Self-investing and understanding the work you’re doing is key to your evolution at Elm

By Tim Rzeszutek

“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast,” is a Navy Seal mantra that I believe I have written about in the past. This is how they are trained to think, especially in life-threatening situations. It also relates really well for us in the construction and electrical industries.

Pete Wozniak (Elm’s Electrical PE) has a mantra of his own that he has instilled in a few of us working with him on power engineering and design build projects and that is, “Ignorance is one thing, but negligence will get you put in jail.”

That doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as the Navy Seal’s mantra, but I can tell you that it has definitely stuck with me from the first time I heard it.

Pete’s mantra is very much aligned with Elm’s core value of Integrity, which to me means doing what’s right. As soon-to-be partners in an ESOP, I think it’s important that we all understand taking the long view and doing what is right is much better for all of us rather than taking shortcuts to get something completed. Also, its OK to not know something, but we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to complete our installation not only to the NEC, building code, UL 508 requirements, etc. which are bare minimum, but also understanding the manufacturers installation instructions.

I was told by one of my first journeymen at Elm that we work on a lot of different types of installations and we have a lot to get done. I can’t spend all day answering your questions, but I will give you a few minutes if you’re self-investing and learning about what we are doing. Those 15 minutes at night reading about hazardous locations, working clearances, motors, etc. was my evolution. As a company, if we want to continue to grow and all be profitable shareholders, we need to not only continue to learn but all of us need to continue to pass down what we have learned to the next generation of Elm.

On a recent project with a lot of outdoor cable tray, I noticed the engineer placed cable tray supports at 20’ intervals which, at first, did not seem to be correct. After doing a little bit of a deep dive into a manufacturers white paper regarding cable tray installation, I found that this was in fact OK and that there was a bunch I didn’t know about cable tray. I’ll save you from me writing about it in this month’s article, but you can spend 15 minutes self-investing and reading it yourself HERE. When you get finished, I can give you a few minutes to review if you have questions.

To summarize, take a minute to self-invest and understand the work you’re completing. Executing the work with a plan and knowing how will make it go safe and smooth. We can all sleep well a night knowing we operate with integrity and that our jobs are installed with pride. Take a minute to teach what you have learned to the next generation. Bob has always told me, “if we operate to our core values, the profits will follow.”

I look forward to operating with all of us as partners!