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.
How many years have you been working in the construction industry?
Rick has worked in the industry for 35 years while his son Rhett has been in the industry for 8 years.
What is the role that family played in your decision to join the construction industry?
Rick said, “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 started my career here at Ohio CAT.”
Rhett also grew up around the industry because of both his father and grandfather. After college, he worked at John Deere for two years before joining the Ohio CAT team in Columbus in 2017.
How have you incorporated family into your job/work/passion?
Rhett shared, “Being the third generation of my family in the industry, we end up talking about the industry generally at all of our family gatherings. We educate each other on different areas of the business, and I’ve gotten some good leads from these conversations.”
Rick made mention of the opportunity to chat about the industry at family gatherings as well. He added, “I have a brother that is also in the construction industry. When I got into the business, many people that 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? This could be literal family relationships or a broader sense of the ‘construction family’ within your organization.
“This business is built on relationships,” said Rick. “Everybody knows everybody in the construction industry, and the relationships are built on hard work, trust, and integrity.”
Rhett said, “A lot of our customers are family-owned and can relate to myself or our company on a more personal level. Everyone seems to know everyone.”
Why do you believe family plays an important role in building the future of construction?
Rick said, “I have learned a lot through family and relationships about the construction industry in my career and I’m hoping to pass what I have learned to my son and other people I work with. The people we work with every day can become part of your family as well. Families are built on strong relationships, respect, loyalty, teamwork, and support; all of which are vital factors for success.”
Rhett said, “I believe family is important for our industry to educate others & the benefits the industry can offer. It’s very fulfilling to drive past a jobsite with a close friend or family member & explain what’s being built.”