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Events

5 Reasons to Attend the 2022 Fall Social

posted on 10.10.2022

The annual MBEX Fall Social event will be here before we know it, and we want to see as many MBEX members and business partners in attendance as we can. 

(1.) Networking
Those people who walk into a meeting and just start chatting with others? They are able to do it so easily because of networking. They attend events, meet people and know what's going on. Our members-only events are a great benefit to membership, allowing members to mingle and socialize from out on the golf course, aboard the Sundew, or in a casual yet professional locale like the Golden Valley Country Club. It's a great way to meet others across the industry and make business connections. 

BONUS: If you work for a company that is a current MBEX member, that means *YOU* are a member and can attend our scheduled events. Keep an eye out; we'll be announcing our 2023 event calendar very soon!

(2.) Let People Know Who **You** Are
Want people to recognize you and instantly know your name when you enter the room? Attend this event. Attending events such as the Fall Social gives you personal exposure to people you would not normally come into contact with. It's a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and experts across the variety of sectors within the construction industry. By talking to others about what they do and the projects they are working on, you can learn and potentially even find prospectve business parters.

(3.) Open Your Mind to New Ideas and Latest Trends
It is very easy to get caught up in your own bubble and forget there is a whole wide world out there, full of new ideas and discoveries every day. Attending an event not only give you the opportunity to meet others but also gives exposure to new ideas that could be implemented into your own business. MBEX prides itself on delivering useful and relevant industry content to our members, as well as the latest and greatest projects out for bid. Attending an MBEX event could lead you to dramatically improve the way you think of your desired impact, just by implementing a few key ideas.

(4.) To Be Motivated
Stuck in a rut? Leave your own work behind and just talk to others about what they do and why they do it. There is nothing better than watching others get excited talking about their work, and MBEX is filled with motivated construction professionals who want to do this. You never know, you might even find solutions to some of your own problems!

(5.) To Socialize
Sometimes there is nothing better than forgetting about work and just going out to meet new friends or to spend some out-of-office time with coworkers. 

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Whatever your reason, head over to our registration page and plan on being in attendance. You never know who you'll meet or what an encounter could lead to.

 

EVENT DETAILS
- Date:  Tuesday, November 8
- Time:  4:00-7:00pm
- Location:  Golden Valley Country Club
- Price: $45 = early bird pricing (ends October 17)  |  $270 = company table for 6
- REGISTER HERE

Your ticket includes free drinks, delicious food from hand-carved turkey and ham stations to delectable dessert treats, and several opportunities to enter our SuperCash and 50/50 raffles where you could go home as one of the night's big cash-prize winners. Plus, every attendee receives an automatic entry into our drawing for an assortment of door prizes also awarded throughout the night. 

Industry

Fall Construction Safety Tips

posted on 09.26.2022

Each season brings its own construction hazards, from heat illness in summer to freezing cold temperatures and icy conditions in winter. Autumn is no exception. Whether wrapping up large summer projects or scrambling to get a new build weather-right before winter, fall construction poses its own set of hazards, such as muddy ground and low light.

To prevent accidents and equipment damage that can throw your project off schedule, here are a few safety tips. 

TAKE PRECAUTIONS IN MUDDY CONDITIONS
Mud, and mud-related accidents, must be taken seriously. Mud might seem harmless enough, but it can increase the risk of slips and falls and make the ground unstable for equipment. 

- Improve Muddy Terrain: If possible, set up drainage on your jobsite to remove some of the mud. Consider laying gravel for traction in key areas.
- Use Caution On Steps: Remind everyone to wipe their boots frequently, especially before climbing ladders or mounting or dismount equipment.
- Erect Scaffolding Properly: Scaffolding should never been erected directly on soft, muddy or frozen ground. Use a mud sill. These stable wood planks, placed under the scaffold footings, distribute the weight of the scaffold, keeping it from moving or sinking into the mud. After a storm, check scaffolding to ensure its still stable.
- Stabilize Heavy Equipment: Heavy equipment can become stuck in the mud really fast. Even if using a rough terrain forklift, mud can increase rollover risk. Tire chains or tracks increase traction. Heavy equipment mud mats can turn muddy areas into safe access roads. At the end of the workday, hose off equipment to keep the mud from caking and jamming machines.

