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Volume 13, Issue 2 March | April 2017



Georgia Contractor



w w w. t h e g e o r g i a c o n t r a c t o r . c o m Editor-in-Chief: Roland Petersen-Frey Managing Editor: Daniel Simmons | (770) 521-8877 Art Director: Pamela Petersen-Frey | (770) 521-8877

On the Cover: Georgia Trade School embarks on a Major Expansion. GTS Instructor Scot McKneely demonstrated welding techniques in our laboratory See the story on page 30.v

The Georgia Contractor is published bi-monthly on a calendar year basis. It is a magazine designed around the construction industry associations and their members. It is supported by associations and their members. Executive, editorial, circulation, and advertising oďŹƒces: 1154 Lower Birmingham Road, Canton, Georgia 30115 • Phone: (770) 521-8877 E-mail: Send address changes to your association and/or to A4 Inc. Opinions expressed by the authors are not necessarily those of any of the associations or publisher nor do they accept responsibility for errors of content or omissions and, as a matter of policy, neither do they endorse products or advertisements appearing herein. Parts of this magazine may be reproduced with the written consent of the publisher.

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20 23 26 29 30 33 36






10 12 15 4

Welcome Letter from Governor Nathan Deal SkillsUSA, Georgia Career Expo - Scott Shelar Welcome from Richard Woods - GADOE The Apprentice



44 46

Young Man with a Plan Go Build Georgia is now TRADE FIVE Construction Career Opportunities Construction Management @Kennesaw State What is HVAC? Georgia Trade School Embarks on a Major Expansion CHAMP Enhances Highway Safety Across Georgia It’s All Relative Kaylon Odum Finding a Career at Wiregrass


48 49 50 52 55 56 58 60 62

A Little About Work Ethics The World of Transportation GDOT Watershed Management Addresses Workforce Challenges The World of Sheet Metal The World of Finishes The World of Power The World of Landscaping The World of Plumbing The World of Electrical Contracting

Let’s Drive to the Future A Career in Construction The World of Masonry Is the Ace Mentor Program the Right ‘Next Step’ for You? Skilled, Ready, and Willing

56 Georgia Contractor

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Georgia Contractor

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Georgia Contractor

Governor Nathan Deal Welcomes CEFGA/SkillsUSA Careers in Construction

Governor Nathan Deal

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SkillsUSA, Georgia Career Expo An intersection of passionate people ~ By Scott Shelar It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 2017 Georgia Career Expo and SkillsUSA State Championships!

It was 52 years ago that SkillsUSA Georgia was chartered by students and teachers who saw the need for more leadership training to complement their chosen vocations. It was 14 years ago that we combined SkillsUSA Georgia’s State Leadership and Skills Conference with the Georgia Career Expo to create the one huge event you see today. More than 7,000 attendees will walk the floor of our event this year; 5,000-plus students, 1,000-plus teachers and counselors; more than 1,000 industry leaders and volunteers. Each year I am reminded of what an awesome event this is. But, what makes it so? Is it the size of the event? It is one of the largest of its kind in the country. Is it the fact that students can see and touch the construction industry in ways they can’t anywhere else; that they can actually operate big yellow equipment they normally can only look at through a construction fence? Is it that they can meet and learn from hundreds of potential employers; that they can visit with technical colleges and universities from all over the southeast? Is it the excitement of watching SkillsUSA Champions compete head to head for an opportunity to represent Georgia at the SkillsUSA National Championships in Louisville, KY? I think it’s all of this, plus one important reality. This event - the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference and the Georgia Career Expo - is an intersection of passionate people. First are the skilled, dedicated, 10

Scott Shelar

motivated students here to explore and learn about exciting career opportunities and to compete for the title of “Best in the State.” So many of our volunteers say this is what keeps them coming back every year: Looking into the eyes and seeing the excitement of a young person as they learn or see something for the first time.

Second are our industry volunteers who love their industry so much that they take time out of their work to come and share their enthusiasm and knowledge with the next generation. It’s such a pleasure to work with these passionate industry professionals each year to pull this event together. Third are our passionate career and technical education teachers. It is these passionate teachers who make the decision to bring a bus load (or two) of students to this event each year. We know they are busy with everyday assignments in their classroom, but they want the best for their students. It’s these three groups of people students, industry volunteers and teachers—coming together on the Expo and Skills Floor that make this event what it is. It’s this intersection of passionate people that make this event awesome and unique.v

Georgia Contractor

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Georgia Contractor

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Georgia Contractor

The Apprentice By Allen Allnoch

Photo credit: Allen Allnoch

Just two months removed from high school graduation, Cameron Gorin met the real world head-on in late July 2016. The Kennesaw Mountain High graduate had just begun a five-year apprenticeship with 1electric, an Atlanta-based electrical contractor for commercial facilities. He quickly came to a realization about the commute from his home in Kennesaw: “Rush hour is not fun.” No one would argue with that assessment, but thanks to his work with 1electric, Cameron is gaining valuable experience, saving money and perhaps most important, “learning to be an adult,” he says.


ameron’s high school studies included a three-part “Construction Pathway” under Jeremy Whitaker, Construction Trades Teacher at KMHS. That curriculum, which introduces students to occupational safety and

championships and earn a second-place finish against more experienced teams. Whitaker introduced him to the Atlanta Electrical Contractors Association, which places high school graduates in an apprenticeship program to become

Whitaker told me about the apprenticeship program. I thought it would be a good idea to go through it, and if I do still want to go to college when I’m finished, I’ll be able to pay for it.” Indeed, says Whitaker, while Cameron’s career

Fresh out of High School, Cameron Gorin

Is Learning the Ways of an Electrician as He Navigates Life in the Real World the various construction disciplines, piqued his interest in electrical work. Cameron also competed in the SkillsUSA Team Works competition. During his junior year, he helped his team advance to the state March | April 2017

journeyman electricians. Looking back on his final year of high school, Cameron recalls, “I wanted to go to college, but I couldn’t afford it, and I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to study right away. Then Mr.

path may not be set in stone at this point, he’s clearly headed in the right direction. “Cameron was an honor student and could do anything he wanted to,” Whitaker says. “But he ex-

celled in construction and likes doing electrical work, so I introduced him to the electrical apprenticeship program. He saw what that program offered, how much he can make over five years, and that when he leaves he’ll be a journeyman electrician. That’s a skill he’ll have for the rest of his life. So whatever he does, whether he goes to college or not, he’ll always have that skill that will allow him to make not just a decent living, but a very good living.” Cameron has worked on several job sites around Atlanta, with the majority of his time coming at Ponce City Market in Decatur. 1electric oversees electrical maintenance throughout 15

the sprawling mixed-use complex, located in the historic Sears, Roebuck & Co. building. “When I started, I had no idea what to do,” Cameron says. “I was just standing around, watching and trying to learn. Now I kind of have an idea of what to do. I’ve learned how to run conduit and how to tie in receptacles and outlets. I’ve enjoyed the different work environments and meeting a lot of different people.” So far, so good, says one of his supervisors, Russell Scarbrough: “He’s done well. He listens and follows directions. The apprenticeship program is good for everyone involved. It gives young people like Cameron a great opportunity to learn on the job.” One moment in Cameron’s new career sticks with him. Early on in his assignment at Ponce City Market, a co-worker took him to the roof and showed him the Atlanta skyline. Just as that opportunity gave him a big-picture view of Georgia’s capital city, he has his eye on the long term as he works through the daily challenges of apprenticeship. “I plan on at least finishing the five years,” he says. “By then I’ll know if this is something I’m passionate about. Right now I’m just trying to figure out this whole adult situation.” Considering his intelligence and willingness to learn, chances are good he’ll do so. v 16

Georgia Contractor

Young Man with a Plan

South Paulding High School Senior Kenny Almond Is Well on His Way to a Successful Construction Career By Allen Allnoch

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andering the halls of Hiram’s sprawling Mc Garity Elementary School, a visitor easily could get lost. Kenny Almond, on the other hand, knows exactly where he’s going. The South Paulding High senior strides purposefully around the 87,000-square-foot facility, a picture of confidence in his hard hat and safety glasses. Working for Bremen-based RK Redding Construction, Kenny spent much of his summer on a large-scale renovation project at the school. The confidence he exhibited on the job extends to his career plans—in that realm, too, he has a firm sense of direction. “I’m planning to join the Marines after I graduate, then go into construction after retirement,” he says. Such a career path would be reminiscent of the one taken by Kenny’s father. Kelly Almond spent ten years in the Corps before launching his own company, Almond Construction,

which specialized in residential renovation and repair. Today Kelly is a construction technology instructor at South Paulding High, where one of his star students is his own son. “I think many parents are not aware of the value of career tech programs,” says Kelly Almond, who also serves as a SkillsUSA advisor at South Paulding. “It’s a lot more than building birdhouses. It’s all about having career options. “Kenny kind of breaks the stereotype of what people think of as the typical construction student,” he continues. “He’s been an A-B student for most of his 11 years in grade school, he’s gone through ROTC, he’s applied himself in the construction program. So he’s got a lot of options as he prepares for a career. I’m very proud of him.” Likewise, Kenny’s supervisors at RK Redding speak highly of their young charge. 17

