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Millennials in Construction

In this third episode of In Practice, Jake sheds light on what it’s like to be a millennial in construction with the hopes that his experience will give young people a glimpse into what it’s actually like working in construction today.
Written by Catie Wheeler
Greiner Construction
Millennials in Construction

Host Heather Weerheim sits down with Jake Geroux, a carpenter foreman here at Greiner (who happens to be a millennial) to talk about what it’s like to work in the construction field as a member of a younger generation.

This is a common topic in our space, as we experience labor shortages in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry – it’s important we listen to the needs of young people to create roles and cultures that align with their needs.

In this third episode of In Practice, Jake sheds light on what it’s like to be a millennial in construction with the hopes that his experience will give young people a glimpse into what it’s actually like working in construction today.

From One Family Business to Another

Jake wasn’t always sure he wanted to get into construction even though his father had his own construction firm. There was added pressure in school, from staff and students, to go to college instead of pursuing a career in the trades. On top of that, vo-tech schools were starting to decline in attendance and many were forced to close their doors. College was the clear choice.

After one semester, and like many other young people, Jake learned college was not for him – so he joined his father’s construction firm. The small, tight-knit team his father had put together gave him a solid work environment and afforded him the opportunity to build his understanding of the trade.

With aspirations of becoming a superintendent one day, Jake decided to leave his father’s company and joined the team at Greiner as an apprentice carpenter.

Learning From Tenured Experts

The transition from a smaller firm to a larger one can be intimidating: higher stakes, increased complexity, and greater expectations. The move, as Jake describes it, was made easier thanks to the guidance of several of our team members (Superintendents Josh Vlieger, Josh Helgesen, and Dan Long respectively), all of whom provided real insight and necessary feedback to help him along.

Overall Jake has been able to learn through osmosis and has taken his array of experiences to create something special.

And that’s why it’s essential to find an organization with team members that are willing to take new talent under their wing, make them feel welcome, and to be there if there are challenges.

Jake’s Recommendations

In the past there has been a decline in younger people going into the trades but Jake is hopeful that this trend is switching. Things are already looking up as schools are beginning to encourage students to get involved in the trades. There are more programs in high school and there are plenty of opportunities to get into the field.

When looking for a career path it is important to learn what you do want to do and what you don’t want to do. 

As more young people enter into the construction field they may learn that they don’t want to be a carpenter but being an estimator sounds interesting. Or, as they work on construction projects for clients they might be inspired by what a client does and decide to go to school for that. 

Luckily for young people there are opportunities everywhere, union and non-union. On the union side the first step is to call the union hall to see who is hiring and who is able to sponsor you. From there you enter the apprenticeship program and gain experience in school and out in the field, building connections in the field as you go. 

If construction sounds like the right career path for you, Jake has some tips to share from his own work experience. Learn more about what it takes to succeed on a crew, how to present yourself, and how to grow in the field. 

Take constructive criticism. When working on a site there is no time to read between the lines. People are direct and will give constructive criticism as needed. To be successful you can’t let it get to you. Jake’s advice: take it as it comes and use that feedback to do better. 

Be presentable. Just because there is a stigma that construction is “dirty work” doesn’t mean it’s the truth. You should look nice and be presentable (no you don’t have to wear a tux to a job site). Show up to work in clean clothes. Sure, you may get dirty during the day and end up leaving covered in sawdust and caulking, but when you get there in the morning you should look presentable. Remember, you are representing your company when at work and a slobby appearance won’t cut it.

Take accountability for yourself and your team. Construction is all about teamwork with each member of the team looking out for each other. Be accountable not only for your own actions but those of your team as well because in the end, the final product is reflective of your team as a whole (and the company). 

Build Connections. Whether working for a client or meeting up with fellow industry partners, making connections with people can get you far. As you develop your career in the industry you’ll connect with people and develop relationships that could lead to additional opportunities. You never know who you’ll meet.

Summary

Whether your interests lay in the trades or in an office, pursuing any career can be difficult. Finding the right path for yourself takes a little trial and error and lots of learning through experience. 

