If you’ve been to a Construction Users Roundtable (CURT) event in the past five years, chances are good that you have seen, or even met, Tracy Koss. He is a regular at the National Conference, as well as most meetings and workshops.
Koss, an Engineering Manager for Marathon Petroleum Company LP, says that while Marathon Petroleum hasn’t been affected by skilled labor shortages in the Gulf Coast yet, he is hearing rumblings. “Our contractors and consultants in the south are starting to tell us that their portfolios are getting full and that they are having trouble meeting the demand. They are not to the point where they can’t do it…yet…”.
The uncertainty around that one little word―yet―is making both owners and contractors nervous. Koss, who lives and works in Ohio, is not seeing shortages first hand, but that isn’t stopping him from being as proactive as he can be.
“We’re not yet experiencing problems in Ohio, but anyone who is active in the industry is worried about the fact that there are not enough young men and women going into construction. We need America’s youth to know that not everyone is suited for college; that we need electricians, welders and scaffold builders too. We need them to know that this is a fair and honest way to make a living.”
Ensuring this happens is one reason why Koss regularly attends CURT events, at which owners and contractors not only discuss issues like workforce shortages and risk, they also strive to take action.
Koss was at a CURT meeting when the idea of the Construction Labor Market Analyzer® (CLMA®) was first rolled out. After viewing a demo of the tool being used, he thought it might be something that Marathon Petroleum could make use of.
While Koss saw the potential, subscribing to CLMA® didn’t happen overnight. As one of the largest petroleum product refiners, marketers and transporters in the United States, Marathon Petroleum had to be sure that the analyzer would be a fit for the company’s needs. In particular, would their data be safe?
After learning more about the program’s security features, Koss says that Marathon Petroleum officially became a CLMA® user in June. The next step for Koss is figuring out who, at the company, should be trained on the analyzer’s use.
Koss says that Marathon Petroleum hires consultants to do labor surveys before major projects begin, and that this won’t change. “We will use the CLMA® as an additional tool though,” says Koss. “We can quickly pull data that is specific to our location. We can find out the particulars on specific trades. And we can look many years down the line.”
The CLMA is designed to help owners, contractors, unions and other industry stakeholders dynamically understand the skilled labor market in a collaborative environment and more effectively know how to employ risk mitigation strategies.