Connector - Summer 2022

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20 Beyond Skills Training 26 New Solutions to Old Problems 30 Celebrating 50 years of being STEEL STRONG THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA





WWW.COOPERSTEEL.COM (931) 684 - 7962

c ntents


FEATURES Management


Beyond Skills Training Mentoring craft professionals and developing future jobsite leaders By Tracy Bennett


In the Field New Solutions to Old Problems Testing new rigging method for placing joists By Jeremy Ratledge

34 Cover Story

Special Focus


Convention Review: Celebrating 50 years of being STEEL STRONG Honoring the past, planning for the future

Steel Project Winners Similarities, contrasts, and common themes By Tracy Bennett On the Cover: Steel Fab Enterprises used a high performance coating to fabricate steel assemblies for an Amtrak station in Pennsylvania. Erection was completed on a tight 11 day schedule.



8 Perspective

Q Photo Gallery of Convention & Trade Show and Projects of the Year

10 Association News

Q Golf and Fishing Tournament Winners

14 Product Focus

Q Tips to survive an OSHA inspection

40 Business Operations

Q NCCER’s 2022 Construction Craft Salary Survey

42 Topping Out

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.


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HIGH VALUE MEMBERSHIP for Companies of All Sizes

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

GROWING YOUR BUSINESS? Marketing Tools Q National Awards Programs Q Free, Customizable Online Directory Listing

TRAINING? Safety & Training Resources Q Erector, Reinforcing Ironworker, Fabricator Curriculum Q Free Training Videos Q Get Help Implementing NCCER Curriculum Q Rigger, Signalperson, & Crane Operator Certifications Q Resources for OSHA’s Fall Prevention Stand Down

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

Steel Erectors Association of America 353 Jonestown Rd, Suite 207 Winston-Salem, NC 27104 336-294-8880 OFFICERS & EXECUTIVE STAFF David Deem, President Jack Nix, President Elect Chris Legnon, Industry Member Vice President Carrie Gulajan, Associate Member Vice President Bryan McClure, Secretary Greg Phillips, Treasurer 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 ADVISORY COMMITTEE Chris Legnon, Chairman, Cooper Steel Glen Pisani, Vice Chairman, MAS Building & Bridge Nathan Bloch, SDS2 David Darger, BZI Steel Oliver Gleize, OTH Rigging John Hughes, Industrial Training International Jackson Nix, Shelby Erectors Brian Schleicher, Superior Cranes Jim Simonson, Steel Service Michael Waltman, Group Steel Erectors 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.


By David Deem

Follow the Leader(s)


t is with great pride and humility that I hereby introduce myself as the current President of the Steel Erectors Association of America. Following a very successful Convention, during which we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the association, I began to reflect on what it means to be a leader of such a great organization. I have the privilege to be the incoming president at a time when the organization has gained great momentum. And now I have the responsibility to sustain that momentum. My commitment to all is that I will work hard to ensure that my term achieves the “Bookends of Success,” beginning well and ending well. The task should not be difficult, as SEAA is, and always has been, a community of leaders. Clay Scroggins, the pastor and author, says: “Anything worth something in life is always some sort of group effort.” That pretty much sums up what I have experienced during my 25+ years as a member of SEAA. The Board of Directors, Committee Members, Executive Director and staff have always been committed to making SEAA a leader in the industry and the go-to resource for our members when it comes to improving their respective companies. So, if SEAA is to continue to expand its leadership role, I want to examine some principles of leadership that we need to adhere to going forward.

Leadership Is Influence SEAA will continue fostering our influence in the industry by continuing to expand our relationships with all organizations related to steel construction. We currently are working with the AISC to expand the erection track program at the 2023 NASCC conference in Charlotte, NC (April 12-14). We will enhance our relationships with NISD, SJI and SDI to provide input regarding erection best practices. We will further develop our already close relationship with NCCER, including joint venturing with job fairs and providing subject matter experts for training module revisions. And last, but not least, we will increase dialogue with OSHA to allow us to be a better advocate for industry safe practices.

Leaders Have Vision Vision is like a road map, and there’s a saying that goes something like, “To know the road ahead, ask those that are coming back.” The current Board Members have spent a lot of time and effort discussing our “road map for future growth,” which I will try to articulate while also looking back at where we have been. In 1992, the Steel Erectors Association of Virginia and the Carolinas (SEAVAC) had the vision of expanding into a David Deem is President of Deem Structural Services LLC, AISC (CSEA/MEE), and is President of the SEAA Board of Directors.


national organization and changed the name to the Steel Erectors Association of America. Today we have over 250 members in 43 states, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. Our vision is to have representation in all 50 states and increase our membership by 18% annually. In 1998, the first convention was held outside of the Carolinas in Nashville, Tenn. Our vision is to better serve newly acquired members in the Midwest and West by alternating events between East and West locations, not only conventions but board meetings, Meet and Greet activities, and golf tournaments. Our next Board Meeting is July 14 in Nashville, TN, with the fall meeting and Dave Schulz Memorial Golf Tournament benefiting safety and education projects in Denver, CO (Sept. 15 and 16). Convention will be in St. Augustine, Fla., in 2023 and Glendale, Ariz., in 2024. Next year the fall golf tournament will return to North Carolina. I encourage all to “Save the Date” and attend these events. In 2000 – The original publication of the NCCER Ironworker curriculum was completed with the help of SEAA, which contributed $125,000.00 and provided SMEs for content. Today, we have the SEAA/NCCER Ironworker Craft Training and DOL Approved Apprenticeship Standard, along with 27 accredited training sites. We currently have 54 newly released training videos with 21 more on the way. In addition, we can now officially announce a newly accredited DOL approved apprenticeship standard for reinforcing steel. In 2001 – The 1st edition of the Detailing Guide for the Enhancement of Erection Safety, a joint collaboration with the NISD was published. Today, the 3rd edition is available. In 2004 – The 1st edition of Connector magazine was published. Today, I believe this is one of, if not the best, trade magazines published. I would offer that the content alone is worth the price of membership.(To learn more about the history of SEAA, see our interactive timeline at [insert location.]) All of the above could not have happened without vision or growth, and growth requires changes which make some people uncomfortable. While you can have change without growth, you cannot have growth without change. The challenge for all of us, when it comes to change, is to know the answers to these key questions: What do we want? What will it cost? Are we willing to pay the price? When should we start paying the price? My commitment to our membership is that we will not change just for change sake, but we will not be afraid to pay the price if it will bring growth and value to our members. I encourage anyone working in this industry to get involved with the SEAA community. When you are in the right place, with the right people, you are not spending time, but rather investing time (John C Maxwell).

ASSOCIATION NEWS ■ New Officers, Directors Named to

SEAA Board

EVENTS & ACTIVITIES Summer Board of Directors Meeting July 14, 2022 Nashville, Tenn. Summer Meet & Greet July 14, 2022 Renaissance Nashville Hotel, Nashville, Tenn. 6-8 pm Fall Board of Directors Meeting September 15, 2022 Broomfield, Colo. Fall Meet & Greet September 15, 2022 Omni Interlocken Hotel Broomfield, Colo. 6-8 pm Dave Schulz Memorial Golf Tournament September 16, 2022 The Golf Club at Omni Interlocken Hotel Broomfield, Colo.

