REACH Talks Construction with Mauricio Henderson, owner and operator of Perseverance, offering workforce and staffing solutions, and active member with the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). We spoke with Mauricio to get an understanding of how the construction industry in Denver, Colorado may be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and to get a sense of how an entrepreneur in the construction industry may be weathering this storm.
AGC of America is an association and representative of the construction industry and construction professionals. AGC provides several different services including workforce development, education, and political representation on a local, state, and federal level.
In Colorado construction has been deemed an essential business which means the show goes on (for the most part) for commercial construction projects. Mauricio says the industry is focused on working in a safe manner while practicing social distancing. This means limiting the number of people working in close proximity to either one or two, alternating lunches and breaks, and encouraging workers to not take breaks together. Some jobs sites, Mauricio says, have mandatory temperature readings where they take the temperature of everyone who enters the job site. There have been positive cases of COVID-19 of a few job sites around Colorado. In those cases, the sites have been shut down for at least three days while the site is sanitized. The positive individual is made to stay home and self-isolate. After those three days the project resumes.
One of the biggest roadblocks to continuing projects has been the suspension of inspections in various cities around Colorado. Boulder, Frisco, and Summit County for example, have totally stopped inspections. This makes a project impossible to finish without the necessary go ahead from inspection officials.
While I had Mauricio on the phone, I also wanted to get a sense of the work he and AGC is doing in terms of (and the construction industry in general) diversity and inclusion. He says because there are so many chapters of AGC all around the nation and in practically every city it’s difficult to speak for AGC as a whole. He would say that for him and his personal work with AGC he has always pushed representation across the board in construction and with AGC in Colorado Mauricio has seen great success. On a national level AGC has recently launched a program called Culture of Care. This program consists of companies and people in leadership that are ready to make a commitment to more diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It is an initiative that helps celebrate and promote diversity in the workplace and provides resources to aid organizations meet their goals in terms of diversity and inclusion.
He says that while AGC as an association has been pushing for more inclusion on job sites and in leadership there is still a lot of work to do with individual companies…an important distinction.
Under the circumstances Mauricio says he feels great. He’s staying active, productive, and positive and doing his best to keep his routine. He also offered some good advice: from bad comes good. Use this time to reevaluate and adjust your business and or personal life. Cut out unnecessary expenses and make your time worthwhile. Check on your loved ones and reorganize your house. He says sometime we just need a break to reevaluate and that this is the time and opportunity to do so. Mauricio says struggles and obstacles like these are all too familiar for small business owners and businesses of color. This is just another hurdle to overcome.
For more information on AGC’s response to COVID-19 you can visit their national website.
For information on Culture of Care please visit their website.