By Kevin Anundson, MCR, CKBR
National Leadership and Skills Competition Success
I have to admit a couple of things:
- Like nearly every remodeling business owner, I have been complaining about our inability to find and hire good quality carpenters, and that it seems no young people are pursuing the trades as a career.
- I never did a single thing about changing that outcome- until now (actually since last summer 2017).
For many, many years, while being a NARI member and while serving as a NARI National Officer, I have been hearing about SKILLSUSA from Dan Taddei. During my time as a National Officer, we would annually review and approve the NARI HQ Budget, and each year we would approve an amount to be allocated to the SKILLS event. Knowing full well that if you make eye contact with Dan, or worse yet, ask a question, you are immediately in his cross-hairs, and without really knowing how it happens, are somehow serving on one of his committees. While I can’t pinpoint the exact glance or question, clearly Dan stayed true to character and as of last summer, you guessed it, I’m on the SKILLS Technical Team and like every other call to serve, this has been a blessing beyond words.
SKILLSUSA Contributes to the Remodeling Industry Every Day
- SKILLSUSA is an actual organization.
- SKILLSUSA provides the systems and structure for State and National competitions for nearly every “Skill” that anyone could learn as a profession: i.e. Electrician, Plumber, Mason, Autobody, Computer Repair/IT, Industrial Cleaning, Welding, Carpenter, etc.., etc.
- SKILLSUSA holds a National Competition that brings in students from all over the nation who have won their State level SKILLS competition.
- TeamWorks is one of the “skills” that are part of the National competition.
- The TeamWorks competition requires a team of four members (carpenter, electrician, plumber, & mason) to complete a project involving the skilled trades of all the team members.
- The TeamWorks Technical Committee designs the project the Teams will build during the competition, solicits suppliers, vendors, partners, etc. to obtain all the materials, and actually sets up and runs the TeamWorks competition at the National event.
- NARI is not involved on the State SKILLS competition level; however we do have several NARI members who are heavily involved and are the mentors/coaches for local SKILLS teams. These local SKILLS teams are typically an after-school club and are not necessarily part of the school curriculum, so they do require significant effort and commitment on behalf of the students and mentors.
- The TeamWorks Technical Committee is made up Dan Taddei, Jim Bohn, Bill, Pat Bentivegna, and me.
- In addition to the Technical Committee, judging was supported by NARI members Patrick Bentivegna, CR, CRPM and Gary Grabowski CR, UDCP.
Talent IS Out There
First hand observation of the talent and dedication that these students have to the building trades has literally been a life changing event.
- There ARE students who are talented far beyond their relatively few years of experience.
- There ARE students pursuing careers in our industry.
- There ARE students who have goals of owning their own construction company, and are investing their time and money to get the education necessary to be successful construction business owners.
This past year, and especially these past seven days has not only given me hope that the construction industry is still a passion for many young people, but equally important has proven that these students are proud of what they’re doing and proud to be recognized as the craftsmen and business owners they intend to be.
NARI has wisely recognized that these students are the future of our industry. They will be our employees, our business partners, future NARI members, and most importantly, will be the skilled tradesmen who will be working on the homes of our customers and elevating the profession of remodeling.
TeamWorks is Rewarding
First, I’m thankful to have the opportunity to serve on the TeamWorks Technical committee on behalf of NARI. Second, I’m extremely proud of every one of the students competing at both the State and National level on the TeamWorks competition. Last, and perhaps the most important, is a comment made by our TeamWorks Chair – Jim Bohn: “Not a single home builder or remodeling contractor has the right to complain about not being able to find good quality help if they’ve spent neither time nor $’s investing in the SKILLS program.”
Motivating Talented Tradespeople
This program clearly generates and motivates amazingly talented tradespeople and it is our duty and obligation to nurture and mentor those that will be growing and keeping our industry alive. I strongly urge everyone reading this to spend a few more minutes and see if there is a SKILLS team/program in a high school or post-secondary near you and simply ask if you can help them with even the most minimal amount of time, materials, or better yet, your industry knowledge. I guarantee it will return far more than you put in.
Check the NARI Facebook page to see videos from the competition floor. Watch Now
Feel free to contact Dan or me anytime about the TeamWorks competition, or to discuss how you can get involved in the SKILLS program as this is where your next employees should come from.
About the Author
Kevin Anundson, MCR, CKBR has served as an Executive Officer on NARI’s National Board of Directors, most recently as Chair of the Board in 2015. He is Vice President of Renovations Group, Inc. located in Elm Grove, WI 53122.
Contact Kevin at Kevin@RenovationsGroupIc.com.