The ‘Word of the Year’ in our Workplace

     In the words of successful businessman and philanthropist, Richard Branson, “There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.” In 2014, Marriam Webster’s dictionary announced that “culture” was the most popular word of the year. Along with being a popular word, corporate culture has evolved in the business industry over the past few decades.  Before we go too far, one might ask, “What exactly is culture?” According to Mariram Webster, culture can be defined as “a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization.” At Charles C. Brandt Construction, we truly believe that a positive corporate culture involving all of employees and clients is essential to our success.

      For over a century, Charles C. Brandt Construction has been devoted to our employee and client well-being. We have based our culture off of four fundamental core values: client relationships, quality, integrity and fun. We believe that our employees benefit from a positive work environment. Mary Freeman, our accounting clerk, noted that “CCB cares- they are such a caring company. They care about the health and well-being of every employee and I love that I am able to be part of a company with such strong values." As you’ve seen previously on our blog, we recently implemented a corporate wellness campaign entitled “Building Wellness” to help ensure that our employees are being provided with the tools they need to stay well.

     Project Assistant Ruth DiLiberto noted that “one of the things I appreciate most about CCB is the accessibility of upper management. I believe the company owners genuinely care about the employees.” This can be revealed by the presence of the owners in the office, always willing to help out their employees with any kind of project.

 

     As you can tell, CCB takes great pride in a positive workplace environment and culture. Chief Operating Officer Jack Lautenschlager said, “I have always wanted CCB to be a place where you want to go everyday not just have to. I know that we all can’t enjoy every aspect of our jobs but the majority of time we need to enjoy what we do and want to be there. I think we offer such a wide range of services and types of construction to our clients that we are always doing something different so we don’t get bored.” From the availability of upper management to an employee wellness program, CCB promotes a positive culture to its staff and clients. Culture is tough to build, difficult to implement and nearly impossible to change. 

Building Wellness: Constructing a healthier workplace

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The team at Charles C. Brandt Construction has decided it’s time to construct a healthier workplace. In order to insure that our team is well informed about healthy living and given the resources it takes to improve overall wellness, we have implemented a new “Building Wellness” campaign.

          On Wednesday, January 27, all of our employees were invited to attend the first Wellness Seminar of the year presented by a team from American Health and Wellness. The speaker educated our staff about healthy eating and nutrition as well as taking everyone’s weight’s and BMI’s in order to analyze progress in the future. Project Engineer Rob Jones enjoyed the seminar explaining, “I now know that I am at my ideal weight if I was 13 feet tall.” Likewise, Accounting Clerk Mary Freeman appreciated the seminar stating, “I thoroughly enjoyed learning new tips on how to sleep better and eat healthier so that I am feeding my body the nutrients and hydration it needs on a daily basis. I am super excited that Charles C. Brandt Construction is helping me with this wellness campaign to be able to be the best person I can be on a daily basis.”

One the last Wednesday of every month, American Health and Wellness will hold wellness seminars at CCB’s headquarters. Our dedicated health coach will make herself available to our entire staff throughout the entire year in  order to help them set goals and stay on track with the items they have set out to accomplish. Additionally, Charles C. Brandt Construction’s wellness committee that was formed late last year will come up with employee incentives and challenges to keep the entire company engaged.

So what’s the “quick and dirty” of starting wellness program at your company? We believe that the bottom line is quite simple; healthier employees make for a stronger organization. If you’re looking to build a workplace with more staff camaraderie, greater productivity, and less absenteeism, and organization-wide wellness initiative can help you get there. And the gravy? Lower insurance costs.  "We want our workforce to be healthy and happy and to know that we're concerned about their well-being," Kelly Ann Janssen says. "There are organizations that use these kinds of programs as a recruiting tool, and we're trying to become one of the most desirable companies to work for in Indiana. It’s one more way that we can show how dedicated we are to strengthening our workforce.”

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Importance of Vocational Education in America

Contributed by our friends at CraftForce In 1983, an investigation by the National Commission on Excellence in Education found that our education system was failing our citizens. A slew of education reforms followed that report, which led to some great changes for our nation’s students and teachers. During these reforms, I think we underestimated the importance of our vocational programs, which might have contributed to what the Industry Workforce Needs Coalition calls a skills gap. This means that we have created an environment in which much of the baby boomer generation is retiring from jobs that don’t have skilled replacements ready to step into their shoes. Others have echoed what the Coalition is saying, like Fox Business,“Positions in skilled trades, such as welders and electricians, lead ManpowerGroup's list of the hardest jobs to fill in 2012.” This is a problem. 

So what can we do to change this environment, especially as our economy picks up after the recession? Maybe we should turn our thinking to the fact that many viable careers in our country don’t require a traditional four-year degree. Maybe we should change our part of our approach to vocational education and recognize that skilled trades jobs require trained professionals just like anything else. Jobs are available, and many organizations are out there to help you prepare for them. Companies likeNCCEROSHAAWS, and, Unions offer educational programs that focus on important knowledge and skills for this industry. If you don’t have a program close to you, check out a community college in your area and don’t forget to stop by the financial aid office to ask about any scholarships that may be available. The information is out there and the jobs are out there, but it’s up to you to pick a path and get educated on the possibilities!

