Messer Announces Two Executive Promotions

Messer Construction Co. is pleased to announce the promotion of Tim Steigerwald to president and Mark Luegering to senior vice president and chief operations officer. In his new role as president, Steigerwald assumes leadership of the construction company, including responsibility for overall company performance and strategic direction. As chief operations officer, Luegering is responsible for company-wide construction operations performance. Tom Keckeis retains the title of chief executive officer, a position he has held since 2010, and he will continue to lead Messer Inc., the parent company of Messer Construction Co., while supporting Steigerwald and Luegering during the transition. The promotion of the two senior executives is effective immediately and represents the next wave of leadership growth within the company. “When Messer became employee-owned in 1990, it changed the course of the company because we became focused on creating opportunities for professional growth. As we’ve expanded into new regions, grown our employee base and increased the number of customers we serve, opportunities for our people have followed. Tim and Mark are perfect examples of this in action,” said Tom Keckeis, chief executive officer, Messer Inc. and Messer Construction Co. “They share a passion for building our communities, mentoring and growing our employees, and providing exceptional service to our customers. They have been at the center of our company’s growth throughout their entire careers, and are well positioned to lead our company into the future.” Steigerwald began his career with Messer in 1984, working for the company first as a co-op for several years. After earning his bachelor’s degree in Construction Engineering and Management from Purdue University, he joined Messer full time in 1988. Five years later he earned his M.B.A. from Xavier University. Over the next 30 years, he grew from a project engineer, to a site leader, to a senior project executive overseeing multiple jobsites, to a region leader in charge of the operational performance and profit and loss for an entire market. He helped grow Messer’s Columbus region, and in 2005 led the opening of Messer’s Indianapolis office. As the company grew, so too did the need for a dedicated leader to focus on improving the way the company developed, branded and communicated about its services. In 2010 he took on company-wide project development leadership for the company, which includes leadership of the business development, sales support, marketing and corporate communication, and cost planning and estimating departments, and healthcare division. He sits on the boards of the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati and Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Cincinnati, and has served on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Columbus, Ohio, as well as Ronald McDonald House of Cincinnati.    Luegering began his career with Messer in 1983 after co-oping for four years. He received a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and joined the company upon graduation. On his first assignment he served as a quality assurance engineer on a prominent project for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Mark quickly progressed through the ranks as a result of his operational excellence. Early in his career he was asked to move to Lexington and lead the opening of Messer’s first region office outside of Cincinnati. Later he helped lead and develop Messer’s presence in Louisville. After these successes, he returned to help lead the company’s largest region, Cincinnati. Over time, he was then charged with guiding and overseeing the project operations and performance of Messer’s northern region offices, which includes Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, and Indianapolis. Mark led the company’s early adoption and implementation of lean processes, and has since championed newer efforts to improve the way the company manages construction projects and delivers quality. He has been at the forefront of the company’s effort to create career paths for superintendents and advance skill development for the company’s craftforce. He has also led the company’s innovation efforts in prefabrication and technology solutions to create safer, more efficient jobsites. Mark is a Leadership Cincinnati XXVIII and University of Cincinnati Executive Program graduate. His previous community service includes past board chair for the Allied Construction Industries, the Community ReSource Center, and the Spirit of Construction. Mark is a past board member of Kicks for Kids and the University of Cincinnati Engineering Alumni Association. He is currently on the board of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Community ReSource Center, and the St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation.   About Messer Construction Co. Messer Construction Co. is a construction manager and general contractor, providing leadership for complex, commercial construction projects in the health care, higher education, life sciences and industrial market segments. An employee-owned company, Messer’s transformational investment in its people, communities and innovative building solutions has enhanced the landscape of the nine regions throughout the Midwest and Southeast in which its employees live and work. A local builder with national resources and expertise, the company has delivered value for more than 85 years through quality construction and client experiences, taking care to both exceed customer expectations and build long-term relationships.

