Solving Tough Challenges in the Multi-Site Industry: Recruiting Talent

What do you get when you bring together top construction executives from leading global brands, multi-site construction firms, and the The Players Championship?

A highly productive discussion on how to tackle critical issues surrounding the multi-site construction industry.

And of course, a few Phil Mickelson sightings.

The 3rd annual Sevan Multi-Site Design & Construction Symposium was held May 9 – 11, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. Representatives from Multi-Site construction firms joined executives from Bento Box, HCA, Starbucks, Sunoco, Walgreens, and other Owners to analyze and assess best practices surrounding topics impacting the multi-site construction world.

The Symposium was facilitated by Ron Deffenbaugh, Sevan’s Chief Training Officer. Ron guided the brainstorming of critical issues facing the industry. The group developed a comprehensive list of nearly sixty focal points during a thirty-minute open conversation. Weighted voting then determined the top issues for the group to focus on:

  1. Recruiting Talent
  2. Managing Procurement
  3. Defining Scope of Work

Recruiting Talent. In nearly every major city, construction is booming, and employers are struggling to find the skilled workers they need. The group brainstormed an extensive

list of solutions that could be acted on immediately following the Symposium. One of the causes identified was the evaporation of high-school workshop classes. Often the first to go with education budget cuts, the lack of workshop and trade specific classes have created a lack of interes

t in potential careers in the construction industry. Getting industry leaders in the doors at schools that lack such classes, and providing a platform to discuss summer jobs, internships, and career planning is one step we can all take to help our i

ndustry grow. The group also recognized the importance of supporting local and national efforts to promote the Construction, Architectural, and Engineering industry among students. The innovative technology that is on a constant upward development to aid in on-site safety, building accuracy, and planning was also seen as an important focal point.

The next piece of the puzzle the group identified is sourcing highly qualified and capable contractors. Ironically, the current strong economy is making it tougher to source contractor teams that will deliver on time, and within budget. Multi-site construction requires a very specialized skill set. Often with ‘big builds,’ construction is focused on one site, one building, one scope, and one project at a time over a longer period. In multi-site, work extends across multiple sites in multiple locations, multiple designs, and multiple scopes. Often, large contractors are not interested in perusing the complex work that multi-site construction entails.

A proposed solution was to focus on contractors that are willing to develop an internal group to specialize in Multi-site, a protégé approach. By creating a development team that has a singular focus, the ability to invest in subcontractors and staff creates a collaborative solution. In return, a trusting relationship is built between Owners and General Contractors, a more systematic approach to staffing is created, and the lack of sourcing opportunities begins to dissolve.

Justin Koziol, Chief Operating Officer of Bento Box, was a part of the table discussion tasked with identifying solutions on how to best source and develop contractor teams for multi-site-specific construction. He stated: “I thought the Symposium discussions were valuable, and they gave affirmations to the direction in which we at Bento Box are moving into and hearing the same type of problems we have been faced with, such as sourcing contractors, was being experienced by others in the industry. The solutions we developed were relevant to our work in the multi-site residential sector.”

After a long productive day working on multi-site issues, the attendees enjoyed a networking opportunity in the private Sawgrass Suite set between the 16th and 18th fairways at The Players Championship, watching the first round of the tournament. Attendees enjoyed following their favorite players on the course, getting a few selfies with their new industry friends, and even being seen on TV standing along the green.  Koziol shared his enjoyment of the event and recommended others to attend the 2019 Symposium “for a nice trip to Jacksonville, experiencing a day of golf and networking with others in the industry”.

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