Throughout the month of August, I Build America – Ohio is celebrating the role of family in the construction industry. In the world of construction, “family” means a lot of things. In some cases, there are multiple family members working together: mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, uncles and nephews working side by side. In other crews, the impact of family comes from working for a family-owned company. And, in other cases, a new family is formed through the bonds of working with a great team. One of the biggest drivers of new individuals to the construction industry is influence from a respected family member or friend, and we’re here to help share the stories of what family looks like in construction.
Company: George J. Igel Co., Inc.
Title/Position: Chief Engineer
Years Working in Construction: 17 years (11 years at Igel)
What is the role that family played in your decision to join the construction industry?
My fathers’ side of the family has a major construction background. Arthur, my grandfather, was a contractor and owned his own business with his brother George. The brothers passed working in the trades on to all of their kids with the majority of their kids going the construction or engineering route. My father worked for Arthur for 3 or 4 years until he got a union job working in a factory as a steel worker. Even though my father stepped away from construction, he still built his own house, barn, decks, chicken coop and shelter house on his own property, then helped me renovate my home and rentals.
How have you incorporated family into your job/work/passion?
For me, it was important to have a job at a family company because family was such a vital part of my childhood. My parents worked many hours, with one working day shift and one working night shift, but they always made time for us and our passions growing up, and they still do that today. We have taken that family impact and placed in into our daily lives by putting a major importance on our kids spending time with their grandparents, always having dinner together at the table, and making sure that we have lots of family gatherings.
In what ways do you see “family” show up in construction?
Almost all of the construction companies in the Central Ohio region, especially the smaller companies, are family based. Ownership is passed from generation to generation and stays in the family. We also see this with the multitude of family members working together in construction and at Igel. This company has had 5 generations of family ownership, multiple generations working here in the trades, and has put importance on giving family of those that work here the opportunity to potentially hire their sons, daughters, brothers and sisters.
Why do you believe family plays an important role in building the future of construction?
Family is the tie that bind us and something that we cannot choose in life. In a similar way we see this in the working role we all play. Unless you are a hiring manager, you do not choose those that work next to you on a daily basis. These are the folks we build our relationships with and deepen the bonds between us. We see this in the family members that are recruited to Igel and continue the generations that have worked here before us. Its bred into our DNA and found in the countless stories one tells their kids as they pass a building that they were proud to be part of helping build.