Matthew Danis, Vice President, Shook Construction
This week, I Build America Ohio is celebrating all of the men and women who make up Ohio’s construction workforce during the first-ever Construction Inclusion Week. The modern construction industry doesn’t look like the construction industry of previous generations. It’s made up of men and women of different backgrounds, cultures, faiths, orientations, and interests. The diversity of our workforce makes us stronger, and understanding the biases we all bring to our daily work is essential for creating an even better future for Ohio’s workforce. All week, I Build America – Ohio will be sharing the stories of various people in our state’s workforce who are working together to build Ohio.
Name: Matthew Danis
Company: Shook Construction
Position: Vice President
Years Working in Construction: 15 years
Why does workplace diversity and inclusion matter to you?
- Diversity of thought comes from diversity of background and diversity of experience. The more perspectives and points of view that we can bring to the table, the better solutions we will come up with. In addition, I firmly believe that we all need to be lifelong learners. The simplest way to do that is to surround yourself with people that don’t have the same experiences as you and can challenge your assumptions and inherent biases.
How can construction benefit from a more diverse workforce?
- The construction industry has a workforce problem. People are aging out and less and less young people are choosing this career field. We need to be as welcoming, open, and inclusive as possible to ensure we have the broadest talent pool to pick from.
How do you advocate for others? How can others advocate for you?
- Empathy is one of the most powerful tools we have. If we can see a topic or issue from another person’s point of view, it will broaden our understanding and provide us with a more informed perspective. Encouraging a person to embrace this mentality is a tremendous form of advocacy.
Think about the future workforce of construction. Who do you think will be involved in it?
- The construction industry is a place where a pipefitter, a marketer and an accountant can all be part of a team that delivers a job for a client. Our industry can represent as broad a group of people as you can imagine. There has already been a growing influx of female talent within the industry. This trend is likely to continue as we look at the enrollment demographics in higher education and our industry’s fields of study. We need to expand this development to other under-represented groups and continue to diversify the industry as a whole. This is the surest path to growth, long-term stability and strength.