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PartnersINProgress SMACNA & SMART—Building a Future Together

June 2018

Youth Builds Boston

Suicide Prevention Butch Welsch Slogans vs Action Plans

PartnersINProgress SMACNA & SMART—Building a Future Together

JOSEPH SELLERS, JR. JACK KNOX Co-Publishers KAARIN ENGELMANN editor@pinpmagazine.org Editor-in-Chief

8 Photo credit: Local 219.


June 2018 - Volume 12, Number 2


JESSICA KIRBY jkirby@pointonemedia.com Editor POINT ONE MEDIA INC. artdept@pointonemedia.com Creative Services ERIC WESTBROOK Cover Illustrator

Partners in Progress is a joint mission based on the realization that our

Partners in Progress is a publication of the Sheet Metal Industry LaborManagement Cooperation Fund.


All contents ©2018 by the Sheet Metal Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Fund, P.O. Box 221211, Chantilly, VA 20153-1211.

futures are interdependent.

 Boston contractors, locals use programs to recruit women, minorities into the trade.

longer ignore the need for help.

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 editor@pinpmagazine.org.


 Having the highest suicide rate by industry, construction can no


 Butch Welsch was shocked to receive honorary membership with SMART to honor a lifetime of industry contributions.

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

12 AWARD-WINNING ARTWORK FOR PINP BACKDROP  Conference backdrop turns heads and wins award.

Partners in Progress is not just a slogan. It is a joint mission,

a shared vision, based upon the realization that our futures are interdependent and that we are responsible for each other’s success. Indeed, we have determined through studies and surveys that chapters and Locals enjoy greater market performance where cooperative labor-management relations exist. From the first Partners in Progress Conference in Orlando 18 years ago, to the latest conference in the same location, we have found cooperation, a shared vision, and an environment of trust and action strengthen our industry. This issue of the magazine continues with coverage of topics raised during the 2018 Partners in Progress Conference. This month will emphasize workforce development and mental health, which are two of the biggest issues currently facing our industry. Our cover article talks about Youth Build Boston, which is a program that provides young people with the support and credentials to successfully enter the building trades. Attracting more workforce is vital, but keeping our workforce goes beyond learning how to use tools on the job site or equipment in the shop. Workers in construction have the highest suicide rate of all occupational groups. We will cover Sally Spencer-Thomas’s session from the conference about ways to build resilience in our workforce, provide the means to identify workers who are struggling, and address mental health crises with compassion and empowerment. It’s vital we don’t just consider the best practices discussed both at the conference and in this magazine as theoretical exercises. We need be realistic about where we are and where we want to be, evaluate previously developed best practices, build relationships, coordinate our efforts, commit to a plan, and deliver on our commitments. A message from the 2002 Partners in Progress Conference still applies: “Our very survival depends on whether, together, we are willing to take a chance, to step outside the box, and try new things.” Presentations and handouts from the 2018 Partners in Progress Conference are available at pinp.org/conferences/ pinp18/schedule. The website has been redesigned to make it



SMACNA & SMWIA – Building A Future Together

Slogans vs.

Working Together For A Stronger Future more useful for you in your labor-management cooperation and marketing efforts. While you are at pinp.org, register for credentials to enable full access to the increasing number of resources made available to SMART locals, SMACNA contractors and chapters, labormanagement cooperation trusts and committees, and training centers. Registration is free but limited to members. As part of your efforts, take time to complete the State of SMART-SMACNA Labor-Management Cooperation Survey by Aug. 15. SMACNA and SMART’s Best Practices Market Expansion Task Force is continuing to identify, promote, communicate, and support industry best practices. The task force annually conducts this survey to pinpoint which areas around North America have established labor-management cooperation organizations, determine the perceived value of labor-management cooperation, and find success stories. It is available at surveymonkey.com/r/YCBLH8L and via Partners in Progress at pinp.org. Results will be shared only in aggregate in SMACNA, SMART, and joint publications.  Partners in Progress » June 2018 » 3

