Huff Employee Spotlight: Meet Larry Nelson, Project Manager

Larry Nelson Huff Construction Project Manager
 
Name: Larry Nelson
Title: Project Manager
Hire Date: March 1997

Where are you from?
I grew up in Salinas, CA and moved to the San Jose area right after graduating from high school. I have since moved to the Turlock area and have been living here with my family since 1987.

How did you get into the construction industry?
Well, right out of high school, I got a position as a carpenter at one of my friend’s construction companies. One of the most memorable projects working as a carpenter was a remodel for one of Alfred Hitchcock’s homes. I also worked on schools, banks, stadiums, and medical facilities.

What makes you excited to go to work in the morning?
I am always excited to come to work but what makes me most excited is working with our clients and fixing any issues or changes that come up on a project.

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What’s your favorite part about working at Huff?
One of my favorite things about my position is having the ability to problem solve. I like to work on large and complex projects because of the amount of problem-solving that is involved. I enjoy accomplishing goals as a team and working with our repeat clients.

What is your favorite project that you have built?
It’s difficult to choose one project but I really enjoyed building Samaritan Village in Hughson, CA. I have always wanted to build a mall and Samaritan Village is in a sense, a mall. It has a post office, movie theater, chapel, stores, barber shop, salon, assisted living space, and more. I also enjoyed working on the Mercy UC Davis Cancer Center in Merced, CA because it involved building a room for a linear accelerator. Some of the walls were 7 feet thick of solid concrete!

What has been your proudest moment at Huff?
I have had a few moments when I felt really proud. One proud moment is when I earned a promotion from a superintendent to a project manager back in 2005. Another proud moment working here is when my son, Kyle, started working for Huff in 2014. Anytime a project that I am working on comes to completion I like to take a step back and appreciate all of the hard work done by the Huff Team and the great subcontractors that work with us. It’s truly a team effort when it comes to building.

What sets Huff employees apart from people working at other companies? Are there certain personality traits or skills that do well at Huff?
What really sets us apart is that the owners of Huff Construction, Gary Huff and Brad Ardis, are deeply involved in every aspect of the company and they truly care about their employees and clients. They shape our company culture by setting high standards and leading by example. Their leadership translates to employees with an incredible work ethic and attitude. We truly work as a team and nobody is trying to climb over somebody else to get to the top which is prevalent in larger corporate settings.

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
I like to work on things around my house, fishing for bass, and I also love traveling with my wife. We really enjoyed traveling to Thailand for one of our son’s wedding and also traveling to Italy which we visited last year. I look forward to going on many more trips.

From left to right: Gary Huff (CEO), Duane Huff (Founder), Dave Royalty (Retired Superintendent), Larry Nelson (Project Manager)

Employee Spotlight: Bruce Carrade

Employee Spotlight: Bruce Carrade

As a leading general contractor, we understand the importance of having a solid team who instill our core values and qualities in their everyday lives. For this employee spotlight, we sat down with Bruce Carrade who is a Project Manager based at our office in Truckee, CA.

How did your career start at Huff Construction?
Bruce was introduced to Huff Construction during his sophomore year of high school. He continued to work at Huff during his summer vacations while he attended college at the University of Colorado Boulder. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, Bruce was a corporate sales intern for the Oakland A’s. Bruce later came back to Huff Construction in 2013 to work full time as a Project Engineer. After working as a Project Engineer for four years, Bruce was promoted to Project Manager.

What is your role as a Project Manager?
As Project Manager, Bruce is responsible for bidding on projects, creating budgets, facilitating the field crew, superintendents, and the interactions between the architect, design team, and building department.

How has Huff Construction helped you in your career development and what have you gained?
Huff Construction has provided Bruce with the opportunity for growth and taking on new roles within the company. Bruce has gained confidence in his ability to manage large projects and develop his project estimating skills, communication skills, and management skills.

What types of training have you done for your position?
The company encourages optimal performance and growth opportunities by providing Project Managers with innovative project management software training which allows them to manage projects efficiently.

How would you describe Huff in three words?
“Collaborative, Accountable, and Excellence.” As a leading general contractor, it is important that our employees possess the qualities and skills that contribute to our mission and vision of providing clients with personalized construction services built on quality and integrity.

What do you like most about Huff Construction and how do you help make Huff Construction a great place to work and play?
Bruce enjoys the company culture and his coworkers. Bruce makes Huff a great place to work by bringing a positive attitude and outlook every day. Bruce also has a great sense of humor and is fun to pass by in the hall.