- Written by the folks at CraftForce

CANwhat? CANstruction!

If you're a Hoosier then you know that the Indiana State Fair is much more than a month of going downtown to see animals and ride the Ferris wheel. You can find almost anything at the Fair, it's actually pretty ridiculous.

Take your pick from the plethora of unhealthy food surrounding you (Do I want fried Twinkies or fried Oreo's today? hmm...). See your favorite bands perform at the Free Stage. You're a country music fan? Great! Enjoy music from Rodney Atkins, Frankie Ballard or Big & Rich, completely free of charge. Not so into country but love the oldies? You'd probably like KC & The Sunshine Band, Rusted Root and The Village People. It's amazing the variety of concerts, food, animals and rides that you'll find at the State Fair.

And don't forget about corn! This is Indiana and what's the Indiana State Fair without a delicious ear of buttery corn?! (Nothing, that's what.)

All of this is great but at the CCB office there is one State Fair event in particular that we gear up for all year... 

CANstruction.

CANstruction is a charity event that is held in hundreds of cities across the world. Construction companies and architecture firms team up in their respective areas to create imaginative, exciting and relevant structures made entirely from cans.

The organization's mission: "to feed and inspire the world- one can at a time." CANstruction is the perfect way to combine two of CCB's favorite things: construction and philanthropy.

All of the cans used during CANstruction at the Indiana State Fair go straight to Gleaner's Food Bank of Indiana

There is no other project like it, which is one reason we find it so exciting. We were lucky enough to work with arcDESIGN for yet another amazing CANproject collaboration (see what I did there?). Since the Fair's theme this year is "Year of the Farmer" we decided to combine a classic painting, American Gothic, with everyone's favorite tiny yellow movie stars, the Minions!

Nine hours of precise can placement and very few bump-spills later (phew!) we completed our Minion farmers! 

Head to the Fair to see our FARMinion creation and many others at the Harvest Pavilion!

PS- You're wondering what the Minions' hair is made out of, aren't you? Beef jerky, of course!


Energy from Amazon Wind Farm Used to Power Data Centers

COO Jack Lautenschlager and Superintendent Gary Stansberry in Fowler.

CONCRETE:

One of many specialties we possess at Charles C. Brandt. We have begun an exciting project in Fowler, Indiana at the Amazon Wind Farm. Our job in this big-scale endeavor is to pour concrete foundations for the transformer substations. 

These transformers take the energy that the windmill generates and deliver it to the electrical grid.

We became aware of the job thanks to electrical subcontractor Casteel Corporation, out of Pennsylvania, who we have done work with before. 

The wind farm will contain 65 turbines.

The wind farm will contain 65 turbines.

Facts on the Project:

Officially called Amazon Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge), this plant will be home to 65 American made wind turbines. The energy it produces is expected to generate 500,000 megawatt hours of wind power annually, enough to power 50,000 for an entire year. This power will supply Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers with energy. 

A few years ago, Amazon made a commitment to power all of their data centers using strictly renewable energy. This wind farm is one step of many the company is taking to become more environmentally friendly and we are so excited to be involved.

CCB Project Manager Lindsay Fernandez will work along side Project Engineer James Jackson, Project Assistant Ruth DiLiberto, Superintendent Gary Stansberry and labor foreman Tom Drouillard.


Third Jockamo Pizza Opens at Fort Harrison

Jockamo Pizza | Indianapolis, IN

Owners Bob Stark and Mick McGrath of the local Jockamo Pizzeria approached us in October of 2013 to do renovation work at their original location in Irvington. It opened in 2007 and was in need of a makeover. They had purchased the storefront next door and wanted to expand their main seating area and add a bar to create a space with more options and greater flexibility. The problem was that for years the space's previous owner hadn't done a great job of taking care of it. That's where we came in. Cue the superhero-themed music.

The pizzeria stayed open during the renovation, keeping both the owners and the customers happy. It was a quick but important job and we were able to show our efficiency and dedication to such a degree that we were eventually asked back to build-out their newest location at 56th Street and Lawrence Village Parkway.

“This project was obviously going to go to Charles C. Brandt again because of the quick time frame and the way that they worked with us at our Irvington location.”
— Marshall, GM of Jockamo's Lawrence Location


Of superintendent Kevin Hartman, Marshall says, "He was great, easy to work with and available literally on a Friday night when something was wrong, which happened our first Friday."

From the time we arrived on site, it took about 8 weeks to complete. The space, that is now open for business, looks amazing inside and out. It contains a main dining room, a large room off the kitchen, a patio, and a bar area (see photos below). 

Apart from the Lawrence and Irvington locations, Jockamo has a third in Greenwood. Head to your nearest Jockamo pizza to try their delicious specialty pies- our favorite's the Cheese Louise!


