Tag Archives: Construction Industry

SMACNA Arizona

SMACNA Arizona Helps Build Careers In The Construction Industry

A career in the construction industry can be a fulfilling experience, particularly if proper education and training is received. And, with a tight job market, it makes sense for those who want to become a highly-trained, skilled craftsperson in the sheet metal, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) field. SMACNA Arizona, the Arizona chapter of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association, is dedicated to building life-long careers, offering high-paying possibilities and creating opportunities for advancement.

The industry remains strong and looks to maintain its solid foundation for years to come. There is job stability in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry; it is growing steadily and all indications are that it will continue well into the future.

This continued strength has created a need for sharp, motivated and responsible people who have the talent and desire to move through an apprenticeship program and emerge as a highly-skilled craftsperson.

We stress that all students take their education seriously. In order to become a skillful journeyman as an adult, one must gain effective math, reading, writing and social abilities while young.

Unionized specialty contractors have invested $2.5 million statewide toward skills training and apprenticeships programs over the past three years. This figure continues to increase because construction companies and building owners are realizing the value of hiring contractors that employ a highly skilled, highly trained workforce, thus assuring top-quality, cost-effective construction.

SMACNA Arizona supports the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC), which prepares a variety of people for careers in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry.  SMACNA Arizona continues the training and education after journeyman status is received.

Training is gained in the areas of pattern layout, drafting, hoisting and rigging, welding, energy management, retrofitting of environmental systems, testing and balancing, CAD, functions of compressors and condensers in the refrigeration cycle, and, finally, the responsibilities of running a job, preparing for an initial bid and creating submittals, reading plans and specifications, and successfully completing a project.

The advantage to the JATC program is that apprentices work 40-hour weeks and are paid by their employers, while attending school at a minimal cost. College credits are also earned in the training program. Additional information is available by visiting azsheetmetal.org or smacna-az.org.

To learn more about SMACNA Arizona’s benefits and programs, call (602) 734-0214, or call the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee at (602) 275-6511.

Steve Grauer - AZRE Magazine May/June 2012

Q&A: Vice President/Western District Manager Steve Grauer

Steve Grauer shares how he got started in the construction industry and what he thinks about the future of Hensel Phelps Construction in Arizona.

Q: How did you get your start in the construction industry?

A: As a young boy, I was constantly around the construction business. My father was a vice president of an interior subcontractor in the Northwest. During high school, my brother and I worked part time on residential projects doing laborer work and light carpentry. While attending college (University of Washington), I continued to work on commercial projects as well. I knew from an early age that construction was an industry that I wanted to be part of and that would provide a challenging career. Construction has certainly done that for me.

Q: Hensel Phelps has made its mark in Arizona for more than 30 years, with 30 projects worth an estimated $1.8B. How proud are you of that mark?

A: I am extremely proud to continue the legacy whose foundation was set in 1979. A repeat corporate client, IBM, brought us to Tucson from Colorado. Our continued success with IBM on their projects in Tucson created the opportunity to continue to work together and took us further West to California, where today we have two district offices. The construction market has changed greatly in Arizona since then. With the approval of Alternate Project Delivery Methods in the early 2000’s, the diverse portfolio of project types that Hensel Phelps undertakes, as well as the experience of our people on those projects, has allowed for growth and opportunities with many new owners. Regionalization and establishing a permanent presence here is key to developing longterm relationships with owners, subcontractors, designers, trade associations and the communities our people live in. We are proud to live and work in a community and state as great as Arizona.

Q: How did Hensel Phelps weather the Great Recession, which took its toll in Arizona on the commercial real estate industry?

A: This year marks Hensel Phelps’ 75th anniversary in business. From that first farmhouse in Northern Colorado that Hensel built, we have come a long way and seen many tough and challenging times. The Hensel Phelps organization and the Western District each had their 3 best years in our 75-year history during the Great Recession. We attribute this to our repeat clients that continue to entrust their projects to us, relationships in the Industry as a whole and the unparalleled performance of our people. We are grateful for all of them.

Q: Hensel Phelps is completing its portion of PHX Sky Train this year and embarking on another major project – the Solar Tower in La Paz County. How optimistic are you about Hensel Phelps’ presence in Arizona the next 10, 20 or even 30 years?

A: I am extremely optimistic and confident about our continued presence in Arizona in the future. In the construction industry, change is constant. Market sectors and economic conditions are always providing challenges to change. It is a matter of survival. While we may not look exactly the same 30 years from now, we will be here.

Q: You went to college in Washington and now live in Arizona. How important is the Western Division to the overall picture at Hensel Phelps?

A: The Western District, covering Arizona, Southern Nevada, New Mexico and Oklahoma, is extremely important to Hensel Phelps. Establishing a local presence, committing to the communities in which our families live and developing relationships is critical to our continued success. Prior to our corporate commitment of establishing a district office in Arizona, these states where covered by other district offices. Our CEO and President, Jeff Wenaas, is from Tucson and attended both UA and ASU. There is a strong commitment from the top. Arizona and the Southwest have been and will continue to be very important to us. We are the local contractor with the national reach!

Q: As Vice President and Western District Manager, what project (or projects) are you most proud of?

A: As a district manager, I am proud of all of our projects, but most importantly our people and performance on those projects. We are fortunate to get the opportunity to perform a wide range of project types for both public and private owners, utilizing a wide variety of project delivery methods. The depth of experience of our people allows them to seamlessly operate on these different projects and exceed our owner’s expectations in the overall construction experience.

