Dedicating a Week to Giving

We are excited to announce from November 18-27, Straub Construction is participating in our 5th annual Week of Giving!

Celebrating Sandra Jenkins

Straub Construction is excited to welcome Tayler Delzell to our team. Tayler is a passionate storyteller and marketing strategist with over 6 years of experience in the Kansas City A/E/C industry.

The Annual Straub Picnic: Tons of Pics!

Reece Riedel

Reece Riedel, Age 11

Guest post by Reece Riedel, Joe Riedel’s son.

The annual Straub family picnic was on Saturday June 3,2019. There were bounce houses, an ice cream truck came, a bean bag tournament and annual prize raffle.

The annual raffle is probably everyone’s favorite. It included TVs, iRobots, a Traeger grill, Bluetooth speakers and many other great prizes.

They also had catering from Two Guys and a Grill. The food was amazing. There were hot dogs, cheeseburgers/hamburgers and chicken, with potato salad, beans and chips as sides.

Overall it was a great day and I met a lot of new people.

The Annual Straub Picnic The Annual Straub Picnic The Annual Straub Picnic The Annual Straub Picnic The Annual Straub Picnic The Annual Straub Picnic
The Annual Straub Picnic The Annual Straub Picnic

 

 

 

Passion is the Pathway to Career

By Matthew Straub, Marketing Coordinator at Straub Construction

A Passion For Building

The construction industry is full of incredibly talented people who truly love working with their hands. Construction workers have a passion for taking raw pieces of material and turning them into something beautiful. If you ask any person in construction, most of them would say that this is the reason they work in this industry.

You can tell a lot about a person’s true passion by the way that they spend their free time. Jeff, Nolan, and Steve are a few people at Straub Construction who like to spend some of their free time woodworking. Starting with nothing but some nails, glue, and raw pieces of wood, these guys build some true works of art.

Jeff

Jeff Walters is a Superintendent who has been at Straub Construction for almost 25 years. He started woodworking when he was very young. His affinity for woodworking came from his grandfather who was a trim carpenter when Jeff was growing up. Jeff’s grandfather helped him with his first few projects for the 4-H and he fell in love with it. After 4-H he took a wood shop class in high school for a year. The majority of the projects that Jeff has done have been for friends and relatives. Over the past few years he has been building for the younger generation of his kids, nieces, and nephews.

Jeff Woodwork Jeff Woodwork Jeff Woodwork

Nolan

Nolan Cisper is a Project Manager at Straub Construction who has been in the industry of over 10 years. He also got into woodworking rather early in his life. For his 17th birthday, Nolan told his parents that the thing he wanted most was his first Worm Drive Saw. From then on, he could be found building things out of wood. Most of the things that Nolan builds are for his friends and family. However, there are fair few of his creations scattered around his house. Two years ago, Nolan built a cutting board that was a huge hit at our White Elephant Gift Exchange. Nolan also built a wooden six-pack container for last year’s gift exchange which was also a hit.

Nolan Woodwork Nolan Woodwork Nolan Woodwork

Steve

Steve Berko is the Director of Preconstruction at Straub and has been in the industry for over 40 years. He got into woodworking a little bit later in his life about four years ago but he has always enjoyed building things with his hands. Much like the others in this group, most of the things that Steve builds are given away to his friends and family. One of his favorite things to make for the people that matter the most in his life are thick cedar benches. Steve remarked that these cedar benches are not perfect but that is a great representation of life. Life has a lot of challenges, and like these benches, it is the knots, saw marks, spits, checks and imperfections that give it character and make it beautiful.

Steve Woodwork Steve Woodwork Steve Woodwork

WATCH D.O.G.S.

By Joe Riedel, Director of Business Development at Straub Construction

Joe Riedel WATCH D.O.G.S.Last fall, during Back to School night at my kids’ school, I had just been handed the new school year calendar.

It’s an exercise I go through every year. I skip right through the first semester. Holiday break? Nope, no big deal. Spring Break? Nope again. We would deal with that later.

My eyes locked onto February, and there it is. BOOM! Yes, my birthday would fall on a WEEKDAY! Why is this such a big deal? It’s because that allowed me to sign up for the WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dad of Great Students) program on my birthday. If you aren’t familiar, please take a moment to learn more by clicking this link.

This year turned out to be an exceptional experience, and I learned a lot about my kids, their school, and myself.

