The Builder’s Gene

By Scott Conrad, E.V.P. National Director of Self-Perform Services

As I reflect on the many successes we are enjoying as one of this nation’s premier self-performing General Contractors, I realized that our successes are about much more than the technical aspects of putting work in place safely and efficiently. Much of our success is because our people are truly special. Regardless of our title, tenure, market, department, or location we work in, we all share a common bond.  We are builders.

“Builders” are not just the craftspeople who swing hammers, or our Superintendents running work in the field. I’m also talking about the preconstruction and estimating teams, our corporate shared services groups, our managers and engineers. All of us within Swinerton who build relationships with our trade partners and suppliers. The innovators who identify creative solutions that make us more efficient. The leaders who build teams and develop processes which keep our people safe and drive our company forward while serving our clients and partners. We are all builders.

As a company, we don’t just build buildings. We build intentional and robust programs that enable our people to do their best work, thrive, and grow. We have built a culture of integrity, leadership, passion, excellence, and ownership that draws a diverse array of people into our organization.  We are building a legacy that will take us into our next 135 years.

The Qualities We Share

Being builders means that we’re wired differently. Those of us who commit our professional lives to this industry have what I like to call the “builder’s gene,” things that we share at the core of our being.

The first quality is a competitive spirit. We’re passionate about doing better every time. This isn’t to outpace others, but to deliver results and strive for new levels of excellence. As builders, we are always looking for ways to beat our “personal best.”

The builder’s gene within us compels us to show respect for the incredible men and women who are part of this industry. Especially the craft and people in the field. We value the wide range of experiences and backgrounds that people bring to the company—no matter what they may be.

Building is a demanding but rewarding business. As builders, we possess a mental and physical toughness that makes us successful. Every day brings challenges, but we are tenacious and persistent. Our toughness also means we prioritize safety so everyone gets to go home unharmed.

The builder’s gene requires us to leverage our diverse skillsets throughout the day, every day. It demands we remain curious and eager to learn. Whether on a job walk in the morning, talking with clients at midday, or reviewing documents in the afternoon, we know how to work as a team to strengthen each other.

And finally, builders are problem-solvers. This means we are confident and decisive. We thrive on finding the best ways to do things that bring value for our clients and partners. Even when we make mistakes, we accept responsibility and use the experience to learn and keep getting better.

The Legacies We Build

These qualities are part of who we are as builders, but perhaps more importantly, it is what we do with them that matters. I have seen time and time again that the best builders are people who build others up and the best leaders are those who invest their energy in helping others grow.

Many of us have had an important influence in our life—be it a friend, a family member, or a trusted mentor—who ignited the passion to build within us. Some have known early in their lives that they had this Builder’s Gene.  In others, it was awakened when they saw what could be achieved alongside others. No matter how we got here, we are part of a family of builders. We build teams. We build organizations. We build legacies.

Activating and leveraging the Builder’s Gene within us is supported by those around us. One of the wonderful things about Swinerton is that there are structured mentorship and training models to ensure everyone can develop the skills, confidence, grit, and humility needed to succeed in this industry. We have the foundations in place to support our unique people, draw out their best qualities, and provide opportunities to grow and succeed.

The Builder’s Gene is what defines our people, but our people are who define Swinerton. The qualities we share and the values we live by are what allow us to deliver impactful projects for our clients and communities and create legacies that last.

After all, building is not just what we do; it is who we are.