What are some upcoming trends or challenges that you see in your field?
Some upcoming trends or challenges Bruce sees in the construction industry is the increase in material prices, a shortage of skilled labor, and increasing interest rates.

What do you feel is the most important aspect and challenging aspect of your job as a Project Manager?
The most important and challenging aspect of Bruce’s job as a Project Manager is holding and maintaining budgets and schedules for projects.

What piece of advice would you give to a new employee?
If Bruce could give advice to a new employee, it would be to document everything and keep your paperwork in order.

What do you like to do for fun outside of the office?
When Bruce isn’t in the office he enjoys skiing, mountain biking, sailing, golfing and traveling.

The Man Behind the Camera

Employee Spotlight: Fernando Arteaga

At Huff Construction we thrive on quality, commitment and having a solid team of people who instill these qualities in their everyday lives. For those of you who do not know the man behind the camera, let me introduce you to our Marketing Coordinator, Fernando Arteaga.

Fernando was born and raised in Modesto, CA where he attended Modesto High School as an IB Student. After graduating Modesto High, he attended MJC for two and a half years and transferred to Stanislaus State to finish his college degree. Originally, Fernando started college with the mindset of becoming an engineer, however, after taking an economics class, and further discussions with his professor he decided to become a business major. In 2016, he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Stanislaus State and graduated Summa Cum Laude.

Where did you work before joining Huff Construction?

Prior to joining the Huff team, Fernando worked as a Service Specialist and Concierge at Save Mart Supermarkets. There, he had the pleasure of meeting his girlfriend and gaining two and a half years of customer service experience. While working at Save Mart, Fernando was also attending Stanislaus State University full time.

What is your role as a Marketing Coordinator?

The role of the Marketing Coordinator is everything marketing – all marketing material is created in-house. Fernando oversees internal & external website management, brochures, proposals, e-blasts, newsletters, social media, vehicle & job site signage, photography, videography, and more. He is also in charge of creating and organizing fun events for Huff employees to enjoy in and outside of the office.

How did you first hear about Huff?

The Stanislaus State Business School webpage displayed a list of local companies looking to hire students to fill a position. Once Fernando filled out the application, Naomi Layland (Director of Marketing & Business Development) reached out to schedule an interview which led to his career at Huff Construction.

How has Huff Helped you grow within your career?

Huff has helped Fernando start his career as a Marketing professional, gaining marketing experience in the architecture, engineering and construction industry, working with different age groups, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds.

How would you describe Huff in three words?

“Building Excellence & Quality! The most important aspect of his job is keeping the company brand consistent. When you think of Huff, you think of a quality general contractor that is a regional leader in construction.”

What types of training have you done for your position?

Fernando has learned to use software such as Adobe Photoshop, In-Design, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, Mail Chimp, Hootsuite and more. To create the highest quality of marketing content, Fernando stays up to date on new software, applications and has completed courses needed to become a certified drone pilot. He has also acquired HTML editing and coding skills while working on our company intranet, Huffnet.

What has been your favorite Marketing project at Huff Construction?

Fernando has worked on several Marketing projects but his favorite project he’s has worked on would be Huffnet. Huffnet was designed and built to support our team today and as we continue to grow and expand in the future. Fernando worked with the Developers at Tiv Branding and the managers at Huff Construction to ensure that the platform made processes more efficient while reducing labor time. Fernando was the idea behind the manpower scheduling and the weekly safety meetings, implementing these resources on Huffnet was a way to create accessibility for employees at any given time.

What is the coolest thing you have posted on Huff Constructions social media?

Fernando has created several cool social media posts, but he would say the coolest one he has done is the time lapse of Huff’s Jelly Belly project in Fairfield, CA. It was one of the first time-lapses Fernando did for the company and the time lapse showcased the concrete pour process. The post has gone viral, with over 98,000 views!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajM8cU9RJ6E

What do you like to do for fun outside of the office?

Outside of the office, Fernando enjoys camping, mountain biking, hanging out with his dog, playing Xbox, working on cars and drinking a citrus IPA.

 

The Huff Commitment to Safety

Commitment to Safety

At Huff Construction, we recognize the need for a comprehensive safety program and we believe our commitment to safety benefits both our employees and our clients.  I am thrilled to be back at Huff, after a short tenure away in health care. As our Safety Manager, I bring my 20+ years of experience to the table. My job is to make sure we have the right safety program implemented to ensure we are performing at a high level of safety that we always expect.

