Exceptional Boots-on-the-Ground Leadership | Work Done Right™ With Marc Fortier

This week on Work Done Right™, Marc Fortier joins to discuss the qualities of great leaders who lead field crews. He explains the power of achievable milestones, the importance of finding people who are sticklers about following procedure, and why diversity is so important in building cohesive teams. 

About Marc Fortier

Our guest today is Marc Fortier. Marc is a Union Pipefitter with over 15 years of experience, working on projects all over the United States and Canada. As a United Association apprenticeship program alumnus, Marc has held numerous roles as craft, foreman, and general foreman. 

Top 3 Episode Takeaways

  1. Planning and achievable milestones are mission critical in ensuring that field workers have what they need to get the job done. Marc explains that there are three main components to ensuring a crew is successful: Material, information, and access. Once those three things are in place, “anything can be accomplished.” 
  2. Greater accountability is needed to ensure equitable access to materials at sites. When one team is stockpiling materials, it can lead to a complete standstill for another team. One potential solution that Marc recommends is roll-backs, where the day shift rolls back the night shift areas, and vice versa. This ensures a clean slate for materials for each shift. 
  3. Marc finds that “the more diverse the crews are, the better they are.” When a team is made up of people with different backgrounds and perspectives, they are more likely to be successful in hitting productivity (and quality) milestones.

Episode Highlight

As someone who has held both field and office positions, Marc explains the main differences from his perspective: 

“As a journeyman, you’re working physically, you’re on the tools. A lot of people, when they transition into the office, they’re doing it to get a break, but they’re going to be very disappointed because it’s a lot harder work.   

It’s much more mental in the office. But you’re definitely working harder. Yeah. Especially if you’re doing, like you said, leading from the front. Right? Yeah. As you move up, the workload just gets more and more so.   

There’s this misconception that once you get into leadership, things are going to be easier on you. They’re definitely not. But there definitely is a satisfaction in watching all the pieces come together.   

And as you move up in the ranks, you have bigger pieces to play with. Instead of milestone installing this pipe, the milestones completing this system, and tremendous amount of satisfaction to see it done.” 

Episode Transcript 

Wes Edmiston:  

How’s everything going with you today? How’s life on project?  


Marc Fortier:  

Well, most fantastic. It always is. You’ve got to make it fun.  


Wes Edmiston:  

Wise words to live by. So, Marc, you went through the UA Apprenticeship Program and you’ve been carrying through a pretty good career so far.  

Can you tell me what it was like going through that Apprenticeship Program and how that has carried through in your career?  


Marc Fortier: 

 I worked in the factory until I was, like, 26, and I just couldn’t punch that card.  

Every single day I was watching the walls, right? But there were trades people coming in and out. And so I got to talking with them and they told me, all you have to do is sign up and it’s a year and a half course and that’s it.  

You’ll never work in the same place again. So for me, it was all about mobility. I’ve really craved the mobility. I worked for seven years in that factory and I just had enough. So the apprenticeship at the beginning, you don’t even understand what it’s going to unlock for you.  

You’re going to the school because it’s the right thing to do. But I think looking back on what I learned from there, they don’t teach you a job, they teach you a career. So they’re not teaching you one specific task.  

You’re learning the piping industry as a whole. And there’s a lot of stuff while they’re teaching you that you’re not understanding, but you’re applying it years down the road. And then as a bonus, it unlocks a continuing education program.  

So as you need upgrades. I’m constantly going back to school to pick up this, pick up that, get more qualifications. I definitely wish I’d been an option younger. If I’d known coming out of high school I could get into this, I would have gone for it.  

There’s really not enough push on the trades. I mean, it’s coming back now because people now realize that there’s well paying jobs out there and we need more workers. But when I was going through high school, it wasn’t an option.  

You’re going to university or you may as well just drop out right now. Right? So there needs to be a push on it. Quickest way to become the owner of your own business is to go through trade school and you become a contractor and off you go.  


Wes Edmiston: 


Yeah, then you get to go all across, we’ve said the United States and Canada, working projects all over the place. It’s great that you guys have that continuing education aspect. Many people will think that you learn a trade.  

Maybe you went to a trade school and you come out of that one, two, four year program and you know everything you need to know. But the world is constantly evolving. So refreshing that information, learning what’s new out there.  