“Kenny is probably our most decorated student,” says Senior Project Manager Geoff Smith. “He’s been on time, he’s done everything he’s been asked, and he’s got a good future ahead of him. Kenny has things planned out, and that’s a good thing. There are a lot of students who don’t.” Kenny was one of three South Paulding students working for RK Redding over the summer. Now he’s back in school, but remains employed thanks to a work-release program that allows up to 15 hours a week on the job. With participating contractors receiving incentives such as a discount on workman’s comp insurance, and students gaining valuable experience in the field, it’s a win-win for all parties. “We’re partnered with Paulding County and Haralson County, and most likely will expand that,” Smith says. “The state is really trying to push skills, because if you go on a job site and start looking at the skilled trades,


you’ll see there aren’t a lot of young guys and young ladies in this. So we’re going to have a lack of trained workers in the future if we don’t get our voca-

tional programs back going in the right direction. My prediction is that the skilled trades are going to make good money in the next 20 years, be-

Georgia Contractor

cause there’s just such a lack of that right now.” Kelly Almond is a strong advocate of such programs, too. “It’s one thing to have intellect and knowledge,” says the senior Almond, who was installed in July as president of the Georgia Association of Career and Technical Education. “But the great thing about a program like this is it gives the student good hands-on field experience to complement that.” Indeed, Kenny’s experience on the McGarity Elementary project was very much hands-on. His work included setting doorframes, concrete framework, fire caulking, wood framing and trimming. “You can tell him to do something and walk away and you don’t have to worry about it,” says Project Superintendent Matt Bryant. “If he has any questions, he’ll come talk to

March | April 2017

you. That’s what I like. A lot of people won’t ask questions— they’re either too scared or they think they know everything.” Of course, growing up under his father’s tutelage has served Kenny well. “He’d take me to job sites he was on, let me do little odds and ends, take me to skills competitions to see what goes on at those,” he recalls. Today, he says, Kelly is “by far the best construction teacher I’ve ever had.” Kenny also put those lessons to use in competition this year. He earned a second-place regional finish in carpentry to qualify for the state SkillsUSA Championships last March. Skills competitions, firstrate instruction, real-world experience—it’s all part of Kenny Almond’s career plan. With that kind of focus, he’s clearly headed straight down a path to success. v


Go Build Georgia is now Trade Five We’re excited to announce the new face of Georgia’s workforce development initiative, Trade Five. The old name “Go Build Georgia” felt too heavily focused on strictly construction, which was not the program’s true focus. Construction is huge, it’s growing, and there’s a lot of opportunity there, but it doesn’t represent the true breadth of our vision. In reality, our real goal is to provide support in a variety of industries, including construction, manufacturing, logistics, energy, and telecommunications. Each of these sectors is rich with opportunities for skilled trade work and they all present wonderful career opportunities for Georgians, which is really what we’ve always been about; skilled trades in Georgia, not just construction.


What would you say to high schoolers who are thinking about attending a technical college and pursuing a skilled trade?

I’d tell them that they are so smart for realizing the opportunities that will be available to them with a technical education and the great skills that they’ll acquire with that education. At this age, for them to already understand the value and importance of technical skills when it comes to getting a good, stable job, that means that they are really far ahead for their age. If they already understand that technical skills will get them a highpaying job where they can go on to be business owners then they are on the right track to doing very well for themselves and their families for years to come. The Technical College System of Georgia has many programs and curriculums to work with them in order to reach those goals and we’re thrilled to be able to partner with them. 20

What kinds of scholarships or initiatives are available to people who want to pursue an education at one of Georgia’s technical colleges?

The governor and the General Assembly has provided an excellent opportunity for all Georgia high school students with the Move on When Ready program. This program streamlines the other dual-enrollment programs that we’ve had in the past and helps high schoolers get college credit that is paid for by the state (tuition and books). Most importantly, this is a partnership between the high schools and technical colleges that ensures that the high schoolers have an opportunity to earn college credit without interfering with their usual high school courses or causing any sort of delay in earning their diploma. For academic year ‘16 we had 17,000 students enrolled in the move on when ready program, and that was a 45.2% increase from the previous

year. So this is a real game-changer in education in the state of Georgia. You can go to for more information. We also have the Georgia Skilled Trades initiative, where high school seniors who are entering our technical colleges in a field of study that falls into one of our “high demand careers” categories have the ability to receive scholarships for tuition fees and materials. There is another great program that is not available to high schoolers, but is available as soon as they enter a technical college, called the Georgia Georgia Contractor

Work Smart registered apprenticeship program. This program ensures that our students who are pursuing a career in any of three targeted industries (Industrial Systems Technology, Machine Tool Technology, or Electrical Systems Technology) have the opportunity to apprentice with companies and then immediately make the transition into the workforce. This is something that we’re doing at eight of our colleges, all over the state. Another great program that is available to students in the technical college system is the Strategic Industry Workforce Development Grant, a supplement to the HOPE grant that provides full tuition for people pursuing a degree in one of 12 program areas (see sidebar). So anyone who would like to pursue a career in any of these 12 industries has the opportunity to attend a Georgia college for no cost at all. Additionally, when they graduate, they have the assurance that they’ll be hired into a high-paying, high-demand career because we’ve done our research and used industry data to understand that these are some of the most in-demand jobs in the state.

Grant, or the Pell Grant, many students end up barely paying anything at all. What is the job placement rate of graduates of Georgia’s Technical Colleges?

98-99% of our graduates will go on to either get a job or pursue additional higher education after they graduate from a technical college. And that’s something that a lot of people don’t understand about the Technical College System of Georgia— we have a wonderful relationship with all of the other educational institutions in Georgia that allows any of our students to easily transfer credits to another Georgia college or university. Speaking strictly of job placement, however, not counting those students who go on to other educational institutions, 88% of our students go on to jobs in their field of study immediately following graduation.v

Strategic Industry Workforce Development Grant: 12 Program Areas Certified Engineer Assistant Commercial Truck Driving Computer Programming Computer Technology Diesel Equipment Technology Early Childhood Care & Education Health Science Industrial Maintenance Movie Production / Set Design Practical Nursing Precision Manufacturing Welding & Joining Technology

If a student doesn’t qualify for scholarships or isn’t pursuing a career that falls into a grant area, what’s the average cost of tuition to attend a technical college in Georgia?

Basically the breakdown is going to come from credit hours. So ours are $89/credit hour, and, if you do a full semester, that comes out to $3,240 per semester. But it’s very rare that anyone pays full tuition. The overwhelming majority of Georgia’s technical college students qualify for some sort of assistance (whether that’s a grant, scholarship, or otherwise). Around 50% of students qualify for the HOPE grant alone, then when you factor in the SIWDG (mentioned above) or the Zell Miller March | April 2017



Georgia Contractor

Ry an B

Career Opportunities



ing ol

erations M ng Op ana i n i ge ra T r |

‘Rising Up’ in Metro Atlanta 2017 has already shown tremendous promise for the future of our great State of Georgia; and with several construction projects both planned for and currently underway in metropolitan Atlanta and surrounding areas, that future is looking brighter than ever before. Thus far, 2017 has marked the beginning of a new presidential administration in our country, the return of our beloved Atlanta Falcons to the NFL Super Bowl, and a continuation of positive trends seen by the City of Atlanta, in the areas of infrastructure, tourism and economic development. Many exciting things are on the horizon for both Atlanta residents and visitors; and much to the benefit of the Atlanta job market, this excitement goes hand-in-hand with economic opportunity. If you have driven around the metro Atlanta area recently, you should already be aware of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, SunTrust Ballpark and Atlanta United Training Ground projects currently under construction for Atlanta’s professional football, baseball and soccer teams. With these high-profile projects –amongst numerous others– slated for completion within the next several months, Atlanta is quickly renewing its illustrious reputation for being the entertainment March | April 2017

and business epicenter of not only the State of Georgia, but also, the Southeastern region of the United States. When you consider this growth, along with the vast improvements and expansions being made to Georgia’s roads and highways, it’s not difficult to see the magnitude of potential which lies ahead. In the summer of 2016, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport announced their official commencement of an estimated six-billion-dollar construction project. This project, aimed at both renovating and expanding the world’s busiest airport, is part of a 20-year plan to rejuvenate and replace outdated, deteriorating airport facilities; and will go a long way towards cementing HartsfieldJackson’s reputation as one of the world’s leading airports. With such a high-percentage of the baby boomer generation expected to retire from the construction workforce over the next few years, long-term projects such as the Atlanta Airport Renovation/ Expansion will be in regular need of skilled, dependable, and credentialed workers. As oc23

cupational safety and compliance enforcement efforts continue to advance, companies can no longer afford to sacrifice hiring quality employees for the sake of ‘saving a buck’. What this translates to in an open job market, is a key (salary) negotiating benefit for the skilled, credentialed worker. But, how do we as an industry, bring these companies together with the ‘right’ workers, that possess the ‘right’ set of skills? How do we keep the employment pipelines filled with qualified candidates? And once those pipelines start to fill, how do we keep them full; and keep the hiring employers coming back? While staffing agencies and labor departments across the country struggle with these questions daily, Atlanta, Georgia, is among many major cities leading the charge in addressing the industry’s impending skilled labor shortage. When you consider the rapid emergence of construction projects around the metro Atlanta area, while taking into account local workforce development efforts, apprenticeship


programs, community outreach efforts, and support from both State government and technical colleges, the construction job market in Atlanta is fast approaching a state of symbiosis between job creation and the immediate availability of qualified candidates, to apply for those jobs. With some industries, the road to success begins with being hired by a company at the ‘right time’. In construction, the ‘right time’ to join a company isn’t based on advancements in technology, stock prices or which level in a marketing pyramid you happen to fall under. Historically speaking, earning potentials in construction are as high now, as they have been in many years. Companies are hiring and work is abundant; and while we are still yet faced with an impending gap in skilled industry labor over the next several years, Georgia is working diligently and expeditiously to close that gap. 2017 is expected to be a very prosperous year for the already multibillion-dollar construction industry; and it’s a rare circumstance indeed,

when a job market favors both the employer and the employment candidate. Again, folks, exciting times are ahead… v