Metropolis Transforms into The Shops at Perry Crossing

Metropolis Mall Redevelopment Project | Plainfield, IN

We have been seeing changes all across the Indianapolis area in the last couple of years. Everything from incredible orangutan exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo to the RebuildIndy initiative, our city has been getting a makeover and boy, is it looking good! Here at Charles C. Brandt, we, too, strive to help make Indy the best it can be in any way that we can. 

One exciting way we are doing this is by helping to convert the Metropolis Lifestyle Center into The Shops at Perry Crossing

Originally established in October of 2005, Metropolis has been a staple in the Plainfield area ever since. It was somewhere residents could appreciate different types of cuisines, a variety of shops, and plenty of movies for all ages to enjoy. Nearly ten years later, the lifestyle center is being fully renovated and the city has high hopes that it will be a beneficial tourist attraction.  

Poag Shopping Centers, a development company based in Memphis that is often credited with the creation of the term “lifestyle center,” purchased the space in early 2014 and ground was broken for renovation on May 6 of this year. A lifestyle center essentially combines the basic functions of a retail shopping center with more leisurely activities of everyday life. It's a place where families, couples, and groups of all sorts can appreciate the relaxing atmosphere.

Poag also purchased seven acres of vacant land located south of the mall for potential expansion purposes.

This extensive project will be completed in November of this year, so make sure to keep an eye out for details on the grand reopening! This will be a great chance for everyone to come out and see the new space while celebrating the new and exciting opportunities it holds for the community.

We look forward to seeing you at The Shops at Perry Crossing in a few short months. Until then, continue enjoying the shops at Metropolis!

From Left to Right : CCB Superintendent Dustin Brooksire, Project Manager Dustin Corbett, President Steve Lankton


Energy Efficiency & How it Can Significantly Increase Cost Savings

Energy efficiency and savings are ever-present topics in the construction world and its no different at Charles C. Brandt. Just last month Rob Annee from Flex Green Lighting came to our office to discuss ways we can provide smart solutions in regards to both energy and cost savings. (Is this true? Or was he just looking at our lights?)

Flex Green is an Indianapolis-based consulting company and distributor of LED lights. They work directly with contractors and architecture firms to provide energy savings and solutions for businesses. With many years of experience, Flex Green has been a pioneer both in the Indianapolis area as well as across the country in providing businesses with LED technology and the knowledge to improve overall energy savings.

Just by switching to LED lighting our clients are able to reduce energy consumption by up to 80 percent.
— Rob Annee

Annee says that just by switching to LED lighting their clients are able to reduce energy consumption by up to 80 percent. And with energy costs always rising, the ROIs of these projects are exceptionally quick.

CCB Understands the Importance of Being Green

CCB Understands the Importance of Being Green

Flex Green also regularly helps companies achieve LEED certifications. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is a 'green rating system' of sorts that is used to asses buildings.

Being LEED certified can save businesses money as well as resources. The certification process looks at everything from what materials were used in the building's construction to how the energy of the building is created and even down to the satisfaction and health of its employees. It truly is an all encompassing certification program that is recognized nationally.

By making just a few small, but crucial, changes can significantly improve efficiency and save more money than one would think in the long run.


CCB on Safety

Charles C. Brandt Construction | Metropolis Mall Redevelopment Project

Safety is always the first thing on our minds at Charles C. Brandt, and we have the record to prove it. Our team has gone nearly 10 years without a ‘lost time accident.’ What this means is that no employee has suffered a work-related accident or injury that prevented them from coming back to their job the next day.

We are one of only a few MICCS qualified general contractors.
— Jack Lautenschlager

We are one of a few MICCS qualified general contractors. MICCS (Metro Indianapolis Coalition for Construction Safety) is an organization that helps construction companies and their jobsites avoid injuries and illnesses. We work with MICCS on a weekly basis to ensure the safety of our employees and anyone else who might visit one of our jobsites.

Within the company, we do quite a few different weekly activities that promote safety and keep the topic ever-present in our minds:

Toolbox Talk- Chuck's Safety Minute

This is a fun and informative article that employees receive weekly. The contents are discussed, either in the office or in the field, and each employee must acknowledge that they have read and understand what was talked about. This is an easy way to get everyone involved in safety updates and any concerns for the week.

Near-Miss Hotline

The near-miss hotline is a tool that is both helpful and simple to use. If someone witnesses a situation where an accident could have occurred but didn't, they call the hotline and report it. Then, each Monday superintendents get a list of the near misses for the week and they discuss them with their teams, making sure to avoid any unnecessary injuries.

Weekly Job Safety Analysis

This is specific to our employees working on site. Each team looks at what they will be doing that week and creates a list of the safety concerns that should be on their minds. They then construct (get it?!) ways that they will address these concerns, in turn preventing potential accidents and injuries.

Along with these weekly tasks taken to ensure safety, there are also a number of annual trainings that occur, including first aid and CPR, competent person fall protection, fork lift training, and other required OSHA trainings.

Visit the safety page of our website for more information.