LPR Boasts 2018 Board of NCCER Trustees Chairman, Rocky Turner

LPR and Longbow Industries are proud to boast that our CEO, Rocky Turner, has been appointed Chairman of the 2018 Board of NCCER Trustees. LPR’s continued commitment to a cutting-edge apprentice program for our ironworkers, as well as other trades, facilitates our continued commitment to being both an NCCER Assessment Center and a Training Center. Currently we have apprentices in all levels of the program and assigned mentors, journeyman and above, to answer their content questions, serve as proctors and instructors, and provide the hands-on site-based training we know is most effective for our craft workers. Looking to partner closely with local high schools, Front Range Community College and other community programs supporting the craft trades, we hope to develop a ‘grow our own’ program utilizing a strong NCCER curriculum, coupled with training provided by some of the most skilled ironworkers in the industry.

LPR’s Craft Program is managed by Christopher Schock. Please feel free to contact him directly if you have questions about utilizing NCCER curriculum for workforce development or if you are interested in a skilled trade career with LPR. He can be contacted at training@lprconstruction.com.

Celebrating Results

Written by Pat Hagan, Director of Safety LPR/Longbow

LPR Construction is proud to announce our achievement in Total Recordable Incident Rate Reduction for yearend 2017. We completed the year with a TRIR of 0.38. Although we realize that recordable rates are a “Lagging” indicator, we believe our success is deeply rooted in our LPR Core Values. The elements of which drive our process, methodology and who we are as a company. Our commitment to ensure everything we do protects our employees, customers and the public is always in the forefront.

How those Core Values relate to our reduction in the recordable rate can best be explained by reviewing each value:

Committed to Safety
• Our commitment to safety starts at the top with our Executive Management Team. They are engaged in every step of creating, socializing, implementing and evaluating our process. They drive participation from job site audits, incident reviews, project/supervisor training, to our craft listening tour. This is the example that is set every day for our work force.

We Over Me
• The word “I” is not in our vocabulary. Everything we do from education for our craft on hazards associated with their work, to detailing safe steps in the work processes that drive our business, is a Team Effort.

Competitive Sprit
• We apply this in how we approach our business regarding finding ways to better the safety of our craft and staff. We never settle for the status quo, but rather always search out better ways to protect our most valuable asset…Our Employees!

Do What You Say
• We tell our craft and staff that we are “committed to their safety, and want them to go home the same way they showed up”. Although that may sound cliché, we apply that to the development of all processes, programs, training, etc. I order to better protect the employees of LPR.

Be Part of the Solution
• We engage our craft to participate in all aspects of safety, from driving the responsibility to “never walk by a hazard” to performing audits and job site safety briefings. We value input from all of our employees, making adjustments for improvement.

Driven to Learn and Share Knowledge
• This is where the ‘rubber meets the road’ for eliminating hazards that injure employees. We are constantly researching new ideas for safety training, equipment, methods, etc. and leveraging technology to apply it to our business. Our founder invented a fall protection device for steel erection that has become the industry standard in protecting workers from falls!

So, when people say “TRIR is a Lagging Indicator” I just point to the Core Values that drive our business every day!




Technology and Social Media: Powerful Tools for LPR

The construction industry has the reputation of being a hard hat, hands-on, trade specific and ‘blue collar’ business.  Many ironworkers, when asked why they do the work they do, will talk about a time when they started as a laborer, got up on some steel, and they were hooked.  One of our apprentices who just completed his NCCER apprentice training, becoming a full journeyman, shared his thoughts:

“Oh boy!!! The feeling you get watching pieces fly into your position to connect.  The feet, the miles of weld you lay.  The feeling of being the baddest trade ever to step onto any construction site.  The feeling of other trades watching you as you’re 10 feet or 400 feet off the ground.  That is the feeling like no other.  Being an Ironworker is not for everybody.  But those who are, are incredible human beings.”

But even though construction continues to be the choice of hard working people, interested in building with their hands and being proud of a finished product that they can point to, they are finding a place and purpose for tablets and software, as well as for Facebook and Yammer.

