WWJ Closeup, November 2019

BRIAN SNELTEN, PG
Project Manager
Layne Christensen,
A Granite Company
Aurora, Illinois

THE BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED?
My father told me to “always be honest when asked a question from a customer.” If you don’t know the answer, be honest and tell the customer, but then find it, and follow up with them. Giving false information will be discovered and you’ll lose your most important value—your integrity.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL SELF?
I’ve always wished I had more time to focus on understanding all aspects of our industry in greater detail. There is so much to learn, and I’m always learning, but it feels like you’re a jack of all trades but a master of none.

TIPS FOR CONTRACTORS WORKING WITH ENGINEERS?
Communication, communication, communication! It goes for both parties involved. We all need to remember we have the same goal in mind, but sometimes different visions of how to get there. Communicate concerns with specifications before they go to bid.

WITH THE MOVE TO DIGITIZED EQUIPMENT, HOW SHOULD TODAY’S CONTRACTOR PREPARE FOR THESE CHANGES?
It may, in some instances, cause us to change the way we have done things in the past. This could require additional training and costs. Learning and moving forward will allow contractors to continue focusing on customers instead of fighting changes and getting further behind your competitor.

HOW CAN DRILLING FIRMS RECRUIT THE NEXT GENERATION OF WORKERS?
I think this is the million-dollar question. I’ve talked with contractors across the country and haven’t run into the person with the magic formula. We must begin thinking outside of the box on how to attract the next generation. Finding and keeping good talent is getting harder each year.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED THIS YEAR AS CHAIR OF NGWA’S GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS COMMITTEE?
We’re a small fish in a large ocean. To get our message heard we must fight through the noise of Washington, D.C. We need to focus our messaging and be ever present. We need more of our members to realize policies affect our businesses and industry and we can’t sit on the sidelines.