Tag: <span>Leadership</span>

RT3 Contractor Member Panel Hosted at NRP Leaders Summit

By Karen L. Edwards, RT3.

The RT3 contractor technology panel was invited to present at the National Roofing Partners (NRP) Leader Summit held recently at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas.  The Summit featured the leadership teams from nearly 200 leading roofing contractors from across the country.

The Summit opened with remarks from Steve Little, CEO of NRP and Rodney Shrader, President. Attendees were excited to hear from Reid Ribble on the initiatives that NRCA is working on including their ProCertification efforts, their focus on career and technical education and the establishment of a health insurance captive that will be made available to members for health insurance coverage.

The RT3 contractor technology panel was up after Reid and was comprised of Ken Kelly, Kelly Roofing, Steve Little, KPost Roofing, Michelle Boykin, Rackley Roofing, and Josey Parks, J. Wales Enterprises. Moderated by RT3 Director Karen Edwards, the first topic was discussed by Ken Kelly on how Augmented Reality and products such as the HoloLens by Microsoft could have an impact on the industry. Technology like this makes it possible for aging workers who may no longer be able to go on a roof or physically perform a task to assist those who are on the roof virtually, actually being able to see exactly what that technician is seeing.

Steve Little shared a new technology that was born out of an RT3 meetup at Georgia Tech in fall 2017 where he met RT3 member Pointivo. The collaborative product remotely performs roof inspections and is expected to be rolled out at the 2020 International Roofing Expo in February. Steve also shared his successes with rooftop robotics, using the Mini Macaden to install modified bitumen roofing membranes with just four workers instead of the typical 12.

Michelle Boykin discussed how Rackley Roofing is using Virtual Reality for safety training for their workers. The team loves using the technology and it paid for itself within a few months after an OSHA citation was reversed once Tennessee OSHA saw their technology and commitment to safety.

Josey talked about what seemed to be the word of the day at the summit: Data. He shared how he is using artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to understand which leads are more likely to buy over others. He is also using intelligence to pair the right sales person with the right customer for improved outcomes and increased sales.

Get the latest news and technology information delivered right to your inbox when you sign up for the RT3 SmartBrief. 

Five Strategies for Making Construction Companies Better for Women

BuiltWorlds recently facilitated a Future Workforce Forum meeting exploring the challenges faced by women in construction. The forum participants heard presentations about the personal experiences of women in the industry, while also engaging in a lively discussion about ways companies should respond to the hurdles that women face. The group came up with five concrete solutions for companies to make themselves welcoming to women:

  1. Qualify female colleagues

Numerous studies, such as this one from the American Association of University Women, have shown that women are often viewed as less competent than their male counterparts. One small way to address this issue is to highlight your female colleagues qualifications when you introduce them.

For example, Jamie Redmond, the Director of Operations at Redmond Construction, related that when she’s in a business meeting, one of her peers informs everyone, “this is Jamie, she leads our operations; she’s a great resource for you.”

  1. Amplify women’s ideas

Men often take women’s ideas and claim them as their own (see Dr. Arin Reeves’ study, “Mansplaining, Manterrupting & Bropropriating.”) In order to combat this issue, Redmond emphasized the importance of repeating a woman’s idea and crediting her for the idea ideas. It’s as simple as saying, “as Jamie pointed out, we should really pay more attention to this marketing campaign.”

  1. Ladies — make yourself a seat at the table.

According to the Harvard Business Review, the way women’s colleagues treat them is almost entirely due to bias and has no correlation with women’s actions. However, in hostile environments, women often have no recourse but to develop a thick skin and hold their ground.

Cathy Osborne, the VP of HR at Leopardo admitted that when she started at the company, the male leaders had a difficult time listening to her. “We had cultural issues because they were not used to having women in a leadership role,” Osborne said. “They’d say, ‘Cathy you don’t know construction.’ I’d say, ‘It’s not about construction. It’s about human capital…’ I have a seat at the table and I’m a business partner.”

  1. Put women in positions of power

Women in power empower other women. For example, as a smart, driven woman, Osborne recognizes the importance of recruiting and retaining female employees. Since she started at Leopardo, the company has “been seeing more strong project engineers, project managers, on the female side.” Osborne also makes sure that male superintendents support her project engineers. In large part due to Osborne’s work, Leopardo is now 27 percent female, not including the trades.

Lauren Enders, a Project Manager at Vortex Flooring, observed that having women run the show benefits everyone. “We have our first female partner,” she said. “She’s really good at maintaining a positive environment for our team… the women in our office make shit happen.” This, of course, means that women in power also empower the men around them.

  1. Make work-life balance a company priority

Women with children often hesitate to take on leadership roles in the field because of the large time commitment demands associated with supervisory positions. Roseanna Bloxham, a senior geo-environmental engineer at environmental consultancy RSK, observed in this article, “it’s really difficult for working mothers to be on site by 8 am, because most childcare facilities are not open at 6am, when they would need to drop off their children. Therefore, after having children female engineers are still tending to go back into desk roles.”

The industry cannot afford to deprive talented women from field leadership opportunities. If you want to attract young parents of all genders into field leadership, you need to implement family friendly policies. Try developing generous paid maternity and paternity leave policies. Look into flexible working options — in the digital age, a lot of office work can be completed at home. Hire assistants for your supervisors who can take on their administrative tasks. You will attract and retain more skilled employees with these policies.

With a precipitous decline in skilled labor, the construction industry cannot afford to alienate 50 percent of the workforce. By implementing these five strategies, you will make your company more competitive and profitable.

Note: This article first appeared on BuiltWorlds’ website and can be viewed here.