Story Construction

The Masters

July 30, 2015

How awesome would it be to wear the green jacket? To stride up the 18th green at Augusta. To share in the past Champions dinner year after year. And to remember a time when you were best among your peers. I can see it, just not with my golf game. Story recently witnessed masters of our own when we had two projects recognized as finalists for the 2015 Masters Award, presented by the Master Builders of Iowa; one project went on to win the Masters Award in its category.

MBI’s Masters Award exists to recognize great project process on challenging projects, executed by highly-functioning project teams. You can’t have the former without the latter. Great teams can accomplish almost anything.

In this day and age when teams of architects, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers are primarily assembled via price-based selection, it is notable when great execution happens. It’s not like picking teams on the playground, having captains choose their players based on preference or skill. Nor is it like the Yankees, having a seemingly limitless payroll to assemble the best team money can buy. Assembling a great team is more like a random selection of numbers – like the lottery. Seems like it should be different than this, but in reality it’s not.

As an industry in Iowa, we are collegial, well-intended, hard-working and wanting to do a good job. There are simply many challenges to great execution. The most significant challenge facing the industry from where I sit is the capacity of its labor force. In September 2007, the U.S. construction industry employed 7.5 million people; today we employ 5.7 million people.* During the economic recession, many in our ranks retired or found careers in other industries. At the same time, we were not filling our trade with young people as there was nowhere to employ them.

Today as an industry, we must promote the attractiveness of opportunities to young people for the plentiful careers that exist. There are many ways to make a living, make a good life and contribute to society through a career in the construction industry. It is an exciting time with few limits.

Winning the Masters Award is a testimony to great execution. It highlights that good things do happen in construction and teamwork is a must. The opportunities are now with more to come in the future. It may not be a green jacket, but the rewards are awesome just the same.

*Source: CMD Insight; November 2014.

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