McWhorter stresses need to embrace change
Babcock & Wilcox Construction General Manager Ed McWhorter, who is the “most progressive contractor we have in the West,” according to Western States IVP Tom Baca, discussed the rapid changes to the industry and the need to embrace innovation and change. During his presentation he asked a lot of questions about how owners, contractors and the union can change and create new opportunities.
“It’s very evident we need to embrace change,” McWhorter said, noting that organizations can become trapped by past success and land on organizational complacency. He reminded attendees that “we’re not too big or too great to fail.”
To move forward, McWhorter emphasized the need to change the perception of success and foster a proactive culture that promotes thinking outside the box. To do that, he said, escape the routine, create collaborative team environments, implement operational goal setting and establish process improvements to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
McWhorter suggested creating uniform best practices, including the union operating as one cohesive unit. He suggested standardized training across all regions to ensure universal understanding and replication—and not only for apprentices. Journeyworkers also need to update their skills amid changing technology. This includes standardization in steward training, making sure that training is “best in class.”
Making criteria for approval of M.O.R.E. Work Investment Funds understandable from region to region, he said, would give contractors greater knowledge of how to achieve success when applying for M.O.R.E. Work program funds.
He also suggested establishing a uniform Boilermaker National Agreement that covers all regions, that would standardize language and bring all four regions together.
“The road to change is going to be a difficult, awkward set of events. But remember to think differently, act swiftly and embrace change as we move forward together. Don’t let our egos get in the way.”