SEAA has announced the slate of officers to serve from 2022 to 2024. The slate was unanimously approved by the Board of Directors. David Deem, incoming President, addressed members. “I look forward to leading a dedicated group of volunteers who have fresh ideas for increasing value for our members,” said Deem, who is President of Deem Structural Services, Longview, Texas. He first served on the SEAA Board of Directors from 1998 to 2004, and again beginning in 2016. He is an advocate for the advancement of quality and safety standards and assisted in Geoff Kress, right, passes the golden wrench to incoming president writing several technical publications on steel detailing. The other officers joining the SEAA Executive Committee David Deem. are: President Elect Jack Nix of Shelby Erectors, Inc., Davie, Fla.; Industry Member VP Chris Legnon of Cooper Steel, Shelbyville, Tenn.; Associate Member VP Carrier Gulajan of Construction Insurance Agency, Inc., Manassas, Va.; Secretary Bryan McClure of Trivent Safety Consulting, Westminster, Colo.; and Treasurer Greg Phillips of Titan Steel Erectors, LLC, Memphis, Tenn. Board members approved to fill three-year terms for 2022 to 2024 are: David Deem, Carrie Gulajan, Jason McElrath of M&P Specialty Insurance, Columbia, S.C., Greg Phillips, and Tom Schlickbernd of Vulcraft/Verco Group, Allentown, Pa.

■ Events to Alternate between East and West SEAA has made a strategic decision to alternate the locations of its major events between the eastern and western parts of the United States, reports the Membership and Events Committees. “We have seen record membership growth over the last three quarters, and we now have members in 43 States, as well as four members from three Canadian Provinces, and Puerto Rico,” said Jack Nix, Chairman of the Membership Committee. Key concentration areas include the Southeast, Texas, and Mountain States, and a growing number of members west of the Rocky Mountains. “As we continue to gain members in new regions, it is important for us to support them, just as we have supported our East Coast members,” said Nix. The Association will hold its Summer 2022 Board of Directors Meeting and Meet & Greet Reception in Nashville, Tenn., July 14. SEAA members are invited to attend the Board meeting. The Meet & Greet Reception is open to prospective members and industry stakeholders who are looking to network and learn more about the association. The Dave Schulz Memorial Golf Tournament will be held in Denver, Colo., September 16, 2022. Prior to the golf tournament will be the Fall 2022 Board of Directors Meeting and Meet & Greet Reception on September 15. “SEAA contracts with hotels for our events several years in advance. Coming out of the pandemic, SEAA was fortunate to be able to push standing contracts from cancelled or postponed events to new dates without major financial fallout. We will be starting with a fresh slate by 2023 and will bring the Dave Schulz Memorial Golf Tournament back to our Southeast roots in 2023,” said Carrie Sopuch Gulajan, Chairwoman of the Events Committee. “Funds from the Dave Schulz Memorial Golf Tournament supports Safety & Education projects, including financial support for World Class winners of the Craft Training Excellence award to apply toward expanding training initiatives,” said Pete Gum, SEAA’s Executive Director. “We are excited to be in Colorado this Fall for the golf tournament fundraiser, and we look forward to seeing our members there to support a great cause.” The association will be back to the East Coast in St. Augustine, Fla., for the 2023 Convention & Trade Show, March 28-31. Sponsorships will be available for all upcoming events.



Accepting Award Nominations National Awards Program

Derr & Gruenewald received World Class recognition for both Safety and Craft Training Excellence Awards.

■ Safety and Craft Training Excellence

Recipients Announced

NEW! Earlier Deadlines Open to Member Companies of All Sizes Submit at Q

Industry-Wide Publicity


Profiles in Connector magazine


Presentations at SEAA & AISC Conventions


4 Contract Class Categories for Structural Steel


NEW! 2 Contract Class Categories for Miscellaneous Metals


24 month Topping Out Period from Jan. 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2022

Safety Excellence The Safety Excellence Award goes to eight SEAA member companies in three categories with excellent 2021 safety records. Recipients were selected based on evaluations of their EMR ratings, OSHA 300A statistics, and safety program processes over the last three years. Scoring was based on points assigned to a multi-criteria analysis, conducted in blind review by members of SEAA’s Safety & Education Committee. • World Class: Bracken Construction Co., Ridgeland, Miss.; Derr & Gruenewald Construction, LLC, Brighton, Colo.; Gardner Watson Decking, Oldsmar, Fla. • Premier: Shelby Erectors, Davie, Fla.; Empire Steel Erectors, Humble, Texas • Gold: Black Cat, LLC, Cheyenne, Wyo.; L.R. Willson & Sons, Gambrills, Md.; FM Steel Construction, Gilbert, Ariz.

Craft Training Excellence Two companies received World Class recognition for their craft training programs. Applicants were evaluated on the portability of credentials, availability of apprenticeship programs, training, and recruitment efforts. Evaluations are made in comparison to other companies of similar size, based on the number of ironworkers employed from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021. Note that there were not submissions by employers in all size categories for 2022.





3 Categories based on Number of Ironworkers employed


World Class, Premier, and Gold Level Recognitions


NEW! $1500 in Craft Training Grants awarded to each World Class winner




World Class, Premier, and Gold Level Recognitions


Based on Safety Metrics for the previous year

• Category 1 (121+ employees): Derr & Gruenewald Construction, LLC, Brighton, Colo. • Category 2 (61-120 employees): Shelby Erectors, Davie, Fla. “Our members are dedicated to the safety and health of their employees, and these award programs provide them with the recognition they deserve for going above and beyond in the name of safety and training,” said Bryan McClure, Chairman of SEAA’s Safety and Education Committee. “Good safety records, comprehensive training aligned with long-term career paths, and awards recognitions, are among the criteria that prospective employees consider when deciding where to apply. Beyond the inherent value of being a safe company, it’s also a great marketing tool in a highly competitive market,” he continued.

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■ SEAA Names 2022 Project of the Year Winners Shelby Erectors, Inc.

Steel Fab Enterprises, LLC

SEAA announces the winners of its 2022 Projects of the Year. Entries could be submitted in four classes for Structural Construction based on contract value for that portion of the job. In addition, the association opened a new category this year for Miscellaneous Metals in two classes. This category includes bridges, decking, ornamental steel, reinforcing steel, and steel fabrication projects. In all, seven companies were recognized for effectively solving unique jobsite challenges while safely completing projects. (Note, there were no submissions this year for Class II Structural or Class I Miscellaneous Metals.) Project submissions are chosen by an independent panel of judges. Winners will get the chance to participate in a peer panel discussion at AISC’s Steel Conference in 2023.

Project of the Year Winners: Williams Steel Erection Co., Inc.

Honorable Mentions:

Miscellaneous Metals, Class II: Shelby Erectors Structural, Class I: Steel Fab Enterprises, LLC

Structural, Class I: Hodges Erectors, Inc.,

Structural, Class III: Williams Steel Erection Co., Inc. Structural, Class III: Flawless Steel Welding Structural, Class IV: Deem Structural Services

Structural, Class IV: Mid Atlantic Erectors

Deem Structural Services

■ Lifetime Achievement and Person of the Year Awards Presented at 50th Anniversary Gala SEAA has posthumously awarded David Alan Schulz of Schulz Iron Works with its highest lifetime achievement, the William Davis Service Award during its 50th Anniversary Gala in April. Stephanie Trainor, Vice President and Marketing Manager, Construction Insurance Agency, was recognized as the association’s 2022 Person of the Year.

