the construction trade. It addresses construction’s need for more highly qualified, trained men and women who are passionate about the opportunity to pursue a career in construction. As an industry leader, The Great Lakes Construction Co. is proud to be an active supporter of “I Build America – Ohio,” a new educational and awareness campaign to support the growing demand for skilled labor. Leaders in the construction sector have come together to launch this movement to generate pride and respect for the construction industry and recruit young people into this valuable, rewarding career. We are excited to see the construction industry join forces to develop resources that will generate a future workforce. It behooves us to support our nation’s ongoing infrastructure needs and to attract more students into construction careers – from laborers to project managers to equipment operators.

We have several workforce development initiatives (see below) at Great Lakes. Our Career Awareness Sessions are an outstanding, real-world example of how workforce development works. These sessions, held over a 28-month period at 10 different Cleveland locations, have provided the opportunity for Cleveland community members to learn about construction careers, to become educated about critical job readiness skills and to effectively network with employers. A significant percentage of the individuals attending the Career Awareness Sessions have found construction related-jobs or are engaged in the employment process. The message from “I Build America – Ohio” is that a career in construction is both exciting and rewarding. Attracting and retaining high-quality workers is critical to Great Lakes’ success and growth. It’s a win-win proposition for Great Lakes and for our future workers as together we build a future workforce for our industry. We’re proud to be doing our part.


Work Now Construction Initiative targets outreach to Cleveland minority groups and females looking to pursue a career in construction, and provides hands-on soft-skill training programs. Great Lakes provides group presentations and project tours, and has been successful generating interest in the construction industry.

Job Corps provides housing and hands-on training to young adults. Great Lakes participates in the program by providing project tours and sponsoring individuals seeking union membership.

Tri-C PreSpanish Apprenticeship American Program Committee Latino Construction exposes students to the trades and connects them Program with local employers. Great Lakes provides tours and presentations, and sponsors individuals seeking union memberships.

exposes participants to safety and trade opportunities, and makes connections to local unions. Great Lakes attends job fairs and offers informational presentations through this program, and has been successful employing participants.

Apprenticeship Program combines paid on-the-job training with classroom instruction to prepare workers for highly-skilled careers. Workers benefit from Apprenticeship Programs by receiving a skillsbased education that prepares them for the construction industry workforce.

Great Lakes Co-Op Program

College & High School Career Fairs

ACE Mentor Program of Cleveland

serves as a solid foundation for a student’s career path. Our Co-Op Program allows the student to learn, gain experience and provide professional development.

Great Lakes participates in college and high school career fairs regularly exposing students to opportunities in the construction industry.

supports high school students through mentoring, providing scholarships and exposing students to construction/design career pathways, and exposing students to real-world opportunities.


This issue of the Great Lakes Way focuses on Workforce Development. In the previous issue of the publication, I wrote about the guidance and opportunities the Construction Industry needs to provide for the workforce of tomorrow. The Great Lakes’ Workforce Development Initiatives highlighted on the front page demonstrate our short-term progress in addition to the strength of the company as we continue to build in this area. Just as “Safety Excellence” has become part of our culture, increasing our focus on Workforce Development is creating substantial value for our company and quickly becoming part of our culture as well.

The national unemployment level recently hit a 50-year low. This is great news for our country; but it makes our job of developing new members of our industry’s workforce more challenging. It is important to understand that the census data for each county, city and state is different. Family makeup, population makeup, and school succession are examples of census details that will clearly set a road map of Workforce Development initiatives that should be implemented in various geographic areas. The Great Lakes Construction Co. will continue to do our part in the development of the construction workforce in this rapidly changing economy.




Our long-term goals remain to create profitable growth. The ingredients to achieving our goals include delivering impactful projects to the public and our owners, performing this work while maintaining our excellent safety record, and now being a leader in Workforce Development initiatives.

GEORGE J. PALKO President/CEO, The Great Lakes Construction Co.


Great Lakes is performing the civil scope of work for a fuel oil system installation at a gas-fired power plant. Our work on the project includes duct bank and fuel pipe trenching, concrete foundations, containment liner installation, earthwork, and paving. The project requires our work to be performed in careful coordination with other trades and the ongoing plant operations.


Project 538-18 consists of removing the existing 429 foot six-span concrete box beam bridge and replacing it with a 466 foot five-span continuous steel beam bridge along with the adjacent roadway, drainage and pavement at both ends of the bridge, and a 200-foot long retaining wall supporting a shared use path under the north end of the bridge. When completed the project will have utilized approximately 2,600 CY of concrete, 1,700 LF of piling, 750 LF of drilled shafts and approximately 597,000 lbs. of reinforcing steel. There is a 270-day window for the removal and reconstruction of the Bridge, which is the only crossing over the Maumee River in the City of Defiance, OH.

The work involves the removal of the existing 300-foot span Vrooman Road Bridge over the Grand River and replacing with a new 1,800-footlong high-level bridge stretching over the Grand River valley. Work began in the fall of 2018 with concrete substructure work continuing through the winter with a scheduled completion of May of 2019. Immediately following will be the superstructure work consisting of steel girder erection, new poured concrete deck and concrete parapets. The new bridge will be substantially complete by Spring of 2020 at which time nearly 2 miles of existing Vrooman Road will be reconstructed to meet the project completion date of September 30, 2020.



Located in Greene County, PA, Great Lakes was awarded this well pad in Fall of 2018, which includes cut slopes in excess of 32 feet and fill slopes in excess of 50 feet, totaling nearly 52,000 CY of earthwork. The finished pad dimension will be 370 feet x 380 feet – just over 3 acres.

