Blog/News

New Cleveland Office: Same Company, New Vibe

August 3, 2017, 9:20 am

New Cleveland Office Foyer/ Reception Area

Shook has been a staple in Northeast Ohio for more than 30 years. Over that period, we have evolved. In the beginning, we were strictly a hard bid, self-perform contractor almost exclusively performing public work. Now, we are a multi-faceted construction service provider working with both public and private clients. As our operations have matured and diversified, it became necessary to upgrade our office environment to reflect the heightened brand of our organization.

When selecting a new office space, it also was important to consider other aspects vital to our overall success, including: geography, collaboration areas, employee recruitment/retention, natural lighting and technology.

Geography

Brecksville, a suburb of Cleveland, has been our home for many years. While we considered relocating to several areas throughout the region, it didn’t make sense for us for many reasons. Located in Cuyahoga County, Brecksville continues to provide us efficient service to all of Northeast Ohio with easy access to several major roadways. In addition, it is central to all of our current employees’ homes.

Overall, this move provided an opportunity to redefine our perception within the community and to create a work environment that would improve the employee’s experience.

Office Layout

Given the nomadic nature of our staff’s schedules as they move from one job site to the next, we incorporated flexible spaces that adapt to the frequent moving around of our teammates.

We wanted to better support collaboration among our team. The new office houses one large executive conference room, a smaller more private conference room, a break room, a collaboration space with high top tables and a TV, and a lounge space with comfortable seating. These areas encourage employees to work together outside of their office spaces, which also sparks creativity.

New Cleveland Office Break Room

To brighten up the entire space, the office includes large windows along the perimeter which allows extensive natural light into the space.

Décor

Our overarching goal was to celebrate our people, our work, our vision/mission, and our core values. As such, you will find pictures of our past projects sprinkled throughout the office, as well pictures of our craftspeople performing their tasks. In addition, we have included a mural of a Shook crane in one of our collaboration spaces.

New Cleveland Office Hallway

In addition, we wanted to celebrate our connection with the local region. We selected artwork from a local artist, which highlight notable local sites.

These images combined help portray our corporate message in a subtle and tactful way.

New Cleveland Office Lounge Area

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Employee Spotlight: Jerry Roark

July 13, 2017, 8:00 am

Employee Spotlight: Jerry Roark

With 33 years of construction experience under his belt, Jerry has truly worked his way up through the ranks. He began his career as a pre-apprentice, moving to a journeyman carpenter position, then served as a foreman. Now, Jerry is a project superintendent and can tout a 27-year history with Shook Construction.

What inspired you to get into this career?

I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps, who was a carpenter. Beyond that, I enjoy taking my kids and grandkids around town, pointing out the building projects on which I have worked.

What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

The Dayton Metro Library buildings. The project involves several buildings, all of which are unique.

What is a specific skill-set or attribute you possess that you believe adds value to your projects?

Dedication, hands-on experience, common sense, planning the work, as well as communicating with the owners, architects and workforce.

What is the most important thing you do each day when prepping for your workday?

There is no ONE important thing I do. To be successful, I have to have a holistic view of the day. This includes safety planning, planning for the equipment needed that day, ensuring employees have the material needed to the do the job, using the right people for the job, and consulting with the foremen.

What is the most important lesson you have learned in the last year?

How to manage multiple job sites at different locations.

What piece of technology helps you most with your job and why?

My smart phone allows me access to my email while away from the office. In addition, my tablet allows me to pull up current/updated drawings in the field and mark them for as-builts so all crews have updated drawings in the field.

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Employee Spotlight: Mike Behnken

June 15, 2017, 8:00 am

Employee Spotlight: Mike Behnken

Mike’s journey to the construction safety field wasn’t a direct one. He first worked as a carpenter, starting as an apprentice, then moved up through the ranks with various contractors. As his career progressed, he observed the increasing requirements for project safety personnel and decided that role could extend the longevity of his career. Now with 35 years in the construction industry under his belt, Mike uses his in-the-field experience to guide and strengthen improve Shook Construction’s safety program.

