PartnersINProgress SMACNA & SMARTâ€”Building a Future Together
On the road to trust, risk, stability, and good old fashioned hard work ...
PartnersINProgress SMACNA & SMART—Building a Future Together
JOSEPH SELLERS, JR. ANGELA SIMON Co-Publishers KAARIN ENGELMANN firstname.lastname@example.org Editor-in-Chief
10 The Edward J. Minskoff Pavilion. Photo courtesy of Clark Construction Company.
December 2019 - Volume 13, Number 12
PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS
Talk and intention are not enough. Real change takes commitment and action. Are you ready?
4 HOW TO BUILD A LABOR-MANAGEMENT PARTNERSHIP Trust, risk, stability, and good old fashioned hard work are the cornerstones to meaningful change in the signatory sheet metal industry.
10 INTEGRATED PROJECT DELIVERY: WHERE COOPERATION IS CONTAGIOUS Successful integrated projet delivery builds require strong partnerships,
solid communication, and trust in each other.
JESSICA KIRBY email@example.com Editor POINT ONE MEDIA INC. firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Services
Partners in Progress is a publication of the Sheet Metal Industry LaborManagement Cooperation Fund. All contents ©2019 by the Sheet Metal Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Fund, P.O. Box 221211, Chantilly, VA 20153-1211. Find Partners in Progress online at pinp.org or at issuu.com/ partnersinprogress. An archive of all issues is available and printed copies may be ordered for a minimal fee. For comments or questions, email email@example.com.
15 SMACNA AND SMART BUILDING BOSTON TOGETHER
A strong partnership between Local 17 and SMACNA Boston has led to
outstanding success on some of the city’s most lucrative projects. S HE E T M E TA L | A I R | R A I L | T R A N S P O R TAT I O N
17 DON’T MAKE YOUR SELF-DISCIPLINE WORK SO HARD
If you want to commit to self-discipline, conquer your leadership goals, and
inspire others, make it easy to succeed.
Put Your Money Where your mouth is Talk is not enough. Planning is not enough. Intention is not enough. They are all important parts of progress, but when it comes to making a difference—meaningful change—you have to roll up your sleeves, do the hard work, and be accountable. Do you hold labor-management cooperation meetings but go back to your office and reset to business as usual? Do you refuse to talk at all except at the bargaining table? Or do you set measurable goals—together—and then act upon them to increase market share or explore new market opportunities or whatever your Local and contractors and training center need to thrive? Members of the joint Best Practices Market Expansion Task Force have never claimed that labor-management cooperation partnership or market expansion was easy. From the beginning of its formation, however, they have witnessed again and again the value in building a future together—where craftspersons make a living wage and contractors have the cash flow to bid the next job, the playing field is leveled, and training and certification in safety and the latest technologies put us headand-shoulders above the competition. Are you shaking your head that we are delusional or nodding your head that you’ve seen it happen in your area? That’s all the more reason to read Partners in Progress (on paper, on your computer, or even on your phone); register for an account on pinp.org in order to take advantage of marketing resources available for free; follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram; incorporate one or more Expertise logos into your branding programs; apply for a grant from the committee to kick-start a program locally; and—vitally—attend the 2020 Partners in Progress Conference with your labor or management partner and maybe even someone who has never heard of Partners in Progress before. Even though the early bird deadline has passed, you will find it worth the time and expense to join us at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on Feb. 25-26, 2020, for two days jam-packed with sessions that specifically address the best practices that labor and management partnerships around North America are using ensure that the signatory sheet metal industry will flourish into the future. (You will also have the opportunity to rub shoulders with members of labor and management who are dealing with issues similar to yours but who may have different solutions. The most valuable take-home might be found in a conversation over breakfast or in a hallway between sessions.) Visit pinp.org/conferences/pinp20/ to register or for a look at the schedule and keep an eye on social media for news about the conference using #pinp20. ▪
STRIVE TO SUCCEED Partners in Progress has launched the Strive to Succeed Challenge in advance of the 2020 conference to help Locals, chapters, and contractors build a stronger and more collaborative labor-management relationship, even before they get to Las Vegas. The Challenge involves completing simple, low intensity tasks to earn up to $3,000 for use towards marketing in your local area. We’ll even maintain a leaderboard to encourage friendly competition between areas. Participating areas will be featured at the conference and recognized for their efforts. The Strive to Succeed Challenge is divided into two distinct phases. Phase 1 involves connecting with Partners in Progress— which can be completed at any time. In addition, before the conference, you will need to select our tasks that will help us understand your urgent, specific, and detailed concerns. That means you need to get started soon! The final tasks are meant to be completed during and after the conference. Areas who complete the required number of tasks in each of these areas will receive $1,000 to use towards future marketing. Phase 2 requires each area to develop the goals they started in the first phase and create a longer-term action plan. Local areas will only be required to complete a single task and provide proof of completion to Partners in Progress to receive an additional $2,000. (Check out the full list of tasks at bit. ly/2EtSW9H.) ▪ Partners in Progress » December 2019 » 3
