Korellis proves itself a destination employer for veteran tradesmen

Korellis proves itself a destination employer for veteran tradesmen

In over 60 years of business, Korellis’ commitment to the top-end training and apprenticeship programs built them a reputation as a great place for young men and women to build their career in the trades. Yet Korellis’ goal is to serve as a premiere destination for all craftspeople – including established veterans, and many of them have made Korellis their home.

“The impact these guys make for us is huge,” said Mike Christensen, director of operations at Korellis. “There’s definitely a labor shortage, and while we love to bring on new people and build them up, the veteran skilled labor is irreplaceable. The contributions they make are key.”

Jim Booker, a Foreman with Korellis, is one of the longest serving craftsmen on the team, having joined 28 years ago as an experienced roofer. For him, one factor stands out above all others as Korellis’ biggest draw to veterans like him – their commitment to safety.

“Keeping guys safe on the worksite is the number one thing here, and that means a lot,” Booker said. “If you can go home every day, that’s the key to a career, and veterans know that in this industry that’s tough to do.”

Booker pointed to things like Korellis’ full-time safety coordinator, monthly safety meetings, and weekly “toolbox” safety talks as examples of their commitment that he has rarely seen elsewhere in the industry. Christensen noted that the company goes beyond OHSA standards to achieve high-level safety ratings, which in addition to keeping the team safe also provides them opportunities for more work and unique projects.

“A lot of the work that we do, you’re not even allowed to bid on if your safety rating isn’t at a certain number,” he said. “We have work on the books year round, right now all of our guys are booked solid at least through November. That’s job security.”

Korellis’ size and skill in procuring materials and equipment also means they avoid the shortages that leave other companies without any work to offer their roofers. Veterans from those companies often take up jobs with Korellis to fill in the gaps, but almost always find themselves sticking around for good.

“When they finish up a job with us we always check in with them and ask if they want to stay with us long-term,” Christensen said. “Their answer is always yes, they’ll tell us about how much they love it here. I’ve heard them say that no one has ever welcomed them in like we have. It’s important to us that these guys feel like they’re a part of something.”

Those veterans often become mentors to young craftsmen like Jose Jimenez, who started at Korellis eight years ago. He was fresh-faced with no experience in roofing, and it was the veterans at Korellis and with his union that helped him find his footing.

“They showed me things I’d never known,” he said. “It was so helpful to have people with experience next to you. They’ve been doing this for years. When I got started, I didn’t know anything about roofing, but thanks to all of them I can say that I know quite a bit.”

Korellis also works to provide the latest in equipment and materials for their craftspeople, along with numerous other benefits to help make their lives safer and easier. To learn more, visit korellis.com.