ABC of Ohio Valley Names Messer Safe Employer of the Year

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of the Ohio Valley has named Messer Construction Co. in Dayton the Safe Employer of the Year at its 15th Annual Construction Safety Day awards luncheon.  Regional Safety Manager Mike King accepted the award on behalf of the company at the Dayton Convention Center ceremony on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. The Ohio Valley ABC also recognized Messer Carpenter Apprentice Jake Stanifer as Runner-Up for its Safe Employee of the Year award. “Our focus is to set a vision for our Zero Injury culture, both with our employees and our subcontractors, and drive it in everything we do so that it becomes second nature,” said Kevin Cozart, Messer Construction Co. vice president and Dayton leader. “It’s incredibly rewarding to be recognized for it by the Ohio Valley ABC.” Messer defines its Zero Injury culture as eliminating all injuries to people on or around its jobsites in greater Dayton. Leadership engagement, preplanning, training, and refining the internal communication plan in 2016 and 2017 created positive change in behavior by Messer employees and subcontractors. Results include: Project Risk Assessments and Site-Specific Safety Plans completed on 100% of Messer’s projects Job Safety Analysis (JSA) completed and reviewed for every Messer and subcontractor work activity An Experience Modification Rate (EMR) of 0.58 in Ohio A reduction in Messer’s Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) of 26% in 2016 “These milestones demonstrate how strategy coupled with standard company practices (including our Drug­Free Workplace with pre-employment, random and cause-based testing) keep us driving toward Zero Injury,” said King. To ensure the longevity of the Zero Injury culture, Messer implemented Project Safety Management (PSM) to provide educational tools such as: OSHA 10-hour classes in new hire on boarding OSHA 30-hour training for all Craft leaders Computer-based training modules for individual growth Occupational Physicians to improve injured employee care Follow-up on near misses or violations Sharing best practices and lessons learned ###   About Messer Construction Co. A local builder with national resources, Messer Construction Co. specializes in managing, developing and performing complex commercial construction in the Dayton community in which they live and work, and delivering value to their clients through quality construction experiences. Established in Dayton in 1999 and employee-owned, Messer’s track record of success can be traced to past and present local architectural icons and institutions that foster healing, learning, service, and innovation.

