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Articles | April 20, 2020

Coronavirus crisis inspires industry collaboration: ‘We’re all in this together’

Since the coronavirus outbreak hit the U.S., many in the industry have noticed a bright spot emerge from the crisis: a push toward more collaboration among stakeholders.

Employee meeting

Competing general contractors are sharing information more than ever before, especially about ways to keep workers safe during the pandemic. They are posting photos, best practices and toolbox talks on their websites and sharing ideas on webinars and conference calls to offer solutions that can benefit the industry.

This collaboration has been central to the industry’s quick reaction to keeping sites healthy and operational in an unprecedented and fast-changing situation, according to Mike Benike, executive vice president at Rochester, Minnesota-based Benike Construction.

“It’s amazing that only little more than a month ago many construction sites did not have anything different in place and now the procedures are completely different and continuing to change every day,” he said during a recent COVID-19 webinar sponsored by Destination Medical Center, a public-private economic initiative in Rochester, Minnesota, that is overseeing $5.6 billion of growth centered around the Mayo Clinic. ​

Panelist Troy Blizzard, vice president of operations at Mortenson, said he’s seen contractors in his Minneapolis market collaborate like never before.

“It’s absolutely been a theme of all this that we’re all in this together and we’ve got to share best practices, he said. “It’s all about ‘What are you doing and what have you seen to help business?’ in what is usually a very competitive environment.”

General contractors are working closely with owners, subs, and suppliers to stay abreast of the latest developments and find solutions to shared problems, Rosendin Vice President of Safety Marty Rouse told Construction Dive.

When the U.S. outbreak started, Rosendin worked with several other subs and construction companies to devise a set of safety protocols for job sites. The program, shaped by information from the National Electrical Contractors Association, includes guidelines for respirator usage, social distancing measures and what to expect from general contractors.

Rouse said a team approach to taking responsibility for fighting the epidemic on job sites is crucial.

“We’re all in this together.”

Associations promote collaboration

Associations have also filled a crucial role in promoting the collective good of the industry during the pandemic. For instance, within days of the coronavirus appearing in the U.S., safety staff at the Associated General Contractors of Washington State had prepared a toolbox talk with guidelines about how to keep workers and job sites safe. After cases started appearing in New York state, the AGC chapter there quickly developed a three-part webinar series to help prepare its members for what was to come.

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About Rosendin

Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., Rosendin is employee-owned and one of the largest electrical contractors in the United States, employing over 7,500 people, with revenues averaging $2 billion. Established in 1919, Rosendin remains proud of our more than 100 years of building quality electrical and communications installations and value for our clients but, most importantly, for building people within our company and our communities. Our customers lead some of the most complex construction projects in history and rely on us for our knowledge, our ability to scale, and our dedication to quality. At Rosendin, we work to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential by building a culture that is diverse, safe, welcoming, and inclusive.

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