WCOE Turning Point for 5/16/2017

Travelers Workforce AdvantageSM – Managing Workers' Comp Exposures of a Multi-generational Workforce

WCOE would like to Welcome Travelers as our new sponsor. Look for their articles in future Turning Point newsletters.

According to Travelers data, 52 percent of injuries in construction occur within the first year of employment, as contractors see greater injury frequency and severity due to unskilled or inexperienced workers. Add to this the fact that many workers represent different generations, cultures and attitudes around work and safety, and, may even have one or more health conditions, and it becomes clear that the I mix comes with unique workforce challenges. Managing the workers' compensation costs for this workforce is critical for contractors' long-term success. One key way to address the risks posed by this multi-generational mix of workers with different cultures, health status and attitudes is to engage employees in a culture of safety at every stage of employment from recruitment to retirement.

Engagement at Every Stage

Engaged workers save their employers money by being safer and more productive. A Gallup survey of the American workforce showed that an engaged workforce experiences fewer safety incidents than disengaged employees, with the top quartile experiencing 48 percent fewer safety accidents than the bottom quartile. **

But engagement looks different across the distinct contexts of hiring, onboarding and training, and ongoing support for all employees. Business leaders should recognize and harness opportunities for engagement at all of these critical points.

1. Attracting and Hiring

Building engagement starts with the job description. In addition to detailing a position's essential functions and physical demands, the description should also outline safety measures and protocols. This sends the message up front that a company cares about its employees' well-being and prioritizes safety as highly as productivity.

The job interview provides another opportunity. A technique called "behavioral interviewing" asks candidates to share stories about how they dealt with past experiences and behaviors in challenging situations, which may illustrate how they view work, relationships, and safety. In turn, this also can help you assess their values in terms of your organizational and culture values.

With detailed job descriptions and behavioral interviewing, companies have an opportunity to attract and hire candidates who understand the importance of, and are more engaged in safety on the job.

2. Onboarding and Training

Safety orientation and training are not the same. Orientation generally walks workers through safety information at a high level, instructing them on the use of safety protocol and procedures. On the other hand, training is an active approach to safety activities, learning and engagement to help ingrain workers in your safety culture and expected safe practices.

New workers are generally most engaged and ready to form long-term safety habits during their first six months. Though a time prime for injury vulnerability due to job inexperience, it can also be prime time for training.

Effective training is equally important for new hires, internal workers switching to a new role, and for injured workers on transitional duty.

3. Supporting and Engaging

Employers have long recognized the importance of safety programs to retain talented and experienced

employees. Increasingly, employers are also adding workplace wellness programs as a tool to help promote their employees' overall wellness. Supporting and engaging your existing workforce includes promoting safety and encouraging a healthy lifestyle, both inside and outside of the workplace. Developing a strong pre-injury process is key to reducing workplace injuries. The following key areas to have in any program:

  • Injury and illness prevention programs: These programs can identify common injuries and illnesses related to the specific position, and recommend preventive measures.
  • Safety leadership and safety culture: This is an opportunity for the organization's leadership to lead by example, demonstrating the importance of a culture of safety across all operations.
  • General safety training: This includes many of the traditional safety practices and programs that employers offer.

When injuries occur, a strong post-injury management program can go a long way towards earning employees' trust and dedication, while also controlling workers' compensation costs. Taking a sports medicine approach to help injured workers return to work through transitional duty is often critical to shortening recovery time and limiting the life of a claim.

Gain the Advantage

Travelers can help insureds capture these opportunities for engagement with Travelers Workforce Advantage5M, a model that provides insight into the vulnerabilities of your unique workforces and provides the tools to invest in your greatest asset – your people.

To learn more about driving employee engagement, visit Travelers.

* Travelers 2014 Study

** GALLUP, State of the American Workplace, Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders

WCOE Linda Graves receives NAMC Golden Champion Award

Linda GravesWCOE is excited to announce that one of our Corporate Alliance partners, Linda Graves, VP of Diversity and Community Affairs at Gilbane recently received the Golden Champion Award for Leadership in Minority Business Development in Wisconsin Construction Industry. Since 2016, NAMC-WI has sponsored the 31st annual DBE Workshop and Secretary's Golden Shovel Award in coordination with WisDOT, City of Madison, Dane County, and Milwaukee Country. Members of the NAMC board presented seven Golden Champion awards to deserving industry professionals and government officials. Thelma Sias, Vice President – Local Affairs, We Energies, received the highest honor, the Golden Champion Lifetime Achievement Award.

