Anniversary Spotlight–Dave Gough

Gough, Dave - Key PersonnelDave Gough, President of Alberici Constructors, Ltd. is celebrating 35 years at Alberici this month.

After graduating from Murray State University in 1980, Dave joined Alberici as an Estimator. He spent a year in estimating before moving into the field to work on a lead mine project for ASARCO in Viburnum, Missouri. After two years on the road, Dave returned to St. Louis where he climbed the career ladder from Project Engineer to Project Director. In the late 80s and early 90s, Dave worked on major projects for Monsanto, Saint Louis University, St. Mary’s Hospital and Ameristar Casino.

In the late 90s, Dave was Project Director for the BJC’s Siteman Cancer Center. While managing this project, he was promoted to Vice President of Operations and Market Leader for the Buildings and Healthcare division.

After serving as VP/ML for five years, Dave took on a new assignment and relocated to Burlington, Ontario as President of Alberici Constructors, Ltd. (ACL). 

In honor of his 35 years at Alberici, we asked Dave to share some thoughts and experiences from his career.

How has the construction industry changed since you started?

Technology has changed the construction business and the speed at which we all work. When I started with Alberici, it was all paper and pencil - no personal computers, no cell phones, no internet. On my first out-of-town project I experienced the new technology of a fax machine to process timesheets. Handheld calculators cost around $250. Carbon paper, mailing letters and Saturday morning meetings with Gabe was the norm. Adapting to the computer revolution has been the biggest change in my career.

What are you most proud of from your time at Alberici?

In 1980, Alberici’s annual revenue was $109 million with one office at 2150 Kienlen Avenue. We had 127 employees. We worked primarily in states contiguous to Missouri. Now, we’re a $2 billion corporation with 13 offices and approximately 1,300 employees working on major projects throughout North America. I’m proud to have been part of that growth. I’ve had the chance to work in operations in multiple markets, and I have also been fortunate to work on the management side of our business. During my tenure, I have worked with four different presidents.

dave_ballonWhat do you like most about working at Alberici?

I’m proud to be associated with the Alberici name due to its outstanding reputation in the construction business and the one-of-a-kind, record setting billion dollar projects we construct including Olmsted Dam in Paducah, KY, Constellation Brands Brewery in Mexico, Holcim Cement in Ste. Genevieve, MO and Vale Long Harbour in Newfoundland, Canada. Additionally, I like and value our open door policy where egos are checked at the door. The culture still has a family feel to it where trust, integrity and respect are paramount between employees.

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

At ACL, I moved away from the building/healthcare proposal driven markets to the industrial GC lump sum "rip and read" market. This was a challenge but provided an opportunity for personal and corporate growth. In my current role, I enjoy hiring employees and being part of their mentoring, training, development and personal growth. Alberici continues to raise the bar and hires the best of the best.

Do you have a favorite project from your years at Alberici?

Probably the most unique, challenging and enjoyable project was the Ameristar Casino. During the three-year project, we built barges in the middle of the Missouri River, welded them together and assembled two casinos on top of them. From a logistical standpoint, you’re at the mercy of the river. We had to keep the casino open at all costs during the 1993 floods. We built a 4,000 car parking garage in 9.5 months in the Missouri River floodplain. We were transporting workers and material by amphibious “ducks” to keep the projects on schedule. When I drive by the casino and other projects I have worked on, it’s a gratifying feeling to know Alberici has been part of so many significant landmarks.

What advice would you give to someone just starting in the construction industry?

Whether you have a passion to build locally or travel and work in multiple markets, this is a great Company to check all the boxes. In recent discussions with an Alberici employee who volunteered to go to Mexico on the Constellation Brewery project, I asked if he was looking forward to it. He responded by saying at 24 years old he’s very fortunate and thankful to have the opportunity to work on the largest brewery in the world.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share?

Work hard, have fun, stay healthy and enjoy life - that’s what I like to do. To me, humor in the workplace is extremely important. I have a quote from Anthony Robbins on my wall: “Live life fully while you’re here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up, you’re going to anyway; you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problems and eliminate it. Don’t try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.”

