Connector - Spring 2022

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Students Discover a Day in the Life of Steel Construction

16 Planning to Succeed: Bracing and Shoring 20 Ironworkers are Industrial Athletes 26 SEAA Celebrates 50 Years THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA





WWW.COOPERSTEEL.COM (931) 684 - 7962

c ntents


FEATURES Management


Failing to Plan or Planning to Succeed? Dealing with the physical realities of temporary or partially completed structures By Michael Walsh

In the Field


30 Cover Story

Ironworkers are Industrial Athletes


Treating your body and mind like a sports pro helps prevent injuries

Routes to Rewarding Careers Students Discover a Day in the Life of Steel Construction at Job Fair.

By Bryan McClure

By Tracy Bennett

Special Focus Convention Preview

On the Cover: Students from from five Houston area school districts rotated through stations staffed by SEAA member companies and equipment suppliers.

Honoring the Past. Building the Future. SEAA celebrates 50 years and welcomes Joe Theismann as keynote speaker

Interviews with seven individuals working in steel construction and fabrication share their stories about working in the industry.



8 Perspective 10 Association News

Q Photo Gallery of Career Fair Q Shelby Erectors Represents Rod Busters on Dirty Jobs

12 Product Focus

Q Forklift Boom Failure Emphasizes Importance of Inspections and Maintenance

38 Business Operations 42 Topping Out

Q Products & Services Showcase: Tools

Check out our latest social media feeds.


The Steel Erectors Association of America (SEAA) is dedicated to advancing the common interests and needs of all engaged in building with steel. The Association’s objectives in achieving this goal include the promotion of safety, education and training programs for steel erector trades, development and promotion of standards and cooperation with others in activities which impact the commercial construction business.


IF YOU LIFT, ERECT, HAUL, OR RIG IT: WE INSURE IT. M&P Specialty Insurance provides insurance and risk management services for heavy lifting and moving industries.


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THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA SEAA is the only national trade association representing the interests of steel erectors, fabricators, and related service providers. Connector reaches both small and large contractors working in union and open labor markets.

NEED HELP WITH... HIRING? Workforce Solutions Q Free Job Board & Low Cost Applicant Tracking Q Free Webinars on Recruiting & Hiring Q DOL Approved Ironworker Apprenticeship

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Steel Erectors Association of America 353 Jonestown Rd, Suite 207 Winston-Salem, NC 27104 336-294-8880 OFFICERS & EXECUTIVE STAFF Geoff Kress, President Carrie Sopuch-Gulajan, Associate Member Vice President David Deem, Industry Member Vice President Greg Phillips, Treasurer Chris Legnon, Secretary and Media Committee Chairman R. Pete Gum, Executive Director PUBLISHING PARTNER Chris Harrison, Publisher Phone 660-287-7660 Tracy Bennett, Managing Editor Phone 816-536-7903 Macie Murie, Assistant Editor Eileen Kwiatkowski, Art Director

NETWORKING? Industry Connections Q Partnerships with AISC, NISD, SDI, SJI, & Others for Discounts & Additional Resources Q Trade Show & Demos of Latest Tech & Products Q Peer Groups & Committees Open Doors to Business Relationships

ADVISORY COMMITTEE Chris Legnon, Chairman, Cooper Steel Glen Pisani, Vice Chairman, MAS Building & Bridge David Deem, Deem Structural Services Kris McLean, High Plains Steel Services Will Nichols, Garder-Watson Decking Jim Simonson, Steel Service Ed Valencia, Derr & Gruenwald Construction Jackson Nix, Shelby Erectors Brian Schleicher, Superior Cranes Connector™ is published quarterly by the Steel Erectors Association of America 353 Jonestown Rd, Suite 207 Winston-Salem, NC 27104

SEAA IS FOR YOU. Structural & Reinforcing Erectors • Decking Installers • Steel Fabricators • Specialty & General Contractors


Copyright 2022 by the Steel Erectors Association of America. No material may be reprinted without permission from the Executive Director. While the information and recommendations contained in this publication have been compiled from sources believed to be reliable, the Steel Erectors Association of America, its affiliates, employees, contributors, writers, editors, designers, photographers, and media advisory committee, makes no guarantee as to, and assumes no responsibility for, the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of such information or recommendations and cannot be held responsible for the outcome of any action or decision based on the information contained in this publication or claims made by advertisers. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission of the Publisher. Permission is only deemed valid if approval is in writing.

Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2022 | 7


By Geoff Kress

The Future is Now


uch has been made of construction being one of the last industries to fully integrate technologies to improve processes and productivity. But I would argue the opposite. In January, SEAA held a regional Meet & Greet in Houston, Texas, followed by our first ever Career Fair. Over those two days I saw technologies that are positively impacting safety and productivity today. These regional meetings are an opportune time for erectors, whether you are members of SEAA or not, to get to hear about the latest products as well as network with suppliers, fabricators, and other erectors in your area. I’m not new to the industry and yet I learned several things that I plan to explore for my own business. Makita Tools has been making cordless power tools for decades—one of their first rechargeable power tools was introduced more than 44 years ago in 1978! Today, getting electric cords off of jobsites has become a priority for a lot of companies. Battery technology is finally catching up to construction’s output needs with longer durations and more power. What started off with a 7.2 V battery has evolved into batteries that are in excess of 40V and climbing. I was amazed to find out that Makita now makes an impact gun for TC bolts that has enough torque

I tried out an exoskeleton to see how it would relieve stress and support arms and shoulders for overhead work.

Geoff Kress is President of the Steel Erectors Association of America, and Vice President and majority owner of Gardner-Watson Decking, Inc., Oldsmar, Fla. Contact him at


requirements for high production demand. Other erectors in attendance at the regional meeting, including Deem Structural Services, are already using Makita’s 36V Cordless XTW01PT—one of the first brushless shear wrenches for tension control bolts. These tools can keep cords out of the field, and reduce the need for generators. In a follow up meeting I had with Hilti after the Meet & Greet, I learned that the company is working on breakthrough Nuron battery technology, which will sustain power for longer periods of time. It will come with the ability to track utilization, battery and tool life, and location of tools. You will also be able to know the location of the batteries at any given time—addressing one of my concerns about batteries “walking off the job.” It will also provide on-demand health checks indicating if the battery is charged to optimum levels or if they are below 50% capacity. This will greatly improve down time in the field and lead to more production. This technology will be on one 22V platform, replacing larger batteries that include 36, 40, 54, 60 and 72 Volts. That’s enough power for very demanding tools like jack hammers and metal cutting chop saws. It is information like this from SEAA member vendors that give our company insight into new technologies or applications for the future.

Investing in new technologies for your crews is about more than safety and productivity. It’s also about creating a culture where your workers see that you value them. When it comes to safety, exoskeletons are probably one of the newer concepts for construction. See more info in the In the Field article on page 20. Using a device that helps relieve stress so that injuries are mitigated and helps workers be more productive is not a thing of the future. Hilti has introduced an Overhead Exoskeleton that provides passive support to relieve arms and shoulders for long duration overhead installation. I personally tried it out during the Career Fair and can see how it would improve productivity on overhead installation with less stress on the arms and back. For my decking crews, I’d love to see support that takes the stress off of picking up dozens of boxes of studs per day, each weighing 60 pounds, or for laying long corrugated sheets of deck weighing between 120 and 300 pounds. I’m sure the product is already out there, and after learning about exoskeletons I’m planning to use it in the future.