Once you have figured out what type of work is best for you, you can focus on building a meaningful career. And it doesn’t hurt to have some really strong mentors by your side, helping you along the way. 

Through Greiner’s In Practice series we are continuing to learn and educate others on the construction field and look forward to seeing Jake and fellow millennials pave their own paths in this industry.

Transcript

Heather Weerheim (00:00):

Welcome to Greiner’s In Practice podcast series. Today, we’re going to talk to Jake Geroux, a carpenter foreman and millennial at Greiner construction to talk about what it’s like to work in the field. Well, Jake we’ll get started and I’m going to throw you my softball question for you. And I’m so happy that you’re here first off, happy to be here. Well, the reason I’m happy you’re here is because I noticed right away at one of our industry events that we had, that you’re younger. And I can say that I think it’s, I’m in a safe place that I can say that. And the reason I’m excited about your age is because in this industry right now, there’s labor shortage. There’s fear that people are not wanting to join the field and incomes Jake. But anyway, in practice series is really about why we called it in practice is because we’re learning, we’re growing, we’re educating. And I want to know every day, what do you do in practice? What are you, how are you trying to improve yourself? How are you learning? How are you growing?

 

Jake Geroux (00:56):

Ooh, I think just the efficiency. I think it’s the biggest thing in our industry is being efficient. So everyday I just want to be more efficient than I was the day before. And I think if you’re efficient, you’re going to make money and everyone’s happy. Isn’t that the goal here? Happy customer. Everyone makes money. Yeah.

Extend Full Transcript

Heather Weerheim (00:00):

Welcome to Greiner’s In Practice podcast series. Today, we’re going to talk to Jake Geroux, a carpenter foreman and millennial at Greiner construction to talk about what it’s like to work in the field. Well, Jake we’ll get started and I’m going to throw you my softball question for you. And I’m so happy that you’re here first off, happy to be here. Well, the reason I’m happy you’re here is because I noticed right away at one of our industry events that we had, that you’re younger. And I can say that I think it’s, I’m in a safe place that I can say that. And the reason I’m excited about your age is because in this industry right now, there’s labor shortage. There’s fear that people are not wanting to join the field and incomes Jake. But anyway, in practice series is really about why we called it in practice is because we’re learning, we’re growing, we’re educating. And I want to know every day, what do you do in practice? What are you, how are you trying to improve yourself? How are you learning? How are you growing?

Jake Geroux (00:56):

Ooh, I think just the efficiency. I think it’s the biggest thing in our industry is being efficient. So everyday I just want to be more efficient than I was the day before. And I think if you’re efficient, you’re going to make money and everyone’s happy. Isn’t that the goal here? Happy customer. Everyone makes money. Yeah.

Heather Weerheim (01:10):

Yeah. Can you tell me a little bit about your background of why you became a carpenter and what interests you? Was it childhood? Did you grow up? Did you have a mentor?

Jake Geroux (01:18):

Yeah, my father owns his own construction company and he has for 30 plus years now. I fought it. I didn’t want to be a carpenter. I thought I wanted to pave my own path. Didn’t want to just fall into that rut. So I fought it for a long time. I tried to go to college was not for me. I went for a semester and then I showed up at the office, my old man’s shop one day and he didn’t ask any questions and he just said, you’re ready to go to work there. I was.

Heather Weerheim (01:48):

What did you think you were going to study?

Jake Geroux (01:50):

Oh, I had no idea. That was the problem. I was just at school

Heather Weerheim (01:53):

Because that’s what everyone else was doing.

Jake Geroux (01:53):

Yeah, I didn’t have a plan. I just showed up and figured it would work itself out. It doesn’t work that way

Heather Weerheim (02:03):

Now were you inspired by your friends to go to college and was that the expectation that maybe your teacher set?

Jake Geroux (02:08):

Not inspired by my friends, but definitely the school system was starting to be shaped that way. When I was coming through high school they pressed college so much that you had to, you weren’t going to make anything for yourself if you didn’t go to college. And a lot of the vo-tech programs are actually starting to shut down as I was graduating high school and some of the vo-tech schools. So

Heather Weerheim (02:27):

Popularity of it had changed.