How to Make the Most of Your Construction Internship

An internship is a great opportunity to take what you learn in the classroom and apply it in real life. We asked some former interns who are now full-time employees for tips on how to get the most out of your time as an intern.

Grant Malone was an intern at Alberici in the summer of 2012 and the summer of 2013. He’s now a Project Engineer, and he shared the following tips:

As a first year intern, I was nervous. I had never been on a project site of the magnitude of the one I wIMG_4297as walking on to. But after two internships, finding the enjoyment I have in the construction field, and now coming on full time, the following is the advice I can give to all interns whether it’s your first or fourth internship:

Learn from everything and take in as much as you can. The point of an internship is to have a learning experience outside of the classroom and to gain the skills you will need to work full time in the industry you choose. Push to learn. Ask questions.

Be involved and ask to be involved. Show that you want to be included in discussions of what is going on at the project site. Keep your focus during meetings and throughout the duration of your internship. Things will start to come more easily as you become more involved.

Take initiative on the tasks given to you, but ask questions if needed. You’re going to make mistakes.

Don’t get discouraged. Whether you make a mistake, think you aren’t getting enough responsibility at the beginning of your internship or feel overwhelmed, do your best at every task handed to you and communicate with your supervisors over concerns or questions you have.

Walk around. If your internship is on a project site, take time daily to do a full walk down of the jobsite to see what activities are going on. If something is new to you, watch for a while. Build a relationship with the field trades and ask them questions. They are proud of their jobs and the work that they do, and many of them are eager to teach you a thing or two.

Relate the work to the classroom. Try to find connections between your schoolwork and the work taking place on your internship. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom. Once you start to see the relationships between what is taught in the classroom and what takes place on a project site, both the academic and practical sides will become easier to understand. Work to identify these relationships throughout the whole process, from estimating to close out, and apply what you learn in the field when you return to the classroom in the fall.

Ask questions. I know I have stated this several times above, but it really is a key part to an internship and to construction. One of the biggest things that drew me to construction was knowing that I will be learning until the day I retire. Ask questions about anything. Most of the full time employees were in the same exact shoes as an intern at one point and can relate to your experience. We all still ask questions daily.

 

We also polled a number of other full-time employees who started out as interns, and they shared the following pearls of wisdom:

brad and matt picMatt Johnson: Ask as many questions as you can. There is no stupid question.

Don’t be afraid to let someone know if you have too much or too little work.

James Beatty: Throughout my summer internship with Alberici Constructors I learned and saw many new things. There is a lot coming at you in the beginning of an internship which is to be expected. Not getting overwhelmed it very important. Lucky the people that you will be working with at Alberici are extremely helpful and more than willing to take time out of their day to teach you many new topics and essentials in the construction industry. A tip I would give would be, don’t be afraid to ask for more work and the chance to do new things. The more experience you get with different aspects of construction the more you will end up learning.

Evan Menkes: If I had to give advice to someone starting their first internship in the construction industry it would be this, take every opportunity that you are presented with during your internship, because you never know where you are going to end up or what you will be doing, so experience in any field or task could help you out in the future.

The ACT Experience–Quality

ACT_4c

Spencer, a project engineer in the Alberici Career Training (ACT) program, has completed his time in estimating and is now finishing Quality training. Here’s what he had to say about his experience:

 

Quality training started off with a trip to the Edgewater project in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Upon my arrival I worked with our quality staff learning how they inspect welds on the job. I was able to see from start to finish how a weld was completed in the field, inspected for quality and tracked in the project to measure progress. While touring the warehouse I was shown how tracking tools and parts helps everyone on the project better perform their jobs by giving them what they need and when they need it. By working more efficiently, the project creates the environment of better quality and safety.

 

The next week took me to the Meldahl Hydroelectric plant, where I was able to get a closer look at pipe welding and what goes into signoff of finished lines. Much of the work on the site is performed in a relatively small area compared to other sites. This made coordination and quality signoff even more important so that workflow could proceed as scheduled. While touring the site, I was able to see the turbine blades that will be over 100 feet below river elevation. The training program has given me the opportunity to walk sites like this that few people get to work on, and I look forward to seeing more Alberici projects like this in the future.