CLEAR LEAVES TO PREVENT FALLS & EQUIPMENT MALFUNCTIONS
Fall foliage looks beautiful, but once the leaves fall, they become hazards. Leaves can hide uneven ground and become slick, increase the risk of falls. They can also block the air intake or exhaust on equipment.

Remove leaves from walkways and work surfaces at the beginnning of each work  day and as needed during the course of the day. Consider using a walk-behind leaf blower, a sweeper or even a handheld vaccuum. Before you use equipment, clear any leaves from the intake, exhaust, windshield, mirrors, and tires.

STORE EQUIPMENT & MATERIALS
When possible, store equipment in enclosed spaces to protect it from leaves, falling branches and debris-laden high winds. On jobsites, a portable storage container is a good option to consider.

Take extra precautions if a major storm is expected. Remove and securely store as much equipment as possoble. Move materials into a secure storage area as well. Cover materials and equipment that can't be moved with a heavy duty tarp or use tie-downs and sandbags to keep them from blowing away. Take down cranes, scaffolding, light towers and other equipment that could pose a threat. If needed, board of windows and doors.

PROVIDE ADEQUATE LIGHT
With the coming of fall comes shorter hours of daylight in a work day. Low light makes it harder to judge position, shape or speed of objects. Working in low light can also cause eye strain and headache (no wonder OSHA requires how bright construction areas need to be). From light strings to portable light stands to towable light towers, plan to set up light towers on level ground. With a stable base, light towers can withstand winds up to 65 mph. 

PRACTICE GENERATOR SAFETY
Portable generators and water just don't mix. It's highly advised to not operate a generator on a wet surface. Unless your generator has a waterproof canopy, don't operate it in the rain. 

To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, use a portable generator only in a well-ventilated outdoor area, at least 20 feet away from windows, doors and vents.

MAKE ALLOWANCES FOR COLD & FLU SEASON
Hard as it may be, encourage sick employees to stay home; it's very possible you could find yourself with an entire crew down with the flu if they continue to come in when they're not feeling well. Review your paid leave policy with employees, and consider offering instructions on ways to prevent illness from spreading. It might not be a bad idea to ask schedulers to plan for illness-related absences and delays when booking jobs, too.

Fall is a busy, productive time for many contractors, and by taking a few simple steps, you'll keep your employees safe and your equipment in peak operating condition.

Member News

Meet the Newest MBEX Members (August)

posted on 09.19.2022

Check out which companies are the latest in joining the Minnesota Builders Exchange, learn more about each, and join us in welcoming them to our construction community!

The following member companies joined throughout the month of August:

Atlantic Coast Dismantling - Located in Saugus, Massachusetts, and in business since 2008, ACD specializes in heavy civil, industrial, building, marine, bridge and selective demolition. They can also provide services in the sectors of heavy lift, critical lift, abatement and asset recovery. They offer a complete range of demolition services geared to fulfill the specific needs for the task at hand.

Associated Building Specialties - From idea to finished space, ABS is there for its clients. Located in Broomfield, Colorado, ABS works with architects, general contractors, and facility owners/operators. They can help clients decide what they need so nothing gets overlooked, provide design or engineering assistance, suggest appropriate products for the space and budget, and then source and install the products using their experienced and detail oriented team.

Northern Lines Contracting - Founded in 2011 and opening their doors with only one bulldozer, the team at Northern Lines Contracting are full-service contractors providing multiple services, including grading and excavation, sewer and water, street construction, aggregates, and demolition. Northern Lines Contracting is lcoated in Hanover, Minnesota, and provides services to the five-state region.

Vada Contracting LLC - Located in Cokato, Minnesota, Vada Contracting offers excavating services after opening its doors for business this year (2022).

D10 Sales LLC - Located in Lakeville, Minnesota, D10 Sales is a Division 10 supplier, fulfilling any construction needs for your specialty project. They are also a new company started this year (2022).

