Mike Fisher and Brian Somers are the hosts of the It Happened on the Job Podcast. Their collection of conversations with contractors come from all sides of the construction industry. In this episode, we take turns being podcast guests to uncover how we g...
Mike Fisher and Brian Somers are the hosts of the It Happened on the Job Podcast. Their collection of conversations with contractors come from all sides of the construction industry. In this episode, we take turns being podcast guests to uncover how we got started in the industry and podcasting, daily challenges, and some interesting stories from jobsites that we all love to hear and share around the water cooler. We went deeper into how to adopt Lean Construction companywide, Lean thinking, and how to generate the maximum possible amount of customer value to make work Easier, Better, Faster, and as a result, Cheaper.
Mike Fisher has been in the insurance world as a broker for nearly 10 years. Starting out writing long-haul truck insurance in Texas, he has been with Goodman Insurance since 2014, a family-owned and operated agency that works exclusively with contractors in California. Mike prides himself on his technical expertise in coverage as it pertains to contractors and construction.
Connect with Mike via
LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikefishergoodman/
Brian Somers has been working solely with contractors in the insurance space for the last 5 years. Initially coming from a medical sales background, he joined the Goodman team while coaching T-ball with Justin Goodman, the president of the company, back in 2015. Brian has a talent and a passion for ensuring that his clients are properly covered so that they can run their construction businesses with peace of mind.
Connect with Brian via
LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-somers/
Listen to Felipe's shorter It Happened On The Job interview here:
Today’s episode is sponsored by Construction Accelerator. Construction Accelerator is an online learning system for teams and individuals that offers short, in-depth videos on numerous Lean topics for Builders and Designers to discuss and implement, just like on this podcast. This is tangible knowledge at your fingertips in the field, in the office, or at home. Support your Lean learning at your own pace. Learn more at http://trycanow.com/
Today's episode is also sponsored by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). This non-profit organization operates as a catalyst to transform the industry through Lean project delivery using an operating system centered on a common language, fundamental principles, and basic practices. Learn more at https://www.leanconstruction.org
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Felipe Engineer 0:00
Brian and I almost had a show on...
Mike Fisher 0:03
And then I started laughing. I said, I think we have a show here. We probably could just hit the record button.
Brian Somers 0:09
I love that the only thing I know about you that you is that you have your own podcast, which is great because the sound and and everything is way different than way different than a guy calling from a job site, which is great. He was literally in his truck on a job site. Yeah. And he was on the phone. If the audio sounds a little bit better, it's because it's silky smooth. Yeah, he's got his own little setup over there for his own show.
Felipe Engineer 0:30
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 that design and construction industries come up with and build great things. But we also build in waste in how we do those things, in our interactions in our contracts in our logistics. So what does this do for our bottom line, or our next project, the best firms maximize their value by removing that waste, and only doing what's essential to the work what makes them money. Construction accelerator will train you to see the waste and give your teams the lean tools and experience to remove it immediately. All online. Construction accelerator is made up of three to nine minute videos that can be watched again and again, in the field, at the office and at home. All broken down by topic. need to learn pole planning, we have videos on the process, how to set up a room and how to kick off a team need to set up a target value delivery project, we discuss all the aspects of TVD especially cost. Or maybe you just need to brush up on five as well. We have videos on that as well. You can download and print reference materials to use on site to immediately translate watching into doing subscribe today at tri ca now.com. Let's build an industry, not just a project.
Today's show is also sponsored by the lean construction Institute. LCI is working to lead 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, Mike, if you need me to record your voicemail message with that. Well, welcome to the show, Mike and Brian.
Mike Fisher 2:23
Felipe Engineer 2:23
How you guys doing?
Brian Somers 2:25
Fantastic. Twice. All right. Three times. This is our third time we had the phone call. We did a podcast recording. Here's our second podcast recording name's Brian summers, we like part of our conversation we work directly with contractors, obviously, right. That's what our show is all about. It happens on the job, we work from really kind of the insurance standpoint. And that's was the genesis of the show. And to be quite candid, and I think it was candid with you earlier on the phone. I was not really sold on the idea of doing a podcast, Mike and I kind of worked through it together and kind of figured out that it would be something that we would would be eventually interested in doing. And we've actually come to love it. Which is ironic. I mean, we were not excited about it at different points
Mike Fisher 3:09
That I was a hell no. When the idea came up there.
Brian Somers 3:12
It was a strong strongly held No, I think it's not so much like you know, the equipment and the idea of of having a show that's that's air that to be to be honest, is is not really important. I enjoy the relationship. I think that kind of comes across in the way we What's that?
Felipe Engineer 3:29
I said with Mike or with your guy?
Brian Somers 3:31
Well, maybe he looks very uncomfortable right now.
Your answer is no, I enjoyed the conversation. I enjoyed learning I you know, I think it's it's kind of funny, usually with our podcast, Mike probably says maybe about 70% of really takes control in terms of 70% of those questions. And I like to listen and learn. And I tend to kind of chime in about halfway through and they get excited because I'm learning and I'm soaking in so just I love learning about people love meeting them. I'm very interested in those that are able to pull themselves up for lack of a better term pull themselves up by their bootstraps, especially in this space, and, and overcome so many different issues and really build a business that's rewarding and, and that this podcast actually, ironically, has given us the space to do so. So yeah, that's my very long winded way of saying why I love what we're doing pretty much on a daily basis. Yeah,
Mike Fisher 4:28
let's see. Yeah, we record almost daily and talking to people, Mike Fischer by the way. Yeah, I mean, I think for me, it's relationships as well, more for me it's it's a helping bridge that gap between technology and and the construction industry itself because it's so far behind in that aspect. It's, it's fun. I think we just talked about how, you know, we've done 9095 episodes and, and most of them I'd say probably close to 75 or 80. It's been their first podcast that they've even been on some they'd never even heard of it. podcasts before they come on our show. So not to toot my own horn, toot our own horn, but like we're I feel like we're kind of a catalyst or a pioneer in this in this space in this vertical in this industry because there's not a lot of it. I mean, obviously you're doing it as well. But I think from our side, we're giving a platform for these people to come on and tell their story and you know, showcase their business and explain all the ways that they do things and how they've overcome certain things and and, and I guess my hope is my idealistic hope is that somebody else is out there listening that says, Man, I'm going through that right now too, and, and they get to hear how somebody else went through it and obviously got past it and moved on and, and succeeded in doing it. So it's, it's all that and obviously, the relationships, we've heard so many good stories about people that have been on our show that have got phone calls, and it's turned into work or turned into relationships, it turned into all these different things it all intended. Yeah, these are all unintended consequences from when we started writing it. We're really just trying to build relationships and build a network and push that tech part of the industry. But there's so many unintended positive consequences that have come with that. Makes a lot of fun.
Felipe Engineer 6:10
Yeah, yeah. rewarding. Right on and do I understand that both young musicians or is that just...
Mike Fisher 6:15
No, not just him? My suck.
Brian Somers 6:17
Mike likes music. He likes music a lot. But no.
Felipe Engineer 6:20
What do you play? Brian?
Brian Somers 6:22
I play primarily now electric guitar, some acoustic but yeah, I've got some cool toys.
Felipe Engineer 6:29
Yeah, cuz you guys have your show is super professional.
Mike Fisher 6:31
I think we're just hacking it together. So thank you.
Brian Somers 6:37
He likes us.
Felipe Engineer 6:39
When you do something 95 times, it's bound to get better.
Mike Fisher 6:44
Yeah, the first five or six? Were kind of like, a little stiff. A little stiff.
Felipe Engineer 6:48
Yeah, no. It is good. I've gotten to sample a couple of your shows. When Brian reached out. I was like, Oh, my gosh, you guys like hey, look, would you do a dual show and be on my show? And you're like, Yeah, of course.
Mike Fisher 7:01
Yeah. Yeah. Why not? is actually, what's the third time we've done this right. I think.
