The Construction Veteran Podcast

Empathy and Discipline: The Blueprint for a Safer Construction Site

July 23, 2023 The Construction Veteran Episode 18
The Construction Veteran Podcast
Empathy and Discipline: The Blueprint for a Safer Construction Site
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Imagine a battlefield training and a construction site. Seem worlds apart? Not quite. In the latest episode, we welcome Ryan Brence, a West Point grad, former Army Special Operations officer, and currently, a safety crusader in the construction industry. A man with a mission, Ryan shares how his military training has honed his skills to tackle safety issues in construction, creating environments that are not just physically safe but also emotionally supportive.

Get ready to challenge your preconceptions as we delve into the parallels between construction and military service, the significance of a simple, consistent, and scalable safety system, and the role of substance abuse and mental health in construction. We’ll hear from Ryan on how to foster a culture of learning and understanding at the workplace, where mistakes are stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks. We also talk about the power of coaching, leading with empathy, and building a strong foundation of respect and accountability at the job site.

As we wrap up, we journey into the exciting opportunities the construction industry offers and the importance of initiative and ownership. Ryan shares his insights on the cyclical nature of work in the industry and its potential impact on mental health and safety. Join us for an open and honest conversation about life post-military service, the challenges and rewards of the construction industry, and the paramount importance of people-centered safety practices. Grab your hard hat, and let's build a safer and more understanding workplace together!

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Speaker 1:

Whether you're a veteran or not, like that's what you really need to identify is what is most important to you intrinsically and how can you align that with your work. This is the Construction Veteran Podcast Connecting and celebrating veterans in construction.

Speaker 2:

Now here's your host, scott Friend. Welcome back to the Construction Veteran Podcast. I'm Scott Friend. I'm excited to bring to you guys Ryan Brents, a West Point grad, former Army Special Operations officer and currently working to further safety within our industry. Let's dig into it, hey, ryan. How's it going man?

Speaker 1:

Going well, scott, how you doing.

Speaker 2:

Good, I appreciate you joining me on this.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. It's a pleasure man. I'm excited to be here.

Speaker 2:

I'll give a quick introduction on how Ryan and I know each other. We're both in the construction industry, obviously, but we were at an event that his company and a couple of friends' company sponsored and we linked up, figured out we have a very similar faith background, which is neat. I thought Ryan had an awesome story so we wanted to share that on the podcast. Ryan, why don't you take us through your service background?

Speaker 1:

Thanks, scott. So yeah, I'm from Plano, texas, born and raised. I'm a coach's son. My dad was a head football coach at Plano Senior High in North Dallas, so grew up playing sports and ended up getting recruited to play football at the United States Military Academy at West Point, which was a really awesome opportunity. My grandfather was in the Army so I had a little bit of background and awareness, but other than that I was kind of going into it.

Speaker 1:

I just really wanted to play ball, I wanted to play sports and I got that opportunity to play at a Division I program at Army and that was really my main intent to join the military.

Speaker 1:

Obviously, once I got there, realized what a unique environment it is at West Point, but it was awesome. It was the best decision that I could have made at the time and for me personally, just kind of how I was raised, the structure the military is very similar to the athletic arena in operating in teams, obviously kind of knowing your role and having to be a follower before a leader. So it all kind of lined up for me. So played football at West Point and graduating after four years and everyone that graduates from a military academy is commissioned as an officer. So I was a second lieutenant in the Army and started off in air defense artillery and did that for about five years and then got an opportunity to transition into Army Civil Affairs, which is a unique special operations branch of the Army, and did that for another three and a half years. So it's been about 12 and a half years if you count my time at West Point, and then I ended up transitioning out and coming back home to the Dallas area.

Speaker 2:

So tell me what year was that you transitioned out, because that's fairly recently, right?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so 2000 at the end of 2016. So about seven years now. So yeah, it's been quite a transition.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I love chatting with other folks. That have been that sweet spot like the 10 year period. I don't know if I shared when we had lunch, but you know I really struggled that first 10 years and actually shared with another guy recently that I feel like even within just the past year or two have I finally gotten comfortable with what I'm doing. You know sounds silly and cliche, but like comfortable in my own skin who I am and not trying to fully identify with just the service, like that's not all who I am, you know. So I'm encouraged to see other guys like you doing really successful when they get out. So what do you do now in the construction industry?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so I'm with a company called STC Safety, training and Compliance and we're a third party safety and health company and we primarily support the construction industry, general contractors and trade partners, as well as general industry. So think anything, manufacturing, warehousing, industrial those are our two primary types of industries that we work with. But I'm actually leading our team here in Texas, the Texas group. We have another group that's based out of the Southeast Division in Atlanta, so we have another vice president that heads that group. But I'm leading our team here in Texas. And so, once again going back to the team environment, it's a great position for me and I've really enjoyed it. But, like you said, sky, like it's taking me time to kind of transition and kind of find my niche and my space here, but I'm really enjoying where I currently am.

