Steve Turner is more than a Superintendent. He steps towards different challenges and opportunities with tact and grace. He is also the Lean Champion for FPI Builders. Join this inspiring dialogue about Steve’s experiences with Lean Construction principl...
Steve Turner is more than a Superintendent. He steps towards different challenges and opportunities with tact and grace. He is also the Lean Champion for FPI Builders. Join this inspiring dialogue about Steve’s experiences with Lean Construction principles and methods. No surprise, we are mutual friends with Joe Donarumo and Keyan Zandy. Steve even shares how he came to adopt Daily Huddles for meaningful trade partner involvement. We dove into technology including digital Last Planner System® using iPads in the field, BIM360, and RefinemySite. Find out why Steve says the days of running back to the job trailer to look at a set of paper plans or a schedule on the wall have come to an end.
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Today’s episode is sponsored by @Bosch RefinemySite. It’s a cloud-based construction platform Bosch that uses Lean principles to enable your entire team, from owners to trade contractors – to plan, communicate, document, and execute in real-time. It’s the digital tool that supports the Last Planner System® process and puts it all together in one simple, collaborative ecosystem. Bosch RefinemySite empowers your team, builds trust, creates a culture of responsibility, and enhances communication. Learn more and Try for free at https://www.bosch-refinemysite.us/tryforfree
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Felipe Engineer 0:00
You know, you have a famous last name, right?
Steve Turner 0:01
Well, if you're referring to my uncle Ted, yes, I know not really. Actually that's kind of a running joke in my family. My dad told me from a young age that Ted Turner was my uncle. We had a pretty good time. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to meet to him in later years, so we kind of had a good laugh about that.
Felipe Engineer 0:29
You got to meet your uncle or you got to meet your uncle Ted. Got to meet uncle dad. Yeah. Who's not is not your uncle.
Steve Turner 0:36
It was not my uncle. That's correct. Not Joseph. No, no, because it could be distant somewhere. No.
Felipe Engineer 0:45
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...
Bosh Refined My Site is a cloud based construction collaboration platform that applies Lean principles to enable your entire team to plan, communicate and execute in real time. It's the digital tool that works in tandem with your last planner system process and puts it all together in one simple, collaborative ecosystem. This easy to use platform is available in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and French and can be used on desktops, tablet and mobile devices. According to Spencer Easton, scheduling manager at Oakland construction, Refined my site, in my opinion, is the best cleanest tool on the market in the last month. Here's what our users have to say. We've looked at three other digital scheduling platforms and none compared to the straightforward approach refined my site takes from milestone planning all the way down to daily tasks. This program gives every general contractor and their trade partners meaningful collaboration, accountability and KPIs. Register today to try refined my site for free for 60 days.
Felipe Engineer 2:11
Today's episode is sponsored by construction accelerator...
The 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. You need to learn pool 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 try ca now.com. Let's build an industry, not just a project.
Felipe Engineer 3:26
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. Absolutely couldn't be. Welcome to the show, Steve Turner.
Steve Turner 3:52
Thank you very much. It's nice to be here. It's a pleasure.
Felipe Engineer 3:55
It is great to have you here, Steve.
Steve Turner 3:56
Felipe Engineer 3:57
I've been practicing my level excitement and trying not to speak over my guests.
Steve Turner 4:02
That's okay. Yeah, you're not gonna hurt my feelings at all. Okay, no problem.
Felipe Engineer 4:07
Our paths crossed or mutual friend Rafael said he actually reached out to me and said, You need to know Steve Turner. And I said, if you're recommending Steve Raphael, then I definitely need to know Oh, my goodness. This is too much pressure. This is way too much to live up to. No. And all he said was he doesn't know anybody. That's as committed to continuous improvement as you are. And we're gonna jump into that in a second. But before we do, who is Steve Turner,
Steve Turner 4:37
Who is Steve Turner? Well, so this is like a snapshot of me and this is my elevator speech. There you go. Well, let's see Currently, I am a superintendent for FBI builders in Fort Worth. We are a su mol ish. General Contractor commercial general contractor 25 $30 million is about where we sit on an annual basis. We have five superintendents, two project managers, one estimator seem to be to, and my owner and or both my owners are right down the hall. So I'm not removing from them. Yeah. I mean, we're, it's, it's very easy to go down there and get, get an answer to something or get something that I need and, and kind of pick up and go from there. I am not the typicals Superintendent that you're going to talk to or that you've interviewed in the past. I saw Frank's interview last week, I guess. Yeah. I saw Jason I think, the week before that. So I've kind of been jumping in on a few things. I didn't grow up in the business. I I'm sorry to say that I wish I had.
Felipe Engineer 6:11
No, it's okay. There are many paths to get into construction.
Steve Turner 6:14
Oh, yeah. My grandfather and father were both carpenters. I guess I kind of grew up in it, but not really grew up in it like in the normal sense of the word. Oh, for the first 25 or 30 years of my working career. I was in the printing and publishing business. And I got into this business with this company through a dog. My wife told me more, tell me more. My wife has been raising Australian shepherds for the better part of 20 years. And she had sold a puppy to a lady who told one of her friends about my wife, and they contacted us, which are the owners of my company now. So we sold them a dog who, eventually they named him Smokey and arville. Smokey, yes. So smokey, is, is really the reason that I'm in a construction business. I was I had a kind of a side business, hauling equipment, construction equipment around, and had done some work for concrete contractor. And so between the relationship with the dog and him suggesting me to this company to haul some of their equipment around, I was introduced to these guys. And long story short, they needed a superintendent and we sat down and talked about things. I was hired and was often running. My first project was, I was Assistant Superintendent on a city of Fort Worth project, police station, on the north side of the city, about a year long project, which is coincidentally where we were introduced to last planner system. And we actually implemented last planner through there. So what?