Georgia Contractor

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Georgia Contractor

Construction Management


Kennesaw State University Degree programs offer abundant opportunities in one of Atlanta’s most vibrant sectors


onstruction Management is more than just building structures. Kennesaw State’s Department of Construction Management in the College of Architecture and Construction Management is a haven for students who plan to pursue careers in commercial development, residential homebuilding and heavy construction, such as roadways and airports. This ever-evolving discipline encompasses all things critical to the life cycle of buildings and construction, such as cost estimation, scheduling and management. Construction management involves planning, coordination, financing and maintaining control over all the tasks of a construction project. Kennesaw State is one of only a few higher education institutions in the Southeast that offer construction management bachelor’s and master’s degrees and certificate options. To align with the industry itself, KSU’s construction management degrees allow students to concentrate in one of five key areas: land development, general contracting, specialty contracting (electrical and mechanical), heavy construction and facilities management. The degree programs are accredited by the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE), and the degree with a facilities management concentration is accredited by the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA). As part of the degree program, students learn to estimate costs and quantities of labor and materials and how to schedule and sequence projects from start to finish, while meeting safety specifications and state regulations. Students learn to lead the construction of a facility by managing money, materials, manpower, machinery and time as effectively as possible. Students participate in the classroom and laboratory to learn about buildings’ systems, but they also gain hands-on experience through practical opportunities. A few unique partnerships with other academic programs on campus lend themselves to unusual collaborations for our construction management students. For example, a mobile chicken coop competition at the University’s Hickory Grove Farm is helping to move new chickens from the current house to a main area, so the chickens stroll around the farm and fertilize the fields naturally. Construction management students also are building a tiny house at the farm this semester. Although not for habitation, the tiny house will serve as a teaching tool. Not only

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do students learn building fundamentals and management principles, but also about sustainability in design. Providing opportunities to gain realworld experience is essential to KSU’s construction management degree. With eight student organizations specific to construction management, students join these groups to acquire some of the soft skills, such as communication, team dynamics, problem solving and time management. Several of these teams, which are affiliated with professional organizations, such as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), National Electric Contractors Association (NECA) and the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), have landed top honors at national competitions in recent years. The NAHB Student Chapter swept the competition at the International Builders’ Show this year, taking first in the nation in the NAHB Student Chapters Residential Construction Management Competition for fouryear programs, and earning Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award from NAHB. Through these organizations, students gain practical knowledge with guidance from their faculty advisors and interact with construction management professionals who encourage students to participate in re28

gional chapters. Construction management leaders and firms have long supported scholarships for students at KSU. More than 30 construction management-specific scholarships are available to Kennesaw State students, ranging from $500 to $4,000 each. This academic department boasts the highest number of industry-supported scholarships at the university, providing more

than $35,000 in scholarships to students annually. KSU’s construction management industry advisory board, who represent some of Atlanta’s largest firms in the industry, repeatedly hire Kennesaw State construction management students for internships and full-time jobs. About 90% of KSU’s construction management students complete internships to gain hands-on experience at active construction sites. The University also hosts a construction management job fair each year, which often draws more than 60 local contractors, developers, real estate firms, banks and Fortune 500 companies to campus in search of employees to fill high-demand management jobs. With its strong curriculum, talented faculty and hardworking students, Kennesaw State University’s Construction Management degree programs are meeting industry needs and making significant contributions to the economic development of the state. v

Georgia Contractor

What Is HVAC?

Have you ever thought about how your home or school

stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer? That is

thanks to an industry called HVAC.

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air condi-

tioning and refers to the systems and technologies used

to condition the air—that is, keep it warm or cool and

maintain humidity and air quality. The main goal of HVAC

is to create the ideal environment for all types and sizes

of buildings and vehicles.


t all starts with well-engineered HVAC systems, such as boilers, furnaces, heat pumps, chillers and condensers, just to name a few. Each one of these requires highly skilled and educated engineers, de-

training, the opportunity for career growth, and competitive, experience-based pay are just a few of the many reasons to pursue a career in HVAC. This industry is especially wellsuited for those who are technical-minded, enjoy

Here is a look at the future of HVAC from Dave Tzimenatos, Field Operations Supervisor at McKenney’s and a member of the 2015-16 Board of Directors for the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA):

Many of the HVAC systems still in use today have been around for over 150 years, not changing much in their basic operation.

signers, drafters, craftsmen and service technicians who are able to service the system from design and fabrication to installation and maintenance. Robust job demand, continuing education and March | April 2017

problem-solving and are interested in working behindthe-scenes to make an impact in people’s everyday lives. Check out these pictures to see some typical HVAC work and see if it’s a right fit for you.

Many of the HVAC systems still in use today have been around for over 150 years, not changing much in their basic operation. However, this has begun to change at a very rapid pace, thanks to a tremendous

push to make these systems more energy efficient just in the last 15 years. We are seeing changes in the ways in which these systems are installed and serviced. The installers, craftsmen and service technicians in the HVAC field need to be well-educated, mechanically-inclined, and ready to work in all construction environments. There are many opportunities in the heating and air industry that many don’t think about, but the opportunities are endless. Heating and air is a necessity, and with increasing demand on these systems to be more energy efficient, the HVAC industry will continue to grow and need new leaders to carry it on that journey. v 29


Georgia Contractor

Georgia Trade School Embarks on a Major Expansion By Ryan Blythe In Just five years, Georgia Trade School has become one of the most critically acclaimed welding schools in the nation. Some of our highlights include • Over 320 welders trained and working in the field for over 100 employers GTS Senior Instructor Elaine Waters was named the National Teacher of the Year by the 2,500 member strong Fabricators and Manufacturers Association


9 March | April 2017

Downtown Acworth train caboose in the historic district, a popular landmark

The latest Jackson Safety’s Balder welding hoods which we consulted on the designs for ( Jackson Safety is a division of Kimberly Clark) 31

GTS also received the prestigious Cobb Chamber Top 25 Small Business of the Year; the Cobb Chamber is one of the most successful in the nation

Our students, graduates and staff have been featured in several local and national publications including the Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Fabricator, Maritime Review, Practical Welding Today, Yahoo! and the Wall Street Journal

The geographic reach of our school continues to grow with students and graduates coming to us and working in fourteen different states

Our graduates are working on Iconic projects like the new Atlanta Falcons Stadium which was built with 36 million pounds of structural steel and at three International Airports including the World’s first and seventh busiest for passenger trafficHartsfield Jackson and LAX


A Look Ahead 2017 Promises to be the most exciting year in school history as we are on the move!! At his annual “State of the City” Address, Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood made the announcement- Georgia Trade School is relocating and expanding to the historic Downtown district! This 30,000 square foot building will be one of the most unique settings for a trade school in the nation as we will be walking distance to award winning restaurants, galleries and boutiques. We have a significant renovation and build out, but it is our hope to open the new “Weldland” late summer. In the meantime we will continue operating uninterrupted at our current facility in Kennesaw. The Expansion by the numbers: Location will be 4231 Southside Drive, Acworth, Georgia. • 30,000 square foot facility, nearly four times the size of our current operation

GTS Instructor Scot McKneely demonstrated welding techniques in our laboratory

Georgia Contractor

25 welding booths, an increase from our current 15 with plenty of room for future growth

State of the Art Classroom and Student Success Center

Over 200 parking spaces within a two block walking distance

An estimated 25,000,000 dollars in our annual graduate economic impact

The State of the Industry There has never been a better time to become a welder! With 400,000 openings expected by 2024, welders remain in great demand. Some of the projects we are keeping an eye on include Shipbuilding is expected to come back strong with opportunities in Virginia (Aircraft Carriers) joining our existing relationship in Mississippi (Destroyers, Cutters and Amphibious assault ships) Manufacturing has expanded for nine out of the last ten months as oil prices have stabilized

We also anticipate great demand in construction with twenty major sports and entertainment projects slated including the renovation of Philips Arena While you are attending the Worlds of Construction Expo please be sure to stop by the Welding and Fabrication competition where you can meet ChuckE2009, (the most popular YouTube Welding personality in the world) and network with recruiters and welding professionals from the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Ingalls Shipbuilding. v

Coordinated Highway Assistance & Maintenance Program

CHAMP Enhances Highway Safety Across Georgia Georgia 1st to provide statewide interstate highway assistance Motorists in Georgia now have the benefit of a new statewide program that enhances highway safety and provides them with roadside assistance when they need it. The Georgia Department of Transportation’s new Coordinated Highway Assistance and Maintenance Program (CHAMP) serves most interstates located outside of Metro Atlanta.