Speaker 2:

So let's talk about that a little bit, what your company does too, because a lot of companies have maybe a safety superintendent, safety director, but what is the benefit of having a company like yours?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so thanks for asking. I mean you think about safety and health, right, it's like the foundational element for any organization, whether it's construction or owning a restaurant or just anything, and so it's a great avenue, it's a great vehicle right to not only help the organization but help people. Like I always say that, like we're not in the safety business, we're in the people business, and you can say that's cliche, but it's the truth. I mean, at the end of the day, I mean it's table stakes that we all want to get home to our families at night, and I think anyone would say that. But we're really trying to partner with organizations that are really treating safety as seriously as possible.

Speaker 1:

And when I say that it's creating a system for safety, I think, depending on who you're talking to, people say, oh yeah, we have a safety program or a safety manual or whatever they call it. But a system is really how do you put in place a process that is simple, consistent and scalable? And that's what we're really all about at STC. We're not trying to overcomplicate it and make it confusing. We want to really simplify it and help companies have a process so that, as much as they grow, they can still continue to improve in their journey of safety. So that's really what we do at STC.

Speaker 2:

So why don't we talk a little bit about what does your day-to-day look like? Because you serve a unique role, so I want to talk with folks that might be interested in the safety industry. What is your day-to-day like?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's a good question. It changes every day, but I do try to keep some things consistent and so it always starts with me connecting with my team. So have an early morning call. You know as well as I do sky construction industry starts early in the morning, so I want to connect with our team for a quick stand-up call. Make sure we understand what are our three top priorities for the day. I try to distill those out for my team members.

Speaker 1:

From there I typically have a couple of meetings, whether those are internal or external. So those could be with hey, I'm going to go link up with one of our team members to watch them, do a safety training or shadow them in a safety inspection for one of our clients. Then I could go and meet with one of our clients, meet with the executive team we do we call executive safety meetings to make sure that we're on the right path with them, that we have a set agenda. But we're essentially going over the key points and helping set strategy for them in the road ahead Could go on sales calls, you know. Go and tell other leaders of businesses what we do. Link up with people like you. Just really try to network and get to know who's who in the industry. And then you know any other internal meetings that we have. We have a weekly meeting, that's we just have one internal meeting each week, and those are obviously key to make sure that we're moving forward and we're staying aligned with our goals and objectives.

Speaker 2:

Tell me how you got into the industry and then what got you into doing this specifically.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so, like you said, it really was difficult transitioning out. I knew I wanted to come home to the Dallas-Bort Worth area. I think we're really blessed in Texas and North Dallas or Dallas at large. I mean this is just a great economy. It kind of rides the waves even in the tough times of the economy. So I know I wanted to come back home.

Speaker 1:

My youngest brother is in commercial insurance. He's been doing that for about 10 years now and so when I got out in 2016, obviously he was kind of my first connection point. He was doing commercial insurance and so they partnered with STC from a loss control perspective. So they would call on STC to help with safety trainings and various safety activities. So he introduced me to the owner, scott Thomas, and once I met with him he really helped me kind of paint a picture of what he was looking for and I started off in sales.

Speaker 1:

I did business development at STC because I didn't have a safety background per se. I mean, obviously I was in the Army so I have some type of safety experience. But really I had to start in sales and just get my feet wet with getting out there and trying to communicate what we do. And as I did that, I realized how important it is to me to also be involved with operations, because if I sell something, then obviously I wanna see it through, and I think that's where the team component comes into play. I'm not an individualistic person, I like to be involved from a team side of things, and so, anyways, that's initially how I got started at STC.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, man, I'm really glad he touched on that too, that I think there's a lot of folks out there that they might get into the business development sales but they might not know the product, whatever it is you're selling, whether it's managing the process, the project. So I think it's important to have folks that know that you know whatever you're selling. They know the product because they can speak intelligently to it, because they know it. So I wanna ask about so your job in the Army? Not a lot of folks know what civil affairs is, so can you tell me what is civil affairs? And I think I know the answer to this. But how did that help you in what you're doing now on the people aspect? Because you're more focused on people and not just a product.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely right, scott. So yeah, civil affairs is unique. It's part of the special operations command in the Army. So a lot of times you know they're working with special forces and psychological operations, but essentially they are the link, the liaison to the civilian populace or key civilian leaders in whatever environment the Army is operating out of. So it could be internally in the United States or it could be abroad, working with key leaders and the communities where we're living. So really trying to help civilians understand what we're doing in their backyard, in their country, while also cultivating key relationships with leadership of other countries so that we can make them understand what we're doing there to support them in the United States Army at large. So that's kind of a broad answer, but you can tell that that can really have a lot of effect wherever we're operating, internally or abroad.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so how has that helped you in what you're doing now?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's been huge. Really it's been about me understanding the environment that I'm walking into. So I need to understand different cultures. I need to understand different types of people and just how they're going to respond to us. So kind of understanding the operational environment but then just understanding people having high emotional intelligence and I don't claim that I have the highest. I think we all need to improve in that area, because when I've come to find out I talked about being in the people business. Right, I really, as much as technology continues to advance in artificial intelligence becomes more mainstream, I'm just a big proponent that we're always gonna have to work well with people.

Speaker 1:

If you wanna be effective in whatever you do, you gotta understand people and how they tick and everyone's different, and so that was really my draw to get into civil affairs and the Army and afterwards obviously that really contributed to my development.

Speaker 1:

But now it's the same thing. I'm dealing with my internal team members I'm dealing with. We have hundreds of clients that we're working with and within those clients there's all the different positions that we're trying to become multi-threaded and get to know our clients on all levels at the labor level, at the mid-level supervisor level and then at the executive level, and so you really have to understand their perspective and what they're trying to get done and how all that ties together. And so, and real quick, going back to the Army like there's three levels of command which you're aware of you got the strategic, the operational and tactical levels, and I feel like I am constantly bringing that up to our team is like we have to understand these different levels of the clients that we're working with, because it all comes together to give us a better picture of what they do and how they do it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's good. And I had a guy I used to work with or work for and I love that. He would say, hey, you don't know this junior level person that could be the next executive leader too. So those relationships are so important and you don't know who you're sitting by, you're at this networking event. You don't know who that person is. So you got to kind of level the playing field and treat everybody like they want to be treated.

Speaker 2:

I think one thing a lot of special operations folks and I'm not sure if you would agree they really sell themselves short that in fact I had a good friend of mine that spent his whole career in special operations and was a contractor as well when he got out and he made a comment to me that when you get into that kind of lifestyle as a door kicker, that that's all you can ever do. But I would disagree with that because I mean, look at folks like yourself or Dan Bradley, mutual friend of ours, anybody who's served in special operations. They have this very special set of skills that can be used outside of the war zone as well, such as relationship building. A lot of it's the soft skills. So anybody that's in that community I would definitely encourage them.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I'll take SF, for example. They're amazing teachers. They have to go into that environment and teach those individuals basically how to rise up right. Why can't they take that skill and go train a company? Why can't they be in business development and connect people because they're so good at that? What's your take on that?

Speaker 1:

Oh no, that's great, I love that we're a train in the name of our company is safety training and compliance.

Speaker 1:

So a big piece of what we do is do these safety trainings and I'm always looking for ways that we can improve and optimize our training.

Speaker 1:

So we do a lot of evaluations, peer evaluations of our trainings, and I tell our team all the time I'm like this is the most critical skill that we can continue to grow and develop is our ability to communicate.

Speaker 1:

Because, as you said, whether it is instructing or just having a one-on-one discussion or even having a more informal type session like a toolbox talk, I mean that is really what can be extremely impactful and save lives Is our ability to communicate and get our points across clearly and effectively, passionately and in a way that moves them. It creates a bias for action. So it's not just checking the boxes and making sure that we cover certain objectives or standards, OSHA standards, it's how can you connect what you're communicating so that it hits a person's heart, you know, and moves them to action, influences them to take action? So, yeah, I think, whether you're a special operator in the military looking to get out, or just any veteran, any service member, your ability to communicate, whether that's you know, through your own chain of command or you being able to instruct others like that, is such a critical skill. We can't lose sight of that.