That’s excellent that the union does that. Something that gets talked about a lot, especially right now. There’s a lot of labor shortages that whatever industry it is that we’re talking about. Largely in construction, though, there are labor shortages.  

There’s not nearly enough people. So we need to make sure that people are working productively. But that kind of gets thrown around like buzzword soup to could you explain what productivity actually is?  

The elements that go into it just on a very simple level so that people can understand this.  


Marc Fortier: 

Well, productivity is hitting the milestone that’s assigned to. So if you’re assigned a weekly milestone, a daily milestone, a monthly milestone, it’s hitting that milestone in a timely manner.  

And if you can exceed it, well, then so much the better. But number one, you need those milestones. If no one is setting out what’s expected, how can you possibly be productive?  


Wes Edmiston:  

Yeah, no, that’s actually a very good point.  

That segues pretty nicely into what are some things you typically see that end up hindering productivity on a job site, or that you frequently see maybe you were guilty of at times, whenever you were in supervision.  


Marc Fortier: 

Well, there are three key things we need to get our job done. You need your material, you need your information, you need access. And once these three things are in place, anything can be accomplished.  

But you can’t assign people to do a task if you don’t have the material ready for them. And you can’t expect them to get the job done if they don’t have access to get up and get the work done. So as frontline supervision, I mean, you need to achieve those three things.  

You owe it to your men. You owe it to your men to organize a job for them, and then they’ll attack it. It’s human nature. If you put a milestone in front of someone, he will attack it. Most people want to get it done.  


Wes Edmiston: 

I like the way that you break that down to really the three elements it takes in order to really get any job done right. In the truest of sense productivity, we’re looking at, are you completing the work in the allotted amount of time that is necessary to do this?  

From what we’ve allocated to do this, and I think oftentimes whenever we’re building up these rules of credit, we’re doing that out of kind kind of best case scenario situation or just kind of looking at it in the silo.  

We don’t necessarily consider all of the other variables that could end up making that go ask. With issues like access to workfront or not having the materials. Are these things that you’re frequently seeing on project, on anywhere that you’ve been over the last 15 years?  

And is there anything else that we can do in order to kind of avoid some of these issues?  


Marc Fortier:  

So access to workfront is usually the biggest one. The trades are all competing against the same area, and there needs to be coordination at a higher level, like who’s got right of way, who’s got priority, and breaking it down by shifts.  

If you have a multi shift, well, maybe you want the electricians in that area on nights and the pipe fitters on days or whatever. Trades need to be involved in the areas. There needs to be a coordination for access because once your guys hit a wall, I mean, that’s it for the day.  

If they get up there and they can’t get the work done, they’re not going to report back for a little bit before you know your day is completely shot. You have to establish a momentum and maintain it.  


Wes Edmiston: 

That opens up something that I’ve seen multiple times whenever I was on my tools or honestly, any level through it, which is where you set out your work for your crew for the day, or maybe you were lined out, hey, this is what I want you to go do, but you get to it.  

There’s some sort of stumbling block and then you ended up getting pulled into a different direction. And to me, that’s something that I’ve seen many a time, which is just the constant redirection. You can go somewhere, you get set up and you get pulled over onto a different task.  

That just kills. Productivity kills, really, honestly, the drive and momentum and the desire to get things done also after you do it so many times, right? Is that something that you see as well? And what can we do to kind of plan these things out a little bit better?  


Marc Fortier: 

It’s planning, planning, planning. You have to look through your task. You have to get it ready. You have to lay it out. There’s no reason why you should be pulling off of something if you planned it effectively, because like you said, well, once you’re redirected, I mean, yeah, it’s out the window if anything gets it done at all.  

You plan out your task and if you have a couple of contingency plans ready to go, like, okay, if this can’t get done, I’ve got this little side project that needs completed. And just have something ready to go in your back pocket that you can put people on too quickly to kind of try to maintain the momentum for the day.  

Yeah. And maybe even line out those items. Give those items whenever you’re lining them. Out for the day. Right. Plan out. The next task is the thing that I was always told whenever I was running crews don’t just give me the information that I need to do right.  

Now, give me the next task as well so that I can continue being productive as the shift goes on. Because ideally you’re finishing things early. Right. That’s the goal in my mind. Don’t just get done what I told.  

You to get done. Do a little more. That’s great. Right. Just let’s continue to drive forward. So you need to build a relationship of respect with your men. There’s two types of leaders those who are kind of whipping and pushing, and the other ones leading from the front, they’re pulling along, and in my experience, that works a little bit better.  

