How can construction attract and retain the best talent?

Arpino-Shaffer The industry is not going to progress unless we allow women to be successful and still have a personal life. The most recent two generations want to have that work-life balance. I think it's possible, and I think they should.

Spain I don't believe anyone really wants to get in a job where there is no opportunity to expand their knowledge, but money is always good, too. The work is hard on the body and the mind, so there has to be an individual personal satisfaction to stay with it for any extended period of time.

Vacca In general, in all industries, people who can embrace differences—young and old, black and white, male and female—and gain the benefit of them will rise to the top.

Vogel You can get them right out of college, when they don't have any preconceived notions, and teach them how the system works in your company. Good benefits, including 401K plans, are as important to employees who are just starting out as they are for more senior workers.

Crawford A key is exposing children to engineering while they are in grade school. Kids need to see engineering both as fun and within their capabilities. There are wonderful programs that work with schools, and I encourage everyone to get involved. FIRST Robotics, ASCE Future City, Salvadori Center, the ACE Mentoring Program and the Transportation Diversity Council are excellent examples.

Bauer Some countries are producing engineers like crazy. But in those countries, life is more difficult—maybe there's something to that. Maybe we need to wake up and say, "Hey, engineering is great. It's very enjoyable." Satisfaction comes from the fact that it's actually useful to other people. I think people have to start thinking a little deeper about how to entice somebody to come to engineering. I think it has to be a shift in psychology, a cultural shift that says it is really cool to be an engineer. It has to be cool to do math. I'm a working example of this, as are other women in technical fields. We can do it.

Ponce There are a few companies that I work with—Hensel Phelps, Whiting-Turner and Centennial Contractors—and what I love about them is that their employees have stuck around for a long time. By having employees well grounded and having a family environment that they love to go work at and where they feel comfortable, I think that is what's going to make sure that they stick around. 

Leite Nowadays, young professionals want to pursue a career that they are passionate about. We need to provide projects like that and give them the flexibility to have some work-life balance. They care about exploring new technologies and about having their ideas adopted. They are very talented and very tech-savvy. We just need to open the doors and let them thrive with all the potential they have.