William Davis Service Award

Person of the Year

The William Davis Service award is given to an individual who has demonstrated a life-long commitment to service in the steel construction industry. The award is the association’s highest honor, and is not issued annually. The award is presented in memory of William Davis, Cindy Schulz receives William who held board and commitDavis Service Award on behalf of David Schulz. tee positions for nearly 20 years through the 1980s and 1990s. Recipients exemplify qualities of volunteerism and generosity. Schulz passed away in December of 2020. “It was truly an honor to present Dave’s wife, Cindy Schulz, with this award,” said Alan Sears, retired Chairman, Awards Committee. “Dave put his all into the association. He spearheaded the fundraising effort for SEAA’s education and training programs, and shared his passion for the safety with others in the industry.”

Trainor has a long-standing history with the association. Her father, George R. Pocock, was a board member and organizer of SEAA golf events, and a great asset to the association for more than 15 years. Her brother, George R. “Chip” Pocock II, was President from 2007-2008. They are also the only father and son pair to have both received the Person of the Year and the William Davis Service Award. Trainor’s sister-in-law, Pamela Pocock, served as Stephanie Trainor named Person of the Year. Executive Director from 2000 to 2012. “SEAA is quite literally in her blood,” said Drew Heron, Chairman of the Awards Committee. “She has been involved with the association for as long as I can remember. She has worked tirelessly as a volunteer behind the scenes and is always willing to take on more work,” he continued. Whatever the task — making phone calls, soliciting sponsorship funds, coordinating the sale of golf ball raffles for the Boom Lift Ball Drop — Stephanie is willing to help. She is a familiar face and a constant presence. “I can remember when Steph first started attending SEAA Conventions,” said Carrie Gulajan and Chairwoman of the Events Committee. “She stepped behind the golf registration table, rolled up her sleeves. Her eagerness has never wavered, and she now carries on a family legacy of award winners.”



Red-D-Arc Welderentals demos Miller ArcReach Heater

■ Induction Heating Demo Red-D-Arc Welderentals demonstrated the Miller ArcReach Heater at SEAA’s 50th Annual Convention and Trade Show in Charleston, S.C. The ArcReach Heater, an air-cooled induction heating system, is specifically designed for preheating and bake-out applications up to 600° F without the need for a cooler and coolant. Temperature control programs can be manually entered or loaded via USB drive. Heating data is automatically recorded and can be saved for use in quality control and documentation needs. The air-cooled cables and quick wraps are manufactured from durable high-temperature materials, and designed to withstand tough job site conditions.

■ Protecting Workers from Heat Illness

■ Superior Glove Releases First ANSI

Milwaukee Tool, Milwaukee Wis., has expanded its PPE products to feature BOLT™ sun protection accessories for Milwaukee hard hats and helmets. The BOLT Sun Visor with Sunshade blocks UV rays by offering 360-degree UV protection. A 50+ UPF rating blocks out 98% of BOLT Sun Visor UV radiation, while a tinted brim reduces glare and increases visibility. To help users stay cool, the shade is constructed with a breathable mesh material that dries fast and is antimicrobial to prevent odor and bacteria build-up.

The TenActiv™ STXFNVB knit gloves from Superior Glove, Acton, Ontario, are the world’s first knit gloves to achieve ANSI Level 3 impact protection. With a skeleton-back design, TenActiv knit gloves are able to offer maximum impact resistance that safeguards hands without compromising flexibility. The palm coating provides a secure grip for handling lightly oiled parts.

■ JLG Introduces Rotating Telehandlers JLG Industries, Inc., McConnellsburg, Pa., now offers three rotating telehandler models, the R1370, R1385, and R11100. The three models have nearly identical base configurations, though the R1370 and R1385 have 4-section booms, the R11100 has a 5-section boom. Capacities range from 11,000 lbs to 13,000 lbs and maximum reach is 67 to 97 ft. All boom sections, regardless of model, are cylinder- and chain-driven to support higher reach and greater lift capacity. The R11100 can be used as a traditional telehandler, mobile elevating work platform (MEWP), or a rough terrain crane. 14 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

Level 3 Impact Protection Glove

TenActive Knit Gloves

JLG Rotating Telehandlers


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

■ Synthetic SRL from FallTech Cuts

■ SEAA Members Now

FallTech, Compton, Calif., has released a new self-retracting lifeline that is lightweight, comfortable to wear. It meets the ANSI Z359.14-2021 Class 2 Leading Edge Standard, which goes into effect February 2023. The 8 FT-X EdgeCore is a synthetic lifeline that has reduced weight by 40 percent when compared to 3/16-inch steel cable typically used for SRL-Ps. This ergonomic design has streamlined the SRL’s profile that rests on the user’s back. This design minimizes the distance between the harness back D-ring attachment point and the retractable axis point. The SRL sits higher on the user’s back, which helps to relieve stress and pain. The 8 FT-X™ EdgeCore™ is available in single and twin configurations.

Last year, The Crosby Group, Richardson Texas, released Crosby BlokCam modular cameras to improve communication and overall awareness during lifting operations using advanced audio-visual technology. BlokCam is a wireless system that deploys to the hook or boom tip of a crane. The sound and view from below the camera are transmitted and Crosby BlokCam received to a screen in the cab. This allows the operator to see and hear the load and surroundings. The BlokCam improves lift times by allowing more awareness of the operator’s surroundings and contributing to fewer adjustments, especially during blind or difficult lifts. This product is distributed by SEAA members Ashley Sling, Certified Slings & Supply, and others.

Weight by 40 Percent

FallTech FT-X EdgeCore

Distribute Crosby BlokCam

■ Face Shield from Miller Electric Miller Face Shield PAPR

Miller Electric Mfg. LLC, Appleton, Wis., launched a new face shield, the Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR). The Miller Face Shield PAPR is designed to keep users comfortable so their safety gear stays on even in the most extreme applications. It includes a patent-pending Dualtec™ manifold system with six adjustable air vents and dual speeds allows users to customize their airflow and helps reduce dry eyes and nose. The breathing tube is located at the bottom of the neck, instead of on top of the head, and lays flat against the users back to allow for unrestricted movement. The face shield includes High-Definition View (HDV) technology that provides users with a sharp, detailed view at any angle without distortion.

■ 3 Dozen Exhibitors Share their Wares The Trade Show has been an important part of SEAA’s Convention for nearly 30 years, including the added benefit of seeing actual equipment and live demos. Here’s a glimpse of a few of the companies that participated at this year’s 50th Anniversary event in Charleston, S.C.

Columbia Safety & Supply GWY

Pneutek Industrial Training International


Magni Telescopic Handlers and Verton/The Crosby Group


300 Scarlet Blvd. Oldsmar, FL 34677 Phone: 813.891.9849 Fax: 813.891.4105 Estimating: Geoff Kress: 727.463.3074 Jason Kulvinskas: 727.463.3078

Hanes Supply Equipment demos are a crowd favorite.

Genie Nucor/Vulcraft

Llincoln Electric (foreground), Altec Cranes (background) See more photos from the 2022 Trade Show and Demos at


LeJeune Bolt Company


By Tracy Bennett

Beyond Skills Training Mentoring craft professionals and developing future jobsite leaders


n honor of its anniversary, SEAA reflected on the issues that faced steel erectors over the last 50 years, asking for insight from several of its past presidents. Improving the work environment by focusing on safety and training has always been at the core of the organization, which is evident in the money, expertise, and time the association has committed to ironworker craft training over the years. Tom Underhill, retired, (SEAA President 1997-1998 and Executive Director 20122020) explained that in the late 1990s the association committed $125,000 to The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) to update its ironworker curriculum. “During my time as Executive Director, SEAA reconnected with NCCER to start the SEAA Craft Training program,” said Underhill. The program gives member companies access to nationally recognized credentials for ironworkers, riggers, crane operators, and 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.

signal persons. Because of SEAA’s affiliation with NCCER, members also have access to all of NCCER’s craft training materials, assessments, and certifications. “The SEAA/NCCER training program gives member companies access to quality training and workforce development tools that are beneficial for companies of all sizes,” said Tim Eldridge, President of Education Services Unlimited and SEAA’s Craft Training and Assessment Administrator. “If you’re a small company, this program can connect you with the resources you need to jumpstart training while keeping the cost down. For larger companies, the program can streamline training,” he said. When asked what lessons from the past could positively affect the future of the steel construction industry, Josh Cilley, President of American Steel & Precast Erectors, Greenfield, N.H., and ASPE-South, (SEAA President 2016-2017), responded that protecting workers is key. “The emphasis should be on doing things the right way, factoring in safety. You can always afford to make safety a priority. We owe it to the industry to provide a safe work environment for everyone,” said Cilley.