What inspired you to get into this career?

I reached a point where I realized that I would not physically be able to work with my tools as a result of the work philosophies that I was taught growing up. As a result, it was a natural fit for me to move into safety in an effort to help find ways that work tasks can be performed to reduce the physical impact on the workers’ body.

Do you have a specific approach or philosophy you use to tackle challenges as they arise on site?

First I try to understand why a task is being performed a certain way and then look for methods that will help produce a quality project by using safe production methods.

What is a specific skill-set or attribute you possess that you believe adds value to your projects?

Because of my background in construction, I can help find better ways to accomplish a task that meets and/or surpasses OSHA compliance requirements.

What are the most important qualities of a leader?

Lead by example, ask and respect input from those working under you, and take responsibility for the decisions that are made.

What is the most important lesson you have learned in the last year?

Replacing personal contact with e-mails, texts, and other social medium can quickly become counter-productive, even though they can be easier and quicker.

What does safety mean to you?

Safety means that everybody gets to go home in at least the same condition in which they came to work, if not better!

 

One response to “Employee Spotlight: Mike Behnken”

  1. I enjoyed meeting you at ID castings Noblesville and won,t forget your explanation of the explosive reaction between molten iron and water.

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Employee Spotlight: Steve Seal

May 11, 2017, 8:00 am

Employee Spotlight: Steve Seal

Steve Seal has seen and built a lot of things in his 33 years in the industry. After starting in the field as a carpenter and then field superintendent, Steve went to University of Akron to earn his degree in construction technology. While attending college, Steve served as a co-op at Shook Construction. His technical expertise and laid back personality are a great fit with our team. We hired him upon graduation and have appreciated his contributions to our team ever since. He is currently working as a project manager within our healthcare business segment.

What inspired you to get into this career?

I love working with wood, tearing things apart and then putting them back together.

 Do you have a specific approach or philosophy you use to tackle challenges as they arise on site?

If I don’t have the answer, I reach out to my network to help find solutions.

What is a specific skill-set or attribute you possess that you believe adds value to your projects?

Since I started working in the field first, it helped me learn how everything goes together on a construction project. This helps me today with planning, scheduling, knowledge of all the work/disciplines, troubleshooting problems and finding solutions.

What is the most important thing you do each day when prepping for your workday?

Having a plan a day or two ahead of time and then continually prioritizing the items as things change.

What are the most important qualities of a leader?

A leader takes ownership of the processes, delegates clear responsibilities, follows up with the team, and treats team members like they bring value to the project.

 

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Our Core Values: Safety

April 28, 2017, 8:00 am

Safety: Our Core Values (safety_value)

We operate by a core set of nine values. This month, we focus on safety.

Safety is our most important core value as our people are our most important assets. Without them, our business would not run. It is vital that our people remain healthy and safe, returning home in the evenings in the same condition they arrived to work in the mornings. The same goes for our clients and subcontractors.

How do we keep safety at the forefront of our team’s minds? Here are just a few ways:

It Starts at the Top

Our commitment to safety begins with active senior management involvement, beginning with the chief executive officer/president (who chairs our safety and health committee) and continues throughout all levels of our organization.

It’s a Part of Operations

Our preconstruction department analyzes potential hazards associated with a project and determines whether or not to pursue if a project cannot meet certain risk standards.  Safety continues into the bid process. Subcontractor selection criteria includes an evaluation of their safety statistics and OSHA history.  Once our team mobilizes on site, a site-specific safety plan is developed and any worker that enters the site must go through a formal orientation before beginning work.

Daily Pre-Task Safety Planning Meetings

Every morning before work begins on a project site, we hold a Toolbox Talk. The agenda reviews the day’s goals… What needs to get done? What is the plan? What are the hazards associated with performing the work? How will we eliminate or control the hazard?

Corporate Safety Audits

Shook maintains a team of safety professionals within our safety and risk management department. These team members provide regular, unscheduled safety audits on every Shook project, every month. Survey results are distributed to both project and company leadership. In addition to providing inspections, our safety professionals are a proactive resource to help our project teams plan how to safely go about their work.