HWATCH D.O.G.S. Logoere are some of my key takeaways:

  1. My kids treated my WATCH D.O.G.S. birthday as if it was THEIR birthday. They too (mentally) circled the day on their “calendar.” As we got closer to the day, there was an ongoing debate in our household as to exactly what activities we would be doing during each recess.
  2. Speaking of recess, I am WAY out of shape. My younger son’s recess came up first. You would think playing two-hand touch football with a bunch of eight-year olds would be easy. Think again. I handled myself pretty well as the “all time QB”, but they got the best of me when I was on defense. Trying to stop a kid with unlimited energy and whose center of gravity was at least two feet lower than mine proved to be much like trying to catch a chicken running around a farmhouse. Trust me. That metaphorical chicken won’t be seeing the inside of a frying pan anytime soon.
  3. Apparently, twenty fifth grade boys are too many to have playing football on the playground while other kids are present. This was with my oldest son’s group. I’m not sure how many is too many, but the teachers were definitely quick to let me know that the number is much lower than twenty. It’s much closer to TWO.
  4. I am amazed by the faculty and staff at our schools. Children deserve the best, and they are getting it at this school. Their patience, kindness, strength, and ability to multi-task have humbled me.

I am so thankful for the faculty and staff at Riverview Elementary who helped me celebrate my birthday in such great style. I’ve already peeked ahead at next year’s calendar, and you can count me in for a certain Thursday in February of 2020!

Joe Riedel - WATCH D.O.G.S.

Straub Construction at the Mill Valley Career Fair

By Joe Riedel, Director of Business Development at Straub Construction

Straub Construction: Job FairStraub recently participated in a high school career fair hosted by the DeSoto, Eudora and Basehor-Linwood School Districts.

Roughly 800 students attended, ranging from Freshmen to Seniors.

We regularly attend these types of events – not only to attract and recruit future Straub employees, but also to help draw attention to the industry in general. It is widely known that the construction industry faces a major talent gap, and we applaud the efforts of the local school districts in working with community businesses to address these challenges.

We show up and spread the word… careers in construction are highly rewarding. I could write about that. However, tons of people already have, and it’s in the news regularly.

This career fair was a reminder of how important it is to steer kids toward their passion, whatever it may be.

Of course, we’re grateful for all the students who dropped by to talk about construction. But we also had quite a few visitors who had no idea what they want to do after high school. These were mainly the freshmen and sophomores we met.

It was such a joy to talk to these students. We opened every conversation by asking, “What do you really love to do?” As you can imagine, the answers varied widely and made the day memorable. Some of these students will go on to pursue four-year degrees, and some will not. And that is great either way depending on the reasons behind the decision.

For every potential career path, we were able to offer consistent advice:

  • Follow your passion, but be sure to do a little research first.
  • Spend your summers working in jobs that will give you exposure to these fields. When in high school, you may not be able to get certain jobs. But, anything close to the field should be their goal.
  • Seek out and speak with people who do that kind of work for a living and get their advice. One great question to ask them… “What is the best, most direct path to get me into this career?” The answer may be a traditional college, a two-year associates degree, or it may even be a paid apprenticeship program right out of high school.

Top Moments of 2018

By Joe Riedel, Director of Business Development at Straub Construction

There were so many good stories that happened in 2018. It was challenging to pick our favorites! We decided to focus on stories that had the most impact on our team and the Kansas City community. If you missed any of these stories, this is a great way to catch up!

Boy on the Bridge – 2/21/18

Full Story

Straub Construction: Boy on the Bridge

Ten Years in the Office, Time to Hit the Field – 5/2/18

Full Story

Straub Construction: De Nell's Field Experience Straub Construction: De Nell's Field Experience

Bring Your Kids to Work Day is a Big Deal at Straub – 5/16/18

Full Story

Straub Construction: Bring Your Kids to Work Day Straub Construction: Bring Your Kids to Work Day

The Straub Construction Picnic was a blast again this year!- 6/20/18

Full Story

Straub Construction Picnic Straub Construction Picnic

Our Interns Lead a Project for the Olathe Pregnancy Center – 8/29/18

Full Story

Intern Project for Olathe Pregnancy Center Intern Project for Olathe Pregnancy Center

Straub now has a certified drone pilot. Our first mission was St. Paul Catholic Church. – 9/19/18

Full Story

Matthew Straub in his Drone Pilot gear4

Straub Construction’s 2018 Week of Giving – 11/28/18

Full Story

Straub Construction: 2018 Week of Giving Straub Construction: 2018 Week of Giving

Looking forward to many more stories in 2019!

