If I objectively analyze the foundation of my construction career, I find that my CEO title probably can be credited to several guys in jeans and dirty boots. It was not a professor but a contractor-entrepreneur who most encouraged and inspired me by serving as my first mentor and guide. He was spare with praise but long on wisdom; he found ways to put me in the front row for life lessons. Jobsites, negotiations and even a beer at the bar all became mentor’s tools to connect me, an ambitious and raw rookie, with my potential. Simply put, he saw talent in me that I could not see, and he helped to bring it out.
I believe the majority of ENR readers are like me: You did not get where you are without someone mentoring you. I think of mentoring as someone taking a personal interest—someone with whom a real connection of trust, communication and mutual benefit can be made. Mentoring is a very powerful motivational and developmental tool that plays a key role in most of our personal and professional lives. It has helped shape our industry.