Jake Geroux (02:29):

And I think they were guiding the kids in a different path. So not everyone thought that it was a not a good path to go into the blue collar trades.

Heather Weerheim (02:39):

Yeah. Understood. So then tell me, was your dad’s company was at residential commercial construction, residential,

Jake Geroux (02:46):

Some light commercial, but mostly residential, single family homes.

Heather Weerheim (02:49):

Okay. And union or non-union

Jake Geroux (02:51):

Non-union. Small shop.

Heather Weerheim (02:52):

So how long did you work for your Dad?

Jake Geroux (02:53):

Five years. Before I came here.

Heather Weerheim (02:56):

Okay. And what did that transition look like? Was your dad offended or was there a rift? Was there something that happened?

Jake Geroux (03:03):

Yeah, he’s a stubborn guy. He would never say there was a riff he’ll – If you were to ask him right now, he’d tell you that he supported a hundred percent and it was the best decision I’ve made but yeah it was a little weird for a little while and actually what got us over. That was my grandfather had a stroke Christmas Eve morning. So my mom normally handles the food. Well, she had to go see him in the hospital. So here, me and my old man are in the kitchen cooking Christmas dinner. So we had to put things aside that day squash the beef we had to, we had to,

Heather Weerheim (03:41):

That’s a really cute story. And why did you, how’d you find Greiner

Jake Geroux (03:46):

Through Josh Vlieger actually. So his wife was a nurse for a friend of mine’s sister. So conversation got rolling one day and he just kinda extended the olive branch. And I nibbled on it for awhile for a couple of months. And then I called him and said, Hey, I think I want to make the transition.

Heather Weerheim (04:05):

That’s great. And if people don’t know Josh Vlieger is, has been in our office, oh God, he’s worked for Greiner for probably 15 years. And I think his father worked here before him. And he also has a brother that works at Greiner. So it’s really fun to pass on that family tradition and to keep it going. And then he extended it to you. And it really does. I hope it feels like family here. I think it does at Greiner

Jake Geroux (04:27):

And coming from you know, my father’s company, he runs a very, I mean, I can’t complain any way how he ran his company and Greiner and him run almost exact same. So it feels, it feels like family. That’s a good way to put it.

Heather Weerheim (04:39):

So, what was your title when you started at Greiner?

Jake Geroux (04:42):

I was a carpenter apprentice, carpenter when I first started.

Heather Weerheim (04:44):

Okay. And then you go through the union process, right. And what does that look like?

Jake Geroux (04:49):

The school you have? I think it’s once a quarter, you go in for a week of schooling. You got to document your hours that you work too. So you need, I think, 7,000 hours. And I forget how many classrooms or is it is, but for four years, once a quarter

Heather Weerheim (05:02):

For four years? Yes. Okay. So you’ve been at Greiner now for how long?

Jake Geroux (05:06):

I’ve been at Greiner for three and a half years. Okay. Since I came in with experience, I started part of the way through the apprenticeship program.

Heather Weerheim (05:15):

And a congratulations is an order because you were recently promoted

Jake Geroux (05:21):

I was thank you.

Heather Weerheim (05:21):

And what is your new title now.

Jake Geroux (05:23):

I am a foreman

Heather Weerheim (05:23):

And why do you think that you were made a foreman?

Jake Geroux (05:25):

I think the accountability, I just take it on the chin. If something goes wrong, I don’t pass the buck. I just hold myself accountable.

Heather Weerheim (05:35):

I love that. And I’m sure Josh Helgeson appreciates that about you too,

Jake Geroux (05:38):

I would hope so. Yes.

Heather Weerheim (05:39):

Awesome. Can you feel a responsibility shift already with this new title or is it still kind of in the works?

Jake Geroux (05:46):

I felt that before I got the promotion, I think there was kind of a test run before for that. And I could feel not the pressure, but I could feel the responsibility being given to me.

Heather Weerheim (05:56):

That’s awesome. And then what do you feel like, what are you going to achieve next? Or what are, what do you look forward To is you, do you want to climb the ladder? Do you want to climb the ranks?

