'One Webcor' Philosophy Opens Doors for 3 Webcor Concrete Employees

When the Newark Civic Center project initially broke ground, Webcor planned for a staff of one senior superintendent – Justin Marsh – and one assistant superintendent.

August 28, 2020

Employee Spotlight

When the Newark Civic Center project initially broke ground, Webcor planned for a staff of one senior superintendent – Justin Marsh – and one assistant superintendent. However, as construction progressed, it quickly became evident that a project of this complexity warranted a superintendent to oversee each of the project’s buildings: the new City Hall, the library, and the police station.

Webcor Concrete employees immediately stepped up to fill the need.

"How many GCs can do that?" Justin asks "Webcor has a very deep bench."

The first addition to the team was Field Specialist Juan Ramos, who had spent nine of his 10 years with the company working for Concrete as a carpenter, and carpenter foreman.

"He transitioned to the core and shell group when he went to work at the SFO Hotel," Justin says.

"I had always had an interest in learning more," Juan says. "In March, the opportunity came up to join the SFO Hotel team."

What Juan thought would be a short assignment turned into a job offer and a new position.

"It was an opportunity to keep learning and growing, and to be part of the core and shell side of the business," he says.

On-the-job learning

Available after the hotel job wrapped up, Juan joined Justin, stepping into the open assistant superintendent role.

"Juan and I were going to be field leaders for the whole project until we realized it was going to take more than just the two of us," Justin says.

Then the pandemic struck, and Webcor Concrete's work slowed down. "They were looking for a place to put some people from Webcor Concrete and we had the need for extra people."

Enter Webcor Concrete Assistant Superintendent Barret Neumayr and Project Engineer Christophe Allard-Moreau. Now, Justin is overseeing the overall project while Juan is handling City Hall, Barret is managing the police station, and the library is in Christophe's hands.

"I'm also assisting Justin with site logistics and some of the site work," Juan says.

All four of the Newark Civic Center project leaders credit the One Webcor philosophy with the ability of the Concrete employees to step into entirely new roles without missing a beat.

"We take care of each other; we have each other's backs when it comes to making decisions. We think about how a decision can affect the next person and even the next building," Juan explains. "This is about one team, one family. It's extremely important that we grow and learn together."

Christophe agrees. "This is my first Webcor job," he explains, noting he has only worked for Webcor Concrete on jobs for other general contractors. "I like that we all share the same space, even the trade partners. Webcor Drywall is right across the wall from me in the trailer. We get along really well; we got along great with Webcor Concrete while they were here, too. One Webcor is leading to a lot of success for us."

Barret Neumayr in front of the Newark Civic Center police station

Barret, who is coming up on his fifth anniversary with Webcor, says, "I was working with the Concrete group for the first four years until I came to Newark to help out with Core and Shell," he says. "When the shelter-in-place order started in March, I was sent home and was helping out with Concrete estimating."

That's when he got the call informing him that he had a new assignment.

One Webcor makes it possible

"I've never done anything like this before. It's a great learning experience," he says, adding that he's been lucky that a great Core and Shell team was already in place, along with Webcor Craft team members. "I can lean on them to learn new trades I wasn't familiar with, like drywall and some of the stuff Webcor Carpentry is doing."

Even trade partners from subcontractors like Southland and Cupertino have stepped up to help.

"I can run over with a quick question and have them explain something to me," Barret says. "Sometimes I just go to one of them and say, 'Educate me' and they hold my hand as we go through the whole process.”

Christophe is handling project engineer work for the Newark Civic Center project in addition to taking on responsibility for the library.

"I love it," he says. "The principles are similar. On the project engineer side, it's all about communication and sharing specific information and understanding what needs to be done. It's very similar to project engineer work in Concrete."

Christophe Allard-Moreau in front of the Newark Civic Center library

As for supervising the library work, "That's a whole new experience," he says. "It's a big challenge for me. I problem-solve in the field, coordinate work -- I learn something new every day.”

Originally from Montreal, Canada, Christophe has been in the U.S. for 15 years, landing first in Delaware, then Los Angeles, and finally the Bay Area, where he moved to study civil engineering at UC Berkeley.

"I didn't know what working at Webcor Concrete would be like, even after internships. But field work appealed to me. I didn't want to sit at a desk all day running calculations."

He was doing carpentry work for Concrete for most of the winter when he was approached with an opportunity to finish Concrete work at the Newark project. "We had a few metal decks to pour, a few walls and a tower footing to put up." There weren't many Concrete projects for him to move to when that work was done, but he was enthusiastic when offered the chance to tackle the core and shell work.

A cohesive team

"This isn't an opportunity most companies can provide," he says.

"None of these guys have the superintendent title," Justin says. "These guys came into this job without much knowledge outside of Concrete. They have been thrown into the role. Not only are they succeeding; they are thriving.”

"Now the four of us are a team," he explains. "We work together to plan out the sequence of how the three buildings get put together. We built some pretty detailed schedules for each building, and they're using those schedules to put the buildings together.

"It is so cool that we have people in our company who can manage and set up a concrete pour in the beginning of the day and run a waterproofing coordination meeting at the end of the day. It's a testament to how strong our employees are," Justin says.

Note: The photo at the top includes, from left, Christophe, Barret, and Juan.