Written by: Ben VanderWert, PHR, SHRM-CP
This year has brought a lot of changes in the way we operate as a community. School days are spent at home for some, most work is virtual, and gatherings with your family and friends are distant. It’s been hard. What we need to keep doing is remind ourselves that we are not alone. We are in this together and together we are learning to be flexible and adjust to what comes next.
As MCL’s Talent Acquisition Manager, meeting and interacting with people is a huge part of my job and most of our talent is discovered by meeting college students at their campus career fairs. Much like schools going to virtual learning, career fairs have changed to virtual as well.
This year, MCL Construction participated in nine virtual career fairs. I have done virtual fairs in the past and they can be challenging. It takes out the in-person interaction and, really, the opportunity to read body language. However, I would never pass up the opportunity to meet with students passionate about his or her next career move. So, I took a little bit of my own advice that I mentioned earlier and tried to be flexible and adjust to what comes next.
MCL Construction opened its new headquarters in June 2020. More than an office space, the building incorporated state-of-the-art technology in nearly every meeting room. The office is equipped with smart labs with interactive screens, video conferencing in collaborative meeting spaces, and conference rooms with wide-lens cameras to virtually bring an entire group to any meeting. Having these resources made adjusting easier and allowed us to connect during a time where we feel disconnected from others.
During each virtual fair, students would sign up for time slots before the fair. Each student was slotted for about 10 minutes of conversation in MCL’s virtual booth. At a traditional career fair, 10 minutes is typically enough time when there are a lot of employers and students jammed into some sort of hall or gymnasium. Since these conversations were just one on one, they felt like a more formal interview than a quick conversation. I found that 10 minutes was not even close to being long enough with most students interested in a career with MCL Construction. But again, we had to adjust. We were able to set up a lot of students with second video conversations and have hired several of them for our summer internship program. We also set up group presentations virtually using our training room’s wide camera.
Going back to that crowded gym with a bunch of employers and students, it can be hard to gauge who is genuinely interested in your company or who just stopped by casually. In a virtual setting, students sought you out ahead of time and prepared to spend time one on one with members of our team. It was clear that students who signed up for our booth were seriously interested in their future in construction management.
There has certainly been a theme with everything going on. In order to be successful in what you are trying to accomplish these days, you need to be agile and adjust where you can. Also, remind yourself you can control what you can and adjust to what you can’t. Thank you to everyone who made that adjustment with us and attended our virtual career fairs. We look forward to seeing some of you over the summer.
About MCL Construction
For many businesses, navigating the entire construction process and knowing who to trust can be overwhelming. At MCL Construction, our people simplify the process by listening, planning, executing, and continuing the relationship to build their vision
Looking back, 2018 turned out to be the busiest in MCL Construction history. The Omaha, Nebraska, Construction Manager/General Contractor started 383 new projects in 2018, the most in the company’s 31-year history. Its previous high was 323 in 2014.
"This speaks to the range of client services we offer," said MCL Construction President Bob Carlisle. "Our customers know we are there for them for small projects that can take a day, or a month or two. And they know our expertise when it comes to large-scale projects that can take a year or even longer to complete."
MCL Construction's record number of projects covers many different markets. The busiest being corporate office projects and healthcare being a strong second.
"We have a talented team, " adds Senior Vice President Tony Fucinaro. "For the majority of the projects we started last year, we were involved early in the process with our owners and their design teams. This collaboration makes a better building experience for everyone."
It's the healthcare market that excites Fucinaro for MCL's future. "The market is unique, and it requires knowledge, training, and certifications to set yourself apart. Several members of our team are Certified Healthcare Constructors by The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE)."
As several hundred projects were starting in 2018 for MCL Construction, some of the most significant projects in the company’s history were completed -- like the Creighton School of Dentistry. The project was recognized with a Build Nebraska award for projects over $50 million by the AGC-Nebraska Building Chapter. Also, The Cloisters On The Platte Retreat Center was a one-of-a-kind project that took over 2-1/2 years to complete.
The construction industry is one that hasn't changed in the last 100 years. At MCL Construction, the approach to projects is a lot different and the company is embracing and investing in technology and strategies to build smarter, faster, safer, and leaner.
"Our virtual design and construction team is all in-house," said Fucinaro. "VDC allows us to do so much with owners and design teams in design and development. It also plays a pivotal role when it comes to prefabrication, logistics, safety, quality, and facilities management."
As 2019 gets underway, there is no telling if it will be another record year; however, that is not the focus for MCL President Bob Carlisle. "We are the people you build with; our goal is to build smarter, build new and existing relationships, and play an exciting role in the continued growth of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa."
About MCL Construction
MCL Construction is an Omaha, Nebraska based Construction Manager and General Contractor. It builds relationships with business partners by using construction expertise with innovative building strategies to provide a collaborative building experience.
Technology is changing construction at a rapid pace. To thrive in a 21st-century building environment, construction companies today must embrace technology to reduce costs and improve efficiency and quality on a project.
MCL Construction in Omaha, Nebraska, is at the forefront of innovation providing full-service, in-house Building Information Modeling (BIM) services and 3D high definition scanning services. Knowledge of these systems is not a privilege for a handful of computer techs. At MCL Construction, teams are trained through the company's cutting-edge PILOT program. PILOT is short for Promoting Innovation, Leadership Operations, and Technology.
"We want to make sure our team of talented Project Managers and Project Superintendents have the tools they need to succeed," says MCL Construction Senior Vice President Tony Fucinaro. "Our PILOT program is important because it keeps us informed, and provides hands-on training to adapt to the changes in technology; we are shortening the learning curve."
Technology today is more than putting a three-dimensional model of the project on a flat screen in a meeting or a presentation. The data provided in these models and shared with project team members allows for real-time communication which leads to faster problem-solving and increased efficiency throughout the project.
"The 'I' in BIM is so important," says MCL Construction Director of BIM Operations Tim Tiensvold. "The information we obtain and what do with this data plays a significant role in preconstruction, construction, and close-out. We believe this information should be understood by all the members of a project team, not just a select few."
Technology is moving from the job site trailer to the field which is why our PILOT Program is so important. The information provided is utilized through software programs like Autodesk BIM 360 Glue and Field, as well as Bluebeam. This information can be accessed through mobile devices like smartphones and iPads and our on-site innovation stations.
"Technology is an investment in the future; the PILOT Program is an investment in our people. I know when we combine technology with the talent, we produce great results for our building partners," says Fucinaro.
For more information, download our white paper on the applications and advantages of 3D high definition scanning. You will see how the possibilities are endless.