While CHAMP is distinct and separate from the Department’s longstanding and highly successful Highway Emergency Response Operators (HERO) program in the Atlanta region, the addition of CHAMP to Georgia DOT’s safety program makes Georgia the first state to provide statewide interstate highway assistance. “Ensuring the safety of our roadways for motorists and first responders Ronnie McNorton, East Central region CHAMP supervisor, works off Interstate 16 near Dublin tagging an abandoned vehicle. Photo: Kyle Collins/GDOT March | April 2017


is Georgia DOT’s primary goal,” said Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry, P.E. “With that in mind, we launched CHAMP in order to expand our patrol and assistance services across the state.” CHAMP operators (CHAMPs) assist law enforcement with traffic incidents to ensure safe, quick clearance and efficient traffic flow. They report or resolve roadway maintenance issues. They provide immediate notification about bridge or roadway damage, downed signs, missing markings, signal malfunctions, and commercial vehicle crashes and spills. CHAMPs clear clogged drains, clean up minor non-hazardous spills, and remove debris, vegetative growth and abandoned vehicles. They also assist motorists who need help. “What makes CHAMP different from HERO and similar patrols across the country is that it specifically addresses highway maintenance,” State Traffic Engineer Andrew Heath, P.E. said. “CHAMP operators are Georgia DOT’s eyes on the road. By proactively responding to maintenance issues, as well as addressing incident clearance and motorist assistance, they make Georgia highways safer.” CHAMP is staffed by 48 full-time operators and 18 full-time dispatchers. A total of 51 branded, custom-fitted CHAMP trucks patrol interstates across Georgia (excluding Metro Atlanta and the short stretches of I-24 and I-59). CHAMP service is available 24/7; they patrol 16 hours a day, and are on call the other eight hours. This complimentary service is made possible through funds resulting from Georgia’s Transportation Funding Act of 2015. Operators do not accept tips or payment from the public. Georgia State Patrol Sgt. Auston Allen said that Georgia DOT has been

of great assistance to the GSP throughout the years, and that CHAMP service will be beneficial not only for traffic crashes, but also for motorist assistance. “They will redirect traffic around a crash on the interstate and also assist in normal circumstances with flat tires, running out of fuel, broken down cars and debris in the roadway,” Allen said. “These guys are going to come and respond to take care of the minor problems, which allows us to take care of traffic investigation.” The CHAMP procurement process was completed through a competitive solicitation request for proposals. The contract was awarded to AECOM team; KCI and Kennedy Engineering (DBE) subcontractors, who provide management, dispatch, operator staff and the truck fleet to carry out all duties. The three-year contract includes an option to extend for an additional two years. CHAMP is a statewide complement to Georgia DOT’s HERO incident management program in Metro Atlanta, which has served motorists for more than 20 years. HERO’s primary duty is to clear roads at traffic-related incidents so that normal traffic flow is restored; they also assist

stranded motorists. HERO patrols 310 miles of Metro Atlanta freeways on 31 routes every day during peak hours and responds to incidents 24/7. Georgia DOT’s Highway Emergency Response Operators program is sponsored by State Farm. For motorist assistance or to report a crash, infrastructure damage or debris on a Georgia interstate or state route, motorists are directed to dial 511. Callers will be asked to provide operators with their location, milepost or nearest exit number.v CHAMP is launching in phases with full statewide implementation anticipated in May. For information about CHAMP, including a route map and roll-out schedule, visit For information about Georgia DOT, visit Follow us on Facebook DOT and Twitter gadeptoftrans

CHAMP vehicles utilize push bumpers, message boards and other traffic control devices. Photo: Cedric Mohr/GDOT 34

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March | April 2017


It’s All Relative


n SkillsUSA’s TeamWorks event, rows and rows of structures rise to fill a huge arena. The sight can be overwhelming, but to one family, it feels like home. Longtime SkillsUSA advisor Barry Arrington has led state champions to the national contest six times. In 2016, his daughter Carter, 16, won a high-school bronze medal with her team. The same year, son Barry Jr., 20, earned a bronze in the college/postsecondary division, returning to the nationals after winning gold in 2013 on a high-school team. The national competition is unlike any other. Over three days, four students not only build a project that tests their carpentry, electrical, plumbing and masonry skills, they also must demonstrate their ability to work as a team. Both Carter and her brother were the team captains and designated carpenters in their high-school contests, although when his college team needed a mason, Barry Jr. successfully took over that role. “I always kind of wanted to do TeamWorks and carpentry,” says Carter, who started on her skills in middle school and first made it to the nationals in 2015 as a freshman. “I’ve always been around it, watching the competitions since I was real little.” Barry Jr. has competed three times, starting in 2012. Their father is a construction instructor at Adairsville (Ga.) High School, located midway between Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tenn. He understandably beams with pride at the mention of their national recognition, but that’s not the only reason. When selecting TeamWorks competitors, Arrington says, he mostly looks for “commitment, their work ethic, all the things that SkillsUSA is good at building on” — in other words, character traits to make any parent proud. When putting together a team, “you really have to be able to read people,” says Arrington, who starts with assessing the skills of the sophomores. “The whole class: Who would be the valedictorian, salutato-

Published in the Winter 2017 issue of SkillsUSA Champions magazine Reprinted with permission. Photo by Ann P. Schreiber


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rian and the other? That’s my biggest success. And then, practice working with them is key.” He brought his first team to the national competition in 2007. Barry Jr. carried what he learned to the Georgia Northwestern Technical College campus in Calhoun, where his major is construction management. When assembling a TeamWorks group there, “you still have to have the work ethic,” he says, but “it’s a lot different being in college than it is in high school.” He explains, “If we don’t put forth the effort, we’re not going to get anything out of it. It’s just like college everywhere, but the same thing goes. You have to pick the people on the team very wisely, because a lot of people go to college and have jobs, and they work instead of practice sometimes. I’m not saying jobs aren’t good, but you have to have people who are willing to practice,

and that’s just what it takes.” Aside from that level of commitment, “Learning the team concept is very key,” his father says. “I mean, you don’t just show up and know carpentry, plumbing, wiring and masonry and produce a project as a team. You have to basically learn the dance. Learning teamwork is really the hardest part of the whole contest.” With each new quartet of students, the instructor stresses that “you have to put the team first, not yourself. And we work on that. I’ll get on them for saying, ‘Well, I didn’t do this, and I didn’t do that.’ ” He corrects them by saying, “Yes, you did it — as a team. No one actually did it but the team. It happened with the team, and so all of you did that as a team.” He notes, “That concept is sometimes the hardest thing to get across to them.” Carter, a high-school junior who takes college-level classes half of her day,

says nothing compares to competition experience, directly or indirectly. Returning to nationals two years in a row helped her team jump from eighth to third place. “When you’re going for the first time, you don’t exactly know what’s going to happen,” she adds. “Also, just watching it from previous years when Barry [Jr.] went, that helped a lot, too, I think, because I got to see it and know what’s going on.” In 2016, her father brought three students to the national competition just to be observers, making TeamWorks much more than a family affair. “This contest is so huge and so overwhelming when a student comes in,” he says. “But next year when they come, if we make it back in competition, they won’t be overwhelmed to see the magnitude of the contest and everything.”v

Kaylon Odum Finding a Career at Wiregrass Valdosta, Georgia- There is an old quote by Francis of Assisi that says, “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” It’s hard trying to figure out what you want to do as a career for the rest of your life. So many choices and options are available, along with expectations and peer pressure, that it can make the process overwhelming. Many choose their education and career path strictly based on what is expected of them instead of doing something they enjoy. We’ve all heard the saying, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Meet Wiregrass Georgia Technical College student, Kaylon Odum. After serving in the Army for six years, Kay- Wiregrass Georgia Technical College student Kaylon Smith is finding his career lon tried his hand at Commercial in Industrial Systems Technology March | April 2017


