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The Next Level of Training

for Ironworkers, Fabrication Workers

14 Creating Positive

Work Environments

18 After a Fall: Don’t Leave Your Buddy Hanging


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FEATURES Management


Creating a Positive Work Environment in Construction Change starts with building better people skills By Brent Darnell

In the Field


After a Fall: Don’t Leave Your Buddy Hanging Equipping on site personnel to save a life By Brent Wise


Special Focus Convention Preview Be Grand in Greensboro at 46th Annual Convention & Trade Show

22 Cover Story The Next Level of Training for Ironworkers, Fabrication Workers By Lucy Perry

On the Cover: Veterans receive training to become ironworkers from Adaptive Construction Solutions. A new app will make it easier to administer performance evaluations in the field using a tablet. Photo credit: Adaptive Construction Solutions


ONLINE HIGHLIGHTS QQSEAA Launches New Website QQConnector Magazine Earns Construction Marketing Award QQSEAA and AISC Work to Improve Steel Erector Certification

Check out our latest social media feeds. See more photos of


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Perspective Association News Product Focus Business Operations 34 Topping Out Connector received Superstar Award from Construction Marketing Association.

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.

Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2018 | 5


Membership in Steel Erectors Association of America provides Safety, Education, and Productivity benefits for its members. As a trade association representing Steel Erectors, Fabricators, General Contractors, and Vendors, businesses with complementary interests gain invaluable opportunities to learn from each other.

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. Steel Erectors Association of America

Your Industry No other national association represents the unique interests of all steel erectors and fabricators. Members are experts in construction of commercial buildings, arenas, bridges, and highway structures. Members enhoy opportunities to network with other industry professionals at the Anuual Covention, golf tournaments, member events and training classes.

Improve Safety and Productivity Members have access to custom Ironworker Craft Training Curriculum. Studies show 24% of businesses experience lower productivity due to the lack of skilled ironworkers and welders. A better trained workforce delivers lower accidents rates, higher productivity, and increased profits.

Accredited Credentials at Reduced Cost SEAA’s NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) sponsorship means that member companies can provide industry-recognized credentials to your employees with the benefit of SEAA adminstrative support and at a lower cost to members than going direct through NCCER.

Competitive Advantage SEAA’s U.S. Department of Labor-approved Ironworker Apprenticeship Program allows members to create formal training that meets standards recognized by Federal and State governments. Pariticipation allows merit shop contractors to utilize government approved apprenticeship rates on Davis Bacon Wage Projects.

Influence Industry Standards SEAA strategic partnerships with industry groups provide member companies with industry representation with American Institute of Steel Construction, Steel Joist Institute, Steel Deck Institute, National Institute of Steel Detailing, and others.

Join by calling the SEAA office 336-294-8880 or visit Discover why a SEAA Membership is a good investment for your business.


Piedmont Leaf Lofts 401 E. 4th Street, #204 Winston-Salem, NC 27101-4171 336-294-8880 OFFICERS & EXECUTIVE STAFF Josh Cilley, President David Schulz, VP, Industry Representative Carrie Sopuch-Gulajan, VP, Associate Representative Geoffrey Kress, Treasurer Chris Legnon, Secretary and Media Committee Chairman Tom Underhill, Executive Director PUBLISHING PARTNER Chris Harrison, Publisher Phone 660-287-7660 Tracy Bennett, Managing Editor Phone 816-536-7903 Eileen Kwiatkowski, Art Director MEDIA ADVISORY COMMITTEE Chris Legnon, Fabricators, Cooper Steel Jim Simonson, Fabricators, Steel Service Josh Cilley, Erectors, American Steel & Precast Erectors and Buckner Steel Erection Glen Pisani, Erectors, MAS Building & Bridge Bryan McClure, Safety, MSC Safety Solutions Connector™ is published quarterly by the Steel Erectors Association of America, 401 E. 4th Street, #204, Winston-Salem, NC 27101-4171 Copyright 2018 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.


Wednesday-Friday, April 25-27, 2018 • Greensboro, North Carolina


Keynote: Using Emotional Intelligence to Maximize People and Prots

Legal Topics: Waiver of Subrogation; Contract Language Pitfalls

Business Topics: Winning Projects with Lift Planning Software; Business Growth Strategies

Technical Topics: Best Practices for Using Drones; Fall Protection Updates

Project of the Year Awards and Roundtable

Plus Golf, Sport Shooting, Networking, Trade Show and More

Early Bird Discount thru March 15 Register at “SEAA helps us get a national perspective of our industry. This knowledge is power.” – Glen Pisani, Steel Division Manager, MAS Building and Bridge “SEAA is a great resource of education, safety, and steel industry trends.” – Bob Beckner, Sr. VP, Peterson Beckner Industries


By Tom Underhill

A Fresh Look for 2018 and Beyond


ate last year, SEAA launched a new website to better serve members and the industry. It features a fully mobile-friendly platform, dynamic visuals, and easy-to-navigate information. “SEAA’s marketing presence now reflects the makeup of our association—companies that lead the industry in safety initiatives, craft training and apprenticeship programs, and coast-to-coast geographic growth,” said Josh Cilley, SEAA President. Nearly all forms and registrations are now available online, streamlining administrative processes and improving accuracy. The new site also gives members access to customize their listing in the member directory. Member companies can now add logos, social media links, and company descriptions. Still to come in 2018 will be an online store, making ordering training materials and other resources available at your fingertips. Along with the new website, SEAA has also updated its logo, which matches the national interests of the association membership. “The new logo stays true to SEAA’s roots while putting a fresh, modern spin on our image,” said Chris Legnon, Secretary and Media Committee Chairman. Branding guidelines and access to the graphic files are available to members in the login section of the site. Members are encouraged to update their own websites, newsletters, business cards, and other business marketing materials where they use the SEAA logo. The former logo will be phased out over the next 12 months. Contact the SEAA office if you have questions about accessing these materials. The new website, logo, and recently re-launched Connector magazine are a continuation of the Board of Director’s desire to present an image that mirrors the association’s efforts to provide relevant and focused discussion on issues facing steel erection contractors.

