Why are tradespeople called construction workers? What makes someone a construction professional? Do you have to go to college to be called a professional? Henry Nutt, III is a Preconstruction Executive at Southland Industries. He is a passionate advocat...
Why are tradespeople called construction workers? What makes someone a construction professional? Do you have to go to college to be called a professional? Henry Nutt, III is a Preconstruction Executive at Southland Industries. He is a passionate advocate working to transform the construction industry in the area of collaboration. He started his career as a sheet metal worker and now travels the country working with construction projects and other industry leaders. Henry specializes in educating owners and construction leaders on how to effectively utilize Lean construction tools, work as a unified team, and execute work efficiently with minimal waste.
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Henry Nutt III 0:00
And I don't know if others really think about and really consider the impact when you think about you have someone you have someone's time more than any other thing they do in their space of life which is work is just what it is right unless you're just just wealthy and you don't have to come to work every day you spend more time with that group let's influence that group then all the other groups will be impacted as well this huge opportunity to really make a difference and why not do it here?
Felipe Engineer 0:28
Yeah, why not? There's such amazing camaraderie in the trades professional side in the offices it's just not as good they got relatives and you know pretty much every aspect of professional and craft work I can see a difference in the camaraderie in the trade I'm gonna tell you all the trade people out there Philippe's jealous of your camaraderie like I want more of that myself with people closeness and relationships that you have an enjoy you can men you can actually mentioned Southland industries, it's okay. You are definitely a change maker in the industry. Henry. I've been watching your career ever since we met we should have been bros since day one. Like were you when I joined the industry?
Henry Nutt III 1:11
Wll, I say it's a pleasure knowing you and you're like one of those kind of kindred spirits, your personality and what's important to you, especially in our industry, you speak a common language that I that I speak so it's very easy to to want to get to know you and see what you're about and be a part of what you're doing. That's been cool. Honestly, you don't find very many people I know this is a it's a big community but there's still only some that you resonate with and want to be a part of and one of those dudes man.
Felipe Engineer 1:37
I appreciate that man call my animal magnetism. Hey. Welcome to the EBFC Show, the easier better for construction podcast. I'm your host Felipe Engineer Manriquez. This show is all about the business of construction. Today's episode is sponsored by construction accelerator.
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Felipe Engineer 3:10
Today's show is also sponsored by the Lean Construction Institute. LCI is working to leave the building industry and transforming its practices and culture, its vision is to create a healthy and thriving industry that delivers outstanding project outcomes every time for everyone. Check the show notes for more information. Now, to the show. Welcome to the show Henry Nutt. I'm so excited to have you here, Henry.
Henry Nutt III 3:35
Thank you. I'm very happy to be here. It's been a long time coming. So thank you for having me. And I'm very excited about this.
Felipe Engineer 3:40
You're on the same mission, I'm on to make this a great place to work and to attract people to it and keep people in it and improve how it is because it's not that great.
Henry Nutt III 3:50
You got that right with making some strides. But we have a long way to go. Yes, we do. And I've been in this business for 34 years, I can say true journey began about 1415 years ago. And when I really began more committed to being a change maker and linking up with others and getting a part of organizations that are trying to make a difference and make this a more welcoming industry, a safer industry that utilizes resources and people better, you know, in a way that's effective and efficient and obviously safer, safer. So it's it's a lot of work, you find yourself being stressed in different different capacities and to figure out really where where you make the most difference, you know, where you make the most splash that's continually evolving for me, and it's always been about the people. But it's in different ways. For me now guiding this current climate, some of the messaging that we see in the world, and how that impacts our industry. And what's really important is a lot going on. So there's never a dull moment and that's for sure.
Felipe Engineer 4:54
That is for sure Henry. I just want to highlight a couple of things because it's just not good for you to buy Drag on yourself, but I will brag for you all day long all night long. I am, I'm proud. Number one, I am proud to be among your friends you lead, creating an integrated team approach on a $1.2 billion. Van Ness and Gary project in beautiful San Francisco, California. You also in your free time that you create you make free time to do these things have been a trainer at the City College at City bill program in San Francisco. And somehow you managed to also get on multiple board positions, including the AGC lane steering committee since 2016. And you've been on the LCI Board of Directors since 2018. And Henry, you are the chair of the Associated General contractor's of America, diversity inclusion steering committee, congratulations, Henry, that is awesome.
Henry Nutt III 5:50
It's an honor. And really, you know, privilege working with all these smart folks, I always tell them that I'm not the smartest one in the room here, you know, but one of us is not smarter than all of us. So together, we do some pretty cool things, and really being a part of agcs, the United steering committee at this time, and it couldn't be better to have an organization that is really trying to pull together resources to help their membership, navigate through this critical period, again, in our industry and in our world. And so being able to work with some teams and some folks that are writing policies and procedures and providing support to help companies be successful and working with their people and helping with messaging specifically with diversity and inclusion type issues. There's many blind spots that we have. And we discover sometimes what they are, and others take a little longer to see. But this is designed to help those folks see. Yeah, so the inequity of some boards. And obviously, without LCI, it's been another honor and working with folks like yourself, and, and others to my specific role really is about trade partners, because that's my background, obviously, trying to figure out how we get more to adopt lean practices, and really shift the way that we do work every day, and even how we just show up every day be about things that require collaboration and team removing waste from our daily task with Addison and Gary, you know, yeah, that was the mega project that took forever to get started. But once it did, it was really like this planning effort that took years to where it needed to be to finally launch, it was literally my best project. And I can say, 34 years. And it's unfortunate, because it took 20 something years for it to get there. You know, and so that that's kind of it's a it's a it's a testimony from the good and the bad. Why should it be that I've been in the business for 34 years, and my best project comes about 20 years later, but the fact that it finally came and have something to measure off of and leverage for the next one is a good thing. So I take it is a positive. And tell that story to to folks all around. I can't.
