Blog/News

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!

 

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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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Wrapping Up Our 90th Anniversary

December 20, 2016, 7:05 am

What an exciting anniversary year this has been! We have had so much fun working with our clients and in our communities.

Shook’s theme this year has been celebrating our history and recognizing why we do the work we do. Over the course of the year, we have been fortunate to strengthen our relationships, to form new ones and to contribute to the communities that make us who we are. Thanks to a great year, we can look forward to continued growth as we enter our 10th decade in business.

Safety continues to be a #1 priority in everything we do. Thanks to our team’s relentless efforts, the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Ohio once again awarded Shook Construction a 2016 Construction Safety Excellence Award within the Heavy Division.

In celebrating our 90th anniversary, we know it is imperative that we give back to our communities and clients that make everything that we do possible. We had the opportunity to build a new veterans memorial, raise funds for a major children’s hospital and partner with our local United Way chapters, among many other things.

“We’re fortunate enough to be a part of really creating the fabric of the communities in which we work,” shares Bill Whistler, president and chief executive officer. “It’s fun!”

Not many construction companies can tout a 90-year history. We are proud to have reached this milestone. As long as we continue to reflect on our humble beginnings along with why we do what we do, we can look forward to another 90 years.

Click here to learn more about our history.

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Honoring Veterans by Volunteering Time and Expertise

November 29, 2016, 6:56 am

Community is a vital component of who we are as a company. As such, it is not uncommon to learn of ways that our employees donate their time, money and expertise to worthy causes. Most recently, two of our employees went above and above the call of duty to honor our veterans by assisting two communities to design and construct a Veterans Memorial.

Kettering Veterans and Inventors Plaza

The Kettering Parks Foundation in Kettering, Ohio celebrated the dedication of its new Veterans and Inventors Plaza (also known as the Kettering Veteran’s Plaza and Charles F. Kettering History Walk). The plaza includes five pillars, each representing a different branch of the military. These pillars serve as a public expression of gratitude to those who have served and continue to serve our nation. Meanwhile, the walkway shares information about Charles F. Kettering who is an innovator, as well as the founder of Delco (Dayton Engineering Laboratories Co.). Three interactive history stations along the walkway highlight the history, inventions and philanthropic contributions of Mr. Kettering to the local community, the automotive industry and the world. Shook’s Mike Eckley is on the board of directors for the Kettering Parks Foundation, so it only made sense that he use his 40+ years of construction experience to manage the design and construction of this memorial. In addition, 15 local contractors provided in-kind services to complete the project. Those volunteer hours and additional private donations funded the $400,000 project.

Troy-Miami County Veterans Memorial

The Troy-Miami County Public Library and the Miami Valley Veterans Museum dedicated its new Veterans Memorial in Troy, Ohio. The new memorial highlights all branches of the armed services with a distinct image set into concrete around a flagpole. Troy-Miami Veterans Memorial Local individuals, organizations and businesses came together to make this memorial a reality. This includes Shook’s Jeff Schlarman who donated his time to install the concrete for the project while Shook Construction donated the materials. Troy Mayor Mike Beamish shared that the project is a “demonstration of what community spirit is all about” and a “lasting tribute” to all veterans.

One response to “Honoring Veterans by Volunteering Time and Expertise”

  1. […] communities and clients that make everything that we do possible. We had the opportunity to build a new veterans memorial, raise funds for a major children’s hospital and partner with our local United Way chapters, […]

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