Award Winning Magazine In 2017, SEAA re-designed Connector, turning over all editorial management, circulation development, and advertising sales to a third-party publishing partner. The magazine provides increased value for members and is now being used as a new member recruiting tool. In December 2017, the official magazine of the Steel Erectors Association of America earned a Superstar Award from the Construction Marketing Association, which recognizes excellence in 16 marketing categories. Over the last several years the association has increased its marketing and communication efforts for two reasons—to keep members more connected and to expand our reach into new markets. Digital archives of the quar-

“SEAA’s marketing presence now reflects the makeup of our association— companies that lead the industry in safety initiatives, craft training and apprenticeship programs, and coast-tocoast geographic growth.”

Tom Underhill is the Executive Director of the Steel Erectors Association of America. Contact him at 8 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

— Josh Cilley, SEAA President terly Connector magazine are available online. In addition, we distribute two newsletters, each six times a year. Safety Flash, produced in coordination with SEAA’s Safety Committee, identifies work site hazards and proposes best practices for prevention. Connector eNews features updates on the association and members, as well as industry reports.

Convention Update While our communication efforts do a great job keeping members informed, there’s really no better way to network and get connected than at Convention. Members, vendors and industry partners will meet April 25-27, in Greensboro, N.C., at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center. Registration discounts end March 15 and hotel group rate expires March 28. Learn more in the Special Focus article in this issue or log onto for more information.

Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2018 | 9


EVENTS & ACTIVITIES 2017 Project of the Year Submissions Deadline Extended: Due March 15

Craft Training Grant Request Deadline: March 15

SEAA 2nd Quarter Board Meeting April 24, 2018, 3-6 pm Grandover Resort, Greensboro, N.C.

AISC/NASCC: The Steel Conference April 11—13, 2018 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Md.

46th National Convention & Trade Show April 25-27, 2018 Grandover Resort, Greensboro, N.C.

Meet & Greet, Houston, Texas



Membership Committee to Focus on Recruitment

t the October Board Meeting, the SEAA Board of Directors voted to create a Membership Committee, to be chaired by Jack Nix, Shelby Erectors. The committee's focus will be on member company recruitment, centered around quarterly networking events to be held in conjunction with quarterly board meetings. The committee, which also includes Greg Phillips of Titan Steel Erectors and Geoff Kress of Gardner-Watson Decking, held their first official meeting at the January 2018 board meeting in Houston, Texas. A top priority is to select board meeting locations based on cities with high concentration of steel erectors. The committee will plan strategic email marketing initiatives to invite companies identified in those locations. While Meet & Greets will be primarily social, the committee may also plan for a member to briefly address a hot topic facing the erection industry. "This is an important step for SEAA as the association continues its efforts to establish a broad base of members across the nation. In recent years, we have seen growth from coast to coast, closely tied to benefits of Ironworker Craft Training and Apprenticeship programs," said Jack Nix.


Encouraged to use New Association Logos

In 2018, SEAA released an updated series of logos for the association and drafted usage guidelines for members. The logo will be phased into association marketing materials over the year. Members are encouraged to do the same, and to cease using the former logo as soon as possible. Acceptable usage includes company websites, letterhead, business cards, email signatures, etc. Download the logos and the Logo Usage & Branding Guidelines by logging into the Members Only section of If you have questions, contact the SEAA office.




Advertising Offer for New Members

New members can receive a 50% discount on a 1/3 Square Ad in a 2018 issue of Connector. You supply the materials and we'll create the ad for you. Offer good for 12 months following board approval. Contact Chris Harrison, Connector Publisher, to take advantage of this offer.



Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2018 | 11


Using a Miller Trailblazer 325 engine-driven welder/ generator with ArcReach technology, a welding operator with M&M Welding works onsite at Cummings Transportation Services near Bakersfield, Calif. The Trailblazer unit allows operators to use a stick/TIG remote to control welding parameters at the joint. This operator, wearing a Miller T94 Series welding helmet with ClearLight lens technology, is fabricating a 6” discharge pipe for a vacuum tank. Photo provided by Miller Electric Mfg.


Expands Lens Technology

the lens to provide truer colors during welding. Operators see more contrast among objects, resulting in reduced eye strain and fatigue. In addition, the 1/1/1/2 optical clarity rating of ClearLight lenses allows a true 3.0 light state. This brighter light state means the operator can keep his hood down as much as possible for safety and productivity.


Miller Electric Mfg. Co., expanded its ClearLight lens technology to all digital welding helmets. The technology is designed to optimize clarity for welding operators to produce better welds with less rework. Previously only available in Miller T94 Series auto-darkening helmets, ClearLight has now been expanded to all Miller digital helmets to include Digital Infinity, Digital Elite, and Digital Performance models. ClearLight lens technology allows more colors to come through 12 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

Bolt Offers Fastening Solution

LeJeune Bolt Co.’s TNA Torque + Angle fastening system employs a new bolt design and strength, fixed-spline 144ksi, recognized by the ASTM F3148 specification. It also features LeJeune’s TAE dual-mode series of installation tools, and a comprehensive installation method. The fastening system offers the user complete control during the snug and final tensioning operations. The operation is controlled at the tool and is quantifiable, providing a reliable and accurate snug condition. The system can then be switched into angle mode for bolts installed in pretensioned and slip-critical joints.


