Our industry experts share their solutions to some of the biggest problems facing construction business owners & their teams

Jim Heuer

Owner
Heuer & Company

As the leader of a small, regional construction firm, I’ve recently been wrestling with the issue of fully committing to a technology upgrade. I’m not referring to a new server, desktops or tablets. Our stumbling block is the full implementation of a web-based project management platform that—from top to bottom—changes the way we execute our commercial construction business.

Breaking down the tendencies of the individual to “do it my way” and come around to the idea of a new system has not been easy. Truth be told, we are 2.5 years into the process, and we still have not made a complete conversion. The subscription cost is a big nut to crack, one that gets tougher as our company expands. And at the annual renewal, we are forced to ask ourselves, “Are we in or not?

We know the correct answer—we have to be in. For a company with a vision of continued growth, there is no other way. We’ve seen the light and know the arc of progress bends toward technology.

Going back to the old way is not an option, but the questions remain: How do we implement a brand-new way of doing things while still getting our work done? How long of an implementation process is too long? Will we ever be finished?

Anthony Thompson

Chairman & CEO
Kwame Building Group

In this booming economic climate and with increases in technology, recruiting talent is our biggest challenge. With the high price of a college education and the sophistication of modern construction techniques, in order to stay competitive, construction companies must have individuals with high aptitude and managerial skills.

Starting salaries in construction and engineering aren’t keeping up with some other careers, so we are seeing a low number of graduates in those fields. To secure highly complex construction management assignments, we must have talented project managers with at least 5 to 10 years of industry experience. They must also be savvy enough to deal with the new generation of workers—some of whom have short attention spans and poor communication skills.

The fast pace of technology hasn’t prepared the new generation to handle challenges like dispute resolution or contract negotiations, which will continue to plague the industry. It is becoming more imperative that we recruit talent capable of meeting those challenges.

However, it is not enough to recruit and retain talent. What keeps me awake is whether the new engineer is capable of saying the right thing while representing our organization. Recruiting and retaining staff is important, but securing and retaining clients is imperative.

Mikey Kennedy Jr.

CEO
KAI Enterprises

“What isn’t keeping me up at night?” would be an easier question to answer. However, right now, I think a one-word question plagues me most: Who? If I find the right answer for that question and get those people to KAI, it will solve the rest of my issues.

The war for talent is crazy right now. It is expensive, and money isn’t the only thing that people want. We must have the right culture as well. We are battling to recruit and keep our good people. The answer to “Who?” solves my finance, accounting, marketing, construction, safety and sales issues. I must answer this question first, as talent is a rare resource right now.

To submit your question, email Associate Editor Rachel Fulford at rfulford@cahabamedia.com.