WCOE Phased Graduation – Cook County, Illinois

By Mary Kay Minaghan

President Preckwinkle introduced an ordinance at the May 9th Cook County Board meeting to establish a phased graduation system for M/WBE firms. It will be assigned to Committee (Contract Compliance is expected), where it will be heard in the next few weeks. A summarized version of the ordinance follows:

The ordinance follows the ordinance approved by the City Council in 2012. It provides for a 3-year phased graduation for firms that exceed the gross revenues allowed to remain certified as an M/WBE. It maintains the same step down cycle as the City's ordinance with 75% of the total dollars spent with an M/WBE being counted toward the goal in the first year after graduation, 50% in year two and 25% in year three. After this, the graduated firm would no longer be eligible for credit. One difference between the two ordinances is the County only allows the counting of phased graduation credit on supplies, equipment, or goods and transportation of same under the non-construction division. Yet under the construction division, graduation credit can be counted in the same manner as every other construction contract.

This ordinance makes a technical change that groups MBEs, WBEs and Established Businesses (graduated M/WBEs) as PCEs. This technical change could have unintended consequences in some cases throughout the County's M/WBE code because PCE is widely used in the Cook County's M/WBE ordinance. In some areas, it may not be appropriate to wrap graduating M/WBEs in with certified M/WBEs, for purposes of achieving the objectives of the program and maintaining the County's M/WBE ordinance within the court standards that have been set for M/WBE programs.

WCOE WCOE Welcomes New Members

WCOE would like to welcome all new members who have joined our organization recently.

Individual Memberships

Bryn Burke

President, Dees Burke Engineering Constructors | Altadena, CA


Karen Crnkovich

President, DMC Service, Inc. | Olathe, KS


Regina Esa

President, CNC Construction, Inc. | E. Hanover, NJ


Violetta Gutowska

President, B.E.T.O.N Construction Co. | Chicago, IL


Adela Miller

President, Harbor Environmental Group, Inc. | Brea, CA


Patricia Tarve

President/CEO, STB Electrical Test Equipment | Auburn, CA


Business Memberships

Elizabeth Torrez

United Rentals | Baldwin Park, CA


The Woman-Owned Business Membership includes the designation of two additional individuals to represent the firm at WCOE events. United Rentals has designated the following individuals to represent their firm:

Andrea Imbaratto

United Rentals | Southeast FL


Stephanie Irons

United Rentals | Denver, CO


Women Workers and the Future of Manly Jobs

As boomer men retire at an increasing rate, unions are looking to women to fill roles traditionally held by men. While millenials may shy away from manual labor, jobs – ranging from ironworking to truck driving – still need to be filled.

According to the Washington Post, "By 2029, all of the baby boomers will be older than 65, meaning one-fifth of the U.S. population will have reached retirement age. Millennials, the workers who would replace them, aren't as interested in pursuing careers in the trades. Enrollment in vocational education has dropped from 4.2 credits in 1990 to 3.6, according to the most recent data analysis from the National Education Association."

» Read more

Dodge Data: March Construction Starts Climb 5%

According to Dodge Data & Analytics, there has been a 5% increase in March construction starts from February to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $743.7 billion. This represents the third straight monthly increase. Last month, this was primarily influenced by the public works category, due to two major pipeline projects totaling almost $7 billion. However, residential building was also bumped 4% due to increased multifamily construction. While the overall nonresidential category remained largely unchanged, there were gains in large airport terminal starts and office construction. All in all, there has been a 2% year-over-year increase in total construction starts, despite a 3% drop in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 2016.

According to Dodge Chief Economist Robert Murray, the construction industry is undergoing an expansion and the institutional sector can be expected to see growth in school construction while spending decisions in Congress will shape activity in the public works segment. If the new administration fulfills its promises, the next few years could see $1 trillion in infrastructure spending.

» Read more

Atlanta Falcons Stadium Set for Late Summer Completion

Milwaukee BucksMortenson Construction is on schedule to meet their goal of opening the new Milwaukee Bucks arena in time for the 2018–19 season. Three major construction sites are tied to the development: the arena, the northwest practice facility and a parking garage on the north side of Juneau. The arena's downtown location will allow fans to get closer to the action, with 10,000 seats on the lower bowl. Construction of the $524 million arena has progressed rapidly over the past two months. There are currently 275 workers on-site, which will increase to 800 by the end of the year.

» Read more

Crews Top Off San Francisco's $1B Salesforce Tower – the Tallest Building West of Chicago

In April, officials celebrated the completion of Salesforce Tower, a 1,070 foot tall skyscraper in San Francisco. At $1 billion, this is the most expensive building in the city, and the tallest tower west of Chicago. 70% of the skyscraper has been leased so far; construction is due to wrap up later this year. The project is being managed by Clark Construction.