HOW TO BUILD A LABORMANAGEMENT PARTNERSHIP Trust, risk, stability, and good old fashioned hard work are the cornerstones to meaningful change in the signatory sheet metal industry By / Jessica Kirby â€¢ Photo courtesy of SMACNA-BC
© Can Stock Photo / PIKSEL
When labor-management partnerships work, they are powerful. All parties thrive at their full potential and enjoy the benefits of a fruitful industry. Admittedly, not every partnership thrives. Lack of communication, ever-changing representation, and remaining stuck in old assumptions or beliefs are just a few factors that breed fear and resistance to change. Chapters and Locals try to agree, and many ask for help, but the real work must be done at home. It isn’t always easy, but it is always possible. Back in 2001, SMACNA’s National office ran a pilot program in Ohio and West Virginia that proved an important catalyst for change for SMACNA-BC in British Columbia, Canada, and Local 280. The two-day Labor Partnership Program (LPP) was facilitated by Bernie Flaherty of Cornell University. Its focus was on partnership and teamwork, establishing trust and respect, finding ways to make the relationship primary, and developing and strengthening personal relationships. The program’s initial success caught the attention of Bruce Sychuk, executive director for SMACNA-BC. He worked with Robert Colvin, who was then Local 280’s business manager, to bring the program north. “Basically the program was about listening and understanding the other side’s needs, goals, and issues,” Sychuk says. “It was simple and broken down in a straightforward way so we could absorb it.” “Bernie’s philosophy was that labor would be further ahead if it worked with management because both were interconnected,” says Local 280’s current business manager, Jim Paquette. “You are trying to get to a happy place where you both can agree. This was his way of getting people to take the training to heart, and he held that, over time, it would just evolve and develop.” Prior to the LPP, the SMACNA-BC and Local 280 relationship was in bad shape. Meetings were not productive and sometimes ended in fighting. When he became executive director in September 1998, Sychuk reviewed the old meeting minutes and identified a key pattern that was holding both organizations back. “Although we met nine times a year, had a clear vision of what needed to happen, and agreed on action items, there never was any actual action,” he says. “That became the first order of business: committing to action items and ensuring they stayed on the agenda until they were completed. We knew where we needed to go; we just needed the tools to dissolve the us and them mentality and replace it with us.” Another problem was market share—the union’s low portion of it and that the membership didn’t have a realistic view of the numbers. “We had about 26% to 28% of the market at the time, but the members thought we had more,” Sychuk says. “During the LPP training, they began to share their concerns because the state of the industry reflected what was happening with their kids’ futures. At the end of the day, the program’s success rested on
testimonials from the rank and file members, and that is key: if you want to have success, you have to have representation from everyone.” Both parties ensured everyone came to the room together for the two days of training: the Joint Conference Board, training board, executive board, and representatives from health plans and pension benefits. “I knew there were rank and file members on these committees,” Sychuk says. “They needed the information, and we knew they would take it back to the membership.” Paquette says meeting regularly was certainly instrumental in the relationship’s success, but that was only the beginning. “We have always had the Joint Conference Board, and it has always met nine times a year,” he says. “However, previous executive directors of SMACNA-BC and previous business managers carried out a lot of head butting and that sort of thing.” SMACNA and Local 280 committed time and resources to the Labor Partnership Program and made a commitment to act in trust before trust was overtly present. “Everyone bared their souls and wore their hearts on their sleeves,” Paquette says. “It was not easy. Some came to the table kicking and screaming, and others came and did their best to encourage those who were apprehensive to take a leap of faith.” And leap they did. The LPP training resulted in SMACNABC and Local 280 creating and signing off on a shared mandate outlining the steps they would commit to moving forward. Slowly, the partnership grew. For example, the Local made small changes to the collective bargaining agreement so contractors could bid on high-rise residential work that required crews on site six days a week. Under the changes, employers could work Monday to Friday or Tuesday to Saturday and the workforce could choose the shifts that worked best for their lifestyles. “It put some ownership for change on the members because it allowed them to opt for a more flexible schedule,” Paquette Partners in Progress » December 2019 » 5
Labour Management Partnership © Can Stock Photo / Choreograph
“The biggest thing was communicating to both sides what the other side’s job entails. We just really had to put our hearts out there in front of us and say, if it’s going to work we have to make it work,” says Local 280’s Business Manager Jim Paquette.