The Tarbek Company - The Tarbek Company offers both commercial and residential plumbing, welding, natural gas piping services that's insured, licensed and bonded for the protection of their clients' property. Specializing in competitive bid projects, newer & older home basement bathroom additions, piping and equipment installations, investment property projects, water heaters and service. Started in 2018, the Tarbek Company is located in Blaine, Minnesota.

Industry

We Need to Talk about Suicide in the Construction Industry

posted on 09.12.2022

September is National Suicide Prevention month, and in 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the construction industry had one of the highest rates of death by suicide among their workers, 5,242 in 2018, which was five times higher than U.S. construction worker fatalities on jobsites. 

An often-overlooked part of workplace safety is mental health; and as the leading occupation for death by suicide, it's time to take psychological safety within the industry seriously.

 

ON THE JOBSITE
There are several reasons that a mentally healthy workers is important for a construction jobsite, the first of which is, of course, the safety and well-being of your crew. A happy and healthy workforce is a more productive workforce. Some of the key signs of mental distress, in fact, are lethargy, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating or absenteeism --- all of which hinder productivity and safety in some way.

A brutally honest rationale for good mental health beyond the thousands of dollars lost due to lower productivity is that the construction industry is already knee-deep in a workforce shortage. In an industry that is already perceived as dirty, dangerous and outdated, let's not add an unsupportive and unhealthy mental work environment to the list.

 

IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE ILLNESS-RELATED
Mental health doesn't have to be related to an illness to affect a person. It could be an effect of a personal loss, financial issues, relationship problems or a slew of other circumstances that can contribute to a person's mental well-being and their ability to concentrate. In an industry that is consistently in risky environments and operating dangerous, heavy equipment, distractions or an inability to focus on the task at hand puts both the workers and the public at risk.

Long hours can produce both mental and physical fatigue, and constant job relocation can result in poor connection to one's family and friends, causing a feeling of isolation. The added obstacle of COVID-19 added stresses of unemployment with no foreseeable resolution, helping create an unprecedented amount of insecurity that can have significant emotional and mental health consequences.

Another overlapping issue inside our industry? The opioid epidemic. The physical demands of the job can lead to self-medication through alcohol, drugs or opioids, which increases the likelihood of suicide.

 

CREATING A SAFE + COMFORTABLE ENVIRONMENT
When looking at environments where people feel comfortable sharing things that are happening in their lives --- because sometimes the simple act of talking about it can be enough --- it's about creating the systems and structures where an honest dialouge about a person's mental state can be addressed. An open communication system can empower a fellow coworker to ask the simple question, "Are you okay? Do you feel safe to be here?" If the worker states he or she is okay to perform the job at hand, at least the coworker knows to keep a closer eye on the person for their own safety and the safety of their crew.

Leaders should know the signs to look for and make it a part of their routine inspection process. "If you're asking people on a daily basis 'How are you doing today?' whenever your concerns go up a bit, it's already a part of your communication strategy," says Dr. John Pompe, Global Manager of EAP and Employee Health Programs at Caterpillar Inc. Possibly even more important than asking the question, is be sure you are equipped to receive an answer. "Listen, show compassion and empathy, and be prepared to problem solve and offer resources."

Moral of the story: ask the question. Get your employees talking. It could save a life.

 

KEEP LEARNING. KEEP LISTENING. KEEP TALKING.
In 2016, the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (CIASP) was created in partnership with the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) to build awareness in the industry and create resources for contractors to take action. "Shifting the culture to one with consideration for the employee's mental health and suicide risk management is a key area where we can help push people toward help instead of further from help and deeper into that sense of despair," says Michelle Walker, VP of Finance and Administration at SSC Construction.

 

National Resources: National Alliance on Mental Health | National Institute of Mental Health | National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) | Suicide Prevention Resource Center | National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255 | Crisis Text Line - TEXT 741741.

