We invite and encourage you to share your news of interest with the CIC membership. Please contact Beverly Wittmeier at (605) 343-5252 or email: cic@constructionindustrycenter.com to submit your news.

6 reasons why I don’t praise my employees


by  on 



The research is clear: Praise is good for the bottom line.

So why are so many new and experienced leaders not making praise a priority? Some might think annual performance reviews are the only time for it. Others may worry that it will seem unprofessional or that people will get overconfident and complacent. It isn’t and they won’t.

And then there are those who get caught up in these poor excuses:

“I’m too busy.” 
You’re not.  Praise doesn’t have to be a big production, but it is a big deal to the receiver. And it can and should take place in the regular interactions you have with people. Look for something to praise in every employee each week. Put it on your to-do list if that will help.

“Someone else is taking care of it.” 
Never make that assumption, because “someone else” might be assuming you are doing it. In fact, take it upon yourself to make sure you're regularly informing everyone else, in particular, senior management, about an individual's accomplishments and outstanding performance. (First, check with your manager to find out how she prefers to be informed.)

“They know they’re appreciated.”

They really don’t know unless you tell them. And people need to hear from you when they might be feeling praise isn't warranted. It’s just as important to offer appropriate praise even when someone has delivered mixed or disappointing results on an assignment. Of course, this is also an opportunity to coach the individual for improvement. But chances are the person tried hard. Very hard. Their effort represents an opportunity for you to deliver authentic praise in a difficult situation. 

“If it was important to them, they’d say something.”

Most people won’t directly ask or hint for your kudos. Don’t punish shy employees by ignoring their efforts. Try this: find out how individuals prefer to be recognized. Some don’t like being the center of attention in meetings or large office communications; some people prefer individual conversations to group emails.

“I have more important things to worry about.”

You must make praise important to yourself because it certainly is to your employees. You probably already make it a priority to get to know how people approach their work and why others like working with them. Use these details to deliver sincere, specific compliments for them. But don't praise just the results: you'll be mismentioning the valuable work that was done to achieve them. Keep these three things in the front of your mind when you recognize others: their efforts, their contributions, and their results.

“If I praise too much, they’ll want raises.”

If you fear heaps of praise will cause workers to clamor for a raise, beware, because the opposite may happen. Employees may demand more money to make up for the lack of praise and recognition. Keep in mind too that people who receive regular recognition and praise for their good work increase individual productivity, receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers, have better safety records, fewer accidents, and are more likely to stay with their company.

“Show You Care”

Some managers equate praise with a quick, encouraging comment (Great job, Thanks for your effort). Yet that’s only one of many options you can use to convey employee appreciation. It’s better to choose from a range of approaches to express admiration or enthusiasm for a team member’s excellent performance. Here are some different ways you can demonstrate your appreciation for your employee:

Targeted compliments. Some people value specific, timely praise. Signaling that you’re aware of their extra effort or sacrifice heightens their allegiance to you.

Taking the time to listen. For employees who place less importance on receiving praise, dishing out compliments isn’t especially motivating. Instead, they may crave more of your time. Setting aside 15 minutes to meet with a top performer can provide a lasting impact. Use that time to spur that person to open up, offer ideas and share concerns.

Spring into action. Because action speaks louder than words for many people, you’ll motivate certain personalities by making supportive moves that resonate with them. Examples include hiring extra help to alleviate their heavy workload, giving them a half-day off or enrolling them in a training program to prime them for a promotion.

Give gifts. Presenting something of tangible value to a deserving star often works wonders.

Try a high-five or fist bump. Appropriate physical touch can serve as its own language of appreciation. High-fives, fist bumps or a congratulatory handshake can help employees feel like star athletes. Avoid anything that’s even remotely sexualized or unwanted.

Send handwritten thank-you notes. On paper. Yes! They work! Now more than ever. Lastly, don’t forget about virtual team members! Even though they’re out of sight, you can foster their engagement with the team when you let them know they are valuable contributors, too.