says. “With making that small change, employers can go after the work and gain market share. Now we have half a dozen contractors that specialize in residential high-rise construction in Vancouver.” They’ve also worked together on recruitment initiatives, such as removing the initiation fee that used to apply to shops wanting to join the union. They lobbied to allow retirees to re-enter the trade, instead of taking their knowledge and experience to the non-union side. They also worked together to replace written apprentice exams with a pre-apprenticeship program that provides provincial medical care and a 40% wage rate. “We discovered the best apprentices—the ones who last— are those who are already part of the industry and know what they are getting into,” Sychuk says. “Pre-apprentices can now enter the trade informed and they are less likely to drop out.” Most important, the parties work through their process and address any difficulties as they arise and during regular meetings, so they have a plan going into negotiations. “We keep meeting so we can stay resilient and not be afraid to keep trying,” Sychuk says. “Some meetings aren’t as productive as others, but we strive to identify industry issues and strive to resolve them.” There were challenges, of course. There was a great deal of information to share and bringing together what each side represented was a lofty goal. Misconceptions and assumptions 6 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
interfered with progress. Contractors assumed the union was making decisions for political and personal gain, and the union thought contractors were withholding financially from the workforce. “The biggest thing was communicating to both sides what the other side’s job entails,” Paquette says. “We just really had to put our hearts out there in front of us and say, if it’s going to work we have to make it work.” Deb Wyandt, executive director of labor relations and human resources for SMACNA National, attended the kick-off meeting with SMACNA-BC and Local 280 in 2002. “The Local business manager at the time had some initial reservations about working with the contractors to educate all on where the union sector stood in the British Columbia market as compared to the non-union,” Wyandt says. “The union brought a good cross-section of union members, not just leadership, who wanted to know what the challenges were and what could be done to make sure that their industry would thrive and prosper.” That meeting provided a solid first step in establishing more trust between the Local and the contractors and chapters. During its course, Bernie Flaherty had the parties list their biggest challenges, concerns, and obstacles and led them in problem solving exercises to brain storm potential solutions. “The parties determined the most imperative issues to work on and the action plans that would be most effective,” Wyandt says. “Each person signed their name to a pledge that they supported the collaborative efforts between labor and management and would do their part in advancing the objectives and being a part of the solution. “In my opinion, the British Columbia Local Partnership Program was the most successful that SMACNA and SMART have seen during the 18 years we have been sponsoring these programs.” SMACNA-BC and Local 280 continue to build on the momentum created in those early days. They co-sponsor teams
comprising six management, six labor, and two apprentices to attend Partners in Progress Conferences, focusing on individuals who have never attended or who haven’t attended for at least 10 years. In 2020, the partnership will co-sponsor two apprentices, Amy Lagendyk of City Sheet Metal and Tyler Crowder of Summit Sheet Metal. “We have been lucky because Bruce is still executive director and I was there at the beginning and have some history,” Paquette says. “Some people who were in labor at the time are now employers and have seen the process develop, and they realize how the industry works.” “True trust and respect are created,” Sychuk adds. “You come up with a topic, develop a plan, find someone to spearhead it, and get it done to fruition. Key