Steel Construction Manual Companions Available

AISC is offering several new resources that complement the 15th Edition Steel Construction Manual, released last summer. Included are the v15.0 Design Examples; v15.0 Shapes Database; v15.0H Historic Shapes Database; Basic Design Values Cards; and Interactive Reference List. The Design Examples contain more than 1,600 pages of examples and tables that illustrate using the provisions of the 2016 Specification for Structural Steel Buildings and the 15th Edition Manual for designing members, connections, and structural systems. The Shapes Database is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that compiles the dimensions and properties of all shapes printed in Part 1 of the 15th Edition Manual. The Historic Shapes Database is updated with all dimensions and properties consistent with the 14th Edition Manual, and the Basic Design Values Cards present some of the most frequently used limit state equations for checking members and connections from the 2016 Specification in an abbreviated format. The Interactive Reference List is a complete listing of all the references found in both the 2016 Specification and 15th Edition Manual. All manual resources are available for free download at The 15th Edition Manual is available for purchase in hard copy for $200 for AISC members and $400 for non-members. Orders may be placed online at or by calling 800.644.2400.


Adds to Telehandler Line

JLG Industries Model 1644 to its added to its line of high-capacity telehandlers, featuring 15,650 lbs. of lift capacity. Model 1644 is the first telehandler in North America with optional SmartLoad Technology, three integrated technologies designed to deliver greater operator comfort. The attachment recognition component allows a telehandler to identify an attachment and display the appropriate load chart to the operator. The load management information system (LMIS) graphically depicts the location of the load within the load chart; provides the operator with an indication of compliance; and prevents the operator from violating boundaries of the chart. The load stability indicator (LSI) works in conjunction with the LMIS to limit operation when a load is nearing the maximum capacity indicated on the load chart. The telehandler also features a soft-stop boom control that slows boom functions at the end of the cylinder stroke; an optional reverse camera and reverse sensing system; and an integrated tow hitch.


Telescopic-Boom Crawler Crane Debuts


Maeda CC1485 telescopic-boom crawler crane model is available in North America and Latin America. The CC1485, which replaces Maeda’s LC785 model, features a 6.6-ton (6.0 mt) maximum lift capacity; 98-ins. (2.49 m) width; heavy-duty steel undercarriage; hydrostatic transmission; no-outrigger design with a 72.2-ft. (22.0 m) maximum hook height; and nearzero tail swing. A fly jib offers m u l t i p l e o f fs e t angles; the crane has single-part line ball and hook and railroad rail drive attachment. Options for tracks are black rubber or non-marking bolt-on track pads.

Formulated to perform in threaded rod anchor and rebar dowel installations in concrete at elevated temperatures is the new SET-3G high-strength anchoring adhesive from Simpson Strong-Tie. Easily-installed, SET-3G adhesive provides bond strength with a cure time of just 24 hours. The two-component, one-to-one-ratio, epoxy-based anchoring adhesive formula dispenses in a uniform gray color to match surrounding concrete surfaces, and can be installed in downward, horizontal, vertical, and overhead orientations. The product is designed for use in dry or water-saturated conditions with temperatures anywhere between –40°F (–40°C) and 176°F (80°C). The low-odor formula also can be installed in dry, water-saturated, or water-filled holes in base materials whose temperatures range from 40°F (4°C) to 100°F (38°C).


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Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2018 | 13


By Brent Darnell

Creating a Positive Work Environment in Construction Change starts with building better people skills


magine for a moment construction projects that are completely service-oriented and customer focused, where there are zero defects and total customer satisfaction. Imagine working on projects where there is trust, communication, and teamwork between the GC and subs and with various trades. Imagine an industry where projects are brought in ahead of schedule and well within budget and negotiated projects are the norm. Imagine an industry where people care about each other to the point where there is total cooperation and working safely is as natural as breathing. It may sound like a dream. There are many seemingly unsolvable problems that prevent

Brent Darnell is president of Brent Darnell International, Atlanta, Ga., and author of The People Profit Connection, How Emotional Intelligence Can Maximize People Skills and Maximize Your Profits. He is the keynote speaker at the SEAA’s 46th Annual Convention and Trade Show, April 25-27, 2018 in Greensboro, N.C. For more information, visit

the industry from realizing such a positive image, but I believe that the root causes of these problems relate to something called emotional intelligence (EI). Defined as social competence, or the ability to deal with people, I believe that if we focus on these social skills we will help to solve industry issues such as poor safety practices, low productivity, poor communication, poor teamwork, poor client satisfaction, and poor industry image. Many companies are starting to wake up to this reality. Several have created positions that focus on customer relations or client satisfaction. Gilbane, one of the largest Construction Managers in the United States, has created a position called Corporate Director of Client Satisfaction. They know that focus on these soft skills will add to bottom line results. After reading The People Profit Connection, Mary C. Bloom, the Director of Client Satisfaction for Gilbane Building Company said, “Your observations and case studies reinforce our thinking about the next level of skill development we have identified. The methodology you outlined incorporating an emotional


intelligence perspective is great input as we work to elevate our peoples’ skills, business success, and ultimately client satisfaction.”