BUILDING BOSTON: Boston contractors, locals use programs to recruit women, minorities into the trade Across the country, SMACNA and SMART are heeding

the need for recruitment efforts, finding creative solutions to labor needs, and developing robust programs that reach women, minorities, and those in urban areas—offering opportunities for a career and a new life. Jim Morgan, president of Worcester Air Conditioning, serves as the president of Boston-area SMACNA and as a Local 17 JATC trustee, and is keenly aware of the needs of the training center and those of contractors. “The Boston-area sheet metal contractors have been working hard to boost women and minorities in the trade,” he says. “[Training director] John Healy has been instrumental in reaching out to find pools of candidates. As a contractor, we have found Building Pathways an excellent vehicle to bring those raised in an urban environment into the trades, especially women and minorities.” The first pre-apprenticeship building trades program in Boston, Building Pathways was created by current Boston Mayor Marty Walsh when he was president of the Boston Building Trades Association. To date, more than 300 low income minorities and women from the metropolitan Boston area have participated in the program. The Building Pathways Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program began in 2011 by the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District (MetroBTC) to course correct inequalities in apprenticeship for women, people of color, and others in under-served communities. In 2015, this led to the formation of Building Pathways, Inc., a nonprofit organization, which now operates the pre-apprenticeship program. At its core, it is a six-week pre-apprenticeship program that allows students to explore 15 different building trades, choosing 4 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org

Shamaiah Turner, journeyperson, entered Local 17’s apprentice program through Building Pathways. Submitted by John Healy.

one at the end in which to proceed into an apprenticeship and hopefully begin a career. Shamaiah Turner, now a journeyperson, chose sheet metal and entered Local 17’s apprentice program through Building Pathways, graduating in 2017. “One of their stars,” says Healy, Turner continues to work to recruit on behalf of the career she loves. “You’re learning new things, but you’re also setting up your life,” she says. “Sometimes [college] doesn’t work out. I have

Former Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, visiting Local 17, and Shamaiah Turner, journeyperson. Submitted by John Healy

Previous Building Pathways class. Submitted by John Healy.

friends who graduated and still don’t have jobs. I have a job. I have a career.” Healy estimates this year 100 apprentices will enter building trades apprenticeships from Building Pathways. “Building Pathways has been great,” says Healy. “It’s the premier building trades pre-apprenticeship program. They’ve been some of our best apprentices. I think they appreciate the wage, good benefits, the income. It lifts them up out of whatever situation they’re in.” Local 17 also utilizes Operation Exit, a program sponsored by the Boston mayor’s office aimed at exposing youth in crisis to the building trades. Young men and women, typically ages 18 to 30, enter the three-week program housed at Local 17 to learn about 15 different trades. Over the course of the program, participants visit the training centers of those trades and choose one at the end. The trade then provides participants direct entry into the first year of apprenticeship. In the current class of 12, Healy will welcome two apprentices from the program when school begins later this year. Unlike Building Pathways, Operation Exit is a ticket off the streets, away from the violence and gang activity that has become commonplace. Students entering the program are expected to work, show up on time, and save their own lives by starting a career and leaving their past behind. “They appreciate the change, and the program likely saved their lives,” says Healy. Building Pathways and Operation Exit are only two programs aimed at pairing the building trades and Boston’s most at-risk youth. Youth Build Boston hires participants to build homes for low-income families. Approximately 12 apprentices since the program’s inception in 2006 have entered Local 17’s apprenticeship program. Although Worcester Air participates in all these programs by hiring apprentices and graduates, five years ago Morgan developed a relationship with the Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School to train sheet metal and drafting students in building information modeling (BIM) and Auto CAD. The main idea is to identify those who will be good sheet

metal workers as well as drafts people, so they can enter the apprenticeship program directly after high school graduation. While at Worcester Air, students work in the shop and behind the computer to become well-rounded. “Sheet metal is the only trade I know of that uses union draftsmen,” says Morgan. “I think it’s an effort that could be practiced at many high schools. Students want high-paying jobs. The union is a good place for that.” The five-year-old relationship between Worcester Air and the high school has brought three apprentices to Local 17’s training center with the focus being on quality over quantity. “We have been very happy with it,” says Morgan. “The success rate is high. We look for the skills, ability, and passion.” The industry’s technology is ever evolving and today’s students bring a natural interest in computers and robots. GPS-guided laser-pointing robots help guide sheet metal workers, allowing them to hang duct accurately using coordinates embedded in the digital project plans. In all, the programs have one thing in common—to tap previously unrealized resources to include opportunities for minorities and women. “We are looking for future leaders,” says Morgan. “We would like young apprentices to advance to leadership roles within the company and union.”  Previous Building Pathways students. Submitted by John Healy.

