Why 2018 is the year of the connected crew
by Kathy Wells
February 1, 2018

brought on by cyber technologies, natural disasters and more, construction business owners and contractors will need to be more mindful of the policies they have in place.”
Rick Keegan
President of Construction, Travelers

“Diverse perspectives drive better outcomes. Over that past several years, there have been more organizations of all types focusing on attracting, developing and mentoring women in the construction field. This is coinciding with an increased awareness that most, if not all companies, can benefit from having a more diverse workplace, including better financial outcomes, performance and client satisfaction. I believe the emphasis on diversity will continue to evolve in 2018, and hope to see a rise of women in leadership positions across the industry.”
Sarah Carr
Vice President of Education Services, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

“In many regions of the country, the [project] diversity is changing far more rapidly than the makeup of firms in our industry. In order to relate to and secure work from increasingly diverse clients, our firms will need to more closely mirror regional demographics going forward. Rather than losing talent and expertise, our industry stands to thrive by appealing to a wider demographic and stronger base of talent. Many factors are at play including education, compensation and image. It will require new approaches to positively impact those areas as the effort and focus of past attempts have not positioned our industry for the future.”
Samantha M. Hutchison, CCIFP
CFO, Brookstone Construction, and Chairman, Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA)

“The numerous natural disasters that occurred this year have only increased the difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified workers by creating an urgent demand for additional support. Part of the storm-driven demands for labor will likely be met by less-experienced workers, which brings increased potential for injuries and accidents, especially when you consider the sheer number of new projects. It is more important than ever for construction leaders to implement robust risk management plans, including thorough safety training. Additionally, contractors should be even more disciplined about some of the common practices, such as supervisor, on-site management, daily walkthroughs and site inspections. As we continue to rebuild from the unfortunate events in 2017 and prepare for any natural disasters 2018 may bring, construction leaders must be mindful of their quality-control and supplier-vetting processes as well. It’s hard to predict where the demand surge will be, relative to building supplies, but contractors need to inspect materials and tighten their standards during any post-storm recovery work.”
Rick Keegan
President of Construction, Travelers

What to Watch

The Tax Bill

“Certainly, the tax bill will have some implications both on the business side and on the employee side, but there is the idea that it could spur private investment in construction projects. If the tax bill results in lower revenue generated for government entities however, that could put some construction projects at risk, including the proposed border wall, which has the potential to be a multi-billion-dollar project—or series of projects.”
Matt Harris
Chief Products Officer, Viewpoint

The Opioid Epidemic

“Construction workplaces informally support a culture of self-medication to relieve stress, often leading to escalating substance abuse problems that also increase the risk of suicide. As the Chairman of CFMA, I see our work in forming the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention as having a tremendous impact on the need to address mental health and suicide prevention in the industry. With more than 50 members of the alliance, we are bringing together those who can have an impact on reaching those most at risk and working to effect change toward mental health and suicide prevention in the construction industry.”
Samantha M. Hutchison, CCIFP
CFO, Brookstone Construction, and Chairman, Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA)

“Companies should focus on leadership development, unique training content—such as building skills, management and leadership, policies, compliance and technology including virtual design and construction (VDC)—and blended training vehicles, including instructor-led programs, self-paced online training, hands-on experience simulations and on-the-job training.”
Bob Betz
Executive Vice President, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.