Speaker 2:

Very cool. Yeah, I assume I know this. So you came back to SDC, if I'm not mistaken. So I think I know the answer to this. Would you join this industry again If you could start all over? Do you think you would go back into this and maybe not construction in itself, but business development? Do you think you would still do that after you transitioned?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. So let me focus on construction, right, because you know I did not grow up like working with my hands. I was an athlete, I. So when you talked about construction, honestly it kind of intimidated me a little bit, like when I first got to STC, because I was like I don't feel like I can connect as well. At least that's what I thought in my mind. However, once I started kind of getting out onto job sites and interacting with the crews, the superintendents like yourself, the project teams and the line workers, I was like man.

Speaker 1:

This like reminds me so much of the military, and I've listened to your podcast from your first one episode zero, talking about the parallels between construction and the military, and it was so on point, like it's about having a mission, right, you know, you know your timeline and what you're trying to get accomplished. It's about the team. You have different crew members. Everyone's got a specific role that they need to fulfill and it is like manual labor. So, even though I said like I never had really worked a lot with my hands, I mean, you better believe in the army.

Speaker 1:

I spent a lot of time out in the field. I was doing physical training, physical exercises, and so I'm used to being out outside doing hard work and I enjoyed that, like that was what I did in athletics, that's what I did in the military, and so this construction environment, it does really fit me well and, yes, I would absolutely tell especially a veteran to look into it, but really anybody. I feel like you know the construction industry if you're not fully aware of the ins and outs of it, it's something, it's a very respectable line of work and it's something that you can hang your hat on. At the end of each day you can feel really good and accomplished about what you did Any given day, because of what you're doing for the community and what you're doing working on a team and within a team of teams, really. So, yeah, absolutely, man, I totally would come back to the construction industry and hope to stay in it as long as I can.

Speaker 2:

Very good, yeah. So knowing what you know now, what would you have changed, if anything, along the journey to get where you're at?

Speaker 1:

Honestly, I mean really not anything. I really believe that God has orchestrated my steps. He's led me to relationships that have put me where I am. Some chapters have been more enjoyable than others. There's been some steps that have been difficult, but obviously that's what really helps us learn and grow and better understand who we are, what our strengths are, what we're passionate about.

Speaker 1:

I think for me, going back to you were talking about business development for me, and I really do wanna make this a key point for people that are looking to go into sales.

Speaker 1:

Like sales for some people, that's gonna be more natural for them or they might have an easier way of going about it, whether it's connecting with people or being able to sell their product or service.

Speaker 1:

Going back to my viewpoint of sales is that I want to see it through, so I wanna fully know and understand the product or service and I wanna be genuinely authentic with if I'm gonna sell something, then by golly you better believe we're gonna make it happen and I'm gonna stand by my word with the way we're gonna go about it. Simon Sinek talks a lot about start with why, right. So the why obviously is to get people home to their families at night. But then there's the how aspect, and the how is like. A key component for me is like how are we going to understand the client's business and help support their business goals? And I wanna be involved with my team in the process of seeing that through. So for me, I guess that would be. My only thing that I would change with business development is that before I took on a role that was BD, I would want to know as much as possible about that product or service so I can be as effective as possible.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and people see right through it. If you don't, I mean if you're trying to fake it till you make it, this is not the industry to do that for sure. I mean there are some folks out there that are great networkers but they just don't know about the product. So people see right through that.

Speaker 1:

So I appreciate your heart in that and wanting to know I'll call it the product, but it's really the people and why you're doing what you're doing and a lot of times, Scott, it's like to your point sometimes I'm not gonna know everything about it, but it's just being like and this goes back to like my time in civil affairs Like I didn't know all the time. Like about the local populaces, Like I had to have a very inquisitive nature about me. I had to be very curious, I had to ask good questions, I had to listen, I had to ensure that I fully understood or as much as I could about what they did and how they did it or how they operated. So I think that's a key point too is like, yeah, I do wanna know as much as possible, Like I wanna be competent in what we do, but also I need to be very curious and genuine in my approach to get to know the client or the people that I'm working with.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, for sure, and I think you know, talking about construction, a lot of people think it's just that hard labor job. But there are a lot of jobs like yours and now you know I'm not the one in the field anymore Jobs like ours it's a lot of brain work, it's a lot of, like you said, listening, understanding, and I think a key point to that too is I might not have all the answers, but I've gotta be humble enough to say hey, let me find out. And I'm a big learning guy. I love just learning new things every day in the industry, and I'm sure you find that as well, cause you're going to all these different job sites. Oh yeah, and I'm a little jealous of guys like you that get to see all the different types and I'm not speaking ill of what I do, but it's super. Sometimes you know we're seeing the same thing over and over again. So that's exciting, that part of the industry that you get to go out visit, meet new people, see all these different job site types. So I think that's awesome For sure.

