Top Notch Hosts Annual Standards of Excellence Awards
Bowen Engineering was named Contractor of the Year, and the Indiana Kentucky Regional Council of Carpenters was the Union of the Year at the Sixth Annual Top Notch Standards of Excellence Awards Program attended by over 600 industry professionals.
Top Notch represents more than 75,000 union tradesmen in Indiana and the 4,000 contractors who employ them.
According to the group's Executive Director, Michelle Boyd, the awards program's mantra is, "this is not your usual awards program," and it certainly lived up to that billing by treating attendees to an unusual venue - the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - and a variety of events including an intriguing and entertaining panel of "track insiders" who presented little-known factoids and insider gossip.
Besides Bowen and the Carpenters, other awards presented included the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 440 nabbing the Training Excellence Award while the winner of the Labor Management Foundation Award went to the East Central Indiana Building Trades, their contractors, the City of Muncie and the Arc of Indiana.
Bowen, described as a "nationally recognized firm with clients throughout the country," was recognized for their "impressive training regimen unique to their company." Specifically noted were their safety orientation program and in-depth foreman training
The jury was also said to be impressed with Bowen's "focus on safety, quality and production with a 25-year-long standing lean construction process and philosophy." In pursuit of that process, tradesmen are asked to weigh in on issues such as production rates, operation plans and suggestions for improving job site performance.
During the past year, Bowen rolled out a new "at risk" program requiring new employees to wear an orange wristband for their first 60 days of employment. At the end of the 60 days, a "de-banding ceremony" reminds all employees it their responsibility to teach, mentor and assist "at risk" employees around them.
Bowen's history of philanthropy was also recognized as a cornerstone of the company.
In being named the Union of the Year, the Indiana Kentucky Regional Council of Carpenters was touted as having "showcased an interest in meeting the needs of their customers."
One jury member explained of the Carpenters, "This group is clearly a strong ambassador the union construction industry."
The union developed a new ".300 hitters program" which recognizes leaders among the ranks of tradesmen who exhibit skill, productivity and respect from among their fellow members. Those selected are invited to participate in leadership training and they have an opportunity to meet with local elected officials. In doing so, event organizers said that the union is, "creating a new generation of leaders for the union."
The union was also cited for their commitment to training that is crafted specifically to meet market sector needs. An example is their development of an Infection Control training program that was a direct response to the changing needs of construction users.
In addition, it was noted that the award recipient donated the construction of a concession stand for a local high school volleyball team, dressing rooms for a community clothing bank and a home for a disabled veteran as examples of their commitment to being a strong community partner.
In nabbing the Training Award, the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 440 Apprenticeship Program was said by one jury member as having a "strong focus on elite recruiting and continuing education."
The program invested continuous resources in the development of partnerships with area high schools and community work centers.
This year, the program began an expansion of an addition 7,500-square-foot training lab at their apprenticeship facility. Once completed, it will house full system mockups that will allow apprentices and journeymen to continue to hone their skills in an advanced learning environment.
The program's commitment to recruitment was also recognized as having gone "well beyond job fair participation."
Their Veterans in Piping Program, for example, establishes training on military bases for men and women who are still on active duty but are getting ready to return to civilian life. Upon completion of the program and their tour with the armed forces, participants can then enroll in apprenticeship programs for a viable career following the military.
The union was praised for being a "strong community partner" with their "Fill a Fox Hole" program. In it, apprentices were challenged to donate non-perishable snacks, batteries and other needs for care packages that were shipped overseas to military personnel. In addition, apprentices joined forces with their contractors to volunteer for Rebuilding Together Indianapolis, a program to improve area neighborhoods.
Praised for having "an amazing collaboration for the community," the Labor Management Foundation category winner was a partnership designed to create employment opportunities for those with disabilities.
The players in the partnership included the East Central Indiana Building Trades, their signatory contractors, the Arc of Indiana and the City of Muncie.
The Arc of Indiana is a nonprofit organization whose mission is committed to all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities realizing their goals of learning, living, working and fully participating in the community. The organization wanted to build a Marriott Hotel and training facility in downtown Muncie so that those with disabilities could train in the areas of hospitality, healthcare and food services. The program is the first of its kind in the country.
Kim Dodson, Executive Director of the Arc of Indiana explained, "We knew that we needed strong local partners with a strong work ethic and Hoosier values to make this project happen."
The East Central Building Trades joined forces to help move the project forward. The Building Trades and their contractors collectively donated or secured thousands of dollars in contributions. As a result of the team collaboration, the hotel training facility will become a reality in the fall of 2015.
The jury was impressed by the commitment of the East Central Indiana Building Trades and their contractors to support the project from conception to construction.