Profile of a construction manager After studying the emotional intelligence profiles of over 200 construction managers, a typical profile emerged. They have relatively high assertiveness, independence, and self-regard, but relatively low emotional self-awareness and interpersonal skills (empathy, interpersonal relationships and social responsibility). With this typical profile, most construction managers tend to be perceived as aggressive, independent and capable. But they may also come across as people who don’t listen, ask for other’s input or opinions, or involve others in decision making. They tend to be blunt and undiplomatic, have a hard time delegating and tend to micromanage. They also tend to spend little time on developing themselves or others. Without the strong interpersonal skills to balance competencies like assertiveness,

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Total EI Self-Perception Composite Self-Regard Self-Actualization Emotional Self-Awareness Self-Expression Composite Emotional Expression Assertiveness Independence Interpersonal Composite Interpersonal Relationships Empathy Social Responsibility Decision Making Composite Problem Solving Reality Testing Impulse Control Stress Management Composite Flexibility Stress Tolerance Optimism Happiness Before

89 90 90 92 87 87 82 91 91 86 86 85 89 93 93 89 93 90 88 93 89 87 80 82








Graph depicts typical profile for someone working in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction fields.

independence and self-regard, these strengths can become weaknesses. Think of the best construction managers you know. Don’t most of them also possess good people skills? Isn’t this a vital part of what makes these people effective and what makes other project stakeholders want to work with them? I will bet that you repeatedly receive requests from customers for your best people—the ones who have those great interpersonal skills. Think of what your business could achieve if you could replicate that skill set so that every project had a manager with strong technical and interpersonal skills. So how can you cultivate these skills in all of your employees? Emotional intelligence provides a way to measure and improve these soft skills.

Achieving personal and client satisfaction EI is different from most “personality tests,” which often just provide confirmation of what people already know about themselves. Instead, EI education helps you target specific areas for development and strategies for making a change. Over the years, your

personality is not likely to change. EI helps you create behavioral change by relearning how to react and interact in different situations. So how do we get there from here? After choosing an evaluation tool, such as EQ-i® 2.0 or MSCEIT®, start with top management, moving on to group managers who would benefit. •  While participants will receive individual feedback, you should also work with the group to address areas of group development needs. •  Spread out the learning process. Remember this is not “training.” EI is not like cognitive learning. It’s more like learning to play a musical instrument or learning a new language. You can’t do it in a day or a weekend. •  Build in accountability and provide ongoing coaching during the learning process. •  Retake the evaluation and discuss before and after scores, then do annual follow up to re-evaluate. Without coaching, follow-up, and accountability, participants are found to revert back to old behaviors.


Companies don’t build buildings—people do. It’s time to put the people dimension back into the construction business. Let’s make the phrase “People are our most important asset,” more than just a slogan. With this “people” focus, construction managers will be able to help to increase the level of customer service, increase teamwork, increase productivity, and increase quality. They also will help to reduce accidents, stress, burnout, conflict, and litigation. These concepts are difficult to embrace for most people in the construction business. But if we have the courage to embrace them, we will help to create a brighter future for the industry.

Exploring EI for Your Company Download free resources ( whitepaper) to receive two of Brent Darnell’s books, The People Profit Connection and The Tough Guy Survival Kit, which includes Communication and Presentation Skills for Tough Guys, Relationship Skills for Tough Guys and Stress Management, Time Management, and Life Balance for Tough Guys. Note, Brent Darnell will release a new edition of The People Profit Connection in 2018 that includes new data based on new evaluation methods. You can also take the Ghyst Emotional Intelligence Test ( to discover your personal profile. Find out which profile you are and how these typical profiles affect different areas of your life and work. Any strength taken to the extreme may become a weakness, especially if the balancing competency is low. For example, assertiveness is a great leadership skill, but if it is high and empathy is low, you may be perceived as someone who doesn’t listen, doesn’t ask for input or opinions, and is a know-it-all. Below is a list of the primary profiles, although many people will also exhibit tendencies toward sub-profiles. Take the test to see how you are perceived by others. • • • • • • • • • •

Alpha Controller/Puppet Master/Perfectionist Anger/Frustration/Impatient Burnout Chaos/Reactive Management Overly Optimistic Pessimist or Realist Team Player Loner Chases Shiny Objects

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Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2018 | 17





By Brent Wise

After a Fall: Don’t Leave Your Buddy Hanging Equipping on site personnel to save a life

Instructor Carlos Garza (in red) and Derr & Isbell Construction team members conduct self and assisted rescue descents during training. Photo ©Tech Safety Lines, Inc.


hen you’re up high on a job site, there’s no more terrifying sound than the yell of your buddy as he or she goes over the edge. If the person is wearing OSHA-mandated safety gear, he or she won’t fall far. But once someone is dangling in the air, that person is still counting on you to save his or her life. Brent Wise is a career firefighter who has spent 31 years with the Dallas Fire Department and currently serves as Captain of the Dallas Technical Rescue Team. He is Co-Founder and COO for Tech Safety Lines, Inc.(TSL), a fall protection, rescue training and equipment company based in Carrollton, Texas. Learn more at

Calling 911 should always be your first move, but remember: you are already in the right place at the right time to act. You need to get your colleague down as quickly and safely as possible – not just because OSHA mandates prompt rescue, but because dangling from a harness in space is hard on the body and mind. Nothing cuts off circulation and breathing like your entire body weight bearing down on the straps that just saved your life, and there’s no more helpless feeling than being unable to do anything about it while your blood pools in your legs. And, if you were injured either before or during the fall, you may have broken bones or have lost consciousness, and be unable to help yourself.


I’ve spent 31 years as a firefighter, with 25 of those as part of the Dallas Technical Rescue Team specializing in high-angle and high-level rescue. In the last few years, I’ve noticed a growing realization among work crews that dialing 911 is not the only answer. It has become clear that people on-site need to be equipped to respond quickly, too. If you’re working in a remote location, local first responders may not be trained for high-level rescue. Even in a big city like Dallas, only two fire stations host technical rescue teams. In most cases, the nearest fire station will respond, assess the situation, and then call us. So even in the best-case scenario, your buddy could be hanging there for a good 45 minutes waiting for the rescue team to arrive,

Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2018 | 19

plus the time it takes for our team to get him back to the ground. With the right gear and training, you can get your co-worker down faster.