Why More Young People Need to Consider Careers in Construction

By Brooks Parker, Vice President of Craftforce Development, Messer Construction Co. A career in construction offers rich opportunities for advancement, a great work life, competitive wages, and skills that can’t be shipped overseas. Despite these facts, the younger generations in this country are largely ignoring the opportunity to join our booming industry. This needs to change.   The current construction workforce shortage is well-documented: 30% of construction workers left the industry after the economic downturn in 2008, and they have not returned to the field. 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring each day, fueling a huge gap in every industry. At the same time, Millennials currently make up 34% of the overall workforce but will account for over 50% by 2020—so attracting this generation to construction is critical. Further aggravating the problem is the tendency for fewer young people to even consider construction as an occupation worth pursuing. Most school counselors encourage their students to attend college, which I’m sure they believe is the best possible path forward for them, but could many of these students be better served if they were encouraged to explore the chance to help build our nation’s homes, skyscrapers and infrastructure? Construction Presents Unique (and Attractive) Career Opportunities We have come a long way since 2008. The construction industry is booming—but it is also desperate for workers. Now is the perfect time to pursue a career in construction. And I don’t mean just a job, but a career. Here are a few benefits that young construction workers now have available to them throughout their construction careers: 1. Advancement Opportunities I began my career with Messer Construction Co. as a general laborer in 1974, and have since worked my way through the ranks as a carpenter foreman, a field superintendent, a project manager, and more. (I’m currently the VP of Craftforce Development – an executive role within the company.) Some years ago, our current apprenticeship program was born out of the desire to boost our employees’ career growth. Offered free of charge, Messer’s suite of skill enhancement courses allow employees to learn from experts online in the comfort of their own home. Recognized by the Department of Labor, our training program stands out as one of the best internal development benefits in the industry. Upon completion of our two-year Laborer program, students can choose to advance into an accredited carpenter program, or even to convert their apprenticeship hours into academic credit toward a bachelor’s degree with one of our partner universities. For Millennials, these free training programs are an especially big hit. In my experience, they care just as much about contributing to companies and advancing in their careers as the rest of us, if not more, and the fact that you can do it at no extra cost is a big bonus. 2. An Incredible Company Culture Construction companies typically also offer a unique working culture that you simply cannot find elsewhere (certainly not in a “typical” office job). Ask our contractor employees what exactly they love about what they do, and you’ll start to hear a lot of similar responses: The camaraderie of working on big projects with a close-knit crew Working outside, in the elements (yes, many of us love it even in the cold!) Working on your feet, with your hands, and learning how to use impressive machinery Regularly doing something different, such as working on a multitude of projects, enjoying the challenge of learning new skills and technology, meeting new people, and taking on new sets of tasks The ability, at the end of the day, to look at a completed project that you helped create and say, “Hey, I did that!” 3. Job Security As I mentioned before, erecting and remodeling buildings can’t be outsourced to cheaper markets. This provides an inherent safety net that many other jobs cannot provide. But on top of that, construction workers also have an entrepreneurial opportunity that’s often overlooked. While it’s part of my job to keep Messer’s top-tier craftforce happy and comfortable, at the end of the day any one of them has the chance to be their own boss if they so choose. If you know how to put on shingles, for example, you can very easily become an entrepreneur. Once you acquire the necessary skills and methods, a contractor could walk door-to-door and very quickly strike deals to help fix a neighbor’s roof, knock down a friend’s wall, install a new chimney—you name it. 4. Good Pay On top of the fact that construction skills are in high demand right now, these jobs pay pretty well to boot! A recent PBS article about the need for more tradespeople pointed out that the United States currently has 30 million jobs that pay an average of $55,000 per year and don’t require a bachelor’s degree. That’s money young people may be missing out on by going straight to college rather than considering training in industrial and other trades. The article also states that people with technical and career educations are “slightly more likely to be employed than their counterparts with academic credentials” and they are “significantly more likely to be working in their fields of study” according to Department of Education reports. Construction offers job security, opportunities for advancement, a great working culture, and higher pay. So, how can we make sure young people have the chance to at least consider this career path? The Key is Exposing People to These Opportunities Unfortunately, many young people who would not only thrive in this industry but also enjoy the above benefits are not receiving the proper education about these opportunities, nor are they receiving the motivation to pursue these interests. The key to changing this comes down to communication. Here at Messer, we conduct regular outreach to area schools and career fairs with the aim to reframe construction as the golden career opportunity that it truly is. You might be surprised at the reactions of students who have the opportunity to actually try out our equipment, to speak to our current craftforce, and to learn about our training and advancement programs. With the proper exposure, young men and women very quickly realize that this is a profession worth considering. To those who are mentoring young people—whether it’s parents, guidance counselors, friends, or family—please continue to keep your loved one’s best interests at heart. If you know someone who may be interested in exploring a career in construction, share this article with them. You can also direct them to Messer’s website or LinkedIn page or get in touch with us anytime if you have any thoughts or questions about exploring a career in construction. Or hey, reach out to me directly. I know what it's like to get in there, put in the work, do what I love, and rise up the ranks. I’d love to talk with you about it. While the workforce shortage won’t be solved overnight, it is a problem that affects us all and it needs solving. I hope the ideas presented here will help convince more young people to give the construction industry a shot—because if they do, I’m confident they will love it just as much as I do. --- Brooks Parker began his career with Messer in 1975 as a journeyman carpenter. He is a graduate from Hocking College, holds certifications in Mobile Crane Inspection, Mobile & Tower Crane Operations (NCCCO), Master Trainer (NCCER), and ACI Concrete Flatwork Finisher & Technician, and is an OSHA 500 authorized construction trainer. Since joining Messer, Brooks quickly progressed and was promoted to carpenter foreman, field superintendent, and then to project manager in 1995. During this time, he gained proven project experience on numerous projects including hospitals, religious, government, retail, entertainment, industrial facilities, laboratories, multi-family housing, parking structures, distribution centers, and office buildings. In his current role, Brooks applies his 40 years of construction industry experience to lead the company’s craftforce division. He provides strategic direction while managing education development and resource opportunities. Outside of Messer, Brooks serves on the board for Brighton Center, Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development Advisory Committee, the Woodward Career Technical Advisory Council along with other various workforce committees.