Ten members of Associated Builders and Contractors’ National staff are spending the week taking part in The Zachry Craft Experience—a week-long training experience to give office professionals an idea of what it takes day in and day out to be a craft professional. The staff will be chronicling their time learning what our industry is really about. You can read a new entry here each day.
This morning at the craft training center we started off the hands-on training with learning to wire an electrical panel and how to run and pull wire. Until I actually did this, I had no idea how it was done, or the skill (and upper body strength) it takes to do it right. We moved on to conduit bending which surprisingly involved some math and calculating angles.
We were under the instruction of some of the best teachers you could ask for—direct, patient and very clear with instructions. They didn’t just show us how to do things, they are taught us why they are done the way they are done.
In the afternoon we became riggers as we raised and lowered an 800 pound millwright pump (which surprisingly took less upper body strength then pulling and running electrical wire.) We then went on to cut steel beams, making several different types of cuts using an oxy/fuel cutter. This took a tremendous amount of focus and steady hand movement.
What I learned today was that each craft has its own unique skill set and talent, but they all require intense focus and attention to detail. If you want to work in the construction industry, you not only have to be capable of putting in a 10 hour day of hard labor in all kinds of elements, but you also have to be very smart, focused and learn to work as a team.
– Kim Greene, Senior Executive Assistant, Leadership & Governance
Today we did most of our training out in the shop where we trained in electrical. In the afternoon we got to cut iron again, which I really enjoyed and was a lot easier the second time around.
Throughout this week the complexity of jobsites has really stood out to me. My only previous job experience that is at all related to what we’re doing this week was the year I ran a branch of a residential painting company. In that job I was responsible for bidding work, training painters and managing job sites, the difference between supervising and instructing a two man crew and hundreds, or thousands of employees across different crafts is incredible.
This morning when we covered lock-out tag-out we talked about the need to coordinate across different crafts and the level of coordination needed to remain safe and efficient in just this piece of the project is remarkable. This reminds me of my job, when I am juggling different projects and some have quick turnaround and immediate deadlines but at the same time some are ongoing projects that will always need attention. In order to be the most effective and efficient in my job in helping tell the ABC story, I need to properly prioritize these projects, similar to the responsibilities of superintendents and foremen coordinating all of their tasks on a jobsite.
– Jeff Leieritz, Media Relations Manager
Day three built upon the skills we learned on Monday and included reminders our about the roles that team members play in successfully completing a job or task. Safety continued to be a primary emphasis throughout and the instructors reiterated the importance of patience and taking the time to do the task right the first time. Teamwork, communication, and being fully supportive of each other helped us accomplish our goals as a team and moved us closer to having a successful Project Day on Thursday.
– Chris Carroll, Director of Grassroots