Building Future Construction Leaders with BuildWitt and Witech

| November 15, 2021

People are central to everything we do. In the world of dirt moving and construction, every decision and action is perpetuated by the people involved in the project, directly and indirectly. “If we don’t have people, we don’t have anything,” Aaron Witt, CEO and Founder of BuildWitt said during our Building Future Construction Leaders with a People-First Approach webinar. 

Building a strong workforce begins with a dedicated focus on creating a people-first culture that prioritizes developing leaders from within. This focus directly impacts the operations and overall success of the business, both short and long term. 

To put it simply, the stronger your team, the stronger your company. 

People-first is not just a catchy tagline. It’s a core tenet of Propeller and many successful construction and earthworks companies today. That’s why we sat down with BuildWitt CEO and Founder Aaron Witt, Witech Excavating Vice President Nick Frederick, and Propeller Aero CEO Rory San Miguel to dig into what it means to be a strong construction leader and how companies can build future leaders within their own ranks.

During the webinar, Building Future Construction Leaders with a People-First Approach, we discussed: 

  • What it means for a company to be people-first
  • What initiatives help to build a positive work environment for all employees
  • Tips and tricks on reducing turnover
  • Lessons learned in pivoting a work culture to focus on the employee first
  • Live Q&A

Here’s a peek into the conversation. [Note: You can watch the full 60-minute webinar here.]

Can you share a bit about your organization’s journey from a people and values standpoint? 

Witech Excavating: We put together a set of values that we can all get behind as a company. One of the most important values we have is “build with purpose.” In fact, our motto is “Moving dirt with purpose.” We aim to instill a purpose-driven mindset among our people. We want them to approach each day with a purpose that drives their “why” each day. This focus helps our team focus on putting in an honest day’s work, approaching each day with integrity and honesty. This is an important value to our company culture and one that we continue to push to our people and the next generation as well. 

BuildWitt: The dirt world has a remarkable higher purpose. No one could do anything without the work that Nick and his team do. It’s extremely fundamental to society. I think our industry has lost sight of that higher purpose a little bit so it’s important to define it, in words, and get it out into the field. People want to know why they show up to work nowadays. It’s not enough to just get a paycheck. Money is not a great motivator; yet the industry keeps throwing more money at people and it’s not solving the problem. It starts with defining the purpose and getting it out to the team. For example, helping your team members understand that they are not just driving a haul truck, they are building an enormous pad for a warehouse that will distribute goods to Chicago. Another example is the work teams do for landfills. It’s easy to throw trash away and not think twice about it. But with the help of dirt companies, there’s a place for that trash and society can stay clean. So it’s hugely impactful. 

Propeller: We are about 170 people now. I have personally known everyone in the business for a long time now. For years, I spent my time between Sydney, Australia, and Denver, Colorado. Then, when 2020 hit and COVID prevented us all from travelling, that changed. So now there’s a cohort of people who were brought into the business that I don’t know and that feels uncomfortable. The values bring us together, though, even without having met. That said, I’m very excited to get back to the US and hang out with our team. A software company literally only has its people. It’s become crucial for us and our values now drive a lot of the behaviors, day to day. We have essentially a code of conduct that everyone can expect to work by and to experience each other in the same way.

Continue the construction leader conversation

This isn’t the end of the conversation. Nick, Aaron, and Rory continue to discuss real-world strategies and tactics for developing strong leaders and overall teams through a people-first approach. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, building a strong team and culture has never been more important. To say that people are the foundation of the future of construction and earthmoving is not an understatement. To hear all of the advice, anecdotes, and takeaways, check out the on-demand recording of “Building Future Construction Leaders with a People-First Approach [Webinar].” 

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