Building Progress Podcast

Safety harness being attached

Building Progress is a podcast from Builders Mutual where we discuss trends and real-life events impacting construction job-sites today. Our roundtable conversations feature a variety of engaging industry experts, from contractors and vendors to our own risk management consultants. Check out these lively discussions on timely construction topics.

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Building Progress Podcast

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We like to say that when it comes to keeping anyone who steps foot on a job-site safe, it is everyone’s responsibility. But who is everyone? Yes, at Builders Mutual our experts train and provide knowledge about job-site safety. We encourage contractors to promote a culture of safety and their workers to follow those guidelines. But what about the tools those workers are using? Are they being designed with safety in mind? What role do these manufacturers play in creating safer job-sites for workers? In this episode of Building Progress, we look for answers to those questions from our guests, Paul Lagerstedt from Super Anchor Safety, Dave Francis from Little Giant Ladder Systems, and Connor Crook from Diamondback Tool.

There’s no way to remove all the risks associated with construction, but Builders Mutual is giving it our best effort. Our purpose is to protect and advance the unique needs of the contractor community, and we are hopeful this episode will do just that. We’ll take a look at four of the most common safety mistakes on the job-site, sitting down with Builders Mutual Senior Risk Management Consultants Andrew Walters and Michelle Fox to find out why these mistakes happen so frequently and what we can do to ensure job-sites are taking the necessary steps to fix these issues.

Have you always wanted to go out on your own? Thinking about taking the leap to start your own business? On this episode of Building Progress, we talk to two Builders Mutual policyholders who did just that. Carlos and Christina Calzadilla of SunSouth Carolinas and Ron Mitchell of MB Drywall join us to share what led to them starting their own business, the challenges they faced along the way, and advice they’d give to someone looking to get started.

In this special episode of the Building Progress podcast, we share a live recording from the North Carolina Home Builders Association’s Women in Construction panel. “Breaking the Concrete Ceiling” took place on the final day of the NCHBA’s 21st Century Building Expo and Conference and featured a celebration of women in the industry. The panel was moderated by the President of Brookline Homes, Andi Dirkschneider Bliss, and featured three leading women in building – 2023 NAHB Chairman Alicia Huey, author of “The House That She Built” Mollie Elkman, and the CEO and Founder of Hope Renovations and 2022 NAHB Woman of the Year, Nora El-Khouri Spencer. They discussed how they all got into the industry, what needs to happen to get more women involved in building, who inspires them, and much more.

How are businesses tackling current challenges and changing the way they work? What are some of the latest trends we see as the industry evolves? And what will the industry look like as we move into the future? In this episode, host Katie Mariani gets answers to those questions and much more from Builders Mutual Executive Advisor Bill Schaffner and the Co-Founder and CEO of Plantd, Josh Dorfman. Bill has spent his entire career in the industry and specializes in focusing on what's happening in the world of construction, and Josh's company manufactures carbon-negative building materials in an attempt to push the industry forward while protecting the planet.

According to a 2021 study by the American Psychological Association, nearly 90% of employees across all industries think actions from their employers would help their mental health. In this episode, host Katie Mariani is joined by NCHBA President and Owner of Red Tree Builders, Brandon Bryant, as well as his Project Manager at Red Tree, Ryan Kuczynski. They discuss the importance of developing open lines of communication in the workplace around mental health and walk through what they’ve learned from their own personal mental health struggles.

A Return-to-Work program allows employees to remain engaged and be productive within their abilities during the injury recovery process, and is a key component for containing and minimizing the cost of Workers’ Compensation claims. In this episode of Building Progress, host Katie Mariani is joined by Builders Mutual Risk Management Regional Manager Stacey Kitchen and Builders Mutual Workers Compensation Claims Manager Wendy Maunu to discuss how policyholders and their employees can benefit from a Return-to-Work program.

At Builders Mutual, job-site safety is the driving force behind everything we do. And we talk regularly with customers about the importance of building a culture of safety. In this episode of Building Progress, we hear how one Florida roofing company made safety a priority – and is reaping the benefits. Join host Katie Mariani as she talks with Giovanni Colon, Safety Director for Professional Sunshine Roofing, and Josh Maher, his Builders Mutual Risk Management Consultant.

Supply chain issues are currently impacting every facet of the economy. For construction, we’re in a unique industry cycle that is being affected by supply, labor, costs, and other factors. To address this important topic, Building Progress host, Katie Mariani, sits down with Dr. Robert Dietz, Chief Economist and Senior VP for Economics and Housing Policy for the National Association of Home Builders, and Mark Martin, home builder and owner of Sandmark Custom Homes.

You’ve probably heard that it’s not what you know but who you know. This is networking—and it’s a vital aspect of the construction industry. This episode of Building Progress, with our new host, Katie Mariani, focuses on the hows and whys of professional connectivity. Our guests, Brian Pace who is the principal manager of Charlotte-based Pace Development Group and Josh Chappell of Jennings Bryan Chappell Insurance, provide their insights about what it means to sustain relationships for successful business.

This special broadcast of Building Progress is from the floor of the 2020 NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas. We talk with a variety of professionals about the diverse career paths available within the industry. We also chatted with students who participated in the NAHB student competition, hearing their fresh perspective on how and why this industry is providing a bright future for each of them.

This episode of Building Progress takes us to Nashville, Tennessee, shortly after the devastating tornadoes in early March. There, we spoke with two long-time customers, Goodall Homes and Cygnus Construction, as well as their agents. We discussed how the storm impacted their businesses, visited the devastated sites, and learned how the response from Builders Mutual affected the recovery experience.

Before COVID-19 became the top public health crisis in our country, opioid abuse and addiction dominated the headlines. Sadly, the construction industry is affected by opioids at a significantly higher rate than the general population. Now, with mandated social isolation of the pandemic further increasing the risks for addiction and overdose, this edition of Building Progress couldn’t be more relevant and timely. Here, Tina Hill, director of workers' compensation claims at Builder's Mutual and David Jaffe, VP legal advocacy with the national association of home builders, address the growing opioid crisis head on.

Currently, women represent about 9% of the overall construction workforce—and this number is on the rise. At some job-sites, the male-to-female ratio is as high as 2:1. On this episode of Building Progress, you’ll hear straight talk about this demographic shift from two women in the industry: Judy Dinelle from 84 Lumber and Tara LeDuc from Builders Mutual. We’ll discuss the benefits of adding more women in construction and look at ways women can get involved in the industry.

About 80% of construction firms can’t find the labor they need (ACG 2019). Combating the challenging labor shortage is our topic for this episode of Building Progress. Michele Hemric, an HR expert from Builder Mutual, along with Gary Embler from Niblock Homes, will be providing creative ideas for attracting–and keeping–good employees in this competitive job market.

This episode of Building Progress focuses on an important yet overlooked safety practice: putting up guardrails. It takes just two minutes to install a guardrail, but the result can be the difference between life and death. Guests Andrew Hilliard, owner of SafetyMaker, and Sean Purcell, risk management technical manager with Builders Mutual, discuss why guardrail safety is so vital, and they address ways to empower construction workers to ensure their job-sites are safe for everyone.