2019 Construction Forum Highlights

30 attendees from 17 member companies met in Bemidji, MN to attend the Unified Group’s Construction Forum where members spent two and a half days together sharing best practices and had a tour of Peterson Sheet Metal, Inc.  Members left with many takeaways to implement upon return to their own organizations.  “My favorite part about these events is the willingness to share and contribute.  I can tell that every member is passionate about continuous improvement.” Josh Byler, Blauch Brothers, Inc.

The group spent the first morning discussing preconstruction from estimating to job turnover.  Dave Schoendaller (Glassman Corporation) presented on how they are doing more design development work and the benefits of doing so followed by Josh Byler (Blauch Brothers Inc.) who shared their workflow map and how they are doing more direct to owner work by building relationships.  We then headed over to Peterson Sheet Metal where owner, Jaime Quello, and his team gave the group a tour of their operations.  We split into five groups and had five stations: sheet metal fabrication, pipe-prefab, detailing, warehouse and tools and inventory.  “Peterson Sheet Metal, Inc. did an excellent job setting up different stations to give a deep dive of their operations.  The employees were excited to share what they do and were truly engaged in their presentations.”  Scott Krum, Legacy Mechanical, Inc.

Day two started off with David Keane and John Marcelli of Trimble talking to the group about building integrated work flows.  They are the group’s newest purchasing partner; having them there was a great way to introduce them.  Tim Smerz (Air Comfort Corporation) then facilitated a discussion on achieving project success and how to avoid a bad job.  There was a lot of best practice sharing on red flags, common characteristics to identify and learning how to judge if you are getting off track.  Ken Trotter (A&G Piping, Inc.), Josh Byler (Blauch Brothers, Inc.) and Jon Castro (B&I Contractors, Inc.) all presented on Lean Construction and what they are doing to make their organizations more efficient.  In the afternoon, we broke out into small groups and each person shared their biggest challenge and received feedback from other members on how to solve it.  “It was a great opportunity to hear and learn from people in my line of business from multiple areas across the country…very informative.” Ron Chirrick, Mechanical Service & Systems, Inc.

On day three, we had a couple show and shares on new technology members are using.  Jaime Quello (Peterson Sheet Metal, Inc.) shared how they have started using Scan to BIM workflows and how it has made an impact within their organization and Ken Trotter (A&G Piping, Inc.) showed the group how they are using PIPES software to develop workflows.  We wrapped the day discussing project completion: closing out, how to pick up service work and quality control.  “What a group!  This was the most interactive collaboration on quality subjects that I have ever been a part of.” Dave Schoendaller, Glassman Corporation

Thank you to our task force: Jaime Quello and Jason Tjader (Peterson Sheet Metal), Josh Byler (Blauch Brothers, Inc.), Dave Schoendaller (Glassman Corporation) and Tim Michaud (Johnson & Jordan) for creating the agenda and planning an amazing session for all!