MBEX Has the Scoop

Check out our latest updates & findings below.

Have news to share? We’d love to hear it! Send your company hires, news, events and press releases to ah@mbex.org.

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Worksite Safety

Construction Inclusion Week: Belonging

posted on 10.18.2022

What does inclusion mean? Inclusion is a feeling of belonging, and an inclusive workplace exists when employees are valued, respected, accepted and encouraged to fully participate in their organization. People who feel included perform better and have fewer accidents, creating a more productive and safer workplace for everybody. This could be called a Culture of CARE.

How does Culture of CARE create an inclusive workplace? Culture of CARE simply lays the foundation for what is and is not acceptable behavior on a jobsite. It is up to each of us to acknowledge that everyone on site adds value, deserves respect and has an opportunity to contribute to the work. Creating a Culture of CARE helps everyone feel more comfortable and confident speaking up, sharing new ideas, and working to stop harassment, hazing, bullying, threats and intimidation.

What are ways you can contribute to a Culture of CARE? Welcome ideas that are different from your own. Treat people how THEY wish to be treated rather than how YOU wish to be treated. Get to know your coworkers; ask them about their family, values or hobbies. Understand the diversity your personally bring to the organization. If you routinely go to the same people for ideas, you aren't necessarily being open to the diversity of thought others provide and may be unintentionally excluxing some of your coworkers.


Microaggressions are every day slights, insults and indignities usually directed to marginalized groups sometimes by well-intentioned people. Microaggressions clearly expose ingrained prejudices: racism, sexism, ageism, and/or classism embedded into our every day societal structures.

There are three forms of microaggressions:
1.) Micro-Assault: conscious and deliberate actions meant to demean a person through deliberate and overt racial discrimination, which can be verbal or non-verbal. Example - preventing one's son/daughter from dating a person of color.
2.) Micro-Insults: behaviors or actions that demean a person's racial heritage or identity by signaling that the person of color is considered inferior or less intelligent when a white counterpart. Example - asking a co-worker of color how they got their job, implying affirmative action or a quota system.
3.) Micro Invalidations: actions that negate or invalidate the feelings and experiences of people of color. This is often unconscious. Example - a white people asking a Latinx person where they were born, sending the message that they are perpetual foreigners.

Why building belonging? Belonging has been a basic human need from our tribal histories to modern-day. As humans, we all have the need to be an accepted member of a group. It's easier to create a sense of belonging when everyone is similar. Yet, as we create and benefit from diversity in our team, we must consciously broaden our perspectives to ensure everyone is part of the group.


Our brains are wired to make assumptions, which can sometimes be off base. We think it's an honest mistake; science calls its a blind spot. Our unconscious mind makes 90% of our decisions without us even knowing it. Our brains are overloaded with 11 million pieces of information every second, yet we can only process about 40 of them. So, we are wired to make cognitive shortcuts using our past experiences to make assumptions.

Our unconscious mind can put us on autopilot. Determined where we sit, who we lunch with, who we turn to for advice and who we choose to offer a helping hand. Living our lives with blind spots can put us in a tunnel. Same point of view. Same decisions. Same outcomes. We can find ourselves trapped in a world of snap judgements and misconceptions. We've all been on both the giving and receiving end of blind spots.

Think about it. Who's talented? Who's able? Who can I trust? Who belongs? We've all been there. Blind spots are part of the human condition. Our choices have consequences, for us, and the people we interact with. By accepting that blind spots exist, we can stop. Imagine what possibilities exist if we could do it all over again? We all have blind spots. Once you accept that you have them, you can choose to do something about it.

Different perspectives, inclusive relationships, diverse networks, better outcomes, seeing people for who they really are --- people, like you, with unlimited potential.


1.)  VIDEO: A Lesson in Helping Everyone Feel a Sense of Belonging featuring Miss Marianna
2.)  How Any Business Can Care a Culture of Belonging in the Workplace via Forbes
3.)  20 Activities to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace via Vantage Circle
4.)  Culture of CARE 
5.)  How to Fight Back Against Male Bias, According to a Woman in Construction via Career Contessa


Learn more and find additional resources at www.constructioninclusionweek.com.

Member News & Events

5 Reasons to Attend the 2022 Fall Social

posted on 10.10.2022

The annual MBEX Fall Social event will be here before we know it, and we want to see as many MBEX members and business partners in attendance as we can. 

