Member News: February 2023
BC&E Foundation revives, expands activities
After four years of serving on the BC&E Foundation board, Curtis Dalsimer is looking forward to expanding the Foundation’s outreach and impact.
“It was a tough couple of years with the pandemic, but I was impressed with the amount of outreach the Foundation continued to do with different organizations and school programs, and how important the Foundation obviously had become to those programs,” said Dalsimer, the new president of the BC&E Foundation board and Preconstruction and Estimating Manager at Wohlsen Construction.
As pandemic limitations ease, the Foundation is now reviving and increasing its work. For the first time since 2019, the Foundation will hold its Builders-In-Training (BIT) Workshop in March. During the half-day event, BC&E member companies will provide hands-on training sessions to 9th and 10th grade students from area schools.
The Foundation is redesigning its annual fundraising event.
“It used to be a formal gala and we might get 100 to 125 people. We’re looking to expand attendance by booking an outdoor venue, making it less formal and lowering the price,” he said.
The Foundation has also established several new committees focused on outreach, fundraising and grants to educational programs, the BIT workshop and an exploratory committee to identify opportunities to connect high school and college graduates with jobs at member companies. Those organizing efforts are already attracting new volunteers to the Foundation.
“Everyone in our industry realizes there is a real need for workforce development and the mission of the Foundation is to build the industry’s future workforce. People are realizing they need to get involved to work on this challenge,” Dalsimer said.
Dalsimer is joined on the board by Treasurer John Stup of LokTek, LLC; Secretary Tim Sauter of Hatzel & Beuhler, Inc.; and Directors Ted Bowes, Excell Concrete Construction; Krista Hickman, KatzAbosch; Henry J. Knott IV, Henry J. Knott Masonry, Inc.; Gregory Malcolm, IronShore Contracting. Inc.; John Stahl, Swirnow Building Systems; Chris van Swol, the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and Matt Verderamo, Alliance Exterior Construction.
Training the next all-star electricians
Hirsch Electric has expanded its training program to its new Beltsville office.
Started two years ago at the company’s headquarters in Baltimore, the inhouse training program is designed to help new hires with little to no construction experience quickly build solid skills. The Beginner 1,2 and 3 classes cover basic tool skills, electrical knowledge, extensive safety information and hands-on instruction on how to properly and efficiently complete tasks such as installing cable, conduit and electrical boxes.
Three Intermediate classes teach students about multiple types of wiring tasks, electrical controls and more advanced electrical theory and critical thinking skills. The classes are one day each and students typically advance to the next class every four to five weeks. In between classes, the instructor or a project manager visit students on construction sites, where they work as helpers or apprentices, to assess how well they are retaining the lessons and building their skills.
“We see the need in the industry for this kind of training program,” said Sean Daniels, Division Manager. “We decided the way to deal with the labor shortage is to find young, determined, eager guys and teach them what they need to learn so that in the next couple of years, they will be ready to become the next all-star electricians that we need.”
The training program — which gives young workers direct access to an instructor, supervisors and Hirsch executives — provides students with opportunities to ask questions, build their confidence on jobsites and enables them to get promotions, pay raises and bonuses fairly quickly, Daniels said.
It also addresses a daily challenge on construction sites.
“The average jobsite is moving a thousand miles an hour because everyone is in a hurry to get jobs done,” Daniels said. “We need good helpers and apprentices to take some stress off our foremen and mechanics. The training program provides helpers and apprentices with the skills they need to complete work properly. That helps the foremen and mechanics improve workflow and productivity.”