Felipe Engineer 8:05
Henry is very influential in the trade space with people I've, I've heard stories about you even before I met you, people were telling me all of these really good things about you. And then when I got to meet you, for the first time, we were at the smacna office in Oakland, and you got up to speak about what we were going to do. We were just coincidentally working together on a link construction advanced last planner system workshop, which we could talk about for hours, but we will. And I remember you getting up and talking about this video that was about to roll from that project. The video was really good, but your speech setting it up was even better. For me. Yeah. And I just I love the the passion that you had, that really comes through when you were talking. I also got to see you speak in Walnut Creek, your co presenting about some of the things that you guys had done with that team on that project in regards to last plan implementation. And the part that that you are hyper focused on was not the tool itself. It was the people and it really came across to me and you actually influenced me, Henry, you don't even know why I'm telling you right now, Henry, when I saw you talking about last planar system that way and the way you were engaging, I changed my intention dramatically for how I was engaging with partners, and especially trade partners. And when I made that shift, after hearing you speak about it, I have since then not had any people resist doing it better, or doing it that way versus traditional planning and scheduling. So I gotta thank you for that, Henry. And I'm glad the timing of having you on the show is just perfect, because I got to give you that, that thank you and that kudos. So you've made a difference for all the people that I've engaged with a trade partner community, and even architects.
Henry Nutt III 9:52
Right. Hey, that's pretty cool. I had no idea and I thank you for that and, but we just aven't had time to talk Yeah, yeah, well, you know, it's, it's, it's, I always tell people that, you know, when I get on and do trainings or speak in front of people or whatever, which I've done quite a bit of it never more than ever imagined honestly, in my career, but the reason I can do it with passion and intention is when I believe in what I'm saying, I believe that the message is real, I believe that it works, because it's, it's been my experience. So I can only talk about what I know, I can only talk about with passion when I believe, and the moment I stopped believing it the moment it becomes a commercial, I can't do it. And I remember talking to my former construction manager when I was in my other role. And, and I told him that, and I said, I can speak about these things, because I see them, I see people doing them, I see them struggling, but I see them trying, and I understand it. And so we're gonna keep plowing you know, the field, essentially. But it's always about the people first and foremost. And myself as a, as a former superintendent, I never saw myself leading people in that way. And I probably was at least likely, if you're, if he knew my history with like, this guy is not going to lead a bunch of folks down a path and trying to make them better sheetmetal workers or construction professionals, that's not that's not his forte, but one by one, I began to really get to know the people that work for me, and then getting to know me, just as a man, just as Henry the guy, and really trying to understand what they needed to do their jobs better and why it was important. And I think the end of the day, because my worldview is I think everybody wants to come to work and put their best effort. That's kind of where I come from. So I lean on that that truth for myself in that belief, and believe that people want to do that when I mess it message with that and and kind of go into the things I need to talk about regarding being better, or more efficient, or safer. removing waste, I come from that angle. And it always resonated with people, the ones that didn't want to hear you sometimes it took them a while one of the one of the persons that that was a resistor for years, ultimately left our company and sent me a message probably a year later saying, Hey, you know what, that stuff you were talking about? It really matter. And it was it was good stuff, I just want you to know, and I'm on another job implemented it now. So thank you, you know, I never expected that. Crazy hard work sometimes, right? But..
Felipe Engineer 12:27
Get some skeptics. Yeah, get some you're eventually gonna you're gonna come around. Henry, I completely believe what that philosophy. But that's the first time I've heard you say that philosophy. And I've even listened to some of your other podcasts you've been on, I believe the same thing. Everybody that comes to work, wants to have a good experience, nobody wakes up and says I want to have a bad experience. Or I want to be taken advantage of I want to grind all day and get nothing done or have my time wasted. I don't know anybody that has that type of mentality coming to work. And yet, that's the type of work systems environments that we have in construction. But your projects are different, your approach is different. And you are having I told you this before we had a conference call you and I and some other friends, you don't even realize how big your influences in the industry, which I think is really cute. It's cute. And I do know. So let me be one of the first of 1000s of people to tell you that you are making a difference. You've made a difference for me, and I see you making a difference for other people. I jumped up and down when you told me that you come onto my podcast, you don't even know I have witnesses in my office that saw me jumping up and down when you accepted. So you're a big deal, my friend?
