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AGC’s Annual HR & TED Conferences Continue to Provide the Best Industry-Focused Professional Development for HR and Training Professionals

November 21, 2012
AGC’s 2012 HR Professionals and Training, Education & Development Conferences (TED) wrapped up October 18, after three and a half days of education, sharing of best practices and networking in San Antonio, Texas.  The conferences, which ran back-to-back, continue to be a must-attend event for HR and training professionals in the construction industry. The TED Conference got the week off to a great start.  In the opening session, Training is for Dogs: How to Use the Latest Neuroscience and Learning Techniques to Create True Behavioral Change, Brent Darnell was entertaining and engaging as he demonstrated techniques such as improvisation, storytelling, and the use of the human senses to revitalize training in the classroom.  Construction industry training and HR expert Kris Talynn of Okland Construction shared best practices for developing effective job aids as well as tips for diagnosing the root causes and possible solutions for performance problems in the workplace.  A highlight of the TED Conference was a panel session called “Creatively Filling the Gap.”  During this session, Todd Hess of Todd Hess Building, Laura Cataldo of AGC of Wisconsin, Katie Igoe of Turner Construction, and Ron Kubitz of Brayman Construction all shared best practices for developing and recruiting the construction industry’s future workforce.  Additional TED sessions focused on informal learning, using social media to extend the classroom to the field, and more. The conferences were connected with a joint keynote address by Joe Gerstandt on Putting Authenticity, Integrity and Daring to Work.  During this professional development session, Gerstandt dared attendees to be different by bringing their “whole self” to work, including quirky habits and personality traits.  He explained that doing so can help one grow both personally and professionally. During the HR Professionals Conference, AGC HR Forum steering committee member Shannon Rowley shared her company’s experience dealing with a jobsite fatality.  In the same session, John Martin of Flintco Construction and Bob Vandepol of the Crisis Care Network took a tag-team approach to explaining how to handle a construction company crisis.  Martin expressed the importance of facilitating re-occurring training on the jobsite, including the use of mock drills and skits, in order to create familiarity during a real crisis.  He also demonstrated Flintco’s new emergency response app for smart phones, which he says has replaced the need for workers to search for emergency procedures in binders and/or pocket cards during a crisis.  Vandepol concluded the session by sharing tips for dealing with the media, family members and employees after a crisis occurs. In addition to engaging roundtable sessions on how to thrive in an HR department of one, partnering with AGC chapters on local and state employment matters and making 360 evaluations work, other presenter-led sessions for the HR Professionals Conference addressed issues related to background checks and pre-employment screening, conflict management, creating a talent development program, and conducting a comprehensive self-audit. AGC held its second Federal Construction HR Workshop following the HR Professionals Conference.  Tammy McCutchen, attorney and former administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (DOL),  kicked off the workshop with a session to help attendees understand and respond to DOL’s “attack” on the construction industry. The workshop included a much-anticipated panel discussion on meeting the goals set forth by DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).  During the session, Ron Kubitz shared tips for recruiting veterans into the industry. Kubitz explained to the HR professionals their responsibility in ensuring that a candidate’s military work experience is clearly translated and explained to hiring managers in construction-industry terms.  Kubitz stated, “It is our job as HR professionals to educate [hiring managers].” Bridget Booth, of Clark Construction, shared best practices for recruiting and retaining women in the industry.  Booth’s suggestions included partnering with day care centers that provide 24-hour service near jobsites in order to accommodate shift workers, as well as providing free membership for female employees to join organizations such as the National Association for Women in Construction, which Booth credits with helping her to survive in the male-dominated construction industry. The workshop ended with several sessions related to the Davis-Bacon Act.  AGC’s Tamika Carter encouraged attendees to participate in Davis-Bacon wage surveys to “do [their] part to ensure that wages are accurately reflected in Davis-Bacon wage determinations.”  Then, attorney David Fortney of Fortney & Scott, LLP, shared several Davis-Bacon-related cases that contractors should be aware of, including one case where the prime contractor failed to flow down Davis-Bacon clauses in subcontractor contracts.  That case resulted in the payment of back wages by the prime contractor of nearly $1 million to the subcontractor’s employees. AGC’s Davis-Bacon Compliance Manual for Federal and Federally Assisted Construction – Fourth Edition was unveiled during the closing session by the author and speaker, Deborah Wilder. The conferences were sponsored by the National Center for Construction Education & Research; PAS, Inc.; eMars; Workplace HR; Lands’ End; ClickSafety; and ERS Group. Planning for the 2013 conferences is under way, so stay tuned for more details.
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