Giroux Glass: How a trade contractor develops and maintains a truly effective blog

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So Much More than
'So Much More than "Just" a Job Fair" -- Giroux Glass demonstrates its career opportunities at a Whittier, CA high school job fair

California-based Giroux Glass Incorporated demonstrates how a blog can be effective for a trade contractor.

The business, with branches in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Las Vegas and Fresno, is a unionized glazing contractor — so focuses on larger-scale projects and ongoing relationships with organizations with lots of windows and glass.

Frequently updated posts include project descriptions/stories and reports on company events and initiatives.  Several employees contribute to the content.

One post from Ilse Baeck, director of human resources/legal, describes the company’s participation at a Whittier, CA high school job fair.

The company’s CEO is a woman, and it actively engages in initiatives to encourage women to consider glazing careers.

With about 700 students estimated to graduate from California High School this year, what a wonderful pool of potential new hires they were! There was a wide diversity of industries represented at the Fair that day.  We were among a variety of tables representing companies or agencies from law enforcement to tattoo artistry, from IT specialists to emergency medical teams . . .!

We found that there was actually considerable interest in our industry and especially among those students in which a few of their family members already worked in construction.  The fact that as a Union (Union #636, District Council 36) shop, we pay better wages to journeymen/women than some college graduates earn created much surprise and definitely piqued their interest.  That construction technology and projects/locations constantly change also was seen as a big plus by many of the students.

Ilse Baeck with the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)
Ilse Baeck with the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)

By staffing our table with two women, especially with Nataline (Nataline Lomedico, the company’s CEO and president), who fills our very top position, one of our goals was to engage female students. At first, I wasn’t sure if we succeeded, as some students expressed concern about the dangers of construction jobs. I explained to them that our safety record is among the top in the industry.  Known within the industry as our “EMR” (Experience Modification Rate) Rating, Giroux Glass’ rating so far, in 2017, is at .72 — excellent numbers which are the source of much company pride. Our corporate culture is one of respect for everyone and his or her safety, at Giroux Glass. We take safety seriously, and recognize that it’s critically important when you consider projects in places like the outside top stories of downtown high-rises, where you can look way up and often see our glaziers at work.  I had the feeling that some of the students very much liked the fact that they could do a “dangerous” job in a safe environment and we may have swayed their opinions.

Another posting looks at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center’s Healing Garden.  In this case, the article is authored by project manager Carlos Gomez.

LAMC healing garden
Images from the hospital healing garden blog posting.

For me and my work, each project I’m a part of tends to take on a life of its own. I naturally become attached. This sort of natural connection to a job (in addition to my own prior field experience) became useful as we were faced with the logistical challenges of a complex gradual slope with 90-degree U-shaped returns, followed with straight runs to repeat U-shaped returns. Glaziers are trained to build off of high points—this was the opposite. In the end, we maintained 44-inches from the low point and leveled accordingly to create the look achieved and shown in these photos.

Our field crew was ultimately the icing on the cake that was this project. The team included Jorge Puente, Alex Barrios, Rob Neal, Martin Gutierrez, and Marcus Belt. Alan Shook, one of our talented superintendents, was instrumental in guiding our dynamic field crew along the way. Further thanks to my support in the Giroux Glass Los Angeles office: director of High-End Design Brad Leslie, chief estimator Rob Carter, project engineer Abraham Cinto, and CAD technician Jenny Jimenez.

I would also like to thank C.R. Laurence Co., Inc.’s Jose Quinones, Trulite’s Wardi Bisharat, and Tint Matters’ Joe Lima, for their assistance with materials used in this project.

“Naming names” in this manner really makes sense — it engages the project participants and suppliers as well as the client in the story, and helps build and maintain relationships.

I expect that the company’s communications staff has a significant role in arranging and editing the blog postings, to ensure grammar and style consistency, while maintaining the company’s brand integrity. Yet you can still see the personality of the underlying story-tellers here and of course it is helpful that a diversity of employees are engaged in the blogging process.

Giroux Glass’s blog indeed demonstrates how a larger sub-trade can develop and maintain an effective blog, and it is certainly a worthy entry in this year’s Best Construction Blog competition.

Voting continues until March 31. You can vote once, but select as many blogs as you wish in your ballot.

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