Truck Driving and decided that was not the career for him made the decision to change careers and find something he really enjoyed doing. “I had always been interested in learning how things work, along with electrical and plant maintenance, so I decided I needed to go to school.” Because of his time serving our country, Odum qualified for Veteran education benefits to help pay for college along with HOPE and Pell Grants. Odum is enrolled in the Industrial Systems Technology Diploma program at Wiregrass. The Industrial Systems Technology program helps prepare students for employment in a variety of positions within the industrial maintenance field. Graduates from the program are qualified to work as an industrial maintenance technician, electrician, or mechanic. Students receive hands-on training in several areas of industrial maintenance including

electronics, industrial wiring, motors, controls, instrumentation, fluidpower, mechanical, pumps and piping, and computers. When trying to decide on what career path Kaylon wanted to pursue, he researched and learned that Industrial Systems jobs earn good and are in demand of skilled and qualified employees. “I knew because of my interest in this area this would not only be a job I would enjoy, but could make a good living at doing,” shared Odom. After being in the program, he feels he made the right choice and so does his instructor Drew Vickers. “He’s a hard worker and puts his all into his work,” shared Vickers, who serves as the Department Chair for Technical Education and the Industrial and Electrical Systems Program Coordinator. Because of his hard work, Odum will represent Wiregrass this spring at the state SkillsUSA competition. He will be competing in the

Motor Controls category. What’s next after college for Odum? His plans are to find a job working in the Industrial Maintenance field in South Georgia and return to Wiregrass and further his education by taking online classes to complete the associate of science degree in Industrial Systems. For those interested in pursuing a career that they enjoy, visit the college’s website at or call 229-333-2100 and ask for admissions. The Industrial Systems Diploma program and Electrical Maintenance Technician Certificate program both qualify for the Georgia Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant. For students who qualify for the HOPE grant, additional money is available to help pay for fees and/or books for college. v


Let’s to the Future


hat if we reimagine the way we connect our lives and our world? What if a highway was more than just asphalt and painted lines? What if a highway could make us safer, be responsive to the climate and environment, and even generate energy? On an 18-mile stretch of 185 in West Georgia known as The Ray, those questions are being asked and answered. The Ray is a living lab for innovative ideas and technologies that can set a new standard for roadways around the world and prove that ambitious goals are within our reach.


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Wattway is the world’s first trafficable solar roadway and before 2016 could only be found in France. A novel technology, Wattway is a system of solar panels installed on the road’s surface that is not only safe and durable but also generates energy from the sun when not obscured by cars or trucks. The thin, heavy-duty, skid-resistant photovoltaic pavers can be applied directly over existing paving, eliminating the need to remodel or build new road infrastructure. The Ray boasts 50 square meters of this solar paving, which helps power the Georgia Visitor Information Center in West Point, Georgia.

Drivers will get their results within seconds and can make needed adjustments with a no-cost air compressor on site. Just The Beginning

The Ray is a two-year-old initiative that has already formed strong partnerships, including the Georgia Department of Transportation. Future projects and partnerships are slated to be exciting and bold, challenging the

system and preconceived ideas about transportation infrastructure. The State Transportation Board has unanimously approved two resolutions affirming The Ray as a transportation innovation laboratory, marking it a proving ground for new technologies to be tested, perfected, and scaled. Together, the Ray and our partners are leading the way to zero deaths, zero waste, zero carbon, and zero impact to the environment. v


More than 35,000 people lose their lives in accidents on U.S. roads and highways each year. The U.S. Department of Transportation points to underinflated tires as a cause of crashes that can result in fatalities and injuries. WheelRight is a drive-over tire safety system that measure the tire pressure and tread depth of all tires. March | April 2017



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Career in CONSTRUCTION Equipment you might use When you join the construction trade, more often than not, you are expected to do more than exercise your trade in general. You also need to be skilled in the tools of the trade. For some, the tools may be a hammer or a wrench, but many of these tools can have four-foot high wheels and weigh 15 tons. In this section you will learn some of these tools and equipment, what they do, and how much a skilled operator gets paid. We would like to thank Flint Equipment for providing the photographs. v


What a dragIn the forest, uptime is the name of the game and this Deere 648L Skidder isn’t interested in playing nice.If you want to drag more wood and make the tough job a little bit easier, this is the skidder for you. It combines bestin-class horsepower and an impressive power-to-weight ratio with a constant engine speed—for superb responsiveness and maximum efficiency. Better machine balance optimizes pulling power while improving stability when climbing hills, navigating adverse terrain or hauling bigger payloads.

John Deere digs deep. When the task demands a serious excavator to get things done, get a John Deere G-Series. With more hydraulic flow than its highly productive predecessor, our 870G LC delivers faster work cycles to move more material on a gallon of fuel. Rugged EPA Final Tier 4 (FT4)/EU Stage IV diesel engine meets rigid emission regulations, enabling you to work, wherever there’s work – without compromising power, reliability, or ease of operation.


March | April 2017



Talk about a full bucketJohn Deere’s 944K Hybrid Wheel Loader delivers full buckets every time. This piece of equipment has all of the features that allow heavy-duty maneuverability in the most demanding terrain and all the while performing with increased productivity and uptime while lowering daily operating costs. Its unique combination of speed, fuel efficiency, and surprising power make it a standout performer in an arena where every move matters.


Let’s talk trashDeere’s 460E Articulated Dump Truck boasts a bigger dump body and even faster cycle times. E-Series ADTs deliver big-time productivity. This dump truck employs light-weight heavy-duty fabricated frames and high alloy-steel bodies ensuring best-in-class power-to-weight ratios So you will haul more material at lower cost per ton than comparable-size trucks v 42

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The World of Masonry


he Masonry Association of Georgia (MAG) is celebrating the success of their apprenticeship program as more students are realizing that masonry can be a well-paying career from starting out as a laborer to mason to foreman to superintendent to potential business owner. Wages can range from $11 per hour to $38 per hour, but it’s really up to the individual. The sky’s the limit! The association especially likes to target high school students currently in masonry programs as well as recent graduates for recruitment into the apprenticeship program. Executive Director Michele Huber notes “we have structured our apprenticeship program around the NCCER text that is currently used in Georgia high schools. This will ensure that those students who have already demonstrated a willingness to learn the trade in high school can get a head start when they join the MAG program.” She continued, “if we can continue to engage these students after high school and train them correctly, we will have masons who build with quality and future foremen and superintendents to carry on the art of the masonry trade. We want to show students a profitable career path in masonry.” MAG invites any high school construction teachers to attend the apprenticeship classes any Tuesday night along with the apprentices. This allows the construction teachers who may not have a masonry background to critique their basic masonry skills and techniques to take back to their classrooms. “Instructor training is very important, so future apprentices from high school programs can get a head start with the correct methods and techniques prior to starting our apprenticeship program.” MAG’s apprenticeship goal for each student: by the end of the first semester, ensure that apprentice has the basics of masonry under his/her belt and can be productive on the job. “Our apprentices have a great foundation in the basic skills through the hands-on work and special projects,” states Ray Swanhart of Jollay Masonry and chair of the MAG Apprenticeship Committee. He adds, “We try to get them working out in the field as soon as possible to reinforce their training and expose them to real-world job conditions.” Fact is, anyone can buy the materials and the tools, and look in a book or attend a workshop to figure out a way to lay brick, block or stone. But what separates amateurs from professionals is not only skill, but the professional pride in doing the job right. March | April 2017

For more information about a career in masonry, contact MAG at 770-310-1885 or

Chris Knox takes pride in his first arch. 43

ACE Atlanta student works ‘hands on’ to present his design ideas.



Imagine designing a state-of-the-art stadium, planning the construction of a suspension bridge, or transforming the vision for an urban center into a reality while you’re still in high school… Have you ever asked yourself: What’s the difference between an architect and an engineer, or a construction manager and a structural engineer? Do I need good math skills to be an engineer? How much does a person in the construction industry make? How is a stadium built? A bridge? A skyscraper? Thanks to the ACE Mentor Pro-

By Amy Tribo

gram thousands of high school students around the country are designing reallife projects under the direction of some

of the nation’s top engineering and design professionals. ACE, which simply stands for Architecture-Construction-

ACE Atlanta students and mentors networking at the 2016 Benefit and Awards Banquet. 44

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Engineering, is an after-school program that gives you a hands-on introduction to architecture, construction management, engineering and other construction careers you may consider if you’re interested in designing and/or building just about everything around you, from schools, stadiums and concert halls to bridges, tunnels, shopping malls, parks and more. The program connects you with industry professionals who volunteer their time and energy. They show you where and how they work, the skills they use, and some of their projects under construction. They also help you design an actual project.

ACE in Atlanta

ACE has been growing to reach more Atlanta students for more than 10 years. Six Atlanta metro teams including Georgia Tech, Habitat for Humanity Atlanta Headquarters and several high school locations help to provide a team convenient to you.

March | April 2017

How it works

You’re assigned to a team with other students and a group of mentors. ACE teams generally meet after school once a week from January through April. You will learn how designers and builders think and work as you learn about the industry and work on the design project. Your mentors will also take you on behind-the-scenes office tours and field trips to construction sites. There is no cost to students for participating in the program—it just requires your time, time you could consider an investment in your future!

Career guidance

Your exposure to many disciplines and specialties associated with the construction industry helps you decide which one —if any—is right for you.

Better skills

The program helps you develop a variety of skills including drawing, writing, presenting, leveraging software, and problem solving.

networking opportunities

Getting to know mentors and guest speakers opens up opportunities for job shadowing, summer jobs, and internships.