Felipe Engineer 7:07
Ah, man we love it. Got the space. You guys have a really good title. The emojis are awesome. Definitely. Whoever emoji you up was spot on.
Brian Somers 7:21
That was that was apple. I can't take any credit for that. We just took our memoji from our apple iphone.
Mike Fisher 7:27
Yeah. It was like probably, oh, some copyright. Yeah.
Brian Somers 7:30
Maybe I shouldn't have said anything.
Felipe Engineer 7:34
The idea for the show, like you guys like us, you know, like I was encouraged by somebody to do it. And then you listen to them? And you tried it?
Mike Fisher 7:41
Yeah. Yeah, it was it was pitched to us as as a as a relationship and networking kind of tool within our space. And in our industry, which it has been an It is great. I wanted to make sure that if this is something we're going to do, and Brian was on the same page to that, we wanted to make sure that there was actually some substance behind it. Something that people will be proud to be on and wanted to, you know, share with other people and bringing people on and letting them showcase their business a little bit and tell their story, you kind of see that I mean, a life that people light up right there, their eyes light up when they get to talk about their story and things that they've done and the places they've come from. And it's been a lot more fun that way, rather than just building a hollow show that just is there as a networking tool.
Brian Somers 8:23
But well, and even, you know, kind of at the beginning of part of where we came from, or at least when the thought first was initiated, I guess, was because of some of the conversations we have with contractors on a daily basis. But those conversations aren't great conversations, because they're generally habit having to do with the fan or something happens, right. And so and like I said, all these unintended benefits that you didn't really think to see I'm now learning about businesses and industries that were never really you kind of read about them. But we were only a fabric of that right or a piece of that fabric. Now you're learning about it kind of goes to what you were talking about fleep on our show in terms of always wanting to innovate, always wanting to learn, always wanting to move forward. And and that's just probably been one of my favorite parts of this show.
Felipe Engineer 9:08
Most folks like yourselves, you. You see people born with this natural curiosity, and then depending on how they grew up in their circumstances, it gets beat out of them for you guys for what you're doing in the insurance space. I don't think there's anything else like it.
Mike Fisher 9:20
Yeah, I mean, yeah, at least the coordination between the two. Yeah, for sure. I don't think there's we haven't come across anything else. There's definitely people out there doing other construction podcasts. Obviously, you're one of them. Nobody from our angle, or what we're doing. But it I mean, it's not even about that, right. I mean, for us, it's just more about building relationships and building that network of people and kind of creating a little community or the end goal is for this show to be a community and a database for people to kind of go back and as a resource, right, like, hey, how did they do it? How do they do this? How do they see that? How do they experienced that? And yeah, like I said, that resource bank for me, Felipe.
Brian Somers 9:55
You mentioned that you had, you know, spoken with Neil and Jerry actually on our show. I don't That was connected to the show, I was speaking with another guy who's coming. He's actually recording with us next Thursday. I mean, he shared with me He's like, yeah, I reached out to one of your your other guests that have been on the show recently met Derek Enzo wanted to pick his brain and learn a little bit more. So once again, more unintended cool benefits of creating this net, not only learning to network with others, but creating that network of contractors that are willing to actually, you know, talk to each other speak to each other that probably never would have had that connection. Or maybe they would have, but it just maybe would have taken longer.
Felipe Engineer 10:33
That's only through like participating. It wasn't till I went to my first conference. earlier in my career, I got to talk to other professionals doing the same type of job that I was doing, I go to my early jobs as a kid was doing punch lists work overhead punch list, was I put a hard head on and just look up at the ceiling. 250,000 square feet of rooms. Just have like neck aches every day. And then finding other people had similar experiences and like telling you like, oh, if you do this, you could cut the time in half. And just like that is like priceless. how's it gonna happen? You know, that was so old that that was 1999. And my project manager said, email is a fad. That's not gonna last. Yeah, and the two of you. Did you guys always work together? Or did you know each other before?
Mike Fisher 11:20
No, it's just been through work. I started here about six years ago, a little over six years ago. And he started about a year later.
Yeah, I you know, of course, we find things out that about each other, like you knew my brother and father in law in some form or fashion and, you know, in different circumstances. But yeah, we actually met face to face. He had been working here for about a year. And I came in interested in the opportunity here and got a chance to meet him and another gentleman. And yeah, that was kind of the beginning of that about five, five and half years ago.
I mean, like, like I said, I think once once I got past, again, it was it was pitched to us as I don't want this come off the wrong way from the guys that the pitcher to us, but more or less a platform to create relationships, right. And this is the example I use. And this is I'm being fully transparent here. And this might turn some people off. But if I pick up the phone and call you as a contractor and say my name is Mike, I'm with Goodman insurance. 99.9% of those people can't hang up the phone fast enough. If I call you, yeah, as a contractor and say, My name is Mike and I've got a podcast, I want to I want you to tell your story and our GIG, you know, I want to give you a platform to tell your story and showcase your business. Most people are a lot more receptive. They're the only people that are gonna say no, are the ones that maybe are a little too shy or a little. I mean, honestly, a lot of people who say no are the ones that maybe have something to hide. I we all know, it doesn't ever happen in the construction space. But yeah, never. So long story short, we're creating relationships with people that down the road, hopefully, maybe might one day want to buy insurance from us, right? That was the the initial goal of the show or of doing this. And I think Brian was the same way. I must say that to illustrate the point that he and I wanted to have something that actually meant something that was actually fun, and people would be excited about to be excited to share. Yeah, yeah. And to do it for those reasons, the relationships are gonna come if you do for those reasons, the relationships are gonna come if you do it only for the relationship, then I felt like that was gonna be pretty transparent. people be able to see through that. So once we found a way to do it, in such a way that we would have fun doing it and and people would appreciate being on that's when we both kind of warmed up to it and, and have been able to kind of move forward with it. And I think it's been great ever since.
Felipe Engineer 13:36
That's awesome. The first show made it the light of day show number one was the first show and got published.
Mike Fisher 13:42
Yeah, we haven't recorded anything that we haven't published, there's been a few that maybe we shouldn't have.
Felipe Engineer 13:50
I mean, I've got some friends that once I started my podcast, they were like, I've got two seasons worth of shows that I haven't published yet. Get them out there. And I had some other friends were like I'm thinking about doing a show is like stop thinking start going.
Mike Fisher 14:02
Yeah, yeah, just do it.
Brian Somers 14:03
The only time we've ever gotten a little questioning in regards to that there was there was a point where we were severely backed up. And it was just an editing issue. And meeting we had our editor was just not able to keep up with the amount of content we were that we were given to him. And so occasionally I would get somebody would say, hey, just double checking and seeing if you're gonna actually air my show. Yeah, show's gonna be here. It's just we're working on stuff on our end in terms of technicality. So
Mike Fisher 14:30
We didn't I don't I think part of that is that we didn't think it would be that I don't want to say popular but that like...
Felipe Engineer 14:35
I don't think you're Rachel Maddow.
Mike Fisher 14:38
I don't think we thought that people do that excite or that the the reception would be there right. So like, we came up with the idea and said, Okay, let's message a couple 100 people each on LinkedIn and see what they say and when it was like a 30 or 40% like yes, I want to do it it's almost like Oh crap, right now we're gonna do it. Yeah, yeah, no, no, yeah. But and then then you get we want we want to hear so many stories, and we Want to hear and we want to give so many people that opportunity that we almost don't say no to anybody, right? So that's also why we have so many and are so busy doing it all the time. Because if we ask you to come on a show, and you want to do it, like we're gonna let you do it good, bad or indifferent, like we're gonna let you do it like, that's what we're here for everybody moving on, you're hearing it, no cuts, no edits, no, nothing, just a conversation as it is now, the learnings that people do are priceless. Like, I've found out most of the guests that I have.
Felipe Engineer 15:24
I know, a couple of exceptions, new people that I haven't known, well, the what is shared, the feedback I hear from people is just motivates me to keep doing it over and over again, I'm sure as you guys as well. I'm just astounded, like your pace you put on guys. That's incredible to travel quite a bit for work. So this is the maximum two weeks every two weeks.