Many companies have issued iPads and tablets to their foremen and other field leaders in an effort to bring technology into the business.  Some have done it better than others.  The organizations that have provided the hardware but have had little to no training on the software and its purpose, have found that the devices ride around in the back of the truck, while notebooks, spreadsheets and plans sit on the front seat, dusty and stained with dirt, signs that they are highly utilized by the company.  Other companies are purposeful about the software that they choose and use.  They provide comprehensive training and there is an expectation that the field will shift to the new programs.  These are the companies that no longer have offices full of rolled up plans or paper timecards.

At LPR our foremen are issued tablets with software such as PlanGrid and Mobile Field Manager.  These programs are just a few of the applications that allow foremen to instantly access plans while out on the site and allow real time input of employee hours.  We also issue these devices to our craft mentors, who provide on-site guidance and training for our field apprentices. Our craft training model relies on access to NCCER ‘book-skill work’ on our LMS (learning management system) and mentors can utilize the tablets to support apprentices in access to their e-learning, as well as reinforce concepts and skills that are more knowledge than performance based.  In addition the mentor can review his/her mentee’s OJT hours to ensure they are having the opportunity to get the work that will move them along in their programs.  Laptops, tablets and access to smart phones allow all employees in the company to hear a quarterly ‘State of the Company’ update from our company president.

Although social media is not new, identifying a productive application of these ‘open’ communication tools has been challenging in all businesses but especially for the construction industry.  Posting updates on Facebook and LinkedIn may seem without purpose but the feedback and exposure gained from sharing our projects and the great things about our employees has been validating. LPR is also using ‘texts’ as a way to immediately communicate with the whole company, as well as individual groups such as our craft tradesmen.  Consistent and informative updates through texting helps to bridge what can be a communication chasm between corporate and the project sites.  Employees at every level can be better informed and hear a consistent message or update, improving the level of employee engagement and the feeling of being bigger than the whole.

Next steps for LPR involve the ‘Yammer’ technology platform, with the hopes of providing an open communication forum for anyone working with LPR.  Every employee will have the opportunity to provide company feedback, comment on questions posted and have the opportunity to create groups or ‘small communities’ where the sharing of ideas can be done in real time.  Implementing a system where there is open conversation relinquishes a level of company control over information and messaging, but allows for open and candid conversation within the company.  As a result, we hope to be able to communicate better within all divisions and provide updates and new initiatives to all employees.





What I Learned During our VPP Audit

What I Learned During our VPP Audit

The word ‘audit’ sparks fear or at least gets our attention.  The very definition, “an official inspection of an individual’s or organization’s accounts, typically by an independent body” causes us to reflect on our practices, review our belief systems and evaluate our commitment to a particular value or idea. An audit forces an organization to take a deep dive into what they are doing, measuring it against criteria and ideals developed by the auditing organization.

LPR Construction has boasted the VPP designation for the last eighteen years, the longest any company has held the title in its division.  Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) is an OSHA initiative that encourages private industry and federal agencies to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses through hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training; and cooperation between management and workers.

Organizations that are recognized as VPP are audited on the following four elements:

  • Management Leadership, and Employee Involvement.
  • Worksite Analysis.
  • Hazard Prevention and Control.
  • Safety & Health Training.

Statistical evidence for VPP’s success is impressive. The average VPP worksite has a Days Away Restricted or Transferred (DART) case rate of 52% below the average for its industry(1). These sites often do not start with exceptionally low rates. Reductions in injuries and illnesses begin when the site commits to the VPP approach to safety and health management and the challenging VPP application process. Participating in VPP benefits employers as we know fewer injuries and illnesses mean greater profits as workers’ compensation premiums and other costs plummet. Entire industries benefit as VPP sites evolve into models of excellence and influence practices industry-wide.

The VPP logo hangs in the offices of LPR and is displayed on the outside of mobile trailers used for training. Even with its long VPP tenure, practices that have been implemented and credited to participating with VPP can be easily identified and articulated.  The programs developed are part of the culture and LPR’s first core value ‘Commited to Safety’ further demonstrates LPR’s commitment to ensuring everyone goes home in the same shape they showed up to work in.