Craft training essentials Training doesn’t happen by chance. It must be a formal process. According to John Garrison, there are five essential elements necessary for workforce training to be successful. Garrison, (SEAA President 2001-2002), who is retired from Garrison Steel Erectors, Inc., Pell City, Ala., remains involved with the Ironworker Skills Institute, which he founded. 1. Curriculum. “SEAA’s efforts helped immensely in that regard, initially by providing funding and subject matter experts for NCCER to create an ironworker curriculum, and later in the development of a custom program that specifically met the needs of steel erection employers,” recalled Garrison. 2. An appropriate venue in which to train. 3. Students. This is why recruiting is so important, explained Garrison. Unlike the dilemma of the chicken and the egg, Garrison says there is no question about which should come first. “In my opinion, it is a waste of time and money to recruit people if you don’t have a

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strong training program ready for them to enter once they have been hired,” he said. 4. Money. Funding is a given. It takes time and resources to maintain workforce development initiatives. In today’s tight labor market, spending money on workforce development should be considered an investment in your business, not just simply a cost of doing business. This is what makes your company safer, more

productive, and able to deliver better quality work—all of which contribute directly to your bottom line. 5. Trainers. Since 2016, as he has traveled on this quest to create the next generation of ironworkers, Garrison has found the biggest hurdle is finding qualified trainers. “Industry has to lead the way to provide workforce training,” he said.


Future leaders Once you have trained an individual, retaining them is directly related to having formal mentoring and clear career paths. “Mentoring in a construction workplace has become increasingly important in recent years. The process has always relied upon transferring knowledge and skills of existing craft professionals to newer members of the workforce, although few programs were formally structured,” explained Cathy Tyler, Director of Accreditation and Workforce Development for NCCER. “The challenge of maintaining today’s workforce, however, requires that mentoring be moved to the forefront, utilizing structured mentoring processes,” she said. In addition to the craft training NCCER is well known for, the organization also offers courses for leaders and managers. One of those courses is called Mentoring for Craft Professionals. Tyler explains that mentoring and coaching are closely related and often referred to interchangeably, but understanding the difference is important. Coaching often involves a single experienced individual working with several trainees at the same time on the same skill. Mentoring is similar but continues for extended periods, focusing on the overall development of the trainee. Mentoring should also be documented. Good mentors look to establish relationships with their trainees. Mentors should be open, honest, trusting, patient, humble, energetic, optimistic, and genuine. “Successful mentoring relationships include a personal connection, similar values, mutual respect, and setting clear expectations and goals,” Tyler added. Evaluations are conducted as part of this entire process. There are typically four levels. • Reaction: Capturing information directly from trainee related to the training and mentoring that were provided. • Learning: Conducting an evaluation of what the trainee has learned. This is typically captured through written or performance testing, if applicable. • Behavior or Performance Change: Measuring changes in the individual’s productivity or quality of completed tasks. • Business Results: Collecting data that helps to determine the financial return on the investment, the effect on the company’s image in the market, or related considerations for the company.

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Certainly, training and mentoring are good for the individual, but it’s also good for the company and the industry. “It’s critical on an individual level for companies to set the bar high for education and training, safety, and business practices. But, it is also good for the industry,” said Eddie Williams, retired, (SEAA’s founding President, 1972-1973, 1980, 2003-2004). “This ensures that each of us is bidding against companies of the same caliber. Most of us would rather compete with a competitor that knows what it is doing, not just presenting a low bid.” Thinking back on the last 50 years, Williams said of SEAA, “those companies that shared that same vision stayed as members of SEAA. Those that didn’t, left.”

Other Courses for Construction Managers NCCER offers a handful of courses designed for career development of construction leaders and managers. In addition to Mentoring for Craft Professionals, mentioned in this article, other courses include the following.

Fundamentals of Crew Leadership: This course is for an experienced craftworker who has demonstrated leadership qualities. To become an effective leader, it helps if a trainee has natural leadership qualities, but there are specific job skills that each craftworker must


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learn in order to do the job well, including the ability to communicate effectively, provide direction to a crew and effectively plan and schedule the work of a crew. Project Management: Project managers might meet with owners, examine a work breakdown structure (WBS), negotiate with sub-contractors, and directly supervise crews. Their qualifications include both formal education and on-the-job training. This course covers topics such as Construction Documents, Resource Control, and Continuous Improvement. Project Supervision: Field supervisors are the frontline managers on the job, directly supervising workers and other field supervisors. They are both the engine and the anchor of the construction team, driving it toward effectiveness and efficiency, and stabilizing it with consistency and good judgment. To fill this role, field supervisors need more than experience in the field. They also need management skills in problem solving, planning, estimating, safety supervision, scheduling, controlling costs and resources, and, perhaps most important, managing people. This course gives both veteran and new field managers a step-by-step approach to honing their natural abilities, developing essential skills, and generally improving their performance as leaders. In addition, NCCER offers two management level certifications. One is for Construction Workforce Development Professionals, the first of its kind in the industry. The other is designed to help companies groom new Construction Superintendents. More than half of these managers are estimated to retire by 2026. NCCER developed this certification in conjunction with FMI. This assessment, training, and certification program is for people who oversee the operations of a construction site from planning to completion.

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By Jeremy Ratledge

New Solutions to Old Problems Testing new rigging method for placing joists

A new type of remote-release hook provides an alternative to the use of open hooks for placing panelized joists.


anelizing joists for placement is one of three common methods for landing joists on a structure. The benefit is that fewer lifts are required by the crane, increasing its productivity for other tasks. In addition, panelized joists only need to be secured at the four corners before releasing from the crane, making it an efficient construction method. Piedmont Structural uses an engineered rigging frame to pick up panelized joists, which provides stability for lifting. The joists attach to the frame using specially designed open hooks that are inserted into the open webs of the joist. Slings connect the frame to the crane hook. Once ironworkers have positioned and secured the joist bay, the crane operator can then lower the rigging frame and guide the hooks out of the open web joist members and return the frame to the ground for the next lift. To release the hooks, traditionally, the ironworkers either have to walk out to the rigging or position themselves under the joists

working from an aerial work platform. However, we are increasingly encountering General Contractors that are not comfortable with the use of open hooks, despite the other benefits. After learning about a new type of remote-release hook at the recent SEAA Convention & Trade Show, we asked the supplier to demonstrate how these hooks might enable us to continue to use the panelized method with our custom lifting frame. We invited two other SEAA member companies— Mabe Steel Inc., Kernersville, N.C., and CAS Steel Erectors, Inc., Hendersonville, N.C., to watch the demonstration.