I think Gary Huff, our CEO, said it best, “Safety and health are a top priority at Huff Construction and are every bit as important as productivity and quality. In fact, they go hand in hand. We want our employees to observe our safety program to stay safe, healthy and able to work, play and enjoy life to its fullest.”

Over the years, I have learned that safety can only be achieved as a team, and my job as our Safety Manager is to put the ingredients in place to help make our team successful, to create individual accountability and then to cheer on our successes.

Here are some of the key areas we focus on at Huff, when it comes to safety:

Communication

In my experience, every successful safety program I have seen has included a strong communication system, meaning every employee must know how we are doing when it comes to safety.  This communication can be as simple as sending out an update on how many days we have gone accident free, celebrating when we reach milestones like 50 days/100 days/150 days accident free, and posting updates on job sites and at the office or on our intranet site.

Communication should also be encouraged back from employees to management. As our Huff Safety Policy states: Safety demands cooperation on everyone’s part. Thus, it is important that communication is kept open at all times between management and employees. Workers who notice hazards or potential safety problems, or feel that they need additional training must notify their supervisor.

Safety Committee

The commitment to safety must come from the highest levels of the company. Our Safety Committee is comprised of our Executive Team, a couple of key field members and myself. We meet regularly to discuss our Safety Program and policies, any injuries, any on-site issues, any upcoming training and more. As the Committee’s Charter states: The primary objective of the Safety Committee is to provide support to enhance the Company’s Safety Program. In addition to this primary mission, the Safety Committee encourages Employees to participate in the safety process for the betterment of all concerned.

Safety Inspections

Safety inspections at our project sites with appropriate documentation and follow-ups are an ongoing part of our Safety Program. These inspections can be carried out by on-site personnel, Executive Team members, myself or outside resources.

Safety Meetings

There are several meetings that are part of our Safety Program including but not limited to our safety tailgate meeting which happens once a week with a different topic and our quarterly safety meetings. Our quarterly meetings give us the opportunity to bring our employees together to discuss a specific topic in depth and give an update on our current safety program results.

Individual Accountability

At Huff, we know that the entire team must be committed to safety for our safety program to succeed. At the same time, we also recognize the need for individual accountability. As our Safety Policy states: Everyone is obligated to be knowledgeable of the standards applicable to their area or job, and just as important, to abide by them… It is the duty of all employees to perform their work with maximum regard for the safety of themselves and co-workers.

To recognize the need for teamwork and individual accountability in order to reach our safety goals, we have built in celebrations at key milestones so that we can honor the hard work put in to stay accident free for 100/150/or more consecutive days. It is always our pleasure to reward our employees for a job well done, safely.

construction-saftey

When I think about our Safety Program at Huff, I am proud to see how the hard work that goes into it benefits both our employees and our clients.  As our President, Brad Ardis says, “Huff is committed to providing a safe, accident-free and healthy work environment for everyone. Safe, healthy working conditions do not occur by chance. They are the result of diligent work and careful attention to all company policies by each Huff employee.  That’s why our clients can count on Huff when they are looking for a quality commercial contractor to build their next project.”

To find out more about Huff Construction or our Safety Program contact us today!

The Huff Commitment to Safety
By Larry Gilbert, HR & Safety Manager

Huff Construction – In Our Employee’s Words

When he founded Huff Construction in 1971, Duane Huff was determined to build a great commercial construction company. His dedication to quality and commitment to hard work quickly built Huff’s reputation for “Building Excellence.”  In fact, Duane’s endless focus on quality and hard work became so ingrained in our company culture that our employees now refer to it as, “The Huff Way.” After a quick conversation with employees at every level of our company, it is clear that they all take pride in carrying on Duane’s vision for Huff Construction even 46 years later.

Tim Bughi, a member of the Huff team for more than 20 years, stated that “At Huff, we maintain quality every step of the way on our projects. Our jobs are built day-to-day with quality from start to finish. As a General Superintendent I know my job is not just about production, my job is about keeping my eye on quality because that is the ‘Huff Way’ and that is what keeps our customers coming back.”

“Quality is what gets us business which is why we are trained to take the extra step,” according to Will Huff, a member of the Huff team since 1998. “Most of us learned this business from the ground up doing every job.  The importance of quality was instilled into us by Duane himself.”

