Hungry, Humble, Smart
Although higher than other generations, only 39% of millennials, those aged 25-37, hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to The Pew Research Center. More than 60% of the millennial workforce still received some sort of alternate training, more than likely on the job.
At EV Construction, we believe in hiring character and training for success. When interviewing, we focus more on the candidate’s attitude, personality and eagerness to learn than we do on their past training and experience. Following an interview, we ask ourselves three questions; is the candidate hungry for work? Are they humble about their success and abilities? Are they smart, and will they learn quickly? For our team, on-the-job training is more about attracting the right people, building a great team and retaining the talent we have.
When EV Field Manager Parker Slagh was interviewed five years ago, he was ambitious and eager to learn, making the decision to hire him an easy one, despite his lack of experience. Before coming to EV, Parker worked first as a forklift operator and then a laborer at a marina. A neighbor of Parker’s who worked for EV Construction told him about some of the company’s open positions and encouraged him to apply. Parker’s experience in the industry at that point was limited to what he had learned by watching his dad work in residential construction, his grandfather as a master electrician and stories he heard from a friend who traveled for a commercial contractor.
Parker was first hired into the interiors division as a laborer and painter. From there, he was given opportunities to venture out and spend time with some of our self-perform trades divisions, including painting, drywall, framing, concrete and carpentry so he could learn a variety of skills and grow his knowledge base. He spent time traveling across the country on an assortment of projects. With a strong desire to develop his leadership skills, after returning to Michigan, Parker was given a chance to work as an assistant field manager under a veteran team member on a complex healthcare project. Having excelled while working in EV’s interiors department, he was then asked to work as a drywall foreman running his own team. And now, his experience, tenacity and desire for growth earned him a position as a field manager working as part of EV’s traveling team.
Not only did Parker show ambition to learn and grow his construction knowledge and leadership abilities, but he also took advantage of certification programs and acquired his First Aid, CPR and AED, OSHA 10 and Powder Actuated Tools certifications. He completed a concrete certification course through the Associated Builders and Contractors of West Michigan, participated in several EV Youniversities and graduated from the company’s Rising Stars program, a leadership development path for up-and-comers.
Brian White, EV Construction’s Director of Field Operations, said of Parker, “For as long as I have known him, he has been a courageous learner. He possesses an appetite for learning and mastering trade skills. He is full of energy, passion and a desire to exceed expectations. When his career started, our industry leaders leaned into him because they saw potential. Now that he is advancing in his career, future leaders look to him as a role model and example of how to reach their goals. All of us at EV Construction are excited to see where his career goes. We are lucky to call him one of our own.”
Parker credits numerous EV personnel with assisting in his journey and shaping him into the construction professional he is now. Of EV, Parker shares, “I think it is awesome EV not only offers, but truly takes value in wanting, to teach us. There never seems to be a limit to the learning and growth opportunities within the company, personally or professionally. I am beyond grateful to work alongside so many craft professionals!
Parker is just one example of the investment EV Construction puts into talent development. EV Construction offers a variety of learning opportunities to its staff. Internally the company hosts EV Youniversities and Lunch and Learn classes, monthly safety meetings plus apprenticeship and co-op programs. Externally, staff can enroll in classes through the Associated Builders and Contractors, Grand Rapids Community College and the like to grow their skill level. EV trains so they can promote from within and continue providing new opportunities to team members. In the words of motivational speaker Peter Schutz, “Hire character. Train skill.”