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.
There are many employees at Ohio CAT with a family member or relative working for the company as well. Rick and Rhett Hensel, both based out of Columbus, are a great example. Rick is the Branch Product Support Manager for the Equipment Division of Ohio CAT, Columbus and Rhett is the Strategic Account Rental Representative for the Ohio CAT Rental Store, Columbus. Both grew up around construction and decided to pursue careers in the industry, Rick for 32 years and Rhett for 6 now. Rick and Rhett provided some answers to questions about how family plays a role in their work life in the construction industry.
What is the role that family played in your decision to join the construction industry?
Rick responded, “I grew up around equipment. My father was in the industry. He worked for a Komatsu dealer for several years before starting his own equipment repair business. I went to work for him part-time after graduating high school, and then full-time after college. In 2001, I went to work for Ohio Machinery Co.”
Rhett answered, “I also grew up around the industry. I can remember wandering around my grandfather’s shop as a kid. I shadowed other Ohio CAT employees in the past for school assignments. This fueled my interest in the industry. After college, I worked for a John Deere dealership for a short time before joining the Ohio CAT team in 2017.”
How have you incorporated family into your job/work/passion?
Rick said, “Being a third generation in the industry, all family gatherings end up talking about the industry and the relationships we have made in the business. When I got into the business, many people I have come in contact with have worked with or around my father. Now Rhett is experiencing the same thing in his daily work.”
In what ways do you see “family” show up in construction?
Both Hensels agreed, “This business is built on relationships. Everybody knows everybody in the construction industry. Many of our customers are family owned & hold the same values we do.”
Would you say that you believe family plays an important role in building the future of construction and why?
They said, “We need to get more people involved in this industry. Bringing family around and discussing the industry with our family will help get more people interested in this industry.”
Do you have any memorable stories about working with a family member in the construction industry?
Rick stated, “My dad taught me everything I know about the construction business and I’m hoping to pass everything that I have learned to my son. Most recently we were in our very first meeting together with a new customer. It was a very memorable experience looking down the table and seeing my son attending the same meeting.”