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The Coalition for Construction Safety (CCS), a central Indiana non-profit organization created to improve construction safety, has been a vocal advocate for the construction industry for more than 25 years. CCS has remained steadfast in their mission, which articulates their dedication “to the elimination of construction and facilities maintenance jobsite injuries and illnesses with the ultimate objective of returning construction and maintenance workers home to their families, friends, and communities free from harm.”

Annually, CCS opens submissions to gift an array of awards for projects, craftsmen, and safety excellence at an evening ceremony. Each CCS organizational category (General Contractor, Trade Partner, Owner/Facilities Maintenance) competed for the Crystal Eagle – Excellence in Safety award and there is only one winner overall. A panel of volunteer judges reviewed all entries, including submission questions and safety statistics. The judges unanimously selected Shiel Sexton as this year’s winner. The Crystal Eagle is noted as “the highest honor that CSS can bestow on a company.” Shiel Sexton has won this coveted distinction only in 2003 and 1996 previously.

Shiel Sexton had an opportunity to celebrate the achievement last week at the Beer, Boots and Brats event, where CCS unveiled the statue and spoke about the decision process. 

“You guys were the clear-cut winners – one of the easiest decisions for the Crystal Eagle. Congratulations to all of you with your safety efforts! Our mission is to send our workers home safely every day, and you guys help us do that.” – Marcy Watson, Associate Director CCS.

In addition to this award, the Shiel Sexton office in Charlotte, NC brought home the 6th consecutive NC Department of Labor Gold Safety Award. Our projects Storm Trooper, Jedi, and Pike Nurseries Cornelius were awarded First Year Gold NC Department of Labor Safety Awards by Cherie Berry, Commissioner of Labor.

Shiel Sexton strives not only to teach safety, but also to demonstrate it through all facets of work. The Crystal Eagle is a reminder moving forward that safety will continue to be our top priority and set an “Expect More” standard to our partners, clients, and subcontractors.

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Rick Kiger brings almost 30 years of construction and manufacturing experience to the Shiel Sexton team.  As Vice President of Business Development, he works closely with the operations group leaders to pursue new clientele and ensure the company’s groups are aligned with the long-term strategic plan. Rick interfaces with clients, designers, and construction teams to bring the best value and most effective solutions to our clients.  He will be a valuable asset to Shiel Sexton as it continues its rapid growth in the Southeast.

“We are excited about the addition of Rick to the Shiel Sexton Charlotte team,” states Chuck Scholer, Vice President of Operations in Charlotte.  “Rick has the perfect background and leadership style to continue Shiel Sexton’s trajectory of growth in the commercial, higher education, interiors, and senior living markets.”

Having lived in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, Rick is an experienced general contractor that brings a unique perspective to the construction industry that is backed by years of working with clients on the design, management and manufacturing of construction components. 

Rick graduated from University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and then attended South Dakota State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics.  He is very active in Charlotte Touchdown Club, CREW – Charlotte, and the International Facility Managers Association

Rick is a self-proclaimed sports junkie, and he enjoys golfing, fishing and traveling with his wife, Polly.  They have two teenage sons born and raised in the Charlotte area. 

Rick Kiger, Vice President of Business Development
Shiel Sexton Company, Inc. | Carolinas Region
5950 Fairview Road, Suite 400, Charlotte, NC 28210
Direct: (704) 679-3947 | Cell: (704) 290-1641
rkiger@shielsexton.com | www.shielsexton.com

The Messenger | April 2019 | More from this issue

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According to Building Indiana, the US has been facing a shortage of construction-skilled laborers, and Indiana has felt the impact. The number of people prepared to work in the field has greatly diminished due to Millennials and Gen X’s gravitating towards the technology and healthcare sectors. Paired with an aging, retiring Baby Boomer generation, this labor deficit could cause a decline in the construction industry.  Now more than ever, outreach programs are essential to keep jobsites staffed in the future. 

Building Indiana confirms that Indiana was number two in the nation with the highest amount of apprenticeships with 3,342 students completing apprenticeship programs in 2017. 

Shiel Sexton is proud to support The National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the construction industry and aims to show that construction jobs can provide a stable, lucrative career. The program accommodates individuals with no experience in construction. Applicants can range from high school students age 18 and up, ex-offenders, or those looking for an industry change. Through several courses, individuals learn the construction fundamentals of hand tools, soft skills (written, verbal communication, email, text), power tools, and construction math. Students can also complete the OSHA 10 safety certification program, which is a highly marketable asset for those seeking construction employment. At the end of the program, students attend a job fair to hand out resumes and network with potential employers.

The program totals 72-80 hours including 16 hours of “lab” time for hands-on experience combined with classroom-style sessions eight hours per week. Classes are held throughout the Indianapolis region at adult education facilities and community centers. The certification is recognized nationwide, meaning the skills learned throughout the program are entirely transferable throughout the United States. 

The Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation sponsors the program free to applicants through grants federal or state or non-profits. The program takes place in central Indiana for right now, but classes will span the entire state of Indiana by next year. NCCER plans to offer the program nationwide eventually.

On March 19th, Shiel Sexton presented to the next graduating class. General Superintendent Steve Jansen, Project Engineer Joe Zeltwanger, and Project Manager John Schlagenhauf were available to answer students’ questions about construction management, Shiel Sexton projects, and company culture.

John is one of four certified trainers that will teach courses for NCCER. His first class as an instructor began on April 16th and will continue every Tuesday and Thursday for ten weeks. Each class averages 20 students. 

John gives an example of why this program is important to the community,

“A young guy was interested in the program to make more money for his growing family of four. His goal was to become an electrician, but first, he needed education and trade skills. He had a strong motivation, already working two jobs to provide for his family. He completed the program, attended the job fair, and scored an interview with a big company. He was eventually hired on!”

The NCCER program opens the door to many people in need of marketable skills in a field desperate for retainable employees. No matter past decisions or lack of experience, each applicant can get a fresh start to shaping their future.


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In February, the company announced the promotion of Kevin Hunt to president.  Hunt will continue his role as chief operating officer and Mike Dilts will remain chief executive officer and chairman of the board.

Hunt, who will celebrate his 30th year with Shiel Sexton in May 2019, has held numerous positions including estimator, project manager, business development, and vice president of operations.

“The most exciting part of this move is knowing that I am surrounded by a talented, professional and committed team,” said Hunt.  “I am grateful for, and appreciate, the roughly 400 employees and co-owners of Shiel Sexton who have built Shiel Sexton into a powerful, diverse and energetic construction service provider recognized on local and national levels.”

“Kevin is an important member of our leadership team, and a significant part of our success since 1989,” said Dilts.  “Shiel Sexton has a long history of promoting people from within the ranks, and all of us look forward to working with Kevin in his new position.”

IIBTV: New Leadership for Shiel Sexton - YouTube

The SCOOP | April 2019 | More from this issue

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Northeast of downtown Indianapolis sat an old dilapidated Coca-Cola Bottling Plant from the 1930’s. For many years, it was a prestigious factory housing nearly 300 employees. In the 1960’s, the plant relocated to Speedway, Indiana as the old downtown plant was used as storage for several years. Eventually, it was bought out to a developer that has successfully constructed several unique projects in Indianapolis such as the Ironworks Hotel. As many locals saw this site as an eyesore, Hendricks Commercial Properties saw it as an opportunity for growth. 

Massachusetts Avenue “Mass Ave” has rapidly become the hot spot for new restaurants, bars, and entertainment for Indianapolis locals and visitors to the city. The Coca-Cola Plant sits North of all the action at Mass and College Avenue making it a prime location for future development. 

The Bottleworks District will be 12-acres of a busy and lively neighborhood encompassing the spirit of a new downtown community. Preservation of the old, historic buildings will be of high importance during this development and will honor the rich history of Indianapolis in a distinguishably modern way.

Shiel Sexton is part of this neighborhood revitalization on five buildings throughout the Bottleworks District. The buildings will range from office shells, parking garages, and a cinema. Construction has already started on the first phase of construction which will be finished in 2020. Shiel Sexton is excited to be included in one of the largest developments in the history of Indianapolis.  

“The partnership created between Hendricks Commercial Properties and Shiel Sexton is a testament to the hard work and “Expect More” attitude of the many teams that have delivered multiple successful projects.  Hendricks asks for team members by name when new projects are discussed. The new Bottleworks contracts are proof that our teams are delivering a great product:  Preconstruction through Turnover.  Many challenges lie ahead on this complex site.  We are ready to take them on and proud to be part of the project,” states Project Executive, Frank Duck.

You can take a tour at the old Coca-Cola Bottling Plant below! Make sure to check out the Bottleworks District website here to keep updated of what is to come.

The SCOOP | April 2019 | More from this issue

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As part of a project start up, subcontractors must decide how they will provide construction machinery onsite. While buying the equipment may seem like the obvious answer, BAM Rents General Manager Brian Dilts provides insight into how a company can benefit from renting.

BAM has a broad inventory of rentals ranging from dumpsters to earthmoving equipment. Visit the online catalog or call to 317-423-6012 to request a rental quote in minutes.

The SCOOP | April 2019 | More from this issue

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Friday, March 22nd marked the end of Shiel Sexton’s annual United Way Campaign.  The United Way campaign serves as a time for Shiel Sexton employees to give back to the communities that have given us so much. Every year, Shiel Sexton’s SSCares team leads a week full of competition and camaraderie to raise excitement for United Way.  