I also watched students get on a simulator that looked and felt like the real thing. With no equipment experience, these students in just a few minutes were trying their hand at operating equipment. I can only imagine how much more productive operator training would be if workers could first learn on something like the Vortex Advantage simulator from CM Labs. With today’s crane operator certification and rigger qualification requirements, this seems like a very practical way to teach skills to workers. And a simulator with a VR headset from Industrial Training International opens doors to teaching things like hazard awareness. Investing in new technologies for your crews is about more than safety and productivity. It’s also about creating a culture where your workers see that you value them. More than 15 years ago, our company invested in stand-up style deck fastening tools. They weren’t cheap and at the time other contractors thought Gardner-Watson Decking was crazy. But, if I could provide a way for my guys to do their job without bending over all day, I knew that not only is it better on their bodies, but it would also help them be more productive. I was proven right. Using standard screw guns to install side lap screws, the most an experienced worker could fasten was about 1,500 to 2,000 side lap screws per day. But with innovative tools like Grabber’s SuperDrive, Simpson Quik Drive, and Hilti’s stand-up tool, that same person can easily install 8,000 to 10,000 screws per day. Bottom line, what I saw at SEAA’s Meet & Greet and Career Fair confirms that the future is now. If you want a piece of that, I encourage you to join us the next time we are in your city or come to our convention this April. I promise you’ll learn something new too!.

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Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2022 | 9

ASSOCIATION NEWS ■ Career Fair Showcases Jobs in Steel


EVENTS & ACTIVITIES SEAA’s 2022 Convention & Trade Show

April 5-8, 2022 North Charleston, S.C. NASCC: The Steel Conference

March 23-25, 2022 Denver, Colo. Board Meeting and Meet & Greet

Tentative July 14, 2022 Nashville, Tenn.

Nearly 300 students from five school districts and several dozen military veterans attended SEAA’s construction career fair in January 2022. SEAA’s Long Range Planning Committee spearheaded the event, which was hosted by member company Adaptive Construction Solutions, Inc., at their training facility in Houston, Texas. The career fair allowed attendees to rotate through stations staffed by member companies and equipment suppliers. This format enabled them to participate in hands-on demonstrations and learn more about the different career paths within the industry. The students came from Career and Technical Education programs, where they are enrolled in welding, architecture, construction, and manufacturing programs. Many of them are in process of completing OSHA 30 training and certifications. “The students actively participated at each station and asked great questions,” said Nick Morgan, President of Adaptive Construction Solutions, Inc. “Their interest is in part due to already receiving technical instruction, which highlights just how important CTE programs are to education. Many of the students were interested in learning about how to start their first job in the industry, and what the career pathways are,” he continued. “The industry is constantly evolving and embracing new technologies to make work safer, easier, and more productive, which is important for students to see,” said Geoff Kress, President of SEAA and President of Gardner-Watson Decking, based in Oldsmar, Fla. Kress demonstrated an Overhead Exoskeleton from Hilti for students. “This lightweight device is worn by a worker to help delay arm and shoulder fatigue when working with arms overhead,” he explained. Ultra Safe, a manufacturer of full body safety harnesses, rope grabs, and fall protection equipment, gave students a chance to try on harnesses. They learned why fall protection is essential when working at height and the importance of knowing how to perform a quick rescue after a fall. Shelby Erectors set up a rebar tying station where students could try three different types of tools to tie reinforcing steel. Hilti showcased a powder actuated stand-up decking tool that is used to fasten metal roof decks to steel structures. Meanwhile, Nelson Stud Welding demonstrated its tools and processes. “Students saw how to load the stud into the gun, how to put the ferrule arc shield on, and how to shoot the stud into place,” explained Duke Perry, VP of Sales/Operations at Gardner-Watson Studs. “Many of these students were familiar with traditional perimeter welding techniques, and were surprised by how quickly


the stud welding process delivers a complete cross section weld,” he said. Students also got to try their hand at simulated equipment operation, including earthmoving and lifting equipment, and welding. On the simulator from CM Labs Simulations, students could feel what it was like to sit in the cab of a crane or excavator, and Industrial Training International offered a VR crane simulator experience. Wearing a welding helmet and shield, students were also able to practice simulated welding exercises at the Miller Electric booth. Other SEAA members that participated in the career fair included: Basden Steel, Deem Structural Services,

Empire Steel, Peterson Beckner Industries, Steel Service, and PILES. LIFE, a workforce development initiative sponsored by SEAA members to promote careers in construction. “Even though our company is not based in Texas, we support SEAA’s efforts to promote careers in construction and to join forces with members around the country in these efforts,” said Jack Nix, COO of Shelby Erectors and SEAA Membership Chairman.

■ New Training Videos Available to

SEAA Members

SEAA’s Safety and Education Committee has created a series of training videos that complement the existing SEAA/NCCER Ironworker Craft Training Curriculum. Currently, 25 videos are available, which are free for SEAA members to use through the members-only portal. Another 25+ videos are expected to be released soon. “The videos allow trainees to see proper techniques demonstrated on a jobsite by subject matter experts,” said Bryan McClure, Chairman of the Safety and Education Committee. “The videos can be used to enhance training and help prepare trainees for their hands-on tests.” Among the topics available are:


• Trade Safety: Demonstration of proper fall protection use • Mobile Cranes: Use of manuals, recordkeeping, and hand signals. • Rigging Equipment: Selection and inspection, determining CG, properly attaching rigging hardware • Metal Decking: Safe lifting methods, layout, and placement • Field Fabrication: Angle iron, channel iron, T and W shapes • Position Arc Welding: Introduction, preparation of equipment, and SMAW


■ SEAA Expands Membership Benefits “As SEAA enters its 50th year, the association is investing in resources and tools that will help members run their business better in today’s market,” said Jack Nix, Chairman of the Membership Committee. “There is still a lot of work being done behind the scenes, but here are just a few member benefits currently available.”


• Over 50 Craft Training videos that complement the SEAA/NCCER Ironworker Curriculum • A free CareerPlug account, with discounted upgrade options • Educational webinars executed in partnership with third party vendors • SEAA Erector members receive a 50 percent discount on AISC membership • Discounts for purchase of the jointly developed SEAA/NISD Detailing Guide • In person, regional networking at Meet & Greets, Career Fairs, and Peer Groups • Awards programs with national exposure If you would like to know more about the benefits of membership, or don’t know how to access these benefits, please contact the SEAA Office at (336) 294-8880.





(877) 331-3280

Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2022 | 11


Verton Everest SpinPod 7.5

■ Making Taglines Obsolete Verton, an Australian-based technology firm, has developed the first remote-controlled modular load orientation and control system, Everest SpinPod 7.5. This system makes taglines obsolete, and removes the need for workers to be near moving or suspended loads. This product plays a critical role in improving the safety and productivity of global lifting operations. The user can attach the SpinPod to an existing spreader, or a Verton certified spreader bar, allowing the units to be customized for your unique rigging arrangements. The Crosby Group has aligned with Verton to make this technology more readily available across the globe.

Rental Equipment BONUS Content CONTENT Bonus

Product & Services


■ NIXN Provides Proactive Safety Link-Belt 85-Ton Rough Terrain Crane

■ Link-Belt Introduces 85-Ton RT Crane

Management Software

MAC Intelligence, Beaver, Pa., has introduced NIXN, a safety management software that can be used to examine an organization’s activity level in real-time in order to calculate the expected value of an incident, injury, and total risk. NIXN quantifies performance and abilities that lead to optimal decision making and a process that can be replicated across the entire business unit. It can provide risk assessments, risk intelligence, critical risk paths analysis, and quantified job safety analysis.

