Listening is more than just an action at Miller Valentine Construction. It is a skill we cultivate. Listening — to our clients, to our Associates, to our trade partners, and to our peers — is foundational to our drive for continuous improvement.

That’s why Miller Valentine Construction is a member of the Construction Users Roundtable, or CURT. Founded to help owners achieve more value from the creation of their capital assets, the organization is dedicated to producing meaningful changes in the construction industry. The list of members includes automotive, technology, and pharmaceutical giants as well as utilities and federal agencies.

As an “associate member,” we have an opportunity to listen to and participate in conversations about construction challenges, needs, and goals from the owners’ perspective. That’s exactly what we did at the 2023 CURT National Conference, held in San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 6 to 8. Titled “Construction in a VUCA World,” the conference offered an array of sessions and panels aimed at helping owners navigate volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) as they take on new capital projects.

In addition to attending the conference, we were honored to participate on two panels. Senior Project Manager Greg Rambo joined representatives from Procter & Gamble, THP Limited, Southland Industries, and SteelFab to discuss “How Enduring Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) Relationships Are Building Certainty and Improving Capital Efficiency Beyond a Single Project.” And in “Construction in a VUCA World: A Contractor Panel Discussion,” Greg Fox, Vice President of Lean Construction, joined representatives from Baker Concrete Construction and Fluor Corporation to discuss strategies for delivering successful projects in a challenging climate.

The conference gave our team a chance to listen to concerns, priorities, and success stories from a wide range of owners. What we learned confirmed we are on the right track with IPD and lean principles. More and more owners are recognizing the value of building relationships with the right partner rather than approaching construction as a commodity purchase.

Our second major takeaway was the importance of mental health. The construction industry celebrates the traits of stoicism, self-reliance, and tenacity. Talking about depression, anxiety, stress, and other aspects of mental health is often seen as contradictory to the tough-guy and -girl persona. But according to the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the construction industry has one of the highest suicide rates in the U.S. Improving our awareness of mental health risk factors is especially important during times of uncertainty and stress.

The National CURT Conference validated that successfully navigating VUCA starts with respect for people. Respect for ourselves, for each other, for how we partner with our clients, and for how we work with our trade partners is at the heart of lean principles. It is also the common thread that runs through our most successful projects. And as we have learned in the past 60 years, respect starts with listening.

Contact us to discuss how we can help you build certainty in a VUCA world.