Mike Fisher 15:46
I don't want to say easy, but like from a schedule standpoint, like our offices are 20 feet that way. So if we record, we step over to here to record, we're done. We step back over there. Yeah, we upload everything to a cloud. And our editor takes it from there. And so we offload a lot. Because Yeah, if we had to edit our own stuff into it, there's a chance Yeah, chance. Yeah. But I mean, when we can spend three to five hours a week doing three to five shows. And that's all the time we need to spend because somebody else is editing in somebody else's posting and doing all that stuff, then it makes it pretty, pretty easy for us. And, and we enjoy doing it.
Felipe Engineer 16:19
What's something interesting that you guys have learned from a guest that you never would have expected? where your mouth is almost like open, you can talk?
Brian Somers 16:25
I'm thinking of stories. I mean.
Felipe Engineer 16:29
Just pick one, just cherry pick Brian?
Brian Somers 16:30
Oh, gosh, all right. I don't know. Well, we had one guy on the show. That was he was, uh, did a lot of decks and different things, especially on the residential side. And you know, he's in the backyard, my memories, not great. So that this kind of question is better suited for us. Like I said, let me go back and talk about from the insurance side, you know, we only hear about, you know, hey, you know, I've got this claim that's sitting, it's causing my eczema to go crazy. And, you know, so I don't usually get to be a party to the other side of things where, oh, my gosh, you won't believe what happened today on the job when this naked woman came out to try to try to, you know, do things to me. You know, I mean, a lot of these and I can't see that's, that's probably one out of almost 100 shows that that things like that have happened. But occasionally we do get, we get those kinds of stories. We had a guy on the show yesterday, which was kind of cool. He called us from the truck on the job site, you know, just kind of cool things that were happening, like in the moment while on the job. And we had to kind of narrate, like, Oh, you know, he's stepping out the the Porta Potty guys coming out, you know, so, like, different, just, like, you know, just really kind of fun interactions that happen as a result that one particular story is definitely coming out of
Felipe Engineer 17:45
A lot strange stuff that happens on construction projects.
Brian Somers 17:47
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Yep.
Felipe Engineer 17:49
I've got stories. I probably could record like, 80 hours worth of content for sure. Yeah. But it's not that kind of show.
Brian Somers 17:59
Yeah, yeah. No, I hear ya.
Felipe Engineer 18:00
I hear ya. That's awesome. Like insurance is definitely a big part of construction. Everybody pays for it. We all benefit from it. It's one of those nice collective deals that we have, folks. So you I think people take insurance for granted. You guys probably know better. That's right. until until we need it until you need it.
Brian Somers 18:15
Yeah, even hate it when you need it. But yeah.
Felipe Engineer 18:20
Do you have like insurance friends, where you guys get together and talk about like.
Brian Somers 18:23
No, that's boring as hell, nobody likes that. Although I mean, we we do hanging out together quite a bit. But no, there's a, there's a lot of cross collaboration, even within the team here. The guy that started our company has been around for 40 years. And so I call him kind of the Gandalf. And so there's a lot of knowledge that's shared internally, especially just because, you know, insurance for anything is different than insurance and construction. And, you know, we talked to a lot of especially smaller contractors that might jump into a contract. And so they have to have an insurance policy, and they pick up a liability policy that has them, it gets them on the job, they think they've got, you know, they can get the job and go forward with the work. But when a claim happens, like we were mentioning earlier, they don't actually have coverage. So there's a lot of those things that if you're not in the construction space, and know how to read those forms on a construction or liability policy, and most and what contractor would know that it's an 85 page document that, you know, it gets stuffed away. And basically, they need the policy number and the carrier name to be able to get paid and continue to work. And it's only when it starts raining that they need to pull it out again, and they realize that man, I've got a terrible broker that put me in a bad position. And so a lot of the knowledge is shared is you know, and Mike's been around the business. He's been he was here a year before me. And then he also had several years prior and with a mom in the insurance space, so he's got, he's got quite a bit more knowledge than I do. I've Yeah, I've gotten the benefit of that because I came from a completely different industry prior to insurance. So, the nice thing about sharing a wall, I can walk around the corner and say, Hey, Mike, I need some help, you know. So there's a lot of that that goes on here, which helps, especially with construction.
Felipe Engineer 20:11
No, it's a it's exciting, like, you know, for people listening, if you don't get the chance to be in a lawsuit, you're missing out. Amen.
Mike Fisher 20:21
Exciting. That's the word we'll use. For sure. It's exciting.
Felipe Engineer 20:26
I've met so many lawyer friends over the course of going claim to win these years. The lawyers were pretty cool. And they were telling me that in law school, the vast majority of construction case examples are just examples as they're learning, even before they decide they're going to work in construction space. It's construction lawsuits. Yeah, yeah, it's just predominant.
Mike Fisher 20:47
The construction industry itself creates a lot of the statutes and the law in most other industries as well, precedent. It's funny because we go to insurance seminars who want to talk about exciting want to talk about exciting. Yeah, a lot of talk about exciting. But it's funny, because I mean, being producers or brokers that only work in construction, obviously only know that niche, right. But these insurance seminars that are enthralling and invigorating, they cover, they're supposed to cover all industries, right, but same kind of thing. Like, almost every example they give as to why this policy is written this way, or why this is done this way, or what you're supposed to be looking for, has to do with construction. So it's good in that sense that I mean, most of those things are built around what we do. But yeah, to prove your example, that's what drives a lot of the litigation, and especially in California.
Brian Somers 21:37
My daughter the other night, 13, she comes downstairs and she's it's about 10 o'clock at night, she goes to bed at night. And I said, What are you doing up? And she goes, I can't sleep Dad, I'm thirsty. I'm hungry, you know, kind of goes through the litany of things. I said, Do you want me to tell you about general liability exclusion form? So she goes, no, I'm going to bed.
Felipe Engineer 22:01
That's awesome. I'm gonna use that one tonight. All right. I've been in the business for over 22 years. And I originally went to school for engineering and engineering is actually my last name.
Mike Fisher 22:14
I was gonna say when I saw it, I didn't know if that was your title. Yeah.
Felipe Engineer 22:18
And I got into school thinking that I didn't want to work with my parents, like love you mom and dad, but they worked in a different industry altogether more in manufacturing. And I just like I got to try something different. Be my own person. So I went to school for computer engineering of all things. And then I was in school. I'm old enough to remember y2k. And old let's remember how overblown and exaggerated it was.
Mike Fisher 22:40
Well, did you think What do you say? Did you think it was overblown and exaggerated at the time? Oh, yeah.
Brian Somers 22:47
I did. Although I did have a hint of I remember that night as long story, but I was by myself. And it wasn't because I thought the world was gonna end but I remember thinking at 11:59 and 30 seconds ago, okay. 30 more seconds, and you kind of twinge. And then it's like, oh, we're alright. Everything's fine. Nobody happened. Yep.
Felipe Engineer 23:03
So but the downside to that was the the economy like really heated up as that was happening. So I'm in school, halfway through getting my computer engineering degree and like, nobody can get jobs after y2k was over. Like, first there was enough people. And then there were too few people and then not enough demand. So I just flipped over to electrical engineering. And that's what I actually graduated and buddy of mine was working for a large general contractor in Chicago. That's where we grew up, got the little Sears Tower over my shoulder, if you can see it, I flipped over to that. And my friend said, Hey, you got to check out this job. He wasn't trying to even make me think about construction. He was a fellow electrical engineer, and took me to check out a job and I just fell in love with it. This company was at a career fair. If you look me up on LinkedIn, you can figure out what company I'm talking about. It's the Big Blue is their nickname, and went to work for them right out of school. Four years later. 2008 comes you know, something that affected pretty much everybody that listens to your show. Yep, the recession. Oh, eight. We ended up going west and I got started to work for McCarthy building companies. I was 12 years ago. It's like I just close my eyes. And it was yesterday. Yeah, half my career I worked in construction as an engineer, project manager type even did a little time as a superintendent on in Chicago, which was awesome. Downtown Michigan Avenue was the last time I I got to be a superintendent on a 21 storey high rise overlooking Millennium Park. Wow. Yeah, six North Michigan is I gotta hear to write right? No, oh, wait, the scar from oh eight.