The guys, they don’t want to let you down in that situation. Whereas when you’re the guy pushing from the back, they could care less if they get it done or not. In fact, they’d rather not get it done to make you look foolish. You need to be a strong leader. You need to be in front month and if you’re pulling the crew along with you, you’ll get a lot done.  


Wes Edmiston:  

Is there any crew that kind of. Stands out in your mind that either you were a part of, maybe you were leading, you could probably be biased in that sense. But any crew that kind of stands out as being exceptional as far as who is really productive and is there anything that kind of stands out about that scenario that helped to enable that success?  


Marc Fortier: 

I find that the more diverse the crews are, the better they are. I’m on this crew right now, and there’s a gentleman from Hawaii, there’s a gentleman from Alabama, there’s a gentleman from New York, and we’re all from so far away, and yet we’ve come together to work on this.  

And I don’t know why. That just seems to be the perfect mix because there’s no old allegiances there’s. There’s no bitterness. We didn’t know anyone before we showed up and started working together and it’s just five professionals getting together and getting the job done and we’ve all kind of got a different way to look at the problem because we’re all trained in different areas and diversity, that really brings it.  

You get experience from everywhere, makes fantastic crews.  


Wes Edmiston:  

Yeah. That diversity of thought, that diversity of background is key to addressing the challenges that come up throughout the day, throughout the shift.  

What can we do as leaders on project in order to promote that diversity or to be able to bring in these individuals and put them in the right roles to be able to enable that success?  


Marc Fortier:  

I don’t know how to put this gently, but there’s a lot of name calling out there, right?  

Someone wants to bring their friend in, they want to bring their brother in. Okay, you can bring them in, but they shouldn’t be working with you because it just bogs everything down. You’re bringing in your friends, you think they’re your friends or they’re going to back you up, but then your friend expects you to kind of give them a little bit of extra leeway and it gets nowhere.  

So the nepotism in the construction, I mean, it’s part of it, right? People want to bring in family, they want to bring in friends. It’s really got no place at work. It’s really hard to keep the ball rolling when you’ve got outside influences on it.  


Wes Edmiston: 

Yeah. I will say I think that that has improved over the years, at least from what I’ve seen. I think people are starting to understand that that doesn’t help the project, that doesn’t help get the job done.  

And if we don’t get the job done, quite honestly, we’re not going to be able to continue on as a company or out of some of these different locals because the work just goes away after a while. But. So so, absolutely.  

You know, we we need to make sure that we’re we’re bringing in the right people for the job, not just kind of those familiar faces. Right. 


Marc Fortier: 

Well, we call them friends of and sons of.  


Wes Edmiston:  

That’s hilarious.  

You know, so in addition to this this diverse background of people to be able to bring into these projects again, you broke down the successful elements of productivity into three parts. What can frontline supervisors, foreman, general foreman, superintendents do to play off of those three elements to be able to make their crew more successful?  

Sometimes projects, they’re just working with people that they have within their company. My brother is a project manager for a company here in the Midwest. They’re working with the same group of people all the time.  

So what can we do on projects to be able to successfully set up our crews to be productive?  


Marc Fortier:  

Well, once you’ve set up a task and you’ve got it rolling, people have a tendency to kind of sit back and bask in that glory.  

But you can’t let off the gas. You have to maintain the momentum. So you’ve got a project rolling, get onto the next project, get it ready, get ahead of the work. I mean, once you’re ahead of the work, it’s easy.  

And it’s actually construction is a lot of fun. Once you’re at that point, the stress level is much lower because all the variables are known. And when you’re confident and your stress level is low, it imparts it onto the men.  

They feel the confidence. They know they’re being led properly. And it keeps it rolling. It keeps it rolling. So stay ahead of the work. Always. Just because we’ve had one win, the gas, it’s not done until the plants built and products in tank.  

Yeah, absolutely satisfied. Once the client satisfied, we’re done. But until that point, you just have to keep on rolling.  


Wes Edmiston:  

You’ve gone back and forth in several roles whenever you and I were working together.  

On PennChem as craft, and then you went into Foreman and ultimately ended up a general foreman on that project. So you’ve gone back and forth multiple times working in these different levels. What do you see as the key differences in these positions?  

