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Reputation

Mike Reynolds, MBCEA, Posted 01/31/2017

In his December column in Metal Construction News, Brad Curtis, chair of the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA), wrote, "The MBMA has become more engaged with the Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association (MBCEA) so that together we can enhance the reputation of our industry. Just as a rising tide lifts all ships, MBMA members are AC472 accredited and now MBCEA members are achieving AC478 accreditation. This commitment to quality says one thing to all potential owners, architects and developers: We don't just talk about quality; we prove it through our commitment to third-party accreditation by the International Accreditation Service."

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Curtis but would even take it one step further. We not only need to enhance the reputation of our industry but perhaps more importantly our trade. Construction journals continue to bemoan the labor shortage in construction. In my home state of Colorado, according to a study by the Association of General Contractors (AGC), it is estimated that we will need at least 30,000 more workers in the construction field in the next six years, which does not take into account those who will retire. To help fill this gap, Colorado passed a bill pledging $10 million over three years to fund free training for plumbers, electricians and carpenters. But the training companies can't fill the seats.

High schools are singularly focused on preparing kids for college, and the kid who may be better suited for vocational work or the trades is widely ignored. It seems we've demonized working with our hands in this country.

Smart executives know the way to counter labor shortages is to draw young people into their respective industries. The construction industry has an added challenge: overcoming misconceptions about what it means to be a construction worker.

What does the typical person think of when he hears the term "construction worker"? Unskilled, low pay, wolf whistles and builder's bums (aka plumber's cracks). That's not exactly your top career choice for your son or daughter. The term "construction worker" covers all manner of work, skills, training and specialties, yet we continue to be lumped together and labelled with the same old stereotypes. These perceptions influence whether or not young people are willing to give the trades, and in particular, the metal building trade a shot.

The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) is working hard to coin the phrase "craft professional." Although I don't really see it rolling off Johnny's tongue on career day, it much better describes who we are and what we do. Today's complicated projects take training and skill to complete. Our new materials and methods require specialist training.

The men and women who assemble our metal buildings earn good money and should take pride in knowing that their work is a craft. Metal building assembly should be considered a career and not just a job.

Readers of this magazine know it would be impossible to complete a successful construction project if we really did live down to the stereotype. Members of MBCEA are dedicated to safety, training and education. Programs like AC478 are designed not just to create a standard but to change public perception and to enhance our reputation. The MBCEA and MBMA, through programs like AC472 and AC478, are committed to the enhancement of our metal building industry and our trade.

But we can't do it without you. If you are not a member, I encourage you to consider joining. Attend our conference in New Orleans on May 18-20. You, your business and our industry will be stronger if you do.

 

Sidebar

The Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association (MBCEA), is a trade association created in 1968 to provide programs and services to the contractor and erector segment of the metal building systems industry. The mission of MBCEA s to support the professional advancement of metal building. MBCEA has three main goals:

 

  • Education: To provide programs and venues that enhance educational opportunities for metal building contractors and erectors.
  • Image Enhancement: To develop programs to enhance the image of metal building contractors and erectors, and the metal building industry.
  • Grassroots Support: To develop and maintain programs specifically designed to support and respond to the needs of the grassroots membership of the MBCEA.

AC478, Accreditation for Assemblers of Metal Building Systems hits on all three goals and is considered a game changer for our members. For additional information on MBCEA or AC478, please visit our website at www.mbcea.org or contact Sasha Graver at sgraver@mbcea.org. 

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Mike Reynolds, president of the Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association, is the president and principle owner of Systems Contractor Inc., Thornton, Colo. He also serves on the board of directors of the Metal Building Institute and is a member of the Steel Erectors Safety Association of Colorado. Recognized for his extensive knowledge and expertise in both structural steel and metal building systems, he also serves on the erection and safety advisory panels for several building system manufacturers. To learn more about the MBCEA, visit www.mbcea.org.

 

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