Remote release hooks

OTH Pioneer Rigging, Montreal, Quebec, offers two models. LudwigHook has a 4,400 lb working load limit. It is mostly used for setting joists, purlins, and girders. The LudwigHook XL has a 11,600 lb working load limit, enabling it to lift heavier components such as beams and columns. The smaller hook weighs just 6.2 lbs, while the XL weighs 15 lbs. The hooks are controlled by a radio remote control up to 200 ft away, and can be Jeremy Ratledge is a Project Manager for used in combination to achieve scalable Piedmont Structural Co., Salisbury, N.C. lifting capacity. Hooks can be released 26 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

Below the rigging frame, the Ludgwig hooks connect directly to the lifting beam. The joist is connected using a basket hitch from the Ludwig hook.

THE CONTRADICTIONS OF OPEN HOOKS By Tracy Bennett Joe Kuzar, Technical Director for Industrial Training International, Woodland, Wash., offers these reminders when it comes to rigging with open hooks and using custom below-the-hook lifting devices. “There are a lot of contradictions in the standards regarding the use of open hooks,” he said. “For steel erection, Subpart R is silent on this, but ASME B30.5-1.7.6 states “hooks shall be equipped with latches unless the application makes the use of a latch impractical, and ASME B30.10-1.11.1(m) states “the need for a latch or mousing on any hook is a function of the application of the hook and shall be determined by a qualified person.” Meanwhile, according 29 CFR 1926.1425(c) (2): “Hooks with self-closing latches or their equivalent must be used. Exception: “J” hooks are permitted to be used for setting wooden trusses.” If using open hooks, he recommends writing procedures that specifically identify the hazards that are created by using closed hooks, and how the use of open hooks mitigates that. “As a former crane operator, I like the idea of lifting panelized joists,” he added, as it means making fewer lifts. When using any below-the-hook lifting devices, the standards call for the device to be properly labeled with the manufacturer name, serial number, rated load, ASME design criteria and design class. Custom made devices must be designed according to ASME BTH-1 by a qualified person. When using a new tool with which safety personnel may not be familiar, Kuzar suggests providing documentation on site that guides operational procedures, recovery plans for worst-case scenarios, removal from service criteria, and even the standard- to which the below-the-hook lifting device was designed. “I always recommend putting your people in a position to be able to defend their rigging decisions,” he said. And with new technology, such as a remote-release hook, or a custom engineered lifting device such as a joist frame, “It’s all about educating people so that they understand the proper procedures,” he said.


Connector | SUMMER EDITION June 2022 | 27

Continued from page 26 one by one or all at once. In addition, they can be used with any type of sling in choker, vertical, or basket hitch configurations. To test this new tool, OTH Pioneer Rigging sent us 10 of the 4,400 lb WLL hooks. We prepped a panelized bay of five joists at our office in a configuration similar to what we use in the field. Ten slings in vertical hitches attach to the top of the rigging frame. These slings connect to a single lifting point at the crane hook. Below the rigging frame, the Ludgwig hooks connect directly to the lifting beam. The joist is connected using a basket hitch from the Ludwig hook. The response? This was awesome! Workers on the ground can prep the joists for hoisting in a few seconds. Once the panel is in place and secured by bolted connections or welds, a simple push of two buttons released all 10 Ludwig hooks at once. It has always been our belief that any task that can be performed on the ground prior to the lift reduces risk for the ironworkers in the air. Using these hooks permits the bay of panelized joists to be erected without an ironworker walking out to release them, and reduces the possibility of “pinch points and crushed by” resulting from ironworkers positioning themselves in a boom lift platform between each joist to release rigging—an activity that can take place as much as 100 times per day. It also speeds up production by eliminating open hooks from becoming entangled in bridging and joist members, and it satisfies the general contractors who are looking to eliminate open hooks on job sites.


Typical scenario for using rigging frame to lift joists.


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 | SUMMER EDITION June 2022 | 29


Celebrating 50 years of being STEEL STRONG

Honoring the past, planning for the future


he Steel Erectors Association of America kicked off its year-long celebration of its 50th Anniversary at the Annual Convention and Trade Show in Charleston, S.C. (See photos from Trade Show and Demos on page 16. “We were thrilled to welcome 370 attendees to Charleston,” said David Deem, President of SEAA. “Attendance was back to pre-pandemic numbers, and we cannot thank everyone enough for coming out to support the organization.” One of the highlights was Keynote Speaker Joe Theismann, who also attended the Welcome Reception and Trade Show Wednesday evening. “Our Diamond Level Sponsor, United Rentals, played a huge role in securing Joe Theismann to mingle, sign autographs, and speak,” said Carrie Gulajan, Chairwoman, Events Committee.

“In addition, United Rentals’ sponsorship allowed us to provide all Gala attendees with an autographed copy of Theismann’s newest book, How to be a Champion Every Day.” A new tradition is a networking event exclusively for first-time attendees and new members. “Breakout events like this allow us to meet our new members and help them get the most out of their membership,” said Jack Nix, Chairman, Membership Committee. In addition to education sessions, panel discussions with the companies that are leading the industry gave members a chance to get insight into best practices. “Our members are dedicated to the safety and training of ironworkers, and it’s important for us to recognize them for their efforts, and learn from companies that are doing it right,” said Bryan McClure, Chairman, Safety and Education Committee. Convention wrapped up with a Gala on the historic USS Yorktown. Eddie Williams, the founding president, was in attendance. “SEAA was and is about doing good for all


of us. Providing tools that help contractors achieve the highest level of education, safety, business practices and competition in the market,” he said. The association has seen a tremendous amount of growth in the last two years, and it truly showed at this year’s convention. Be sure to mark your calendars for future events: March 28-31, 2023 in St. Augustine, Fla., and April 2-5, 2024 in Glendale, Ariz. Keynote Speaker Joe Theismann

The Navy’s Blue Angels were practicing for an air show providing bonus entertainment during the Equipment Demos.

SEAA President David Deem with past association presidents (L-R) Tom Underhill (1997-1998) of Brenner Steel, Tri Steel, Duff Zimmerman (2009-2010) of Cooper Steel, John Garrison (2001-2002) of Garrison Steel Erectors, Geoff Kress of Gardner-Watson Decking (2020-2021), Eddie Williams (1972-1973, 1980, 2003-2004) of CP Buckner Steel Erection, Bob Beckner (1999-2000) of Peterson Beckner Industries, Jim Larson (1993-1994) of LR Willson & Sons, Pete Walker (19911992) of LR Willson & Sons, Phoenix Steel. Not shown Bruce Basden (2005-2006) of Basden Steel Corp.

Sherrie Wilkinson of LR Willson & Sons won a prize for catching the fish with the most spots. See a list of all winners at

Top notch education and panel discussions provided opportunities for engaged learning.

Special thanks to our sponsors, especially Diamond Sponsor United Rentals, which made it possible to bring Joe Theismann to speak to attendees.

Connector | SUMMER EDITION June 2022 | 31



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Allie Sylvester of M&P Insurance was one of the golfers who got closest to the pin.


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Bigge Crane & Rigging took first place in the Golf Tournament.

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Joe Theismann made the rounds during the Trade Show, meeting fans of all ages.


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Amtrak Middletown, Train Station and Walkway, Middletown, Pa.

Structural Steel Class I (up to $500,000) Erector and Fabricator: Steel Fab Enterprises, LLC Architect: Sowinski Sullivan Architects Structural Engineer: HNTB Corp. GC: Wickersham Construction & Engineering, Inc. Contract Value: $444,000 Tons of Steel: 273 Topped Out: February 2020

By Tracy Bennett



Similarities, contrasts, and common themes Steel Fab fabricated and erected all structural steel, ornamental stairs and handrails on a jobsite that was adjacent to active Amtrak train tracks.

