Stability in Charlotte for Hoopaugh Grading Company

Thu April 30, 2020 - Southeast Edition #10
Caroline Marston & Jamie Smith - SPECIAL TO CEG


HGC crew members demonstrate the proper worksite safety precautions by working with their faces covered.
HGC crew members demonstrate the proper worksite safety precautions by working with their faces covered.
HGC crew members demonstrate the proper worksite safety precautions by working with their faces covered. Tim Wegener (L), an HGC superintendent, and Arnol Garcia, a senior superintendent were each highlighted in an employee recognition program recently launched by the Charlotte-based company. David Monroe, one of HGC’s team development managers, leading the group in their morning safety meeting. Two members of HGC’s Safety Team prepare supplies in response to COVID-19, including Edward Sluiter, onsite safetry director (R). Leadership Academy attendees engage in a team-building activity.

After over six-and-a-half decades of experience, Hoopaugh Grading Company LLC has worked to develop a few ways to help grow and thrive despite unexpected external conditions. The current health crisis facing our state [North Carolina], nation and world is certainly intimidating. However, preparation, clear communication and adhering to our core values ensures continued stability for our team through the situation until there is, once again, growth or stability in Charlotte construction.

Over the last several years, those of us in the construction industry have been facing a severe shortage of qualified employees, coupled with an increased demand for construction from current and potential clients. In response, we designed two in-house employee development programs, secured stronger relationships with our trusted partners and continued to provide support for our team on several levels.

Developing Our Team

The HGC Apprenticeship Program, launched earlier this year, is designed to provide educational opportunities to current HGC employees. By offering on-the-job, hands-on training, HGC is ensuring its operators stay motivated and educated as they navigate a lifelong career in the construction industry.

Another new initiative, launched at the end of 2019, is the HGC Leadership Academy. Select employees are identified, through recommendations and assessments, as future company leaders and work toward mastering business, communication and problem-solving competencies. The Academy provides active learning opportunities that empower emerging leaders to impact and implement change within the company, industry and community. These leaders demonstrate HGC's core values and are committed to protecting the HGC culture.

Deepening Trusted Partner Relationships

That isn't all we've done to meet the growing construction demands in the Charlotte area. Over the last two years, we have intentionally onboarded critical trade partners, such as Erosion Control Services (ECS) and Mills & Rea, to help better serve our clients and continue "doing what it takes."

Most recently, Mills & Rea joined our HGC team. This integration led to the addition of six full utility crews, a clean-up crew, a superintendent and Utilities Director Jeff Mills, who has an extensive Charlotte-based construction background. The addition of ECS has allowed HGC to bring erosion control services in-house. This allows for us to have more control over their projects, providing unique, customized solutions and specialization. Both partnerships allow clients to simplify project scheduling by subcontracting directly with one company, while simultaneously using additional in-house support for our existing team. These integrations allow us to offer turnkey services that no other site development company in the area provides.

"HGC has worked with both ECS and Mills & Rea for over 20 years, so joining teams with two of the best-in-class companies has been an honor for us," said Brian McManus, president and owner of Hoopaugh. "Their leadership and drive to be the best aligns with our vision. We are proud and grateful to have them on the HGC team."

Supporting #TEAMHGC

Hiring and developing the best employees is a key step in helping HGC achieve its "Best is Standard" goal. Beyond that, we know that we must also continue to provide support for our team members on many other levels. We have an employee-led, robust safety program designed to empower every teammate, regardless of title or position. We ensure we are equipped with the latest technology and most reliable machinery. We measure the success of our employee support through feedback.

Safety Steering Committee

Our safety steering committee consists of a variety of skill backgrounds, job levels and experience, but the common denominators make this group a powerful tool for our company: they are empowered to make safety decisions, and they share one vision of Best is Standard. Through safety meetings, regularly updated guidelines, out-of-the-box thinking and internal communications, our safety team helps instill the importance and ownership of safety in everyone.

State-of-the-Art Equipment

As a company, if we aren't able to provide our employees with the best tools for the jobs they are tasked with completing, we should never expect the best outcome. By working to ensure every team member has the technology, machinery and training to meet the needs of each project in an efficient way, we are able to let our employees shine by doing their best work.

Feedback From #TEAMHGC

Ultimately, the measure of our success in providing our employees what they need comes down to actually asking for feedback from our team. We regularly schedule check-in times with our team members, and we've also been humbled to have public feedback from our employees in 2018 and 2019 by being awarded Best Place to Work (2019) and Top Workplace (‘18, ‘19) in Charlotte. While flattering, these awards are meaningful to us because they are based on surveys of our employees. Our leader, Brian McManus, has also received two leadership awards — the most recent being Most Admired CEO from Charlotte Business Journal.

We have always understood that we are only as good as any one team member, and in times of crisis or uncertainty, having over 450 valued and skilled people to rely on is more valuable than ever.

(Caroline Marston works as a marketing and event specialist for HGC. Jamie Smith is a marketing partner of the company.)