Henry Nutt III 13:36
Well, again, I thank you for that. I really appreciate it. And you're right. I don't I don't know. And it's probably good that I don't know, you know, and I definitely I definitely don't feel it. For that I didn't know, it's almost like it's doing something that you love. And it happens to make a lot of money, right? Or something like that. It's not about that in the moment, it becomes about the other things, I think you lose the passion, the drive, the purpose, the intention, and even the thing that exudes from you that draws people to the message, I'm just being me. And this is something that I care about. And I'm glad I care about it in the way that I do. And I'm so thankful and grateful that it does that people do listen, if they think I'm a big deal then then great, because I know for those who do, there's a bunch that don't. So I kind of take it in stride and say okay, thank you for the for the kudos, and I appreciate the kind words just continue to plow forward and try to link up with people that this matters to you as well. So that we can get things done and and truly make the impact that our industry is striving and struggling to see manifests, you know, and think about people who go to work every day and struggle and are people who who go to work every day. And because we spend more of our time at work. I always say that then we do what our families it behooves us to make it a better place to have a better experience and maybe maybe even impacting homes, you know, relationships. IPS that are important to the folks that work every day for their families. And we can make their experience through it's better, how does that not affect their home life, so many different different things that this touches, when we just focus on trying to, you know, when we're doing a poll schedule, or in trying to implement five s program or something that that really works, that really people see the difference in the change that that it's supposed to have, they're going to have a better experience, they're going to be happier people, they're going to treat their employees better. And it all trickles down my background, I started as a sheetmetal, worker in 1987. And went through that experience. Ultimately, I came to South man as a general superintendent, and was in that row for about 14 years, two years ago that I that I transitioned. So during that time I was leading leading our folks in our field leadership on projects getting introduced to lean obviously, two years ago, I was tapped on the shoulder to try something different. And that is working on the front end of projects isn't development slash pre construction group. Now though, I have an opportunity to work on the front end and really one wind projects and then help get them established. So my title is reconstruction executive has happened, I just kind of came up with because I didn't want to be a business development person, per se, nothing that gets them. But but but a person coming from the field, I wanted something that resonated with part of what I have done for most of my life and make sure that that value is is a part of the conversation and not just Hey, I'm just a person that wants to win work. It's no, I want to win work. But I want to execute in a way that I know how it works, and what we need to do in order to structure our teams and how we plan and roll things out. And then speak the language of the field that I have not lost. That's part of what I bring to the table. So it's been a great transition is learning something new, which is always great, and really working hard to get better at that. There's a lot that I don't know. But it's exciting to have support of my team and getting working for such a great company that allows you to transition and shift into different things and see your get your gifts and talents and say, Hey, you want to try this? And so I said, Yeah, as long as I can be myself as long as I can be me and work that then sure I am all for it. It's been pretty cool. Again, I would never see myself here decades ago operate in this role. But but it's exciting. I'm here trying to make a difference in this capacity.
Felipe Engineer 17:27
From at least what I can tell, you seem to be very disciplined in your health. You're one of the people that I would assume treats your body like a temple, what can you share about your commitment to your physicality and just your your health choices that you've had over the years having to work with your hands and your body so hard?
Henry Nutt III 17:44
You know, like anyone else, I definitely have had my struggles. And I think I think when I came to Southland No, I remember exactly, I was about Believe it or not 30 pounds overweight. And it was very noticeable, especially for me, obviously. And I went on this mission to lose weight that time. It wasn't necessarily through exercise, it was just through my eating habits. And I did that. And then I gained some weight back. And then maybe about five years later, I introduced to myself cross training and started training and things like that. So I got a trader for a year I told him, Hey, I'm not looking to look like the Hulk. I just want to be in shape. And I don't want to be intimidated. When I come to the gym. I want to know what to do. I want to know what to use. I want to know how to use it give me there, he was great, because he wasn't this egotistic guy looking in the mirror all the time, he was somebody that really just wanted, you know, he understood, hey, lightweights are gonna help you. And it's what you do here and all that and the rest is on you, you help me with that discipline. And I just created this, this pattern of five times a week in the gym course eating properly. While he's done that, and again, like anybody else, I have my my days and weeks. But more often than not what I put on my body is something that's going to help it try to stay away from those food trucks on side of the road, that pull up on job sites, you know, let's say have some good stuff, which there's there's a lot more that now you see, it's been this discipline of one I care about my body because I want to see it, like be here on earth. And I have children that I want to see my grandkids one day when they have children and that have a life that is dependent upon unnecessary support because of how I treated my body. Obviously, there was things you can't control with with your health all the time, but give it the best shot that you have. And I'd like to when I get my physicals, to for my doctor to tell me about all the different vitals that are in great condition. It's the goal always a goal for me to hear the good news and I know it's not magic, it has to be you have to be doing the right things, right. So that's kind of how I live my life and like anyone else. So I have my days where I slip up and but I try to stay focused on that. Again, not for someone to say You look great, but really to say you know, I feel great. My insights, my body are an example of that to me first, you know, so it's not easy, because there's a lots of options out there that want to take you away. It's easy to get off track. But again, when it's a lifestyle change, and it's more about living healthy, because you want to live and live a life that is, again, not dependent on things or people unnecessarily, it's easy to stay in that realm, you know, and get up in the morning and, or when you come home from work, and you're tired, still do it, and you feel great after them afterwards, you know, working out or whatever. That's it, for the most part.
Felipe Engineer 20:33
That's so he's so humble, ladies and gentlemen, Henry not has probably the best posture I've ever seen of somebody walking around at these conferences where he's been out there speaking and you could just see him and Henry, I feel like your vitality age is 10 years younger than mine, my real age. You are, you're in fantastic shape, my friend. So keep it up. We keep that discipline up. It's inspiring.
Henry Nutt III 20:58
Thank you, I would definitely do that. Appreciate it.
Felipe Engineer 21:00
What led you to choose sheet metal is a profession. Is that where you started?