“In my experience, Huff sets the bar higher than the average contractor to make sure our customers are completely happy with what we are doing,” commented Kevin Ferguson, a Huff team member since 2005.  Shane Sayers, a Project Manager, agreed with this comment adding, “At Huff, we always have the owner’s interest as our number one priority and work to keep them informed with ongoing communication.”

“At Huff, we are proud of what we do,” said Miguel Lopes who joined Huff about 5 years ago.  “We are proud of the quality that we put into every project.  We show our pride through our finished projects and in our owner’s satisfaction. I say ‘we’ not ‘I’ because at Huff we truly are a team.”

Leroy Kinser, a member of the Huff team for more than a decade summed it up best when asked to comment about Huff and quality. “Our goal is to build the best, longest lasting, and highest quality project possible. A project that will stand the test of time – this is the definition of ‘Building Excellence.’ At Huff, we set very high standards as far as quality goes because that is our reputation, and our reputation is what gets us jobs whether they come through referrals or returning clients. We will never compromise on quality – that has been instilled in me throughout my years at Huff.”

The President and CEO of Huff Construction were overjoyed after seeing what their employees had to say about the legacy left by their founder. Brad Ardis, the President of Huff Construction, commented, “It is wonderful to see that 45 years later, we remain true to Duane’s original commitment to quality and hard work.” Gary Huff, the CEO of Huff Construction, added, “We are honored to be leading this great company that Duane built.  As we look to the future of Huff Construction we look forward to seeing what the next 45 years have for us in our ongoing pursuit of ‘Building Excellence’.”

Huff Construction

At Huff Construction, Safety Comes First

 

At Huff, safety comes first. Our commitment to safety starts with the top officers of Huff Construction and extends to all employees.  In order to instill this philosophy in all of our employees, we recognize that safety must be a part of every day’s business and actions. How do we bring this to life?
construction-site-safety
First, we conduct in-person training such as the annual CPR training we hold in March for all of our job site superintendents and management personnel.  Or the quarterly safety meetings that all employees attend.  At these meetings, we identify a new topic based on OSHA guidelines or any current issue and bring in different speakers.  We work to keep these pieces of training engaging and hands-on. Past topics have included things such as fire extinguisher training, ergonomics, CHP driving tips and forklift operation. Spending an entire day together talking about safety and making sure that we up to date and compliant is a great way to demonstrate how committed we are to safety.

Second, we support all of our training with visual campaigns at every office and job site as we work toward our goal of zero incidents on every project.  Our “Think Safety” program is part of the way we are continually building a culture committed to safety.

On a more tactical basis, in addition to following all OSHA regulations at all of our job sites and at our corporate office, the Superintendent of each job site conducts weekly meetings with our employees and any sub-contractors.  At these meetings, they review a safety topic and discuss any potential issues.  They complete daily safety topic forms, daily reports and take job site pictures in addition to making sure all safety inspections are up to date.

Our Project Managers regularly visit our job sites also conducting safety inspections.  To further ensure our commitment to providing the safest environment possible, we have a Safety Compliance group that conducts random job site inspections.

When you choose Huff Construction to be your commercial contractor you can be confident that our commitment to safety extends throughout our organization and is demonstrated at every job site.  At Huff safety comes first!

Huff Construction Announces Relocation of Project Manager Chris Creedon

Chris

At Huff Construction we are committed to taking care of our valued customers and to building long-term relationships. Providing our customers the best care possible is Huff’s number one goal and our valued team members are key to making this happen.

With this goal in mind we are pleased to announce that Chris Creedon, Huff Project Manager, will be relocating to Truckee, California. This change is being made so that Huff can better serve our customers and our growing markets.

Although he will be in a new location, Chris will still manage both Northern California and Northern Nevada projects. Chris will continue to attend weekly meetings here at the Modesto corporate office and will still service his current customers, adding to his client base over time.

Chris joined the Huff team in 2006 as an Assistant Superintendent quickly working his way up to the role of Superintendent and then Project Manager.   Over the years Chris has managed the building of a wide variety of projects including Walgreens, restaurants, a KinderCare center, Superior Court, supermarket remodels and pre-engineered metal buildings.  Chris believes that quality drives all that Huff does today, and he is proud to play an important role in driving Huff’s reputation for “Building Excellence.”

With Chris’s relocation, Huff Construction will be able to offer a focused presence in both Northern California and Nevada. Having Chris located in Truckee will enable Huff Construction to continue its growth into Nevada’s construction market.

Thank you Chris for your ambitious new role within Huff Construction!