Participation in the program and pursuit of an ACE career are required for eligibility for several partial college scholarships funded at the local level. ACE Atlanta awarded $14,000 just last year!

Skilled trades

ACE Atlanta offers two locations that focus on the hands-on technical skills of construction. Students learn about various skilled trades and careers in the construction industry, such as concrete and carpentry, through hands-on activities and guest speakers. Visit and follow ACE at for more info. v


Skilled, Ready, and Willing Adam Ricketts Has a Head Start on a Construction Career, Thanks to a New Summer Work Program

Summer vacation was approaching and Adam Ricketts needed to figure out how he was going to spend it. An A student with a solid work ethic, he certainly was going to find something productive to do.

So when Jeremy Whitaker, Construction Trades Teacher at Kennesaw Mountain High School, told his class about a new summer program called Skilled and Ready To Work, Adam jumped at the opportunity. He ended up spending June and July 2016 with Penco Electrical Contractors, Inc., working full-time on an air conditioning and lighting project at McEachern High School in Powder Springs. “I presented the program to all my classes and Adam was the only one who stepped up to the plate,” Whitaker recalls. “He said, ‘I’ll do it. I’ll be the guinea pig,’ and he made $3,300 working just two months. For a high school junior, that’s amazing. When we started the new school year, I asked my students, ‘Hey, did any of you make $3,300 this summer?’ And not a one came close to that.” Skilled & Ready To Work is a joint initiative between CEFGA and SkillsUSA Georgia to place high school construction students on job sites for the summer. Ten Atlanta-area industry partners participated in summer 2016. “I learned a lot about electrical work,” Adam says, “but even more, I learned how to communicate with people on the job. The people you work with on a construction site are different from people you meet at school, so you had to learn how to cooperate with them and get things done.” Adam became interested in construction after his older brother, David, 46

went through Whitaker’s three-part Construction Pathway curriculum at Kennesaw Mountain High. “He said he had a great time, so I took the first class,” Adam recalls. “I enjoyed that, so I took the next two.” The first class in the sequence is Industry Fundamentals and Occupational Safety. Next is Intro to Construction, which gives an overview of carpentry, plumbing, electrical and masonry. The series finishes with Carpentry 1, a more in-depth exploration of a discipline in which Whitaker has particular expertise. Whitaker has worked hard to get more students interested in construction, and to change the traditional perception of high school “shop class.” After arriving at KMHS five years ago, he launched “Redefining Blue Collar,” a 10-point vision statement that Cobb County Schools and industry partners have since adopted. “Shop is a four-letter word to me,” Whitaker says. “There’s a stigma of construction class being a place to goof off and get an easy A. That’s not the way to redefine blue collar.” Adam, David and other successful KMHS students are evidence the perception is changing—and not only at Kennesaw Mountain, but all over Georgia. Anyone who has witnessed the intense competition at the state SkillsUSA Championships can attest to that. Adam, who serves as vice-president for Kennesaw Mountain’s SkillsUSA chapter, advanced to the state level after placing second in the regional competition last year. Though he didn’t place at the state SkillsUSA, he still impressed one of his interviewers enough that the man handed him a business

Adam Ricketts

card and said, “You can come work for me when you graduate.” Whitaker was not surprised. “Adam has one of the best work ethics I’ve ever seen, and the best attitude,” he says. “He can do absolutely anything he wants to do, and I’m excited that he’s considering the skilled trades as a possible career. He gives 110% to everything, and I think that’s why he’s going to go really far.” Now a senior, Adam is considering his options for what’s next. Participating in Skilled and Ready has expanded his notion of what’s possible. “Penco offered to bring me back next year,” he says. “I might do it. It was a fun way to spend the summer, and I made a ton of money. If I go to college, I think I want to become an electrical engineer. But if I don’t, an electrician sounds like a pretty good career. I think I could do that.” v Georgia Contractor

By Chuck Little | H.R. Director | Atlanta Electrical Contractors Association

A Little About Work Ethics


o matter what industry you go to work for, your work ethic is going to be extremely important. Our electrical trade association represents some forty-five members, employing close to four thousand employees. The positions they hire for range from electrician apprentices to electrical engineers and everything in between in the world of construction. One of the first things I heard from our contractors, regardless of the position they were talking about, was the number one thing that made an average employee good and a good employee great—was the proper work ethic. Some of the traditional things looked at under this topic are: showing up for work every day, being on time every day, getting along with your fellow workers, being productive every minute you are at work. These things are so important because they make a company profitable. Profits, in turn, end up meaning job security for the employees. It’s a win-win. March | April 2017

Sometimes, you hear the following comment. “If I don’t show up for work, my employer doesn’t have to pay me; so, what’s the big deal?” Let me explain the big deal. The work still needs to get done. In the above case, our contractor ends up paying someone else to do the work of the missing employee. A lot of times, that someone else is a higher paid person who ends up being moved over to complete the work of the lower paid person. Then, another person has to be moved over to take the place of the first person who was moved. It ends up being a snowball effect—costing the contractor more money. You multiply that by 10 or 20 or 100 people (or more—over a week, a month, or a year) and we are talking about a substantial dollar loss. For a long time, our employers struggled on best how to benchmark ‘work ethics.’ It can be like trying to grab smoke or fog. Finally, through one of our committees, we came up with some topics and how to assign a measurement to them (please see the figure to the right).

Once they came up with the important topics, then they had to figure out how the supervisor could best assign a measurement to it. They came up with a simple formula for expectations as you can see. If a person gets a lot of +1’s, they are good as gold. If they get a lot “ 0’s and mixed numbers,” maybe they’ll be retained and maybe they won’t be retained. If they get a lot of -1’s, they most likely will be let go. This matrix has been shared with a number of teachers. Most of them liked it and wanted to incorporate it as a partial way of grading students. Can a teacher make a determination on who the top three or five students are in the classroom who show the most initiative? Absolutely. Can a teacher tell you who the two or three class clowns are? Absolutely. The same accountability could be done for “use of working time” (and most of the other topics below) by students— in any classroom. In our opinion, an “A” student with a poor work ethic should feel some pain (lower the grade). A “C” test taker with a great work ethic should feel some love (raise the grade). The measurement of work ethic needs to start in the classroom. That will help to instill a positive pattern for life. What gets measured, gets done! v Work Ethic Evaluation:

Under Exceeds Meets ExExpectaExpectapectations tions tions (0 (-1) (1)

Initiative Use of Working Time Appearance/Hygiene Attire Attitude Punctuality Attendance Follows Safety Rules Communication Skills Mechanical Aptitude Accuracy Responsibility Personal Tools


The World of Transportation By Victoria Carver-Sparks | CEO | PEI Inc.


o, you think you want a future in transportation and/or Logistics? Well there are a lot of options for you. Are you the type that likes to work independently and travel? Then a truck driving career could be for you. Are you the type that loves to coordinate and react to scheduling changes? Dispatching or forwarding/brokering could be for you. If you have a talent for numbers and want to make $$, then inventory control could be for you. Maybe you want to own your own business eventually, then a sales agency might be the direction for you. Would you prefer a regular schedule and the benefits that come along with working for a large company in logistics? Then you might consider a degree in Supply chain logistics. Truck drivers’ skill sets will soon be changing. The Elogs that will be required by the end of 2017 will require some knowledge and comfort working with computers. The paper log requirement will disappear in the future….but for now they are still a requirement. The logs will prove to the DOT (Department of Transportation) that you are following the regulations that they enforce (like not more than 11 hours per day of driving time to include being loaded and/or unloaded at a customer site). You now have to take a 30 minute break (which must be documented) and when you “break” the rules it negatively effects your driving record and the companies you represent. If you are interested in living in your truck, not having a ‘boss,’ and seeing the United States….then earn your CDL and begin with a large trucking company who are always looking for drivers. Let’s say that you don’t want to live in a truck and you are still interested in being involved in transportation. Dispatching trucks takes a person with focus on keeping the trucks ‘rolling’ while the customers are requesting scheduling changes (almost daily). You will need computer skills whether you are dispatching trucks or managing repairs. May I add that some dispatchers (like the ones dispatching airplanes) can make well over six digits. Positioning the equipment, whether in the air or over the road can lead to nice compensation. I tell my customers that their inventory is ‘cash’ sitting there. It has been my experience that individuals maintaining the correct amount of inventory (the right product at the right place at the right time) is paramount! Whether 48

you are in procurement (or purchasing); logistics (the ebb and flow of moving material); or inventory control (meaning you have accurate numbers/product/process’s) there are great careers available for you. You would be wise to have some accounting and a Supply Chain degree could assist you improving your resume. You can also own your business by representing another company! There are many Franchises or Sales Agency agreements that have all the ‘back-office’ completed for you. Normally there is a split of profit after you have generated the customers, booked the freight and delivered the ship-