And maybe what would you tell your former General Foreman self to do differently? Or, you know, what would you what would you tell your your initial starting self? We can break this into multiple questions, but what do you see as the key differences between these positions?  


Marc Fortier: 

As a journeyman, you’re working physically, you’re on the tools. A lot of people, when they transition into the office, they’re doing it to get a break, but they’re going to be very disappointed because it’s a lot harder work.  

It’s much more mental in the office. But you’re definitely working harder. Yeah. Especially if you’re doing, like you said, leading from the front. Right? Yeah. As you move up, the workload just gets more and more so.  

There’s this misconception that once you get into leadership, things are going to be easier on you. They’re definitely not. But there definitely is a satisfaction in watching all the pieces come together.  

And as you move up in the ranks, you have bigger pieces to play with. Instead of milestone installing this pipe, the milestones completing this system, and tremendous amount of satisfaction to see it done.  

Now, on the tools, I get the same amount of satisfaction. I’m putting a pipe in and when I have that thing lined up within a 16th of an inch, call for the welder. And he’s there’s nothing better than that.  

You have to set your you aim for perfection. Right. If you miss it, you set the bar very high, because if you miss it, it’s still more than acceptable. These people who are going for just adequate when they miss the bar, unfortunately oh, my goodness.  

It doesn’t look good at all. Cycling back and forth from journeyman to general Foreman and back, I mean, I’m definitely easier on my supervisors. I’ve been in their shoes, so I kind of understand what they’re going through.  

I see the frustration when they’re offering us work and they don’t have what they need to give us, I tend to end up coaching them a little bit. I don’t know if it’s appreciated or not, but it’s like, okay, we’re working on this.  

What are we doing tomorrow? Let me go check on that. As a union, we’re supposed to be a family, supposed to help each other out. Some of these supervisors, a little bit greener, a little bit less experienced.  

I was in that boat myself. So you see him struggling, you try to help them out. Just as a supervisor, he sees a journeyman struggling, he should step in and help him out. Here’s an easier way to do it.  

So working together, I guess, is the takeaway from this.  


Wes Edmiston:  

You were saying there’s often this perception that people go to the office, people become foreman, general foreman, superintendent, continue working their way up so that they can do less.  

Now that you’ve been in those roles, you definitely see there’s quite a bit that can go into it. What would you now tell yourself since you’ve held all these different roles and you have this experience?  

What would you tell yourself back in your apprenticeship days when you were just getting started out? What words of wisdom would you give yourself?  


Marc Fortier:  

I put a lot of energy into getting certifications, qualifications for the manual work, and I kind of wish I’d gone to school for a little bit more management stuff that’s not really offered.  

Through our training, you’ll learn a billion types of tools. You’ll learn how to assemble this, how to assemble that, how to interpret blueprints. And then as you become more experienced, they expect you to take a leadership role.  

But that’s never really trained into us. So it’s kind of a sink or swim deal. There is a lot of value from what I’ve seen firsthand. There’s a lot of value in the frontline leaders all the way clear up into being project managers, having experience, working on the tools.  

Right. You don’t know what it’s like. Boots on the ground level, coordinating with other crafts, trying to get something done, unless you’ve actually been there and done it right. So there’s a ton of value in having people with real world experience being in these leadership positions.  


Wes Edmiston: 

It’s really interesting to hear that there’s not a lot of coaching that goes into or development that goes into the leadership component, because ultimately in a good coach can make or break a bad team, right?  

Yeah. So in that same way, what is it, I guess, in management? Do you think that you could use more development in or what do you think was a difficult lesson learned that maybe could have been taught in a classroom?  


Marc Fortier: 

It’s about team building because construction, you start with a small team of ten people and you’ve never met any of these people, and it has to work. You’ve got a very short period of time to make it work.  

So team building very important. It’s really the leadership. I mean, I’ve been on some projects where as soon as you step into those leadership roles, they take you aside for a little bit of training and a lot of it’s focused on safety and liability stuff.  

Right. If you do this, you could go to jail. If you do that, instead of giving you the tools you need to be the leader, they’re kind of almost fearing it into you if you do anything wrong. OSHA will be on you for this.  

OSHA will be on you for that. You can hope that the leader in the ladder above you, the rung above you, is going to be an effective mentor because that makes a huge difference. I’ve had some really great mentors that kind of helped me progress with my career.  