Link-Belt Cranes, Lexington, Ky., released an 85-ton rough terrain crane that transports under 105,000 lbs. with full counterweight and under 86,000 lbs. with no counterweight. It comes with a five-section formed boom that extends to 142 feet, with multiple jib options available. The crane is powered by a Cummins Tier 4F QSB 6.7 270 hp diesel engine. Matching main and auxiliary winches have 18,603 lbs. of maximum line pull and a maximum winch speed of 485 fpm. Link-Belt’s Variable Confined Area Lifting Capacities system features almost infinite outrigger configurations with real-time 360-degree charts. Once outriggers are set, the Pulse 2.0 system indicates the crane’s available capacity, which then previews the real-time capacity given the current configuration, and the next five radii for a set boom angle. Additionally, the crane is equipped with operator programmable function kickouts, and iCraneTrax telematics from A1A Software that allows for better fleet management and maintenance scheduling. 12 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

■ Connector Angle for Attaching Steel Studs to

Concrete Supports

Simpson Strong-Tie, Pleasanton, Calif., has expanded its lineup of rigid connector angles with the addition of the RCA-C, an ideal solution for attaching cold-formed steel (CFS) stud framing to concrete supports. Designed to save installers time and reduce the cost of drilling connector holes at the jobsite, the RCA-C provides the most anchor options available, including holes for a 1/2”-diameter anchor screw or bolt, or for two 1/4”-diameter concrete screws positioned to allow a variety of fastening options. Fabricated from G90 galvanized steel for enhanced resistance to corrosion, the RCA-C is ideal for fastening stud framing to concrete supports where versatility and productivity are required on the jobsite.

Nuron SDS Max Cordless Rotary Hammer

RCA-C Connector Angle by Simpson Strong-Tie

■ Hilti Releases Battery Platform for a Cordless


Hilti Group, Plano, Texas, has introduced Nuron, a single 22-volt battery platform that allows cordless tools to be more readily available on job sites. From light-duty drilling to heavy-duty concrete breaking, the product line has more than 60 tools that utilize interchangeable battery packs and chargers. It is connected to a cloud-based platform, which enables insights into tool usage, location, and utilization data.

■ Stick Welder Ideal for Outdoor Applications Red-D-Arc Welderentals, Mableton, Ga., has launched its ES276i Stick Welder. The stick welder is ideal for outdoor construction applications. Standard features include Hot Start, adjustable Arc Force, full Remote-Control capability and Extreme-Duty construction. The welder uses up to 7/32-inch diameter electrode that enables both whip and drag techniques for a variety of construction and fabrication applications.

ES276i Stick Welder

Boom Nation App

■ New App Tackles Skilled Worker Shortage Boom Nation, the world’s first digital community for skilled workers, has launched an app to address some of the hiring issues companies involved in blue-collar trades have. The BoomNation app allows skilled workers to communicate with employers, and find jobs within their field of work. The app aims to optimize the workforce recruitment process, and communication between job seekers and hiring managers of many trade industries such as construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, transportation and warehousing, utilities and more.augmented reality experience. 14 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2022 | 15


By Michael Walsh

Failing to Plan or Planning to Succeed? Dealing with the physical realities of temporary or partially completed structures

Maintain balance, dynamic stability, and structural integrity of individual building elements.


enjamin Franklin famously coined the phrase, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” which is an adage that is highly applicable in construction, with compressed schedules and strained supply chains. Practical solutions to complex problems demand speed and collaboration, particularly for those like steel erectors, who are at the “tip of the spear” on a project. Timely planning is critical, and erection engineering is critical to planning. Project design teams work in a virtual world where individual building elements are treated and function as completed systems. Steel erectors, however, deal with the physical realities that accompany temporary and partially completed structures, until that completed design stage is achieved. Regardless of the stage of construction, erectors are required to maintain structural stability and integrity, while being resistant to temporary and transient loads that may exceed those of the final design. Permanently Michael Walsh is President of Dearborn Engineers & Constructors, Inc., Bridgeview, Illinois, a leading consultancy specializing in heavy lift, heavy transport and construction-erection engineering on a national basis. Contact him at

installed elements need protection from overstress and potential damage. Beyond simply making sure that the structure stands-up, the construction also needs to move forward safely, efficiently and cost effectively. Key in making all of this happen is the early involvement of an experienced erection engineer (EE) in the planning process.

Codes, Standards, Design Intent At the start, a practiced EE will be able to assist you in utilizing the correct code or industry standard, which can dramatically impact the safe, successful, and timely completion of your project. Nuanced differences in design values and safety factors among AISC 303, ASCE 37, SJI, and/or PCI standards can have significant effects on sequencing and costs of bracing, shoring, and temporary supports. Personal experience has shown ASCE 37 to be a bit more reflective of actual encountered loads, which can offer some benefits in terms of sizing and positioning of bracing and supports, but each project must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. It is very important to remember that codes and standards provide the minimum criteria to be met and often do not rise to the level of what’s deemed


“good” (not “best,” but good) engineering or industry practice. Development of a clear understanding of the “Engineer of Record’s” (EOR’s) intended performance of the completed structure is critical, and your EE will provide insights to help avoid the potential for overload conditions. All loads – live, dead, construction (including material staging, tools, and equipment), shoring and bracing, safety related, and even surcharges and earth pressure loads – require consideration. Understanding the completed structure’s performance will identify where temporary erection loads can be dragged and offer you real guidance in where to physically start the erection process.

Sequencing the Work Steel erection is, by its nature, an iterative process. Sequencing of the work requires maintaining a balance between structural stability and the ability to physically access building elements and efficiently perform the work. As an example, the choice between first starting a building with its exterior precast concrete shear walls versus starting with its structural steel frame can have a profound impact on the sequencing and temporary supports for both erection processes.


300 Scarlet Blvd. Oldsmar, FL 34677 Phone: 813.891.9849 Fax: 813.891.4105 Duke Perry, VP of Sales/Operations 404-808-0504

Inherent in this iterative process is the fact that during erection the permanent structural system is not complete and may require the engineering design of connections and temporary members possessing far greater capacity than those of the permanent structure. Open structures are subject to lateral and uplift wind loads that the permanently closed structure will not experience, nor was designed for. The imposition of these loads, if not properly accommodated, can cause single-point or localized damage, or in the extreme, the progressive collapse of the entire structure.

Thinking the “Unthinkable” Another adage applicable to construction is, “Murphy was an optimist.” The need to look beyond the obvious and work to anticipate potential “unforeseen” failures is essential. While an episode like the Hard Rock Hotel collapse in New Orleans is an extreme example, erectors and their EEs need to push the envelope in evaluating temporary construction vulnerabilities to ensure the safe and successful completion of projects. Coastal areas that are subject to severe storms and tidal activities, northern areas subject to heavy snows and severe cold, and seismically active areas, all require special design considerations in protecting both temporary and permanent construction.

