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Bush Construction Named Coolest Place to Work in the Quad Cities

Bush Construction Named Quad Cities Business Journal’s Coolest Place to Work

Bush Construction: ‘It’s really like a family’

Originally posted in the Quad Cities Business Journal. Article written by QCBJ Journalist, Dave Thompson. 

Stephanie Hintermeister loves her job with Bush Construction in Davenport.

As a project coordinator with the company for about four years, a big part of her job is to get all those paperwork chores – like contracts and administrative work – done so construction work can smoothly move forward. “We keep the job moving from behind the scenes,” she said.

But Ms. Hintermeister also loves the working culture created by Bush Construction. She said it’s a great, supportive place to work.

STEPHANIE HINTERMEISTER

“It’s really like a family here. Everyone here cares about each other. … It’s a very supportive place to work,” she added.

That family atmosphere created by Bush Construction is one of the big factors that has earned the company a new honor as the inaugural winner of the Quad Cities Regional Business Journal’s “Coolest Places to Work” competition.

The competition showcases employers in the Quad Cities region that are making their workplaces great. The honor, which was open to any business with at least 15 employees and a physical presence in the greater Quad Cities, was a collaboration between the QCBJ and the independent research firm Workforce Research Group, which conducted the surveys and determined the list of the “Coolest Places.”

Companies self nominated their business to be considered for one of the “Coolest Places” through a nomination process held earlier this year. This year, 10 companies met the criteria – set out by Workforce Research Group, and make up the 2023 list of winners.

“There is such a challenge to hire and retain workers. Being a ‘Coolest Places to Work’ is a great way to have a company stand out in this competitive environment,” John Lohman, CEO and president of the Corridor Media Group, owner of the QCBJ, said previously.

This marks the first “Coolest Places to Work” rankings for the QCBJ, which now is in its second year of publication. It is a sister publication to the North Liberty, Iowa-based Corridor Business Journal (CBJ), founded 20 years ago.

“We have been hosting these awards in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor for the past 10 years, and it is interesting to learn about the competitive edge some of these cool companies have with their emphasis on creating a great culture within their companies,” Mr. Lohman added.

A.J. LOSS

For A.J. Loss, who has been the president of Bush Construction since the company was started more than 15 years ago, being named a “Coolest Place” all comes down to the company’s culture. That culture includes inspiring teamwork, building a leadership team, as well as training and encouraging employees to take on new roles within the company.

The company’s five core values are: drive to succeed; commit to grow; inspire teamwork; do the right thing; and be humbly confident. Following those core values will help attract customers and help employees become better people, according to a message by Mr. Loss on the company’s website.

During a recent interview with the QCBJ, he detailed how these four aspects of Bush Construction help make the company a cool place to work:

  • Spending time on leadership team alignment: ‘While this may not be a typical ‘cool place’ identifier, we believe this focus significantly limits the uncool workplace conditions that would cascade to the company if indecision or mixed messages were coming from leadership,” he said.
  • Inspire teamwork: “It’s very cool when you can enjoy the people you work alongside every day,” Mr. Loss said.
  • New training program at Bush: “It goes beyond typical construction and safety training to things like personal finance. We care about our team and show it through the educational opportunities we provide,” he said.
  • Encouraging employees to take new roles at the company: “Helping people grow their careers, through non-traditional avenues, has allowed us to engage with our team in a personalized and impactful way,” he added.

One of the Bush employees to recently take on a new role is Emily Dutkiewicz of Bettendorf.

The former art teacher began working with Bush Construction as an administrative assistant about a year ago. A few weeks ago, she was promoted to assistant designer – a job that has her working on creating various building projects for the company.

Emily Dutkiewicz

“They supported me when I came to them about this. … There is a path for growth here,” she said.

Ms. Dutkiewicz adds that she loves the attitude within the company. That attitude is: “If you give 100%, we’re going to give 100% to you.”

Wayne Gordon, director of preconstruction at Bush, also likes that company attitude. He has been with the construction company for more than 14 years. In fact, he was one of the first hires when the company launched in 2009.

The company was founded with three employees. Bush Construction is part of the McCarthy-Bush Corp. family of companies. The others include: McCarthy Improvement, Clinton Engineering, Linwood Mining, AMSCO Ash Management, Oertel Metal Works, and Blackheart Slag.