Wes Edmiston: 

With all that mentorship, though, you’re kind of left out to dry mentorship overall. I’ve talked to a lot of people in this forum now, and mentorship comes up quite often and it’s absolutely needed.  

Right? There’s so much great information out there. And no one person can know all of it. So really being able to share this information one to the other and really take everybody under our wing that we can, it’s really the best thing that we can be doing for the industry at large and for one another.  

To go back a little bit again about just some of these areas of what makes an effective manager at that point that enables this productivity on site. As you’re getting at, there’s a ton of work that goes into this.  

There are so many different moving parts. You’re talking about potentially millions of dollars worth of equipment that you’re managing, plus all of the additional materials, coordination of personnel.  

There’s a lot of risk. There’s a lot of financial implication in all of this as well. So you have this complex situation. So you’re really working in a scenario where you need sharp managers, sharp leaders.  

What is it that you’ve seen that makes for an effective manager in addition to being able to build a team and bring people together with coordinating between these different crafts and coordinating within their own personnel?  


Marc Fortier: 

Achievable Milestones like I’ve said before, everyone wants to succeed. And a lot of times you’re presented with these push goals. They know it can’t be done, but they’ll say by the first of the month, this system needs to be complete.  

And everyone knows that it can’t be done, but they want it as close as possible. They give you a push goal, and then everyone’s just pushing and pushing and pushing, and the work is coming out. At the quality is abysmal.  

At that point, you need achievable goals because then it feels like a win if you can walk away at the end of the week, and my goodness, we hit our target. It’s fantastic. I mean, if the schedule has fallen behind.  

Either you need to allocate more manpower or just redo the schedule so that we can feel as if we’re achieving what needs to be achieved. This idea that we’ll just push it on them, give these impossible goals for them to hit, and then let’s see how close we get, and then we can kind of reevaluate them.  

Nobody likes being in that situation, and that only incentivizes bad behaviors, right? That’s what I’ve seen in my experience. I know we should be aggressive in our pursuit toward the objectives, but if it’s not realistic, it’s not realistic.  


Wes Edmiston: 

All you’re going to do is demoralize people and like you’re saying, incentivize people, throwing up poor quality work or potentially unsafe behaviors. What do you see? Because we’ve touched on this multiple times now, safety and quality as well as productivity, what do you see the relationship being between safety and productivity or quality and productivity?  


Marc Fortier: 

That’s a tough one, Wes. We’re not here for easy answers, man. Safety is very important in what we do. We’re working on these dangerous plants, these dangerous chemicals. Everywhere there’s a certain mindset that goes into working safely.  

It’s doing it step by step. It’s following the procedure. All these things transfer over to good quality, productive work. If you have someone who doesn’t really care about his safety, he definitely doesn’t care about his brother’s safety, and he probably doesn’t care about quality work either.  

So someone who’s willing to follow the procedure every single time is going to give you quality work every single time. And in the long run, it’s a lot faster too, because you’re not going back to redo it.  

So it’s a mindset. If you’ve got that safety mindset, more than likely you’re professional. So the end product should reflect that. If it takes you 20% longer to do it, but you only do it once versus doing it twice or three times, I think we’re ahead of the game at this point.  


Wes Edmiston: 

Yeah, there are some staggering statistics out there related to rework in general and how much that costs projects even just here, domestic in the United States, and you touch on it quite well. If you just do something one time, it’s going to cost you significant less time and money than if you were to go in and do this multiple times.  

I think the stat I saw, it was over $100 billion a year that it costs companies in the United States, and that’s just an enormous amount of money you touch greatly on. If you have this mindset that’s dedicated toward safety, toward quality, that you’ll end up being a productive crew, what feedback would you give or what advice would you give leaders when maybe somebody is taking slightly longer than what would be expected on a daily task, but they’re putting out really good quality work?  

Is there anything that you would tell leaders or how it is that you can motivate and incentivize good behaviors out of people?  


Marc Fortier:  

If you’ve got that guy who takes a little bit longer but is doing perfect work, you want to put him on those critical tasks, your pump lineups, your stuff that needs someone fussy.  

I mean, you don’t want a guy like that installing the easy stuff because he’ll be perfect by the time he’s done with it. But is there any value in having someone at that level playing around the little stuff?  

So it’s knowing your people. You have to know your people and know what roles to put them into by this one gentleman, and I mean, definitely not a go getter, but I’ve never seen anyone line up pumps like that in my life.  