Mitigation plans, as called for in ASCE 37, should include: • monitoring and reporting measures for extreme environmental conditions; • defined provisions for protecting construction personnel and the general public (up to and including evacuation plans); and • detailed protection of adjacent structures and facilities. In addition to environmental factors, other potential safety and stability threats require evaluation and accommodation. Potential shock loads imposed by worker fall protection systems or debris nets, dropped material impact loads, tool and material staging dead loads, manlift and mini-crane dynamic loads, even personnel live loads, need consideration. Also requiring very close consideration is protection against the accidental or unplanned removal of temporary supports, shoring and bracing, followed with detailed procedures for its planned removal upon completion of the associated work.

Beyond the Box Compounding the variables directly at play in safe erection of the structure, are a multitude of other considerations to be taken into account. Balance, dynamic stability, and

Rigging, setting and shoring of building elements.


the structural integrity of individual building elements (particularly those with long-spans), require special attention for safe hoisting and setting. Unaccounted for deflection during hoisting operations can lead to excessive deformation and potential failure of the member. Excessive loading during placement can result in overstressing of anchors, base plates, and foundations. Rigging elements (slings, chokers, spreader bars, and other hardware) also require proper evaluation and selection. The location and positioning of cranes and derricks to optimize hoisting operations needs to be coordinated with other ongoing construction activities, such as excavation and concrete placement. Site ground conditions require assessment in terms of soil stability in advance of the deployment and operation of hoisting equipment and aerial lifts, and for the placement of shoring and bracing.

Planning for Success We live and work in a highly dynamic environment, subject to an incredible number of variables. While some may perceive the EE simply as “added cost” to a project, the early involvement of a knowledgeable, experienced engineer, possessing good communications skills, can genuinely make the entire construction process smoother, easier, and significantly safer.

Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2022 | 19


By Bryan McClure

Ironworkers are Industrial Athletes Treating your body and mind like a sports pro helps prevent injuries


ike many high school athletes, I had dreams of playing football at the next level and becoming an athletic trainer. But circumstance led me to become an ironworker, where I worked in the physically demanding field for many years. Flash forward 30 years. Hensel Phelps, a general contractor with locations across the U.S., approached Trivent Safety Consultants to develop a program specially designed for craft workers. “I want a program that educates our tradesmen on how to take care of their most valuable tool, their bodies. I want a program that the Denver Broncos would use to train their million dollar athletes but geared for the trades,” said Jeremy Spooner, Hensel Phelps Superintendent Out of this initial conversation was born the Industrial Athlete program. We define an industrial athlete as a person who is engaged in work tasks or projects requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina, and who is trained or skilled in exercises to support that. The program consists of four classes, each Bryan McClure is a managing partner of Trivent Safety Consulting. He is a safety professional who got his start as an ironworker. As a former football player and football coach with a passion for exercise, he has applied principles of athletic training to the jobsite. Trivent Safety recently added its Industrial Athlete program to its regular class schedule at its training center in Denver, Colo. Learn more at

two hours in length, covering nutrition, exercise, ergonomics, and behavioral safety. Since the introduction of the Industrial Athlete class to Hensel Phelps in 2019, 80 to 120 of their workers have completed the program each year. The company has found it so beneficial, that they have expanded its availability to their trade partners. When workers buy into the concept, they begin to treat their bodies and their minds with better care. It makes them less prone to injury. When employers offer this kind of training to field workers it conveys the message that the individual is important and valued. Here’s a look at the elements of the program.

In addition, the days of eating salt pills at lunch to stay hydrated are over! There are many great companies out there that offer supplements designed for craft workers that are healthy and have science that backs their claims. We have partnered with, which offers a variety of products for hydration, energy and nutrition. A normally active person needs about 12 calories per pound of body weight every day to keep the organs functioning and to maintain normal body temperature. However, craft workers don’t typically fall into the category of “normally active.” The following examples are for 15 minutes duration. Multiply that out over 8 to 10 hour

Nutrition The Nutrition module was designed by Jenny Vanmeter, the head athletic trainer for the Adams 12 Five Star School District and a Physician Extender from Children’s Hospital in Denver. The class focuses on the proper hydration, macronutrients and calories needed to support the physical nature of work undertaken by craft laborers. It also teaches them how to make healthy choices when shopping at gas stations or eating fast food, which often goes hand in hand with being a construction worker on the road.


The Zero G arm is a tool that can be used to take pressure off the joints of the worker.

Make History with Us


SEAA Convention & Trade Show April 5-8, 2022 Embassy Suites by Hilton

Charleston Airport Hotel & Convention Center North Charleston, SC Q Q Q Q

Excursions: Golf and Fishing Tournaments, Historic Tour Trade Show and Live Demos Education Sessions and Panel Discussions Gala and Awards Ceremony on the USS Yorktown (336) 294-8880  INFO@SEAA.NET

Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2022 | 21

days, and it’s easy to see how many calories a craft worker needs each day.


The exercise module educates the tradesman on exercises to strengthen those • Carrying moderate loads weighing 16 to muscle groups involved in the most common 40 lbs. upstairs = 159 Calories Burned musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in con• Laying masonry or concrete = 137 Calstruction—back, shoulders, and knees. Two ories Burned of the best exercises, when practiced daily, to • Using heavy power tools (jackhammer, improve core strength and therefore reduce drills, tampers, etc.) = 114 Calories the chance of back injury are the Plank and Burned the Hollow Body. • Walking = 91 Calories Burned The program also teaches the difference between dynamic and static stretching and To consume the calories needed, we sughow to incorporate the stretch routines into gest the following macronutrient breakdown. their daily work. • Carbohydrates 55-60% In the last 10 years, the construction • Protein 20-30% industry has broadly implemented stretch • Fat 25-30% and flex sessions at the start of the shift. Unfortunately, many of these employers are using the same static stretches that I used when I played football in the 1980s. Static stretches are those in which you stand, sit or lie still and hold a single position for period of time, up to about 45 seconds. Holding a static stretch for too long can switch the muscle off and reduce your performance. Recent studies The Plank (above) and the Hollow Body (below) are two good have shown that performing static exercises for improving core strength and reducing back injuries. stretches on cold muscles can create tiny tears in the muscles. This can lead to joint instability and a reduced muscle power output. Instead, we suggest static stretching be reserved for after a lunch break. Dynamic stretches, which involves active tightening of muscles and moving joints through their full range of motion, is a better choice for first thing in the morning on cold muscles. Dynamic stretching improves speed, agility, and acceleration. These functional, trade specific movements help increase muscle temperature and decrease muscle stiffness. Every one that attends one of our Industrial Athlete classes go through the full stretch routine and get a wallet card to keep with them to remind them how to do the stretches. Hensel Phelps purchased a resistance band for each worker that attends the class so Providing resistance bands is an easy way for workers to they could continue the exercises continue exercising on their own. on their own at home. 22 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

Ergonomics The ergonomics module educates the tradesman on how to fit the work to the worker using the latest technology. These are exciting times for trades workers. Exoskeletons got their start in military and defense and have begun to be used in construction and general industry to help reduce MSDs. We partnered with Ekso Bionics, which donated the use of their Ekso suits and Zero G arms for class demonstrations. The equipment provides support for joints and muscles in tasks that must be completed in positions of poor body mechanics. The Zero G arm attaches to aerial lifts and supports hammer drills, completely taking all the pressure off the joints of the worker and eliminating fatigue and with that fatigue related injuries. We predict employers will see the impact devices like these will have reducing musculoskeletal disorders and fatigue related injuries, and with that the

Exoskeletons provide support for joints and muscles in tasks that must be completed in positions of poor body mechanics.

costs associated with insurance claims and lost productivity. In the meantime, their use in training helps workers better understand the correlation between posture and positioning and stress on their bodies.