Jake Geroux (06:01):

I want to be a superintendent. That’s my goal here. And I think when I interviewed with Josh almost four years ago, that was what I told him. I said, I’d like to be a superintendent someday.

Heather Weerheim (06:13):

When do you need to do in order to get to that point?

Jake Geroux (06:16):

Oh, I think my big thing is experience obviously. I mean, I’m still young. That’s why some of the things that people have seen or done, I haven’t just because I haven’t had a chance to. So to me that’s the big thing I need to acquire. I’m sure there’s other traits too, that I can work on, but that’s a big one personally. It’s just the experience taking it all in.

Heather Weerheim (06:35):

Now the purpose of this podcast, I really wanted people to understand, like as a young-in what it looks like to work in the field. Cause I think there’s a stigma that maybe it’s a dirty job or that it doesn’t pay well. And so I want you to compare, I’m sure you have friends that work in an office and I’m curious to know when you have conversations with your friends, like on a Friday, what, what are those you’re having beer? Let’s say, how do you drink When you’re having some Busch lights with your friends on a Friday? What their tone of those, do they work? Do you have friends at work in the office?

Jake Geroux (07:09):

I have friends that work both in the construction field and some in the office as well.

Heather Weerheim (07:13):

And do they seem happy and content with their jobs?

Jake Geroux (07:17):

Yeah, I would say they do. I just, I say the biggest difference between the two would be the way they take criticism. Oh, people in the office, they just don’t take it as well. And if their superior is a little frustrated with them, it just ruins everything for them. It’s complaining. And it’s like the guys that are in the field, they’re like, oh, that’s just suck it up. Just how it is. You know, you’re just being held accountable for your actions. If you’re not doing something right. Well then it’s their job to tell you that you’re not doing something right. Don’t take it so personal.

Heather Weerheim (07:49):

I love that. You say that. And I also think, well, I wanted to bring you on here at first. I thought maybe you were a gen Z, but that’s because I am a geriatric millennial. I don’t know if you’ve heard that term. So we’re both millennials and I feel like it’s kind of hard to put us in that category, but maybe we’re closer. And maybe I just want to pretend that I’m closer in age. Cause it would be fun to be younger. But anyway so I’m considered a geriatric millennial I’m on the older end of the millennial scale while you’re younger. And I almost thought that you were a gen Z, but when I think about that criticism in the office or how they’re handling the criticism in the office, it’s kind of a typical millennial way of handling things in the office or how that attitude. So I like, I hope that that continues in the field, your attitude, that it’s like, if Josh tells you how it is, you accept it. You figure out how to make it better and you move on where I think millennials a lot in the office are, they want praise. They want to feel good. They want continuous. Like,

Jake Geroux (08:47):

And there’s a lot of yeah, like, well, they said this and I’m trying to read between the lines on what they might’ve meant, where the guys that like me and the work in the field, it’s like, we don’t like to read between the lines. Tell us exactly how it is. So we’re not trying to guess. And it’s just cut and dry.

Heather Weerheim (09:01):

Yeah. There probably shouldn’t be any guessing in the field. Nope.

Jake Geroux (09:04):

I don’t think there should be any guessing anywhere. Things can be a lot simpler than we make them, I think, but that’s a different topic.

Heather Weerheim (09:11):

So then I want to talk about different generations in the workforce. So would you say that there are not a lot of guys in the field that are millennials? Or do you think that there’s?

Jake Geroux (09:22):

I guess I wouldn’t say that. I think you’re starting to see some more now I would think.

Heather Weerheim (09:26):

And why do you think that is? Do you think there’s a trend or is it just by

Jake Geroux (09:34):

That’s a good question. I guess I’m not sure as to why I wonder, I know. I mean I have younger sisters and siblings and they have started now pushing a lot of the blue collar, the vo-tech and the trade stuff back in the school again and have more programs in the high schools and things of that nature. So maybe that could be it. But I guess I can’t can’t call it.