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STATS:

  • Number of years with HP: 22, with stints in Washington, California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado.
  • Number of years as Vice President/Western District Manager: 4
  • Family: Wife Stephanie and daughters Morgan and Skyla; and two Labrador Retrievers, Dakota and Mocha.
  • Hobbies: Traveling, fishing, hunting and shooting.
  • Favorite sports teams: Denver Broncos – and of course the Arizona Cardinals.

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For more information on Steve Grauer of Hensel Phelps Construction, visit Hensel Phelps’ website at henselphelps.com.

AZRE Magazine May/June 2012

McCarthy - Bo Calbert - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

First Job: Bo Calbert, SW President McCarthy Building Companies

Bo Calbert, Southwest President McCarthy Building Companies, discusses his first job as a caddy and the things that helped him get to where he is today in the construction industry.


Bo Calbert

Title: Southwest President
Company: McCarthy Building Companies

What was your first job?
When I came home from the last day of sixth grade, my father said, “Son, it’s about time you got a job.” We lived right across the street from Hickory Hills Country Club in Springfield, Mo., which is where (deceased PGA star) Payne Stewart learned to golf and where his father was a big golfer. So I walked across the street and got a job as a caddy. It was tough. I’d get there at seven in the morning, had to sweep all the sidewalks to earn the privilege to caddy, and at the end of the day I had to pick up all the balls on the driving range.

What did you learn from that first job?
Working as a caddy at a country club was all about service and dependability, and developing relationships were important. If you didn’t build good relationships with people, they wouldn’t request you to be their caddy.

Describe your first job in your industry.
It was building a high-rise office building in Houston, and I was low man on the totem pole. I was the field engineer, doing all the layout. It was a concrete frame, and I was holding the dumb end of the tape. I got a battlefield promotion because the lead engineer hurt his back. I’d been out of school six weeks when I got that promotion.

What lesson did you learn in your first industry job that still helps you today?
If you’re willing to take responsibility and you’re not afraid to ask for the tough jobs, you will get a lot of recognition early.

What were your salaries in your first job and in your first industry job?
I got $1.60 an hour to shag balls and $3.50 to caddy for 18 holes. My first salary was $22,000 a year in the construction industry.

Who would you consider as your biggest mentor?
Chuck Thompson was the chairman of 3D International, a large engineering construction firm. He’s the one who got me my first interview with McCarthy, and he is the smartest, most talented individual I know. If you had to credit someone with the development of construction management as a process, Chuck would probably get the credit. He’s got a tremendous amount of integrity. In our business, people put a lot of trust in you when they hire you to build their project. You have to have the integrity to make all the right decisions.

What advice would you give to someone starting today in your industry?
What worked for me is that I volunteered for tough assignments that other people might not want to do. Taking on challenges and getting the reputation as someone who is not afraid to take on those challenges is a key thing that people should do early in their career.

For more information on McCarthy Building Companies, visit McCarthy’s website at mccarthy.com.

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

construction industry

Construction Industry Loses 7,000 Jobs In March

The construction industry lost 7,000 jobs in March, inching the unemployment rate up to 17.2 percent from 17.1 percent in February, according to the April 6 Department of Labor employment report. Year over year, construction industry unemployment is down compared to the March 2011 rate of 20 percent. The construction industry added 55,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

The nonresidential construction sector lost 6,000 jobs for the month, but year over year has added 7,000 jobs, or 1.1 percent, bringing the total number of jobs to 659,400. Residential construction lost 5,000 jobs for the month and has added 3,000 jobs during the past 12 months, or 0.4 percent, to reach 569,000 jobs.

Nonresidential specialty trade contractors shed 5,000 jobs in March, while residential specialty trade contractors added 5,000 jobs and heavy and civil engineering construction employment saw a gain of 4,000 jobs. Year over year, nonresidential specialty trade contractors have lost 4,000 jobs, or 0.2 percent; residential specialty trade contractor employment grew by 29,000 jobs, or 2 percent; and heavy and civil engineering construction employment increased by 20,000 jobs, or 2.4 percent.

Across all industries, the nation added 120,000 jobs in March. The private sector expanded by 121,000 jobs and the public sector shrank by 1,000 jobs. On a yearly basis, the nation has added 1,899,000 jobs, or 1.5 percent. The national unemployment rate stood at 8.2 percent in March, down from 8.3 percent in February, with the labor force shrinking by 164,000 people.

“Today’s employment report was disappointing, particularly for the construction industry,” said Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “The first quarter of 2012 will be judged as a step backward for the industry as construction spending levels stagnated and employment momentum disappeared.

“A certain level of weakness was anticipated due to the economic slowdown during the spring and summer of last year that caused many projects to be put on hold and resulted in diminished construction momentum,” Basu said. “In addition, ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator, a predictor of construction activity, dipped during last year’s fourth quarter, setting the stage for the declines in construction employment now being observed.

“This employment report differed from the prior three months because employment growth was disappointing for the broader economy as well,” Basu said. “The consensus coming into today’s release was the nation would have added approximately 200,000 jobs in March, which did not happen.

“Some attribute the disappointing March report to abnormally warm weather across the nation, which caused February’s employment to be artificially high. However, one month does not make a trend and other data remain upbeat, including consumer activity and overall economic momentum. Economists and others will be looking for signs of improvement in labor market dynamics in April,” Basu said.