Behavioral Safety Construction is the No. 2 occupation in the United States for suicide. The class discusses coping and support strategies. For example, workers are encouraged to identify their

own personal A Team. The A Team consists of co-workers, friends or family who have offered good advice or counseling to them in the past. These are people the individual knows they can talk to when times get tough. Studies have shown that 80-90% of individuals that seek treatment or counseling recover from depression. It is also important for workers and supervisors to be able to identify the warning signs that someone is at risk for suicide. Changes

in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors, especially following a painful event, loss, or change in life circumstance. Increased tardiness and absenteeism are also key indicators. Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. In addition, we want workers to be able to understand how risk tolerant they are. A Risk Perception & Tolerance tool identifies “blind spots.” Workers become desensitized to risk on jobsites that they see day in and day out because most of the time these risks do not result in accidents. For example, ironworkers frequently work around cranes lifting heavy loads every day. A person walking down the street would see this and not go near a load being lifted as it looks dangerous, but ironworkers often, unnecessarily, work under the crane loads, even though they’ve likely been trained to never get underneath a load suspended by a crane. It’s a matter of training your eyes to see your everyday activities the way a passerby on the street does. The construction industry has never experienced worker shortages like this before. For companies to thrive in this current environment, they need to change how they think about employee wellness. It is not only vital to keep their current workers healthy and productive but it’s an absolute necessity to attract a new generation of workers.

Learning the right way to lift, which is to bend your hips and knees to squat to your load, prevents back injuries.


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See all advertising rates in our 2022 Media Kit! Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2022 | 25



Honoring the Past. Building the Future. SEAA Celebrates 50 Years & Welcomes Joe Theismann as Keynote Speaker APRIL 5 1 to 6 pm

Board of Directors Meeting

APRIL 6 8 am to 5 pm 8 am to 3 pm 10 am to 3:30 pm

Exhibitor Setup. Must be finished by 5 pm RedFin Charters Fishing Tournament. Cook Your Catch Lunch follows at Charleston Crab House. (registration required) Magnolia Plantation & Gardens Tour. Lunch provided. (registration required)

9:00 am

George R. Pocock Memorial Golf Tournament (registration required)

6 pm to 7 pm

First Timer & New Member Reception (by invitation only)

7 pm to 9 pm

Welcome Reception & Trade Show

APRIL 7 7:45 am

Breakfast & Membership Meeting

9 am to Noon

Trade Show

11:45 am


1 pm

Boom Lift Ball Drop

1:15 pm to 2:45 pm

Outside Demos (limited availability)

3 pm

Keynote Speaker Joe Theismann: How to be a Champion Every Day

4 pm to 5 pm

Project of the Year Panel Discussion & Awards Presentation

5 pm to 6 pm

Special Session: Craft Training Program Q&A



is an exciting year for SEAA. The organization is celebrating its 50th Anniversary, and the convention will feature former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann as the keynote speaker. Theismann has spent the last 20 years working for ESPN and the NFL Network as an NFL analyst, and is an Emmy award winning analyst. Theismann is also scheduled to attend the popular Welcome Reception and Trade Show ahead of his keynote speech on Wednesday, April 7. There’s something for field and management level team members with more than ten education and panel sessions, high value networking, and dedicated trade show time. To increase the value of the event for attendees, the agenda includes live demonstrations or equipment walk-around presentations. Up to 9 exhibitors will present demonstrations. Demos will take place outside and provide an opportunity for attendees to see equipment in action and ask questions of vendors. The anniversary Gala will be held on the USS Yorktown, a World War II aircraft carrier, located at Patriots Point, which offers spectacular views of Charleston Harbor and Charleston Historic District. Gala attendees will receive a signed copy of Theismann’s book, How to Be a Champion Every Day. During the Gala, we will also honor long-term members and past presidents of the association.

7:45 am


8:45 am to 9:45 am

World Class Safety & Training Panel Discussion & Awards Presentation

9:45 am to 10:00 am


10 am to 10:40 am

Education: How to Get More High Quality People Applying for your Jobs


10:40 am to 11 am

Education: Mentoring Craft Professionals

11 am to 11:20 am

Education: Health & Wellness--Ironworkers as Industrial Athletes

A total of nine education sessions includes a mix of mini 20-minute sessions and expanded presentations and panel discussions.

11:20 am to 11:35 am


11:35 am to 12:15 pm

Education: Using Contract Language to Protect Your Business from Rising Material Costs

12:15 pm


1:30 pm to 2:10 pm

Education: Common Rigging Mistakes

2:10 pm to 2: 20 pm

Education: Regulatory Updates and Citations Related to Rigging

6 pm

50th Anniversary Gala on the USS Yorktown (registration required)


Join us April 5-8, in Charleston, S.C. Register online at

Mini Sessions include: • Mentoring Craft Professionals, presented by Dan Belcher, Director of Strategic Partnerships at NCCER • The Industrial Athlete, presented by Bryan McClure, Owner of Trivent Safety Consulting • Rigging Regulatory Update and Citations, presented by Frank Kollman of Kollman & Saucier


Keynote Speaker Joe Theismann: How to be a Champion Every Day Joe Theismann is an entrepreneur and former star quarterback for the Washington Redskins. He reached the pinnacle of success as an elite NFL quarterback, with a Super Bowl victory and NFL MVP award. But the memory that sticks with many fans is the gruesome injury—his leg was shattered on Monday Night Football—that ended his career. In How to Be a Champion Every Day, Theismann recounts stories from his impressive career, providing an inspirational guide for how to succeed on a team, in your career, and in your everyday life.

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Project of the Year Panel Discussion


The Project of the Year Panel Discussion allows the team members from the award winning projects explore common themes and best practices that other erectors may apply to planning, logistics, safety, and other challenges.

GWY Hanes Supply* IMPACT JLG

Special Session: Craft Training Program Q&A Tim Eldridge, President of Education Services Unlimited and SEAA’s Craft Training and Assessment Administrator, will give a special presentation to members looking to participate in the SEAA/NCCER Craft Training Program. He’ll review the process, expected costs, and answer questions. You’ll also hear from other members who have successfully implemented the program.

LeJeune Bolt Company Liebherr USA, Co. Lincoln Electric* M&P Specialty Insurance Magni Americas* Miller Electric*

Safety & Craft Training Excellence Panel Discussion


The World Class winners of both the Safety Excellence and the Craft Training Excellence awards will participate in a panel discussion that will explore relevant safety and training issues facing the industry today.

Nelson Stud Welding New Millennium Building Systems National Institute of Steel Detailing Pneutek OTH Pioneer Rigging Red-D-Arc Welderentals*

Hiring Rock Star Employees Ryan Englin, CEO of Core Matters, will dive into marketing your business, creating a story that excites, and writing effective job descriptions – all for the sake of attracting those elusive rock star employees.

SDS2 SEAA Craft Training Program Simpson Strong-Tie Skyjack

Contract Clauses: Protecting Your Business from the Unexpected

St. Louis Screw & Bolt

Rising material costs, supply chain disruptions, Covid, government regulation, and similar problems have become a way of life. Frank Kollman of Kollman & Saucier will provide insight on contact language and how to propose language of your own to protect your company from unforeseen events.