Dos and Don’ts in a High-Level Emergency The best time to ensure a successful rescue is long before the incident occurs. If the first time you think about how to respond is after the fall has already happened, you’ve already lost the game. Annual safety training isn’t enough. At least once a quarter, you need to conduct a realistic scenario in a real rescue situation, up on a structure, in a place where your team does actual work Then, work through your plan, from notifying emergency responders to gathering rescuers to accessing equipment to getting your colleague down and ready for transport. This is the only way to be sure that you’ve thought through every potential hiccup in the process and are truly ready to enact a smooth rescue. Planning ahead means you’ll have the right gear on hand, but also that you’ll have the right mindset. Start every day by asking yourself, “Is today the day I fall, or my buddy falls?” You don’t need an intricate plan. All you need is a site-specific framework for how to access the person injured, raise and transfer his or her weight to the rescue system, and lower the person to the ground. Once a fall happens, there are a few critical things you should do – and not do. 1. Get going. Don’t stand around discussing what to do. After an initial situation assessment, adapt the framework of your rescue plan to the specifics of the actual event.

4. Work smoothly. We accomplish a rescue quickly not by going fast, but by maximizing efficiency. Take your time and think through every move. If you rush, you could make time-consuming or even deadly mistakes.

Fall-arrest systems that employ shock-absorbing components have been in use for over two decades, but not all are designed with an integral rescue component. They’re made to keep you from free falling more than six feet, plus up to 3.5 feet of shock absorption. Some refuge devices attach to your harness 5. Focus on weight transfer. Whether the to allow you to ease pressure on your legs, but person is laying on a platform uncon- using them will transfer weight to the harscious or hanging in the air, your ness and can restrict your breathing. A better objective is to safely transfer the body option is a system that eliminates all weight weight to prevent further injury and then on the harness by way of a webbed ladder get your co-worker down to the ground. that’s integrated into the lanyard. Rather than being attached to your harness, the ladder is connected above your head, directly to the lanyard. This lets you stand up in place, adjust your harness, and relieve the pressure on your chest and groin. You should also carry a self-rescue kit with an adequate length of high-strength rope, which can be attached to your lanyard and used for controlled descent. Repeated safety planning and trainThe UL certified ARK® (Assisted Rescue Kit) enables just one person to successfully perform a ing may not feel like a high priority, but in the rescue of up to 600 feet in minutes. Photo ©Tech Safety Lines, Inc. seconds after a fall, it suddenly becomes the most important thing in Self-Rescue the world. I sincerely hope that in the course What if today is the day you fall? You need of your career, you never need to use your to either be able to rescue yourself, or to rescue kit and training even once. But if you engage a system that allows you to lift yourself do, you’ll be glad you came to work that day up and transfer your weight off your harness, prepared to save a life – and it could even be so that you won’t suffer further injury. your own.

2. Stick to your plan. Now is not the time to try out new techniques. 3. Have your rescue gear easily accessible. Do not consider ascending and starting your shift without your safety gear on your person, and any required backup gear at its pre-set location.

Ironworkers with Derr & Isbell Construction who completed a two-day rescue training and certification class as part of the firm’s work to erect steel for the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta – home of the Atlanta Falcons. Photo ©Tech Safety Lines, Inc.


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| 21


By Lucy Perry

The Next Level of Training

for Ironworkers, Fabrication Workers SEAA members explore new avenues to expand training and certification opportunities

Students from Clay-Chalkville High School, Talladega City School and Pell City High School work on a Steel Training Sculpture, which is designed to show most every type of steel connection used in structural erection. “Once assembled by the students we teach them why differing designs are used in the real thing,” said John Garrison, CEO.


ringing skilled labor into the steel erection industry is a critical ongoing effort for members of the Steel Erectors Association of America (SEAA). According to a Construction Industry Resources report for 2017-2021, peak demand for reinforcing ironworkers is expected in Q1 of 2019, while the peak for structural ironworkers is right now. (See chart.) The organization, which utilizes the Construction Labor Market Analyzer (CLMA®) to help companies manage labor risk, estimates a deficit of nearly 100,000 reinforcing ironworkers at the peak period and more than 110,000 for structural ironworkers this year. “There is a huge need for people to come into the industry. We have to find a way to get them in, and once they’re in, retain them by training and providing career opportunities,” says Tim Eldridge, SEAA Craft Training Lucy Perry operates WordSkills Editorial Services in Kansas City, Mo. She has spent 20 years following the North American construction industry. She can be reached at wordskillseditor@


Consultant. To that end, the association’s three-year-old craft training program, accredited through NCCER, comprises 14 training units and assessment centers across the United States. Many of these companies offer training and/or certification for ironworkers, riggers, signalpersons, and crane operators. In addition, some members utilize SEAA’s Department of Labor-approved ironworker apprenticeship program. Much progress has been made as member companies find ways to customize the training and apprenticeship to their needs, however, many small businesses don’t have the staff or processes in place to efficiently manage the program. “As a small company, we struggled with the delivery mechanism. There needs to be continuity in the training. And we need to find a more productive, cost-effective way to deliver the training on an ongoing-basis,” said Jack Nix, Project Manager, Shelby Erectors, Davie, Fla. While ironworker and other craft training will always require years of hands-on, practical instruction, and practice, there are portions of the training that can be delivered more efficiently. One solution is self-directed,

United States

Labor Projections (2017-2021)

Traditional Construction Occupation

Current BLS


Peak Demand

Peak Period

Peak Period










2018 Q4

2019 Q1






2018 Q3

2018 Q2




Adjusted Base

Ironworker (Reinforcing)



Ironworker/Welder (Structural)



Using eLearnng to teach basic math skills, then following up with in classroom instruction for application and reinforcement is an efficient way to teach new skills. Credit: MSC Safety Solutions.

