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Women in Construction – Part 1

We are going to do a series of blogs concerning women in construction. I have sent out a few questionnaires to women who are in the construction field to get their input.

Thanks to the NCCER, for helping to promote the trades and women in construction. Take a look at one of their recent videos concerning women in construction.



What advice would you give to a woman considering construction as a career?

I wouldn’t so much offer advice as I would ask her what questions she might have. It isn’t as tough of a career as some might think. It’s only tough if you make it tough.

I look forward to sharing more information on this topic next week.



Cement vs. Concrete

If you want to get on the nerves of a concrete person, call a concrete truck a cement truck, or refer to a slab of concrete as cement. Many people don’t know that there’s a difference, and they use the terms interchangeably. So what is the difference between concrete and cement? Well, cement is just a part of the recipe that make up concrete. Without the other ingredients, all we would have is powder.

Here are some other basic facts about cement and concrete:

  •  Concrete is a mixture of aggregates, cement, and water
  • Through a process called hydration, the cement and water harden and bind the aggegrates
  • Concrete gains hardness and strength throughout its entire life
  • The most common type of cement is Portland cement


For more information about concrete or cement check out this website:

And visit to see what concrete services we can provide you.

Who determines your culture?

Culture plays a key role in the success of any organization.  It is the environment that surrounds you at all times, and is a reflection of organizations beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors. This idea is something that is built up over time and is formed through repeated behavior.   Now that sounds pretty but is it reality?  Your organization will create a culture on its very own if left by chance.  It might not be what you want.

If your culture isn’t what you want, paint a picture of what you would like it to be.  Get employees involved.  Then do an internal review – gut check.  If you discover gaps in your culture, begin taking steps to improve.

I enjoy reading from The Leadership Freak.  Dan has a way of getting his message across.  Check out his latest blog at

You will find out how your language, conversation, and behavior help shape your environment.

I am a foreman for Northern Concrete Construction.  Here are some expectations that we have in place to help make our projects successful.  It’s not an option and has become our culture.

  • Be prepared
  • No surprises
  • Drive out waste
  • Maintain NCC processes, policies, and procedures
  • Have a plan


There are many more operational and behavioral expectations that we have.  This sets a tone to create a great working environment and to understand why we are here – to serve our customers.  Check out our website and see our process at

Why are clean job sites important?

Keeping a clean job site throughout the construction process is very important. It’s one of the biggest complaints clients have, so use it to your competitive advantage. After all, a clean job site sets the tone for quality and efficiency. Here are some other reasons why it is important to keep your job sites clean:

  •   A Clean Job Site is a Safe Job Site: “It’s better to pick it up then fall over it.” Keeping a clean job site will create a better, safer working environment for all.thSK8FHCM8
  • A Clean Job Site is a Reflection of Quality Workmanship:  The first thing a homeowner or contractor will notice is the cleanliness of your job site. Don’t let this first impression negatively reflect the workmanship and quality of your company.


  • A Clean Job Site Will Strengthen Relationship:  Let the cleanliness of your job site strengthen your reputation. Keep your job site clean and gain the trust of the client. This will strengthen the relationship for future business.


Is 2014 a different animal than other years?

I have been in the concrete construction industry 2014 Different Animal for 12 years. So far, 2014 has been a year unlike others. Here is what I mean:

  • Late start – finding frost in the middle of May; We are not in Siberia.
  • Scheduling difficulties – projects not starting as anticipated
  • RFPs are hitting my desk with start dates within two weeks
  • Contractors calling me due to their subcontractor backing out of their project
  • Companies that normally self-perform their work are calling due to large workloads

Are you experiencing this as well? There’s no doubt that there’s an abundance of work out there in the construction industry. The industry is experiencing the effects of the skilled labor shortage. I talk to people every week and they are experiencing it first hand:

  • Projects waiting to start but can’t due to no one to excavate or pour concrete
  • Smaller crews arriving to job sites than expected
  • Crews leaving the project for short durations to finish other committed work
  • Companies committing to a schedule but showing up three weeks later than the commitment
  • I hear superintendents say that today they feel like babysitters

I don’t claim to have all of the answers but concrete subcontractors have to operate differently today than the past:

  • Standard operating procedures, systems, and processes are needed;  Our mantra is SOLID PROCESS SOLID RESULTS.
  • A commitment to hiring, training, and developing employees
  • Invest in the equipment that helps improve quality and efficiencies
  • Communication, communication, and more – internally & externally
  • Understanding the needs of your customer – today’s and tomorrow’s needs

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Your feedback is appreciated!