(1.) Networking
Those people who walk into a meeting and just start chatting with others? They are able to do it so easily because of networking. They attend events, meet people and know what's going on. Our members-only events are a great benefit to membership, allowing members to mingle and socialize from out on the golf course, aboard the Sundew, or in a casual yet professional locale like the Golden Valley Country Club. It's a great way to meet others across the industry and make business connections. 

BONUS: If you work for a company that is a current MBEX member, that means *YOU* are a member and can attend our scheduled events. Keep an eye out; we'll be announcing our 2023 event calendar very soon!

(2.) Let People Know Who **You** Are
Want people to recognize you and instantly know your name when you enter the room? Attend this event. Attending events such as the Fall Social gives you personal exposure to people you would not normally come into contact with. It's a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and experts across the variety of sectors within the construction industry. By talking to others about what they do and the projects they are working on, you can learn and potentially even find prospectve business parters.

(3.) Open Your Mind to New Ideas and Latest Trends
It is very easy to get caught up in your own bubble and forget there is a whole wide world out there, full of new ideas and discoveries every day. Attending an event not only give you the opportunity to meet others but also gives exposure to new ideas that could be implemented into your own business. MBEX prides itself on delivering useful and relevant industry content to our members, as well as the latest and greatest projects out for bid. Attending an MBEX event could lead you to dramatically improve the way you think of your desired impact, just by implementing a few key ideas.

(4.) To Be Motivated
Stuck in a rut? Leave your own work behind and just talk to others about what they do and why they do it. There is nothing better than watching others get excited talking about their work, and MBEX is filled with motivated construction professionals who want to do this. You never know, you might even find solutions to some of your own problems!

(5.) To Socialize
Sometimes there is nothing better than forgetting about work and just going out to meet new friends or to spend some out-of-office time with coworkers. 


Whatever your reason, head over to our registration page and plan on being in attendance. You never know who you'll meet or what an encounter could lead to.


- Date:  Tuesday, November 8
- Time:  4:00-7:00pm
- Location:  Golden Valley Country Club
- Price: $45 = early bird pricing (ends October 17)  |  $270 = company table for 6

Your ticket includes free drinks, delicious food from hand-carved turkey and ham stations to delectable dessert treats, and several opportunities to enter our SuperCash and 50/50 raffles where you could go home as one of the night's big cash-prize winners. Plus, every attendee receives an automatic entry into our drawing for an assortment of door prizes also awarded throughout the night. 

Worksite Safety

Fall Construction Safety Tips

posted on 09.26.2022

Each season brings its own construction hazards, from heat illness in summer to freezing cold temperatures and icy conditions in winter. Autumn is no exception. Whether wrapping up large summer projects or scrambling to get a new build weather-right before winter, fall construction poses its own set of hazards, such as muddy ground and low light.

To prevent accidents and equipment damage that can throw your project off schedule, here are a few safety tips. 

Mud, and mud-related accidents, must be taken seriously. Mud might seem harmless enough, but it can increase the risk of slips and falls and make the ground unstable for equipment. 

Improve Muddy Terrain: If possible, set up drainage on your jobsite to remove some of the mud. Consider laying gravel for traction in key areas.
Use Caution On Steps: Remind everyone to wipe their boots frequently, especially before climbing ladders or mounting or dismount equipment.
Erect Scaffolding Properly: Scaffolding should never been erected directly on soft, muddy or frozen ground. Use a mud sill. These stable wood planks, placed under the scaffold footings, distribute the weight of the scaffold, keeping it from moving or sinking into the mud. After a storm, check scaffolding to ensure its still stable.
Stabilize Heavy Equipment: Heavy equipment can become stuck in the mud really fast. Even if using a rough terrain forklift, mud can increase rollover risk. Tire chains or tracks increase traction. Heavy equipment mud mats can turn muddy areas into safe access roads. At the end of the workday, hose off equipment to keep the mud from caking and jamming machines.

Fall foliage looks beautiful, but once the leaves fall, they become hazards. Leaves can hide uneven ground and become slick, increase the risk of falls. They can also block the air intake or exhaust on equipment.

Remove leaves from walkways and work surfaces at the beginning of each work  day and as needed during the course of the day. Consider using a walk-behind leaf blower, a sweeper or even a handheld vacuum. Before you use equipment, clear any leaves from the intake, exhaust, windshield, mirrors, and tires.