For more articles like this check out www.businessmanagementdaily.com



WPE President, Doug Feterl, P.E., Named to NSBA Leadership Council


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Contact: Kelli Crouse, Marketing Director (605) 348-7455 kelli.crouse@westplainsengineering.com

Local Business President, Doug Feterl, P.E., Named to NSBA Leadership Council


Doug Feterl, PERapid City, SD – Doug Feterl, P.E., President of West Plains Engineering, was recently named to the National Small Business Association (NSBA) Leadership Council. NSBA is the nation’s oldest small-business advocacy organization, and operates on a staunchly nonpartisan basis. Feterl, a recognized leader in the small-business community, joins the NSBA Leadership Council alongside other small-business advocates from across the country as they work to promote the interests of small business to policymakers in Washington, D.C.

“As a small-business owner, I see daily the importance of being involved and active when it comes to laws and regulation,” stated Feterl. “Joining NSBA’s Leadership Council will enable me to take our collective small-business message to the people that need to hear it most: Congress.”

Feterl has been with West Plains Engineering since 1991 and previously served as the office manager in Rapid City. A lifelong resident of Wyoming and South Dakota, he is heavily involved in the local business community and has developed strong relationships with leaders in government and the construction industry.

Feterl joined the NSBA Leadership Council as part of his efforts to tackle the many critical issues facing small business, including tax reform, regulatory restraint, health care costs and how the Affordable Care Act will impact small business. The NSBA Leadership Council is focused on providing valuable networking between small-business advocates from across the country while ensuring small business a seat at the table as Congress and regulators take up key small-business proposals.

“I am proud to have Doug as part of our Leadership Council,” stated NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken. “He came to us highly recommended and I look forward to our coordinated efforts for years to come.”

Please click here to learn more about West Plains Engineering.

For more on the NSBA Leadership Council, please visit http://leadership.nsba.biz/about-us/

West Plains Engineering, Inc. (WPE) is a mechanical, electrical, plumbing and power engineering firm that has been designing reliable, resourceful and efficient systems for over 30 years. Our engineers and technical staff are dedicated to creating smart, efficient assets that promote responsible energy use.



Creative Marblecast Manufacturing to Open New Showroom at Rushmore Mall

Creative Wall AccentCreative VanityCreative Shower

Creative Marblecast is opening a New ShowRoom at Rushmore Mall this Fall.

If you've been into our shop on Creek Drive, you likely remember the smell when you came in or the white dust that lingers everywhere which are all generated during our manufacturing process. The shop is not an ideal space to showcase our products nor the proper environment for customers so it was a priority for us to find another space for a showroom. 

We're excited to provide an atmosphere that will be a clean, chemical-free environment showcasing our variety of finished products and many color options. 

Our space is located right next to the Eddie Bauer store in the Rushmore Mall and will be open during all Mall hours. The beauty of the space is that anyone is able to walk through at anytime to look at the products, allowing for customers to stop in at their convenience whether during the daytime, evenings or weekends. 

There may not always be a staff member of Creative Marblecast at the showroom, but we're just a call away if any questions arise.

Contractors and Designers alike will be welcome to meet with customers at the new showroom to view product options and are free to utilize the space to sit and discuss projects. 

We hope you are just as excited about this too!  Watch for future emails and announcements for a Grand Opening when its ready to open this Fall.  We'd love to see you there! 

P.S. In the meantime, feel free to stop into our Shop at 2020 Creek Dr. Rapid City or call us at 605-399-9648 for your project needs.  We're ready to help! 


GenPro Energy Solution Launches a Re-Designed Website




Solar Energy    LED Lighting    Solar Water   Blog    Contact   


GenPro Energy Solutions is proud to announce the launch of our freshly
re-designed website.

Our new website features a clean and modern design that has been aimed to improve the user experience.  It features a fully responsive design, made to adapt to a wide range of web browsers and mobile devices.

We’ve made great strides in creating a user-friendly website to make navigating our wide range of services simpler.


How to Survive an OSHA Audit

By Jim Rhoad
Ottawa Kent Insurance

"Hello. I’m from OSHA and I am here to help you." 
If you own or operate a business, chances are good you’ve heard these dreaded words before.  Next to, "Hello. I’m from the Internal Revenue Service," there are few greetings more inclined to make your knees weak. But it doesn’t have to be that bad.

Even with the seven million workplaces it covers each year, OSHA will most likely find its way to your location. When they do, here are some tips to help you survive your OSHA audit. 

