April 2019

Employee Spotlight: Kelsey Greco

2019-04-08T15:57:53-04:00April 8th, 2019|Employee Spotlights|

Kelsey Greco’s passion for design helped pave the way that led her to Shook. Raised in a family that worked in construction, she has always had an interest in it. Now, she is forging her own path as she explores new roles and responsibilities at the company.  

What inspired you to get into this career?

My parents both worked in construction, so I was always around it growing up. That, combined with a love for design, made it inevitable that I ended up on the same path.

Briefly describe your career path to date.

I completed my degrees in Construction Management and Architecture at the Ohio State University and worked as an intern. After graduation, I joined the Shook team as a Project Engineer, then entered the field as a Superintendent. I plan to continue moving in this direction in my career.

What are the most important qualities of a leader?

One of the most important qualities of a leader is to be respectable. This doesn’t happen overnight; you must work hard to earn it from the crew.

What does safety mean to you?

To me, safety is to never compromise a person’s well-being to finish a job. We work in a stressful environment, but it’s never worth it to take shortcuts and risk an accident.

Who inspires you?

My parents are my biggest inspiration. My father is a carpenter and has built homes he designed, while my mother works as an accountant for a construction company. They work on the residential side of construction and I have seen what they have been able to accomplish with rather difficult upbringings. They inspired me to go into the larger, commercial side of the industry to help create better buildings and structures for society.

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

This year taught me how important it is to pay attention to detail and to plan ahead. Understanding the project, scheduling in advance, and conferring with the experts helps keep work flowing and problems under control. The goal is to be proactive, not reactive.

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

Having an iPad and PlanGrid on the job site is helpful. I can review, mark up, and search drawings in the field without flipping through pages or trying to remember the location of every detail. Being able to use 3D models helps solve problems ahead of time.

March 2019

Using Technology to Improve Project Performance

2019-03-07T07:50:53-05:00March 6th, 2019|Project News, Thought Leadership|

Shook continuously searches for ways to dramatically improve our performance. As the industry evolves, it is increasingly apparent how essential technology is. Not only does it save us time and money, but also it attracts new talent and customers. Recently, we introduced the enhanced technology processes, which have tremendously benefited our projects.

DRONE TECHNOLOGY

James Hillegas, a project engineer at Shook, has been an avid drone pilot for years. When he became aware of the opportunity to use them onsite, he was ready to help.

Mapping Existing Site Work  

At the Community Tissue Services project in Kettering, Ohio, James used drones to gather sitework images which he then shared with Project Manager Matt Wendel. The data collected assisted Matt in narrowing in on the site work estimations, which in turn freed up funds to reallocate to other project needs.

Bringing the Project to Life: Augmented Reality 

Hillegas also used a drone to gather photos of the existing facility, which then were used to create a model of the new building. This model allowed the owner to visualize how their new building would look when completed. “Augmented reality helps the owner better understand the project,” Hillegas said.

Source: John Poe Architects

Ensuring Safety

On the Summa West Tower project in Akron, Ohio, a drone helped us proactively prepare for the possibility of an emergency. As the project progressed, James flew the drone to collect updated site photos. These images were sent to the fire department to communicate where access points were in the event of an emergency.

PLANGRID TECHNOLOGY

Improving Onsite Efficiency  

Source: firstround.com

Another device introduced on the Summa project was PlanGrid, a cloud-based program that grants users mobile access to project information, including document drawings. PlanGrid has been incredibly helpful with organization and timeliness. All the project drawings were accessible in the program, which kept the project team from wasting time flipping through pages of drawings.

Project Engineer Rachel Mulholland shared the benefits of using it, stating, “Having all the drawings on the same system has saved us a considerable amount of time.”

Holding Subcontractors Accountable

PlanGrid alleviated some of the stress during closeout procedures. Shook asked their subcontractors to use the program to track and report the overall schedule. This helped keep everyone accountable. The team would open PlanGrid to check the floor plans and, based on the information, assign tasks to certain people. Rachel found this to be one of the greatest benefits of the program.

Technology is improving our productivity and enhancing our ability to communicate. From saving time to solving problems proactively, these tools have drastically changed the way we perform our work.

January 2019

Employee Spotlight: Rachel Mulholland

2019-01-16T14:38:23-05:00January 16th, 2019|Employee Spotlights|

Project Engineer Rachel Mulholland discovered her interest in engineering as a college student. Ever since, she has devoted herself to learning more about the industry. Ultimately, this has taught her how it can support local communities, as well as how she can be a leader.

What inspired you to get into this career?

I was inspired by my civil engineering classes I took when I was an undergraduate. Learning about the application and execution of principles made me want to get out there and do them in the field. I was able to put them into practice when I started working in construction. I also wanted to support my local community. It wasn’t long before I realized I could do so by working in the construction industry. I have been able to contribute to the success of multiple communities thanks to my career.

Briefly describe your career path to date.

I began as a co-op in college, which provided me with valuable experiences. After graduation, I was hired full-time and have been working for the past two years.

Construction can be a challenging business. Do you have a specific approach or philosophy you use to tackle challenges as they arise on site?

My approach has always been to tackle the most daunting problems first. Once those are out of the way, I can focus on simpler tasks, which are quicker to finish. I also believe that when an issue arises, it is critical to talk to my teammates to try to find a solution.

What are the most important qualities of a leader?