When possible, store equipment in enclosed spaces to protect it from leaves, falling branches and debris-laden high winds. On jobsites, a portable storage container is a good option to consider.

Take extra precautions if a major storm is expected. Remove and securely store as much equipment as possoble. Move materials into a secure storage area as well. Cover materials and equipment that can't be moved with a heavy duty tarp or use tie-downs and sandbags to keep them from blowing away. Take down cranes, scaffolding, light towers and other equipment that could pose a threat. If needed, board of windows and doors.

With the coming of fall comes shorter hours of daylight in a work day. Low light makes it harder to judge position, shape or speed of objects. Working in low light can also cause eye strain and headache (no wonder OSHA requires how bright construction areas need to be). From light strings to portable light stands to towable light towers, plan to set up light towers on level ground. With a stable base, light towers can withstand winds up to 65 mph. 

Portable generators and water just don't mix. It's highly advised to not operate a generator on a wet surface. Unless your generator has a waterproof canopy, don't operate it in the rain. 

To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, use a portable generator only in a well-ventilated outdoor area, at least 20 feet away from windows, doors and vents.

Hard as it may be, encourage sick employees to stay home; it's very possible you could find yourself with an entire crew down with the flu if they continue to come in when they're not feeling well. Review your paid leave policy with employees, and consider offering instructions on ways to prevent illness from spreading. It might not be a bad idea to ask schedulers to plan for illness-related absences and delays when booking jobs, too.

Fall is a busy, productive time for many contractors, and by taking a few simple steps, you'll keep your employees safe and your equipment in peak operating condition.

Labor & Workforce

Meet the Newest MBEX Members (August)

posted on 09.19.2022

Check out which companies are the latest in joining the Minnesota Builders Exchange, learn more about each, and join us in welcoming them to our construction community!

The following member companies joined throughout the month of August:

Atlantic Coast Dismantling - Located in Saugus, Massachusetts, and in business since 2008, ACD specializes in heavy civil, industrial, building, marine, bridge and selective demolition. They can also provide services in the sectors of heavy lift, critical lift, abatement and asset recovery. They offer a complete range of demolition services geared to fulfill the specific needs for the task at hand.

Associated Building Specialties - From idea to finished space, ABS is there for its clients. Located in Broomfield, Colorado, ABS works with architects, general contractors, and facility owners/operators. They can help clients decide what they need so nothing gets overlooked, provide design or engineering assistance, suggest appropriate products for the space and budget, and then source and install the products using their experienced and detail oriented team.

Northern Lines Contracting - Founded in 2011 and opening their doors with only one bulldozer, the team at Northern Lines Contracting are full-service contractors providing multiple services, including grading and excavation, sewer and water, street construction, aggregates, and demolition. Northern Lines Contracting is lcoated in Hanover, Minnesota, and provides services to the five-state region.

Vada Contracting LLC - Located in Cokato, Minnesota, Vada Contracting offers excavating services after opening its doors for business this year (2022).

D10 Sales LLC - Located in Lakeville, Minnesota, D10 Sales is a Division 10 supplier, fulfilling any construction needs for your specialty project. They are also a new company started this year (2022).

The Tarbek Company - The Tarbek Company offers both commercial and residential plumbing, welding, natural gas piping services that's insured, licensed and bonded for the protection of their clients' property. Specializing in competitive bid projects, newer & older home basement bathroom additions, piping and equipment installations, investment property projects, water heaters and service. Started in 2018, the Tarbek Company is located in Blaine, Minnesota.

Worksite Safety

We Need to Talk about Suicide in the Construction Industry

posted on 09.12.2022

September is National Suicide Prevention month, and in 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the construction industry had one of the highest rates of death by suicide among their workers, 5,242 in 2018, which was five times higher than U.S. construction worker fatalities on jobsites. 

An often-overlooked part of workplace safety is mental health; and as the leading occupation for death by suicide, it's time to take psychological safety within the industry seriously.


There are several reasons that a mentally healthy workers is important for a construction jobsite, the first of which is, of course, the safety and well-being of your crew. A happy and healthy workforce is a more productive workforce. Some of the key signs of mental distress, in fact, are lethargy, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating or absenteeism --- all of which hinder productivity and safety in some way.