I learned of the VPP audit several weeks ago.  As Director of People Development, our training team already collaborates closely with Safety Leadership.  However, preparing for the VPP audit caused us to not only collaborate but evaluate our current practices. Meeting in preparation for the audit, LPR’s People Services Team (Recruiting, HR, Training and Safety directed by LPR’s CPO (Chief People Officer), spent valuable time talking about our safety training, the quality of our safety personnel, how we are currently impactful on site safety culture and the process facilitated a deep discussion on who is ultimately responsible for safety at LPR.  Agreeing that we are all responsible is why LPR integrates safety into all areas of the organization.  It is not only part of our culture, it represents an element our core.  We talk it, we walk it and we expect it.

What did I learn during our VPP audit?

  1. The depth of LPR’s commitment to being a safe organization, beginning with the CEO and President, the executive management team and reaching all the way to the foremen and craft employees.
  2. The depth of pride we have in our safety culture, the VPP designation and the measurable results of being a safe organization.
  3. Safety goes way beyond making sure that we avoid falls and recognize hazards before they happen. Although physical safety is paramount, there is also a strong focus on providing a safe emotional environment for our employees. Exceptional health benefits that we can count on, short and long term disability, a strong and highly utilized Employee Assistance Program and a commitment to send our site based employees home to their families for extended weekends are integral components of our program.
  4. We all know and can talk safety. Preparation for the audit was easy and LPR employee were candid and able to talk to our safety practices.
  5. The VPP Audit Team wants us to be successful. Although challenging and communicating high expectations, they are here to review our best practices and provide valuable feedback on where we are strong and where we need to think about further development.
  6. The auditing process was a learning activity. During the presentations and individual interviews, the rich discussion allowed us to reflect on where our practices were exceptionally strong and where we can improve.
  7. A commitment and vision for safety at the corporate level means nothing if practices aren’t applied and valued at the site level. Although we know that intuitively, the audit required us to evaluate how we message and communicate our practices and expectations.
  8. An even clearer understanding of my role as part of our commitment to safety. Developing our employees as skilled craft workers, ensuring they are engaged in their work and LPR as a company, and focusing on developing leaders across the organization is fundamental to a great safety culture.

I encourage any OSHA affiliated company or organization to engage in the application process for VPP.  The benefits of partnering with VPP in fully implementing best practices and being accountable for them have been numerous for LPR, including being able to display the VPP logo, establishing us as a safety leader to our current and potential customers.  There is nothing more important than safety, and unfortunately often we don’t realize that until we have an accident or fatality.  I am going to promote that all accidents are avoidable, and I feel fully equipped and supported to support that at LPR.




An Innovative Approach to Craft Training

LPR’s Craft Training Mentors 7/2017

Each dollar invested in craft training can yield $1.30 to $3.00 in benefits through increased productivity and reductions in turnover, absenteeism and rework.”

This quote from an article in The Cornerstone: A Construction Publication for Workforce Development Professionals challenges all of us as we work to create training, and provide training opportunities, for our Craft Workforce.  It’s not only a money issue.  Well trained and tooled craft employees work more safely, yield a better quality product, and projects with a well-trained craft workforce require less rework.

 LPR has always been known for quality craft training.  Utilizing a well-equipped training room, a state of the art welding shop, a training tower and a mobile training facility, craft employees have learned how to properly tie off, read prints, read iron and use craft tools safety.  Craft employees traditionally would begin their employment with two weeks at the Loveland corporate office, heading to a Colorado jobsite to begin a career as an ironworker.

But as LPR has grown beyond the Colorado borders, with steel projects for organizations such as the Atlanta Braves and large industrial ACC projects also located on the east coast, providing training at the corporate office for all craft employees quickly became no longer scalable.  Projects began hiring locally, and the time and cost to send new craft hires to Colorado for training impacted already tight project schedules.  In addition, although LPR trainers conducted a comprehensive craft training program, supported by the NCCER curriculum, there continued to be ‘lost training opportunities’ where learning really happens – at the project site.