Heather Weerheim (09:55):

I wanted to know I had in my questions here, what do you think of the older generation of fields now? Are you in a safe place to answer that

Jake Geroux (10:07):

And maybe we’re spoiled here at Greiner, but it’s the type of people that we hire more than anything. So really good group of guys and they helped me through my transition because I remember coming downtown, I had never worked downtown and they’re oh, just parking, come in. The loading dock, drop your tools off. I’m like, where’s the loading dock? Where do I park am I parking on the street? They don’t park in a ramp. Okay. Well where do I park? And that’s the type of stuff that the older generation really helped me with that how to work. The Skyway is a big one because a lot of our projects were, you could get to via Skyway. So it’s a lot of the things like that that I think they help the younger generation with. Yeah, they teach you things in the field. Obviously they have more experience, but the big thing is some of the non trade stuff that you learned from them.

Heather Weerheim (10:54):

Yeah. Because I have experienced in the past or I’ve heard that some of the older generation sometimes would maybe hide stuff. I think this is more of the building engineers where they for job security, they maybe kind of make you figure it out and not show you everything just because they want to make sure that they stay relevant. Are you seeing any of that or is it,

Jake Geroux (11:15):

I see it with some of our other trade partners, not necessarily with us. I think we have a lot of guys that are very secure in their roles and know that they’re appreciated here at Greiner. They don’t feel like they have to hide anything from us younger kids, cause we’re going to take their spot or anything. And I mean the opportunity to grow and Greiner’s for anybody. So it’s, if they wanted to be a foreman and be a superintendent, the opportunity was there for them. So it’s not, I don’t know, not as cutthroat here as maybe it is other places.

Heather Weerheim (11:44):

I think there are opportunities. Cause obviously the more work that we get, then there’s more opportunities that we are going to need more superintendents and more people in leadership. So I think you’re in a really great spot to succeed. I agree. I want to know what does a typical day look like for you?

Jake Geroux (11:59):

So I’m in our ground up division. So I don’t necessarily deal with as many of our carpenters, as some other foreman will. But if they’re on our site, then they’re under my supervision just to make sure they’re on task and doing things efficiently. And the quality is there. That’s the big thing. And then it’s just working with our trade partners, a lot of their foreman, just making sure that things are being built according to plan, but also keeping the flow of the project, which is huge. I mean, in any project, but when you get into these apartment buildings, keeping, making sure they can hop right to the next part of the project without having to leave or anything like that.

Heather Weerheim (12:36):

Exactly. Okay. So what time does your alarm go off?

Jake Geroux (12:40):

Five o’clock.

Heather Weerheim (12:41):

And what time are you in your car?

Jake Geroux (12:43):

A little after 5:30. Okay.

Heather Weerheim (12:44):

I’m always jealous of guys working in the field where you’re get ready time is pretty, there’s no makeup. There’s no, there’s no ironing in your outfit.

Jake Geroux (12:56):

You had brought up the the dirty job. I wanted to comment on that. You think I don’t like that stigma that comes with it because yes there is. You’re going to get dirty sometimes. I mean, I leave I’m I’m dirty. You got sawdust you got caulkings and silicones and all that stuff. But what drives me nuts is when like a plumber at a gas station this morning, right? He’s obviously just starting his day, grabbing his coffee and donuts and he has the dirtiest attire on it. Doesn’t have to be that way. We can get a bad rep because of it. I mean, you just wear somewhat clean clothes, you know, you don’t have to have that dirty shirt that you’re wearing all week and you know, it’s not that tough.

Heather Weerheim (13:32):

I totally, I agree with you because when I, as a project manager, I look at all the different trades and I’m like, oh, what would I, what would I do if I was in the field? And I think people don’t realize how much commercial plumbers really make, they can make really nice money. And a lot of times, if they’re working in a new construction project and ground up job, they’re not working in actual grossness at that time they’re they’re putting together a new building, it’s new pipe, it’s new everything. Maybe that guy that plumber today just wanted to,

Jake Geroux (14:01):

But I see it all the time. And it’s just, I mean, it’s not that tough to put on a clean shirt and I mean, you’re a representation of your company too, which is

Heather Weerheim (14:09):

take some pride in your work. Exactly. I like that. Okay. So then I wanted to know. Okay, you’re in your car by 5:30. What time do you get to the job site?