Building Boston » June 2018 » 5

© Can Stock Photo / Deskcube

Saving Face to Save a Life Vanquishing the stigma of suicide By / Don Procter

About four years ago

when a number of workers from union Locals across the country acknowledged to Chris Carlough that they knew members who had committed suicide, Carlough realized the industry could not ignore the subject anymore. Director of Education for SMART, Carlough set about laying plans to address what appeared to be an increasing issue in the sheet metal world. One of his priorities was to organize peer support training through SMART MAP that engaged workers to take a role in helping troubled workers with suicidal thoughts. Since then, SMART MAP has trained about 400 people, including organizers, business representatives, training coordinators, instructors, and officers. Job stewards, journeypersons, “and members who are looked up to” are also prime candidates for training, he says. “It is a lot of proactive intervention stuff and we are integrating it everywhere [nationally].” Today, having at least one person on a job site with peer support training is SMART MAP’s goal. “I think it is very achievable,” he says.

Chris Carlough facilitates peer support training at SMART MAP. Photo submitted by Chris Carlough.

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There is good reason for a comprehensive peer support network in the industry. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2016 concluded that construction has more suicides than any other industry. “It’s significantly higher than the general population,” adds Sally Spencer-Thomas, clinical psychologist who has teamed up with SMART MAP to assist with the peer workshop training. The CDC study didn’t break down stats into various sectors of construction so it is unknown how sheet metal compares to other building sectors, but observers suggest it is a problem that needs attention. Spencer-Thomas applauds SMART MAP’s peer support training workshops. “I don’t know anyone who has done as much around implementation of a hands-on practical (prevention) tactic as SMART has done. “In my opinion peers are the most important link in the chain of survival,” she says, adding that she teaches a day of the fourday peer training workshops presented through SMART. The CDC’s report was impetus for SMACNA to join the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (CIAS), established by the Construction Financial Management Association to promote awareness of suicide prevention. Bringing the subject of suicide to the forefront is a starting point, says SMACNA Director of Market Sectors and Safety

“In my opinion peers are the most important link in the chain of survival,” says Sally SpencerThomas, clinical psychologist, adding that risk factors include high pressure environment, transitory work, male-dominated “tough guy” world, and hard labor that can lead to chronic pain and a diet of pain killers.

Mike McCullion. “We have committed to getting awareness out to all of our chapters through regular communications and by providing resources to our members about suicide prevention.” That includes advertising MAP’s peer training workshops. “When people aren’t afraid to talk about it, than hopefully they can start to address it,” points out McCullion, noting at a council meeting open to the 100 or so chapters in SMACNA, he gave a presentation on suicide prevention to an attentive group. Spencer-Thomas says risk factors for construction workers include high pressure environment, transitory work, maledominated “tough guy” world, and hard labor that can lead to chronic pain and a diet of pain killers. Access to lethal means on the job is another factor in the industry’s high ranking, she says, noting that if one of two equally unwell people has access to lethal means (for example working at heights, with dangerous equipment or electricity), that person is more apt to die by suicide. While depression and mood disorders are a top cause of suicide, drug addiction is another, she says. Training through SMART MAP includes how to recognize signs and symptoms of someone in distress and tactics of prevention, including compassion/support and how to link workers to mental health resources, says Carlough. Volunteers are “empathetic and good listeners,” and apt to catch early symptoms of depression. They also provide followup support. He says the advantage of peer support over help from mental health professionals is that peers are close at hand daily. Carlough sees locals taking to peer support training. A case in point is in Colorado Springs where Andy Gilliland, an apprenticeship coordinator who took SMART MAP training last year, found about 10 journeyperson mechanics from his Local and started a peer training program this year. “It’s the next step in a long-range plan to sharpen training and provide resources nation-wide for all of our locals,” says Carlough. “The more we don’t talk about it and stuff it inside— that is when a lot things come out sideways such as substance abuse or dangerous behaviors.” Spencer-Thomas, who lost her brother to suicide in 2004, is the founder and president of United Suicide Survivors

Sally Spencer-Thomas with members of SMART and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. SMART opened up its training to the group to show solidarity around the issue of suicide prevention. Photo submitted by Sally Spencer-Thomas.

International. She says the conversation has to include risk and safety managers on sites because not all fatalities are accidents; some are suicides. “It is a very eye-opening thing for people who have been invested in safety for a long time to consider having to add suicide prevention to the safety game,” she says. McCullion sees it as a priority, saying contractors need to put mental health issues, including suicide, into health and safety agendas. “You talk about teaching how to tie off, use protective equipment, and so on,” he says. “There is no reason why you couldn’t do some training on mental health and suicide prevention, because it is a big part of what many workers face on a regular basis.” An end goal at SMART MAP is to vanquish the stigma of suicide. Carlough believes that in five years a strong partnership will be forged between union Locals and their contracting partners to improve member health and safety strategies. The spin off: increased profitability for contractors because healthy workers are apt to be productive. “It is going to benefit all sectors: the member, their family, the contractor and the end user,” he says.  Don Procter is a freelance writer based in Toronto, Canada. Sally Spencer-Thomas presented a session titled, “Resilience and Suicide Prevention” at the 2018 Partners in Progress Conference. As CEO and Co-Founder of the Carson J. Spencer Foundation, Sally Spencer-Thomas is both a clinical psychologist and an impact entrepreneur who works closely with the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention. Her session explored why building a culture of care in our industry can build resilience in our workforce and help prevent suicide, and how a culture of care requires a mindset in addition to skills and tools. This and other sessions from the Partners in Progress Conference are available for viewing and for download online at http://www.pinp.org/ conferences/pinp18/schedule/.