» Read more

Obama Presidential Library Renderings Show Tower-Like Museum

Former President Barack Obama has revealed plans for his future presidential center, located in Chicago where his political career began. It will be a hub for youth and community programs. Obama said, "What we want this to be is the world premiere institution for training young people and leadership to make a difference in their communities, in their countries and in the world."

» Read more

Illinois Tollway Board OKs $4B Tri-State Rebuilding, Widening Plan

Illinois TollwayIllinois's busy central Tri-State highway will be widened as part of an ambitious $4-billion project. This decision was made by the Illinois Tollway board, who proposes that a toll increase can fund the expansion, which will add a lane in each direction and use "flex lanes" on inside shoulders for emergency and public transportation usage. Construction is slated to take place from 2021 to 2025.

» Read more

Mortenson Unveils Design for First Building at Planned Research Park in Rochester, MN

MortensonThe revitalization of Downtown Rochester will include a 60,000-square-foot life science research facility called Destination Medical Center. It will be located at the corner of 4th Street SW and 2nd Avenue SW. Construction will begin later this year and is expected to finish in 2019.

A statement from Mortenson said, "With its close physical linkage to Mayo Clinic, this building will provide an authentic urban experience that supports a unique environment for community amenities, collaborative culture and a one-of-a-kind innovative ecosystem."

» Read more

CLT Could Change the US Building Landscape

With an ever-increasing emphasis on lowering the environmental impact of building materials, many project teams are considering cross-laminated timber (CLT). CLT is a type of mass timber that could deliver the performance of concrete and steel while keeping a smaller environmental footprint.

Hindered by high material prices and restrictive local codes, CLT has been slow to catch on in the US despite broadening international use in countries such as Canada and the UK. However, Jeff Spiritos of Spiritos Properties in New York City remains optimistic about its future: "Mass timber is the optimal and perhaps only building system that can reduce the cost and simultaneously improve the quality of your project."

» Read more

DPS Small Business Initiative I & II

As part of the National Small Business Week, the City of Chicago and DPS are taking the opportunity to highlight the programs and incentives that help small business in Chicago's diverse communities thrive.

DPS designed the Small Business Initiative to increase the opportunities that small businesses have to do business with the City of Chicago. This initiative is a race and gender neutral program for small local businesses to be exclusive bidders on certain construction projects. The SBI projects have included a wide variety of construction needs that have led to utilizing numerous types of contractors. These projects include roofing repair, sound insulation at Midway airport, as well as streetscaping that includes building accessible sidewalk ramps or sewer improvements.

» Learn more

WCOE Coming Events

WCOE CA Chapter Events

WCOE California Chapter Board Meeting

May 16, 2017

West Coast Casualty Construction Defect Conference (party)

May 17, 2017

CFMA Construction Financial Management Association Conference (AZ)

June 4, 2017

Associated Builders & Contractors

5/23/2017 2:00PM ET Vision for Vehicle Safety
6/13/2017 2:00PM ET Removing Friction: The Construction Operating System
8/16/2017 2:00PM ET What's Happening with Drones in Construction

American Subcontractors Association

5/23/2017   Webinar: Technology and Transparency
5/26/2017   Webinar: ASA: Briefing on Federal Payment Legislation and Other Issues
6/13/2017   Webinar: Killer Contract Clauses
6/27/2017   Chapter Leadership Webinar: Developing Your Future Board Leadership Team
10/20–21/2017   ASA Legal & Advocacy Meetings in Santa Ana Pueblo, NM

California High Speed Rail

No events scheduled.


6/14/2017 2:00–3:00PM ET Online Tour of the ConsensusDocs Cloud-Based Platform
7/12/2017 2:00–3:00PM ET Online Tour of the ConsensusDocs Cloud-Based Platform
8/16/2017 2:00–3:00PM ET Online Tour of the ConsensusDocs Cloud-Based Platform
9/13/2017 2:00–3:00PM ET Online Tour of the ConsensusDocs Cloud-Based Platform
10/11/2017 2:00–3:00PM ET Online Tour of the ConsensusDocs Cloud-Based Platform
11/15/2017 2:00–3:00PM ET Online Tour of the ConsensusDocs Cloud-Based Platform
12/13/2017 2:00–3:00PM ET Online Tour of the ConsensusDocs Cloud-Based Platform

2017 HUBZone Small Business Summits

Each Summit features educational sessions and match-making opportunities with agencies & primes.

July 27 – Columbus, OH

Hosted by the Battelle

WCOE will grow your contacts, contracts and bottom line.


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