Plan for an inspection by making sure you have three key items in place prior to the arrival of the OSHA compliance officer (CO): 
1. A determination if you will ask for a warrant; 
2. A form to document what occurs during the inspection; 
3. All pertinent documentation such as written programs, training records, inspection records, etc. 

We recommend you do not require the CO to obtain a warrant before entry unless you need to gain time, such as when a manager or counsel needs to be present. It is your legal right to ask for a warrant but this might trigger a stricter audit (and raise possible red flags).  It’s wiser if you simply work with the inspector. Answer questions honestly and fully, but don't offer additional information unless it will help you avoid citations. Cooperate as long as the inspector remains ethical and reasonable. 

Be prepared. These inspections are without notice so you will want to have all information readily available in anticipation of an impending audit. Here are some items to have prepared:
  • Assignment of responsibilities, to include a "greeting team" to meet the CO
  • Documented training logs
  • Recordkeeping
  • Equipment inspection records
  • Safety and health policies
  • Review of insurance and third-party audits
  • Hazard assessment and abatement
  • Review of previous audits and citations.
     It is also wise to have a form available to record the inspector's actions and comments during the inspection. This information will help you understand what transpired and will assist your attorney should you contest the citation or penalty.  Items you should record on this form include: 
  • The inspector's name and office telephone number 
  • The documents that the inspector reviewed and copied 
  • The attendees at the opening and closing conferences 
  • The areas that were inspected 
  • The employees and union representatives who participated 
  • The dates and times when the inspector was onsite 
Almost all OSHA inspections begin with a review of written documents. These documents include your injury and illness records, safety manual, OSHA-required programs, OSHA-implied programs, safety procedures, and training records. There are many records and written programs that OSHA does not specifically require to be in writing, but you should have them anyway. These documents are referred to as OSHA-implied records. For example, although OSHA requires every employer to conduct frequent ladder inspections, there is no specific requirement to keep a written record of ladder inspections. The written record in this case could be a log of all ladders with initials and dates of inspection or a tag attached to the ladder with spaces for the inspector to initial and date. 

Just to get you used to what you’re in store for, here's a mock OSHA audit walk through:

1. The knock at the door. We recommend escorting the CO to your office or waiting area. This will give you time to gather your documents and "greeting team" to accompany the CO through the inspection.

The opening conference. The officer will explain why OSHA selected your workplace for inspection and describe the scope of the inspection. Have your "greeting team" here to accompany the CO during the inspection. Make sure you set ground rules for the inspection, get a copy of the complaint if applicable, treat the CO in a professional fashion, coordinate with onsite contractors and vendors, bring up any trade secret issues you may have, but DON’T volunteer any information unless asked.

The walk-around/inspection.  Make sure you have an employee representative attend the entire inspection and take accurate notes on areas reviewed and all discussions and comments from the CO, as well as any photos, videos, air monitoring, etc. Keep in mind whatever is in the CO’s sight is subject to inspection. But maintain control. Remember, it’s your facility and you have rights. But don’t try to talk your way out of an apparent hazard. It will not help and probably make it worse. And above all, don’t destroy evidence. The CO may also want to interview employees. Make sure to schedule these away from your work area. It’s up to your hourly employees if they want company representation during the interview. Advise the employee of his/her rights, your appreciation of their cooperation, and to tell the truth. Be aware that employees do have whistleblower rights. As for management and supervisor interviews, always have another management/counsel present during the interview. If there is a fatality investigation your attorney should always be present. No tape recording is permitted and you will need a signed statement upon completion. 

4. The closing conference. During the closing conference the CO will review any apparent violations and discuss possible methods for correcting the violations within a reasonable time period. The CO will explain that the violations found may result in a citation and a proposed financial penalty, then describe the employer’s rights and answer all questions. Remember, this is not a time for debate. The law requires OSHA to issue citations for safety and health standards violations. The citations include:
  • A description "with particularity" of the violation
  • The proposed penalty if any
  • The date by which the hazard must be corrected
Citations are usually prepared at the local OSHA office and mailed to the employer via certified mail. OSHA has up to six months to send a Notice of Penalty. Employers have 15 working days upon receipt to file an intention to contest OSHA citations, and/or to request an informal conference with the area director to discuss any citations issued. Common causes to dispute citations include:
  • The citation is false
  • The citation’s dollar penalty is excessive
  • You disagree with the citation’s contention that the danger was real, serious, and that an accident was likely to occur
  • The contention that you are responsible for causing the unsafe conditions
Finally, contesting may not relieve you completely of a penalty, but it may help you negotiate a lesser fine. Contesting is usually a good idea. OSHA typically negotiates with employers to a lesser penalty amount.

