Over the past year, we’ve covered a range of positions, everything from on the jobsite roles to in the office. We hope that it’s helped you see the breadth of opportunities available to you in the construction industry. But there is one position that encompasses them all: the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Many people enter the construction industry with a clear vision to make it to the top. That type of person has the innate drive and big-picture thinking beyond one project at a time. But today, we want to help those of you that are solely interested in working in skilled trades see the possibilities of life as a CEO. Don’t let the level of responsibility intimidate you. Instead, let it inspire you to step outside your comfort zone and into a role that makes a big difference in every community across the country.
Education is at the root of a CEO’s success. Most CEOs of today hold a degree, either a bachelor’s or master’s, with the most successful holding a robust and diverse education. Consider classes in math, science, construction design, and business management, rather than a specialized engineering or architectural degree to give the well-rounded background required for this big-picture, big-thinking role.
Upon graduation, CEO hopefuls should look for mid-management positions such as an assistant estimator or assistant project manager. This will give you immediate access to the everyday operations and insight into what life as a CEO might be like. No one starts off their career as CEO. It takes years of on-the-job experience and formal education to prepare for the high-level thinking required. You’ll want to move purposefully along every step of your career. CEOs aren’t made by chance, they’re created with diligent dedication and thoughtful career steps.
Aside from formal education, some of the innate skills that serve people well in this role include:
- Overall presence, especially in the field.
- Effective communication style, which includes both giving constructive feedback as well as receiving with excellent listening skills.
- Dependable accountability, spanning across all departments and needs from on-the-jobsite safety to sales strategy.
- Foresight with realistic optimism, balanced with an ability to learn from the past.
- Adaptability and flexibility, as CEOs must pivot to meet the needs of each employee and every project shift.
These skills help CEOs in day-to-day tasks that include:
- Developing and implementing goals and strategies.
- Hiring department heads.
- Negotiating and approving high-level contracts.
- Making major corporate decisions.
- Managing overall operations and resources.
- Setting safety standards and demonstrating safety leadership.
- Collaborating with other top-level executives and reporting to the board of directors and/or company owner.
As you may have noticed, there aren’t many on-the-jobsite responsibilities for a CEO. But, if you love life on the jobsite, don’t worry. You can still be a part of it. Look for smaller companies, which will require you to “wear more hats” in a more hands-on role, rather than delegating tasks to managers and departments.
In all reality, no matter the size of the company, great CEOs make a point to visit every jobsite. More than a figurehead, when a CEO visits the work-in-progress project, he or she offers motivation and support for everything from production to safety. Rather than putting in the work with your hands, CEOs give their expert recommendation to push a project forward.
Now is the perfect time to start on your path toward a CEO position. Opportunities are abundant, as there’s no shortage of available CEO positions. We need leaders to help propel our industry forward. Plus, as you might expect, a CEO position pays well. In fact, in Ohio, you can expect to earn about $150,000 per year.
For those of you interested in a position as CEO, connect with a local construction company. While we hope this post has inspired you to see yourself in a CEO position, the best way to learn is from someone who has been there. If possible, talk with the CEO directly. Not only will you walk away with more information about what it’s like to work in the position, you’ll have made a valuable connection. After all, relationship building is key in the CEO role. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact us at I Build America – Ohio. We’re here to support you and your goals in the construction industry.