United Rentals WO Grubb* Wurth Construction Services*

Common Rigging Mistakes Rigging errors and mistakes can have a tremendous cost on time, materials, and personnel. Scott Seppers of Trivent Safety Consulting will explore common rigging mistakes and how to avoid them, and how to accurately assess how much your rigging component can safely lift.


Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2022 | 27

EXCURSIONS: APRIL 6 Separate registration required. Sponsorships available. Visit events for more info.

2022 George R. Pocock Memorial Golf Tournament at Rivertowne Country Club Annual golf tournament registration is $175.00, which covers the green fee, cart, range balls, lunch, and round-trip shuttle service. We encourage all golfers to bring their own clubs. The Rivertown Country Club has a limited number of clubs for rent. If you are not able to bring your own clubs, and the course does not have any more available, please check out www.clublender. com for club rentals. Register by March 23.

In Shore Fishing Tournament with RedFin Charters RedFin Charters will provide 10 boats with a four-person team per boat for tournament competition and inshore adventure. Registration is $250 per person, and this all-inclusive fee covers bait, fishing licenses, gear, drinks and snacks. There will be lunch to follow at the Charleston Crab House, where they will cook up the fish you caught that day. Register by March 23.

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens Tour Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Magnolia Plantation dates to 1676. Originally a rice plantation, the property features extensive earthworks of dams and dikes built in fields along the Ashley River for irrigation of the land. Enslaved people from Barbados, and later from Africa, were brought to the plantation through the centuries. Magnolia became known for its English-style gardens after Reverend John Grimke-Drayton inherited the property in the 1840s. Register by March 23.

GALA CELEBRATION: APRIL 8 The evening begins with cocktails served on the Fantail at the rear deck, followed by dinner in Hangar Bay III. Awards will be presented to honor long-time members, past presidents, and recipients of the Person of the Year and William Davis Service award. Cocktail attire suggested. Roundtrip transportation will be provided. Additional registration is required to attend Gala. Discounts available for Past Presidents and their guest. Discounts available for Past Presidents and their guest.


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Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2022 | 29


By Tracy Bennett


Job Fair Opens Eyes to A Day in the Life of Steel Construction

SEAA’s Careers in Construction event featured hands-on demos, introduction to training videos, and networking.


early 300 students from five Houston area school districts plus several dozen military veterans attended SEAA’s construction career fair in January 2022. Recruiting and hiring remains one of the primary challenges SEAA member companies face. The Long Range Planning Committee spearheaded the event, which was hosted by SEAA member Adaptive Construction Solutions, Inc. Students rotated through stations staffed by member companies and equipment suppliers. In addition to learning about the steel construction industry in general, students also heard about specific jobs in steel fabrication, decking, bridge building, and structural and reinforcing steel erecting. The students came from Career and Technical Education programs, where they are Tracy Bennett is Managing Editor of Connector and Principal Partner of Mighty Mo Media Partners, a marketing consulting firm. Her technical expertise is in construction, lifting equipment, and workforce development.

enrolled in welding, architecture, construction, and manufacturing programs. Many of them are in process of completing OSHA 30 training and certifications. “Construction presents a life-long career opportunity that does not require a four-year degree,” said David Deem, incoming President-Elect of SEAA and President of Deem Structural Services. “I finished one year of college, but without the funds to continue I sought out an apprenticeship where I could earn while I learned the trade. Now, after 40 years in the industry, I’ve enjoyed a career that constantly challenges me and has never hindered my personal or professional growth.” Deem encouraged students that no matter what path they decide to take to choose a career that they enjoy, which he believes is the key to success. In January, SEAA launched a new job board and applicant tracking software for members. The tool is designed to give members a custom careers page and with the upgraded version, an easy way to manage posting of open positions across all the major hiring websites. Students participating in the career fair were encouraged to use the tool to find jobs once they are ready to enter the workforce. To illustrate the many different kinds of careers and the various routes individuals have taken to get to where they are today, Connector asked employees of SEAA member companies what a day in the life of their job looks like.


ESTIMATOR Jaikob Ellison took the college degree route to his career in construction. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management, he came to Cooper Steel, Shelbyville, Tenn., after working in internships with the Department of Defense and a large contractor. “These internships helped me understand what a GC is looking for from a sub-contractor on the preconstruction side,” said Ellison. He has been with Cooper Steel for eight years, currently working as the Preconstruction Business Unit Manager. “Estimators are in many instances the first impression of a company. This could be with potential subcontractors or future customers, who may not have a long-standing relationship with your company,” he said. The three skills he thinks are critical to being an estimator are “ambition, communication, and organization.”

Jaikob Ellison

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Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2022 | 31




IRONWORKER Cartez Moore is an ironworker for Deem Structural Services, Longview, Texas. After a stint in the military, a friend suggested that welding skills would open doors to jobs. With certifications from a community college in TIG, Stick and Flux Core welding in hand, he started out working in a fabrication shop. During that time, he would see long steel beams coming into the shop. After a few years, he found the job to be repetitive and the salary capping out. But the skills he learned and the connections he made, sent him on a path to becoming an ironworker, which he has now been doing for about two years. “On the first crew I was assigned to, I learned bolt up and welding of joists and I got to get up on the steel. I also started learning how to hang panel walls, which is challenging,” said Moore. Having welding skills was a good start, but other aspects of working the iron came through on-the-job training. While it’s thrilling to be an ironworker, Moore says, “I can see the longevity of this. It’s not just working in the field, there are also careers in quality control, safety, and field manCartez Moore agement.” Most days he loves his job, but it can be stressful when dealing with bad weather. “In the rain and the cold, with every step you take, it makes the job harder and more hazardous,” he said. Moore was one of the people who spoke to students at the January Career Fair. While the military trained him for emergencies, how to be quick on your toes, and working as a team, “When I was that age, I wish someone had told me about all variety of career options,” he said. He encouraged students considering a career in construction to “just keep showing up, just keep at, and the rest will come.”

CRANE OPERATOR & FLEET MANAGER Crane operators that lift steel keep a much faster pace than other types of crane operation—often making as many as 100 picks in a day. Constant communication with the riggers and ironworkers is essential. The week before he was interviewed for this article Jay McLean had been setting bar joists on a job site, and the following week he was setting steel coil and balcony flange beams. He likes the variety. McLean started working in the steel construction business in 1999 and today he is also a part owner of High Plains Steel Services in Windsor, Colo. He has only been operating cranes for about five years. He has two NCCCO crane operator certifications for hydraulic cranes and tower cranes, and one NCCER operator certification for lattice crawler cranes. When he is not operating cranes, he handles all of the fleet management tasks for the company. “It helped me a lot to have worked as an ironworker first. It has made me a better crane operator. Having been on the other end of it, I know what its like. The tag line has to be Jay McLean positioned correctly and the column has to come up straight,” he said. Among the conditions that make crane operation stressful is when there are blind picks or a lot of activity on the site with other trades. “We tape off our swing radius, but you still have to watch out for people,” he said. Making sure the crane is setup level on solid ground conditions for setup is also important. “You have to know what is under the ground, which I will confirm with the General Contractor’s Superintendent.” On a recent job, the site had moved utilities to an area where McLean had planned to set up the crane. That meant he had to identify an alternate location. Operators rely on riggers to make sure the steel is secure for lifting, but “the operator is the last determining factor when making the pick,” he said. 32 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA


The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the


has accredited the Iron Workers International Certification


WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? MEET REQUIREMENTS OSHA’s Subpart CC requires signal person qualification by a third-party qualifier.