Mike Fisher 24:38
Felipe Engineer 24:39
I got those good memories there. It started working in McCarthy, who was somebody at McCarthy that turned me on to this whole idea of lean construction. And it was just all of this borrowed from manufacturing. That goes way back. I mean, the roots of lean construction for those that don't know, it just goes way way back. Lean is not Li e n as some of your listeners might be thinking about.
Mike Fisher 24:59
How to go File a mechanic's liens and the yeah.
Felipe Engineer 25:03
yeah, not that type of lien, it's l e, a n and and that type of thinking it's all about respect for people continuous improvement, making what you do better, easier, faster and fun. And part of that there's this acronym that's been out there for a long time, I can't take the credit on it ebrc it's the recipe for how to start being lean, the first thing you do is you make your work easier, and you make it better, it naturally becomes faster and ultimately becomes cheaper. So that was the genesis for naming my show, because my show is all for construction people. And we wanted to make it easier, better for construction. So that's what it stands for. I've worked across the country worked in hospitals, schools, commercial work, Community College, elementary education type of projects. Now, with working in McCarthy industrial, solar, like very large, you know, 100 plus acre, like 800 acre and larger solar plants, fields, industrial work, coal, fire plants, airports, casinos, hotels, just all over the place. Now, based on California, when I started the company coast to coast and before COVID, or like, I like to refer to it as BCE before COVID ever fly quite a bit, demand is still high, when when COVID hit it didn't affect the job other than just the location and job stayed demand went higher. And we've been doing actually more like I had time to start my podcast, which was just happened in July, early in my career. And I'm sure a lot of people know this too, like things that really made your job easier, did not always come from the immediate vicinity of what's on your job. Sometimes the idea and innovation came from somewhere else, right for us in construction, like borrowing for manufacturing, and manufacturing was borrowing from shipbuilding, and shipbuilding was borrowing from the military. And everybody just keeps borrowing from other industries. And those types of ideas just make it so impactful to innovation potential is like infinite. The last thing I did for McCarthy before I went into this role is was a project manager on a traditional design bid build project in the city of orange for Chapman University.
Mike Fisher 26:57
And that's actually perfect, because my next question was going to be going into this role. Was it something that you pitch to them as, hey, look, this is what I can do. And this is what I want to do full time? Or did they? Or do they come to you and say, Hey, we're looking to create this position. So they came to me early when I was working in McCarthy, like way early.
Felipe Engineer 27:14
More than 10 years ago, there was a gentleman made a presentation at one of our company get togethers and said, here's some cool stuff happening on our job. This is the way we're doing it. We're borrowing these ideas called lean or manufacturing. And that's kind of like I was pitching I was that day I was drinking like two pots of coffee a day. You can imagine. I'm sure you got listeners out there that are probably close to that type of jittery it. Yep, no, that's just to stay awake. Because Yeah, so much. This was just totally radically different. So I got involved in this little group, just like volunteer for fun, we would get together outside of work in the beginning. And then inside of work hours later, as you build your capacity to be able to volunteer more. So I became part of this little group, and we're experimenting, reading books, studying, encouraging each other to try new things. And with this little group grew, and eventually 2014, the company noticed and said, Hey, we'd like to pilot this as an initiative across the company. And we want to come to people like you in this group that are doing this, could you try this and make it more formal? And we're like, sure. And they're like, what are the things that we could do like, so they had an idea of what they wanted to do upper management, and then we had an idea what we had been doing for at that point, probably about five years or so maybe closer to eight years, some of the people have been there longer than I was. And then we had two years of that. That was 2014. So we piloted I was on a job that just coincidentally took over two years to finish. And then at the end of that they decided based on the results, the impact of the company, let's get more of this. So they made the position, they advertised it publicly and privately, they said we strongly encourage you to apply for this position.
And then the guy that interviewed me this, my first interview was the CEO, Scott Woodcock, and he was really cool in the interview, like just getting to know is the first time we'd actually had like a real conversation, they were like, We want to have you talk to him. Because your role is going to be national, it's going to touch multiple regions, we just want to get a sense of like, is this something you're interested in? And be? Are you even going to be good at it, right. So that ended up being really cool conversation with him. And the rest they say is history. Two years later got promoted to national director for the whole organization. So then I tried to take on more strategy type of function for the role of still working with tactics. And then we've had demand increasing and surging ever since and we've got ourselves well positioned across the company, I still will bump into people in the organization that don't know what I do. That still happens. I mean, yeah, it's a lot of people, but most of the leadership Yeah. 5000 Yeah. And we're expanding, you know, what we're doing now, you know, from a group of people just doing it for fun to encourage each other to now it's part of how we're doing business in a really small span of time has been really incredible to be a part of, and I'm gonna say that's gonna be fun. Yeah, yeah. And I know my counterparts at some of the other companies and through the work with some of the nonprofits like the lean construction Institute, We do, like, compete with each other and check notes.
Mike Fisher 30:03
Right? Hmm. What did you do you What have you done lately?
Felipe Engineer 30:07
That because the you know, these different events and at seminars, you can see what people are doing and what's really what's going on in the industry and what we're facing, we're all facing the same thing. We're an industry of tradition. You know, there's a long established way for how things are done. And if you rock the boat too much, it's, it's just you can only change so much so fast, but definitely things that you can do where you can have returns on your investment, like to the tunes of billions of dollars. Yeah, that's the type of payback that some of this stuff has. That's crazy this and it's been really cool. It's just been like no, slow down for what the company wants to do with it. I've worked with accounting, legal risk corporate it like HR training as backhaul. So then project wise, the first year, I worked with six teams in year one, and I started like in June. So that's about it, almost a team a month, and then I work with, you know, three to 10 plus teams per month. Wow.
Mike Fisher 31:02
So that's where I was actually gonna go, I was curious if more of your work is done, like you said, in the back of the house and the operation side or a more, you know, in the field, where do you, I would imagine you probably find more room for efficiencies in the field, right, that's probably where you get the bigger gain. But there's probably a lot of systems that can be.
Felipe Engineer 31:20
You'd be surprised, you can get a lot in both spots. Like if you're like a friend of mine used to always say like, there's, there's people that work in the business. And there's people that work on the business, and good businesses can find people to do both gret. Today we have I'm not alone, even though I'm by myself and departmental organizational report to Scotts my boss now. So I report directly to him. And we talked to the C suite pretty often. So it's really good to get their feedback. And they're setting the tone and direction for the company. And I helped support to achieve that with all of our partners, right? So the way we we kept that model of these volunteers forward, because those people definitely gave me tons of insight, like I didn't start at zero, when I joined that group I started were where they were, and they helped to onboard me and guide me. And then from there, I was able to take off. And when you dedicate yourself full time to something, you can really get exponentially more effective than if you're just trying to figure things out by yourself. So the people that I work with every day, day in and day out. I mean, definitely helped and encouraged me because it's not easy work. Yeah, if I came to your office and say, hey, you've been doing insurance.
Mike Fisher 32:20
You're doing, you're doing it the wrong way.
Felipe Engineer 32:22
Yeah, we're gonna, we're gonna change the way you do insurance. Everybody in your office be like there's the door don't kick you out the door. Today, we have more than 60 people involved that have a full time job in our company. But they're also involved as a volunteer working on our group. And that's how we call ourselves like a lean leader group. Yeah, yeah, each region sets its own town has quite a bit of control quite a bit of control. So we have the national strategy and tactics. And then within how they achieve that support the regional business needs. It's all within their power. And every single group has one, two, sometimes four vice presidents in the group, all the way down to project engineer. And we have some corporate people in the group as well. There's an accountant in the group, there's a person in it as a person in human resources.