to that is inclusiveness of rank and file members, and then it comes together by default.” Labor-Management Partnership Programs Available The same program that brought SMACNA-BC and Local 280 together is still available to chapters and Locals across the United States. The SMACNA and SMART National Labor Management Cooperation Fund provides several grants annually to SMACNA chapters and SMART Locals who need seed money to work on a project together to increase market share. The funding program helps participants develop a long-term blueprint customized to address the needs and concerns of individual local markets. Partnerships are provided with tools and a complete understanding of the environment necessary to regain market where it has been lost, grow and expand in areas where it is stagnant, and avoid the mistakes that result in a decreasing market share. Programs are one-and-a-half days in length. The National LMCF will cover the cost of the program moderator—Mike Gaffney, Clark Ellis, Stephane McShane, and others are engaged to facilitate—and local parties are responsible for sharing the remaining expenses. Parties can also request additional funding for follow-up meetings with the moderator. “Not enough areas request the grants,” says Wyandt. “It’s a good use of LMCF money to have labor and management working together on anything that can help to increase work opportunities for employees and contractors.” To get started, submit a jointly-signed letter requesting funding for the program to Sheet Metal Labor Management Cooperation Fund, 4201 Lafayette Center Drive, Chantilly VA 20151 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions or need additional information on the opportunity, contact Jason Watson, SMACNA director of labor relations, at (703) 803-2981 or Marc Norberg, SMART assistant to the general president, at (202) 662-0855/ email@example.com. ▪ Jessica Kirby is a freelance editor and writer covering construction, architecture, mining, travel, and sustainable living for myriad publications across Canada and the United States.
Partnering Road Show The Partnering Road Show was developed in 2002 when Bruce Sychuk, executive director for SMACNA-BC, was inspired after listening to Doug MacDonald, a sheet metal labor representative who presented on partnership in Vancouver. Sychuk and Local 280's then Business Manager, Robert Colvin, hit the road to 10 locations across British Columbia, bringing the labor-management partnership message into shops. “If you can’t bring the horse to water, bring the water to the horse,” says Jim Paquette, Local 280’s current business manager. “That’s what the Road Show was about. We went to places of work and employers excused the employees for the afternoon to attend a presentation from labor and management.” During the first Road Show, in 2002, Sychuk and Colvin focused on bringing labor-management partnership information to their audiences, educating about market share and being open to honest feedback. “The person on the job site isn’t always aware of market share if they are employed full-time,” Paquette says. “They need to know that although working 12 months of year means a person is 100% employed, it doesn’t really indicate that the signatory industry is only getting 35% of the work.” The Road Show used market share as common ground to unite parties and demonstrate on how one “side” couldn’t be successful without the other. “Our membership has since been able to see it grow to a point where we probably have 85% to 90% share in Vancouver high-rise and maybe 70% in the industrial sector,” Paquette says. “Contractors are able to get the work they go after, and our guys are working.” A second Road Show—in 2010—was about what had been accomplished. “We spoke to 900 people about how the employer and union are not enemies and what we need to do to accept change,” Sychuk says. “We need to embrace the challenge. Don’t blame others for change or for what is happening. Accept the challenges given, and work toward solving them.” ▪ Partners in Progress » December 2019 » 7
Champion your industry, win a prize with #MJMG Calling all sheet metal champions!