Felipe Engineer 8:23
What a good start into the business. It was, yeah, it was only superintendents are not as spoiled as you are to come in and get get last time experience on job one.
Steve Turner 8:34
I know it's for that I feel a little bit guilty that I haven't had to, you know, work my way up through through the ranks. And so I you know, it's there's a little bit of a question here. Why would you want to interview me when I'm not the I'm not your guy who's had an epiphany and you know, has has a lot to share. I don't know.
Felipe Engineer 8:56
I love that humility. So that's a powerful Texas I've got a lot of family in Texas, not too far from where you are Dallas Fort Worth. I've got family a little more west of that. But the the show is all about people that make it easier and better. And Steve, there are many ways to come into the business. And there are many individuals within the supply chain that helped to bring projects to life. And what I heard from Raphael about your story, I said, this is perfect. This is a story we haven't heard yet. This is a story that's out there. And then when you and I talked on the phone, I said, you know, a company like your size FPI builders, is really the more typical construction company that there is the United States, the you know, companies like the ones where I make my day job. And others that are many others that are involved in the lean construction Institute are are rather large what there's not that many of them. Right. So I just love to connect different parts of the industry, and to hear stories like yours like job one with last planner system and then using your experience. As from, you know, outside of the industry to, to come in and successfully do work was the job successful? I mean, I think the audience is dying to know that the police station get built on time or early.
Steve Turner 10:11
Actually, it did not get built on time it got built six, six weeks early. And we release. I know, we really do attribute that to the commitment from the entire team to last planner. There's just no other way to no other way to look at it. Had we not? Had we not been exposed to last planner in embraced it like we did? We certainly would have finished on time. But I doubt very seriously that we would have, we would have finished very much earlier than then we you know, what would it called for which was a 12 month project. So 12 months and 10 and a half months, and everybody was happy. City, Fort Worth was happy.
Felipe Engineer 10:59
So yeah, it was a win win all the way around a win win. See, and that's what I love it. Steve, I can tell. I didn't even know this about you until till right now that you are a fellow entrepreneur, and this company must be the two owners down the hall must be incredibly persuasive to make you you know, come work for them. What was that like?
Steve Turner 11:22
Well, you know, it kind of hit me outside, just out of the blue. They called me in one day, actually, the it's a husband and wife that own our company. So the husband called me and he said, Hey, have you got time for lunch? And I said, Sure. So I came over. And he and his wife took me to lunch. And during the course of all that conversation, he said, You know, we've been thinking a little bit about this and you And so we'd like to lay this out on the table and see what you think about it. So they kind of laid it out and said, You know, we're growing, we're looking to expand, we need good people, you seem like the kind of person that we could work with, you could work with us, it would be a good fit. And you know, the rest, I guess, as they say, is history.
Felipe Engineer 12:16
And so while I love that story, so he's right, right away, that's liquid gold for the audience. first job, no experience, direct experience in construction, right. You know, the the carpentry and the blood can only do so much, Steve, you still had to go and apply yourself and learn. That's true. And job one, six weeks faster on a 12 month job. That's how powerful some of these things are that many guests have shared on the show, Steve there, there are probably as many stories of people trying to use something like last planner, where it doesn't work, it blows up in their face. And the difference that I often share with people is your approach. What values do you have inside of you that are directing how you engage with the people and just in your story? Now, you said that it was a commitment by everyone on the team to make it happen that way, and the client appreciated it.
Steve Turner 13:12
That's exactly right. If If you don't have commitment from everyone, then you're only it's the old chain link store, you're only as strong as the weakest link in that line. And and that's so true with with lean and continuous improvement if if everybody is not headed in the same direction, and I have to be going the same speed. But if everybody's not headed in the same direction, then there's a bottleneck somewhere. There's there's an obstacle, a bump in the road, and it's going to stop, and then you know, then you have to deal with it and go on from there. But yeah, we were very fortunate in it may have been, you know, the way we presented it, I don't I don't really know what it was, but everybody kind of jumped on. Maybe they just like the the color of the sticky notes on the wall. Voila. Now I have no idea. But everybody participated. We didn't have anybody that that didn't want to. And it was very quickly that they saw the benefit of last planner, and then you know, we just moved on from there. The one regret I do have is we didn't implement daily huddles during that project because I think we probably could have done a little bit better had we implemented daily huddles then but unfortunately, I didn't find out about daily huddles and and was introduced the daily house until a bit later than that.
Felipe Engineer 14:45
So that's okay. That's okay. That's a perfect segue into the next thing I wanted you to touch on it. It sounds like you've already been embodying it. Where do you think your commitment to continuous improvement started? And how are you making a show up with the world You're doing today.