B2P Rank

Peak Demand

Industrial Factor

online training. This is not a revolutionary concept, but one that requires custom content to be created by subject-matter experts (SMEs) and implemented into an eLearning platform.

Base to Peak (B2P) Rank

eLearning’s role in ironworker training One SEAA member company that is exploring how to integrate eLearning into its craft training program is Adaptive Construction Solutions Inc., Houston, Texas. ACS operates a Department of Labor registered apprenticeship to create employment opportunities for veterans and transitioning service members. While participating in the apprenticeship, veterans are eligible to receive an allowance from the VA educational benefits, in addition to apprentice wages. The company has expanded from the SEAA/NCCER structural ironworking program it started with in 2016 to also offer NCCER reinforcing ironworking, rigging, electrical, carpentry, and pipefitting. In its first 18 months following its founding in 2016, ACS has enrolled more than 250 veterans into apprenticeships. As their program expands, eLearning will be a key element in delivering training across the nation. Bryan McClure, consultant for training company MSC Safety Solutions, has considerable previous experience in developing

As part of its ironworker training program, MSC Safety Solutions provided instruction and practice on oxyfuel cutting to workers from Quality Steel Service in Loveland, Colo. Credit: MSC Safety Solutions

Peak Demand (All) is the total demand for each of the IW disciplines for all non-residential construction. The supply number related to this demand is the Current BLS Supply. Peak Demand (Industrial) is the total demand for each of the IW disciplines for only industrial construction. The supply number related to this demand is the Adjusted Base. These numbers reflect U.S. supply/demand as a whole. Local or regional pain points vary. Source: CLMA data provided by Construction Industry Resources. eLearning for a steel erection contractor. He possesses the Certified Professional in Learning & Performance (CPLP) and Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST) certifications, considered by the industry to be the highest credentials for training and safety. “As a stand-alone training method, eLearning is not effective at all,” he says. “But when used in combination with classroom learning and practical in-the-field learning, it can be quite effective.” The key is selecting the right content that is appropriate for self-directed learning, especially as precursor to instructor-led training. For example, understanding how to read a tape measure utilizes basic math skills such as adding and subtracting fractions. “That’s information that can be taught in an eLearning environment first, then reinforced in class utilizing an actual tape measure. This method reduces cost and time associated with training so that you can take a deeper dive during in-person training.” There are other types of online learning that differ from true eLearning. For example, video conferencing with an instructor in realtime reduces travel time but students still have to adhere to the training schedule, rather than it being self-directed. A good eLearning system will utilize a Learning Management System that can push out content in different formats. Asynchronous eLearning formats include self-paced instruction, Q&A mentoring, and online discussion groups. Synchronous formats are usually a virtual classroom setting, and blended learning formats utilize both Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2018 | 23

synchronous and asynchronous schemes. A solid eLearning system also automatically captures data regarding the student’s progression through the material, and is user-friendly, says McClure. In its quest to build eLearning into the SEAA/NCCER training it provides, ACS has reviewed a dozen Learning Management Systems. In addition, they have developed an application that allows Nick Morgan, president of ACS, speaks to a group of veterans who are participating in the company’s DOL-registered ironworker performance evaluaapprenticeship program. Credit: ACS tions in the field to be administered using a to the student. We have to create micro-learn- ACS’s foray into eLearning, is a key benefit of tablet that will time-stamp and geo-locate ing environments that allows students to membership in the association. Meanwhile, the evaluation, enabling it to be emailed to absorb and retain the information,” said Nick SEAA continues to build its network of trainemployer on the spot. “The right delivery Morgan, President of ACS. ing units and assessment sites. The original method is one piece of the puzzle. The more Cooperative projects which share best goal was to add three sites per year, but the difficult task is creating content that is of value practices with other SEAA members, such as program has surpassed that with five each



Lowering a 25,000 lb. Granite Table

These are numbers you can’t ignore: 3,000 Contractors 157 Training Centers 6,941 Certifications in 2016 20,143 Certified Ironworker Welders 19,735 Apprentices and Trainees 130,000 lronworkers and billions in contracts for the most recognizable projects on earth. There are literally thousands of reasons to put your trust in lronworkers.



Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2018 | 25

year. At least five companies have already expressed interest for 2018. “The first year of ironworker training is critical to gaining confidence, learning the proper use of tools, getting ideas for better performance, and adopting safe practices. Future development of eLearning as an additional component of the SEAA/NCCER craft training programs, will help support that,” says Eldridge.

Certification for fabrication skills Professional certification for other crafts, such as crane operators, has become a standard by which employers can determine

Implementing eLearning would provide another delivery method for training as apprentices move through training modules for Ironworker Levels 1-2-3. Credit: ACS that a worker has achieved baseline skills and knowledge. Recently, SEAA members have begun exploring curriculum and certification components for steel fabrication workers, a certification that NCCER doesn’t offer. Several SEAA member companies are trying to collaborate to build a training program that will develop those kinds of skills, explains Eldridge. While AISC offers certification for companies that meet specified best practices for steel fabrication, there is nothing that addresses training and individual skill level. Fabricators and erectors work closely together so it makes sense for fabricator workers, like ironworkers, to be able to demonstrate credentials. “Several SEAA members have expressed interest in developing an industry-wide fabricator certification for these crafts people. Whether that’s endorsed by SEAA, as an erector-focused association, will depend on the priorities of the Board of Directors,” says Eldridge. “What we hope to develop is a curriculum that leads to that certification, which would demonstrate the worker’s skill set to fabricate structural, ornamental, reinforcing and other steel products.” In 2018, ACS plans to expand its DOL-registered apprenticeship to support the steel fabrication industry. Similar to the ironworker program, this effort will help create a pipeline of workers with fabrication skills. 26 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

