If you want to know what it looks like to get passionate about workforce development, spend some time talking with George J. Igel & Co., Inc. The company is dedicated to building out the future workforce for the industry by instilling passion and purpose into the foundation of Igel: its employees.
As part of her position (and personal commitment to the industry), Mary Logan So, the company’s director of safety and employee development, is on a mission to help Igel employees change the way they talk about their own paths and careers in construction.
“We want all of our employees, including field employees, to look, sound, and feel like the professionals that they are,” So said. “We instilled in every employee that their journey into construction is important and their work and efforts are respectable.”
Igel, as a company, invested time and resources into workforce development programs that emphasized the respect, pride, and honor that comes with a career in construction. At every level of the company, employees were encouraged to define their own personal story regarding their path to construction and share it wherever they go – their “elevator speech” of what they do and who they work for.
“It’s been fascinating to see how each person’s description of their role in our company differs, but that when it all comes together, it really defines Igel as a whole.” So said. “Everything we’re doing is about pride: showing our team that they can be proud of who they are, the work they do, and the company that they choose to work for.”
Igel is a fourth-generation family-owned company based out of Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1911, the company continues to expand its heavy construction, site development, and concrete
services and works in a variety of markets including commercial/retail, education, health care, industrial, municipal, sports and entertainment, and more.
Igel is an active member of I Build America – Ohio and has been inspired by other companies to expand the ways it is encouraging its employees to connect with their families and local communities about construction. Recently, Igel implemented a new benefit for all employees at all levels: paid time to participate in career days for recruitment efforts.
“We are trying to remove as many obstacles as possible for our team to be able to talk about their experience in construction,” So said. “It’s not about recruiting for our company. We want to change the way people see and understand careers in construction.”
Offering paid time to employees to share their personal stories fits with Igel’s internal efforts to support their employees by supporting the whole person. While this takes many different shapes and formats within Igel, one important aspect is encouraging employees to create a balance between their work and their home lives. Igel embraces the fact that careers in construction are as equally rewarding as they are challenging, and they want new prospects to understand that construction is not the same industry that it used to be.
In celebration of Construction Appreciation Week, Igel implemented a new employee benefit allowing all employees paid time off to visit their child’s school and participate in a “Bring Your Parent to School Day”/Career Fair talking about their job in construction.”
“We want craftspeople to be able to participate in events like these without the barrier of missing wages,” President John Igel said. “This is a great opportunity to have their child ‘show off’ their parent’s profession.”
“The benefits go past just what it does for the industry to reinforce the family values and professionalism held by the company,” Logan added.
“There are a lot of men and women who are building their careers in construction and supporting their families with those careers,” So said. “Construction wasn’t always seen this way, and we want our employees and prospective employees to know that a career in construction can offer great money, flexibility, and—potentially—a lifelong opportunity.”
With growing federal funding and increased demand for construction across Ohio and country, Igel is excited about the future of construction and is actively working to build the workforce to support it.
To learn more about George J. Igel & Co., Inc., visit their website: www.buildwithigel.com.