Henry Nutt III 21:05
No, it wasn't necessarily my first choice. My father was a sheetmetal. worker. And so it's kind of one of those things where he was strongly hinting I'd definitely emphasize the word strongly. This is the career path that you should think about, right? Because I wanted to be an engineer that was focused on that. And then some other programs that I was thinking about, and he kind of let me kind of do, you know, make some choices and stayed away, but he never never left completely with that voice in my head about checking out machine military, I graduated from high school in 1986, and decided I was going to go to a junior college, I wasn't sure what I was going to do. So I was doing that for about a year and a half. And then he convinced me that I should at least take the test. And the way he presented it was like, Hey, take the test. What's the worst that could happen? If you don't want to do it? You just continue going to school? That was too logical for me to just say no.
Felipe Engineer 21:57
And good approach your dad's wise.
Henry Nutt III 22:00
Yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely. I took the test and obviously passed it. And I had to make really a life choice buy in that moment, they passed the test, we're going to put you to work. And I was working at like Macy's or something. And we're going to school and I was my life. And suddenly it was going to change. And so I had to make a choice really quickly, I made the choice. And I get into the tray, kind of that say the rest is history. But it's really not because I actually worked for a while I was very discouraged. In my first several years of the interest rate, I had worked with people that were just intolerable, that didn't care about anything but themselves and I get hurt and my gut cut, I think my first day and that shouldn't get stitches, and I end up getting a band aid. And I didn't know enough to do anything about it. And it was an industry that was just not good for me. And I'm thinking like, what the heck am I doing, you know, depressed and mad every day and all that, you know. So having that experience of that talk about of how you spend all your days a significant part of your life in a space that is that great. I ended up running into two different men that at different times, and it must have been out of my face that this kid's not happy. They ended up just encouraging me in different times and saying, hey, whatever you do, don't quit. And that's all remember that don't quit, don't quit Time went by and and I continued in was working and actively engaged in jobs and all that, I think another five years or so, I had just turned out to Jenny level. And I was working on one of my first couple jobs. And I was excited. I was newly married. And then I got laid off. It was like, well, we're sorry, it's you. You're a great worker, blah, blah, blah. And I was thinking to myself, I can't do this, right? I don't want to just go back and forth. And we're eight months out of the year and all that I have decided, well forget it. I'm going to leave the trade, I'm going to go back to school, this time, I'm going to go back to school and be a counselor for that and take a leave, or anything. I just kind of stopped working for a little while. And I did not continue paying my dues. And I went to school and I was working at a school for at risk youth and going on in this mission to become a counselor and save the world in that way. Right. So I did that for for a year. And then one day on this long trip bike ride that I had. It was almost like this audible voice I heard saying, why'd you quit and you have all this training. This is your path. So I went to work. I came home, I shared that with some folks that mattered to me. They were in Lyons, and yeah, this is something you went to school for. And you'll always have it and you don't need to start over again. I begin to put my efforts back into that in one day I got a call from our union rep which never happens. And he said you have three options, three different job options in tech one of them and I picked one and that was the beginning again of my my career but this time I came back Philippe with a different mindset. This is for folks who struggle This is for people in their in their path who may be just starting and not sure where to start and how to manage themselves and their emotions and work and I came back with this mindset that hey, are they a younger guy all the time, right? That's just what it is. I was young in the trade. And I had people constantly reminded me that I was a kid, which sometimes I didn't, you know, sometimes it was funny. And other times I didn't care about it, I didn't care for it. I said to myself that I need to come back the confidence. And I need to understand that my ideas do matter, even if I don't have all the experience, and you need to step up and quit waiting for people to ask you show some initiative and all those kinds of things that I could say it's humility, but in many cases, it was fear. I began to do that my first day on the job, there is a gentleman that was my ex boss name's Mike came out of his trailer and said, Hey, I get I get a job for you this give me a few minutes, I'll be right back. So he learned back in the trailer, and he left me to see what I had to do. Immediately. I knew what I needed to do. It wasn't a hard task. But I didn't need him to come back and say I need to do this. I took the initiative. I remember that that was the back of my moment, right. And I took that moment, I showed the initiative, and I just went to work, he came back outside and said, Oh, this, like I have a leader on my hands. That really was the trajectory and change of my career. That's when my job became a career. That's when I came to work with a different drive and passion and purpose. And it was just that simple thing, because it wasn't a hard job. But it was something that I didn't have to wait for. And normally the Oh, Henry would have just sat there and waited for him to tell me what I need to do, which I already knew. From that point on, I really stepped into my leadership capacity and took more initiative shared my ideas about how we're going to strategize on different work and became a foreman for him years later, that led to the general format, you know, and then ultimately, my transition into Southland. So that was kind of like this moment for me and my journey over the years of being in a trade from discouragement to ultimately becoming that leader that I never thought I would be. So it's been pretty cool.
Felipe Engineer 26:48
Henry, what I love about that story is that you had doubt, like so many of us do. I've had more, probably more dark days in construction than Sunny, bright days. And somehow, some way the sun still shines. And one of the things I love about that story is that you didn't have enough knowledge and experience yourself and you sought the counsel of others wiser than yourself, people you trusted. I think a lot of people Henry, they fail to seek counsel when they should. And it's kind of ironic, because you're, you're trying to be a counselor yourself to help that risk youth and that you sought counsel, when you did you are open to what they said. But ultimately, you made the decision. And what I heard that you never spoke out loud, is that you committed and when you committed, you said, I'm going to come back with confidence and what you didn't say, but what did actually happen as you came back with higher self esteem, and you stop waiting to be told what to do, which absolutely makes the leader you are now setting the direction and people are going to follow you that's inevitably what happens. So everybody listening, you know, rewind that part. And listen to what Henry said a second time, because you have that opportunity today, anyone who's listening to the show, you have that opportunity, 365 days a year, if you're alive, you can commit and step up and take it you have a choice, you can go through the world and be pushed around by it, or you can co create with it and have fun. The choice is yours every day. So I absolutely love that Henry, I love that committed your self esteem changed, your confidence went up, that's when I got my career that one moment not a straight path to get there, you'd been in, out and then back within five ish years. 20 minus five is still 15 years of stuff happening that says a lot about your your resilience, and your tolerance. Because you know that it does make a difference. We don't do enough to engage with people like you do, which is getting to know somebody, you know, man to man, man, woman, woman, a woman. I think we're still missing that in a very large scale. I'm sure people have sought counsel with you to get your advice. What is some good advice you've given some folks?
