It was great to be back in person for our company-wide Annual Meeting this year. Like most have over the past few years, this meeting focused on our mission – to identify, hire, train and retain the best people to serve our customers. We began the meeting with the most important aspect of our company – our people – from new members to retirees as well as special accomplishments throughout the year. We highlighted the previous business years performance then dove into our current year focusing on the key areas of focus for success and lastly, we celebrated together with socializing and dinner!
THE BEST PEOPLE
We have always done employee of the year awards but this year we tried something new. We asked all employees to submit nominations for our company superheroes. The result was that we had great unsung heroes be nominated with the most touching submission(s) and reason(s) why. Below are our 2022 Employees of the Year as well as a little snippet of each of their nomination submission(s) for his/her very deserving awards.
Mission Statement Champion of the Year – Recognition for going above and beyond to uphold our mission statement and enhance the morale of the workplace.
- Recipient: Matt Roberts, Ironworker Forman
- Nomination Submissions:
- “Every time we talked about the mission statement last summer, we talked about the way Matt worked a plan to develop other Ironworkers when setting the steel. He took many people under his wing and taught them the process of large steel erection through this process.”
- “Matt constantly shows leadership and promotes the company from within.”
- “Matt is always willing to take the time to teach and help me through taking off difficult operations.”
Safety Champion of the Year – Recognition for demonstrating and promoting outstanding safety leadership.
- Recipient: Bill Curtis, Superintendent
- Nomination Submission: “The most tenured Superintendent working at UW Health. He has worked on all the projects at UW since 2013 – an excess of 250,000 hours with only one minor recordable to date and no lost time accidents. Bill also goes above and beyond to address employee and patient safety at the hospital.”
Process Improvement Champion of the Year – Recognition for demonstrating and promoting JP Cullen’s process improvement philosophy.
- Recipient: Eric DeCremer, Engineer
- Nomination Submission: “Every single person that I have talked to that Eric has worked with, praises him for what he has done, and how helpful he is during planning.”
Whale Hunter of the Year – Recognition for creating a better public image of JP Cullen (such as public awareness and improving relationships or collaboration) and successfully procuring work.
- Recipient: Ben Bobzien, Project Manager
- Nomination Submission: “Ben was a key leader in winning a $50+ million project. He met one-on-one with decision-makers and end-users to understand the problem we were solving and figure out how we would deliver on their goals and vision better than anyone else. Ben remained steadfast in our process and was instrumental in JP Cullen being awarded the project.”
Preconstruction Champion of the Year – Recognition for outstanding contributions made toward enhancing preconstruction services.
- Recipient: Sam Potts, Estimator
- Nomination Submissions:
- “Sam is training me in preconstruction management and there have been several instances in working with the Architect and Client where I have been very impressed. Because of Sam’s skills and experience, the Clients are extremely happy, and she has established a great rapport with the Architect.”
- “Sam has really done a great job this year not only being a Rockstar Estimator, making sure Clients get the best value for their dollar, but she has stepped up and done an outstanding job in interviews covering our preconstruction services.”
- “Sam goes above and beyond to make sure newer Estimators understand their role and the process of preconstruction to build the team.”
- “Sam has demonstrated very strong performance on all of her preconstruction endeavors throughout the 21/22 year. She has led more volume of preconstruction projects that any Estimator this year.”
Support Person of the Year – Recognition for superior performance or innovation: initiative, work quality, work quantity, attitude, job skill, response to unanticipated situations, efficiency, response to supervisory direction, money savings, or contributions.
- Recipient: Joe Schumacher, Purchasing Coordinator
- Nomination Submission: “Since I started working here about a year and a half ago, I have always been impressed with Joe’s attention to detail, quality of work, accessibility for questions, willingness to work through issues in a constructive way, and his attitude to want to get things right, not just be right. I truly appreciated Joe’s work and history with the company, and feel he deserves recognition.”
Strategic Champion of the Year – Recognition for distinct and extraordinary accomplishments that have made significant impacts or improvements towards our Corporate Strategic Initiatives.
- Recipient: Alex Mielke, Marketing Manager
- Nomination Submissions:
- “Alex has been serving on the Retain subcommittee for our Corporate Strategic Initiative #1. Through the subcommittee she collaborated with the team to come up with different strategies to help retain employees.”
- “Alex also served as President of our Young Leaders Group for the past two years. During her term, she was hit with a curveball that no President ever has – a global pandemic. Alex quickly pivoted from a 50+ in-person quarterly meeting to a virtual platform. She came up with creative strategies to keep everyone engaged virtually with fun themes and coordinating engaging training sessions. She did an excellent job leading the Young Leaders group.”
- “Working alongside Alex, she always has the Corporate Strategic Initiatives top of mind and helps our team to craft our content to reflect our strategic goals.”
Operations Champion of the Year – Recognition for outstanding contributions made toward enhancing company operations.
- Recipients: Ken Kueng, Superintendent & Tyler Christman, Project Manager
- Nomination Submission: “We had a hard time picking just one recipient for the category this year because Tyler and Ken go hand-in-hand as the Superintendent and Project Manager working closely on projects. They lead all projects for one of our largest Fortune 500 Company clients and knock it out of the park with performance and client expectation.”
- Alexandra Herman – Support Staff Associates
- Amanda Nehls – Support Staff Associates
- Beth Rhodes – Support Staff Associates
- Krystal Sippel – Support Staff Associates
- Kayla Gooslin – Support Staff Associates
- Adam Leonhard – Project Manager Bachelors
- Mitch Zierer – Project Manager Bachelors
- Lisa Klein – Project Manager Bachelors
- Luke Sander – Project Manager Bachelors
- Dan Meister – Project Manager Bachelors
- Ben Sonnentag – Project Manager Bachelors
- Cameron Weinbrenner – Project Manager Bachelors
- Tayler Blake – Project Manager Bachelors
- Trevor Mann – Project Manager Bachelors
- Ben Slaby – Project Manager Bachelors
- Zack Murphy – Superintendent Bachelors
- Chad Mielke – Superintendent Bachelors
- Sam Potts – Estimating Bachelors
- Casey Rutter – Estimating Bachelors & Masters
- Andy Books – Estimating Bachelors & Masters
A special recognition was also given to Joe Schwengels, Apprenticeship Committee President (and Superintendent) who is stepping back from his President role after over 20 years of committee leadership. Joe has always been about breaking perceptions. Mainly the perception that college is the only path to follow after high school. “Construction has been it for me. In high school I didn’t know what I wanted to do, like most kids these days, but I knew I didn’t want to go to college and I knew I was probably going to work with my hands. That’s when, I kind of just fell into construction.” We cannot thank Joe enough for all the work he has done to help recruit into the trades and to the company.
Last but especially not least, we rounded out the meeting portion of the night celebrating two very important individuals who prefer the words “stepping back” over “retirement”. Mark and David Cullen are stepping back from the company to enjoy more time with their families, especially the growing number of Generation Six members of the family.
To honor the two, our employees submitted videos telling stories, sharing memories and words of appreciation which we played as a surprise to them during the meeting. We cannot image the company or family without them, they are going to be missed but we also know they will not be far away.
With that said, the future is very bright for the company and we could not be more excited about the team of individuals we have to go out and make it special and memorable year!