Mike Fisher 33:05
They're all just kind of collaborating.
Felipe Engineer 33:07
And they do they do work in their respective locales, like geographic regions. And then occasionally, we come together when it makes sense, and we cross collaborate. So it's very effective way to communicate and then exponentially move the needle.
Mike Fisher 33:21
Yeah, as a collective. what's the what's the learning curve? And like, I mean, having to touch so many different departments coming from your background? I mean, I mean, I guess you have to get involved pretty heavily in the minutiae of the daily grind of each one of these different departments. Is there? Is there a learning curve and into understanding how they operate before you get to what you're going to do? As far as you know, the efficiency part? Absolutely.
Felipe Engineer 33:45
I'm like a super sponge, lifelong learner. So I'm very curious nature, just in general, and being in the business for 20 plus years, you pick up on stuff. And I've worked in many different capacities and roles. So like, when I went to go work in the, it was a joint force between HR and it, for example, to two different groups working together on initiative, I come in under the guise of facilitator to help, right I didn't, I didn't come in with an agenda, right? Like I just came in to be helpful. That's how I come into every single group come in being helpful. I'm not gonna come in like, even if something is super obvious to me. At the end of the day, Mike, you got to keep responsibility with the people that do the work.
Brian Somers 34:25
Yep. Well, you're gonna get learned. Yeah. And you're gonna get more buy in from those that you're working with, as opposed to coming in and start barking orders. You know what I mean, right?
Felipe Engineer 34:32
Yeah. And I use that, like, I look at, like, if I work with a group, and they do something later, do I get called again, that's a measure of success. For me personally, like, right, if I work with somebody one time and never again, I need to go back to them and find out what did I do wrong. So for the most part I get in working with people constantly, like there's a team in Illinois, that their project is finally coming to the point where they've had to go to different jobs, so they're kind of breaking up the team. been together for about half a decade, they'd call me every three months, every two months, sometimes every month, I mean, it was pretty consistent all the time. So that was a good measure of it's a good interaction with them, they're getting some value out of what we're doing. And likewise, for me, I'm getting good value out of that a lot of the people that work in industry, I mean, you can go to a job. And you might even be like a tradesperson, working on one particular thing, like the Mason, for example, doing masonry work on a building, they might not ever even go into the finish structure, right? Because they're only part of a certain part. Right? So they don't even get to see that that whole thing. And the same thing happens, you know, on the professional side as well, sometimes people are so into their, their specialization that they don't get to see the whole value stream of what what is the building we're doing? What's the purpose of it? How's it going to be used? that opportunity is not always there for people? Understanding the why. Yeah, yeah, I try to bring that to everyone. So we're working together? Like, I'll be almost annoying with it. Like, why are we doing this? Almost.
Mike Fisher 35:56
Yeah. Almost. Never crossing that line that never crossed? Your close, like?
Felipe Engineer 36:04
Mike Fisher 36:05
Yeah, for sure. Are you getting more of your direction? From the top level? Executives who are looking at p&l and efficiencies and like? Or is it more requests from the departments directly saying, Hey, we're needing help with this trying to get more efficient and doing all those kinds of things? Or is it? I would imagine, it's a mixture of both. But where are you getting it more heavily?
Felipe Engineer 36:27
Well, I get to see the same things that they see. So there's reporting mechanisms in place like all larger sized companies? Yeah. When I talk to leadership, I'm trying to listen to more, where do we need to know, based on what they're hearing in the marketplace? You know, what's coming down the line? What initiatives are board right now? And why? And then how can I help achieve those things with the work that I'm doing with the people I'm doing it with? So like, when I go back, I'm seeing the same things that they see. So when we talk we're already not like they're having to explain to me, you know, what these numbers are, know the numbers like they know the numbers, right, which is a good thing. We've got a lot of transparency at this level. So we can see what's going on. And we're an employee owned company, which makes it really easier. Yeah, it's hard work. And like everybody that works in this space will tell you like, it's really hard work. But being employee owned, makes it a lot easier, because people know that what they do affects how we operate. And to keep the lights on, you just don't want to break even breaking even doesn't even keep the lights on, right? You get a little bit of variation and project performance. And then boom, all of a sudden, you can't keep your lights on and you can operate and keep the lights on is just one metaphor. Yep. Right. So then most of the demand that comes my way is word of mouth. Because my goal is always to eliminate myself as a constraint as quickly as possible. We want everyone in the industry to be able to have these types of skills, everything that we have is like in the public domain, people just aren't applying it because of those things like tradition and process that people aren't always aware that you have some flexibility in actually changing.
Mike Fisher 37:49
What the stuff you guys do, or the stuff that you do. And you guys are implementing you guys make it pretty, pretty public and you're not trying to...
Felipe Engineer 37:56
In the company, We've got like, internal ways that we share. Yeah, and sometimes that's that's difficult even still, because you know, the job, the construction job takes all your attention. current chairman of the board Mike Boland always says, Every day you go to work, the job's trying to kill you. It's very dangerous.
Mike Fisher 38:13
Yeah. I mean, that's, that's a that's a very real way to put it. Yeah. There are.
Felipe Engineer 38:19
I mean, if you walk into a site, texting on your phone, and there's earthwork happening, you have a high chance of getting in trouble, you know, just with foot placement, because the changing terrain and what's going on now, like walking down a sidewalk, or you can get away with a little bit on your phone, not you know, getting to her too bad. But I've seen people walk into stuff, you know, on the street outside. You see? If you haven't seen it, I'm sure there's a Google.
Mike Fisher 38:45
Right? Yeah, for sure.
Felipe Engineer 38:47
For sure. Yeah, like on the site, you got to be aware of a lot of things and the conditions change daily, you've got to be really aware. And the same is Backhouse to like when people are managing the site from afar back in the construction trailer, whatever they're doing, dealing with the business things, they've got procurement, that they're always focused on to make sure the right stuff is there to feed, you know, the people working in the buildings or whatever the the type of construction is, to keep it going. It just does not happen by accident. It's a very intense, coordinated effort. And the people that do it, do it. They do it really well, like a lot of there. And there are a lot of good firms out there doing it, the people that we have them super happy to call partners really focused and they care deeply. That's like one of the things that you can't really quantify, like, how much do people care? Yeah, you could tell when you go to someone's job, like to what level of care they have, and you can tell when you talk to folks like how engaged they are. And that's one of the cool things about you know, working here is that our engagements pretty high. That's awesome.
Mike Fisher 39:43
Yeah, I would imagine part of your job security is being able to quantify some of the things that you do and and the successes that you've had. So what what kind of what kind of metrics do you guys use to be able to to measure and track some of the things that you do?
Felipe Engineer 40:00
I get asked that question all the time. That's not even, I'm not even joking today, there was a small, self performed company that does like like trade work very specific niche work like industrial, they called me and they were asking me like, how do you track KPIs for what you do? So I'm gonna tell you the same thing that I tell everybody else, your company already has key performance indicators that are important to them, you should really understand what they are and how what you're doing impacts them. So we look at the things that we track, if you ask, you know, anybody on a typical job, the two big things that always come up are cost and schedule, right. So most people agree hands down cost and schedule are super important. And as you talk to more people, safety and quality will make the top 10 list hopefully, and then hopefully, right now, teamwork is starting to make the list of like the most often cited things that are critical. And we know from the research of people that study this for a living that teamwork, and the people on your team, the individuals on your team have more impact than anything else for the success of your project. It's by far exponentially higher, I don't know what the statistics are top my head, the team is number one, the people you have and then the processes your company brings are, you know, they're in there, but they're not the most important. So I would say to everybody out there, it doesn't matter where you are in construction, whether you're a trades person, a foreman, a crew leader, a superintendent, project manager, a director, an executive, your company is already looking at things that are important to them. So you should understand what those are, what you do definitely translates to impact on those key KPIs key performance indicators inside the company, I look at you know, what's important to our organization so that we stay healthy as a company. That means that we're keeping our people because I look at that the people more so than the other things, then I will also look at cost and schedule. And then we see like, you know, what can What are we doing to move the needle on those. And that's how we engage. There's a lot of lean tools out there more than 100 there's more than 100 different tools with processes to improve stuff. And we don't I don't recommend all of them. So I always recommend stuff that we try. And then that actually impacts what we're trying to do because you can you can shine some they call it in. And under other industries called a gold plating. When something's already gold and shiny, you can keep gold plating and it gets it doesn't get any shiny or doesn't. We don't want to do any gold plating, but we want to just deliver I was I told the customers like we want to give you exactly what you contracted for. And not a penny more. Yeah. And then they act just like you do.