Jake Geroux (14:18):

About 6:15. I’m usually there 6:15 to 6:30.

Heather Weerheim (14:21):

Okay. And when can you wrap up your day?

Jake Geroux (14:24):

Before typically 3:30 to 4:00, depending on who’s still onsite and what we have going,

Heather Weerheim (14:28):

Do you feel like as your role changes from foreman to superintendent, those hours will get longer or they have some more pressures?

Jake Geroux (14:36):

Yeah, I think it would get longer. I mean, try to be the first one there and last one to leave

Heather Weerheim (14:41):

And then I wanted to know to technology. So you going to school for a year? Or to college a semester. Sorry. And then working for your dad, which I’m assuming? I, I can’t imagine that he’s very tech savvy, but maybe I’m speaking out of turn

Jake Geroux (15:00):

He is with his with his programs that he uses for you know, he, he designs everything as well. So a lot of his CAD programs, very tech savvy, but,

Heather Weerheim (15:09):

Okay. So then did you feel, did you come to Greiner with an advantage that you

Jake Geroux (15:12):

Absolutely not. Oh, no. I, for being 27, I should be a lot more well-versed in technology and I’m not, I mean, I can learn if someone shows me, I learned I pick up on it. I’m not completely inept, but I don’t just come with this. I don’t know. Like everyone in my, my age is really good at technology and I’m not, if I had like, I have an iPhone other than pro core, I mean, I could do phone calls and text messages and that’d be it. So

Heather Weerheim (15:40):

Do you have a computer? Do you have a laptop?

Jake Geroux (15:42):

I have a surface.

Heather Weerheim (15:45):

And do you use it

Jake Geroux (15:45):

At Work.

Heather Weerheim (15:48):

I asked my, so my husband is a superintendent. I don’t know if you’ve met him yet. And I asked him how I can support him in his career as a Sup. Cause he’s taken a little bit of a he’s, he’s being elevated in his role. He was an assistant Sup and now a Sup. So there’s expectations of technology. And anyway, I just said, how can I support you in this new role? Because I know you’re going to be working more. And he said computer stuff, if there’s, if there’s schedules or Excel spreadsheets or something that he needs help with. And I’m like, I can do that.

Jake Geroux (16:17):

And thankfully the, a lot of the office staff here at Greiner, I’m just a phone call to one of them. And they’re more than happy to help.

Heather Weerheim (16:25):

It’s also amazing what you can do from an iPhone. Oh, that’s incredible. Yeah. And pro core because it can easily upload and do all the things.

Heather Weerheim (16:32):

Who’s your role model?

Jake Geroux (16:34):

My role model would definitely be my father. I try to carry a lot of the traits that he carries himself or tries to teach us kids. So I follow him quite a bit. And then I’ve also taken a liking to Dan long here in the company. I liked the way he, his day to day operation, the way he treats people, the way he runs a job. He’s really big on the whole clean image thing too. Like example I was coming into the office and he’s like, you’re going to the office tomorrow, clean shirt, clean jeans, your representation of the Redwell crew. Cause that’s where we were working at the time. He’s like, I want you to represent our team properly. So it was, those would be my two, not Josh Helgeson.

Heather Weerheim (17:21):

We can say that. Cause Josh is in the room right now. And we like to razz Josh, which is fun, but we’ll get to him next. Actually I want to go back again to when you’re drinking Busch lights with your friends that maybe work in an office job. Do you guys ever talk about salary?

Jake Geroux (17:34):

Not too often. To me that’s a personal thing. I don’t know. They all seem to be fine in their lives, so they all have houses and cars and things of that nature that they don’t seem to be struggling to pay for.

Heather Weerheim (17:50):

Do you have a house and a car?

Jake Geroux (17:51):

I have two vehicles and I’m in the house search right now.