MEET DEMAND While an OSHA letter of interpretation recognizes apprenticeship programs that train and assess riggers and signal persons as third-party qualified evaluators, many contractors, states and municipalities require a Qualified Rigger and Signal Person Certification.

REDUCE COST Third party training and certification comes with a hefty price tag without input on testing from subject matter experts, ironworkers and their contractors. Recertification can cost up to $500.

accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, Board’s (I.I.C.B.) Rigging & Signalperson Certification Program.

WHAT IS IT? Iron Workers International Certification Board’s (I.I.C.B.) Rigging & Signalperson Certification Program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence.

The I.I.C.B. joins an elite group of more than 130 organizations representing over 315 programs that have obtained NCCA accreditation.


IMPROVE SAFETY Ensuring that only trained, skilled and competent ironworkers complete rigging and signaling tasks, elevates workplace safety standards and reduces risk.

Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2022 | 33

RIGGER Cisco Galaviz is now a Superintendent for High Plains Steel but he got his start as a rigger and connector. “Being a rigger is a very powerful job with responsibility for keeping the pace, ensuring that the team makes their pick count for the day,” said Galaviz. Each morning starts with a meeting with the connector to review the pick list and to determine the route. The rigger coordinates the steel pieces being lifted so that the connectors can work in clockwise circles before moving onto the next area, without the need to double back, explained Galaviz. “A good rigger preps for the work by marking the pieces in the laydown yard and making sure the tags are all facing the same direction. “This makes it easier to find the labels and helps the helper find the right piece in the shake out area,” he explained. Knowing the sequence is especially critical when setting up multiple lift rigging for “treeing” the iron. He also recommends making punch marks on each beam in advance to identify the center so that choker slings are rigged so that the load lifts level. Cisco Galaviz It is a fast-paced job and can be stressful if parts are not where they are expected to be. He laughed saying, “Riggers have to be able to switch gears quickly so that the crane operator never has time for a break.” A self-described ‘control freak,’ Galaviz said that when he moved onto being a connector, he would study the pick list the night before then go over the plan with the riggers in the morning. Connectors have to be very good communicators. They are running the task from up on the iron. “Your job is to paint a picture for the crane operator, keeping the lines of communication open until the steel is in the spot where you want it. Then you have to communicate with your partner.” “If you are just here for the paycheck, then this job is not for you. You have to love it, be able to keep a good head, and a good attitude,” he said. “But at the end of the day, you can look at the building you are working on and get a real sense of accomplishment because you have something to show for your work.”

PROJECT MANAGER Abby Stinson came to the construction industry by accident. While working toward a degree in animal science, she was taking a break from school before continuing to post graduate work to become a veterinarian. A friend told her about a job in the print room at Cooper Steel, where she learned how to print and assemble construction drawings for field crews. It was meant to be a stop gap job that has turned into a career that she loves. “Cooper Steel has a great culture where they will find ways to keep people who are hardworking. From the print room, I went to the front desk, then worked as a sales coordinator, and eventually I moved up to project manager,” she said. “I fell in love with construction—the hustle and bustle, the team atmosphere, having a new problem to solve every day,” she said. While working in the print room may seem like a lowly job, she says it’s actually very important. “There’s an art to it. And if you get it wrong, and the field crews don’t have the right drawing, you could be the cause of a schedule delay.” That skill is one of many that has shaped her ability to manage projects. Abby Stinson It is a running joke she says that project managers are responsible for everything and have control over nothing. Once a bid is accepted, the project manager sees the job through from start to finish. “You have to be able to read and understand the design, understand the scope of the work, and be able to visualize the job in your head,” she said. Central to success is being detail oriented and a good communicator. “You have to be able to facilitate each step with the sales team, vendors, the fab shop, the erector. And when the customer makes changes to the design, you have to figure out the best solution while also minimizing the impact that change has on the schedule.” Asked what advice she would give a young person about the industry, she said: “It’s a good time to be in this business. There is so much growth and opportunity. As long as you are driven and hardworking, there is no reason to be intimidated. You don’t have to know everything, you just have to know who to ask for the right info.” “I knew nothing about construction. It’s a little like learning a foreign language, but once have the lingo down, it’s a great career,” she said.


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GENERAL FOREMAN Michael White is just 26 years old and he has already reached General Foreman status with Shelby Erectors in Florida. He started as a laborer and now oversees multiple crews and multiple jobs. “At age 19 I knew I wanted a career where I could climb the ladder, and that’s possible to do in construction,” he said. While the most stressful part of his job is maintaining the schedule when something causes a delay, he loves the chance to travel and the relationships he has made with other crew members. “This is a career with benefits like insurance and 401K plans. It’s a hard job but I take pride in being responsible for these crews that have become like family,” he said.

DIRECTOR OF FIELD OPERATIONS & PROJECT MANAGEMENT Despite only having been in the construction industry for two years, Andrew Boothe oversees four Project Managers and more than 160 field employees for Gardner-Watson Decking. His job requires him to be proficient at reading drawings, knowing details, providing on-site supervision and managing daily operations. “I was previously enlisted in the Marine Corps for five years where I learned many skills that transfer to the construction industry,” said Boothe. After leaving the military, he worked for an independent testing and certification laboratory of Personal Protective Equipment. Being an aircraft mechanic in the Marines gave me a good foundation. Every day—if not 10 times a day—I would hear that ‘Safety is Paramount’ because lives are at stake, whether we were training or in combat. The same applies to workers 40 feet up, balancing on beams and joists each day in the field. If you don’t take safety seriously, it can cost you or others their life,” he said. PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is the best form of protection against unintended accidents. “You can have years of experience, knowledge and be the best at your job, but it only takes one accident. Wearing the correct protective equipment and implementing safety procedures can save your life and others,” he said. Michael White

Andrew Boothe




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By Ryan Englin

The Right Tools for Successful Hiring in Today’s Labor Market


iring is hard, and it’s only getting harder. If you’re not keeping up with advances in technology and putting your open positions in front of the right people, it’s next to impossible to compete. There’s a lot of media hype about the labor shortage and that there’s nothing you can do about it, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Hiring and retaining becomes difficult when you use the wrong tools for the job. Today’s job seekers have more options. They’re more discerning. They’re being courted by employers. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before. Contractors must remember that you’re competing for entry level labor against retail giants, such as Amazon.

Modernize Recruiting and Hiring It’s not difficult to stand out and get job seekers to apply for your open jobs. You simply need to meet them where they spend their time and attract them to you because you have a reputation of being a great place to work. All recruiting tools and methods are not the same. To hire good people, you need to use the right tools for your market and the types of jobs you are looking to fill. This means having a strong online presence. If your company does not have a website and social media presence—as is the case for many small contractors—this is the first place to start. Ryan Englin is CEO of Core Matters. He grew up in a blue collar household where events and activities were always dictated by his father’s ability to be away from the plant. With staff shortages crippling his father’s company and so many others, Ryan founded Core Matters to help company owners find the workers they need to grow their business, design the lifestyle they want, and leave a legacy for their family. Learn more at


More than 90% of job seekers start and end their job search online. To get in front of job seekers, you must be active online, have a compelling message to share, and be able to follow through when the time comes. Here are four tools that you need in your recruiting toolkit to stand a chance in today’s digital world.