Mike Fisher 42:25
Yeah, just kind of frozen. Yeah.
Felipe Engineer 42:29
What do you mean, you're not a charity?
Mike Fisher 42:31
So many companies that will focus on the bottom line? And how do we how do we do these things? What do we do to make this bottom line grow? Not understanding that, that that first step is, is the people right, like getting the people to buy in and to, to love what they do and be part of that team and, and have that that atmosphere. And it's obviously, people that come onto our show, that are you know, executives and CEOs or have their own business construction company, they tend to be successful, right? There's, there's not many people that want to come on the show that are doing well, right, they don't want to come on and talk about how they're doing if they're not doing well. But To that end, a very common theme when we talk about, you know, what you're looking for in people and what how you're hiring and how you're doing the almost all of them, it's culture for us, right? They don't care if you can do the job, or if what your skill set is because those those things can be taught and those things can be learned and those things can be developed. But if you fit into the team, and you can buy into what everybody else is getting on board with that's, that's, that's their measure of success. And that's I think that's what's important here is that even the position like yours for multibillion dollar company, it's still about the people buying in, you know, treating them the right way, and doing and giving quality work and you know, your customers and stuff. And the bottom line just happens to be a byproduct of all that.
Felipe Engineer 43:53
Yeah, exactly as in some people that focus on cost cutting first as a way to do lean always has disastrous results, the informations out there in the public domain?
Mike Fisher 44:03
Don't it's so much easier, but it's so much easier, like...
Felipe Engineer 44:05
Oh, we can just, you know, do half as much, twice as much more and it's like, oh,
Brian Somers 44:11
That's not doesn't work that way. One plus one does not equal five.
Felipe Engineer 44:15
But no, but there are a lot of failures out there. And you know, the type of industry we have, it's a very siloed industry is gone are the days of the master builder type approach where the architect would issue a drawing set, you know, for something even like the Empire State Building of less than 100 sheets, I mean, you can't build a shed for Alright, so like the and some of that is just do with specialization, like even what I do it people look at like, well, you're the lean expert, like Well, actually, I'm a business specialist. My specialty is business from the time the customer thinks that they want to do something, when it's just that I think building this building will help me solve my business problems till the time you know, they're occupying the building, and they're thinking about giving us the next job. That's What I'm involved in, that's my business, my business at helping people solve problems, you know, by building things, buildings, like a hospital, like if you're, if your hospital demand now COVID a perfect example. If before COVID you're almost at capacity with treating things like diabetes, heart disease and, and other things that people are coming into your hospital for. And then you throw a pandemic on top of it, you know, how do you change to keep serving those needs that are pretty predictable. But then you'd also that surge because of having to deal with the pandemic. Like we we've had to do things like that and help our customers navigate that. That's what I'm into the full business part, all the way, all the way. As a part of this kind of specialization, you pick up some cool stuff, like don't tell people what to do. Like, our program is voluntary, you know, as compared to some other companies that haven't mandated, our adoption is much higher, it's much higher, because we help people make their job easier, better, faster. And that benefits our clients, our clients 100% benefit. Our happy people on their projects, definitely delivers their projects on schedule. I went to a job two weeks ago, I was right here in my backyard in Sacramento. And they're almost three months ahead of schedule is what they finished. She had applied hi Lena intensities are working with since 2016. And I remember the one gentleman who's now a project director, he had just barely was a project manager The first time I met him, and he told me he's like when I first heard about Lean is like I hated it, because like I hated it. He's like heroes management trying to tell me what to do. Hire more work on top of me, I'm already working like to the gills and they're trying to pile more on me. But that was just one way. So we learned I see a lot of companies even now like I was at a conference last week for five days. And I heard story after story from people at the conference that are like our someone our company sent us here. We don't even know why. And then when I come back, the conference was a week long when I get back to they're trying to do emails and answer client calls. They couldn't even allow themselves the space to learn for five days. Right. So that's, that was prom. So this gentleman that I'm at a site now he's a director now, he told me he's like, this is actually like one of the nicest things that's ever happened. He's like my team, the people that work for him. Now. He's like, they've they've come on, they've like he said, some engineers work on his job. And then they were staffing down because they're getting to the end, and they've gone to other projects. It's like they call me and say it's not the same as that. And they want to come back because I could something that was something special here. And that special thing was really just the mindset. Yeah. And that mindset, I always tell people, it's really just two things.
Mike Fisher 47:42
It's this. That was I was sexy, that was sexy.
Felipe Engineer 47:49
So, yeah, respect for people is the first thing and then continuous improvement. Those are the two big lean construction principles. And when you study what lean is deeper, you keep coming back to those two things. And people always like nah. And it can't be that simple. Like, it's not simple. It's easy to say yes.
Brian Somers 48:07
Difficult to do. Yeah. Right?
Felipe Engineer 48:09
And then how do you do that through a process? Like, if you're working with a team of 100 people that have already been working together for a year? And then you come in to do something? You got to do some time with them? Like, why are you there? You just, they're not just gonna say,
Mike Fisher 48:22
Yes, sir. Yeah, we're happy, we're happy to change everything we're doing for you.
Felipe Engineer 48:26
Yeah. And we hear from people, we've got a lot of veterans that work in our organization as well. And they say the military is not blind following either leadership has to be earned respect has to be given a trust is built by actually working with people.
Brian Somers 48:39
Well, he kind of gone, you know, to that particular project with that gentleman that was a project director that wasn't totally sold. And just kind of talking about some of these guys, these other individuals that had moved on to different projects. I got to imagine based off of that, that not every project is working with that kind of lean theology in mind, is that correct? Or where do you get brought in? Do they ask you to come in because I gotta Imagine if the buy in is basically volunteer, which I think is the best kind of, you know, buy in because people want to be there, right? They want to be a part of something that's bigger than them. They want to they want to be able to give to that. But where does it so where does that? Where do you kind of walk that line? Where do you get brought into that particular project within the company? How does that translate?
Felipe Engineer 49:30
So I mean, I still will sometimes get a call from a vice president, and they'll say, hey, it's so and so I need you just to go to this job. I see. And they're like, you'll know what's what's let you figure it out. Sometimes they say more of like, what the concern is, they never know the good thing about you know, being in this type of company that I'm in people that have been working for us are, they've been with us for a long time. So it's, it's not like, you know, somebody just showed up and you're dealing with total unknown these are. We've known for quite a while. We'll go Go in, I'll call the project manager, I'll look on the on the project list like who do I know here? Do I need the person to make an introduction? Or do I actually know somebody there? If I know somebody there, I'll call them and say, Hey, you know, how's it going? I don't know, if you know that I've changed roles. I'm not an operations anymore. I still have to say that. Because doing it for five years, people still think some people still think I live in Orange County, even though I've been up here. So I'll tell them like, Yes, I moved. And no, do not get your Christmas card.
Mike Fisher 50:29
So I thought we were friends.
Felipe Engineer 50:34
Now I know better. I want to come visit your job. And I've had, you know, a couple times some of the the job leadership say, hell no, but when I walk in the front door, and I gotta like, tell him why I'm there. And just be totally transparent with them. I was like, I'm not here to I was like, if you've ever worked with me, you'll know we do some root cause analysis. Never once as the source of something that's gone wrong in a project actually been an individual persons thread.