Heather Weerheim (17:54):

Congratulations. That’s fun

Jake Geroux (17:56):

I’m probably going to amp it up a little more next summer. Let things kind of come through the winter, but yeah, the

Heather Weerheim (18:02):

Housing market was a little bit crazy

Jake Geroux (18:03):

I’m in the starting blocks.

Heather Weerheim (18:05):

So you feel like when you’re hanging out with your friends that you can compare as far as, you know, keeping up with the Joneses, like you can take vacations just like they can and

Jake Geroux (18:12):

Yeah. Especially here at Greiner, the union, I don’t think in our contract has a set vacation. We have a vacation fund, but no, like designated time off. So you can get two weeks a year or anything like that. Right. But with Greiner, they’ve always preached that, Hey, take the time to be with your family. Go take some time for yourself. No days off are really ever denied. As long as you don’t abuse it by any means, then you might get, you know, a funny look. But other than that, they’ve always encouraged it, which is, which is great. Especially as a younger person, you’re always kind of afraid like, Ooh, I took two months ago, I took two days off. Can I take a little time off now? And it’s never been an issue here it’s actually encouraged, which is back to the, where we started with the whole family feel.

Heather Weerheim (18:51):

Yeah. You need to have, I think oh, that work-life balance is important to be successful.

Jake Geroux (18:57):

And I think that’s another with the younger generation, I think when they get into the trades that they won’t have that, that they’re going to work 10 hours a day, every day, sometimes on the weekends, can’t take time off and that’s just, it’s not true. And it’s part of, that’s the company you work for.

Heather Weerheim (19:12):

Yeah. The type of culture. Right? That’s, what’s one of the biggest lessons that you learned here or on the job site that you’re like, oh, I’m never going to do that again.

Jake Geroux (19:25):

Oh, I probably got a couple. I just don’t know which one I’d want to share.

Heather Weerheim (19:30):

We can edit it out if needed.

Jake Geroux (19:35):

Shoot. Can we come back to that. Yeah.

Heather Weerheim (19:39):

We can come back to that. I’ll tell you mine, if this might help make you feel better. So I bid a job for I was estimating a project for a newer client who was a restroom remodel, and I had this spreadsheet and I was feeling really good about it. And I forgot to bid drywall. Yeah. And you know, because it was an existing restroom. So, you know, you demo stalls and all the things in the sinks and stuff. And I didn’t think about the fact that they were going to have to demo and we had to put a new plumbing. And so basically like the dry wall from the mid wall down. And so,

Jake Geroux (20:20):

Well then I guess I have one,

Heather Weerheim (20:23):

I never did that again.

Jake Geroux (20:25):

And it’s, to me, it was when I first started here and I was starting to get more responsibility. It was a, you want to try and be friends with everyone at some of the trades and then you get friendly with them and then you’re afraid to hold them accountable for. So that happened where a painter had paint all over the floor and I was kinda like, ah, do I say anything? Do I not? And then I let them leave. And then it was a mess. It was not good. I ended up cleaning some up and then of course I didn’t get it all. It was an overnight project too. So I couldn’t just like run to home Depot to get proper tools. And yeah, I should’ve just sat there and been like, Nope, you’re not leaving until you clean up after yourself. So that’s a good role.

Heather Weerheim (21:03):

I like that because I mean, it’s one thing to be friendly, but you can also, you can be friendly, but you can just be their boss or be run the field or run the job as you’re supposed to. And that makes you probably a little more respectable or so I’m sure they get it. They need to do their job. They need to be accountable for their messes.

Jake Geroux (21:22):

And they understand it. Like I don’t hold grudges. So like, if I kind of bark at you or get on you about something, I probably forgot about it. Five minutes later, you know, it’s I have a job to do as do you. And I have people above me that will hold me accountable. So therefore I’m going to hold everyone on site to the same accountability.

Heather Weerheim (21:39):

Anything, I went through, all my questions, Jake, is there anything else that you feel like you want to add to the conversation that you want people to know about what it’s like to be a carpenter foreman?