Steve Turner 15:00
So I've always been a person that has always looked for a better way to do something, not necessarily a bigger, better deal. But just just a way to improve, it's all it's just in my nature to, to naturally lean towards that direction. And look at at that. So when we began, last planner, it was obvious that we were, we weren't even scratching the surface of what was available at our fingertips. But we had to start somewhere. And and that was, that's where we started. There's a, there's an old saying about commitment, commitment, as you walk around the pool, and you dip your toe in, at various places trying to find the warmest water before you get in. Well, sometimes you just have to dive in, you just have to go. And you can't be a little bit pregnant here, you got to make a commitment. And then you're in it 100%. And so that's how I looked at last planner, because I saw so much more immediately with the sticky notes, I was thinking how do I make this into a digital format, because everything was leaning towards the digital aspect at that time. So one thing led to another and here we are today. And I'll kind of tell you where, where that is from my personal for me personally and from the company, the company standpoint, four years ago, we made a concerted effort in a dedicated commitment to change the way that we were doing business on a daily basis. So here I am, green is all get out. The guy, the guy hires me and says, I come to work for us. And I immediately come here and go, you know, you can do this better, or that better or this over here? And he's like, Well, okay, tell me more. And from that floodgate being open is kind of where we are. Now we've gone through a myriad of chapters, pages, kind of folding things over it, were the PDCA poster child here, I guess, we will plan stuff, we'll do it, we'll check it, and then we'll adjust either into it further or directly out of it. And going down the road to the next one. We're a very lean flexible company. So we don't need there not a lot of layers that we have to deal with. From sticky notes on that first set of boards with the police station. today. I don't have I don't deal with paper, I carry an iPad. That's 5g capable. So I've got access anywhere. I have an iPhone, I carry a digital Bosch laser. That is the best thing to sliced bread as far as I'm concerned. Next Best Thing to sliced bread. All of my work off BIM 364 are all of our documentation, all of our plans and and RFI submittals, all of that. So I've got all that at my fingertips, and everything is updated every night. My scheduling software and how we've, we've gone from the old Phoenix based Excel spreadsheet to obviously with Raphael and refined my site have been there. October was our first project. And so six or seven months now going on. And we've got four, four projects in there right now completed two, again, everything digital, everything updated. Everything's real time. And we're stepping away from as much paper as we can paper printing paper plans is not going to exist in our company going forward. No reason.
Felipe Engineer 18:59
So you started out soon. And you're where you started off in printing. How soon? I mean, it sounds like you You had just a fortuitous culture with you know, the ownership there and just them being open to your new fresh perspective. But as well, you're an observant person, Steve, I can tell you pay attention to what's going on try to papers definitely not dead yet. On his bill, like a good hard book in my hand every now and then too. Yeah, in addition to reading many books on Kindle, but how, you know, how did Where did that team perception come from? What's an early story you remember in your professional career, where you're using your powers of perception to make changes.
Steve Turner 19:38
Early on, I saw the printing business starting to change. With the advent of technology, more and more technology, quicker technology, all that started changing the way the printing business does its business on a daily basis. And yes, they're still printing books, but they're not printing books the same way or magazines or whatever, the same way that they did when I was when I grew up in it. So everything so much more computerized, the, the turnaround time is so much shorter now, you literally can have almost real time information in printed form. I mean heck fire if you wanted to, to print a book, be a publisher become a publisher, you could become a publisher overnight, and a publisher or a printed book publisher. You know, just write it, write a quick book and take it to the printer. And now you're now you're a publisher. Alright, during my printing career, this is kind of a funny story. During my career, I printed the globe tabloid for a company out of South Florida. And we printed five and a half million copies every week, took three days to print it. And the stories the the information, the material coming in was coming in at the very last minute. And it was that all of that information was faxed over old timey fax lines. I remember them. And you're I know you're way too young to....
Felipe Engineer 21:19
To write my first project 1990 something, fax machines are hard, we got requests for information. Yeah, they were not emailed and they did not come in the mail, they were received via fax now.
Steve Turner 21:31
That's how it was. And they would take that hardcopy information and assemble it and do whatever they needed to do with it. What wasn't too many years after that, that internet got to be where more of that data more of that information could be shoved through the system in a quicker period of time. And so my business actually changed the the way that we printed, that publication actually changed. And I lost it to a competitor $20 million contract on an annual basis that we'd had for five or six years. And it was literally gone overnight, simply because technology had changed. And we hadn't, we didn't think it was going to. And so from from that point on, it was very apparent that technology was going to continue to drive every single thing just about every aspect of every, everything you do on a daily basis. Fast forward to where we are now, the construction business is no different. construction business only has a way to go up. Because, you know, if you look at statistics, in the things that are written about construction production, on any given project, on any given day, just a little over half of the work that schedule is going to be completed that produce a lot of room for improvement. And I'm a firm believer that with the right technology that can be improved, it can be improved significantly, but only if you improved that by 10%. Just look at where where he'd be at the end of the day. And so for me, it's it literally is Paul Akers, two second lane, it's the little changes that make the biggest difference. And you stack those little changes up over a period of time. And, man, I mean, you've got you've made some major strides at the end of the year. It's, it's, there's just no other way for it to go except up. That's one reason that we as a company have lien meetings every two weeks. couple hours on Wednesday afternoon, all the guys come in all of our superintendents, project managers, owner, Director of safety all come in. And yours truly has been designated as the teacher lien champion for the company, whatever you want to call me. But we spend a couple of hours and we we do things as simple as memorize the eight wastes. And talk about each one of those in a real world situation. All the way up to talking about digital scheduling and looking at issues what's an issue? actually had a little fun. Last week before Easter, my director of safety had an issue Easter egg hunt. And he went over to one of our job sites and took his camera and he walked around and he he was playing the Easter Bunny. But the Easter Bunny was finding issue eggs and, you know, afraid extension cord piece of wood laid in the middle of the hallway. So we're always Trying to better our ourselves by doing little things like that always keep an eye open.