Are you a sheet metal aficionado with a passion for social media? Are you a contractor with a stellar workforce who knows the best of the breed, model sheet metal apprentices when you see them and who wants to attract more to the industry? Or how about a training center representative who wants to showcase just how fantastic your apprentices are? Post of a picture of your sheet metal brand ambassadors wearing this shirt with #MJMG on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and be entered into a monthly drawing to win up to $150. (Selfies are welcome!) One prize will be given at random and the other will be awarded to the person who gains the most likes on a single post. The #MJMG campaign is a recruitment initiative launched by the SMACNA / SMART Best Practices Market Expansion Task Force to highlight the signatory sheet metal industry and the amazing people who make it a success. Sheet metal ambassadors demonstrate members’ skill, pride, and craftspersonship and the high standards consistent in the unionized sheet metal industry. “We represent contractors and members that are a cut above the rest and we should not be shy about making it known,” says Paul Pimentel, who heads up research and communications activities for SMART. Lisa Bordeaux, consultant to the SMACNA/SMART Best Practices Market Expansion Task Force and an expert in 8 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
recruitment efforts aimed at young people, agrees. “The Task Force will track the contest results on social media. “As a result of interest and feedback, we will customize and provide more resources to share with friends and family on social media,” Bordeaux says. Get started today! ▪
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Integrated Project Delivery: Where Cooperation is CONTAGIOUS By Cynthia F. Young
In an industry that has traditionally relied on the design-bid-build approach to construction, the integrated project delivery (IPD) method inspires a different and innovative mindset. It has been proven to deliver a higher-quality product, on time, with minimal waste, and under budget. “We love being involved in IPD jobs,” says Matt Cramer, president of Dee Cramer Inc. in Holly, Michigan. “It’s the highest level of owner satisfaction as far as project delivery is concerned. And, in contracting, we operate in a silo environment. It’s a dogeat-dog world out there, and integrated project delivery is quite the opposite of that.” Cramer says IPD jobs require and enforce a team-based environment that relies on collaboration between all levels of the project from the project director all the way down to field personnel. His company has completed eight IPD projects over the past several years, including the recent Edward J. Minskoff Pavilion for Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. What exactly is integrated project delivery? “It’s a collaborative approach in our industry,” says Tom Martin, president of T.H. Martin Inc., Cleveland, Ohio, who has completed several IPD projects. “You’re working with the owner and the 10 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
design team, facilities management, and other contractors. You’re working with your peers using a team approach, rather than just a ‘get it done’ approach.” His company recently finished the IPD expansion of Akron Children’s Hospital, a seven-story, 230,000-square-foot Considine Professional Building that consolidated the facility’s outpatient services. “We can’t get out in front of or behind schedule,” Martin says. “Our design team and our labor partners must work together to maintain the schedule and keep the project under budget.” Integrated project delivery also involves the use of building information modeling, lean principles, and a committed owner. It requires a formal contract among all major parties, a shared profit pool, actions that benefit all parties, and controlling costs through guaranteed maximum prices (GMP). When the project is complete, the profits are divided among the parties according to agreed percentage and performance. Integrated project delivery also offers a team-oriented environment on the jobsite, which brings the trades together and encourages the workforce to work smarter and more efficiently.
The Edward J. Minskoff Pavilion. Photo courtesy of Clark Construction Company.
“The field workers are happy with IDP,” Cramer says. “They notice the way everyone has to work together to make the project run smoothly and fee like they can thrive in a team-based atmosphere. With IPD, everyone is looking out for one another.” Andy Schneider is a member of Local 7 and Dee Cramer Inc.’s lead foreman. Having managed crews on several IPD projects, Schneider says the workforce enjoys IDP projects and understands the benefits for workers and contractors. “The owner ends up getting a higher quality project when the workforce is supported and the trades work together,” he says. “When it comes to the shared savings and schedule, everyone benefits in the long run.” Schneider notes that the team-focused expectations that come with IDP projects help streamline processes onsite. “With IPD, the job is more sequenced and if you need help from another trade, for example, sharing ladders and lifts, it’s in everybody’s best interest to help each other out,” he notes. “It’s not as big a deal if you have to borrow equipment.”
The Minskoff Pavilion interior. Photo courtesy of Clark Construction Company.
Partners in Progress » December 2019 » 11
Integrated Project Delivery
In IDP projects, contractors and the workforce work from a collective understanding of the project and what the customer is looking for from start to finish.
Crane lifting an AHU at Akron Children's Hospital. Photo courtesy of T.H. Martin Inc.