1. Captivating Careers Page If you don’t have a dedicated careers page on your website, put this article down, call your web developer, and get it added now! Your website’s careers page is the single best marketing tool you have online for getting in front of job seekers. You can share it, your team can share it, and job seekers can share it with their friends too. Keep the page updated with active jobs, or better yet, see tool #3. An applicant tracking system is a tool that can do the posting for you. Think of your careers page as your online dating profile. It should feature more than your biography. Make sure to include some great pictures of your existing team as they are working. Include some video of the work that you’re most proud of. Above all else, your careers page must tell the story of what it’s like to work for you and your company. The more you can do to sell the opportunity of joining your team, the more applicants you’ll bring in the door. Remember, the careers page is your opportunity to sell them on you. You don’t need to sell them on the work or the pay – let the job ads do that. People don’t leave jobs. They leave bosses. Help them understand that you’re the type of boss they’ve been looking for.

Details matter.


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2. Social Media & LinkedIn I often get weird looks when I tell construction company owners to get active on LinkedIn. While it’s true that you won’t find a lot of craftworkers or laborers on LinkedIn, the ones you do find are your future foremen and superintendents. Think of social media as your external recruiting team. Your friends, family, colleagues, vendors, and suppliers all want to help you with your business. So, when you share your open positions on social media, there’s a greater chance that those same people will be able to refer their friends and family. Besides LinkedIn, share what it’s like to work for you on social media platforms you already use, which should be easy since you’re already using them. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are all good choices for the construction market.

CUSTOMIZE YOUR ONLINE DIRECTORY LISTING Members are also included in an online Member Directory. You can customize your listing to include company logo, video links, and other company information. For businesses without corporate websites, this is a great way to have an online presence.

3. Applicant Tracking System The applicant tracking system (ATS) is your secret weapon in competing with large competitors for talent. Think of the ATS as client management software except that it helps you manage all things related to recruiting. The ATS can help you post your jobs to hundreds of job boards with the click of a button. Many of these software tools automate communication with applicants and even help them schedule interview times. More than 80% of business owners improve their efficiency and increase the number of hires when implementing an ATS. When selecting an ATS, it’s essential to choose one specializing in supporting small and mid-size companies. A small recruiting

1. Log in to your member account at 2. Choose Profile Update and then Edit Profile. 3. Check your General Information for contact name, address, website, etc. 4. Select Directory Listing, where you can add a company description and keywords. 5. Choose Social Media to add direct links to company pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more. 6. In the blue navigation bar, choose Media Update to upload your company logo or certification badges. 7. Other options: Navigate to “add a coupon” to offer member discounts if applicable, or “submit an event” for special programs you offer.


SEAA Launches Free Job Board for Members A new partnership with CareerPlug gives SEAA members access to a job board and applicant tracking system. The free CareerPlug account provides your company with its own customizable careers page, and jobs will post to the SEAA job board. In addition, members can upgrade to a Pro account a at deeply discounted price. For just $595 annually, CareerPlug will automatically promote your jobs on all of the listings sites, such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Google, and more. Pro accounts auto refresh to keep your listing at the top of the page. The applicant tracking software helps your team pre-qualify applicants and schedule interviews. Members have access to free training from CareerPlug to learn how to use the hiring tool and how to get the best results. Live online training is available twice weekly. Learn more at

team’s needs are different from those of larger organizations, so make sure that the system works for you. I’m often asked which ATS is the best one out there. My response is always the same— the best ATS is the one that your team will use. When an ATS fails to get results, we find it’s almost always because the team was not bought-in to using it. Oh, and remember that careers page? Most applicant tracking systems will set you up with one for free!

never start with outlining your processes. You never put together a checklist of requirements for them to do business with you. So why would you do the same thing here? This is your opportunity to share your story and compel the job seeker to apply. So, tell your HR department that it is no longer responsible for job postings and give the task to your marketing team. Better yet, ask your current employees working in a similar role to help you write it. Start with why people like working for you. Then focus on the reason that most people leave jobs—their boss. Share with them how your leaders are different and will value them. Just make sure that it’s authentic.

4. Job Advertisements

Building Your Recruiting Toolkit

It’s no longer enough to pull out that old job description and post it online. The days when you could use the same job description year after year are gone. It’s time to take a different approach to what you’re posting online. Throw away that old job description that includes only the basics regarding the skills needed and pay. Instead, work with your marketing team to turn it into a job advertisement. A job ad should differentiate your positions and your company from the competition. Think for a moment about the marketing you do for customers. You

Whether or not you’re already building your recruiting toolkit, it’s essential to revisit your tools often. Even if you’re just starting, keep adding tools and developing your team to use new ones. And revisit it frequently to make sure they’re still relevant in today’s job market. The market is changing so quickly, and job seekers have more options than they’ve had in decades. By getting your open jobs in front of the right people and showcasing what makes your company a good place to work, you’ll be able to successfully compete for workers in a tight labor market.

The applicant tracking system (ATS) is your secret weapon in competing with large competitors for talent. The best ATS is the one your team will use.

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Chief Economists Comment on Labor Shortages and Supply Chain Issues

“There were 345,000 job openings in construction at the end of November 2021, a 32% leap from 2020 and the highest November total in 21 years.” – Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America “These labor shortages are nothing new. What is new, during the pandemic about 1.5 million baby boomers retired earlier than they had anticipated. Many of them were the best construction workers.” – Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors “Factory output is broadly back to where it was prior to the pandemic, and the most reading of the Purchasing Managers Index suggests that supplier delivery times were speeding up. By mid-year, price inflation should begin to ease.” – Richard Branch, Dodge Construction Network Source: 2022 State of Construction: New Year Brings More Uncertainty with Supply Chain and Labor Concerns,

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The Competitive Advantage of Engaging Employees In general, only about one-third of employees are engaged, regardless of sector. Business or work units that score in the top quartile of their organization in employee engagement have nearly double the odds of success when compared with those in the bottom quartile.

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Bowman Steel, Seabring, Fla., offers steel fabrication and erection services for commercial and municipal projects of all sizes and types. Coastal Steel Inc, Orlando, Fla., is a structural and miscellaneous steel fabrication and erection company.



40% less quality defects

41% less absenteeism and turnover

CSE, Inc. Madison Heights, Va., provides services ranging from Industrial services and crane rental to engineered rigging and steel erection. Cubas Welding Construction Inc, Charlotte, N.C., provides steel building erection and specializes in steel roof and floor decking for new commercial building construction.



70% fewer accidents

20% more sales and 21% greater profitability

Source: 2017 State of the American Workplace, Gallup


Edmoundson Steel Erection, Inc., Fort Smith, Ark., offers general construction and steel erection services. Gardner-Watson Studs, Oldsmar, Fla. specializes in shooting bare beam, galvanized deck on composite construction, and deformed bar anchors.

Project of the Year Winners Convention Recap Leadership Development Rigging


GMF Steel Group, Lakeland, Fla., is a full-service steel erection and fabrication group that can provide design assistance and in-house steel detailing, through to fabrication, installation and finished erection. Gridiron Steel, Inc., Dillsburg, Pa., provides steel erection services to Pennsylvania and the surrounding states. Piedmont Steel Company, Winston-Salem, N.C., is an AISC Advanced Certified Steel, Bridge, and Seismic erector. Saugus Construction Corp, Georgetown, Mass., is a union contractor that provides steel erection services. The Crosby Group, Tulsa, Okla., is the leading manufacturer for rigging, lifting, and material handling applications.

Summer Edition: June 2022 Ad Deadline: May 13, 2022 Product & Services Showcase: Rigging Tools & Suppliers


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