Construction Industry Resources: Toolbox Talk Safety Meeting Agenda Worksheet | MindWise Screening | LivingWorks | Cat.com/safetyleadership | WEBINAR - Mental Health on the Jobsite | NPR Morning Edition - A Construction Company Embraces Frank Talk About Mental Health to Reduce Suicide | Drug Abuse Hotline

Member News

2022-2023 MBEX/TBG Scholarship Recipients Announced

posted on 09.02.2022

It's with great excitement and pride that we here at the Minnesota Builders Exchange, along with our donating partner, The Builders Group (TBG), announce the following students as recipients of a 2022-2023 MBEX/TBG Scholarship:

PINNACLE AWARD
- Cindy Wuddah: Minnesota State University - Mankato, Construction Management
- Michaela Sylvester: Minnesota State University - Mankato, Construction Management
- Chandler Lallak: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Civil Engineering

SHAW/STEWART LUMBER MERIT SCHOLARSHIP
- Landan Adams: Mesabi Range College, Carpentry

MBEX MERIT AWARD
- Kyle Larson: University of St. Thomas, Mechanical Engineering

FOR THE TRADES AWARD
- Lillian Anderson: Dunwoody College of Technology, Electric Construction & Maintenance
- Rogelio Bello: Dunwoody College of Technology, HVAC-R

INDUSTRY AWARD
- Brock Aleshire: South Dakota State University, Construction Management
- Sharifah Nansamba: Minnesota State University - Mankato, Construction Management

In total, MBEX and TBG awarded $23,500 in scholarship dollars to these nine well-deserving students.

Learn more about each 2022-2023 recipient here.

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ABOUT THE MBEX/TBG SCHOLARSHIP
Since 2003, the Minnesota Builders Exchange Scholarship Fund has awarded annual scholarships to college and technical school students seeking an education related to the construction industry. Along with our donating partner, The Builders Group (TBG) Education Foundation, MBEX is proud to encourage continued industry growth via our scholarship program.

HOW TO APPLY:
Applications for the 2023-2024 scholarship will be made available in March 2023, and to be eligible, applicants must be enrolled in a construction-related, post-secondary program in the surrounding five-state area (Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa). They must also have maintained at least a 2.5 GPA or equivalent.

Industry

Four Questions About the Infrastructure Act Answered (Part 1)

posted on 08.29.2022

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the bipartisan infrastructure bill, will increase federal spending on infrastructure by about $550 billion over the next decade, nearly all through grants to state and local governments, which own much of the nation’s infrastructure. There are still many questions surrounding this bill and what it means for the construction industry. In this four-part series, we share answers to a few of the biggest questions courtesy of industry experts.

 

The Question: Some IIJA funds are allocated across states by formula. Others require state and local governments to apply for funding. How well is that process going?

 

The Answer: There is a wealth of federal discretionary programs now. Some of them are new; others are variants of one that have been around for several years.

What federal programs and their staffs are trying to do is figure out how to write a finite number of good applications. They [federal workers] have a hard set of challenges on their plate delivering all of these new programs. DOT [U.S. Department of Transportation] is trying to combine sources where they can. They put a single funding notice in one instance for three different programs, so that instead of applying three times, businesses and organizations only have to do it once. The more they do that, the easier it is for people to actually avail themselves to these programs. On the back end, how they project manage could be challenging if it's not very organized because the dollars will flow through different operating administations with different rules. Making sure they're adherent to consolidation on the back end as they've been on the front end...would be important.

It's best to view the funding process as a five- to -seven year endeavor, and in many instances the money will be spent 10-12 years out, given the way that things work. A team is being built at the White House to focus on project delivery and on setting up the right structures. Each state has an appointed state infrastructure coordinator at the White House's direction, with one or two exceptions. They're also working hard to make sure low-capacity communities have the resources needed to both plan for and apply for funding. The bill has 375 grant programs, 125 of them brand new.

One odd but very interesting this about this bill is that it includes a competitive program for culverts.There's now a new federal competitive grant program for culverts, which means with IIJA, there's going to be lots of programs, lots of money, and most likely, lots of chaos.

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Answers and responses to this question were provided by (1) Ryan Berni, senior advisor to Mitch Landrieu, the infrastructure implementation coordinator in the White House, (2) D.J. Gribbin, former special assistant to President Trump for infrastructure, and (3) Shoshana Lew, executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation. 

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