Felipe Engineer 25:05
There it is right there. I just saw a math equation on LinkedIn, Steve not not even like two days ago, I think might have been on Friday. And someone had just done this math on if you can make a 1% improvement every day, a year later, you're 37 times more improved. And the cyclic with Paul's approach with two second improvement, it's like minuscule It's nothing. Yeah. But it's like getting compound interest on how you're doing your work every day. And it can be fun, too. I tell people like come in and like a game. And I like that, that your safety Pro, when added like the Easter Bunny? is a cool approach right there.
Steve Turner 25:43
Yeah, he was. He was kind of proud of that. And we talked about him doing something like that before, but he's the one that came up with the Easter Bunny aspect of the deal. So it was it was pretty funny. And then he posted the video. So that was pretty entertaining.
Felipe Engineer 25:58
Yeah. And I wanted to congratulate you on becoming your company lien champion, Steve, especially, you know, with your experience and your I'm gonna call it your fresh set of eyes. You ever get told that Steve, you have such fresh set of eyes? Yeah. And maybe that's it? Yeah. Maybe that's why that's why you're on the show, Steve, because you have a fresh, a fresh persective.
Steve Turner 26:18
I don't know, you know, I'm in my fifth year with the company, and have enjoyed every, every minute of being here. I'm an avid learner, whether that's reading books, I, I read a lot of books. Lately, I've been reading a lot of books about Lean. And I'll I mean, I'm the kind of crazy guy that will go to YouTube and type in lean construction to see what comes up and then watch it.
Felipe Engineer 26:44
Oh, you're, you're the one leading to my more varied?
Steve Turner 26:47
Yeah, probably so. But there's, there's so much available to us at our fingertips, you just, I walk around a little bit like remember those little bobbin dogs that we used to have in it? Well, you're again, you're too young for this, I remember them, those little spring loaded things. Well, that's me, I'm, I'm constantly looking, my head is on a swivel all the time. And, you know, it may not be something as obvious as a frayed extension cords and in the middle of the hallway. But if you just take a step back and look at the way things are, and then think about tweaking ever so slightly, to make it a little bit better these ideas, you just get in a mindset. And you have to get in that mindset to be able to constantly look at it. And so that's one of the things that we talked about in our lean meetings is really step outside of your normal self. And get in a mindset of looking really understanding what one of the eight wastes look like? And then what what can you do about it? What would you do about it, what can be done, to take it away, improve that situation and make it a little bit better. And all you're doing, every time you do that is creating more and more value for the owner. No matter who that owner is where it's the owner of the building, the labor, that the carpenter, it doesn't matter who it is, but you've just created a little tiny piece of value. And you take all those little tiny pieces of value and stack them up. You got something really big in a short period of time.
Felipe Engineer 28:44
That was my first foray in Steven, I'd like you had worked years decade. And I didn't know what lean construction was until after 10 years in the business. And I got lucky enough to be introduced to it by somebody who had some lean manufacturing experience. And, and I learned just that simple little thing, like you're talking about getting to know what they what the wastes are. And then understanding the value of the people receiving your work. And for me that was transformational. I gained like so much time, and was able to better prioritize and focus and do more of what I wanted to do and keep learning on the job that I use even been I've even been confused for being a structural engineer, which I'm not. And oh, and three years ago, I was confused for being an intern because my hard hat was so clean and white. Oh, wow. That was awesome. To be to be confused for an intern in my age was just like being carded. Now I asked the electrician that accused me of being in the intern. I said Is it because I have the dumb expression on my face of confusion? Or because I just looked young. If you said no, neither, it's your hard hats to clean. That's funny.
Steve Turner 29:57
So did you read out and scar it up or do did you keep it clean?
Felipe Engineer 30:01
No, I kept it clean. Oh, good. I'm just clean like that. That's okay. They get dirt. I have a couple that are that are really dirty. And some safety professionals have taught me that they're only good for five years before sun exposure makes them not effective anymore. That's exactly right. Yeah, right. That's exactly right. So what? What have you learned lately about last planner system? You mentioned that when you first started, you didn't do daily huddles? When did that come into the mix?
Steve Turner 30:26
About two years ago? Okay. I've been to I've been to two seminars from lean builder for Joe and Keyan. Yeah, I'm not joking. So I've been I've taken four guys from my company, to two of those seminars before the virus hit. And we spent all day with Joe and Keyan and, and that's where that's where the daily huddle. Really, it just made sense to me. And so we opened it, we started implementing the daily huddle a couple years ago, we made, we met our two week planner boards, we actually made a folding rack on wheels that we take to every job site. And on that rack, we we open it up, it's got a couple of wings on it. So we got our two week planner board, constraint board, material delivery board inspection board, and then a underplay under plexiglass picture or a plan. Whatever the guys were working on, it may just be a site plan, and maybe a floor plan or something like that. And we started having daily huddles, and introducing the guys to the way that we wanted to kind of transition and, and help them that this is a thing and I don't mean to go down a rabbit trail here. But Oh, God, if the trades will give me just a little bit of time, I can show them how to make money, how to make more money, because the longer they're on a job, the more money they lose, right? It's all about throughput. So if I can get them in a day, early, an hour a day sooner, I mean, just think compounded over time. We're talking gigantic sums of money. So the daily huddle is the black and white version of putting all of this together. It's it's that woven interconnection, that is is the best visual representation of how all that interacts how these guys interact with each other. And and when they see it. It's a crazy thing. Because it really is becomes that aha moment. It's just a It's a crazy thing.