In response to the needs of both our apprentices and journeymen, the LPR Craft Training team is taking a more innovative approach to training craft employees and implementing a Mentor Training Model. All craft employees will continue to access the NCCER curriculum either in book form or as an interactive learning opportunity on the LMS, as well as do both test and performance assessments supported by NCCER trained assessment administrators and proctors.

What is different is that each apprentice and developing journeymen will be assigned a mentor to support the learning process and to help navigate the needs of LPR’s newest and developing craft employees. Mentors are LPR established journeymen, leadmen, foremen, general foreman. Tasked with creating strong and supportive relationships with their assigned apprentices, mentors encourage mentees to pace and complete their craft curriculum, provide leaning opportunities to meet required job hours and review and evaluate their progress as learners and employees.  With an established minimum number of hours for one-to-one weekly interaction, our mentor team members easily meet that criteria, often exceeding the expectations set by the LPR Training team.

We know that employees that feel engaged with a company are more willing to stay with a company, even if a competing organization promises a higher pay scale.  We also know that creating or accessing training opportunities on site encourages ongoing professional growth and allows for ongoing evaluation and direct feedback for our craft employees.


 Forbes talks about the value of formal mentoring…, If You Consider Mentoring A “Soft” Function That Is Best Left To Informal Relationships at Work, Reconsider

The problem with unstructured, disorganized mentoring is that only certain people get mentored: we’re a tribal species. That leads to unfortunate gaps, overlooking possible gems, potential diversity and inclusion issues. We’re now a social sharing culture, always on social media and free with our IMOs and candid reviews. You can’t afford a scarred employer brand in this extremely competitive talent market. It’s just bad business.

LPR trained mentors will tell you that they are already informally mentoring apprentices at the job sites.  The mentor model formalizes those activities and provides a structure that supports success for LPR Craft Apprentices.

If you have questions about LPR’s Craft Training Mentor Program, or are interested in implementing a mentoring model in your construction organization, please contact us at training@lprconstruction.com.

Welcome to the LPR Construction Blog!

Welcome to the LPR Construction Blog!

At LPR, we are committed to not only providing the best steel erection and industrial services to our customers, but we also believe that sharing best practices, providing thought leadership and understanding industry and employment trends will benefit us all.  With the national unemployment rate for the construction industry at 4.5% according to the Board of Labor Statistics  and Colorado’s unemployment rate dipping to 2.3%, competing for current trade and craft resources will not be enough.  We need to be looking at engaging our high school students that are better suited for the “hands on” and exciting career that can only be experienced as part of a construction by becoming an ironworker, pipefitter, millright journeymen.  This allows us to attract new talent into the crafts, but requires us to provide training opportunities from core to journeyman.

Finding strong project leadership in this market is also challenging and requires finding the best people and being committed to ongoing training and coaching for those leaders.  Above it all is a commitment to Safety and Health as we train and employ a workforce that looks different than even just 10 years ago.

Our goal with this blog is to share our experiences at LPR, highlight exceptional employees, research and communicate latest industry trends, share industry best practices, explore the value and need to focus on diversity to broaden our potential candidate base and to highlight the importance of safety and the ability to enjoy high productivity without sacrificing the safety and health of our employees.

In addition to this blog, we invite you to visit our LinkedIn page and to follow our Facebook posts.  Your feedback and comments are always welcome and will help us provide current and useful information in our weekly posts.


LPR is an organization that embraces its Core Values:

Committed to Safety: Never walk by a hazard.  Everyone gets home safe.

We over ME: Always making decisions that are good for the company.  Believe in the vision of the company.

Competitive Spirit: Make no excuses.  Find a way to win.

Do What You Say: Be ethical, open and honest even when no one is looking.  Make commitments and stick to them.

Be Part of the Solution: Make suggestions not complaints. Encourage innovation.

Driven to Learn and Share Knowledge: If you are not growing, you are dying.  Develop and build your team.