Communication is Key

A key element to our program’s success is communication. Safety audits, incident reports and any OSHA activity is communicated within 24 hours to: CEO/president, executive vice president, market channel leader, project manager and project superintendent.  On a weekly basis, all employees receive information regarding safety audit findings from the previous week, OSHA activity, work-related incidents and a summary of the current OSHA recordable incidents.  When warranted, we will cease work and hold a “safety-stand-down-meeting” to address major issues. 

We always will stand by our safety motto: “Safely, the only way to work!” Our award-winning safety program simply validates that.

 

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Employee Spotlight: Sam Myers

April 13, 2017, 8:00 am

Employee Spotlight: Sam Myers

Sam serves as a project engineer in our Water Resource Mid-Atlantic Region, working out of our Raleigh, NC office. A graduate of Tennessee Technological University, he has been a part of the Shook family for nearly three years.

What inspired you to get into this career?

I grew up around the industry. As a child, I remember sitting in the truck while at “poop” plants while my father worked… It’s a smell that’s impregnated in my mind forever and I suppose that’s why I grew to love the business.

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

Gastonia Two Rivers Water Treatment Plant has a unique GE membrane treatment system that I have never experienced. I like to learn how different treatment processes work, and this is a new one to me.

Do you have a specific approach or philosophy you use to tackle challenges as they arise on site?

I struggle with the confrontation portion of the business, as it is something that none of us look forward to; but, it is something I am working on. I tend to put myself in others shoes to understand fully where they are coming from and feel that it helps the negotiations greatly.

What does safety mean to you?

Completing the task at hand productively and with no injuries or near misses. Our goal is to exceed Shook’s and OSHA’s requirements so that there are no questions for any task that we are performing.

What is the most important lesson you have learned in the last year?

The ability to prioritize tasks.

What piece of technology helps you most with your job and why?

Phone calls. Although everything now-a-days needs to be documented through email, I would much rather call an individual up and go through the details as I can learn much easier this way.

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Our Core Values: Quality

March 27, 2017, 12:32 pm

Quality: core values

We operate by a core set of nine values. This month, we focus on quality.

Quality equals building excellence. Our goal is to ensure our clients are receiving the construction project they expect for the dollars they are investing. Why do we do this? First, it is the right thing to do. Second, we cannot be a successful company by offering sub-par quality. We are proud of our “reputation built on performance”—and performance begins with quality.

It is important to us to establish the standard and measure quality from the beginning of a project rather than simply evaluating quality at the end of a project. What processes do we have in place to ensure that every project is a quality one? Here are just a few:

3D Modeling

We create a detailed model that shows the work in place, which helps trade contractors visualize their scope of work. We also use the model to coordinate building elements and to plan the project’s sequencing and durations.

Quality: BIM Images

Mock-Ups and First-in-Place Inspections

Particularly for projects that contain repetitive spaces (such as hospital patient rooms), we use a first-in-place inspection process. This involves the inspection of the first piece of work put in place to verify quality. This install then becomes the quality standard for the balance of the project.  This process can include mock-ups of a specific area, which our team reviews for quality (and our owners review for aesthetics and functionality).

Weekly Progress Meetings

We hold weekly job coordination meetings with subcontractors, trades and material suppliers during which we review schedule, coordination of work, quality of work and safety/security requirements.

Quality Control Checklist

Each of our field personnel carry a pocket-sized quality control checklist, which breaks down standards of work by division. This provides us a portable tool to review the quality of work with each of our subcontractors.

Ongoing Punch Lists

We do not believe in waiting until the end of the project to develop a punch list. We create an ongoing punch list at the beginning of a project so that our subcontractors can correct deficiencies in a timely manner. We review this punch list at our weekly progress meetings. We also encourage our owners and design partners to participate in developing the punch list items. This helps our subcontractors understand the expectations early on in the project and facilitates prompt close-out of the job.