There is no way to avoid an OSHA audit, much like there is no way to avoid having a root canal. But similarities aside, you can lessen the pain by being well-prepared. 

Jim Rhoad is an outsource risk manager with Ottawa Kent Insurance, Jenison, Mich. He has experience in dealing with workers' compensation issues across all industries, including construction and manufacturing. He can be reached at Jrhoad@ottawakent.com.

Balancing Lagging and Leading

In past Informers we've presented the difference between lagging and leading indicators, as well as the benefits of managing with leading indicators. There is no doubt about the effectiveness of managing with leading indicators, but is it realistic? What are the top construction companies doing to manage safety.

 The law firm Fisher & Phillips LLC Workplace Safety and Catastrophe Management Practice Group recently conducted a survey of Associated General Contractors' members on this topic. The findings of the survey were published on EHS Today's website this month. The full article can be read here.

 It is not surprising to learn that many of the respondents use leading indicators, but are forced to report lagging indicators to prove safety performance to potential clients. As much as we've stressed the use of leading indicators, it is important to note that lagging indicators may represent the success of a company's safety program. Then again, the numbers may be the result of luck.

 Either way balancing your safety management of lagging and leading indicators is a profitable endeavor. In safety management, success comes from a full-orbed perspective, which comes from an accurate understanding of both lagging and leading factors.


Workers' Compensation


The Other Factors in Your Business Bottom Line

by:  SD Division of Insurance



Workers' Compensation has not experienced the significant regulatory changes that have affected other lines of insurance.  However, it continues to be an area generating a lot of questions from employers and those in the industry.  Some of the more commonplace questions are in the areas of audit, interchange of labor rules, independent contractors, and election/rejection of coverage by owners and executive officers of the business.  


Payroll calculations are frequently an area of dispute, particularly when an audit results in an upward adjustment in payroll.  Payroll is a broad term and includes compensation in many forms including but not limited to bonuses, lodging and meals provided as part of the compensation (as opposed to reimbursement of extra expenses such as travel), employer merchandise provided, or other non-monetary considerations.  Pay for jury duty, holidays, vacations, and sick leave are excluded from payroll provided the adequate records are kept.  


A common question is whether a person is considered an independent contractor as opposed to an employee.  The method the department uses to make this determination involves a test using multiple factors.  Those factors used in determining whether a person is an employee include the extent to which the employer controls the work performed and when it is performed, the method of compensation used, what tools and equipment are furnished, and whether the person can work for others.  Inevitably, the determination as to whether someone is an independent contractor as opposed to an employee is driven by the individual facts of the situation.


Interchange of labor is permissible under certain circumstances.  As is the case with payroll, proper documentation is key to any determination that an interchange of labor is allowed.  Records need to detail each affected employee's time, payroll, and classification.  


Additionally in order for interchange of labor to apply, the affected employees cannot be accurately incorporated into an existing classification code.  


Not everyone needs to be provided with Workers' Compensation coverage.  A sole proprietor or the partners of a business may choose to elect the coverage, but unless elected, they are automatically excluded.  Likewise, executive officers of corporations can reject Workers' Compensation coverage if written notice is provided.  If no written notice is provided, the executive officers are included in the coverage.   

Economic Stimulus - Made in America

A recent report by ABC News regarding a home in Bozeman, Montana that is being constructed completely with American made materials notes that if every construction job used just 5% more products that are Made in America over 200,000 jobs would be created. 


If you are a local manufacturer or supplier you might be interested in this Made in America movement to promote your business. If you are a Construction Firm you may be interested in using local and American Made manufacturers and suppliers to help stimulate the economy in your area as well as our country.  There are many websites promoting American Made Products that you can contact.  


Here’s the link to the ABC News story and a sampling of links to sites with American Made stories and product lists.  If you are a manufacturer, most of these sites allow you to add your company information to their product lists.  Construction Industry Center does not necessarily endorse this movement or any particular site listed below. This compilation of sites we found while surfing the web is simply meant for informational purposes only.







Product List