Michael (left) and Mark (right) Clark
Working alongside a family member has proven to be a wonderful experience for the Clark brothers at Ohio CAT. Michael has been a Serviceman in the main shop at the Cleveland Heavy Equipment Branch of Ohio CAT for 1.5 years. His brother, Mark, is a Technical Communicator Sr. at the North Canton Heavy Equipment Branch of Ohio CAT and has been in the construction industry for 14 years. Take a look below for their experience working as brothers in the construction industry.
What is the role that family played in your decision to join the construction industry?
Michael – I worked in Toyota / Lexus dealerships as an automotive master technician and It just wasn’t the best situation financially and one day Mark called me up and told me they had an opening at the Cleveland branch in Spec Shop so I applied and it was a great decision and brought stability to my situation and I’m able to provide a much better life for my son.
Mark – Growing up, my father was a mechanic. We would spend some days watching him fix cars, tractors, and whatever else came along. We both sparked interests in how things work. Michael went to work as an auto mechanic and I had decided I was going to follow in his footsteps. I applied at the local vocational school for auto mechanics but found out the class was full. Instead, they offer me a spot in the Power Equipment Mechanics program. I spoke with my dad and he told me “Bolts are bolts and a wrench is a wrench.” So I signed up. I ended up getting the in the Think Big Program after I graduated and have been working for Ohio CAT ever since. Looking back it was an unexpected blessing that lead me into something I love to do. Once I saw an opportunity for my brother to have the same benefits, work environment, and coworkers that I do, it was a no brainer to encourage him to apply.
How have you incorporated family into your job/work/passion?
Michael – Mark and I work with each other especially when I have a “problem child” machine and it’s nice because I’ve grown up with him and he knows what my normal process is and we can communicate well because of it and outside of work our kids are growing up with each other and building those same bonds.
Mark – Troubleshooting is my “thing”..At family gatherings, my dad, uncle, brother and I reminisce about past nightmares that in the end made us better at our job. Most of the time the story lasts twice as long due to the fact everyone is guessing/troubleshooting on their own as the story unfolds. Michael and I are lucky to be able to work together sometimes on those exact issues.
In what ways do you see “family” show up in construction?
Michael – Personally, I see a lot of the machines coming through the shop that are from family owned businesses with 2 – 3 generations working for them. As far as OhioCAT, the employees genuinely care about each other. Nobody is just another number on the payroll and you work alongside each other every day so you become a sort of second family.
Mark – I have to agree with Michael on this. You do see a lot of family businesses in our industry. I also see generations with in our company. Fathers, sons, nephews, nieces all work here. Maybe one day my son will join our workforce. You have to trust who you work with in this industry. So in some instances they become your close friends or even brothers/sisters. When I started as an intern, some of the senior techs took it upon themselves to make me feel at home. One in particular literally put a roof over my head. He treated me like family and I’ll never forget it.
Would you say that you believe family plays an important role in building the future of construction and why?
Michael – Absolutely. I think it is great that family can pass down knowledge to the next generation to continue improvement.
Mark – Yes. College/training is one thing but most of the talented technicians I know came from a family that passed down these skills and knowledge from previous generations.
What are some of the perks/benefits to working alongside a family member?
Michael – I can use my brother as a resource because of his position but also it has allowed me to meet people in the company I wouldn’t normally interact with which creates more resources for me to be able to do my job.
Mark – When you are in my position usually helping techs over the phone, you have to put a lot of trust in the tech’s knowledge. Sometimes explaining things several different ways to deliver the message in a way they understand. As Michael stated earlier, we grew up together and get how the other works. I can say do this and that’s that, or explain things the way I see them because he views it the same way. Just make communication a whole lot easier.
Do you have any memorable stories about working with a family member in the construction industry?
Michael – What is memorable for me is learning from my little brother. Before I started at Ohio CAT I had seen equipment but never really messed with any of it and Mark helped me get on my feet here as well as other guys in the shop.
Mark – I remember when he told me he got the job. I was proud and excited at the same time. I already knew he was a great tech but now I get to share my world with him and my nephew.