According to Eldridge: “The challenge is getting enough people involved so it’s an industry-wide certification. We need several companies with SMEs to put the curriculum together.” He continues: “It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel. We would draw from as many existing NCCER programs as are applicable as there are skills that crossover with ironworker, pipefitter, millwright, etc.,” said Eldridge. Another SEAA member company that has achieved success with the SEAA/NCCER ironworker program is Garrison Steel in Pell City, Ala. Two years into the program, which focuses on high-school students, none have completed all three ironworker levels, but several are currently in their third level. Some have graduated high school and want to enter the workforce instead of going to college. Three others have gone on to work for other steel-erecting companies. “Last May we had three students enter our fabrication operation as entry-level workers. Our superintendent and other managers report that the students coming out of this program have less problems than some experienced workers. They have better attitudes, exhibit more willingness to learn, and have superior starting skills,” says John Garrison, CEO. Though it’s an ironworker field program, these students are working in the company’s fabrication shop, and though the skillsets are different they’re becoming excellent workers. In Garrison’s opinion, qualified fabricator training and certification would be very beneficial to both industry and employees. “SEAA members realize fabrication and steel erection are closely related and are industries necessary to one another. I believe it is forward thinking of SEAA membership to strive for increased skills training for ironworkers and to dovetail that with fabricator skills training. No one else is doing this that I’m aware of, and I think it’s a good thing. I would like for it to be NCCER credentialed, but I think it’s SEAA’s obligation to work with NCCER to try to develop a fabrication curriculum.”

Garrison Steel has had success hiring high school students who have completed some ironworker training as entry-level workers in the Pell City, Ala., company’s fabrication operation. John Garrison believes a qualified fabricator training and certification program would be beneficial. Credit: Garrison Steel.

Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2018 | 27

SPECIAL FOCUS: Convention Preview

in Wednesday-Friday, April 25-27, 2018 Greensboro, North Carolina

46TH ANNUAL SEAA NATIONAL CONVENTION & TRADE SHOW Grandover Resort in Greensboro, North Carolina

Carrie Gulajan Convention Committee Chairperson



he 46th Annual Convention and Trade Show kicks off with the popular Welcome Reception and Trade Show, followed by some changes to the meeting format, including a roundtable discussion with the winners of the Project of the Year award. We’ve taken your feedback and re-arranged the schedule to encourage greater participation in our annual member business meeting on Thursday morning. This is a great way to be on the inside track for networking and business opportunities and to learn about new SEAA initiatives. You won’t want to miss it. Headlining the speaker program is Brent Darnell, award winning Emotional Intelligence expert for the construction industry. Darnell approaches common industry leadership problems with humor and insight. He explains: “In the construction industry, many people have excellent technical skills, but get off track with people, relationship, communication, and teamwork skills.” Awareness of this “softer side” of construction, helps contractors attract and retain the best people, create safety programs that actually work, and increase performance. Other speakers will address topics of interest to both management and field personnel. One of our most engaging sessions every year is the presentation of the winning Projects of the Year. We’ve moved this to Thursday so you can hear all the interesting details before the Awards Presentation at the Gala that night. New this year, weather permitting, we’re going resort casual with an outdoor dinner, followed by desserts and group games on the driving range and putting green.

The “paper-trail “ is just as important as the structural bolts Recognizing this many years ago, St. Louis Screw & Bolt developed the very best solution for AISC compliance, and peace of mind for steel fabricators. Fabricators using HexportTM have historical reference for every order, bolt, nut and washer shipped. Test Reports, Certifications, Rotational Capacity Testing all the way back to the steel mills are easily accessible at the click of a button. Additionally fabricators can track shipments, obtain packing lists, proof of deliveries as well as copies of their invoices. This time and money saving service is available

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Education Management and Field Sessions focus on legal, business, and technical topics. Learn more at Keynote Speaker Brent Darnell addresses Emotional Intelligence in Construction with Maximize Your People. Maximize Your Profits. Several sessions cover legal topics including a case study demonstrating the contract language pitfalls that can affect lower tier subcontractors, and how waiver of subrogation in construction contracts affects your company. Meanwhile, erectors will be springing into action after hearing how to strategically grow and expand their business, and how to win projects with lift planning software. Technical sessions will dive into best practices for using drones and fall protection. Topics include: •  Business Growth Strategies •  Contract Language Pitfalls •  Waiver of Subrogation •  Best Practices with Drones •  Lift Planning Software •  Fall Protection Brent Darnell •  Steel Industry Update Keynote Speaker

Excursions •  George R. Pocock Memorial Golf Tournament •  Sport Shooting •  Historic Tour of Old Salem

Tradeshow •  Wednesday, April 25, 7 pm to 9:30 pm •  Thursday, April 26, 7:30 pm to 4 pm

Project of the Year Roundtable This year, a full roundtable discussion from the winners will kick off the management and technical education sessions. Featured on Thursday, April 26, attendees can ask the winners questions, learn best practices, and be inspired by the winning projects.


Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2018 | 31


By Jeremy Macliver

Iron-huggers? Defining corporate culture in the steel industry

How do you know if you have a culture that needs growth or not? 1. Take a 20-question survey at 2. Is the people side of the business holding you back from accomplishing your goals? 3. Are you dragging your team forward, or are they pushing you higher?


et’s be real. I don’t need to be connected to my “inner man” to get up and do my job. Have all of the bean bag chairs, sensitivity trainings, and entitlement programs gone completely too far? Does corporate culture even matter to ironworkers? A construction company owner was expressing his struggle to get enough workers. In addition, the employees they had were over worked, tired and making more mistakes than ever before. Profits were plummeting, and he had just come to realize, they couldn’t grow any more. The growing economy did not matter to him because he could not take advantage of it. When the word “culture” entered the conversation, the owner leaned up on his chair and exclaimed: “I don’t need all that touchy-feely stuff, I need people to go to WORK!” But establishing a healthy corporate culture isn’t touchy-feely. Nor is it a complicated, mystical thing so elusive that it cannot be achieved. It is, however, the single biggest competitive advantage any company can have. Jeremy Macliver operates Guaranteed Traction, a business consulting firm that is an EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) Implementer, a business philosophy focusing on vision, traction and healthy leadership. Jeremy will be sharing more ideas for building a great culture at SEAA’s 46th Annual Convention and Trade Show, April 25-27, 2018 in Greensboro, N.C. Learn more at


Every company has a culture Simply put, culture is your company’s identity. It’s the communication style, the personality, and the reason for existing. Every team, every company, every family has a culture. Some good. Some bad. Some are strategic about it. Some, by chance, end up with great cultures, while many stumble along in chaos never realizing that the culture they have unintentionally created is what’s holding them back from achieving what they really want out of the business. Steel erectors are all struggling to attract and retain a great workforce. We have created excellent training programs. We offer competitive benefits. On average, we pay better than that earned by the average bachelor’s degree recipient, and we build some really cool projects. So why is it hard to get great people?

The answer is in the “why” Defining the why is the first step in creating your culture. Why do you exist? Why were you founded? Why should employee’s join your company? Are you trying to build the coolest projects in your state? Are you the company that promotes family time? Are you the company that allows people to build America? But remember, the “why’ is never money related. This is true for the employer and the employee. Great companies were never founded just to get rich. They were

founded to build something great, help a cause, solve a problem in the industry, or win in the market place. Employees become passionate about working for a company for which their ideals align. Money never tops this chart. Employees will work harder, business owners will invest more, and customers will pay more if the companies purpose, cause, or passion is great enough. Have you ever paid more for something because you “liked” them better? Have you ever volunteered (worked without pay) because of a cause you thought was important? Have you ever given without being asked to, because you believed in the purpose? To build a great culture, you don’t need sensitivity training. You need to declare who you are, why you exist, and where you are going, and then go out and find people that align to it.

Getting started The leadership team must all be on the same page, be willing to be accountable, and work well together. Often, tension within an organization is rooted in disagreement between the leaders. Culture is built from the top down. As goes the leadership team, so goes the rest of the company. Briefly, these are items on which leaders must align. 1. Core Values Often, when a company first starts, the owners personal value system acts as the guiding set of principles for the company. As, the company grows, the owner has less direct contact with each employee. People with varying value systems begin to pull the company in multiple directions. 2. Core Focus Clearly establish why the company was created. 3. 10 Year Target Identify a goal and share it with everyone who works for you. Nobody wants to work in a dead-in job, so don’t let them come to a dead-in company. Share the dream. 4. Marketing Plan Establish a plan for who you would like to do business with and the types of projects you want to do. This helps you establish yourself in the marketplace, but without a plan, you can cause employees a lot of frustration. 5. 3 Year Picture Three years into the future is far enough to dream, but close enough to see. Paint the picture in 5-15 bullet points, then make sure it aligns with your 10 Year Target. Share this with the rest of the company and be don’t be surprised when someone volunteers a way to get you there! 6. 1 year Plan Don’t get bogged down in a 10-page detailed plan that no one will ever execute and rarely even reads. Instead, establish the 3-7 most important goals for the year. 7. Rocks Make a separate list of the 3-7 most important things the company needs to accomplish in the next 90 days, then push the team to hit those goals. 8. Issues – As your leadership team gets on board with who you are, where your going, and how your going to get there, little “yeah but’s” will be looming around. Write them down. Shining a light on issues in the company and any barriers to success, frees the team to move forward.

Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2018 | 33


Gen Z could be good for construction. These young people just now coming of age and entering the workforce, are profoundly different from Millennials.

“They are very interested in steady employment and very willing to forego a college education if they can find training and education for a job that doesn’t include it.” Read more at

— Megan Wild, Guest blogger for NCCER

Still confused about respirators?

Meet New Members

In 1998 OSHA updated its respiratory standard (29CFR1910.134) in 1998, 20 years later there is still confusion on what constitutes a respirator. Let's make this simple: Does the side of the box read 'NIOSH'? Is 'NIOSH' stamped on the dust mask? If the answer is yes, it's a respirator! Read more at

Check out the Member Directory at


Join the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction

Superior Rigging & Erecting Co., Atlanta, Ga., Providing steel erection, rigging and millwrighting, heavy transport, steel fabrication, crane and forklift rental.

May 7-11, 2018

Wescorp, Inc., Tobaccoville, N.C. Employs 12 field employees and erects everything from small canopies to larger building structures.

5 Facts You Should Know About Preventable Falls Learn more at

UP NEXT, Saugerties, N.Y., A wholesale distributor specializing in aircraft cable and assemblies, chain products, rigging hardware, rope, rope accessories and assemblies, wire rope and wire rope assemblies, lifting products, tie down equipment, hand tools and more.

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Project of the Year Winners Convention Review Steel Estimating Welding Tips


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Baltimore, Maryland | April 11–13, 2018

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Connector 2018 Spring issue  
Connector 2018 Spring issue  

In this issue: The Next Level of Training; Creating Positive Work Environments; 2018 Convention Preview