LECET Safety Award of Excellence

(St. Louis, MO, May 20, 2020) Western Specialty Contractors would like to congratulate the staff and workers at its Minneapolis, MN Branch for receiving the 2019 Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Trust (LECET) of Minnesota and North Dakota Safety Driven Contractor Award of Excellence.

To be considered for the award, signatory union contractors must meet program requirements including meeting a minimum number of safety points and a willingness to share safety history and safety improvements for their company during the calendar year. Some of the criteria reported on include company safety improvements, safety training curriculum and events, specific safety procedural improvements, safety communication and worker outreach strategies, safety equipment improvements and more.

In previous years, award recipients were recognized at the organization’s Annual Contractor Appreciation Open House and Safety Driven Awards event in March. Due to COVID-19, this year’s event has been postponed and the awards plaque will be mailed to the branch.

“Every year, we have made adjustments to the Safety Driven Contractor Awards program and have continued to rachet up the required minimum points that you must achieve to be given this award. We are pushing you to go further and you certainly are,” stated a congratulatory email from LECET Construction Marketing Director Dwight Engen and the LECET Board of Trustees. “The work you are doing to look out for each other and the health and safety of your construction teams, thus far, has been innovative and very impressive.”

Based on the Minnesota Branch’s application submission, it received the highest number of points possible in 12 out of 14 safety categories. The Minneapolis Branch also recorded a .65 EMR Rating in 2019 and had an EMR Rating trending down in the past two years. New safety equipment purchased by the branch in 2019 included harnesses and lanyards for fall protection, as well as respirators and an air hood.

Minnesota Branch Manager Mike Tripp said he is proud of everyone’s dedication to safety every day at the branch. “Western has an excellent safety program, which is reflected by our low EMR and Recordable Rate of 1.64, much lower than the 3.8 national average. Our branch was awarded Western Specialty Contractors’ highest safety award in 2019, The Robert Pritchard Safety Award and George Bishop Branch of the Year,” said Tripp. “I am extremely proud of our branch’s safety accomplishments. We take safety very seriously, and it shows.”

About Western Specialty Contractors

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing, and specialty roofing. Western offers a nationwide network of expertise that building owners, engineers, architects, and property managers can count on to develop cost-effective, corrective measures that can add years of useful life to a variety of structures including industrial, commercial, healthcare, historic, educational and government buildings, parking structures, and sports stadiums. Western is headquartered in St. Louis, MO with 30 branch offices nationwide and employs more than 1,200 salaried and hourly professionals who offer the best, time-tested techniques and innovative technology. 

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Jennifer Beidle

Employee Spotlight | Rod O’Bannon

Western would like to recognize Rod O'Bannon in this month's employee spotlight. Rod has been doing an excellent job with Western's Great Plains Roofing & Sheet Metal Branch!

Kudos, Rod – and thank you for being a valued member of the Western team!

Interview with Rod O'Bannon

  1. How many years had you been with Great Plains Sheet Metal before the acquisition with Western in 2019?

    I began in 2000 as a shop foreman.

  2. How many years have you been in the industry? And how has it changed?

    I started with the Sheet Metal Workers Union in 1993. Back then there were no architectural classes. It was simply a basic layout and basic welding. Now, we are seeing a huge increase in training advancements and continuing education. With the use of computers and tablets, apprentices are gaining a strong portfolio of education including drafting and estimating, among several other key areas.

  3. What other changes have you seen as the industry has evolved?

    I believe that it is the evolution of facades that have helped shape the future of sheet metal. We used to see sheet metal being used primarily for coping gutter and drip edge. Now we are in a strong design phase, seeing entire facades being crafted from artistic metal. Technological advancements have moved us from having two guys running a hand brake to now using an auto brake. This means stronger production and increased safety for our tradesmen. With the advancements of computers and technologies looking at and measuring jobs has become more advanced and streamlined. Vendors have also played a key role in advancements offering better products, stronger education with installation, and increases in warrantees. Years ago, warrantees on color were only five years, now we see color warrantees for as long as 30 years.

  4. How many employees work for Great Plains Sheet Metal?

    On average we have about 17 – 30.

  5. What are some of your more high-profile projects?

    – KCI: Kansas City International Airport
    – Fort Riley Hospital
    – KC Pet Project
    – Lawrence Hospital

  6. How would you describe your transition to Western?

    Overall, I would say it has been a great transition. As expected, there was some initial skepticism moving from a smaller shop to a large corporation, however, everything to transpire since has been positive. Having standard operating procedures and using a chain of command took some adjusting but the increase and advancements in technology have been a tremendous improvement. Western has also given us a great team to move forward with and above all, I would say that the greatest opportunity to stem from being purchased by Western is the increase in bid opportunities outside of our area. We had some opportunity previously but the direct connection that Western provides to other branches offers limitless possibility. After connecting with the Tulsa Branch at the 2020 Western Annual Meeting, we secured at $450k project at OSU Hospital. This is only one branch out of the 30 Western branches that provide us with potential opportunities.

  7. What about you, Rod? What do you personally enjoy?

    I really enjoy pheasant hunting but most of my time is consumed taking care of our 80-acre ranch. We raise and sell cattle and take care of 19 Shires horses. If you are not familiar with Shire Horses, they are very similar to the Budweiser Clydesdale horses. They are extremely large, black horses that are very beautiful. We also have several dogs including 2 Irish Setters (one blind), 2 labs, a Newfoundland and one Shepard. We also have one cat named Bullshit. We named it that because I think its bullshit that someone would dump her, so we kept her after she showed up.

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I had the pleasure of meeting Rod O'Bannon during our due diligence phase of purchasing Great Plains. His knowledge and understanding of the sheet metal industry completely changed my outlook on acquiring both Great Plains Roofing and Sheet Metal. His bigger than life personality combined with his vast knowledge commands his audiences. His group has transitioned into Western seamlessly and we appreciate his hard work and dedication.

Tom Brooks
Chief Operating Officer
Western Specialty Contractors