Saving Face to Save a Life » June 2018 » 7

© Can Stock Photo / befehr

BUTCH WELSCH of SMACNA St. Louis is Made an Honorary Member of SMART

By Cari Bilyeu Clark

It would be pretty hard to overstate the contributions to the sheet metal industry George “Butch” Welsch has made. The fourth-generation CEO of Welsch Heating and Cooling in St. Louis, Missouri has been working in his family’s business for 55 years, since the ink on his BSME from Washington University – and his wedding license – was barely dry. His great-grandfather founded the Welsch Furnace Company in 1895. “When I started [in the early 60s], I didn’t want to tell anyone I was a ‘furnace man,’” Welsch chuckles. “[This industry] was Number One on the Better Business Bureau complaint list, largely because of a few bad apples who were scaring people into buying new furnaces when they didn’t need them. It has taken a lot of years to get rid of that reputation.” He started advertising and set a higher bar for the professionalism of his employees in appearance, training, and customer service. His efforts paid off. In addition to providing inspired leadership in his company (half of his employees have been with Welsch Heating and Cooling for 15 years or more) his boundless energy and 8 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org

thoughtful approach to labor relations made him an asset to SMACNA and a natural negotiator with SMART Local 36. In this capacity, and as chairman of the St. Louis Metalworking Industry Fund, he built a close working relationship with Dave Zimmermann, Local 36’s business manager. “We worked together for the betterment of the industry,” says Zimmermann. Welsch and Zimmermann found kindred spirits in each other, and the strong relationship and trust they built has created a win-win-win situation for contractors, union members, and customers. “You have to have communication,” says Zimmermann. “You cannot expect to go into negotiations [and have a productive meeting] if you have not had contact for three years. You have to have a working partnership.” Welsch and Zimmermann talk frequently and address any problems immediately. They both agree that setting aside personal agendas and working for what is best for both union membership and contractors is key. Welsch says, “Dave has been willing to do things outside the norm. He has enough respect and

Butch’s signature is competence and attention to the goal at hand. He has been negotiating labor contracts for many years, and has taken it from an ‘us versus them’ situation to a true partnership.

backing from his people that when he did what was best in the long run, they trusted him. He made difficult decisions that he knew were right.” An adversarial relationship is the last thing either Welsch or Zimmermann wanted. “We have to build trust—we are allies!” says Welsch. “While the contractors provide leadership and management, the workers provide the manpower we need to get the work done.” “It’s a pretty perfect situation when the president of SMACNA and the president of the union can talk and work things out as problems arise,” says Jack Goldkamp, former SMACNA St. Louis chapter president and chapter executive. “Butch’s signature is competence and attention to the goal at hand. He has been negotiating labor contracts for many years, and has taken it from an ‘us versus them’ situation to a true partnership.” Admiration and appreciation for what Welsch has done for both SMACNA and SMART in St. Louis prompted Zimmermann to nominate him for honorary membership in SMART. On February 10, at the SMACNA St. Louis Installation of Officers dinner, Welsch was “completely shocked” by this rare honor (only the second ever presented). Surprised and humbled, Welsch – a former SMACNA National president, a National Legislative Contractor of the Year, ACCA Contractor of the Year, and a recipient of the Legend of the Industry Lifetime Achievement Award, among other honors – credits Zimmermann and his own staff and notes that working as a team to create an atmosphere of progress and partnership, and a commitment to excellence at all levels of the industry, has created an exemplary standard for the union market in St. Louis. Noah Goldkamp, current chapter manager of SMACNA St. Louis, comments, “The amount of time Butch Welsch puts in and his meticulous nature are great assets to SMACNA.” Zimmermann also notes that Welsch has put in many hours of non-paid work. “Butch got a five-year [contract] extension done in two weeks, and it was passed unanimously by Local 36. That’s unprecedented. “When I brought him plans for our new training facility, Butch was behind it all the way. Even though it greatly increased the