Missoni Baia 57-story Condominium Miami, Fla.

Structural Steel Class I Honorable Mention Erector: Hodges Erectors Inc. Fabricator: Suncor Inc. National Metals Architect: Revuelta Architecture International, Structural Engineer: DeSimone Consulting Engineers GC: Civic Construction Co., Inc., and Yapi Group Contract Value: $498,200 Tons of Steel: 375 Topped Out: December 2021


art one of the Project of the Year coverage features Structural Class I and Miscellaneous Metals Class II winners. (There were no submissions this year for Structural Class II or Miscellaneous Metals Class I.) The winning Structural Class III and IV projects will be featured in the Fall Issue of Connector. To re-align the awards program with the makeup of our membership, SEAA has added a new category for Miscellaneous Metals projects. Projects could be submitted in one of two contract classes. Examples include bridges, reinforcing steel, decking, ornamental steel, and steel fabrication projects. The Structural Steel category remains the same with four contract classes. In the brief overviews that follow, you’ll discover that one of these projects took 11 days, while another lasted for more than two years. Two of the projects had to deal with extreme environmental risks—working at night, dealing with rain and high winds. In those similarities and contrasts, there are common themes. The importance of preparation in bidding the job. Clear communication internally and with other contractors. Getting creative with equipment and other tools.

■ Structural Class I Winner: 11 Days Start to Finish

Wekiva 6, 5.5 Miles of Roadway and 4 Bridges, Central Florida along the Wekiva River

Miscellaneous Metals Class II (Over $500,000) Erector: Shelby Erectors, Inc. Fabricator: Commercial Metals Company Architect: WGI Structural Engineer: Finley Engineering Group, Inc. GC: Superior Construction Company Southeast, LLC, and Vecellio & Grogan, Inc. Contract Value: $7.2 million Tons of Steel: 8,187 Topped Out: December 2021

Steel Fab Enterprises, LLC is a family-owned, AISC-certified steel fabricator and erector located in Lancaster, Pa. The Fisher family has worked in steel construction in the mid-Atlantic region since 1962. The company operates a 60,000 sq ft structural steel fabrication plant with room to build large steel trusses, as well as a 20,000 sq ft miscellaneous metals plant. “We are really known for our fabrication services, with an erection department that can deliver turnkey projects,” said Dan Stoltzfus, Project Manager. 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.


This is a primary reason the company was selected to build the Amtrak Train Station and Walkway in Middletown, Pa., which supports Harrisburg International Airport and the local community. What appears on the surface to be a straight-forward job was actually very challenging due to the environmental conditions and the tight turnaround required to get Amtrak back to fully operational. “We have a reputation for doing some crazy projects,” said Steve Fisher, President. “The GC came to us for this job.” Steel Fab fabricated and erected all structural steel, ornamental stairs and handrails on a jobsite that was adjacent to active Amtrak train tracks. All assemblies had to be lifted by crane over de-energized transmission lines in a four-hour window at night.

All assemblies had to be lifted by crane over de-energized transmission lines in a four-hour window at night.

Careful coating The original specs called for the steel to be galvanized, then painted. However, this would have drastically increased fabrication time and the amount of material handling required. “We wanted to erect as many unit assemblies as possible to minimize the steel erection duration,” said Stoltzfus. Instead, Steel Fab proposed using a high performance coating from Carboline. “This was an SP 10 blast with three-coat Carboline products (Carbozinc 11 HS, Carboguard 893, and Carbothane 133). The result is a very hard surface that will last a long time against the elements,” said Stoltzfus. The other benefit was turnaround time. By pre-assembling unitized sections of column bents, stairs, canopies, the bridge, and roof structure off site, about six months was shaved off of fabrication on the front end of the job. “We got the coatings manufacturer involved early to demonstrate the quality of the finish to the customer,” said Fisher, which then received approvals from the Engineer of Record. It also meant that larger assemblies could be built, reducing the total number of times the crane had to swing across the tracks or over the transmission lines. In all there were just 15 major picks. To protect the finish, the company lined all dunnage and the forks of the telehandler with foam padding. Synthetic slings were used to lift the pieces, with foam padding used as softeners.

Bolt up and detailing, as well as staging for the night-time lifting, primarily took place during the day.

Bolt up and detailing, as well as staging for the night-time lifting, primarily took place during the day, using a JCB telehandler for material handling and Genie or JLG boom lifts provided by United Rentals for personnel lifting. The South Tower steel erection took just 11 days.

Mitigating many risks “Because of working near active railroad lines, close coordination with Amtrak officials was very important,” said Fisher. Train signal training was provided to all personnel so they understood what the different horns, whistles, and signs meant, which communicated things like which tracks were open and which ones are closed. “We also met every morning with Amtrak officials to discuss train schedules and work activities for the day and night,” said Stoltzfus. “The only time we could lift—Midnight to 4 am—presented low visibility issues,” said Fisher. Steel Fab met with their United Rentals representative to recommend the type and quantity of lights needed. “Greiner Industries, the crane supplier, was a key team player on the project,” said Stoltzfus. Greiner used 3D Lift Plan to demonstrate crane setup and lifting routes for each of the 15 assemblies. Even though the power lines were de-energized for the lifts that took place at night, they still presented an obstruction

Coordination with Amtrak officials was very important. Train signal training was provided to all personnel.

to the lifting path. “I’m a big fan of 3D Lift Plan because it makes it very clear to the customer, and is requested more and more by the contractor,” said Stoltzfus. Greiner used a 600-ton Demag all-terrain crane for the lifts. Connector | SUMMER EDITION June 2022 | 35

Belt trusses on levels 36 to 38 were made of rigid horizontal and diagonal beams at the mid-span of the building.

■ Structural Class I Honorable Mention: Crowning Achievement

tight tolerances since framing was connected at either end to cast-in-place concrete mega columns at the four corners of the building.”

Hodges Erectors is no stranger to high rise projects. For the second year in a row, the South Florida erector has received recognition for a multi-story condo project from SEAA. The Missoni Baia in Miami, Fla., is a 57-story condominium above Biscayne Bay and a prominent marker on the Miami skyline. Hodges Erectors was responsible for erecting belt trusses from level 36 to 38 and the roof crown truss. Belt trusses are an emerging construction method which provide lateral load resistance in high rise buildings. The belt truss is the horizontal beam that ties together perimeter columns. Jeff Justice, General Superintendent for Hodges Erectors, describes them as a truss wrapped in rebar and encased in concrete. For this project, the belt trusses were made of rigid horizontal and diagonal beams at the mid-span of the building. The roof crown truss featured light gauge framing and metal panels. “We fit up and aligned the belt and crown trusses. Since the belt truss framing was encased by vertical and diagonal #20 rebar, we had very limited access and tight tolerances, which required precision for fit up and welding,” said Jorge Amador, President. He continues: “The roof crown also had very

Wind and rain One of the major challenges was the weather. “Rain in South Florida comes at any time and without notice. Our welders monitored the weather radar for rain and covered weld locations in order to prevent weld cracks,” he said. However, it was the wind that caused bigger problems for the schedule. The tower cranes on site were equipped with wind gauges and the operator would notify the crews when winds reached 26 mph. Not only did this affect crane operations, which shut down at 30 mph, but it also affected Hodges Erectors’ crews working from scissor lifts, which were rated for up to 28 mph when extended. “We ended up using a larger scissor lift and working at only half extension,” said Justice. “When winds exceeded 30 mph, our crews would have to demobilize and walk down 36 levels of stairs in order to get to the ground floor,” said Amador. Hodges Erectors is used to working in these kinds of conditions, but it was unusual for sustained winds to continue for so many days in a row. This put pressure on the schedule, ultimately causing about a three-week delay.