Mr. Gordon appreciates the company’s open-door policy to get feedback from employees as well as how it provides a flexible work schedule to help foster a great work-life balance for workers. That’s important for Mr. Gordon because he and his wife have five children – ages 13 down to 4 – and there are always family functions, vacations and trips on the schedule.

Wayne Gordon

As for Bush Construction’s work, the schedule has been busy. Mr. Gordon believes that the schedule of work projects will continue to be busy going into the new year. He sees 2024 as being another great year with many projects to keep workers busy.

“It’s really looking like a good year for us. … There’s a lot of positives to build on next year,” he added.

Mr. Loss agrees that the workload at Bush is not going to slow down in the near future. He added that even though the hike in interest rates “has been a challenge” for the industry, he doesn’t see a decrease through the rest of this year or for much of 2024.

But at Bush Construction, it’s not all about work and projects. The company takes pride in the fact that it is involved in numerous community and volunteer projects.

In fact, the company encourages employees to take on volunteer projects.  The company’s employee engagement specialist helped create a formal volunteer program. The employees  usually volunteer 500 or more hours a year, according to information from Bush Construction.

“Our employees are able to volunteer during work hours with pay. We regularly recognize employees that model our core values,” according to information from the company.

Ms. Hintermeister, for instance, is involved with local Girl Scouts and Junior Achievement volunteer work. In March, during Women in Construction Week, she helps organize the “Build Like a Girl” workshop that has Girl Scouts building bird houses and giving them confidence and experience with a construction project. The workshop is a part of Bush’s efforts to help raise awareness and celebrate the work of women in the construction industry.

“It’s all about letting kids know how cool construction is … and letting them know about the many jobs they can do in this field,” she added.

Such events are also about helping girls get outside of their comfort zones and learn from female role models in the construction field. As one of those role models, Ms. Hintermeister said she is especially happy to show boys and girls that women can also do work in construction.

And, it seems, that work never really stops at Bush Construction. One company project that is nearing completion is the new YWCA of the Quad Cities building in downtown Rock Island. Ms. Hintermeister said that the 48,900-square-foot facility at Fifth Avenue and 17th Street is entering its final stages of construction. She added that the project faced challenges with supply chain issues “but it’s coming together really quickly.”

When that project is done, Ms. Hintermeister won’t have time to sit back and admire their work. There are always other projects in the works at Bush Construction.

“I’m never bored here. There’s always a new challenge,” she said.

At a Glance: Bush Construction

Address: 5401 Victoria Drive, Davenport.

Established: The company was founded in 2009 with three employees Bush Construction is part of the McCarthy-Bush Corp. of companies. The other companies include: McCarthy Improvement, Clinton Engineering, Linwood Mining, AMSCO Ash Management, Oertel Metal Works, and Blackheart Slag.

Leadership: A.J. Loss, president; and Michael Johnson, chief operating officer.

Number of Employees: About 50 during the peak season.

Phone: (563) 344-3791.

Website: bushconstruct.com

Services: The company provides a full-service team combining expert construction, architectural design and real estate development. The Bush Construction team has managed a wide range of commercial, industrial, government, educational, health care, office, multi-family, hospitality and historical restoration projects in the Quad Cities as well as throughout the Midwest and in Georgia.

Projects: Some of the Bush Construction’s more notable projects include:

  • Westerlin Hall at Augustana College: Renovations on the on Rock Island campus residence hall included window replacement, upgrades to the mechanical and electrical systems, plumbing and restroom upgrades, new interior finishes and flooring, installation of an elevator, roof replacement and masonry restoration.
  • Building 250 on the Rock Island Arsenal: This once vacant, deteriorating building  required extensive renovation to make it ready for industrial use. Bush Construction previously was able to work with the Rock Island Arsenal Development Group (RIADG), a group that represents a public/private partnership, whose mission is to provide civilian businesses a cost-effective option while restoring existing, under-utilized government buildings.
  • Hobbs Building: This historic four-story building was built in 1892 in Aurora, Illinois. Bush Construction’s building restoration created 15 apartment units on the second, third and fourth floors with an unfinished “white envelope” on the first floor, which is ready for a future tenant build-out.
  • Genesis Health Birth Center, Davenport: The renovation of Genesis Health System’s East Campus’ entire fifth floor for a new Birth Center included complete flooring replacement, new millwork, paint and wall coverings in the corridors, public areas, and in 31 patient rooms.

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