cost of the apprenticeship program, the contractors supported it, because they trust Butch,” he says. “The biggest thing, the one constant in this industry, is change. We have gone from coal to gas to installing air conditioning in new construction when that came to the residential market in the 60s and now growing the residential service and replacement market,” says Welsch. While other markets have let residential work fall to nonunion contractors, Zimmermann and Welsch have seen to it that the union share of the residential market in St. Louis is growing nicely, with 85 percent of new residential work going to union shops and workers. “We have worked well together. I am a better person because of working with Butch,” Zimmermann (who is retiring soon) concludes. “Ours is a great field,” says Welsch. “We provide comfort. That is an important thing to give to society.” Cari Bilyeu Clark is a freelance writer based in Northern Virginia.  Butch Welsh » June 2018 » 9

By / Don Procter Photos courtesy of Partners in Progress

AWARD-WINNING ARTWORK FOR PINP BACKDROP It is rare that a sheet metal fabrication shop’s work is on

display for its peers from across the country. But that day came for MetalFab Inc., a mid-sized custom shop in Florida that fabricated a 40-foot-long stainless steel backdrop to the stage of the 2018 Partners in Progress Conference. “The International wanted to showcase metal—stainless steel to be exact,” says Duncan McDonald, owner of MetalFab Inc., who was approached by Pat O’Leary, business manager of Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 15 in Tampa, to do the job. Seeing it as a good cause and an opportunity for nation-wide exposure, McDonald agreed to donate materials and labor to complete the task. Using about 720 square feet of 16-gauge stainless steel panels, the contractor fabricated the large backdrop in sections, each separated by four square columns clad in the steel. Stainless steel sheets of 4 x 12 and 5 x 12 feet were sheared to size and notched to fit together with a traumatic rotating head punch. The

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design was then laid out and formed with MetalFab’s 250-ton Accurpress hydraulic press break. The panels featured a satin brush finish to eliminate glare from conference lighting. Fabrication was done at MetalFab’s 15,000-square-foot shop in San Antonio, Florida, north of Tampa. It took just over a month to complete. The contractor collaborated on the project with Production Acuity, retained by Partners in Progress, to complete “a practical design” based on the size of available materials for the “huge assembly,” says McDonald, noting the production company was responsible for construction of the wood frame substructure. Initially, MetalFab and Production Acuity disagreed on some design details—the seams for the flat panels being a case in point. “They wanted fewer seams but we required more because of the limited size of materials at our disposal,” says McDonald. “We told them that what looks good on paper can’t always be fabricated in metal.”

The fabricator says all of the backdrop’s panels were “precisely formed dimensionally and correctly notched because we used hairline seams.” That might seem like a tricky task but “it is something we do every day,” says McDonald. “This is our craft: shearing, punching, and forming materials.” An adhesive secured the stainless steel backdrop to the wood structure (which included inset spaces for presentation monitors). “They didn’t want people to see any fasteners,” McDonald says. The finished product turned heads in the sheet metal world. “It was a really beautiful project and it came out super,” he adds. Local 15’s O’Leary says he was confident from day one that the contractor would meet the challenges of the unusual job. “To me the biggest difference [in this project] and what they normally do was how large it was,” he says. “The good thing about the backdrop is that it was at a conference where they [MetalFab] had all their peers there [from sheet metal workers locals across the U.S.] to see what they could do.” O’Leary adds that a number of conference delegates he met commented on the attractive backdrop. “All the seams had to match up for the full length and they did,” he says. “If an out-of-state contractor is looking at a job down here or maybe even back in their Local, they now know we have a contractor in our Local that can do that work and do it precisely to the specs that it is designed to.” The Local’s business manager says initially the International union came to him to see if Local 15 apprentices could fabricate the backdrop, but the union’s facilities are not equipped to build a wall that large. “That’s why I reached out to MetalFab,” says O’Leary.

Both the Local and MetalFab received an award for the backdrop, says McDonald, noting that motivational speaker John Foley, a retired Blue Angels pilot, presented them with replicas of Blue Angels Helmuts at the show. “It was quite an honor to be recognized in front of all the Locals in the country... to get the approval of our union brothers,” he says. The majority of MetalFab’s work is in the Tampa Bay area but the fabricator has done projects throughout Florida. “It seems like architects today are into designs where nothing is straight. Everything is either radiused or angled... inside and out,” says McDonald. O’Leary is looking into adapting Local 15’s training program to meet the growing market of architectural metal work. “We want to train our guys to know how to apply the newest wall panel systems, for instance.” 

Partners in Progress » June 2018 » 11

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