Construction Safety Week 2020 Spotlight: Tim Turner

Sandy Chapin

Manager, Marketing & Communications

15 September 2020

Current Project: Confidential Client, Bellevue, WA

Currently, in his 14th year at UMC, Tim Turner, Project Superintendent, will be the first to admit he still learns something new every day. In fact, that’s the key to keeping morale high on jobsites.

We got to sit down with Tim and hear from him what UMC and our safety culture means on his jobs. Here’s what he had to say:

What makes you proud to work at UMC?

There’s a lot of opportunities in construction to go to a lot of different places and do a lot of different things. I’ve been with UMC for over 14 years, and what makes this company stand apart is the fact that the people UMC attracts are the people we want to work with, and that UMC gives us (the field guys) the power and confidence to make decisions—safely.

Why are you proud to be a part of UMC’s safety culture?

It’s simple. UMC gives us the power to be safe at our fingertips, and that’s the first thing I explain when new craftsmen and women are placed on my jobsites. Yes, we give them all the tools and equipment needed to do their jobs safely, but more than that, we genuinely care about their wellbeing. I want each and every person on my jobsites to go home safe because, at the end of the day, that’s what matters: the families we all go home to. I want our people’s families to have them home for dinner, and to go to their kid's baseball games.

Our Pride-Based Safety program is made up of four mantra’s, which mantra do you stress the most on your jobs?

It’s a tossup between “Own Your Zone” and “5-for-5" because they go hand-in-hand with the idea of starting every task with a fresh set of eyes. It’s important that we make sure the areas we’re working in have access to all the tools necessary to do the job safely and accurately. Our projects move so quickly, and everything changes so fast that you might leave an open area to go to lunch and come back to framers finishing out the walls. On my jobs, we look at those times as opportunities to take a step back and assess the area before beginning again.

You have three safety plaques behind you. What is your leadership style?

I guess my biggest thing is that if you can convince your team that you genuinely care, and it’s not a safety speech because safety is important (which it is), but that it’s a safety speech because you care about them, and actually want to do the right thing for the team and customer. I’m never going to get on someone’s case for taking a few extra minutes a day or hours a month to get a task done for being safe.

It comes down to respecting people and helping them when they need it. I’m not just running around demanding things; I’m running around encouraging the crews and getting them what they need before they need it so there’s no excuse to take a short cut.

That’s why I have safety plaques on the wall behind me. It’s not because I’m proud of what I did. It’s because of our team choosing to take the extra time to do the job safely day-in and day-out.

Do you have any role models that have helped you come to be a better leader?

The real answer? Matt Mifflin (UMC’s General Superintendent). When I started at UMC I was a journeyman for maybe seven days, and a foreman quit. Matt looked at me and said “You’re up. It’s your turn.” And we haven’t looked back since. The mentoring, leadership, and friendship, Matt and I work really well together. We’re honest with each other about work, and then we hunt and fish and talk about our lives.

It’s that kind of trust I hope my crews see that I have for them.

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