Working high above Biscayne Bay, crews would have to demobilize and walk down 36 levels when winds exceeded 30 mph.

Tandem tower cranes In addition, the crew had to get creative when tower crane capacity and reach was insufficient for lifting many of the trusses. “Two of the belt trusses on level 36 weighed more than 30,000 lbs, which exceeded the crane’s capacity of 28,000,” said Amador. The solution was tandem tower crane picks. While not unheard of, tandem tower crane picks require careful load planning, precise communication, and coordination. Justice

There would be no Project of the Year without the Judges Judges of the annual Project of the Year submissions are third-party experts, their identity known only to the SEAA Awards Committee. From 2009 to 2021, a dedicated team of four have volunteered their time for little more than the personal satisfaction. SEAA is very thankful for their friendship and dedication. • Tom Shelmerdine, Structural Solutions • Eric Bradley, Bradley & Ball Architects • Rick Ball, Bradley & Ball Architects • Mark Turman, Atlantic Architectural Metalworks Two of the belt trusses exceeded the tower crane’s capacity. The solution was tandem tower crane picks.

For the 2022 Projects of the Year, the Alan Sears, former Awards Committee chairman, and Tom baton has been passed to a new group Shelmerdine, President, Structural Solutions of judges.

explains that the cranes were 40 feet apart, and one was erected at a higher elevation than the other. In addition, the cranes were not installed at a location that could reach the final placement location of one of the trusses. One tower crane picked the truss and set it on temporary shoring on level 37. Then the second tower

crane picked it from there to set it in position. Hodges Erectors was brought into the project fairly late in the schedule, which did not allow a lot of time to plan for contingencies. Hodges Erectors’ scope was in the critical path. Given the challenges faced, successful completion with minimal setback was a major accomplishment.

Long decks and lots of piers required tying 16 million lbs of rebar and installing nearly 1 million sq ft of Stay-in-Place deck form over 18 structures.

■ Miscellaneous Metals Class II: Rebar for Roads and Bridges Coordinating schedules and labor was one of the biggest challenges for Shelby Erectors on the Wekiva 6 project in Central Florida. Spanning 5.5 miles, the company’s crews simultaneously worked on three separate locations for two General Contractors. The job provided non-stop work for Shelby Erectors’ crews for more than 2.5 years. Wekiva 6 included four bridges that featured long decks and complex cast-in-place box girders. The box segment creates a hollow beam under the deck as the form travels along the spanning bridge, explained Jackson Nix, Chief Estimator. The job required tying 16 million lbs of rebar and installing nearly 1 million sq ft of Stay-in-Place deck forms over 18 structures. “With long decks comes lots of piers. Lots of piers means lots of steel. Lots of railing. And lots of metal decking,” said Jackson Nix. “In addition, we were working in an environmentally sensitive area,” said Vince Rankin, Superintendent. “One of the three types of bridges we were building was Wild Life Bridges, manufactured crossings designed to keep animals off the roads,” he said. The other two types were segmental and conventional bridges. When asked about risk mitigation for this project, Rankin said the most unusual concern was the wildlife. “We were working in the habitat of venomous snakes, alligators, and black bears. The General Contractor provided Connector | SUMMER EDITION June 2022 | 37

an orientation for workers about maintaining situational awareness of these animals, including how to respond to an encounter with a bear,” said Rankin.

Labor of Love

The job featured complex cast-in-place box girders. The box segment creates a hollow beam under the deck as the form travels along the spanning bridge.

Shelby Erectors hires crews to work within a 50-mile radius of home base. “This philosophy allows us to keep them busy, managing our people according to peak need, shifting crews from one area to another as required,” explained Jack Nix, COO. In addition, the company recently changed its hiring practices to more effectively screen new hires, which reduces turnover. On this job, one of the crews had 10 people on it, the other two were five to six strong. To maximize labor supply, the company pre-tied as many structures as possible. “These structures were built on site within crane’s reach of the placement point,” said Rankin. “We also used tie guns with newer battery technology and used slide hook chokers for handling bundles of steel—something we learned about at a past SEAA Convention,” he said. But the biggest contribution to productivity was the use of a rod tying robot. “This was the first project we had tried TyBot on. Long repetitive decks provided the perfect trial and error to test the new technology,” said Jack Nix. TyBot is a rebar tying robot that ties up to 1,100 intersections per hour. According to the company website, it self-locates, self-positions and self-ties. It can also tie in 100% or 50% patterns on bottom and top mats with rebar sizes up to #8 and #9. Shelby Erectors has performed a series of projects of Florida Department of Transportation. “When bidding a project of this scale it is critical to know your costs and labor needs at peak performance,” said Jack Nix.

TyBot is a rebar tying robot that ties up to 1,100 intersections per hour.

To maximize labor supply, the company pre-tied as many structures as possible, built within crane’s reach.


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By Frank Kollman

Protecting Your Business From the Unexpected


ecently, he won a $17M judgment and collected the entire amount for a client who had no written agreement for his work based on the legal concept of unjust enrichment. Although proud of that result, Kollman recommends written agreements with language that clearly sets forth the parties’ obligations without unduly favoring one of the parties. For a list of the contract clauses that he suggested during his presentation, contact SEAA at While you have heard this expression a thousand times, it is worth repeating: “It is better to have a good customer than a good contract.” If a project has gone as well as can be expected, the terms of the contract become almost meaningless. In fact, if you had to go to the contract to resolve a dispute, there was a failure of some sort. Contracts are more important when things go wrong than when things go right. Unfortunately, things often go wrong, so a good contract can be very helpful. In drafting contracts, there are clauses that are important to the contractors and clauses that are important to the lawyers. The ones that are important to the lawyers are often unintelligible, contradictory, and unfair to the other party. Nevertheless, contracts should be written in English sentences, understandable by anyone with an 8th grade education. Judges asked to resolve contract disputes are more likely to reach the right decision if the language is clear and concise, not full of Middle English words like “hereby,” “heretofore,” and “hereafter.” Using fewer words is also a good idea. When Richard Nixon resigned as President, he wrote on White House letterhead: “I hereby resign the Office of President of the United States.” There was no need to use the word “hereby” or even “Office of” in that letter. Further, he was technically the President of the United States of America, so he even got that wrong. It would have been better if he had merely written “I resign,” or “I resign as President.” You should also keep in mind that while almost every contract contains language that cannot be modified except in writing signed by all the parties, there are plenty of legal decisions based on oral modifications where the written Frank Kollman of Kollman & Saucier, P.A., has been practicing law since 1977. His practice includes construction law, litigation, OSHA, and management labor and employment law. This article is an excerpt from a presentation he made at the SEAA Convention in April 2022 in Charleston, S.C.


requirement was ignored. There are also many legal decisions where the plain meaning of contract language was ignored because the facts were compelling against the party trying to invoke the contractual language. I could write a very long article on the law of contracts, but in the end, all contract disputes are decided on the facts.