Felipe Engineer 32:51
But it was a crazy thing.
Steve Turner 32:52
We've we've now, I guess for two years, we've had, we've started having daily huddles, generally our morning, cuddles, and we try to do it, whether we have a small job, or a large job, whether we have one trade on site, or whether we have 15 trades on site, we'll have a daily huddle and, and do it very quickly. Now, me always looking for a way to improve all of that. And with the introduction of refined my site, I'm now taking my iPad, and I've got an adapter that I'll plug in and plug it into an HDMI cable and run it to a TV screen, the 32 inch TV screen that we have. And we'll have that becomes our two week planner. And we'll make all of our adjustments and everything in real time. I still become the facilitator, because I'm the one with the iPad. That's transitioning to because more and more of our trades are transitioning to iPads as well. But right now, we're using that now instead of actually going up there and handwriting something on there that to me, it was just a it didn't make sense to put it up on that board, handwriting it up on that board, and then take the information off the board and put it in a computer. Let's just go straight to the computer. Missed that middle step right there. So let's get in the way we're going.
Felipe Engineer 34:17
That's interesting. And I like to hear to like for all the trade partners listening to the show. Look at that. Two general contractors talking about saving you guys money. And we're not even asking for a deductive change order and not at all. No, not at all. Just keep it. I remember one of the first times I was teaching a reluctant group, about last planner system, the superintendent Steve told me that all want it. And I said listen to me. Every trade partner I know, enjoys doing good work, and making money as a result of their good work as a good reward. Why not? And I was like they're not going to say no to having an easier time to doing what they love. That's Sometimes I'll even calculate for the if I've got a good skeptic in the mix. When we do the first phase pool. And we go to the lookout schedule. I'll calculate really quickly on my on my phone, how much money, that project team just saved themselves. And then I tell if the owners in the room I say, this isn't yours, this is theirs. This is means and methods. So don't you begin any ideas? All right, either. I think one of the smaller jobs I did Steve and I did a calculation like that. I want to say a couple weeks of the schedule for a team of seven trades was worth $35,000 for indirect labor savings. I mean, that's this is real money. Yeah, by just looking at how we plan things.
Steve Turner 35:41
It doesn't take long for that. Those kind of numbers to get somebody's attention, right. And then that's when you start getting the, you know what, I'm gonna go buy an iPad, where you load where you load, what needs to be loaded on it for me. And that's happened several times over the past year.
Felipe Engineer 35:58
Now awesome. It's such a giver, Steve, oh, well, I don't know about you're gonna change, you're gonna change the reputation, people are just gonna start to really, they're gonna see general contractors in the future. And they were like, Can I get that door for you? general contractor.
Steve Turner 36:11
That's how we do things here. You know, I was actually born in Georgia, and raised in Mississippi, and then got to Texas as fast as I could. So, you know, out here in God's country, but so, you know, having lived and been raised in the south, why my mama would cheat slap me sideways. If I didn't open the door for somebody, I'll guarantee
Felipe Engineer 36:35
I'll tell your mama and your daddy that they raised you, right? Well,
Steve Turner 36:39
I appreciate that. I actually had my dad passed away about we'll, what, 1314 years ago now. And my mom lives about an hour and a half from me. So my wife is up visiting her family. Her mother just passed away recently, so she was up visiting her dad. So I went had lunch with my mom yesterday. And my mom is a she's a firecracker. She's 8586 years old. And she's a quilter. She's got a whole room upstairs in their house where she quilts and she plays golf. She's teaching some of the girls in her Sunday school class how to play golf. And she's remarried now and her husband is a supercar. They he's 88. And they have a motorcycle, that they they belong to this group of other like minded motorcyclists, like aged I guess. And they'll take off in in, go ride for the weekend and just have a good old time. So I guess she's, I guess, maybe, hopefully, I got a few good genes in there somewhere.
Felipe Engineer 37:57
Or, you know, I just hope I don't know that about me Tuesday that my wife and I do enjoy getting out of motorcycle ourselves and going for long rides. Really? Yeah. People don't know that about me. Mm hmm. So what kind of bike do you have? I had I had sold it. But we did have a bike. I had a Honda vt x 1300. Oh, wow. Which is a good heavy strikers are a big touring bike. Yep, we'd like to we used to when I lived back in Illinois. We jet off and go south through farm fields. And. And it'd be It's incredible to take in nature that way. With like, nothing in between. You really anything like, including including nature's bugs? Yeah. There you go. Yeah, but it's all it's all part of the fun. We had great time. Where are you from in Illinois. I'm from the south side of Chicago. Oh, okay. Yeah, I'm just like 30 minutes. South of cities where I grew up. That's why the show is a Chicago based show. If you look at the the moniker on our LinkedIn page for the show, it's a Chicago show. Because that's, that's where the roots are.
Steve Turner 39:09
Okay. My wife's family is from right outside of Springfield.
