Category Archives: Leadership Highlights

LS Black employs a team of leaders who don’t shy away from risks and never back down from a challenge. It’s these leaders that bring our core values to life and inspire the LS Black team to out think, out work, and out perform our competition. The leadership highlights are their stories, insights and words of wisdom we hope will add value to you as we travel this road together.

Telling Stories to Encourage the Next Generation of Makers

As CEO of a commercial construction company, part of my job is to stay informed about industry trends. This includes attending industry events, watching webinars and reading trade publications. It is difficult to come across a piece of industry news without hearing more about the challenges presented by labor shortages. I serve on the Board of the Builders Group (TBG), an industry group focused on safety and risk mitigation. TBG recently joined forces with other industry organizations, including: the Builder’s Association of the Twin Cities, Minnesota Builders Exchange, and Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. to create an initiative called Project Build MN. Project Build MN was formed with the sole mission of educating students and young adults across Minnesota about the benefits of a career in construction.

In my evenings, when the sport coat has been exchanged for the casual clothes, it is difficult to get to a restaurant or flip through the television without appreciating the trend of the ‘makers movement’.  Whether it is the latest burger with kimchi, peanut butter and anchovies at the local gastropub food truck or a raspberry infused hop monster at the local brewery, it is clear that people have an appreciation and passion for creation and making something new.

As you hear more stories of people leaving corporate America to follow a foodie dream or go back to hobby farming or making art and traveling to various art shows, it is clear that the there is a vein to be tapped by the construction industry of people longing to work with their hands, to be a part of a team, to be recognized for their craft.

The financial case to be made for a career in the trades is an easy one, but it is up to us as leaders of our companies and industry to build a culture that focuses on a “Team Mindset” and tells the stories, recognizes the craftsmanship, and consistently extols the challenges overcome by the amazing people that have their boots on the ground and make things happen daily.

At LS Black Constructors, we are blessed to employ a talented group of field staff, committed to their craft and truly “Owning It”. This has allowed us to “Defy Difficulties” on the most challenging projects.  Those of us who have been here for a long time have a real understanding of the people, their many talents and the dedication they hold for their craft. Though we know these stories, we have failed at helping tell them. As we continue to hire new talents, in a variety of roles, who have limited exposure to the work we are putting in place on a daily basis, LS Black’s marketing team has been tasked with helping to tell these stories. I think this is a critical task, not only for our firm, but for other firms to follow in our footsteps and do as well. There’s a lot of amazing work being done out there, and people want to hear about it!

And for the LS Black team, when our marketing team reaches out, please show them your “Team Mindset”, passion and dedication. Spend some time getting to know one another and “Deliver the News” on an ongoing basis. To better the state of the industry and available workforce, we all need to do our part.

Thanks, and stay safe out there!


Cheers to a New Year! ~Words of Wisdom from our Owner

When our Director of Marketing asked me to put pen to paper and share some “inspirational words of wisdom”, my first thought was “apparently you don’t know me very well!”

Those of you who are long term LSBers probably get a bit of a chuckle imagining the ”rah rah” effort forthcoming. I know my kids certainly would! In fact, when our executive leadership team (ELT) met at our annual team meeting this year, the unanimous consensus of the group was the one thing I had to personally work on this year was proactive communication.

Much of the obstacle probably relates to my assumption that people  probably wouldn’t really give a damn about what I have to say. While that is still likely the case, I have had enough people tell me that they want to understand the vision of where the tank is headed from the tank drivers so they can appropriately prepare for the battle.

I recently was recommended a book called “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday. The book centers around a quote from Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius which states that “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” The central message of the book is that if you Defy Difficulties with the obstacle in the path, your weaknesses can become strengths. The book uses several examples and suggests that we meet our obstacles:

  • With energy
  • With persistence
  • With a coherent and deliberate process
  • With iteration and resilience
  • With pragmatism
  • With strategic vision
  • With craftiness and savvy
  • And an eye for opportunity and pivotal moments

In our ELT’s quest to Own it, we are committed to overcoming obstacles and advancing leadership, management and accountability among all levels of our team, including our own. As you are preparing your rocks and resolutions for 2018, both professional and personal, I would encourage you to look to consider impediments standing in your way and how confronting those impediments can lead to personal growth.