Henry Nutt III 29:09
There's a part of it where I had to learn to believe in myself and to add to really understand that there's a purpose. And that's why it's so important to when you pick a career path is to something that you love, or you really like a whole lot. Because you're going to spend the rest of your life doing it or good amount of time. It's first and foremost knowing that that's kind of like your foundation because you're going to get hit. And it's going to your if that foundation is going to be shaken and how deeply you're rooted in that I'm supposed to be here we'll keep you or it'll follow because you don't really love it. You're not you're here because it's something new, you know, you're passing through or maybe your parents taught you that you should do it. Because even with that at the end of the day, my dad's you know, idea of me being in the trade it had to become my I couldn't live it on on his belief for me. It had to be about my own the moment in space and time you're in that This is where you want to be, this is where you should be. So then you're going to put some energy towards how to maintain that my former boss used to say one of us is not smarter than all of us, you want to solicit someone, or people that can advocate for you that can rally around you. And many times are not necessarily the folks that you work next, to sometimes run a different department, you find yourself getting them being a resource for you, and not being afraid to, I guess the where vulnerability comes up. And you you know, you have to kind of like you can only get as much as you're willing to give and assent and being transparent with where things are, you know, in a professional, respectful way is like, Hey, this is what's going on, here's what I why I'm struggling and getting someone that you trust that that can, again, rally around you and give you some insight, maybe they have a few more years than us. And they can share some of their stories about what they've been through. And I guarantee you that anyone that's been in this industry for any length of time has had some struggles, as you know, and if they're willing to share, you'll get some insight that would be invaluable to what you do next. One of the things that we you know, that I had done working with lightsabers city bill program, getting getting folks that are just starting, and it's always about how you kind of take an inventory of yourself, you take an inventory of your life, you take an inventory of the choices that you've made, and you kind of discover why I am where I'm at. Typically, it's the stuff we've done in you know, we want to look out and say, somebody else made me do it, you know, even my mom and dad made me do it. And you know, I've never had a father at home, he made me do it. And all those things have some truth to them. But at the end of the day, now it's about you. And now we have to what we kind of we have to come out of the victimization role and step up to who we are women that like that person at that time, but we have the power to change, we have the power to make different steps, we have the power to not look like the generations of other folks in our family. And I tell them that it starts with you. And so you have to believe in that maybe you look around and it's all darkness. Like there's no hope it looks like this, there's no How do I get out of this? For every story that I hear that I hear folks who have come out of that and have made changes, because it certainly matter to them. That's where I think that the magic solution but you can read a great book, you can even get a mentor that's going to help you but at the end of the day, you're still left by yourself to make a decision, you still left there by yourself decide, is this important enough for me to hold on to? Or do I go to something else, it's still up to you, though, that really comes down to that's not necessarily the cookie cutter, you know, explanation. But I think it's what really helps people it gets down to the core of us being that human that's kind of feels like a new seed being planted there. Because there's nobody there and it's cold and dark and you're alone. But you're in the sea, your seat in the dirt. So there's an opportunity for growth. You just don't see it yet, right. And so that's one of those things of recognizing the space that you're in now. Doesn't have to be the rest of your life. In one day at a time you have to begin to do the work. And again, slits, solicit help get yourself around people that are smarter than you and recognize that that you may not be I read something last night and it said Why am I always the bigger person said Well, maybe because you need to start being stopped being around smart people do. Pretty good. That's pretty good. You know it because again, it kind of takes us back to you saying, Yeah, maybe it's great to be the bigger person. But every once in a while you need someone to be the bigger person for you. But if you're around small people all the time, who bring you down, maybe should change your circle. Sometimes that's one of the biggest things, especially working in that group, getting folks to kind of break the cycle of negativity in their lives, see what's possible by changing their environment, even if they can't move from their territory, if you know what I mean.
Felipe Engineer 33:43
I definitely do as one of the things I read in a book, I read a lot of books on read because I like my mentors to be consistent. And that mentors that I have to put it down in a book, you can't get more consistent than the printed word. And one of the books that I read, it's over 100 years old, I don't remember the title of the author had said that you're going to be the the five friends that you hang around with the most. And it's at all It also said you're going to be the sum of the books that you consistently read. If you're looking at whatever information is coming into your world, you're going to be the average of that. And my mentors actually do include my father, my father and I, we had this conversation about this recently. I want to say it was like a month ago, he and I were talking on the phone about some of the struggles we were having. He asked me about what have I done to overcome discrimination in the workforce. He shared some things with me and it was the first time and really we never talked about overcoming discrimination or adversity at work until this year. Wow. Some of the things that he told me I'd said I had no idea. I asked him like, why don't you ever talk about this? And he said, because I don't want to be a victim. He said if I were to complain to you growing up, then I would have shown you that that I'm just gonna get taken advantage of and he's like, you know me, I'm not a victim. And I said Do. I was like, I don't know anybody that takes advantage of you except for mom.