Jake Geroux (21:51):

No. Just that the opportunities are there. Yeah. Especially in our field, there’s obviously the labor shortage, like we talked about, but I would encourage anybody to get into it. Cause even if you don’t think you want to be in construction, if you come in and you work in the field, you might not learn what you want to do, but you might learn what you don’t want to do, which I think is equally as important as trying to find your career, you know, Hey, I don’t want to be a carpenter. I tried that for a few years. All right.

Heather Weerheim (22:14):

Yeah. But maybe I want to be an estimator. Maybe I want to be a project manager and still be a part of the team

Jake Geroux (22:18):

Or even some of the, with us, especially with being in the TI side, you might be working in these different office spaces and realize one of those customers, that’s what I want to do. So then maybe you go to school for that or veer off. And there’s your career.

Heather Weerheim (22:32):

I want to add. Cause you bring up a good point that the opportunities are out there. So if you were a 20 something and, or actually whatever age and you want to get into the field, you want to, you want to be a carpenter. What would someone do? What does that look like?

Jake Geroux (22:45):

Well, if you’re looking to go union side, I mean there’s opportunities all over the place, union non-union and they’re everywhere. You just call the union hall, say who’s hiring. I bet almost everybody’s hiring though. That’s the thing is my personal take on it. And you just pick up the phone,

Heather Weerheim (22:59):

And you have to start as a journeyman, right? If you were going to be on the union side or not, what does that look like? How would you call the union where what’s your starting point

Jake Geroux (23:08):

Call the union to see who’s hiring, right? And then once you have somebody that’s willing to hire you, they will sponsor you into the union. And then depending on experience, like I had experienced coming in, so Greiner sponsored me part way through the apprenticeship program. Okay.

Heather Weerheim (23:21):

So apprentice is the first yeah. Then journeymen.

Jake Geroux (23:24):

And there’s some cases where they may buy your journeyman’s card, but I think that’s not always a thing. So I would start off as an apprentice, go through the program. It’s helpful. And not only the stuff that you learn in the school, I think you’ve learned more in the field than you do in school, to be honest with you, but you it’s some of the relationships you build there, so, you know, maybe you get slow and get laid off while you have all these other connections that you made at other companies that you may have an opportunity with

Heather Weerheim (23:53):

Then. Okay. If you, would you say that you could go to the union hall with no experience in construction?

Jake Geroux (24:00):

Absolutely.

Heather Weerheim (24:02):

Okay. That’s, so I could go.

Jake Geroux (24:05):

Sure could.

Heather Weerheim (24:06):

Are you seeing any women joining the union or out in the field,

Jake Geroux (24:12):

A few carpenters and then some of the other trades electricians, a handful electricians and HVAC is another one seeing quite a few.

Heather Weerheim (24:22):

I think that needs to change. Yeah. I would love to see that change. I told, I asked my electricians about that, so I thought, okay. Plumber would be a great field position carpenter, obviously too. But then electrician, I thought you’re working in the building when it’s enclosed. You’re out of the elements for you in the ground up world, you’re in the elements like you’re in the cold, you’re in the heat. Do you think that’ll ever change that you’ll decide to become a TI interiors guy? Or do you think you’ll?

Jake Geroux (24:51):

I want to be well-rounded enough that I can. So if I don’t have a project and you know, I get the call, Hey, I need you to go take care of this one. I want to be well-rounded enough that I could take care of it without an issue. But I really liked the ground up side of things. Yeah. It’s just where I got my roots with my old man, even though it was much smaller projects, but there’s just so many different layers to it, you know? And I give the TI guys a lot of credit. I don’t know how they run all these projects on a 12 week schedule. Miracles it’s impressive. I tip my cap to them. I tip my cap to him.

Heather Weerheim (25:22):

It definitely takes a special type of like talking about being efficient, but they’ve done it for so long. They know the right people. They know how to get it done. It is very impressive. Jake, thank you so much for joining us. I hope you had fun.

Jake Geroux (25:36):

Thanks for having me.

Heather Weerheim (25:36):

And maybe you can come on again next or come on our show again and we can come up with a new topic. Maybe I would love to how to be a millennial superintendent. Let’s do it. Thanks Jake.