FIELD TALENT PARTNERS: DEVELOPING THE NEXT GENERATION OF FOREMEN AND SUPERINTENDENTS
By: Kerry Swain, Director of Field Talent Partners
Swinerton recognizes that a highly skilled workforce requires highly skilled support. Our top-notch craftspeople, experienced foremen, and talented superintendents are developed and guided by some of the most knowledgeable support professionals in the industry—our Field Talent Partners.
We recognize the challenges posed by workforce development and the scarcity of skilled builders in the construction industry. When it comes to addressing the industry-wide question, How do we create the builders we need to achieve our operational goals and the goals of our clients? Swinerton does not merely search for new talent. We proactively nurture and grow our field talent.
Training and development have been traditionally lacking in the construction industry, especially in open-shop markets. In 2018, Swinerton introduced the Field Talent Partner (FTP) role to address the issue of training head-on. The primary focus of this dedicated team is to provide comprehensive training and development of field talent.
What is a Field Talent Partner (FTP), and what do they do?
FTPs play a crucial role in nurturing and expanding our field talent. From apprentices to superintendents, they foster growth and development. But it doesn’t stop there. The FTP goes beyond training; they actively engage with and get to know our skilled professionals, providing support and advocacy. Their mission is to recruit, train, and retain the industry’s best field talent. They ensure our workforce understands Swinerton’s core competencies, how we complete our work, and how we embody our culture. This approach empowers Swinerton to cultivate the next generation of superintendents, benefiting our clients with seamless project execution and unmatched expertise.
Apprenticeship Training Program
Swinerton initiated its very own apprenticeship training program to deepen our commitment to empowering our craft workforce. Using the National Center for Education and Research (NCCER) curricula, the program offers carpentry, drywall mechanics, and construction craft labor courses while adhering to Department of Labor standards for apprenticeship training. The apprenticeship program started in two of Swinerton’s open-shop divisions—Denver and Austin— and has expanded to include Seattle, Charlotte, Dallas, and Atlanta.
Foreman Builder Program
Foremen and general foremen are the heartbeat of every project and carry the responsibility of overseeing and ensuring the quality of work performed on their shoulders. Unfortunately, most foremen receive little to no training for this critical role. To bridge this gap, the FTPs design a Foreman Builder Program. This comprehensive training program consists of 21 modules covering the essential leadership, communication, and management skills to successfully manage their crew and teams.
Swinerton’s Foreman Builder Program equips participants with project skills, focusing on productivity, quantity take-off, contracts, and CPM scheduling, among others. With an approximate duration of 14 months, the program currently has 172 participants from every region. To date, 70 foremen have completed the program—something we are incredibly proud of.
Superintendent Builder Program
One of Swinerton’s newest initiatives is the Superintendent Builder Program, a program tailored for new superintendents, general foremen, foremen, and senior project engineers pursuing the superintendent path. Spearheaded by a task force consisting of experienced superintendents, field operations managers, and our very own Dr. David Gunderson—a well-known professor, author, and construction management expert within the industry—the program focuses on a wide range of essential skills. Craftsmen attend four two- and half-day sessions over 18 months and dive into learning leadership skills, project schedule competencies, contracts, financial management, risk management, business acumen, and technical proficiency.
Creating a Future of Excellence
Our training programs are designed to produce exceptional results for our clients. We firmly believe that a well-trained craft workforce with a strong commitment to safety produces superior quality and enhanced efficiency, reducing the need for costly re-work and minimizing warranty issues.
All of us at Swinerton understand the importance of nurturing and developing the next generation of field talent. As we continue our journey towards becoming a national self-perform general contractor, our strategic plan invests in developing our craftspeople and fostering a culture of excellence. In doing so, we ensure that we have the industry’s finest builders to serve our clients, along with a strong talent pipeline of superintendents, foremen, and skilled craft professionals.
As Swinerton’s Field Talent Partners, we are laser-focused on creating the next generation of exceptional builders. We are driven by our long-term vision, working together to build a future that exceeds expectations and sets new standards of excellence in the industry.
Kerry Swain Bio: Kerry Swain has over 44 years of extensive experience in the construction industry, starting in the carpentry trade. In his 30 years at Swinerton he has worked from Assistant to General Superintendent to his current position as Director, Field Talent Partners. As a Master Trainer with NCCER, Kerry represents Swinerton in all of its field talent training programs.