Wisdom within the Walls of Gray
Gray is fortunate to have a spectrum of experience within the organization that spans across all our departments and throughout our family of brands. This experience includes decades of on-the-job expertise and valuable knowledge that has been gained over the years. While we have always celebrated Black History Month, this year, we wanted to highlight a few individuals who are helping to shape and grow Gray. Take a look at what they’ve learned and experienced through the years.
What motivates you?
Cheryl Dixon, Architectural Technician: I am motivated by having the opportunity to learn something new each day. There is always room for improvement and advancement. I enjoy the challenge of excelling in new areas and mastering new concepts.
Richard Crumbie, Senior Estimator: I still enjoy the process. Learning about new industries and how products are produced. The competition against the other contractors to find the best method and lowest cost to complete a project and win the contract. All these things still give me satisfaction in continuing my work.
What is the best advise you’ve ever been given?
RC: “Always give the effort to do your best. You may be judged based on factors that you cannot control, but the work you do will speak the loudest for you.”
Robert Lownes, Manager, BIM/VDC: The best advice given to me was, “The only way to fail is to quit.”
Yvanne Komenan, Mechanical Engineer, Spencer Bristol Engineering: The people you spend most of your time with shape who you are; choose wisely.
If you could tell your 15-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
YK: It’s okay to not know who you want to be when you grow up; it will evolve as you learn and grow.
RC: I would tell myself to not worry so much and to take some chances.
RL: I would tell myself not to worry about the things you can’t control. I would also advise myself to invest in Google, Amazon, etc.
CD: I would tell myself that it’s OK to take more risks. Nothing is wrong with coloring outside the lines, and the only person who can hold you back from achieving anything is yourself. Don’t limit your opportunities by telling yourself no before you even have the chance to start.
How do you feel the industry has grown in terms of diversity and inclusion?
RL: I believe the industry has grown, although at a slow pace. Diversity only appears to be in pockets across the country. I believe a greater effort should be made much earlier in the educational process to attract and retain students from diverse backgrounds.
YK: Although the construction industry has a long road to a diverse workplace, initiatives have been set in place like the Association of General Contractors planning to expand nationally the “Culture of Care” program, an initiative that celebrates and promotes workplace diversity and delivers resources to help organizations become more diverse at every level of their operation.
CD: The industry has grown in terms of inclusion, more than just with regards to gender or nationality, but more-so inclusive of different educational and occupational backgrounds. The design-build industry’s diversity growth correlates directly with it steadily adapting new methods and processes, similar to Gray, of collaborative efforts up front with designers, engineers, consultants, etc. Essentially the industry is inviting more contributors to the table. Concerning other realms of inclusion and diversity, professional organizations such as Women In Construction (NAWIC) and the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) have recorded increased memberships in recent years, evidencing that more women and minorities are definitely seeing the value of working in this industry.
RC: I believe the construction industry has become more diverse with 3-D modeling and associated software becoming more a staple resource for general contractors. This gives software engineers and designers, specialties that include a higher percentage of women and minorities, a chance to become part of the construction project team.
The construction industry has made tremendous strides towards diversity and inclusion throughout recent years, but there is still work to be done. As the industry continues to change, and new opportunities present themselves, it’s paramount that industry leaders look for new ways to embrace change and continuously improve.
“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” – Dr. Maya Angelou.