Felipe Engineer 39:13
Okay, so yeah, I think it's like, I feel like it's a four or five hour distance from where we are. Yeah, but you could get there in a day. Oh, yeah, for sure. You can make a day trip on that. Shoot four or five hour drives? Nothing for a Texan. Nothing. We're just going to get lunch somewhere. That's right. We don't wait. I don't think we will drive for hours for a good piece of barbecue. Oh, I know you won't. We are. I used to spend a lot of my summers in Texas, just north of Austin. Between temple Texas and waco. Sorry, got family and we were used to be like, oh, we're gonna go to this place to get lunch and it's like, it's 7am. Why are we leaving now? It's like oh, cuz we got to go all the way to San Tony Oh,
Steve Turner 40:00
There you go.
Felipe Engineer 40:03
That's right. Yeah, that's that was just normal.
Steve Turner 40:06
Make a day out of going to eat lunch?
Felipe Engineer 40:08
Exactly. It's a good thing. So I wanted to, to ask you, Steve, if you could share our story that best conveys some advice for somebody thinking about getting into the business, and you recently came in with your fresh eyes and all? What? What type of advice? Would you give somebody considering entering the construction business? No matter how old they are?
Steve Turner 40:30
Wow. You know, I don't feel adequate to do this. But...
Felipe Engineer 40:36
I'm putting you on the spot. So you have to.
Steve Turner 40:37
Yeah, you really are. You know, the the advice, I would say, probably the best thing I could say would be come in with eyes wide open. The preconceived notion of, well, this is why we've always done it. This is I've been in this business 30 years. And we've always done it this way. And that way, and the other way, it just never flew with me. Because it just intimated a closed mind that you didn't think you had anything else to learn or could learn anything else. This business changes. Every single day, I learned something new every single day. Probably the best advice I could give somebody is, number one, come in with eyes wide open, and just absorb be a sponge. just absorb every single thing you can. And then ask questions. The word Why is the greatest word in the English language. And if you want to know something, and I'm the kind of guy that asked a ton of questions, when, when my, my wife and I were dating, I was I probably inundated her with question after question after question. And it wasn't an interrogation is that which is probably what it seemed like, but it's just a way. It's just the way I find stuff out. And so our trade partners, these guys will be up on a ladder doing something or down underneath something doing something, and I'm the kind of Superintendent that will walk up and just interrupt what they're doing and ask them how it's going. And I want to know about them. The most of our most of our trades are Spanish speaking trades. I don't speak very good Spanish at all. But I can speak enough Spanish to, to work my way around a job site. And I've come to find out that, that those guys appreciate the fact that I'm making an effort. And I'll stumble, I'll say words crazy, they'll start laughing, we'll all have a good laugh about it. And then you know, we'll then the ice is broken in. And we're pretty good friends. But I'm always asking them why they do things the way they do them. It's a way for me to understand the process number one, but it's also a way for me to to gain some knowledge that maybe I could share with somebody else who may be struggling. So I'm always, I'm always talking to my guys. Why are you doing this? Why? Why are you doing it that way? Why don't you do it this way? Can it be done? Have you ever tried? Well, why didn't that work? And so, you know, I probably in the reason that an hour's worth more work than a day because I'm talking to them, but at least I'm finding out some information. So I love that, you know, for somebody coming in new, whether they're old, like me, or just a guy right out of college. To come in with a preconceived notion of what you think it's going to be like, is probably the worst thing that that you could do. It's kind of like taking on last planner and thinking, well, this is probably not going to work, but I'll just do it anyway to pacify somebody.
No, not a good reason to do it. No, not not at all. So, you know, you don't go into a marriage thinking about divorce. And it's kind of like, kind of like last pioner you don't, you know, start adopting a lean culture, thinking that this is not going to work. So I'm just gonna play the game here for a little while. But for me, I'll say, okay, play the game for a little while. And then that's when over time that little light bulb starts getting brighter and brighter and brighter and brighter, and pretty soon, you know, they're knee deep into it as well. And so again, we're all rolling, that there's an old saying, if you're waiting on me, you're backing up which means I'm going to, I'm going to go on, I'm going to continue to improve, continue to look for ways to make it better. So if you're not coming along, you're backing up, because I'm already gone. And if you're not, if you're not moving forward, if you're standing still, you're not moving forward, and you're going to get past. And if you're not moving forward, then then please just step aside, get out of my way, because I'm going to come through. And I think that's really the only way to look at it is you're never going to get to the end of Lean journey, you're never going to wake up one day and go, today, I'm lean, we've reached the pinnacle, where we're sitting on top of the crow's nest, and now we're just gonna, we're going to hit lakanal and, you know, just be real good at it. Well, it's just never gonna, you're never gonna get there, never ever going to get there. But you got to keep moving forward. And for every day that goes by, and every little improvement that you make, it's just going to be that much better. So for for we're one of I'm sorry, I'm probably talking too much and headed offices.
Felipe Engineer 46:18
Versus your interview Steve, as well. So you're supposed to talk I their thing, when I went my virgin stars you for one second, just to say I love that answer, Steve. Okay, now continue. Okay.
