2010 President's Message

Will We All Be Better Off?

"We'll all be better off on the other side of this economic crisis."

In the construction industry, this well-intended statement of encouragement has been worn out over the past two years. In fact, we will only be better off if we continue to make good choices on a daily basis. As I see it, we must make good decisions in five key areas if we are to have a positive impact on whether or not our organizations and our industry really will be better off.

The first area is how we value people. Do we treat them as expendables because we believe they are easily replaced? Or do we continue to value our people and the perspective they can share?

One of the best sources of information for BEI that helps us improve safety, quality and communication is our team of people working in the field. We rely on them to share what they see and experience on the jobsite, and I trust them to speak up and tell us when they see areas in which we can improve.

How we treat people has a big impact on whether or not we will truly be better off a year or two from now. People are the core of our present and our future capabilities.

The second area to look at is how we collaborate with others - company to company - to complete a project for a mutual client. Are we looking at the job from a single-minded perspective, which can cause rivalry, or are we looking at the job from a well-rounded perspective? When we work together to tackle a project's challenges head-on, we make a difference for that customer, and it builds confidence for future projects. Thin margins on bids require a partnership approach among various trades, the owner and GC in order to be successful.

The third area to analyze is our training and safety initiatives. Sadly, in the last two years, many companies have elected to nearly eliminate their training and safety budgets.

At BEI, however, we've taken a different approach. We've made the decision to continue investing in our people. In fact, by the end of 2010, all of our field employees will have received OSHA's 10-hour Construction Training, and every supervisor will have completed OSHA's 30-hour Construction Training. We see this initiative as vital for us to continue being careful stewards of life and health.

The fourth area that will impact how we emerge from this economic upheaval is diversity and flexibility. Whether or not we are better off depends on if we are willing to diversify and be flexible in our offerings - yet remain inflexible in our core business principles and values. This applies to each Brubacher team member and their personal skills, along with the overall business strategy.

Over the past two years, BEI has pursued new opportunities and grown our services to include directional drilling, vacuum excavating and utility main replacement. We have also expanded our reach into the northern tier of Pennsylvania to pursue Marcellus Shale-related projects. Yet, these diversified decisions have not compromised our core values and business principles.

The fifth and final area builds on the last area: we must be uncompromising in our core values. At BEI, we have a 40-year-old commitment that no matter how difficult the industry's climate becomes, we will continue to honor our values of safety first; operate with integrity, honesty and initiative; and respond to one another respectfully. Furthermore, it is BEI's commitment that on the days where we haven't carried this out to the fullest, our goal is to be humble enough to recognize where we went wrong and set about to make it right.

In order to be better off at the end of the construction industry upheaval we must be committed to making the right choices on a daily basis - how we treat people, collaborate with and value others, and diversify, while at the same time remaining true to what really defines who we are.