He was good. Perfect every single time. So you’ve got to understand your people, understand where to put them, and just slot them around like that. Something I like doing is kind of rotating the pairings so everyone wants to work with this one guy all the time.  

I like just rotating that, moving it around. They’ve worked with that guy for a couple of weeks. Let’s try them out over here, see how it works. Let’s try them with this person, see how it works. And you get these different mixes and kind of gives you different options to where to send them afterwards.  

Okay. When this gentleman A with gentleman B, they do very well at this, but not so well at this. But if put A and C together well, you know, it opens up a whole different skill set where you can put the people.  


Wes Edmiston: 

It’s really important to think about, especially in line with what you’re saying. There’s not a lot of training that goes into developing the managers as well. Right. I imagine that’s a good opportunity.  

Or you could probably use that same philosophy whenever it comes to just the tactics that you’re using to manage the crew in general. Right. Just being able to take some time to develop your own style or maybe figure out what works and what doesn’t, maybe when even coordinating with other crafts.  

What do you think?  


Marc Fortier:  

A lot of people that work, they want to make friends. They want to be friendly with everyone, and we have to be social. You have to get along with everybody. Work is work. You have to keep it professional.  

Dealing with the other craft, dealing with that gets a little bit more thorny because they have their own schedule they’re pushing towards, so it gets messy.  


Wes Edmiston:  

Definitely. No, that’s definitely understandable.  

I don’t like that. Yeah, you still have to run the crew. You know, it’s funny. I’ve told people many a time over the years, a lot of people, whenever they first get into leadership, into management, they are very focused still on just kind of being friends.  

But at the end of the day, you know. People. People come to work because they want to go to work. Right. Like you were saying, there’s nothing better than the feeling of getting two pieces. Of pipe fit up ready for the welder to come through.  

They come in and it’s just tack, tack tack, ready to go because everything was already fit up so flawlessly. Right. But you’re not capable of doing that if somebody’s waffling around what it is. That they’re telling you to go do or if they don’t get you the.  

Information or material that you need. So, yeah, it’s amazing how many people. They get very focused on kind of more worried about being your friend than about just helping you to get the job done. Which, in my mind, that’s the role of the foreman or the general foreman at our level.  


Marc Fortier: 

I don’t really need a boss. I don’t need someone watching over me, making sure it’s just a different role. That’s all it is. So your job is to provide me this, this and this. My job is to provide you the production, or vice versa, depending on what role you’re into.  

So you’re not so much a boss as you are a facilitator. And all you have to do is put those three elements in front of the people and they’ll execute it. And while they’re executing, you’re off getting your next ready.  

And once you get out of that mindset that I have to watch them and I have to make sure they’re doing this, I have to make sure their production will speak for itself. So you don’t have to be hovering over them, watching them all the time.  

You set out their goal. You let them know what the expectations of the day are and go prepare your next task. And if it’s not hit you, find out why not. And if it’s a recurrent theme, well, mix them up.  

Or I’m sorry, sometimes people just have to go, right?  


Wes Edmiston:  

Yeah, it’s understandable. They need to change the people or you to change the people. Right. That’s what it kind of boils down to sometimes. Is there any one thing whenever we’re.  

Talking about productivity that you would say comes up most often? Right. Again, out of your breakdown of the three components that make up a productive unit, which one do you think comes up the most?  

Is it materials? Is it information? What do we fail on most often? And how can we remediate that issue?  


Marc Fortier:  

Materials, definitely. I mean, hunting for the bits and pieces all the time when the material shows up at site, you need to jealously warehouse that stuff.  

It’s got to be jealously guarded and release the day it’s going to be installed. Ideally, people have a tendency kind of building little stashes, right? So they’ll go get more than they need and then they’ll stack it up in case they need it.  

They may end up never using it. You end up ordering the stuff three or four times. I mean, cost overruns are incredible material. We both know that. So it’s got to be a warehouse. There has to be accountability.  

And it just released drip by drip by drip, as needed, as needed. Come sign it out and use it the next day.  


Wes Edmiston:  

Yeah. I laugh thinking about different times on projects, and I could still tell you the person to go to for anything, right?  

Whether we’re talking about do you need these nuts and bolts? Do you need an extension cord? Do you need welding leads? Right. I can still tell you on almost every project who the person is who just hoarded all of the material.  

