USA Civil and USA Building management meetings focus on collaboration, innovation, safety and opportunities

The overall sentiment at last week’s USA Civil and USA Building management meetings was that of optimism: We are taking the right steps to position ourselves for the future. But competition is fierce and we must never be complacent, especially if we are to further enhance our position as innovative leaders in our various markets, as well as with safety, ethics and diversity. Both meetings stressed the importance of the upcoming Diversity and Inclusion Week from April 8-12.

At the USA Civil Management Meeting last Monday and Tuesday, the theme was “Deliver on the Promise.” Rich Cavallaro, USA Civil president, provided updates on Civil’s “delivery” on its “promise” to reach Civil’s five 2015 business plan goals. Cavallaro praised Civil’s 0.21 lost time incident rate in 2012, which was the best performance among all Skanska construction units globally. But he stressed his goal of achieving zero lost time incidents across the business units. Among Cavallaro’s other messages was that design-build is a growing project trend; that sharing and collaboration across offices is critical to achieving Civil’s strategy of “Everything we do, everywhere we are”; and that mobility – employees being flexible to move to work on projects – is also essential for Civil’s future growth. Additionally, Mike Aparicio, executive vice president, spoke of the tremendous opportunities offered by upcoming West Coast transit projects: West Coast cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Phoenix plan to spend $40 billion on 65+ transit projects in coming years.

At the USA Building Management Meeting last Wednesday and Thursday, the theme was “Strong Today, Stronger Tomorrow.” Bill Flemming, USA Building president, spoke of how now is Building’s time to change from being successful to being significant. Significance means differentiation. Building will accomplish this by providing unique experiences to its clients, colleagues and communities. Hendrik Van Brenk, Skanska USA chief EHS officer, spoke of how we’ve been on our Injury-Free Environment Journey for a decade, and that while many safety improvements have been achieved, future gains will come from asking ourselves personally what each of us can do better, rather than implementing new rules or processes.. Additionally, Building announced its annual awards, which included Portland, Ore., winning the Office of the Year award; Superintendent Tony Baldassari of Raleigh, N.C., winning the Innovation Award; and the Project of the Year Award (over $100 million) going to the Intel D1C 1270 Basebuild high-tech manufacturing project.

Speaking at both Building and Civil meetings, Mike McNally, Skanska USA president and CEO, emphasized messages that included further improving our already-strong safety performance. He spoke of Skanska’s global strategy, which consists of staying the course on the 2015 business plan; expanding North American operations; continuing to look at acquisitions in the U.S. and Canada; recovering from poor performance last year in Latin America (Skanska lost $80 million in Latin America in 2012); implementing a restructured residential business in the Nordics; and focusing on cash flow. He said a major market trend is lower-cost energy in the U.S., which should lead to additional project opportunities, including gas-fired powered plants and fertilizer plants. Additionally, there will be a SEOP 3, but it may be another two months until that is approved by the Skanska AB board.

Click here to view videos and presentations from the Civil meeting on mySkanska, and here to view videos and presentations from the Building meeting.

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