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Employee Spotlight: John Cleveland

March 9, 2017, 8:00 am

Employee Spotlight: John Cleveland

John Cleveland has grown up in the Shook family. He started as a co-op while studying construction management at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and made such an impression that he’s continued to be part of our team for the last 18 years. He currently serves as a project manager within our Water Resources Midwest Region.

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

Upgrading the Sidney Wastewater Treatment Plant disinfection process away from using chlorine gas to using ultraviolet light instead. It’s a new process for this facility and will result in decreasing the amount of chemicals discharged into the Miami River.

Do you have a specific approach or philosophy you use to tackle challenges as they arise on site?

I am fortunate to work with some really experienced and talented people. A lot of our field people bring years of experience and knowledge to the table. I tap into their knowledge for solutions to challenges. Chances are somebody working out there has seen it before.

What is the most important thing you do each day when prepping for your workday?

Pre-planning our tasks so they are completed safely. This company has a terrific culture of safety first. Making sure we think things out ahead of time and plan properly so they are done safely so that everyone goes home at night is the most important thing I do each day.

What are the most important qualities of a leader?

The ability to listen, the ability to trust those around him/her, and the ability to pause to think before reacting.

Who inspires you?

My two young sons inspire me. They inspire me to be a better father, husband, friend, co-worker and project manager. The responsibility of fatherhood makes me want to be a better man.

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Making it Matter in 2017

February 21, 2017, 12:05 pm


google-form-headerEvery year, Shook Construction gathers our employees to celebrate the successes of the past year and to create excitement for the years to come. February’s corporate annual meeting was no exception.

This year’s theme was “Make it Matter.” In everything we do, we must ensure that each of us is contributing to the service of our clients. From acquiring the latest technology to making our own health a priority to being cost conscious in every decision to providing exemplary customer service…each of us plays a part in the success of this company.

To help us prepare to make it matter, we learned more about many initiatives already taking place here at Shook. From recruiting high school kids into the construction industry to putting staff through leadership training to incorporating formal mentoring programs, we are preparing current and future employees to make a huge impact and to set them up for some amazing careers.

In light of our theme, we asked our team how they are making it matter. Here are a few of their responses.

How I Make it Matter

As we continue to invest in our people, we are excited for the continued success and growth we anticipate for years to come.

One response to “Making it Matter in 2017”

  1. Frank Spencer says:

    My goal is to give our clients a good product and develop a working relationship with them so when they have something new the Shook name comes to mind first.

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Shook Promotes Several Long-Time Employees

January 6, 2017, 9:59 am

Shook Construction announces several leadership transitions as the company grows within its water/wastewater construction groups.

Promotions (Joe Mellon, Eric Rees, Riley Tolen, Tim Myers)

Tim Myers will transition out of his operations role and into preconstruction. His new focus will be picking up new water/wastewater treatment plant work in the quantity and frequency that our growth plan for the water resources market channel requires. Tim has been part of the Shook family for 32 years.

Stepping up as executive vice president is Joe Mellon, who is a 24-year veteran of Shook Construction. In his new role, Joe will support the company’s water resource business segment leaders in completing work under contract, as well as growing market share.

Project Manager Eric Rees has been promoted to vice president of the water resources Midwest region business segment. Having spent his entire 22-year career at Shook, Eric will oversee all water and wastewater construction projects specifically in southern Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Project Manager Riley Tolen has been promoted to vice president of the water resources Mid-Atlantic region. Similar to those noted above, Riley has been with the company his entire career. He replaces Jon Powelson who is retiring from this role after a 30-year-long career with Shook.

“My sincere congratulations goes out to each of these key business unit leaders,” shares President and CEO Bill Whistler. “As one can clearly see, we continue to build from within and thus leverage the great talent within our company.”

4 responses to “Shook Promotes Several Long-Time Employees”

  1. James J Johnson Jr says:

    Congratulations to all .

  2. blue fin says:

    Congratulations to Mr. Joe. He is such a hardworking and great person.

  3. Matt says:

    Congrats to all involved. Great bunch of guys!

  4. Mark Swiss says:

    Hello there, this is a great news and wise initiative. Thanks for the share.

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