Capturing the Attention of the Next Construction Generation

Feb. 21, 2024
Crew Collaborative uses inventive marketing avenues to position a new generation.

Since its inception following Conexpo 2020, Crew Collaborative has remained focused on its mission of recruiting the next generation of construction professionals. Eric J. Herron, “E.J.” is one of 15 board members helping to realize that mission.  

Crew’s stated goal is to strengthen the blue-collar workforce and change the stigma surrounding careers in construction through education, conversation, events, and advocacy. To achieve this, the nonprofit has spearheaded several initiatives sponsored by CaterpillarToro, and Case Construction Equipment.

Initially, Crew invited Herron to become a part of the Ambassador Program. His expertise as a former global marketing consultant for Caterpillar and current regional sales manager at Sitech South made him a worthy candidate for mentoring those interested in the construction industry.

“Within a couple months they had asked me to be on the board of directors,” says Herron, a member of the Under 40 in Construction Equipment Class of 2014. “So, for the past year I was on the board helping with the marketing committee. Now, I’ve taken up the position of committee chair.”

As marketing chair, Herron is emphasizing Crew and its initiatives. The first step, he says, is introducing construction as a viable career path.

Another important marketing avenue for Crew is its social media channels. Since its start in 2020, the nonprofit has amassed more than 10,000 followers across its LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook channels. Daily content promotes current initiatives, includes photos from attended events, and highlights different pathways to success in an industry.

Read also: Crew Collaborative Works to Recruit Next Construction Generation

“We have to capture people’s attention, and it's hard because they have so much thrown at them every day,” says Herron. “People are inundated with what to look at, and to grab their attention we have to keep track of trends and appeal to their interests, whether that’s with a unique video or a program they can get into. We always try to have something out there though, so that if people stumble across it, they see it and may want more information.”

Once Crew has made connections at trade shows or received requests for visits through their website, it coordinates with the interested parties to bring the initiatives to them.

“We have the Classroom Talks where we try to get ambassadors to help us so students can hear about the profession of the ambassador presenting in their own words,” says Herron. “With Framework, if someone approaches us and says, ‘I'm interested in becoming a plumber,’ we can connect them with an actual plumber in their area through the program. That connection can be a mentor and help guide them as to the right steps on how to get into that field, whether it's going to a trade school or maybe they join a union, as well as what to look out for to gain employment.”

Herron’s 2024 goals as committee chair include virtual initiatives to reach wider audiences. One way to do that is by launching a webpage where board members and program graduates can share their personal stories to generate interest the trades.

“We want to hit up on some interesting videos that will grab attention,” he says. “Another goal is to showcase the stories of all our members. We have a very diverse group that make up all parts of the trades, not just dirt moving like me. They’re in plumbing, electrical, welding, and so on. We want to have videos of each one of them talking about their background and how they got into the role they're in currently."

About the Author

Harlee Hewitt

Harlee is associate editor for Construction Equipment. She has a Bachelor's in English with a focus on technical writing.