Speaker 2:

So, veterans within the industry and I'm not to be take like a dark turn with the interview, but it's difficult, man. There's a lot of people getting beat up. It's tough right now. Everybody's overworked, the economy's kind of flip-flopping and things are really difficult and we're doing a lot more with less. That's less resources, less time, sometimes less money. So it's tough and there's a lot of us that have been around a while doing this, so we got the grill already. But for folks that are joining this industry or want to join, what would you say to them to try to motivate them to really stick it out?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, that's a good question. I want to kind of come back to the like maybe the mental health side later, but I'll address this question right now. I would say you have to find your own. Why, right?

Speaker 1:

There's two words that I think of that compares. There's motivation, right, and that's kind of more of a push type word. It's like what's pushing you to do something? So is it to get promoted or to make more money or to have a certain position? Those are motivating factors, but at the end of the day, motivation can become fleeting, so after a certain timeline or a certain number of years, that could go away, whereas inspiration is like that's a pool factor, right, like that.

Speaker 1:

What are you intrinsically, intrinsically motivated by? So you know that's really about your own personal standards or your core values or your lifestyle. I mean, it could be a lot of different things, but I would say that whether you're a veteran or not, like that's what you really need to identify is what is most important to you intrinsically and how can you align that with your work? And I think in construction you can definitely find that Now you might have to be proactive with your approach and kind of helping your career path. You need to make it known to your leadership or whoever you work with what your intentions are, and you kind of have to pick your time to do that.

Speaker 1:

But, being just going back to being authentic and transparent, but I think you really need to identify what are you inspired by, what are your core values, what's the most important to you, and just be real with it and then get to know people. You know like you, whether it's internally at your company or you know individuals at other companies or even other industries is just picking people's brain. I think you talked about learning. The best way you can learn is through people and their experiences, and you know asking good questions, and so I think if you do those things, then that can help you navigate your career in construction or really anything. But that's my question or my answer to that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, for sure. So you wanted to revisit the mental health. What did you take on that?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so that's where I think obviously we see a lot of issues in society at large right now with mental health, but particularly in the military and construction, and I think that there's a lot of similarity. Just like I was saying, all the positive aspects of what I think are the benefits or the parallels between construction and the military, I think there's there's, like that, that negative, dark side that you know we're aware of because there's been so many suicides, right, and you know, I think there's more of an emphasis. I mean, I just saw the Department of Labor came out with a public service announcement yesterday about the importance of mental health just in the workforce, and obviously it's something that leaders need to take very seriously and be intentional about. They can't just, you know, bat a closed eye to it anymore. And so really, from a statistic perspective, male construction workers are almost twice as likely to succumb to suicide than, like, the national average in the workforce, which is scary, right, and I think there's probably a lot of different contributing factors to that. I think there's kind of more of a capability for, like, fearlessness in the construction industry because you're doing dangerous things right. That's the reason why STC is alive or in business, but there's a, there's more capability to kind of be fearless, and so that can lead to suicide.

Speaker 1:

I think there's kind of more of a culture of substance abuse in both the military and construction, because you work long, hard hours and you know people medicate or self medicate in different ways.

Speaker 1:

But I think substance abuse is another huge issue in the industry. And then I think about, just like you know, community. You want to cultivate as a leader, like a strong team, but a lot of these guys and gals in construction might feel isolated, feel a lack of community because they work hard all day and they just want to go home and, you know, medicate in their own way or, you know, get as much rest as they can and they don't have time for genuine community. And then just the cyclical nature of work, right, like you said, there's downturns in the economy, people are laid off and so, you know, work, just the supply chain can cause waves and the timelines of the jobs, and so all that has a contributing effect on our mental health. And a lot of that same stuff that I talked about is very evident in the military lifestyle as well. So this is a key issue that's going on, yeah for sure.