Henry Nutt III 35:06
That's, that's great. I mean, and I identify with athletes say in regards to the whole victimization thing, and I know that I experience racism, discrimination many times and every point in moments that you just don't forget. But I've never complained about that. And I and I never became this victim and use some of the some of the language that you know, can just get me more discouraged and helped me I've had people laugh at me when I was going to look at jobs, the poor jobs and couldn't find them during that that period. And it was very obvious about the why you keep your head up, and you go the next one, it's been definitely a real thing in our industry, as well as in our country. I believe not having that victim mentality helps keep you focused, and maybe you need to go home and cry, you know, or you may need to go home and you know, and hug your dog, whatever. But But you go back and you put your game face on, because you're doing it for more than yourself. Yes, there's there's unfair treatment, there's discrimination, there's all these different things. Sometimes you don't know where to place that. But you know, it's something you have to find ways to overcome. Thankfully now, there's been space created to have more conversations regarding that there are things we're doing at AGC that are create that create space, for having conversations that help companies and fit leadership and office leadership to engage their employees in a way that make their space more welcoming. And, and engaging. Those are the things that you know, you and I, you know, flat floor and wanted to see. But we learn how to exist right in the midst of it, because we have no choice. And it made us better and be able to speak to others about the struggle that some of that struggle, you know, we bring to light now. And we can have real conversations about it that may not be comfortable, but they're very important. And then we even have data now that talks about how do dynamic teams come together. And there's a business case for diversity and how that is impactful and affects the bottom line of companies with with real numbers and real data. Although we have a long way to go, we've definitely seen some turns and I'd say starts with a conversation. And as long as we keep talking about it, as long as we get keep getting people in these circles to kind of pull the guards down and have these conversations about their why because you know, our biases come from our childhoods, and we all have them. And we may not like them, but they may not even be aware of them sometimes, but they exist. It's about understanding someone's story before we just judge someone for what they said and did. Now there are things that are outright wrong, that you shouldn't do or shouldn't say, and you should know better. But then there's some things that people just don't know. And they're innocent in conveying this because when it's what they've always done, right? And no one's ever told them that's wrong. And so it's about No, that's not okay, it's let's talk about that. And we have to do that if we want to make this industry more welcoming. And get people that come into it. And like you say stay at it, because that's most important is we need people that want to commit to this industry and carry the baton for those of us who are getting older and will be transitioning out of this industry. And construction as a as a whole is a huge part of our GDP. Right across the world. It's this is significant. And and there's a shortage in the workforce, there's a reason for it. And so we have to, again, make it a space that this younger group that has different expectations than you and I did when we came in, and rightfully so they're different people, I believe they're going to make it better. But we have to want them to be here. And that's that's continues to be our job.
Felipe Engineer 38:44
Henry, thank you for that. And we are so lucky to work with younger people coming in I am just energized by the just the openness of the newer people coming in. It is exactly what we need. I just yesterday I spent some time with an intern in like in a group class and some of the things that the that he shared with the group was just spot on on point and I can't wait to see him take a full time offer the energy and just the openness and the enthusiasm the mind of the younger people coming into the to the space now Henry to them, like everything is just possible. But they're so used to just seeing things happen. And they've they've lived through so many changes. You know, it's like were you and I had come in and you came in before I did. I was just like beat into my head from the people that were mentoring me because they they were all, you know, people in their 40s and 50s when I joined in, who were my mentors, and they were just like, this is just the way things are and like things don't change. I still remember a project manager telling me that email is a fad, and it's not going to stick around. Don't worry about checking your email or even turning on your computer. I mean, that's how old I am. And that that turned out not to be true. Yeah. emails, a big deal.
Henry Nutt III 40:00
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. And yeah, the young, the young people there, I have two young adults and a teenager, just see their inspiration and aspiration for life and what they want to see and do, if you don't resist it, you know, and feel like somehow it's wrong, because it's not aligned with what you know and understand, then you can allow them to soar and really take something that, hey, just because it hasn't been done, just because we've all felt like it's not possible doesn't mean it's not possible. And sometimes you have to get out and step back and be uncomfortable and allow these young people to do what they do. And learn from them. Speak to the young people about that and say, hey, yeah, I have some things that you need as a person with some experience, and you have some things that I need. And let's figure out how we can collaborate and figure it out together versus be just resist each other in the trades, it's been hours about three things that you notice you come to work, we tell people, hey, show up on time, come with a good attitude, and be willing to listen, do that, do those three, you don't have to know anything, you just show up. And we will do some great things and help you that's been a consistent message. Some folks get it some don't. I have to sometimes kind of remind some of our older folks be patients, you know, this, you know, don't Don't lie. Yeah, yeah. And then some of the young folks have to tell them, you know, here'swhat you need to do, there's, there's a certain thing of respect that's important. And what this is disrespectful, and you're going to be the fastest way for you to be removed. So it's kind of like where's the balance, and how to kind of find that space where we can we can work together and, and get done what we're trying to get done.