Mike Fisher 50:59
It's not not personal. Yeah.
Felipe Engineer 51:00
It's not been a personal fault. It's usually some systemic thing, some process issue. Yep. It's caused the problem. And so once we get to that understanding, I've had a superintendent like I remember this was a job. Two years ago, this happened on the job.
Mike Fisher 51:14
Perfect. Love that.
Felipe Engineer 51:16
Yeah, you're welcome. So show up. First of all the jobs four hours away. So I've been driving in the car for four hours to get this job. I had to get up at 3am to get to in Super tenanting care. He's living down with the city where there's an I show up, I get there before the executive that supposed to be doing the wise, will he be here conversation? He got he got caught in traffic? Because there was a wreck. Because when you drive for four hours, something's bound to happen, right? Yeah. Right, right. So I got the hay. And the guy said to me, he's like, Oh, so you think you're going to tell me how to do my job? Like this has been a superintendent. He's been he's been a superintendent for 20 years. I've only been in the business for 20 years. He was other things before that. So I told him, I said, Actually, no, you're gonna tell me how to do my job with a big smile on my face?
Mike Fisher 52:09
Yeah, I just try to take from the cog back and try and hit you.
Felipe Engineer 52:13
He stood there. Like he's like, I don't know if I should slap. Yeah. And then from there, I explained to him like, I don't know what you do. Like I've been I said, I've been a superintendent before, but I was on this type of structure, right. So something totally different. And just for anonymity, I won't say what the structure was, because people that know me will know exactly where I was. And I told him was like, I'm here to learn as like, you've, you've been around, and you've had like, really cool successes. And there's a crew of 45 people out there that follow you that would follow you anywhere. I've tried to understand, like, what's going on here that we're not getting what we need? And I said, I guarantee you it's not gonna be you. Right? I said, I guarantee you, it's not you. So then you're relaxed. And I said, you know, would you mind showing me your job? So we went and walked the job, and we'd see stuff? And I'm asking questions, and he's noticing things based on my dumb questions. And I always tell people, like, if I do come to your project, I'm going to ask 1000s of questions, and most of which are yet you're gonna know not rhetorical. Yeah, I don't ask rhetorical questions. And I don't ask trick questions. I really curious. And I need to know. Yeah, that's how I go. And people are super proud and what they do and show you what what's going on. The client ended up giving the project team a change order for something negotiated that otherwise would have been really contentious, basically said, Here's two more million dollars worth of work. Thank you. And please do it. Just all you done everything else. And we ended up I think they doubled their profit on that job as a result of what we did. And we really just went after to, you know, two things, improving the information flow from the foreman to the superintendent. Yeah. And we didn't know that going in. Like when I landed there. I didn't know that. That's what I was going to focus on by being curious and walking around listening and seeing that opportunity. And I realized, you don't realize that unless you have a lot of experience. And you'll you'll pick up on stuff like that. And we made that little switch, the general foreman became a superintendent on the next job got promoted. The project manager, became a Senior Project Manager, the director became an Executive Vice President, I mean, like just a nice chain reaction, not all at the same time, but like the changes definitely helped him and impacted them in positive ways that they carry them forward. And now I can call any of them and say, Hey, I'm thinking about this. What do you think? And we can bounce stuff off of each other, like really easy now?
Brian Somers 54:33
Well, you've planted seeds in each of them. Right? And is it as they've moved on to more leadership positions that gets disseminated later on and other projects and other things that are happening within the company?
Felipe Engineer 54:43
Yeah, we tell people like you know, good ideas spread on their own bad ideas. Take a lot of marketing. Yeah.
Brian Somers 54:52
That's actually true.
Mike Fisher 54:54
That's awesome. So do you get Christmas cards from all of them now. I hope.
Felipe Engineer 55:00
No we don't. They're like Felipe Engineer, I can't tell what you are.
Brian Somers 55:07
But you know, though, I think I think that that, you know, in terms of your respect for people, especially when you walk in and you, I think you're right, there's that initial like, Oh, God, here comes the guy with the suit. He's trying to fix me and fix my project. There's that suspicion that comes as a result, and it creates that divide between them and their people. And you, right, but you come in an arming and or you're, you're basically saying, I'm not here against you? I'm not I'm actually here for you. I want to help you in any way that I can. And I don't know what I don't know what to tell you yet. Let's just say, yeah, be buddies. I think, yeah, you break that down. And I think that creates, what's the collaboration, it creates teamwork, it creates the ability, an environment where people are willing to move forward and come up with new ideas and not be afraid to espouse those ideas. And, and, and, and share that with you. And, and for them to share it amongst themselves. And you're right. I mean, sometimes just the simplest thing, in terms of communication from the bottom up and from the top down, or whatever it is, and they all realize that they they're not going to be in trouble if they do something or, or big brother's watching them that they're there to be a part of a team. You're right, things get done quickly. And, and people are excited to be a part of that.
Felipe Engineer 56:19
It's easy to say it's very hard to implement. Yeah, it's very hard to implement. So like earlier in my career, I remember working for a director, he was a pm at the time. And and this was before I knew more about Lean. And, you know, he told me he's like, the good thing about you is you're just a workhorse like you can we can just pile work on you. And you'll just do it. Like whether it's right or wrong. I'm like, I don't feel like this is a compliment. This was not a good thing during a performance review. So like he's giving me good high marks. And I'm asking him for like, what else? And that's why I realized, like, I don't know enough, like I was at that point, I was pretty cocky. I was you know, younger than I am now. If you can't tell from my, my beautiful hairline. happens with experience.
Mike Fisher 57:07
Right? Yeah, exactly.
Felipe Engineer 57:08
And then I just remember walking away from that, like, a, I don't like that label, I'm gonna drop some of the shit you're giving me. I wanted to know more things. So I started, you know, improving my, my network and then finding my own gaps. Like, what do I not know? And I went deeper into this, this lean type of thinking and mindset and community. And it just man has just paid back dividends. It's been transformational. Yeah, it's awesome. But like my show is all about making it easier for everybody. We have guests come on, and we share stories and I get to interview other people. I barely talk. Which is ironic, as you can tell, like I'm talking a lot.
Mike Fisher 57:50
That's the way we like to do our show too.
Felipe Engineer 57:54
This is the normal me Brian.
Mike Fisher 57:56
Are you uh, are you bringing on other contractors? Who have you have are interested in these ideas? Or have they implemented some of your ideas? Oh, yeah.
Felipe Engineer 58:04
Well, I've had like, so far different trades partners that we work with, and, and my show is completely voluntary. Like we're sponsored, just coincidentally, the lean construction Institute sponsors my show. And that was just like, they asked me like, they heard I was going to start a show. And I had my first show was with one of my friends that had worked similar type of role that I did early on Josh, and then after that show, people are like, Man, this show was actually entertaining. Like, I didn't think systems thinking could be an interesting conversation. And people, a friend of mine had been telling me forever. For four years, I had a friend who had a podcast, and she would like just badger me every time she saw me. She worked in a different city. And she'd be like, you should have your own show. You should do videos. You should do videos. Yeah. should watch them. Yeah, I started getting ready and making that change. I started realizing like, this is going to be good for me too. Yep. So I'm gonna get to hear things and talk to folks like I've had owners on the show. I've talked to some of my peers and said, you know, if you want to come on, you can come on. Like, it's, it's really, it's up to me, like, my sponsor doesn't have a say, before I started the show. I told McCarthy like, Hey, I'm gonna do the show. And they were like, okay, that's cool. That's awesome. Yeah. And I was like, it would be nice. McCarthy if you want to reshare the show. Like, I'm not against you sharing. Like, feel free to reshare it's I've had like, clients have been on it's been pretty much in the beginning. It was a lot of the people that just I've worked with over the past two decades. Yeah. And then now I've been having like, authors call me and say like, Hey, I heard you got this construct show want to come on? Yeah, I've had, you know, through the show. I've talked to people from all over the world. Like one of the things that I'm really passionate about is Scrum, which is an agile methodology. I mean, it's it predates agile as a mindset, just, you know, set the record straight Scrum is older than agile for all the people that know only a couple of nerds right now are like, that's right. Everyone else is like what we thought it was like. So Scrum is a like a, it's a management framework that allows people to get worked on incrementally faster, more valuable with less effort. That's like the short and sweet definition for complex work could be products or services. A lot of people think it was born software is actually born out of hardware. It has its roots in the military with one of the founders, Jeff Sutherland, I've had people contacting me from all over the world talking about, you know, how have you done this in construction? You know, how do you how do you do this? Like, how do you make it look easy? It's like, well, a doozy housing is definitely a big part. And that's the, you know, this is part of the fun, but I'm after I'm out there doing the work the same as I'm doing it inside the company, I'm going to do this type of work, no matter what position I'm in, I can do this work on top of what the responsibilities are. Because I just have to say you're wired. I'm wired, I just had to do it. I like doing it. It's good people like it.