Speaker 2:

And you know I've gotten mixed responses when I've asked this. So I'm curious on your thoughts. But from my perspective, just because of my role, I can kind of change the culture on my job and ensure it's that not that we're patting people's bottoms or anything like that, but that it's a culture that understands mistakes happen, people screw up time to time, because I think there's this expectation for perfection that's just unreachable sometimes on some of the projects that we do, and sometimes I wouldn't say that it's impossible to achieve some of these projects. And I know I'm speaking in very broad terms, but it might say it in a specification book or a manual, but sometimes it just can't happen. Hence why we have things like RFIs and that.

Speaker 2:

But I've seen a change, at least in the last decade, plus there's I don't want to say there's less pressure on people to finish jobs, but there's more of an understanding that I've found, at least from the client side, the trade side, and understanding that has improved the quality that I get out of my people, because it's not this hey dummy. You know you screwed up, that's the way it used to be, but I've seen a change. I'm curious on your take on that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, I think for us, what's so beneficial of the service that we provide is, I think you and I would both agree that in safety, it's about being more of a coach a safety coach than a cop, right?

Speaker 1:

So I'm not trying to just call out people and tell them that they're wrong and be a whistleblower.

Speaker 1:

We really want to understand why people are making the decisions that they do and ensure that they know what is right and what is acceptable on a job, right? And so in order to do that, you need to set the stage right. You need to make sure, as a leader or as a general contractor in your case, like you're setting the ground rules for the job but then really having a coaching mindset and going into the day to day, looking for coaching opportunities to better understand why workers are doing things the way that they are and you know taking those opportunities to either address it. But you need to know, you need to know your players right, like as a coach, you need to know your workers that are on your site and how they operate, or your crew members and the way that they think, and everyone kind of responds a little differently. So, especially as a leader, you need to be able to connect and coach in different ways, and so, yeah, just the whole coaching mentality is so key, especially in safety.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, man, I agree with that Absolutely 100%, and I've made the same comment to other folks that because of our positions, you know, as a superintendent, if I did decide to be that guy that went out there with just a bad attitude, I mean, am I going to get the work done? Yeah, probably just because of the chain of command, if you will. But we've got to do a good job. If we're going to improve the industry, we have to do a good job at coaching people, because sometimes I mean you mentioned cultural differences earlier that could be. You know where the folks came from, whether they regionally, where they came from or whatever, or their travelers or came from a different country. There's different expectations.

Speaker 2:

Texas is such a mixing bowl, much like DC or places like that. So I appreciate you coming from the CA side. You have to understand those cultural differences. So I've seen less and less safety folks, superintendents, going out there like hey, get off the ladder, idiot kind of thing. And it's more. Hey, bud, can I talk to you? It's more one on one. I wouldn't want somebody treating my child like that so that's somebody's kid. That's the way I look at it, and I'm not alone in that thought. That's a very way, miller, I want to say and I could be wrong, somebody's going to correct me but I want to say it was their company that really spearheaded that mindset.

Speaker 2:

And they're not in our industry. But the CEO of the company saw his employees not as they're like his kids, but he went. Man, I wouldn't want my daughter to be treated like this, so why would I treat somebody else as child like that? And that really changes your perspective. That's somebody's husband, child, dad. I try to treat those guys on my job site and gals like that's my brothers and sisters. I'm going to respect them and sometimes we have arguments, just like brothers and sisters do. We still love each other and we're going to keep pressing forward towards the goal. Sometimes you got to have it out because there is some aggression, but you got to do it respectfully. What's your?

Speaker 1:

take on that. Yeah, that's awesome. I love how you mentioned that just like seeing people as you know, like close family members or like how you would treat your family members, that that really shows a lot of compassion and empathy. So you know, especially like tying it back to safety, like you have to, and just leadership at large right. Like you have to have like accountability and this goes back to our time in the military like there are standards. Like you you have to abide by standards. Like we're not just in this Lase fair you know type of environment like especially in construction where there's there's dangerous work going on. Like you have to have rules and standards that apply on your job sites.

Speaker 1:

But then, from a leadership standpoint, if you, if you don't have Empathy and the ability to like Understand people and communicate Well, like yeah, like to your point, you can be like productive still, but there's so many like intangible components of Relationship building and and how it's gonna affect the industry at large. So, like you could be like a hardcore Superintendent and just drive production all day, but that could really turn off a lot of people in the industry and that can affect your relationships with workers that decide. Man, after this job. I'm getting the heck out of this, this industry or this company, aniquity effects, like you know, if you're working with an organization at large, if they want to work with you. So it's about like I think people respect when you you have standards and in rules and that you're gonna hold people accountable to those. But obviously there's like the soft skills of how you do that and so it's like the art in the science right of, of safety and of leadership. I think it kind of ties together.