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ment. You will have to have a ‘book of business’s’ or a customer base that will ship with you….some experience in operations, meaning you know the best way to coordinate the shipment, is also suggested. What you will need, is cash or cash flow which your “Corporate” or Franchisor will provide for you. A vendor base, certifications, insurance and marketing is normally provided as well. Logistics encompasses many careers….so your skill set will determine your best fit. Whether you want to be your own boss via truck driving or owning your own sales agency or would prefer to work with a company assisting in operations or inventory control….start now and investigate your best skill set! v


Georgia has the 10th largest transportation system serving the 8th largest population in the nation. Georgia DOT employees serve the needs of motorists who travel more than 300 million vehicle miles throughout the state each day. Georgia Department of Transportation plans, constructs and maintains Georgia’s state and federal highways. We’re involved in bridge, waterway, public transit, rail, general aviation, bike and pedestrian programs. And we help local governments maintain their roads. Our transportation network connects our interstates, state highways, county roads and city streets. Georgia DOT is committed to providing a safe, seamless and sustainable transportation system that supports Georgia’s economy and is sensitive to its citizens and its environment. Whether it’s Georgia Express Lanes, our growing managed lane network; the Transportation Management Center, home of the Georgia NaviGAtor 511 intelligent transportation system; or innovations like diverging diamond interchanges, pedestrian hybrid beacons and restricted crossing U-turns (RCUT), we continuously strive for innovative solutions to address today’s needs and those of the future. Visit Follow us on Facebook ( /GeorgiaDOT) and Twitter (


This diverging diamond interchange (DDI), which opened in January at I-95 and SR 21 in Chatham County, is Georgia’s first DDI outside Metro Atlanta. It is also the state’s first DDI featuring an interstate off-ramp with triple-left turn capability. The unique DDI design crosses traffic to the opposite side of the road across an interchange, so vehicles have unimpeded movement onto freeway ramps. Left-turn movements onto the interstate, which are a typical challenge with standard four-way interchanges, are eliminated with a DDI. Photo: Jill Nagel/GDOT

roundabout, traffic flows counter-clockwise around a center is9 Inlanda modern and entering traffic yields to traffic in the roundabout. Compared with

other forms of intersections, roundabouts offer substantial safety and operational benefits with significant reductions in crashes and traffic delays. Roundabouts are also effective in managing speed and transitioning traffic from a high speed to a low speed environment. This roundabout in the town of Whitesburg in Carroll County is on SR 5 at SR 16/US 27 Alt. It was a Quick Response project valued at just over $150,000.

March | April 2017


Watershed Management Addresses Workforce Challenges The City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management (DWM) is currently working to address the challenges of an aging workforce within the water and wastewater industry in Atlanta. Recently, the Water Resource Foundation reported that water utilities will lose 30 to 50 percent of their workforce within the next decade. With rapid retirement rates, it is critical to train young professionals on water and wastewater systems and recruit future leaders of the water industry. Introducing students to these careers provides opportunities to bridge concepts learned through course work and real-world application. To meet anticipated needs in the industry, DWM has implemented a competitive 12-week summer internship program. The program is designed to provide students with proper training, skills and knowledge needed for future careers with the Department. Students gain hands-on knowledge and experience in water and wastewater treatment, operations, customer and business services, finance, engineering, communications, information technology, environmental protection and compliance, and safety and security. The internship program requires enrollment in a college, university or technical school, and the completion of one year of coursework. The internship is opened to all majors. Upon completion of the internship programs, students may become eligible for trainee and/or full-time job placement opportunities. “DWM has approximately 30% of employees who are eligible for retirement in the next 5 years. Given that statistic, it is imperative that we take aggressive measure to infuse new blood into the organization” says Sherri Dickerson, Director of Human Resources. “This is a great way to introduce a new generation to opportunities in the water and wastewater industry.” In 2016, DWM received an estimated 500 summer interns applications for the 2016 Internship Program. Approximately 150 students were selected to participate in the program and approximately 50 students received an extended internship offer upon completion of the program. In addition, more than ten students received a trainee or full-time job offer upon completion. More than 135 interns were recognized at the DWM Internship Ceremony, and several interns shared their work experiences from various offices throughout the department. “The DWM internship program was a very productive learning experience that allowed me to become open-minded and well rounded in communicating in a professional workplace,” says former intern and now permanent employee Savannah Benton. DWM also offers a competitive Cooperative Engineering Technician Program for students pursuing a degree in Engineering. The extensive program is designed to give students handson experience with professional engineers and is limited to ten students each semester. The Cooperative Engineering Program allows student to explore multiple areas of engineering and 50

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is open to civil, mechanical, environmental, electrical and chemical engineering majors. Positions are also offered to biology and chemistry students with an interest in water distribution. In addition, the Department is developing a strategic job placement program designed to prepare and train participants for the certifications and licensing needed to pursue water and wastewater related careers. In an industry that is constantly evolving, it is essential for students to learn, discover and explore career options that are not typically reinforced in K-12 curriculum. Exposing students to innovative career options in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) introduces students to new and exciting career ideas. DWM has partnered with Atlanta Public Schools to prepare K-12 students for STEM-related careers. K-12 students engage in fun and interactive learning activities. Students then receive a basic introduction to watersheds, the water cycle, and treatment processes while gaining exposure to basic disciplines such as water conservation and stormwater management. Cultivating relationships with the public school systems allows DWM to teach students about the water system using innovative approaches outside of their normal curriculum. Students in some programs are also eligible to receive exclusive tours of DWM water treatment facilities. It is vital for water professionals to address the aging workforce, adopt new technologies and engage new thought leaders for competitive careers in the industry. The American Water Works Association’s 2016 Compensation Survey reveals that 44 percent of responding utilities are implementing programs to plug the long-anticipated retirement vacancies. “We are excited about the 2017 class of interns. The program gets better every year and so do the candidates,” says Dickerson. DWM’s goal is to secure a sustainable water future. Young workers will be the driving force of change in the water industry. Preparing students for careers with the Watershed Management aligns with the Department’s goal to reliable and safe drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services to the City of Atlanta. v March | April 2017

“DWM has approximately 30% of employees who are eligible for retirement in the next five years. Given that statistic, it is imperative that we take aggressive measure to infuse new blood into the organization” says Sherri Dickerson, Director of Human Resources.



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World of Sheet Metal The

Come visit us! Skilled labor apprenticeships also a form of ‘higher education’ Five-year programs can be just as challenging as any college, university program


The term ‘higher education’ can take on many connotations. Where some believe it means attending a two- or four-year college or university, there is another side to higher education – apprenticeship in the skilled labor trades. And the nation’s leaders are starting to take notice. Apprentices at more than 153 unionized sheet metal training centers across the United States and Canada go to classes, attend labs, earn grades and receive on-the-job training in four- to five-

9 March | April 2017

Spot welding HVAC Fittings together

Industrial Sheet Metal 53

Testing, adjusting, and balancing a blower for an HVAC System

year programs. Apprentices are paid while they work to become journeymen, and, usually, they graduate debt free. While they don’t march down the aisle in caps and gowns for graduation, they are rewarded with hourly wages above and beyond those many university graduates can hope to make until they have ‘paid their dues’—if they ever receive comparable earnings. In the unionized sheet metal industry, curricula are developed by the International Training Institute (ITI), the education arm of the unionized sheet metal and air conditioning industry. The apprenticeship program isn’t for people who failed at college or wanted to choose another route to a stable income. The program is for serious individuals who want to pursue an education, skill level and career in a trade such as the unionized sheet metal industry. Just as the world needs doctors, lawyers and tax accountants to survive, it also needs heating, ventilation and air conditioning designers and technicians; welders to build 54

schools and plants; certified fire life safety professionals to ensure a building on fire doesn’t place lives in jeopardy; designers to create building systems to keep occupants safe, comfortable and breathing clean air; industrial workers who build plants for power and sustainable energy, installing conduits the size of football fields; and technicians to conduct energy audits to keep buildings operating efficiently. These skills take education, dedication and talent. The labor trades aren’t reserved for the less-intelligent. They are necessary career paths important to the proper functioning of the country and are there for those who take interest in a different kind of work. Once the education is earned, jobs are available as well. It varies by state, but jobs are available, and more are on the horizon and on major projects such as the new Atlanta Falcon stadium, airport renovations and new construction of high rises and office buildings around the country.