Mike Fisher 1:01:04
Yeah, it's like, it's very rewarding, it's very rewarding field to be in like to know that some of the things that you guys are collaborating you that you're collaborating with them, whether you guys are figuring out together, it's rewarding to see them kind of come to fruition and, and be successful.
Felipe Engineer 1:01:21
And then what some of these methodologies that we have, we have the case studies and the proof that show that this works, and that it's scaled, can it scale down to like a $5 million project. The answer is yes. It always treating people right.
Mike Fisher 1:01:35
Always sets that's 100% scalable. Yeah.
Felipe Engineer 1:01:38
100%, scalable, it is hard to do and like the tactics are very specific and how we spend time and get people involved and want to stand up and do some of this, as I'm very methodical with how I do it in the organization. We've got some some really talented people that make it, they make it look easy for their partners. But it's not easy.
Mike Fisher 1:01:56
And I imagine I have to imagine getting the buy in on some of those smaller projects is probably a little bit harder to write like, a 1% change and a billion dollar project, pretty decent chunk of change, right? Like a 1% change on a 5 million or $2 million project kind of negligible depending on who you are. Right? Like so. I imagine that's probably part of the struggle with with getting the buy in on some of those smaller projects. Also, a small job that was going like it was a day. So we've got something we have to finish in 10 weeks, like we don't think you can help. And I was like a challenge except.
Felipe Engineer 1:02:29
So I said, I'm gonna help you in one conversation. So we talked on the phone, and then we inevitably had to jump on a zoom call, you know, because we needed to share something. But then once we got to see a couple things, and then made, they made one change, they made the change. And they finished that job earlier.
Brian Somers 1:02:44
Earlier than the 10 weeks, 10 weeks.
Felipe Engineer 1:02:47
They thought it was impossible. And the guy's like, I'm only calling you because I've seen you in the office. And you know, people say that you have a gun that shoots silver bullets that kill bad schedules. I'm like, I don't actually have silver bullets, but I might need those suits. So okay, you know, I made no promises. And I just said, you know, now that we talked and he showed me some things I said, Alright, what do you want to change? Because I thought you just gonna tell me what to do. I was like.
Mike Fisher 1:03:11
No, no, I am telling you what to do.
Felipe Engineer 1:03:17
And then so that led to now he's got a bigger job. So it was like perfect transition. So now he went from a job where it's a traditional design bid bill, that work that they were doing. Now they've got a different client, the client wants to do full IPD integrated project delivery, it's a different customer, same person going from one project to the next. Now the client has in the contract, thou shalt do lean. It's like in the country. So then he calls me and says, Hey, I got this client. Now we want to do it. What can we do to go further? I said, perfect. What do you want to do a thing called look at the contract. Remember, I told you don't give the customer not even a penny more. give them what they bought. And because they're not used to getting what they pay for when you give them what they paid for. They're ecstatic.
Mike Fisher 1:03:59
Felipe Engineer 1:04:00
Right. Yeah, you blow their socks off. Yeah, just give them what they paid for.
Brian Somers 1:04:04
Yep. Well, you give them what you paid for when you said you were gonna....
Mike Fisher 1:04:06
Which is which is astonishing, right? Like that's where our industry is that where that that's where we're giving, giving away. What's paid for unexpected is is mind blowing.
Felipe Engineer 1:04:16
Right. So here's here's a stat from McGraw Hill that publishes a lot of construction stuff. They, there was a research done by dodge data analytics and University of Minnesota. And they found that this is non mega jobs. They surveyed the industry back in 2005. And then they went back and looked at this research again in like, early 2000s. Like 2000, I think 12 they did a refresh and they found the same thing. Traditional construction projects like this would include design build, as well, as well as lean in integrated project delivery. But the vast majority of jobs or design, bid build, lowest number most qualified gets the price you know that has the winning price wins the work, all of those things all blended together, three out of four jobs over budget, three out of you're late.
Brian Somers 1:05:00
Yeah. 100%. Right.
Felipe Engineer 1:05:02
So the clients like all the owners now, yeah, they all know like, what they're gonna get. And even in the research, the research said, the number one thing that the clients when they look at their portfolio jobs that were successful, like the clients that build all the time, like your universities, your hospitals, like your counties, and things that have, you know, that type of stuff that we're building all the time, when they look at their portfolios or like to them, the differentiator is the people. That's what they all say, the research said, across the board, the 25% of projects that were successful, I'm rounding, I think the real number is like 67% and 68%, or something like that's, I just say, three out of four. So I'm just rounding Okay, so my nerds that are out there, like yeah, citing the research, like, go ahead and send me I have the papers, exact numbers, because this was three out of four trying to find out like, why is the client building this thing? And if you can answer that question, if you know, and if you don't know, go ask somebody that does know. And don't stop asking until you find out why get that leg up. Yeah, it'll make a big difference for your project.
Mike Fisher 1:05:57
Yeah, very cool, man. What is the what does the future look like for you? what's what's down the road for you? I mean, are you I do plan quite a bit.
Felipe Engineer 1:06:04
I got a long plan. So number one, Mike, there's no retirement and my future.
Brian Somers 1:06:09
I can't imagine that they're always asking questions. I'm looking to innovate.
Felipe Engineer 1:06:13
Yeah, always learning. So one of my mentors was William Edwards Deming. He died at 93 years old working at some of my other mentors were the same way like there was never gonna hang it up. Yeah, Jeff Sutherland is I think he's over 80 now and he's still going strong like a boss. Agent. Yeah, he's like he's aging like a boss. That's awesome. Yeah, like he's got no he's got people that are are stepping in for him too. But But why would you stop? Yeah, I always say like, why would I stop like calling people want to get involved in work? So long term no retirement, right. That could change but probably won't. I was like, in the short term, I just this year had a company contact a software company contact me I'm going to start serving as a board advisor to their company. And I had some other companies do the same thing earlier this year. So I had to look at a couple board positions and I'm going to serve valance some of my volunteer time help guide them so they can deliver and and do the same thing that I want to do is make the work easier for people.
Mike Fisher 1:07:17
Alright, cool, man.
Felipe Engineer 1:07:18
Even when it's easier, Mike it's still not easy work.
Brian Somers 1:07:20
No, no, no, you just don't want it to be me. Yeah, yeah. Newser, right there. A lot more fun when there's a little bit of a challenge to Yeah, just don't stop man. Stop won't stop.
Felipe Engineer 1:07:31
And then people if you if you message me on social media, I will actually talk to you.
Mike Fisher 1:07:36
Perfect. Like I love that you're not too big time. Yeah, that's true, because that's how we got together. Yeah, very cool, man.
Brian Somers 1:07:41
Felipe Engineer 1:07:44
Very special thanks to my guest. I'm Felipe Engineer Manriquez. 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!