2018 was a very busy year in Oil & Gas - frequent precipitation made for challenging working conditions at nearly every site. Additionally, the year was riddled with mergers and acquisitions with many wellknown oil and gas companies. The Great Lakes Construction Co. demonstrated its commitment to its clients and its determination to overcome once again.



As the City’s Construction Manager At-Risk at the Hazel Storage Basin Project, Great Lakes continues to work closely with the City of Akron and the Engineer to manage and perform successful project delivery. At the main basin, the earth retention system is in place and the excavation of over 40,000 CY to subgrade is complete. The foundationanchor subcontractor has completed the installation of over 300 auger-cast anchors and Great Lakes has begun the heavy concrete construction. At Diversion Structures #1 and #2, the retention systems are in place and concrete construction is underway.



The 44-17 project team has completed the demolition of one full bridge and three partial bridges over mainline I-75. The new Glendale Milford bridge will be completed in Fall 2019 with the other two new bridges finishing during the final phase of the project in June 2020.

ODOT PROJECT 361-17 SEYMOUR AVENUE BRIDGE OVER I-75 CINCINNATI, OH The project is currently 75% complete with final completion scheduled for June 2019. Girder erection on the Seymour Ave. Bridge over Interstate 75 is complete. Great Lakes’ crews are currently working on completing the abutment wing walls, installing bridge deck forms, and setting bridge deck rebar. The bridge work will be complete at the end of May followed by resurfacing a portion of Interstate 75 northbound and southbound.

PROJECT 139-19 INDUSTRIAL FLOOR & WALLCOVERING SUPPLIER CHAGRIN FALLS, OH Working for an industrial supplier of floor and wallcoverings, our Great Lakes crews are installing extruders and pneumatic conveyor lines in this recentlyexpanded facility.

Major items of work on the DIA Terminal Apron Phase 2 Project include full depth 16 inch concrete pavement removal and replacement, removing and replacing waterline, installing a new concrete access road, new guidance signs, and new pavement markings. We will be placing approximately 30,000 SY of concrete pavement with pours ranging from 20 feet wide hand pours to 120 feet wide pours.





Jay Curtis Jim McClaflin Grant Salzgeber Tarik Sawaged

Al Leonard Paul Sopko Deb Wagner


George Palko Bubba Taft

Tate Barnes John Crawford Tony Gamiere Dave Keller Rick Mesick Mark Nash Paul Stanard Richard Stewart


RETIREE CLASS OF 2018 Dave Bartek Bill Belknap Dominic Cicora Jeff Hanni John Hargett Helen Houck Steve Layer Bob Lesar Pete Mientkiewicz Brad Murphy Paul Stanard Jim Sutter

Through the tireless efforts of our valued employees, The Great Lakes Construction Co. has completed our GLOSS audit, and has been deemed in compliance with ISO 9001:2015. The implementation of GLOSS has been an asset to the Company by capturing and streamlining our processes in every sector of work for Great Lakes, providing an avenue in which our employees, subcontractors and industry partners can collaboratively work in a safe, efficient manner that delivers a quality product. Through our auditing process, Great Lakes Operating Standards System (GLOSS) challenges our organization to strive for continual improvement of safety, quality, and efficiency.



Jeff Darrah June 24, 1966 – March 14, 2019 The Great Lakes Construction Co. offers our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jeff Darrah. As a registered Professional Engineer, Jeff began his career at The Great Lakes Construction Co. in March 2011 serving as the General Manager of the Company’s Cincinnati Office. Jeff was an integral part of the Great Lakes family serving on the Executive Committee, Development Committee and the Vince Strazzo Great Lakes Scholarship Program Review Team. We will all cherish our memories with Jeff.

The Darrah family generously requested that donations be made in Jeff’s name to The Great Lakes Construction Co. Vince Strazzo Scholarship Fund. The Great Lakes Construction Co. started the Vince Strazzo Scholarship Program in 2005. We are committed to awarding this annual scholarship to students who have shown a strong interest in pursuing a career in the Heavy Civil Construction Industry. Your generous gift will allow the recipients to further their education while developing a foothold in the construction industry - an industry that Jeff cared so deeply about. Donations can be mailed to 2608 Great Lakes Way, Hinckley, OH 44233, attention Scholarship Fund.

Corporate 2608 Great Lakes Way Hinckley, OH 44233-9590 Cincinnati 925 Laidlaw Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45237


SAFETY: 1ST PLACE IN THE NATION Achieving and sustaining an injury-free workplace demands strong leadership, commitment, and foresight. Great Lakes possesses each of these traits – and because of it, was recognized by the Associated General Contractors of America as the nation’s best heavy civil contractor working 600,000 to 2 million man hours, by the U.S. Business and Legal Resources as having the Best Overall Safety Program, and by the Contractors Association of Western Pennsylvania for having an Outstanding Safety Record. However, we cannot rest on our laurels. Each new year brings additional, unique challenges to safety. With the private market ramping up their safety requirements, the addition of new federal regulations, and the shortage of workers, a renewed emphasis on safety is imperative to the strength and health of the Company. Utilizing the Great Lakes Online University coupled with internal training held at our new Training Facility, and GLOSS, we have trained over 650 individuals, offering over 1,500 different courses in hopes that we can overcome any challenge that we face in 2019. Our continued commitment, strong leadership, and foresight have positioned us to be a leader in safety for our industry and our workers.

14TH ANNUAL VINCE STRAZZO GREAT LAKES CONSTRUCTION CO. SCHOLARSHIP Ryan Burch University of Cincinnati Jake Nicewaner University of Cincinnati

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The Great Lakes Way Spring 2019  

The Great Lakes Way Spring 2019  

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