At this year’s CEFGA/SkillsUSA expo, the World of Sheet Metal booth sponsored by The Georgia Sheet Metal Apprenticeship Program will feature a virtual welder, where students can test out their welding skills in a video-game like setting; a fabrication area where students can build a toolbox out of sheet metal; and a testing, adjusting and balancing game that visually illustrates what air balancing is and how it works. For more information about Georgia Sheet Metal Apprenticeship Program, visit or call 404-753-6466. v

Assembling HVAC Ductwork Georgia Contractor

The World of Finishes


he recognized time to acquire the knowledge and skills required to become a tile mechanic is typically three-to-four years of uninterrupted experience training under an already experienced and qualified tile craftsman. More formally known as an Apprenticeship Program. The beginning level in the tile trade is called the Apprentice Tile Finisher (ATF). The ATF learns to fill joints, caulk, set up work area, mix mortars, properly clean and polish finished tile surfaces. The ATF is ultimately responsible for the finished product. Upon mastering these skills, the trainee will begin the second half of their career based learning to be a tile mechanic. Based on “The median annual Hard Tile Setter salary in Atlanta, Georgia, is $50,114 as of January 30, 2017, with a range usually between $40,506-$61,990 not including bonus and benefit information and other factors that impact base pay.” CC Owen is dedicated to the personal success and development of every employee. Providing each employee with the necessary resources for an opportunity to learn and expedite their careers based on their own personal interest and aptitude for the tile trade. As employees of CC Owen you will be encouraged to further develop and grow your knowledge, skill, and credentials through Industry Certifications offered at the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, CC Owen is interested in the professional development of employees but is also interested in the employee’s well being. This is exemplified through: • • • •

Safety Program Competitive Pay Holiday Pay Paid Time off Policy

• • • •

Life Insurance Policy Disability Insurance Policy Health Insurance Plan Individual Retirement Contribution

If you are a person that is detail oriented, neat, proficient with math skills, good hand to eye coordination, have physical stamina and strength, and enjoy seeing tangible fruits from your labor maybe the trade of tile is for you. March | April 2017

St Peter Basilica Rome Hard Tile | C. C. owen Tile Company, Inc.

Representing the World of Finishes, Hard Tile Contracting in CEFGA Expo for nine years is C. C. Owen Tile Company, Inc. CC Owen is a commercial tile, terrazzo, marble specialty contractor which was founded in 1956. CC Owen over the years has participated in multiple types of projects that have included, but not limited to retail centers, hotels, office buildings, closed in malls, medical buildings, education facilities, etc.

About the trade of tile:

The hard tile industry continues to grow and now tile is available in a variety of materials and in multiple different sizes. This variety of materials tile is made of; ceramic, clay, porcelain, glass, metal and the different sizes; ½”x ½” to 60”x 120” has created multiple opportunities for designs, specifications, and types of applications tile products are used in. Installing ceramic tile is hard work, labor intensive and extremely exacting. Most would say in fact that it’s an art form. Tile setters, often referred to as a “tile mechanic” generally work indoors and during the day. Ceramic tile mechanics are craftsman with age-old skills. Over time newer and better methods and materials have been introduced but tile setting remains the same basic process that it’s been since the days of the ancient Roman Cathedrals.v 55


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World of Power The

Working on power transmission is one of the most satisfying and important jobs you can do, mostly because you work on projects that are essential to our daily lives— electrical power distribution. What would we do without it?


Electricity is absolutely essential, so if you repair wires or cut down trees to restore power to areas, you are doing work that is more than just satisfying. It is life-saving work. Have a look at some of the photos that describe well what power transmission is all about. A Georgia Power line worker can make anywhere from $45,600 to $82,500 plus overtime, depending on years of service. v

9 March | April 2017

A Lineman in the field performing checks on equipment. Transmission linemen must maintain a weight below 300 pounds.

Linemen perform essential duties that keep power on for customers across the state. 57

The World of Landscaping

By Mary Kay Woodworth | Executive Director | Georgia Urban Ag Council


igh school graduation isn’t that far away, and it's hard to imagine that after 12 years of being told which classes to take that now you must decide what to study and which career path to pursue. So how exactly do you make that decision? A good place to start is to identify your skills and passions, and see if a career comes to mind that needs a person with those traits. When doing this, be sure to think ‘outside the box’ because many careers exist that you might not have considered. One of the career paths that you might not have considered is in the nursery, horticulture and landscape industry – the ‘urban ag industry’ or the ‘green industry.’ If you don’t want to be tied to a desk all day, this is a great industry to consider. There are plenty of opportunities for people who like the feel of dirt on their hands and sunshine on their backs as they work in the great outdoors. We ARE the original ‘Green’ industry—as urban agriculture is defined as the creation, growth, introduction and management of constructed landscapes designed to support and enhance natural environmental systems and a sustainable quality of life through mitigation of land-altering activity! So, what are my options? Landscape design, landscape management, landscape construction, turf care, sports turf management, parks/recreation management, golf course management, sod/turf production, nursery/grower/garden centers, tree care/arborists, lighting, irrigation, green industry suppliers and consultants, production horticulture, teaching and research and urban and community farming are just a few of the sectors of the industry! Do you think it could be a fit for you? If you have some of the following traits, a career in the urban ag/green industry is worth considering: Mathematical and analytical skills; environmental awareness; creativity; problem-solving skills; enthusiasm for design; technological savvy; love for the outdoors; an aspiration to help people; the desire to work with their hands; If several of these attributes describe you, you might be asking: “Why should I choose a career in this industry?” We’re glad you asked. Here are the top four reasons to consider a career in the industry: 1. Jobs Galore. If you are interested in a skilled trade, em58

ployers in the nursery and landscape industry want you now! Many opportunities exist throughout the country, with positions available in every state. 2.



Make A Difference. Working in the nursery and landscape industry can give you tangible results and immediate satisfaction. Working in this field offers the perfect opportunity to see something that you've created every day. Show Me the Money. A skilled nursery and landscape industry professional can make a good living—and the salary gets even better with experience! Hourly pay ranges from $12-$22, and salaries can range from $28,000 - $50,000 and more! Enter Through Different Channels. You can enter the field with a high school diploma, a college degree, or get Georgia Contractor

on-the-job training by your employer. There are many training programs, technical schools, colleges and universities throughout the country that offer degrees for the industry. Would you like more information about the urban ag/green industry—the ‘World of Landscaping’? Visit and view the all new videos, showing work done by arborists, designers, lawn care technicians, account managers, business developers, etc. They address the strong career path that exists for those who are dedicated, want to learn, and like working with people. In fact, most individuals interviewed stressed the opportunity to work with people is one of the best aspects of the industry, as is the ability to work outside. v


9 Mr. Fred, the safety guy!

Join us in the “World of Landscaping’!

Managing and being part of a landscape crew is a rewarding career! March | April 2017



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World Plumbing The


Plumbing is one feature of our daily lives that most people take for granted. We just expect that when we turn on the faucet that water will come out, that our ice will be made and that our toilets will flush. What would we do without it? In fact, we use plumbing so much that we forget that our plumbing systems are multifaceted, complicated systems that require a skilled tradesman to install and maintain. From the early civilizations of Greece, Rome, and China we can see that plumbing systems were critical to the development of cities, and gave its citizen the ability to focus their attention on learning and the development of culture. No longer were they forced to trek across the land to get water or plagued by diseases that waste water can carry. Obviously, a lot has changed in the last couple of millennia. Today’s plumbers are highly technical and must possess a variety of skills such as analyzing and problem solving. Work segments include: • • •

Commercial Construction Residential New Construction Multi Family Construction

• •

Commercial Service Residential Service

As you begin your career in the plumbing field you are taught the skills on the job, working in the field with an expert tradesman. Classroom instruction may or may not be a part of your training. If it is, the PHCC offers an apprenticeship program that will teach you everything you need to know to become a licensed plumber. This four year program will take you from an introduction to basic plumbing and safety to the most advanced installations and will prepare you to take your Journeylevel exam. The cost for the program is many thousands of dollars less than attending community college or attending a traditional university. Also, many companies will contribute to your cost while you still maintain full time employment. The PHCC’s online program gives its students the flexibility to work while they study and can come away with a career that can easily support your family without the heavy burden of student loan debt. The average technician can make more than $49,000 plus benefits a year, depending on years of service. These jobs are in very high demand as the current workforce ages, but the need for plumbing installations and repairs continues to grow. Career advancement is available and includes tech-savvy CAS and BIM operators and management. v March | April 2017


The World of Electrical Contracting


Electricians are one of the first trades people on the construction jobsite.


Electricians must be able to read logic diagram and then physically wire the correct relays and switches.


ou are not sure exactly what career path you want to follow, but what you do know is that you don’t want to do the same thing day after day. Additionally, you want to have the flexibility to go to different places and you like a challenge. You also like working with both your hands and your mind; and you want to make a difference by contributing to those around you. Finally, let us not forget, you want to make a good living in order to provide for yourself and your family. This may sound like a tall order, but within a short time, you will be well on your way to achieving this if you consider pursuing a career as an electrician. The first step to this type of life style, is to apply to the Independent Electrical Contractor’s (IEC) electrical apprenticeship training program. With the application, IEC will assist you in finding employment with one of their 160 electrical contractors throughout the state of Georgia. The apprenticeship program consists of on-the-job-training and classroom instruction that leads to a certification as a journey person electrician, recognized in all 50 states. Best of all, there is no student debt at the end of the four-year program! For career opportunities contact IEC at 770-242-9277, or see or e-mail: v

Career opportunities and Average Annual Income/ Georgia

Electrical Contractor – Income: Limited by your Performance and Dreams Electrical Project Manager – Income: $96,393 Electrical Supervisor – Income: $58,987 Electrician – Income: $56,141 Electrical Apprentice – Income $30,389 * 62

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Electricians wire control systems like water treatment plants.

March | April 2017


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