Steve Turner 46:32
What I found out is in in this area, we're one of a few general contractors that has adopted lean continuous improvement the way that we have, I think that's a shame. Number one, it's a shame because they could just be so much better than they are right now. And they may be making money, they may be doing very well, but they could be doing so much better, with just a few little changes. Number two, they are there holding the trade partners back. And I've told my guys This here is if we don't standardize the way that we have some have a daily huddle. If we don't standardize that operation, then you are the one who are not being standard, you who are not following the rest of us, you're the bottleneck in our line. Because that trade partner, you're stopping him from growing, if we're trying to push that trade partner who goes to your meeting, and it doesn't see it done the same way, the same time. Basically, a five s type scenario, then you're the one who's holding that trade partner back. So you're going to make it difficult for the rest of us. no different with general contractors. If the smaller GCS and our neck of the woods are competitors, if if they would start, just start with, start with the eight waist. You don't have to start with last planner, not start with a daily huddle. In fact, I would recommend starting with the daily huddle, just have a daily huddle every morning, you might think you have a a meeting, a daily huddle, but very quickly, I found a daily huddle is not me standing up there saying okay, trade a you're going to be in here today trade be you're gonna be over there. That's not a daily huddle. Now daily hellos where I don't say a word, the whole meeting, and my trades are going full circle around and around and around, and they're having the conversations. And all I'm doing is listening to what a great amount of information is being shared in 15 minutes. And then everybody leaves, I'm standing around looking waiting for the guy to come ask me a question. And nobody does. So you know, those are, are the changes that I wish some of our competitors would embrace. And make and you know, I think the industry would start to step up a little bit more every time and you know, you don't have to go invest a whole lot of money I mean, heck fire before. Before we found refined my site, we looked at three other digital scheduling program software. And it just turned out to be a little bit too expensive for what we wanted to do. So we didn't really see the need for it. And then found Raphael and that's worked out very, very well you know, with with BIM 360 We aren't doing our our architects are not producing a great amount of BIM modeling right now. And so as a result, we don't have a lot of 3d modeling. And we'll end up doing overlays and things like that in Blue Beam. But as far as 3d modeling, I wish we could do more, but we just don't do it right now. So you don't have to invest a ton of money, a gigantic amount of money to make things make things better. We went bought a $400 360 degree camera, so that we could take pictures of rooms on the top side. Well, that led to looking at programs that we could upload, and they would do editing. And they would do this and they would do that, well. It just didn't work for us, it goes back to PDCA. Currently, we started, we looked at it, it either worked or didn't work. And we either kept it or didn't and went on from there.
Felipe Engineer 50:48
I'll link in the show notes in the show notes, Steve, for all the general contractors and trade partners that want to learn what a good daily huddle looks like compliments of Keyan Zandy at the Lean Builder.
Steve Turner 50:59
Keyan, it's a good guy. Joe's a good guy to had lunch with Joe, old several months back, and we were talking about the huddles at that. At that lunch as well. I think we've got a guy who works for us who's been here 3032 years, 31 or 32 years. And he is a guy that I never thought would be able to embrace technology the way he has. He's, he's old school, he grew up in the business can build anything, seemingly out of nothing. And, and always kept a very tight schedule. He very quickly saw the benefits of last planner, he was the guy that actually taught me I was his assistant superintendent on that police station. And as a result, that police station was about a six and a half million $7 million project, something like that. My next job was a $9 million church. They wanted to know, just a whole new campus. And so I was a superintendent on that. And I had a an assistant that worked with me. But john just has jumped on all of this. I mean, like he's taken to it, just like a duck takes the water is Hey, the truth.
Felipe Engineer 52:30
I knew there was some kind of Southern saying coming in. You did not disappoint me, Steve.
Steve Turner 52:35
Well, it's my grandmother for all that. But, you know, it, it took a little while for him to understand some of the programs that we got just the intricacies of the programs. But you know, now he's he carries an iPad around every day, just like the rest of us do. And I you know, he's just one of one of the guys now and hasn't looked back and I don't expecting to there's no reason to my iPad is my literally the the project Bible that I work at walk around with. If I lost that iPad, I'd be in. I'd be in some bad trouble.
Felipe Engineer 53:21
You'd be in what do they call it? It'd be up creek without a paddle. There you go. Yeah. creek without a paddle. Yep. That too. You bet. That's perfect. Yeah. JOHN, inspiration to so many people. Yeah, he really wanted to get started. Right, Steve? It's not when there's no such thing as too late to get started.
Steve Turner 53:43
It really is not. And that's, I guess that's the thing that you know, for new people coming in. It's there's never a bad time. To start. You just have to take the first step. And then and then move with.
Felipe Engineer 54:01
Yeah, I like to Steve that. He read a lot of books. A lot of there's a lot of people in our business that don't read a lot of books. And you can tell from the bookshelf behind me that I give the books a lot of love. And it's just so that I could go experiment in the wild with the stuff that I learned what is uh, what's the surprise lean book that you read? You're like, wow, this books actually really good that you didn't think would be good, just like judging it by its cover?
Steve Turner 54:26
Well, I really, when I read the lean builder, I really was not quite sure about that book. I started reading it and it really did surprise me because as you you know, at the first part of that book, you're introduced to Sam and then it's a little bit it's a little bit slow on the uptake and then you get into the meat of it. So it really did surprise me how well both Joe and Qi and zeroed in on what what we fight every single day. The The battles that, you know are presented to us. So it did it kind of surprised me a little bit. I'm about two thirds of the way through Jason's book right now on elevating tenants. Yes. Powerful Jason. And I have really enjoyed that book. He's got some pretty good little excerpts in there. Pretty good little sayings in there. And yeah, a lot of that is going to end up in our lean meetings on a Wednesday afternoon, Brian. Oh, yeah.