Speaker 2:

For sure. Yeah, and I'm glad you brought that up too, because so I was on Bosch tools there what their podcast. Here recently we had that discussion about If, if we're treating people poorly, I'm likely either that contractors not gonna want to work with us anymore and I thought this was a joke within the industry but they'd say, oh, it's the, the John Smith tax, or insert name here. If that's the superintendent or that's the PM, that adds cost, that really happens. I mean, people were in such a relationship driven industry that the way you treat people and whether or not they know they're gonna get paid on time, they know their, their people are gonna be treated well, that dictates whether they want to work with you again or not.

Speaker 2:

I'm so fortunate to have some amazing trades, some of which sponsored that event. We were at all my job right now and Some of these guys they might get paid a little less just because they know the job's gonna run smoother. Their labor force is going to return to work the next day. So it's, it's these little Intangibles. I guess that that really that moves the ball forward in the industry and it keeps us going because we complain and I say we, me included. We complain about. Hey, there's the industry's losing people. Nobody's joining the industry. We're not doing it any favors if we're not changing and we're not understanding. It's a people first industry.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely no, I plan that's spot-on. Like there's this, the skilled trades Gap, or in the, in the workforce, right, and it's like, instead of just looking at it as an external problem, like we have to take some ownership, like within this industry and within our organizations, by like being the change, like let's set the stage, let's, let's set the team up for success. We're like people want to come here and stay here because they're they're known, they're accepted, they're cared for. And that looks like a lot of different things, but like obviously that drives Continuous retention, not only at the company but then, like you said, other Organizations in the industry are like aware that like company ABC, and they're gonna do things the right way, they take care of their people, and if they take care of their people, like they're gonna take care of the job, and so, yeah, I think that's spot-on.

Speaker 2:

So I want to revisit, revisit a comment you've made a couple times finding your why. I've read that Start with why by Simon Sinek, also a great book, and I do think that's key. So, speaking on the relationship side, that's a real big, important piece of that might be somebody's why is the relationships money? I mean the money will come, no matter what industry you're in. If you try hard, you work hard, inevitably it'll come. You and I both share a very similar why and I want you to give, I want to give you some time here to talk about your faith journey. I know that's something really big to you and how you got on that journey.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, thanks for even asking that question.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so I grew up in the church, but I didn't really have a personal relationship with God until my time in the, in the military, and I think there's a lot of people that have stories. When they get broken down right and they have nothing else to turn to you, that's when God really shows up in their life. And you know it's all relative, right, people have different Difficult situations or scenarios in their lives, but for me, yeah, my faith is my the biggest driver, biggest inspiration For my life and and how I live it out. You know, my, my personal mission statement is to know and enjoy God by abiding in him, so I could pursue his will for my life, like that's. That's really why I wake up every single day.

Speaker 1:

And yeah, for me, just quickly, like when I was in the in the army, I got a chance to go to Army Ranger school, which is an extremely difficult school and training environment, and in the second phase of Ranger school it's called the Mountain phase and to Launaga, georgia, and I Got recycled, meaning that I failed the patrols. I got a no-go from the instructors there and it was at the worst possible time because they were having to shut down Ranger school at large because the best Ranger Competition was about to occur.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's the worst time to roll back, oh.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So it was just brutal. A lot of people that got recycled along with me were like you know what, I'm good, I'm gonna go back to my unit, I'm not gonna worry about Seeing this through for me. I was a new second lieutenant. I wasn't even at my first unit yet, so I was like you know what, I'm gonna Stick it out. Well, I say that here's, here's the story. Real quick.

Speaker 1:

I I was really insecure of just my ability to make it through the school. I had a lot of Apprehension that you know. I don't know if I can do this. I I've always been in good physical condition, but I was broken down physically and then mentally and emotionally I was at, you know, at my core, just really wrestling with my capabilities. So I Was really at that point of like, well, should I stay? And I was really feeling sorry for myself.