Both the Indianapolis and Charlotte offices began the campaign with kickoff events. The Indianapolis office celebrated with a breakfast bar – complete with cereal, milk, donuts, fruit and granola bars. United Way of Central Indiana conducted a poverty simulation and provided fabric for Shiel Sexton employees to create tie blankets to benefit Early Learning Indiana. Through this activity, Shiel Sexton was able to produce 15 blankets to the organization. In Charlotte, United Way of Central Carolinas CEO Laura Clark spoke to the group and then they built hygiene kits for the Crisis Assistance Ministry. The morning concluded with a pizza lunch.

On Wednesday, March 20th, 30 employees in the Indianapolis office battled it out during our Cornhole Competition for bragging rights and some United Way swag. Superintendent Tony Eisenhut took home the gold with an impressive 27 beanbags sunk in the hole in the two-minute timeframe. The Charlotte office and jobsites received donuts onsite as a sweet reminder to give to United Way of Central Carolinas.

The Indianapolis office concluded the week with a Souper Bowl. Eight participants brought in soups and chili four their fellow coworkers to taste and judge. Jay Hostetter took first place for the second year in a row with a spicy Jamaican Jerk Chicken Chili. Natalie Shotts followed closely in second place with a traditional homemade chili.  

Though this week was full of fun events, our employees never lost sight of United Way’s vision. The company brought in more than $14,000! 

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As we wrap up Women in Construction week, we recognize how the construction industry is rapidly advancing as a more diverse workplace for women. At Shiel Sexton, we have women represented in all sectors of the company from Executive to Operations to our Labor Force, and everything in between.  We’ve also established a Women’s Networking Group that meets quarterly inviting all women at Shiel Sexton to come together and celebrate camaraderie and provide opportunities for networking and education.   

A few of the hard-working women of Shiel Sexton have opened up to questions about working in the industry, memorable moments, and advice they would pass down to women interested in pursuing construction.  

Why did you choose the construction industry?

Sara Ornelas, Assistant Project Manager: I have always been fascinated with buildings, structures and houses and how they are designed and made when I was growing up.

Chris Dingess, Cost Control Engineer: The construction industry kind of chose me.  I have always been fascinated with the process of seeing structures built from the ground up and all that goes into making that happen.  When I had the opportunity to be a part of it, I jumped into it.

Sarah Galloway, Project Engineer: I grew up doing mission trips with my church. Starting when I was in middle school, we’d drive down to Kentucky to help repair houses. This is where I discovered my love of construction. When I was in high school, I had the opportunity to take Drafting, Architecture, and Construction classes which led me to Ball State for Construction Management.

Amy Fletcher, Safety Manager: I started out in non-profit, and made a change to the construction industry. At first, I was doing administrative and marketing work, and eventually worked towards project management and safety.


How do you think the construction culture is changing for women?

Sara O: Although it is not as common to run into other females in construction, when you do, there is an unspoken attitude of respect towards one another. It is not an easy industry, even for men, but as the world-wide female empowerment movement gets stronger, you appreciate the other females around you who likely deal with the same things as you – even if you don’t know them!

Chris: Just because construction has been a male-dominated industry doesn’t mean it needs to remain so. The diversity that women bring to the industry with different perspectives on everyday activities and different approaches to problem solving is what helps us perform at our best together as a company.  

Sarah G: After spending a year in the field on a jobsite, I have been able to experience what it’s like being a woman in construction more than when I was in an office or in college. I’ve had the opportunity to develop relationships with not only Shiel personnel, but with our on-site subcontractors. By receiving equal respect as men in similar positions, I can see how women in general are being recognized as a new normal in the construction industry.

Amy: There are a lot more women taking positions that were mostly filled by men. Women are taking on a variety of roles in the construction industry. It’s gotten easier for women to receive the respect they deserve in the office and on the jobsite.

What is your most memorable moment working in construction?

Sara O: The best moments in construction for me, as a female in a management role, is when you get out there and talk to workers who get their hands dirty and see things in a different way. Collaboration and communication are critical keys in construction. Those moments do not happen often for me, but it is a good feeling to reach the same goal and have a hand in that experience.

Chris: It’s hard to pick just one. Winning the Timothy J. Sexton Award is probably at the top of the list but working with great people in a good environment makes every day memorable.   Driving by or touring the buildings we’ve built makes me happy and proud to be a part of it all.

Sarah G: It’s more than just a moment, but this past year has been the most memorable. I am working on my first project (Oasis at 56th Senior Living Facility) and have been lucky enough to see it go from the bidding process through completion. I’m so glad I’ve been able to experience it all the way through. It’s been such a great learning experience.

Amy: Before I worked at Shiel Sexton, I was conducting safety routines at a jobsite. The building’s shoring system failed and the roof fell around three feet. Instead of running out of the building, I ran into it to make sure everyone was okay. I then realized how much I enjoyed being in safety. This was one of the scariest and memorable moments for me in construction.

