Employee Spotlight: Sam Myers
April 13, 2017, 8:00 am
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.
Our Core Values: Quality
March 27, 2017, 12:32 pm
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:
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.
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.
Employee Spotlight: John Cleveland
March 9, 2017, 8:00 am
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.
Making it Matter in 2017
February 21, 2017, 12:05 pm
Every 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.
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”
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.
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.”
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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.
Honoring Veterans by Volunteering Time and Expertise
November 29, 2016, 6:56 amCommunity 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 PlazaThe 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 MemorialThe 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. 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.
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Using 3D Animation to Help Summa Health Visualize Project
October 31, 2016, 8:06 amSumma Health is embarking on a journey to build a new bed tower at Akron City Hospital in Akron, Ohio. Shook Construction has joined forces with Donley’s to provide construction management services for this $152 million project. During the interview process, the Donley’s – Shook team set out to not only help Summa Health see their project come to life, but also help them understand the construction process along with how our team would approach their project. To accomplish this, our team developed a 3D model of the project and the construction sequencing (as shown below). * Note: this is only a short snippet of the full model Using this model, the Donley’s – Shook team was able to explain visually the major milestones in construction, along with what some of the logistic challenges might be. Beyond the interview, this model will help with so much more than simply visualizing the project:
- Engage in a more collaborative working environment allowing for higher quality of work
- Identify conflicts/issues earlier in the project through clash detection, which ultimately leads to greater productivity in the field
- Improved communication and project coordination by utilizing a 3-D logistics plan
- Better design and spatial coordination where the design is completed with fabrication in mind
- Minimize, reduce or eliminate waste
- Increase productivity through prefabrication on or off-site
- Improved constructability reviews, schedules, quantity takeoffs cost estimating and scheduling
Project ScopeThe new six-story, 331,000 SF west bed tower will serve as the hospital’s new main entrance and will house two 36-bed medical/surgical units with all private rooms, a breast center, eight new operating rooms, 65 same-day surgery rooms and a women’s health center that includes a 36-bed post-partum unit. The project also includes the renovation of 64,000 square feet of the existing hospital. These renovations will focus on the ground floor imaging department and first floor surgery, as well as create private inpatient rooms within the existing patient floors. Construction will begin in early 2017 with substantial completion in the spring of 2019. The architect on the project is a partnership between Akron-based Hasenstab Architects and Cleveland-based Perspectus Architecture.
Groundbreaking of New Design-Build Water Treatment Plant
September 30, 2016, 1:24 pmShook Construction is making history as the Village of Yellow Springs broke ground on its new water treatment plant. What is unique about this project is that it will be constructed under the design-build project delivery method. It is the first of its kind for Shook within its water resources market channel, and it is the first brand new design-build water treatment plant in the State of Ohio. Ohio legislation made the design-build delivery model available to public entities just a few years ago. Since then, eight other public agencies have broken ground on their water/wastewater treatment plant-related projects, making the Village of Yellow Springs #9. Not only that, but the Village’s project is the 2nd largest design-build water/wastewater project in the state. What makes the design-build project delivery beneficial to public entities? Here are a couple reasons:
Single Point of ResponsibilityUnlike the design-bid-build process where the owner is responsible for hiring a designer and contractor and then is responsible for serving as the liaison between the two, now the owner can hire one firm who manages both the design and construction. This in turn fosters heightened collaboration among team members, which ultimately sets the stage for a successful construction project.
Cost SavingsIn the design-bid-build process, design changes late in the process (particularly after construction has started) are extremely costly to the owner. Having the construction team at the table early on under the design-build model means scope decisions can be made earlier in the process. In addition, the design and construction teams work together to ensure the project is designed to budget.
Time SavingsUnder the design-build model, the design and construction phases can overlap, allowing construction to begin while the design is still underway. This helps expedite the overall project schedule, as well as reduces costs and makes a new facility available to the owner earlier. The Village of Yellow Springs recognized these advantages when it chose to build its water plant under the design-build model. Karen Wintrow, president of Council for the Village, shared that they selected design-build as a way to be more involved in the design process, as well as to have more control over the budget. Shook Construction is proud to partner with designer Jones & Henry. Also on the team is D.A.G. Construction, Chapel Electric and Dmytryka Jacobs Engineers. The $7.2 million project will be complete in late 2017.
The Process of Removing a Digester Tank Lid
August 24, 2016, 10:27 amIt’s not every day a wastewater treatment plant project requires the replacement of a digester tank lid. What makes this feat so impressive? The lid itself is 50-feet in diameter and weighs about 77,000 pounds, which required a 210-ton crane to lift. During the lift, it looked like there was a UFO hovering over the property. Why did the tank lid need to be removed in the first place? A hole had developed on the underside of the lid, thus allowing the hollow lid to be filled with sludge. The tank will receive a new membrane-style cover during Phase II of the project. The overall project for Phase I involves the following:
- New chlorine contact basin on the end of the existing equalization tanks.
- New chemical building for feed of sodium hypochlorite and sodium bisulfite to the new chlorine contact basin.
- New aeration basin #7.
- Renovation of the sludge control building, including all new sludge heating equipment.
- New ultraviolet disinfection building including a new non-potable water system and new effluent aeration system.
- New pump station to handle the centrate from the existing sludge dewatering building.
- New electrical service and electrical feeds to all buildings.
- Various site piping.