Speaker 1:

And I remember I was in a my bunk bed. I was in a bed toiling with if I'm gonna stay or not, and I heard across the barracks this guy talking about God. All I could hear was just God, god, god, god. And it was just so like evident that Some, someone or something wanted me to hear this message. So, even in the midst of me feeling down in the dumps, I went over to the other side of the barracks and there was this guy talking to an atheist about God and his love For God and God's love for him and how it's changed his life and how it's given him a new perspective. And the atheist was just given him like just barraging him with questions and Ultimately saying it sounded stupid and the guy was just so at peace With what he was saying and that just appealed to me so much. Especially in that moment I look at a guy that also just recycled with me and he's he's got this joy about him. And so finally this atheist kind of gave up and like walked away and I just looked at this guy and I was like man, I don't know what you have, but like I want that, I need that in my life. And so he was. Really. His name is Chris Thomas and To this day that guy was a vessel for me to get to know the Lord Stronger and I ended up staying at ranger school and we spent I forgot how long it was like a month and a half before we started Up ranger school again, but in the midst of that we.

Speaker 1:

We had Bible study every day, we brought more people into the group and that gave me the the faith to continue on and ultimately Get through ranger school and graduate. It wasn't easy, but I had this, this faith, this newfound faith in my Lord and Savior, and when I graduated, I made it a point that I wanted to get baptized to recognize God's role in my life, and so I gave my life to Christ on July 17th 2009 when I graduated ranger school, and that has really Been the start of a long journey of faith for me. That has had many ups and downs and it will continue to until the day that I die, but that is the reason why I'm living and growing and I know that God's working in me. So that's really my faith story, scott, that I wanted to share.

Speaker 2:

Man, I'm glad you did brother, so that's awesome. And you said the guy's name was Chris.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, chris Thomas, he's actually still Shout out to Chris for sure. Yeah, he was in the Army and you know generic name so it'd be hard to look him up. But Right, he's the guy John Smith. He's a missionary for the Lord.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome. Hey, Chris, shout out to you, man, If you ever get a chance to listen to this. So there you go you're a kingdom work. That's awesome. Yeah, ryan man, I've really appreciated having you on the podcast. I want to leave you with one quick question. So if we've got folks whether they're from special operations background, anything, any kind of background coming out of the service, what would you say to them to encourage them to get involved in the construction industry somehow?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would say that the parallels are extremely similar with the military environment. So I know that you want to walk into a place that is familiar to you, but it's still going to offer you challenges rewarding challenges and you're going to get to work with people from all over, just like we did in the military, and so it's a very similar environment and it's rewarding. You know, like I said, you walk away each day feeling like you accomplish something. You get to work with a lot of different types of people and types of companies, you get to learn and grow in your knowledge base and ultimately, it provides a career path. If you take it seriously enough and you're proactive with your relationships, you can grow in your career path from the front lines the line worker all the way up to the executive level. We've seen it time and time again. So it's just an excellent opportunity and I encourage anyone that's looking into it to strongly consider joining the construction industry. So that's what I would have to say to them, scott.

Speaker 2:

Very cool and definitely agree. And one last thing I want to put in there. I know I've mentioned this to some folks. I don't think I've said it on the podcast, but I had an opportunity to go speak at a local high school and kind of related to what you said. Starting at the front line, the labor force, I knew a guy that started from the bottom up and he didn't nothing against school at all but he focused on his career. He got his certifications and just gained his knowledge and he's running a $4 billion company now. So I think the sky's the limit man in this industry for sure. And I kept trying to tell these kids that hey, as a labor, you're around all these trades, you get this free exposure and training to all these trades and it's really up to you the impetus to get into. It might be a podcast, but really the onus is on you to take that next step for sure.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, that's a great point, and I think also guys coming from the military, they're used to being part of a team and you're going to get that. But then you're going to get an opportunity in the civilian world to make your own mark. And that really comes from identifying what's important to you and laying out what steps do I want to take to get there. And you might not have that same freedom in the military, just given the hierarchy of the organization In construction. You can really pave a path for yourself if you take it seriously enough and engage the right people and learn, like you said. So it's really exciting the opportunities that you can have.

Speaker 2:

For sure, man Ryan, I really appreciate your time. If somebody wanted to get a hold of you, how would they do that?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would just say, hit me up on LinkedIn, ryan Brintz. I don't think there's any other Ryan Brintz, as there might be some others, but STC Safety, training and Compliance. You can find me on LinkedIn and if you just search for STC Safety, it will pop up on the web and you can check us out there on our website. But yeah, that's how you can get a hold of me All right man.

Speaker 2:

I appreciate you being on, Ryan. Thank you so much. Thank you, Scott, Really appreciate the time. All right.

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