When I started working for Dad in 2001, I asked him what challenges he thought I would face. Aside from the obvious (Jen – you know nothing about building homes!), he said the biggest challenge I would face would be labor. Back then, the writing was already on the wall, skilled tradesmen were hard to find. Not because they were leaving the industry but because new skilled tradesmen (and women!), weren’t entering the industry. No one was replacing the people retiring. Over the last 16 years, it’s only become more evident. We need more people entering the industry.
We used to get flooded with resumes when looking for a superintendent. Now we’re lucky if we get a handful of resumes (and most of those don’t have experience). I see the trade companies we work with (electricians, plumbers, HVAC companies, etc.), and I’m wondering what will happen when those skilled tradesman and small business owners decide to pack it up and retire. Who is coming in behind them? Why aren’t there more young people interested in the building industry?
Because I LOVE BUILDING! Here’s why…
Every Day Is Different.
It’s true. I love coming to work because every day is different. That isn’t to say that it’s always good different. But I greet each day with a different set of challenges. A different problem to solve. A different client to celebrate with.
If you like variety (and working with people!), you’ll love the building industry.
I’m Building Something I Can See.
I wish I could articulate the feeling I get when I drive around Northern Virginia and I see house after house that NDI has built. These homes will be around long after I am gone. My children will be able to see what we’ve built. They’ll be able to show their children what we’ve built.
If like being part of a legacy, you’ll love the building industry.
I Love Working With The Village.
It takes over 30 different subcontractors and suppliers to get a home built. That is hundreds and hundreds of people coming together to build something and not one is more important than the other. The process is quite remarkable. And if you’ve ever witnessed it, you’ve probably wondered how in the world it all comes together in the end. But it does and it’s because of every single person who had a hand in it.
If you like working on a team, you’ll love the building industry.
What We Can Do To Help.
We need to encourage our young people to consider the construction industry. Putting on a shirt and tie every day isn’t for everyone. Four year colleges aren’t for everyone. There is such a great opportunity for hard-working individuals. We need the next generation of skilled tradesman (and women!) to run and work for the companies we depend on to build our homes.
What is NDI doing to encourage our young people? We’re starting a scholarship program. We will be offering scholarships to young people interested in a career in residential construction. We’re interested in kids with a strong work ethic. Kids who want to build something.
Virginia Tech has an excellent Construction Management program (go Hokies!) and there are a number of trade school opportunities for those who want to learn. We want to encourage and support the next generation of building professionals and tradesman and the NDI Scholarship Program, through the NDI Gives Back Foundation, will do just that. We’re finalizing the program and will have it in place for the 2017/2018 school year so stay tuned!
I’m proud to be in the building industry, and I can’t wait to see the next generation of builders. Until then, we will do what we love. We build!
Dream Big. Build Smart.