Building structures, building a career: Q&A with Tyler Holbrook, superintendent 

In the nearly 10 years that Tyler Holbrook has worked for The Hagerman Group, he has advanced to foreman, and now, superintendent. Currently running his first job in that role, Tyler is among several superintendents who have been involved in the Carpenters International Training Fund Superintendent Career Training Program, a classroom and on-the-job program that prepares participants to be highly skilled construction professionals. Tyler shares a bit about the program, his background, and what he enjoys most about working in the construction industry.

What made you decide to get into construction?

When I was in college, my mom connected me to a residential contractor and I got a summer job doing concrete. College wasn’t for me, so I continued doing residential concrete. One day I struck up a conversation with a guy who talked to me about other opportunities in the construction industry and he explained how I could increase my income. A few months later, I joined Hagerman, and I love it.

How has Hagerman supported your career path?

Hagerman has done a great job. They promoted me to foreman fairly early in my career and have paired me with senior superintendents so I can be their righthand man. The mentoring we get from the senior superintendents at Hagerman is really helpful. The senior superintendents are the ones trusted to run the huge, challenging, multi-million-dollar projects, and they get the job done. I look forward to being one someday, once I gain more experience. I have a willingness to grow and learn, and I like to ask a lot of questions because if you’re always asking questions, you’re always learning. Now I’m running my first job as a superintendent.

What does the Superintendent Career Training Program involve, and how has it benefitted you?

I’m in a group with three guys who will graduate from the program next May. It includes multiple trips out-of-state over a two-year span, where they teach and train us on a variety of things, from how to have better communication with subcontractors to understanding prints. We meet superintendents from various locations, from the east coast to the west coast. It’s fascinating to hear how they’re running their jobs and the different kinds of projects they’re working on.

We also have on-the-job training and mentoring where we get together once a week and go through discussions on things like project management, leadership, communications—things that will make us better superintendents. As a superintendent, you want to be approachable, but you need to be in charge and respected at the same time. It’s a fine line, and the mentoring helps us learn how to find that balance. Chris Harmon, our mentor for the program and Hagerman’s Fort Wayne Director of Field Operations, also visits job sites regularly to make sure we’re doing well. It’s been beneficial.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The one thing I enjoy the most about it is we’re there at the very beginning of the job, bringing the building out of the ground, so the biggest pride I take in a job is the accomplishment when you’re done. It’s fulfilling to know that we did this off a set of drawings and I helped bring it to fruition. That sense of accomplishment. Also, you become close with all these people you work with and they become like your family, so you get a good bond. There’s probably a group of 10-15 of us who have been working together for 10 years and you’re going through the same stuff. You build relationships with these people. I also take pride in getting things done. You always try and beat the schedule, and when you do beat it, you feel that accomplishment even more.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a 150,000-square-foot addition to a manufacturing building. The job is going well, and we’re pushing pretty hard because of the schedule. It’s one of the biggest buildings I’ve ever been a part of, so it’s slick to see it all come together. This goes back to what I like the most about construction. When we first started, it was a wheat field, and now it’s this huge building that’s about to be enclosed. It’s the first project I’m leading, so I’m taking a lot of pride in it, ensuring we hit the scheduled deadlines.

What are your hobbies?

I like to work! But I also like to spend time with my family, like visiting my sister who lives in Kentucky, and spending time with my girlfriend and our new puppy. My favorite thing to do in summer is to go kayaking or canoeing, and I’m looking forward to taking a trip to Estes Park in Colorado in the near future.

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