Our Interns Lead a Project for the Olathe Pregnancy Center

By Matthew Straub, Marketing Coordinator at Straub Construction

Intern Project for Olathe Pregnancy CenterFor the third year in a row, the Summer Internship Program at Straub Construction has culminated with our interns, Connor Wentz-Hall, Justin Briggs, and Trevor Scheumann planning and managing a volunteer/building project.

At Straub Construction, we take a very comprehensive approach to our summer internships.

Our interns spend time working in the field, in the estimating department, shadowing a project manager, and finally they get to plan and execute their own volunteer project. This year we had the privilege of working with Olathe Pregnancy Center, an organization that provides educational and material support to pregnant mothers from early on in their pregnancy, till years after.

We discovered the need for this project when Straub Construction was selected to renovate their new Olathe location. We were informed from the owner that they were only renovating half of the space because they didn’t have the funds to complete the whole space. When we heard this, we knew that our volunteer project was exactly what they needed. So, our volunteer committee and interns started to plan.

Intern Project for Olathe Pregnancy Center Intern Project for Olathe Pregnancy Center Intern Project for Olathe Pregnancy Center

Each intern took on their own role on the project.

Justin served as the Estimator which included determining how much material that we would need for the project and also reaching out to vendors for material donations. Connor took on the Project Manager Role which included creating the project schedule, determining and planning our project labor, and assembling necessary project tools. Trevor, who was also one of our interns last year, was the superintendent, which included planning the labor schedule for the volunteer days and overseeing those volunteer days.

On a Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, groups of Straub Construction employees and family members assembled at The Olathe Pregnancy Center and got after it! Projects included removing carpet and base, cutting and installing wood paneling, patch and mudding drywall, priming and painting all the walls and cabinets, frosting windows, painting counter tops, and much more. The Straub volunteers were extremely focused on getting their jobs done, only stopping shortly for a quick pizza and drink break. At the end of the two volunteer days, all the workers went home filled with pride from the work they’d done, and maybe a few paint fumes.

Intern Project for Olathe Pregnancy Center Intern Project for Olathe Pregnancy Center

In response to the work that was done on the volunteer project weekend, Mary with The Olathe Pregnancy Center said, “I walked through our clinic-in-the-making today, and I was so blown away by the work the volunteers did in the back area! The paint looks amazing back there and I know that was a ton of work! And the kitchen cabinets too! I’m sure there is more that was done over the weekend, and I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all of you who worked on that! Really kind and wow, what a difference!”

Following the volunteer weekend, there was still a lot of work to be done.

TPC Interiors volunteered their time and materials to rebuild the ceiling grid. MC Flooring donated all the carpet and base for the space, so our interns came back and installed the flooring. MC Flooring also donated and installed LVT flooring in the kitchen area. Electrical Associates donated their time and materials to relocate a light switch. Also, cabinet hardware donated by Locks and Pulls were installed on the new painted cabinets.

This additional space will serve as a boutique where women can come and pick out essentials (diapers, wipes, clothes, toys, etc.) for their babies, a classroom type room, a kitchen, and storage area.

This was another amazing intern/volunteer project. Thank you to all the vendors and subcontractors who gave of their time and resources to make this project possible (MC Flooring, TPC Interiors, Electrical Associates, Locks and Pulls, and Home Depot).

Straub Construction: Olathe Pregnancy Center Straub Construction: Olathe Pregnancy Center Straub Construction: Olathe Pregnancy Center

Stephen LaGue and the Kansas City Fellows Program

By Stephen LaGue, Project Superintendent for Straub Construction

Kansas City Fellows ProgramFrom September 2017 to May of 2018, I had the privilege and joy of learning, growing, living, and working with a wonderful group of eight other young professionals. We challenged each other as we learned practical steps to stitching faith into all areas of our lives.

The Kansas City Fellows Program is a 9-month leadership, professional, and spiritual development program for recent college graduates. Kansas City Fellows is a branch of The Fellows Initiative, a national organization that pairs with businesses and churches in over 20 cities across the US.

As I approached graduation from the Construction Management Program at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, I was encouraged to look into the Fellowship program in my home town of Kansas City. It seemed like a great fit for where I was at in life, and I soon found that this couldn’t have been more true.