12 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
Martin also includes his workers in the IPD process early in the construction process. “I think our union members enjoy IPD because everyone is there from the start,” he says. “A lot of times we also get our shop people and our field people involved in these meetings so they understand what methods are being used.” Setting the tone for an holistic process early on results in strong buy-in from all team members. Contractors and the workforce work from a collective understanding of the project and what the customer is looking for from start to finish. For some, it is an educational procedure from which they learn a great deal about how jobs are secured, bid, and run. “They also like that they are not going to get blindsided on any issues,” Martin says. “There are fewer hiccups and delays. They know the schedules and demands required. In regular construction, the owners are constantly changing things, but IPDs eliminate constant change orders and delays on a project.” Besides working from the same game plan and adhering to the same schedule, team members are collectively working to achieve incentives, shared project goals, and maximized value for the owner, who is also involved from the project’s beginning. “IPD really provides more value for the owner because they’re involved during the process and are making educated decisions on how they are spending their money,” Cramer says. Design-build-bid projects are different in several ways, not the least of which is the contract structure. In those projects, it’s every trade for himself, says Nick Henne, project manager with Clark Construction Company, who worked with Dee Cramer Inc. on Michigan State University’s 100,000 square-foot development, the Edward J. Minskoff Pavilion. “They have tunnel vision,” he adds. “They are not always focusing on the trade partners around them and what they could do better to help the project.” Henne notes that unions are a natural fit for IDP projects because they have a natural inclination towards team work and positive group dynamics. “The big thing is the teamwork,” he says. “The design and construction phases are require a great deal of collaboration with the principal partners.” This team spirit permeated T.H. Martin’s IPD work with the Akron Children’s Hospital, and Kurt Vermilye, member of Local 33 and senior project manager and sheet metal superintendent, took note. “There were partnerships between all the trades,” Vermilye says. “You may have a little argument on a traditional job, but this job took all that away. Everybody bought into the same thing.” The crew was unfamiliar with IDP when the project began and needed some encouragement to get on board. Varmilye says sharing all aspects of the job—including any potential problems—
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Integrated Project Delivery
Left: Mechanical rack installed in Akron Children's Hospital. Right: Fully assembled AHU in Akron Children's Hospital. Photos courtesy of T.H. Martin Inc.
and increases safety were the most effective selling points with the workforce. “The workers have a saying: it’s a ‘no blame, no shame’ atmosphere, meaning you’re not going to point a finger because we’re all one team,” he says. “Everybody bought into that.” The construction company also focused on safety. “First thing in the morning we would meet and learn a safety tip and then go right into stretching and flexing,” Vermilye says. “We were fortunate to have all good contractors. The whole thing was a great experience.” With IPD, there are a few downsides—manpower and long meetings. “The problem with IPD is that it really pigeonholes some of your good people in these long meetings, two days in one week,” Martin says. “They’re not able to bid other jobs and work on other projects. That’s why contractors who do IPDs are more diversified and have additional resources within their companies.” What advice would contractors give to others thinking about getting into IPD? “With a very large pre-construction effort, it is the most intensive time period,” Cramer says. “Make sure you have the resources and humanpower to engage,” Martin says. “Have enough personnel with CAD and BIM operators on your project management team. Have a good accounting system that can project correct billings on a monthly basis, and pick the right foreperson who is willing to communicate and collaborate with other trades and the customer. That’s key.” “Definitely pick the right team,” Henne agrees. “Pull your team together upfront and make sure those individuals get the process. Don’t rush into something that might jeopardize the results in the project. Take your time, make sure everything is set and things should go off without a problem.” ▪ Cynthia Young is an award-winning journalist who has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, websites, and magazines, including profiles, features, and news articles in the construction, architecture, environmental, travel, hospitality, and food and home industries. 14 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
