Construction Today 2018 - Volume 16, Issue 3 - 121
those problems easily," Ehrlich says. "If you don't work together
and come to the project with a teamwork attitude, you can't solve
problems. Ninety percent of problems are because someone said 'I
will do this' and then it didn't get done. If that happens, you better
have a good reason why the task wasn't complete and an action plan
to overcome the deficiency. We expect results and expect everyone to
care the way we care."
In the past year, in addition to the Pyramid Award, CBI has been
recognized with the STEP Platinum Award from ABC, as one of the
Best Places to Work from San Antonio Business Journal, as General
Contractor of the Year from the Hispanic Contractors Association,
and as a Top General Contractor by ENR Texas and Louisiana. Ehrlich
stresses that all of this comes from CBI's focus on communication
and its quality approach to work.
"We are very detailed with how we communicate with customers,"
he says. "We tell them it will be done by this day and this time. We are
very specific because they need to be able to schedule their manpower
just like we need to schedule our subcontractors and vendors. We treat
our customers' labor as we treat our labor - as efficiently as possible.
"When we work on school projects, we work the same way with
principals and know we have to keep the kids safe," he continues. "We
ask when can we work, do we need to work nights? We can offer a 24hour shift if that's what the customer wants to pay for. If we have to
work at night or after hours, we do it. We have always been flexible."
Carl Ehrlich (left) and Vice
President Bryan Ehrlich (right) recognized
Mike Staha for a 16-year tenure with CBI.
in volume this year," Ehrlich says. "The market turn was good, but
we also have the trust from our customers and they are giving us
"We have guys coming in who want to work hard and they understand there is no corporate hierarchy here that is trying to hold them
back," he says. "Our ownership is young and we work hard and have
fun, but at the end of the day, none of this is fun if we can't build
these projects they way the customer wants them to be built."
CBI's quality attention to its customers and high expectations on
projects helps attract a quality workforce, which is a critical need
throughout the construction industry. Ehrlich explains CBI's culture
used to be that it hired people with experience and then tried to
mold them into how it works. Now the company is focused on developing people from within and looking for loyalty.
"There is a lot of camaraderie here," he says. "We have an opendoor policy. Those who contribute and have solutions, we are always
available to them. They always have my cellphone to call and text
me - that is unusual for most companies our size in our industry."
He notes CBI is a member of a number of industry organizations,
and the company tries to send its staff to as many of those groups'
events as it can, because he doesn't mind spending time and money
in areas that will help workers strengthen their bonds. CBI also
started an internship program about three years ago, and now takes
five to seven interns every summer.
"We tell them to be ready to sweep the floors or help with the
schedule - always be ready for whatever comes your way," Ehrlich
explains. "We call it a youth movement, but we don't want to knock
our tenured employees either - they have always been, and will
continue to be the core of our company. We will put the new guys on
major aspects of big jobs, but with considerable oversight from our
experienced team members."
Attracting the next generation is critical for the construction
industry, and CBI is open about what it offers, making it a good fit for
those who show commitment to its values.
"We've grown a lot since 2012, and we expect to do $30 million
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