Felipe Engineer 41:41
And so the young people listening out there, I was just telling one of my mentees yesterday, respect is where we often fail to start. And Henry, you just nailed it. And that that starting with respect, really has to go inside first. If you're frustrated at work, you've likely withstood some things that have happened to you, and you didn't speak up, and you don't feel good about it. That's, that's your yourself telling you that, that what's happening right now the situation you're in, is not acceptable. And you've got to have enough self respect, have the difficult conversation with your boss or your team or reach out, reach out to somebody with some experience and wisdom, someone that you trust, and share what you're struggling with. So you can explore. What is that feeling of frustration, you're going to find out like my mentee found out. Some of it's just in your head. And it's not real. And sometimes that experienced person can ask you some questions to really find out like, what's the real current situation? Or are you just having some negative thought, negative self talk that's taking you down, one of the most important things that Garner like the only principle I care about is respect for people. And it's got to start with yourself, if you have your level set, right. There is nothing anyone can do. to mess you up. You never have to be a victim ever again, if you can get your level of self respect to where it needs to be. And wherever you think it needs to be. Double it and make it even higher.
Henry Nutt III 43:20
Right. Right. Yeah, I think that a sleeper that overthinking part, you know, and getting in and being in your head, it's for every capacity of life, I ran across the cartoon depiction the other day, and in this these two dinosaurs looking at each other, and one says I'm thinking mobile, I think I overthink too much or I'm overthinking the other one says, Yeah, you probably are they just stare at each other? And then he says, Well, well, what if I'm not? Right? So it's like, you're back to it again. You know, and so, you know, you get it, we get in our heads about something and we create a whole story about what it may be. It may not be that so we have to understand that that's our responsibility. And no one's going to read your mind. And you know, you're at work and you're struggling, and you think your boss does knows or someone does knows and no one knows. Because it's your story in your head. And sometimes we spend a lot of time trying to understand why. And really, we need to look at some times what what is it that's bothering me? What is it that I need to do differently? What is it that is impacting me right now. And when you start looking at the web, it's kind of like holding those layers back and addressing that what that ultimate Why will come to reveal itself, but you spend more time trying to figure out why you get lost, there are some real tangible things that you can do that are the what's right. So right. If those address those get that space in the clouds, where you're on the you're there by yourself and you wonder why no one's there with you. You know, and you struggle, and I've seen people quit prematurely and they'll want to come back and it's not the same when if they do and if they can because they got in their heads about something and they just they didn't really dive into it enough to really understand what do I need to do here. They were just so caught up in that that lie space that They read this, they were like lost in the clouds. So, and that's life and applies to work, we have to be able to have conversations and help people in that way, addressing things that may, again that they This is really common. But one thing about this generation of younger folks as they are transparent, and they have been raised to be open and have conversations, they're going to tell you how they feel, you may not like it, but we have to learn how to address that in a professional way. And realize that we're not going to deal with we're not dealing with people like ourselves, who kept everything inside. You know, we there was like that we weren't going to buy anything, we just come to work it take it on. And and that was that, you know, whereas this generation now is different. And we can't say it's worse or better. It's just what it is. And we have to deal with what we have, so that we again, know how to address the issues and understand what we need to do to help.
Felipe Engineer 46:01
Absolutely. And I love that the people today, question things, I get so excited when I see somebody questions, something that's just frustratingly dumb that we do, because nobody even questioned why we do it. I encouraged I encouraged people, please raise your hand tell us, we don't know why we do some of the things we do. So your fresh perspective is welcomed, and your immediate boss might not always appreciate it. But somebody on your team was like, I was thinking the same thing. I'm glad you brought it up. So you know, please find a way to bring it up so that you don't have to have those experiences like we did, you'll have your own struggles, everybody has struggles, right? Just shows we different. We can learn from each other. So we don't have to repeat the same exact mistakes.
Henry Nutt III 46:45
Exactly, exactly. And we think about the some of the statistics in our industry in regards to safety in regards to health, mental health, we have an industry that is if not number ones closely to that in regards to suicides by men, and particularly white males that commit suicide almost more than any other industry. And that is not a number that we want to have no as being invested in, right? Why is that created? Why? Why is it that that people in our industry want to end their lives. And in some of it is access because they can because they have, you know, they're working on top buildings or different things like that. But it's that mental part of it, where we get in that space where we just become hopeless. And some of it has a lot to do with work and not releasing. So imagine you go six months with that kind of rage, and you're not releasing it that something has to give, you know, and I think that's another part of responsibility that we have to say, hey, come join the construction industry. It's exciting, it's new, it's challenging, it's fun, it's different. Yeah, it is all that. But we got people who are killing themselves, you know, and, and so we really want to really address that and make some of the changes that we need to make to improve the mental health and create psychological safety that we talked about now, in creating that in our in our jobs, and letting our unfit leadership know that it's okay, and making it a thing, you know, as a part of our routine. So people get a chance and it's not can't save the world, we got to go put work in place. But we can create some time to make sure that that people have an opportunity to release and and maybe add it to a tailgate or something and have those kind of conversations and make sure or see the warning signs of people, right, maybe somebody is about to go off the edge or something and training our affiliate ship to be more aware of those kinds of things. And I think our younger generation is going to, they're going to help bring that along. Because they they are about being transparent and open and challenging the norm. But again, we have to we have to create that space for them to get welcome those folks into our industry. And in addition to all the great experiences they can have in construction, it doesn't have to be this this pit of demise and in frustration and anger and people not caring and shouting and screaming at each other. And you know all those things that that we've experienced, you know, the strongest of AI and you run over other people. That is not what we do. That is not who we want to represent. And we've we're raising the bar when it comes to construction workers. And I remember the one of the trainings we had a few years back where this gentleman came in, and he made all of our field leadership say I'm a construction professional, and he kind of identified it with the amount of money that runs through their hands that fit leadership. They'll run over 30 year period. Some of them were in multimillion and some of them were close to a billion dollars worth of work that would run through their hands over the career. And he said How are you not a professional, you know, doctors and lawyers and they go to school and they do this and there was sponsible for all these different things, as athletes are considered professionals, why are we just a construction worker? You know, so it's more about raising the mentality about who you are, you know, it's like that whole thing of your senior outing is you make they make you wear a suit, excuse me, when when I was younger, to try to curb the behavior, because you had a suit on versus in jeans, raising the expectation of that person and recognizing that, yeah, maybe I, maybe I wear cut hearts, and I let kind of grubby but at the end of the day, I'm professional, I'm responsible for millions of dollars, they fell into my hands, and I have to make decisions in sometimes split seconds to figure out something and, and get my people continue to be productive, you're professional. And it doesn't matter what your outfit looks like, it's about what you do. I think sometimes that for most of my career that was never drilled into my brain. I just went to work I had somebody even sat me one time when I was working in the city of Oakland, because I was pushing the basket and I had Cardinals hearts, they thought it was a homeless, you know, and, and I thought, No, I work here. And so it was it was really interesting. But it's one of those things where like raising the bar of who we are, what we do, and what we're responsible for.