Integrated project delivery requires teams to give (and take) to improve the overall project, and to some that sounds like the kind of “optimizing” that can reduce or threaten person-hours—but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, IDP is more about leaning a project, which calls for streamlining, efficiency, and productivity— all qualities a talented workforce bring to the table. “In sheet metal, we’re taught right away to stack 20 sheets together and cut them all at the same time,” said Tim Carter, business manager from Local 66 out of Everett, Washington. “We don’t think of it as a lean process, but it is. The lean process affects more than productivity. It affects safety and morale. It’s permeated a lot of different aspects.” It’s imperative each team member understand their results in the greater good of the project, even when they may be required to pass normal tasks to other responsible parties on the team. When striving for innovative ideas, high functioning teams need strong partners. This will require team members to be flexible, knowledgeable, and always available. This process will show strengths and weaknesses of team members, pushing the stronger members to work harder. “I really believe – and tell the guys – lean is something they do every day,” said Henry Nutt, sheet metal general superintendent for Southland Industries, which has adopted lean construction as part of the company philosophy. “This is just a formal way to capture it.” IDP (and other lean practices) require more collaboration and time in the meeting room, but this works out to better efficiency in the long run. This planning leads to fewer surprises, said Tom Soles, executive director of member services and market sectors for SMACNA. “It cuts down on all the inefficiencies that occur on a construction project when people aren’t communicating and working together,” he says. “Forepersons and superintendents are in these meetings instead of on the job site. There will be more time invested up front but the project should go smoother.” ▪
SMACNA and SMART Building Boston Together By / Sheralyn Belyeu Wayne A. Greenwood, president of JEC Service Company in Boston, Massachusetts, built his business on a simple idea. “He believes that if people are looking out for each other on the job, they can do anything,” says Sean O’Keeffe, JEC project manager. “When he’s hiring, Wayne isn’t looking for superstars. He wants employees who will do the right thing when no one is watching, people who are organized and have a sense of ownership. He looks for people who are respectful of others and professional, people who act like ladies and gentlemen.” Local 17 Executive Board Member Mike Mathews is a field foreman for JEC. Mathews keeps an eye out for apprentices who fit Greenwood’s vision. “Wayne is picking a team that works well together and with other trades. That’s more important to him than being the most technically polished,” Mathews says. “He wants people who are going to help each other out in a pinch.” “Our contractors are always in control of their workforce needs,” says Bob Butler, business manager for Local 17. “They can choose the employees they want.” Hiring through the Local guarantees that every single craftsperson has the technical skills needed for success. “In the building trades, union sites are nearly five times more productive than non-union sites,” Butler says. “Our training program plays a big role in these partnerships. Local 17’s fiveyear U.S. Department of Labor-certified training program gives workers expertise in every aspect of sheet metal fabrication and installation, from stainless steel to the fabrication and installation of heavy metals and tanks. We also provide ongoing skills training for journeypersons at no cost to contractors.” Training begins in JATC classrooms and continues on site. “The experienced craftspersons give apprentices a little leeway in the field as they show them how to do the harder things,” says O’Keeffe. He sees mentoring each apprentice as an investment in the future. “We hope these apprentices will stay with us and work their way up through the company. They do a good job.” JEC isn’t the only company that recognizes the value that Local 17 labor brings to the industry. “Our partnership with SMACNA Boston has won and built some of the most competitive jobs in the region, including the Harvard University Science Center, Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Boston Partners in Progress » December 2019 » 15
SMACNA and SMART Building Boston Together
Convention and Exhibition Center,” Butler says. “Industryleading wages and benefits support a highly-skilled workforce. That means the job gets done right the first time, which saves contractors money, increases efficiency, and helps the bottom line.” Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States and also has the fastest job growth in the country. Young adults are flooding into the region in pursuit of education and work opportunities. This growth brings unique challenges as modern businesses move into historic buildings. “Our current project is in a building with a wooden frame made of timbers,” says Mathews. The demolition uncovered lumberyard markings that are about 150 years old. “We still don’t know the intended purpose for some of the structures we found, like the round metal pillars on the roof.” The unfamiliar construction techniques and materials demanded a fresh approach. “We’re used to concrete and steel construction, so we had to think through every step.” The wood brought another complication; to reduce the risk of fire, Boston fire codes require drywall throughout the interior of all-wood buildings. “The drywall makes the job tougher because we have to layout earlier in the process,” says O’Keeffe. “Accurate planning and measuring are even more important than usual. We make sure we do it right the first time, because we can’t do it twice.” Greenwood started by sitting down with Mathews, O’Keeffe, the pipefitters, and a few people from the office to share ideas. “To succeed, include the team you have available,” advises 16 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