Just the facts No matter how you think the legal system works, it’s all about the facts. Federal courts and most state courts are not allowed to issue advisory decisions stating how they would decide a case on hypothetical facts. Instead, there has to be a real controversy involving real facts. In other words, a court will not tell you what it would do if someone hit you with a hammer, but it will decide a case where you were actually hit by a hammer. It is much easier for a court to decide issues like damages knowing what the actual damages were. Because facts are so important, presenting the facts in any legal dispute is the key to winning or losing. What happened, when did it happen, what did you do, what did they do, and how do we prove all that? Most trials are won or lost in the opening statement where lawyers lay out the facts they intend to prove. Lawyers are not even allowed to make legal arguments during opening statements, and those who try are missing the opportunity to tell the court what happened. Facts are far more important than the law in winning a case. Because facts are so important, developing the facts is essential from the minute you bid a contract to the minute you get your last installment of the contract price. If something happens that could have significance down the line, document it. Documents include letters, notes, faxes, emails, text messages, voicemails, meeting invitations, smoke signals, conversations, and any other record. With respect to conversations, if someone says something that sounds like it might be important, might

cause trouble down the line, or might be helpful if something goes wrong in the future, write it down.

Clearing the Air Further, never let any problems fester. If something goes wrong during a project, do not wait to tell people who need to know, especially the customer. Waiting to report a foul up can have far more serious consequences than reporting and fixing it right away. It has always been my practice that bad news gets reported immediately and good news can wait. There are plenty of examples of when waiting to report bad news had horrible consequences, and plenty of stories where the immediate identification of problems saved the day. If you have, in fact, breached the contract by doing something incorrectly or by accident, you can frequently avoid problems by advising the customer right away of the problem, preferably in a matter-of-fact tone. “Frank: While we hope this does not delay the completion of Zone 2, we wanted you to know that the ship carrying the specialty girders sunk in the Bermuda Triangle today. We are working with our suppliers, and we would of course welcome any suggestions from you for alternative sources. Best regards.” At this point, while you may eventually be in breach of the contract, you have put the ball back in the other person’s court, which is generally the best place for the ball to be from your perspective. By the way, for those of you who do not read contracts sent to you, I strongly encourage you to do two things: Clear the Air: First, read the scope and Never let problems schedule to make sure you know what you are fester. supposed to do by when. Second, pray.

Take It or Leave It negotiations How do you deal with “take it or leave it” contractual negotiations? First, decide how much you want the work. Second, decide how likely the customer is to be a pain in the butt. Third, consider sending “clarification” emails or texts for the most problematic clauses, asking for more information on what it means, or asking what would happen in certain circumstances if these clauses were invoked. The worst that can happen is that the customer responds back that it means what it says. On the other hand, if there is no response or the response softens the interpretation of the language, you have a serious leg up. In a perfect world, contracts would be fair and reasonable. They are not. If possible, have a standard subcontract agreement to send along with your bid. While the customer may not use it, it at least gets the parties thinking about the contractual process as something other than “take it or leave it.” Pay attention to the indemnification provisions in the contract. It is reasonable for you to indemnify based on your negligence, but it is unreasonable to be asked to indemnify for claims arising out of your work. That would mean you are responsible for claims caused by the negligence of others, including the party you have the contract with, even if you have done nothing wrong. If possible, make sure the contract deals with unforeseen circumstances and events outside of your control.

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MEET & GREET September 15, 2022 OMNI INTERLOCKEN HOTEL Broomfield, Colorado

Registration and Sponsorship Info at

September 16, 2022 The Golf Club at Omni Interlocken Hotel

Members and Non-Members Captain’s Choice Tournament Awards and Prizes

Connector | SUMMER EDITION June 2022 | 41

TOPPING OUT “Eddie Williams opened the door for what SEAA has become. In the 1970s there wasn’t a lot of concern about safety. His vision and the example the founding companies set established the tone and goal of the organization from that day forward…Competitors are able to come together for a common cause.” ­— Bob Beckner, retired, Peterson Beckner Industries

and SEAA President (1999-2000)


Meet New Members

Three directors are retiring from SEAA’s Board. We asked individuals to reflect on their gifts.

Ed Valencia, Derr & Gruenewald, 25 Years of Service to SEAA

Check out the Member Directory at

As told by Bryan McClure, Senior Safety Consultant, Trivent Safety Consulting:

360 Structural Services, Leander, Texas

“I met Ed 28 years ago when we were building Coors Field in Denver, Colo. I was 20 years old and thought I was indestructible. Ed saw me running up a raker beam, not tied off, and exposed to a 20-foot fall. Rather than lecturing, he had me believing that I owed it to myself, friends, and family to take advantage of the safety equipment provided to me. Teaching safety while diffusing confrontation was Ed’s special gift. There will be a huge void when he leaves SEAA, but he can retire knowing that he left the industry far safer than when he found it!” Sherrie Wilkinson, L.R. Willson & Sons, 14 years of Service to SEAA As told by Tom McAleese, Lifting Specialist, Mazzella Indusco: “Honest. Hardworking. Reliable. Caring. Sherrie is all of those things. Sherrie put family first while also directing the Human Resources of a large family company. She led the Convention planning for many years, an often thankless and time-consuming job. And yet, no matter what was going on in her personal life, she always greets people with a smile and makes them feel welcome.” Cindy Schulz, Schulz Iron Works, 1 Board Term and 20+ years of contributions As told by Carrie Gulajan, President, Construction Insurance Agency: “For countless years, Cindy attended SEAA board meetings and sponsored events alongside her late husband Dave Schulz. Even prior to being elected to fill a board seat, Cindy offered thoughtful reason in heated board debates, especially as it related to regulatory or human resources issues. Her words had purpose and never an empty promise. She was a huge supporter of the Educational Golf Tournament and was committed to the Events Committee for over a decade. With Cindy’s retirement, the board lost its quiet gem.”


SEAA’s first President Eddie Williams (1972) and the current President David Deem cut SEAA’s 50th birthday cake.

Ahern Rentals, Las Vegas, Nev., North America’s largest, independently owned, rental company, which carries over 67,000 pieces of equipment, including tools, trailers, telehandlers, and personnel lifts from 48 manufacturers. American Ironworks & Erectors, Inc., Spokane Valley, Wash., a Union structural and miscellaneous steel erector serving Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Angel Wing Erectors Ltd., Alberta, Canada, is a Union steel erection and welding company. Biggie Crane & Rigging, Co., San Leandro, Calif., a national crane rental company with more than 1,500 truck cranes, all-terrain cranes, rough terrain cranes, crawler cranes, tower cranes, boom trucks and hoists. Dixie Erectors, Mableton, Ga., a Certified Steel Erector Advanced (CSEA) through the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC).

MKE Iron Erectors, Inc., Waukesha, Wis., a Union contractor that specializes in the erection and fabrication of commercial buildings, utility, and transportation infrastructure. OTH Pioneer Rigging, Montréal, Quebec, manufactures remote controlled attachments for crane hooks that allows steel erectors to rig and tree steel beams into place. Rochester Rigging & Erectors, Bloomfield, N.Y., a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, Woman Business Enterprise, and Union welding contractor that fabricates and installs miscellaneous and structural steel systems. SSW Engineering & Construction, LLC, Bayamon, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean’s leading steel manufacturer, erector, and structural steel service center.

Glenridge Fabricators, Inc., Glendale, N.Y., Union Steel Erector and a Building QMS Certified Fabricator.

Project of the Year Winners Contracts Unloading Materials


Industrial Training International, Woodland, Wash., provides rigging and load handling training, with expansive online library plus access to VR training tools.

Summer Edition: September 2022 Ad Deadline: August 5, 2022 Product & Services Showcase: Fall Protection


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