The best leaders are knowledgeable and understand the project they are working on. If they aren’t sure how to do something, they are willing to learn. A leader should also be approachable. They keep the team together and functioning. If people aren’t willing to talk to the person in charge, problems will arise. Finally, it is important that leaders clearly communicate. Confusion can be detrimental to the outcome of a project and can put us behind schedule.

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

The new West Bed Tower for Summa Health Systems Akron Campus in Akron, OH.

December 2018

Employee Spotlight: Bill Whistler

2018-12-10T14:27:44-05:00December 10th, 2018|Employee Spotlights|

President and CEO Bill Whistler has gained a tremendous amount of experience, as well as respect, in the industry. From working odd jobs to working his way up to his current position at Shook Construction, he truly has seen it all. These experiences have not only prepared him for whatever life throws his way, but also helped shape him into the leader he is today.

What inspired you to get into this career?

My dad first sparked my interest in the business when he enlisted my help in projects around the house. There were a lot of hands-on construction projects to do, so I quickly learned that way. Soon, that interest expanded into architecture as well. I went off to University of Cincinnati and became a co-op at a company called Shook Construction.

Briefly describe your career path to date.

It’s been a long and winding road. From working odd jobs, such as taking out the trash and picking up mail, to becoming a quantity surveyor then making my way up to CEO, you could say I’ve tried it all. You can never have too much experience though!

Construction can be a challenging business. Do you have a specific approach or philosophy you use to tackle challenges as they arise on site?

A tried and true method is to plan the work and work the plan. This approach has helped me to adapt and overcome when the unexpected hits the fan—and the unexpected is inevitable. Each day presents a new problem, so you need to be ready to face it, even if you’re unsure what ‘it’ is.

What are the most important qualities of a leader?

There are a handful of them. A leader needs to be trustworthy, approachable, and decisive. I’ve also learned how important it is to be a good listener. Listen to your team and what they have to say. Having a different perspective on things can be incredibly important when you need to solve a problem.

What does safety mean to you?

Everything…all you have to do is live through handing a new widow her late husband’s car keys to understand why everything means everything.

Who inspires you?

My wife…I got nothing on her 🙂

 

June 2018

Employee Spotlight: Jim Trueblood

2018-06-20T09:20:17-04:00June 20th, 2018|Employee Spotlights|

Jim Trueblood’s interest in building has led to him having a well-rounded career in the construction industry. He has worn many hats, from carpenter to general foremen to his current role as project superintendent in our Mission Critical market segment. Every day, he is approaching problems from different angles, looking for the best solutions.

Construction can be a challenging business. Do you have a specific approach or philosophy you use to tackle challenges as they arise on site?

Every problem has a solution. There is no need to make an issue bigger than it needs to be.

What are the most important qualities of a leader?

A leader should possess these three qualities: the abilities to listen, analyze, and measure his or her reactions. In my experience, I’ve discovered this combination works wonders and results in the best outcomes.

What does safety mean to you?

Taking care of my coworkers.

Who inspires you?

My kids inspire me every day.

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

People know they can approach me with a problem and I won’t overreact in a negative manner. It is essential to work well with others, especially on a project site. So much more is accomplished as a team instead of as a group of divided individuals.

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

If people feel like they have investment in a decision, they will have more interest in the outcome.

May 2018

Employee Spotlight: J.D. Craft

2018-05-02T15:03:10-04:00May 2nd, 2018|Employee Spotlights|

J.D. Craft is no stranger to working outdoors. His childhood was spent growing up on a farm, which led to him later wanting a career where he could be outside as much as possible. He began his career as a carpenter and now serves as a project superintendent for Shook.

Construction can be a challenging business. Do you have a specific approach or philosophy you use to tackle challenges as they arise on site?

I keep in mind that I’m unable to control everything. Construction has taught me to prepare for the worst-case scenario—you never know what to expect.

What are the most important qualities of a leader?

Having the ability to adapt to your environment, as well as maintaining a level head when things go wrong.

What does safety mean to you?

Sending everyone home in one piece! The last thing I want is to have to take somebody to the hospital, or worse.

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

I can picture shapes before we build them, so I have a pretty good idea of what will or will not look good.

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

Those who can, do.

June 2017

Employee Spotlight: Mike Behnken

2017-03-24T12:56:54-04:00June 15th, 2017|Employee Spotlights|

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!

 

April 2017

Our Core Values: Safety

2017-03-27T12:57:41-04:00April 28th, 2017|Client Service, Core Values, Safety|

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.

 

December 2015

Indiana Safety Award Streak

2016-02-01T15:36:43-05:00December 8th, 2015|Awards, Client Service, Safety|

ICA Safety Awards

For the 5th year in a row, Shook received the Gold Summit Safety Award from the Indiana Construction Association (ICA) in the category of highway, heavy & utility prime contractor with less than 100,000 hours. The ICA stated that we received this honor because we integrate safety core business practices in our estimating and delivery systems, as well as our real-time driver safety monitoring program.

This award is significant in the construction industry and especially to our organization because it recognizes how well our jobsite personnel understand and apply our corporate safety program standards—all based on confidential surveys given to jobsite personnel. Our employees must indicate Shook’s safety program is best in class in order for the ICA to honor our efforts. The award once again confirms that our corporate management leads the safety efforts; and those efforts permeate into each of our field activities. We emphasize that every task should be performed safely–no matter how large or small that task is.

Our company culture has created an environment where our employees can come to work knowing their ability to go home in the same condition is a way of life–not just a wish.

Shook lives the culture that “Safely is the only way to work”!