The nine of us fellows were paired with different kinds of employers where we spent four days a week honing our talents and passions while being regularly challenged with the new and unfamiliar. We were also paired up with consistent and meaningful mentorship opportunities from established professionals in our field of study.

Kansas City Fellows Program Kansas City Fellows Program

The Kansas City Fellows organization is headed up by a leadership team that is consistently brilliant, thought provoking, competent, generous, and loving. Twice a week we met for discussions that were as challenging and robust as they were heartfelt and encouraging. For most of our discussions, we had the privilege of a new perspective in the form of guest leaders. We learned about the intersection of faith and work from over 30 different professionals coming from almost as many industries and lines of work.

I believe the Kansas City Fellowship will not stop having an impact on who I am.

Kansas City Fellows ProgramI find myself unable to fully express my gratitude for the opportunity to think so intentionally through what I believe and how that lines up so practically with the way I work, live, and play. In the past year, I’ve learned that the God of the Bible designed us not only for worship and relationship with Him, but also for our work and for our place in the community. Whatever piece you play in the massive jigsaw puzzle that is human existence, it has beautiful and inimitable meaning. Seeing yourself as a designed and thought out part of the big story of life provides so much freedom for flourishing in work and relationships.

If you know someone who is approaching, or in the midst of, that challenging transition from student to professional, encourage them to apply to a Fellowship in whatever city interests them. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

I would like to thank my mentor Mike Barr. I’ve been sharpened and encouraged by my time with you. Thank you to Christ Community Church for being a loving family and discipling me so well. And most of all, I want to offer thanks to Kris, Kevin, Carol and to my eight classmates for an unforgettable and life-changing year.

Learn more about Fellows

Kansas City Fellowship: kansascityfellows.com
The Fellows Initiative: thefellowsinitiative.org

The Ideal Team

By Joe Riedel, Director of Business Development at Straub Construction

I admit it. And I’m proud to admit it. I’m a sucker for business books – especially those dealing with leadership and culture.

It hasn’t always been that way. When I was in my twenties, I definitely considered anyone to buy these (what I called) “self-help” books as true suckers.  Not anymore.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that these authors might actually know more than I do about some things.

The Ideal Team Player

These books often get shared among the leaders and managers of companies who endeavor to improve their culture or business processes.  The book The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencione was recently given as a gift to our Executive Vice President, Parker Young. Parker read it almost immediately.

It’s a quick read, which made that easy to do. The book focuses on the three main attributes people must possess to be great team players.  They must be hungry, meaning self -driven in the constant pursuit of excellence. They must be humble. They are more concerned about the team and share credit in times of success. They also generally accept blame when things don’t go so well. And finally, Ideal Team Players are smart. They understand how to read people and work with them based on the situation at hand. So, of course he wanted to share the book with the leaders at Straub.

This is not a summary of the book, The Ideal Team Player. Rather, it’s a short story about how the entire company came together to share ideas on how to be great team players. To be great, every employee – in the office and at every job site – must approach their work with ownership and the mindset of a leader.

Rolling it out to the company

Straub Construction: Ideal Team PlayerSo, we kicked the process off with an all company meeting to introduce and distribute the book to all employees (all leaders). As with all meetings, Ernie shared some great stories about what the book means to him and how it relates to the culture he and his father envisioned when they took over the company thirty plus years ago.

From there, employees were grouped up into teams of 7, including a facilitator.  All were tasked with reading the book in preparation of a follow up small group discussion. The book and assignment were well received, as lots of employees were asking questions and getting engaged right away – even before reading the book.

Fast forward to two weeks later, and we conducted our small group discussions. These groups were designed to foster diversity and inclusion. Each group had a mixture of field, project management, operations and support personnel. This provided a tremendous opportunity for all to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of just about every position in the company. In small teams, we talked about how to work better together, and everyone was sharing ideas. The takeaways from the discussions were invaluable, and we are in the process of implementing many great ideas from these conversations.

Always building the team

I’m proud to work for a company filled with Ideal Team Players. It’s not only rewarding, but it makes my job easier. When speaking with customers, I have the confidence to ensure their projects will be delivered by an entire team of people who are hungry, humble and smart.  Finally, if this type of culture appeals to you… we’re always in search of more Ideal Team Players. Pick up the phone. Give us a call. We want to talk with you.