Felipe Engineer 55:37
When Jason was on my show, he didn't even tell me that he had that book coming out. Oh, really? And we hadn't we had a long talk about that afterwards. Oh, no, get out to just come back on. Like, I love a good book. And I've read his other book, I just finished tack time that Jason wrote as well, that was, that was a quick read was really good. Both both books really, really well done. And he puts a lot of free content on his website, as well, as does Keyan and Joe with the Lean Builder. And as do we, with The EBFC Show, we'll link to anything. And everything that can be of some use to somebody we just want to be be useful, be helpful and leave the world a little bit nicer than we found it right.
Steve Turner 56:20
Yeah, that's the only way to do it. And you know, if you don't want to read a book, then, by golly, get on. Get on YouTube. Yeah, please.
Felipe Engineer 56:27
I mean, get me to listen to a podcast. Heck, fire.
Steve Turner 56:30
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you can download those things there on my phone in my iPad, so and it's good entertainment. It's good. It's good knowledge just to get lost in it.
Felipe Engineer 56:43
Yeah, had a great compliment. Even from Frank calm. He said that he's having a hard day. He listens to my podcast to cheer him back up. And I was like, oh, single tier Frank. So I wanted to ask you, Steve, you know, what's the now you've been in the business for five years, you're becoming a Career Builder. Now? What do you enjoy most about working on projects?
Steve Turner 57:09
Probably just the sheer learning the learning and completion, seeing something that's that you've actually had a hand in putting together and turning up to a client and seeing a happy client. But for me, the learning side of it, I, I'm the sponge. So I really relish learning that side, learning new things about it, and just testing new stuff, seeing if it works, if it doesn't. So, it's kind of like this church that we just spent about 75% of our business is religious based. So we build a lot of churches. And then we do some municipal work and retail work and just the normal other stuff mixed in, but to see a preacher walk through a building, and talk about the blessings that he's been given, is pretty crazy. I mean, you feel a lot right there. But, you know, for me walking into an empty building that I've just completed. Look at three walls and knowing, blocking that might be behind in our, you know, how many screws we put in, in that area? Or how we attach this or how that went in? Or the problems that were there? It's, it's, it's a, it's a meaningful thing for me. But probably going back to your original question, it's, it's the learning side of it. I'll be 65 this year. So by no means am I a spring chicken in this business. But I get around as well as most of the guys on the job and I'll flat keep up with them, or die try and one of the two. It's, you'll find somebody, you'll find it hard to find somebody that will outwork me on a daily basis. Now, I might not be able to throw 50 pound feed sacks like I could when I was 25 years old. But you know, I'm still, I'm still good for two or three at one time. And then I need to take a rest and a breather and a glass of water and then I get back to it. But if I'm not learning, then I feel like I'm losing something. And that's one of the things that I try to impart to the guys when we have our meetings as you can listen to me at this meeting as a as a teacher and I'm providing information to you but you've got to have the want to go and take that information and do something with it. I'm not going to make you lean if you are waiting for me to make you lean. We're gonna be here for a long, long time. But if you just will make the commitment to try Right, what we talk about, I promise you, you'll see results, I promise you. And that's that goes with, you know, talking, if I were talking to a competitor sitting in front of me, I would say the same thing. If they don't have any type of continuous improvement program at all, if they can not walk through a corridor in one of their job sites and identify at least half of the eight wastes, then they're completely missing the boat. That's it's just completely missing it all together, my two cents.
Felipe Engineer 1:00:39
Words of wisdom spoken. So true.
Steve Turner 1:00:42
I don't know about words of wisdom, but I'm pretty passionate about it. And I want others to be passionate about it as well, because it brings everybody up. And that's what I want. I want us to be better because others are better. And I want others to be better because we're better right?
Felipe Engineer 1:01:03
William Edwards Deming once said, and you might come across his stuff in your readings, at some point, Steve, he said, the best thing that a company can have his strong good competitors, because we make each other better. That's a very true statement.
Steve Turner 1:01:19
Very true statement. If you had no competitors, were number one. How do you keep score? Number two, where's the accountability? I can't do it. It's just impossible. So, you know, that's the other thing.
Felipe Engineer 1:01:32
And athletics we see combat, you know, in sports, often, you know, opposing players from opposing teams will actually train together to push each other to compete to higher and higher levels performance.
Steve Turner 1:01:45
That's right, exactly. Right. But you, you have to, you have to keep score. And, and somewhere along the line, you have to be held accountable and somebody has to hold you accountable. So you know, you have to, there's just everything is intertwined. Everything is interlaced, you just got to take the first step. That's the hardest part sometimes right there, walk around that pool, stick your toe in. Got to jump in. Just jump...
Felipe Engineer 1:02:15
In and jump in with both feet, both feet all the way. That's right. With that, Steve, I want to say again, thank you so much for sharing an hour of your time with me and all of our listeners. I sincerely and deeply appreciate you and the nuggets you dropped and reminding me that it's up a creek without a paddle. Because I have been too long. Grandma, I miss you. I need to get I need to get myself back down to Texas soon. There you go. Yes, you do. And when you get here you better look me up. I absolutely will.
Steve Turner 1:02:44
Good. Well, I've had a good time today. I appreciate you letting me come on. And I have again I'm kind of bewildered as to why somebody would want to listen to me. But you know, maybe if one person listens and they do something then we've had a successful day.
Felipe Engineer 1:03:01
Well now you know the secret to my show. They're just do it for one person that listens and get something out of every episode. Thank you so much for listening. Yes. Thank you very much. I've enjoyed it. 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!