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Construction Genius

Feb 11, 2020

Generation Innovation: How Change Happens in Construction Companies with Andrew Silverstein


The construction industry is considered fairly stable and in-demand as there are hundreds of roads, bridges, and buildings that need construction every day. However, it is also rapidly changing in terms of innovation and technological progress. Modernization is essential for the evolution of the business to remain attractive to both customers and future employees.

In today's episode, Andrew Silverstein of Metralite shares his experience in the construction industry as a young executive in a company full of experienced and seasoned employees. We will discuss why modernization is important in the industry, as well as how to effectively implement transitions.

Andrew has tons of interesting insights and advice to share with us. Check out these highlights and tune in to the show!

About Our Guest:

Andrew Silverstein is the Vice President of Metralite Industries Inc., an architectural metal and glass construction company in New York that mostly concentrates on making Manhattan’s corporate interiors. He oversees the estimating and sales department of the company.

How Change Happens in Construction Companies

Early Beginnings

  • Andrew had a passion for public service and joined Teach For America after graduating.
  • He had an unexpected career shift from being a teacher and a school administrator to the private sector in a construction company as a corporate executive.
  • He used to be an outside counsel for his father as a teenager. He then proceeded to join the multi-generational company to continue the family legacy.
  • Andrew focuses on estimating sales for the company, as well as helping in operations and modernizing the process

Modernizing The Construction Business

  • Part of overseeing any department of the company means having to develop true knowledge of construction.
  • Metralite used to focus on both storefronts alongside corporate interiors but decided to shift concentration and resources to only corporate interiors.
  • Evolution is nature's most powerful law. You either adapt, or you go extinct.
  • Changing a company is difficult because most organizations are static. It needs action from the top management.
  • The construction business struggles to innovate because there are high barriers to market entry.

Having The Correct Business Attitude

  • Have humility and do not be afraid to learn from the people under you.
  • People respect when you own your knowledge gaps.
  • Be transparent with your customers.
  • “You got to fish where there are fish.” Meet people; both employees and customers where they are.
  • Adapt to your team and bring them towards your goal.
  • Make mistakes and be comfortable with it.

Mistakes And Lessons In Running a Construction Company

  • The management rolled out sophisticated software to employees but no one used it.
  • Change cannot be implemented immediately. Be comfortable with gradual change.
  • It is okay to have slow, small wins as long as you are consistent with your direction.
  • Be the role model for your team.

Why The Construction Industry Is Attractive

  • It is a financially stable sector with practical career options and is always in demand.
  • There is ownership in seeing something tangible that you build.
  • Even with a generation less inclined because this is an unsexy industry, the excellent compensation and sense of pride in making something you can touch and see is desirable.

The Importance Of Customer Service In Construction

  • Having excellent customer service is now at a dramatically different level and standard than it was before.
  • You can order something and know exactly how it looks when it arrives.
  • Nobody believes that the contractor should demand and dictate the terms anymore.

Starting Out In A Construction Career

  • People learn things in different ways. Gain experience and knowledge by understanding first in which method you learn best.
  • Make hard work your competitive advantage.
  • Never forget to practice humility even as you progress on your career

Advice For Companies In Transition

  • “The most successful companies are ones who really define what their core principles are.”
  • Get the consensus and values of the whole team to make sure everyone is on the same page.
  • "There was a common theme for us. Quality, quality, quality."



Check out Metralite's website and connect with Andrew Silverstein on LinkedIn.

Connect with me on LinkedIn. For more podcast episodes, visit my website, and you can also check out Construction Genius Podcast on LinkedIn. Tune in to the Construction Genius: A Leadership Master-Class Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.