What advice would you give women thinking about pursuing a career in the construction industry?

Sara O: Be patient, try to learn something from every situation- good or bad, and remember you have a voice too! You are there for a reason, even if it doesn’t seem obvious at first.

Chris: Construction is exciting and always changing.  Every day is different and challenging. You interact with a variety of people – vendors, subcontractors, owners and team members almost daily.  I have met some very interesting people.  Construction offers many different types of career paths, from semi- and skilled craft careers, to jobs in operations.  The opportunities for advancement are virtually unlimited, regardless of where you choose to start.

Sarah G: Although you may face challenges in this male dominated industry, we need more women willing to persevere and create a cultural change.

Amy: Construction allows you to be a part of something from design to completion. You take pride in your work and it is a rewarding experience to see and enjoy the finished product. As long as you are strong and hard-working, you will excel.

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Shiel Sexton Project Executive Frank Duck was asked to speak on behalf of the construction industry to the Commercial Real Estate Workshop (CREW) graduate class at IUPUI’s Kelly School of Business.  Topics of discussion for the class revolved around various delivery methods of commercial construction and how the legal contracts for those delivery methods differ. Frank focused on the services Shiel Sexton provides and current projects in motion. Additional presentation topics included:

  • Construction Industry overview and operational career path
  • Critical issues in the development process
  • Delivery methods – General Contractor, Construction Manager, Design-Build, Construction Manager as Agency, Public Private Partnership, and Design-Bid-Build.
  • Current project summaries Shiel Sexton is currently working on.
  • Preconstruction and construction project timelines.

Frank discussed the new Bottleworks District located at the old Coca-Cola site in downtown Indianapolis and the details of Shiel Sexton’s role as the Construction Manager for multiple buildings. The next day, the CREW graduate students toured the Bottleworks District allowing the students to experience the construction site firsthand after seeing so much detail about the project.

Frank Duck, Project Executive

“It was a very engaging group discussion.  These students have a bright future and were inspiring in their approach to the business world and the built environment.  We all had a fun time discussing current topics and issues the broadly affect the industry.  Thank you to moderator John Snell for the invitation to be a part of your CREW!”

Frank provided industry-related knowledge to the students that presents a different perspective on construction fundamentals and how jobsite issues and schedules affect real estate. His teachings reflect a great example of how Shiel Sexton employees go beyond the office and exemplify the “Expect More” attitude.

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Indianapolis kicked off 2019 with a bitter, freezing winter vortex. Temperatures reached a record low, with the cold accentuated with a -40 degrees wind chill. While workers from other industries may only worry about being in the harsh elements as they walk to and from their heated office buildings, many construction workers are spending 8-10 hours a day in extreme conditions. Construction is already a hazardous job but adding intense weather temperatures only adds to the risks. Listed below are tips to keep you safe and warm this winter:

  1. Type of Clothing
    • Wear an adequate amount of clothing to avoid frostbite or hypothermia. Too many layers can cause excess sweating, which can cause more harm than good. Keep in mind a warm balance when choosing work attire. 
    • Avoid cotton as it can soak up moisture from sweat and snow which can allow body heat to escape.
    • The first layer of clothing should be a thin synthetic material, which offers the most protection in trapping body heat. Apply outer layers that are easily removable and waterproof.
  2. Footwear
    • Double up on socks – first layer being a thin, breathable material. Add a second, thick layer like wool.
    • Make sure boots have wiggle room inside them after layering up on socks. Poor circulation to the feet can cause other health issues.
    • Waterproof boots with a removable sole are the best option for dealing with wet, wintery slush.
  3. Health Risks
    • Depending on the temperature and wind chill, warm-up breaks should be taken frequently to avoid injuries, exhaustion, and other serious health risks.
    • Avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol. These chemicals dehydrate the body and can make blood pressure rise. Drinking water throughout the day will keep the body hydrated and balanced. Even though it may be freezing outside, outdoor activities can still cause water loss from sweat.
    • The body needs fuel to keep you warm. Be sure to snack often throughout the day. Proteins, carbs, and healthy fats will keep the body energized and working properly.
  4. Educating Awareness
    • Train employees on how to spot cold stress symptoms such as hypothermia, frostbite, and trench foot is essential to any outdoor workplace.
    • Implement the buddy system on the jobsite can alert a problem faster if someone is at risk of cold stress.
    • Tools and equipment should be covered when not in use with an insulated cover. Gloves should always be worn while using them as well. This protects the life of tools and equipment and keeps hands from cold stress.

Regardless of the time spent outside, these tips can help prevent health problems that could be avoided. Extreme weather can be dangerous to work in but having the right knowledge and awareness can help keep everyone safe until Spring. 

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