A brutally honest rationale for good mental health beyond the thousands of dollars lost due to lower productivity is that the construction industry is already knee-deep in a workforce shortage. In an industry that is already perceived as dirty, dangerous and outdated, let's not add an unsupportive and unhealthy mental work environment to the list.


Mental health doesn't have to be related to an illness to affect a person. It could be an effect of a personal loss, financial issues, relationship problems or a slew of other circumstances that can contribute to a person's mental well-being and their ability to concentrate. In an industry that is consistently in risky environments and operating dangerous, heavy equipment, distractions or an inability to focus on the task at hand puts both the workers and the public at risk.

Long hours can produce both mental and physical fatigue, and constant job relocation can result in poor connection to one's family and friends, causing a feeling of isolation. The added obstacle of COVID-19 added stresses of unemployment with no foreseeable resolution, helping create an unprecedented amount of insecurity that can have significant emotional and mental health consequences.

Another overlapping issue inside our industry? The opioid epidemic. The physical demands of the job can lead to self-medication through alcohol, drugs or opioids, which increases the likelihood of suicide.


When looking at environments where people feel comfortable sharing things that are happening in their lives --- because sometimes the simple act of talking about it can be enough --- it's about creating the systems and structures where an honest dialogue about a person's mental state can be addressed. An open communication system can empower a fellow coworker to ask the simple question, "Are you okay? Do you feel safe to be here?" If the worker states he or she is okay to perform the job at hand, at least the coworker knows to keep a closer eye on the person for their own safety and the safety of their crew.

Leaders should know the signs to look for and make it a part of their routine inspection process. "If you're asking people on a daily basis 'How are you doing today?' whenever your concerns go up a bit, it's already a part of your communication strategy," says Dr. John Pompe, Global Manager of EAP and Employee Health Programs at Caterpillar Inc. Possibly even more important than asking the question, is be sure you are equipped to receive an answer. "Listen, show compassion and empathy, and be prepared to problem solve and offer resources."

Moral of the story: ask the question. Get your employees talking. It could save a life.


In 2016, the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (CIASP) was created in partnership with the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) to build awareness in the industry and create resources for contractors to take action. "Shifting the culture to one with consideration for the employee's mental health and suicide risk management is a key area where we can help push people toward help instead of further from help and deeper into that sense of despair," says Michelle Walker, VP of Finance and Administration at SSC Construction.


National Resources: National Alliance on Mental Health | National Institute of Mental Health | National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) | Suicide Prevention Resource Center | National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255 | Crisis Text Line - TEXT 741741.

Construction Industry Resources: Toolbox Talk Safety Meeting Agenda Worksheet | MindWise Screening | LivingWorks | Cat.com/safetyleadership | WEBINAR - Mental Health on the Jobsite | NPR Morning Edition - A Construction Company Embraces Frank Talk About Mental Health to Reduce Suicide | Drug Abuse Hotline

Member News & Events

2022-2023 MBEX/TBG Scholarship Recipients Announced

posted on 09.02.2022

It's with great excitement and pride that we here at the Minnesota Builders Exchange, along with our donating partner, The Builders Group (TBG), announce the following students as recipients of a 2022-2023 MBEX/TBG Scholarship:

Cindy Wuddah: Minnesota State University - Mankato, Construction Management
Michaela Sylvester: Minnesota State University - Mankato, Construction Management
Chandler Lallak: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Civil Engineering

Landan Adams: Mesabi Range College, Carpentry

Kyle Larson: University of St. Thomas, Mechanical Engineering

Lillian Anderson: Dunwoody College of Technology, Electric Construction & Maintenance
Rogelio Bello: Dunwoody College of Technology, HVAC-R

Brock Aleshire: South Dakota State University, Construction Management
Sharifah Nansamba: Minnesota State University - Mankato, Construction Management

In total, MBEX and TBG awarded $23,500 in scholarship dollars to these nine well-deserving students.

Learn more about each 2022-2023 recipient here.


Since 2003, the Minnesota Builders Exchange Scholarship Fund has awarded annual scholarships to college and technical school students seeking an education related to the construction industry. Along with our donating partner, The Builders Group (TBG) Education Foundation, MBEX is proud to encourage continued industry growth via our scholarship program.

Applications for the 2023-2024 scholarship will be made available in March 2023, and to be eligible, applicants must be enrolled in a construction-related, post-secondary program in the surrounding five-state area (Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa). They must also have maintained at least a 2.5 GPA or equivalent.

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