Felipe Engineer 51:14
Absolutely, setting that higher standard for ourselves. And it just, it will translate to so many other areas of your life. It does have side effects, like the what you do at work, the experiences you have do translate and do come across. We are all construction professionals, if you're listening to the show, that includes architects and engineers, too. If you're an owner's rep, and you're involved in the capital construction, you're also a construction professional. Welcome to the family construction professionals.
Henry Nutt III 51:48
Felipe Engineer 51:50
Yeah, we're we're open to it. Right? Where can you put your finger on? Why you didn't quit with, you know, call it 20 years of frustration and bad, bad things happening in the industry? What do you attribute to your stick to itiveness to stay in,
Henry Nutt III 52:07
you know, I can say back then I probably didn't know any better. I mean, I felt like I was I was responsible for something that I started. And and I had, if I were to look back at that time, I had went to school for four and a half years at night worked kind of went through this whole process turned out and then I was getting ready to start this whole thing from the bottom. Again, I really attributed to that voice, you know that intuition in my heart, but that long Bart right, where I had time to think and reflect about what I was doing. And although I was doing something that was going to benefit, again, people buy counseling and working with pet rescue, I was thinking about, again, what I had started, and I couldn't shake that you've established this. And I've always I was always told, you could take this anywhere in the world, you got your you have this, this card, and you can work in any state and you can even take it out the country and work you know, in this trade. No one's ever gonna take that away from you thinking about that, I realized that I had something that I had, that I did for myself. And it was important that I not give up. And so when I started kind of restarted with the attitude of not giving up, that's when the doors open, I got calls from my union rep with options. And at that point that had never happened before. And that's when the industry started booming. And I went back to work. But I went back to work with that different attitude. It really like all these different things that happen along the way. Like the the two different men that spoke to me at different times, I looked at the struggles I had the things that I didn't like, and the people that I ran across that were unfair, but what stood out was Hey, you did this you went to school, and you finished and you accomplish the task. And this is something that again, that you'll always have. And if I were able to shape kind of reshaped my, my thinking process, then I could make a difference. Now, I didn't know all that. I was I was thinking that, then I started to do it. So immediately when I went back, I did it. And I begin to see this does work, right. This is really something that is this is about me, this is about me seeing myself differently. And recognizing that I can help shape my destiny to some degree right I do have some influence on what happens to me, no matter what no matter why no matter the color of my skin. I had some some opportunity to shape how people saw me. So even in failure you can you can shape how people see you make a choice in those moments to get frustrated to lash out or to hold your head out with dignity and realize that okay, this is not the one for me to keep going. So it was about not not quitting. I think at the end of the day, I wanted to stick it out and want to be someone for myself. Say I was a quitter. And but I have a story, you know about it and a ticket, take the road and to get another path. But I came back and I'm grateful for what I've come back to. But it really had to do with my own mindset. That was the thing of Moses not wanting to quit when I had actually finished, it wasn't half baked, it was done. And I could easily go right back and do it versus starting over in something else. And if I decided later, hey, I've had it, I want to go back to school. Now I'm going to go do this, but do it not because of anger, or some kind of failure that happened, it was more about making a choice. That was good. And that wasn't good. I was I left there out of for different reasons, right. And so I recognized that it wasn't time for me to go. And that's really what it came down to.
Felipe Engineer 55:50
Awesome, Henry, I'm so glad you stayed. Henry, thank you so much powerful Henry Nutt. Thank you for spending time with me today. And sharing your story. I know you're gonna inspire 1000s more people that are coming into the construction family, we are all construction professionals.
Henry Nutt III 56:06
Well, again, thank you, elipe, for this and really appreciate this, this time talking with you. And I really appreciate what you're doing. And it's people like yourself that really have committed by creating this whole space for us that I know it's not easy to do. But you're doing it. And it's really it really matters. And it really will be impactful, continue to be impactful and grow and do its part to get the message out to get people to see different leaders and folks that you have on the show. It matters and so I say continue doing what you're doing, man and I thank you for doing it and being a part of it.
Felipe Engineer 56:47
Come on. Thank you, Henry.
Henry Nutt III 56:49
Felipe Engineer 56:50
very special thanks to my guest. I'm Felipe Engineer Manriquez. The EBFC Show is created by Felipe and produced by a passion to build easier and better. Thanks for listening. Stay safe everybody. Let's go build!