Mathews. “That means the office, the apprentices, and the journeymen. Brainstorm together when you hit problems. Troy Anderson is a third year apprentice. He was there for the initial demolition and layout, and he had some very good ideas. Mark Zalis joined us when it was time to install the manifolding, and he also offered good ideas.” Based on input from the entire team and experience from a prior renovation, Greenwood determined that the solution was to install steel supports for the ductwork before the drywall went in and to clip on afterward. “The whole job is hanging off of eyebolts,” Mathews says. Tight coordination between the field foreman and the office continues now that the project is underway. “I see Sean O’Keeffe every Tuesday and once or twice during the week,” Mathews says. “He often attends our job-site meetings and will pop over before the meeting if he has a schedule conflict. He’s always available when I want him.” “Mike has everything under control on the site,” O’Keeffe explains. “He doesn’t need me to run job-site meetings, but he might require more people, materials, or equipment. Sometimes questions come up about ship dates, dimensions, or gas locations.” Mathews and O’Keeffe coordinate details through Procore. “We talk about the project every day. Mike and one of the foremen in the shop are also testing a new app to manage trucking and shop time. We are always trying out new platforms that might improve communication.” Mathews attributes JEC’s success to the culture Greenwood has created. “We all work as a team,” he says. “I came to JEC for a company that values the employees. I’ve been in sheet metal for 30 years, and this is the best working situation I’ve ever had.” ▪ A Colorado native, Sheralyn Belyeu lives and writes deep in the woods of Alabama. When she’s not writing, she grows organic blueberries and collects misspellings of her name.
Don’t Make Your
SELF-DISCIPLINE Work So Hard
© Can Stock Photo / alphaspirit
By / Wally Bock
It was about 3:30 in the afternoon and I was at the bottom of the energy pit of my day. That’s usually not a problem, because I know when it’s going to happen and I can plan for it. Today was different. My rule is, “Do the most important stuff first.” I hadn’t done it yet. I had to do my most important thing late in the day when I was super tired. That was going to take a lot of self-discipline. Self-Discipline is Easier if You’re Fit and Rested Self-discipline is the ability to do what’s right when other things are easier or more attractive. It’s hard work. Like any kind of hard work, it’s easier if you’re fit and rested. That afternoon, I was fit but not so rested. I didn’t sleep well the night before. I was deeper in the energy pit than usual. Too many of us sacrifice sleep so we can get more done. That doesn’t work. It’s better to sacrifice a little work time today to get a good night’s sleep. It’s even better to do that every day. Rules and Tools Mental tasks take mental energy. You have more energy for selfdiscipline if you reduce the amount of energy you need to spend on routine things. Use the reminders on your phone instead of trying to remember things. Establish habits that help you do routine things automatically without spending a lot of mental energy. Automate what you can. Recruit partners to help you get routine things done or to remind you of things you must do. Simple if/then rules can help you get important things done. One of my favorites is, “If it’s important, do it first.”
Let Your Self-Discipline Muscle Rest and Recover Make sure your self-discipline muscle gets time to recover and rest. After you complete a task that requires self-discipline, do something easy. Avoid Temptation, Don’t Fight It Many people you think of as being very disciplined share a secret. They don’t fight temptation. They find ways to avoid it. Jim knows that he shouldn’t be eating ice cream. He doesn’t buy it at the store. That way, it’s not there in the fridge to tempt him at 10:00 p.m. If he wants ice cream at 10:00 p.m., he must get dressed, get in his car, and go to the supermarket. That makes doing the wrong thing harder. You can find ways to make those temptations just a little bit harder to do, and you can make doing the right things just a little bit easier. Bottom Line Self-discipline is the ability to do the right thing when other things are easier or more tempting. You’ll can be more self-disciplined if you stay fit and rested. Find simple ways to reduce your mental load so more energy is available for self-discipline. Let your selfdiscipline muscle rest and recover after heavy use. And remember, it’s easier to avoid temptation than it is to overcome it. Reprinted with permission from https://www.threestarleadership. com/personal-effectiveness/dont-make-your-self-discipline-workso-hard ▪ Partners in Progress » December 2019 » 17