Involvement Benefits Career and Community

By Sara Hall

As builders, we give much of our time and talent to our professions while contributing to our communities through nonprofit groups that match our personal interests. Likewise, participating in professional industry organizations blends professional goals with personal development. Many individuals within the Swinerton Builders Colorado division actively participate in local and national industry groups and, in doing so, influence standards for construction professionals, receive training and certification, expand their networks, and demonstrate Swinerton’s commitment to and position in the Denver market to clients, partners, and competitors.

Organizations benefitting from Swinerton’s participation range from the local chapters of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) and Urban Land Institute (ULI) to career-specific groups focusing on safety, business development, and marketing, to name a few. Many of our project managers and superintendents belong to the AGC of Colorado and serve on a variety of boards or committees. One such noteworthy group is the Future Leaders Forum, in which young construction professionals network, participate in training sessions, and volunteer for construction-related community opportunities.

Superintendent Brendan Summers states that the Future Leaders Forum is an impactful way to communicate with other firms, suppliers, and subcontractors while keeping in tune with where the industry is headed. Project Executive Jared Hoeflich chairs the group in 2014 and will work to advance knowledge in both best practices and principles while promoting workplace integrity, innovation, and relationships. Project Manager John Spight also is heavily engaged in the Future Leaders Forum, in addition to mentoring several Colorado State University construction management students through the CSU “CM Cares” program. This assembly promotes service learning by infusing leadership traits, team building, and ethics through community service activities. The program joins students, faculty, staff, and industry partners, such as Swinerton, to assist with construction-related projects for local community service agencies and people with special needs.

Assistant Project Manager Aaron Branham is also a member of the AGC, and Estimator Grant Brownback sits on the Subcontractor Relations Committee, which has a purpose of identifying and discussing trends and issues between general contractors and subcontractors and opening lines of communication. Developing personal relationships and building rapport with the subcontracting community can be drawn upon when challenges arise on a project or at the bid table.

Many times, professional organizations provide resources and certifications that are unavailable elsewhere due to topic specificity. For instance, Regional Safety Manager Neal Roark is active in a handful of industry groups specific to construction safety.Through these groups he earns Continuing Education Units to maintain professional certifications and learns of new and upcoming trends, policies, and standards as well as new and innovative safety engineering techniques to ensure our workers are as safe as possible.

VDC Manager Dustin Hartsuiker is an organizer of the Rocky Mountain Building Information Society, which provides industry professionals with a forum to collaborate and exchange ideas, best practices, and techniques associated with building information modeling (BIM) and other technologies to promote ethical, profitable, and collective advancement of individuals, businesses, and the community related to building technology.

Business Development Manager Julie Witecki associates herself with several professional groups. Through active participation in groups such as the Society for Marketing Professional Services and the ULI, Julie has learned that the more you give, the more you get, and she has developed a reputation as a strong contributor to committees and is seen as an authority on many business development and marketing subjects.

Similarly, certain groups provide peer-level connections not immediately related to construction, but certainly impactful to the built community. Colorado Division Manager Scott Conrad benefits from relationships formed and knowledge gained through the Downtown Denver Partnership—an association that focuses on development of Denver’s urban core—and ULI activities. He is also actively engaged with the AGC of Colorado as a member of the Board of Directors.

Others join associations to foster the development of future leaders and leave the industry in a better state than when they first joined. Preconstruction Manager Dennis Ashley is actively involved in the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), where he chairs the Rocky Mountain Region Education Committee and is a national thought leader for student/academia outreach. Scott Conrad and Jared Hoeflich are also contributing members of the DBIA. Senior Estimator Greg Borst has been actively engaged with the US Green Building Council since its inception in Denver more than a decade ago.

As these individuals prove, participating at any level within a professional association benefits the individual, Swinerton, and the larger industry community.