But no shame on them. They were just trying to get the job done. Right. So I think also, like you’re saying, yeah, let’s make sure we gate that stuff. Let’s make sure that we have it available, but also making sure we’re ordering all of the support materials and supplies in proper quantities as well.  

Because, man, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people just wandering a project looking for an extension cord. Yeah. Is there, you know, anything that we could do on projects to improve some of these communications about what it is that’s needed?  

Because some projects have problems that others don’t. Obviously, no two projects that I’ve ever been on have been identical and that’s even. Worked in a shipyard for a while and no two projects in the same yard were the same.  

What do you see that we could do to improve some of this communication about the issues that we are seeing and what is the role of the craft or of a frontline supervisor in communicating some of these needs?  


Marc Fortier: 

Well, they kind of have to get their head over the sand because is when these issues are prevalent, it’s known and it’s kind of just ignored. We’ll push through it. When your frontline supervisors are coming back again and again, we need this particular tool.  

We need this particular tool. And the answer is just like, well, we’ve ordered 100 of them, figure it out. We need to go further than that. We have to address the problem. People seem to think that we can just kind of push through the problem, but it needs to be addressed and taken care of.  

If you need a site wide rollback to get it done, you need a rollback it. And you’d be surprised when you dump all those gang boxes out, what comes out of them, you just dump them all, take 6 hours, dump them all, send it all back and let’s start over.  

Sometimes you just need a good reset. The COVID situation in 2020 was fantastic example that project I was on, you couldn’t find a grinder and I was back fairly early when we dumped all the boxes and I think we had 385 grinders in one unit and this was a unit that there were no grinders.  

You can’t get job done. We had to share grinders. Are you done with the grinder? Can I have 385 of them? So a good rollback. I was on another project, we couldn’t get welding lead and finally they’d had enough.  

He says Listen, there’s been 26 miles of welding lead issue. Shut it down. And we did. And we rolled back for two days. 26 miles. Might been 25 left by the time we rolled it back. But when it gets out of control and you know the materials out there, you need to just stop and have a reset.  

And it could be for anything, could be for the consumables, the gas gets the bolt up, it’s on site. I guarantee you no one is bringing consumables home. You think about the amount of money that you’re spending on project for people that are just standing around because they can’t get what they need. If you’re hearing this as a manager, hey, I can’t find grinders or welding leads or the appropriate gaskets.  

And you know you’ve ordered enough, something needs to give because you’re just killing the productivity of the people out there. And it just becomes a vicious circle at that point. Right. So I was on this one project, and their most effective way, they would have day shift roll back the night shift areas, and then they would have night shift roll back the day shift areas.  

And I can guarantee you, nothing got missed. When you have people rolling back themselves, well, we’ll keep this, we’ll keep that. No, you need a third party to go in there and just know it’s all going.  

We’re starting over, guys. And that particular project, it was a German client, and he was really about organization, and there was a monthly rollback once a month. Everything was emptied and started over.  


Wes Edmiston: 

That’s an interesting idea, though, is having somebody else be the kind of accountability keeper of one another, right. Rather than you having to kind of police yourself in some sense, having somebody else out there and just structuring the project that way to where you kind of use one another to keep each other in the rails.  

It’s a really good idea. And it kept the site clean. Clean. And we all know a clean site is a safe site. It’s a productive site. There’s nothing better than walking onto a clean scaffold. I mean, you get up there, let’s get to work, right?  


Rapid Fire Questions 

Wes Edmiston: 

All right, Marc, I think we’re coming right up on time, so we’re going to ask a few questions to get to know Marc the person. Not just Marc, the professional. Real quick. Cats or dogs?  


Marc Fortier:  



Wes Edmiston: 

What’s your favorite place that you have traveled to?  


Marc Fortier: 

Charleston, South Carolina.  


Wes Edmiston:  

What is one word that best describes you?  


Marc Fortier:  



Wes Edmiston:  

What is your favorite book?  


Marc Fortier:  

Bernard cornwell. Pretty much all of them. 


Wes Edmiston:  

What is your favorite movie?  


Marc Fortier:  

I tend to fall asleep during movies.  


Wes Edmiston: 

That’s fine. You’re living this life as a union trades person, and you’re by the sounds of it, you really enjoy it. But if you could pick one job, what would you say your dream job is?  


Marc Fortier:  

Airline pilot.