Entry level position leads to big opportunities for employee and company
Never underestimate the potential of a laborer.
When Shawn Logan joined Plano-Coudon Construction nearly four years ago, he took on the basic and strenuous work of laboring on Small Projects Division (SPD) jobs. For Logan, however, that entry level position became a gateway to an ambitious career in construction. For Plano-Coudon, it became the source of a model employee who has impressed clients and landed the company additional business.
Logan joined Plano-Coudon after completing Project JumpStart – a 14-week training program by the Job Opportunities Task Force that equips Baltimore City residents with basic construction skills.
“It was a great learning environment with very qualified instructors. I loved it. And it was my ace in the hole to get a good opportunity,” said Logan, who years earlier had worked as a laborer for a small company operated by his father and uncle.
Although his initial duties at Plano-Coudon were basic, Logan quickly began amassing new knowledge and new skills.
“He really wants to learn,” said Blair Radney, SPD’s project manager. “He wants to know how to do more things and how to do things better, so he is constantly asking questions which is a good thing.”
Radney began pairing Logan with skilled tradesmen on different projects, creating opportunities for him to learn how to use power tools, complete framing, hang drywall, and install doors, cabinetry, counters and other finishes. He worked on projects at Johns Hopkins, Under Armour, the Bethlehem Steel site, the University of Maryland–Baltimore County, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, and other locations. By the end of 2015, Logan was demonstrating skills and completing work far beyond the duties of a laborer, and was promoted to carpenter.
Beyond skill and ambition, Logan was also consistently displaying an outstanding attitude.
“Laborers typically have a long list of things to do and they are not necessarily focused on the softer side, which is how you do your job and what impact you have on people at the site,” said Brett Plano, co-founder. “But Shawn was conscious of all of that and we kept getting rave reviews about his work and his manner.”
Logan carefully organized his work to minimize disruptions to client employees who were on-site in the midst of renovations, and regularly asked clients if they were satisfied with his work or needed anything else done.
“I operate by the rule of always being respectful and making sure the client is well satisfied,” Logan said. “Our company slogan is ‘Your Vision. Our Mission.’ I live and die by that on the job site.”
That attitude spurred a string of clients to write e-mails to Plano-Coudon, praising Logan’s performance.
“With one client, Pandora, Shawn was out there just doing odds and ends,” Plano said. “The next thing I know I’m getting an e-mail from Pandora, saying he’s great and they want to sign a retainer with us to do their monthly maintenance work, which is a couple thousand dollars every month.”
These days, Logan is still peppering project co-workers – often electricians and project managers – with questions and pursuing the next step in his career plan. Logan who already has a degree in criminal justice and mathematics from Coppin State, is looking to earn an engineering degree and become a project manager.
“Of course, I’m going to juggle those studies with the job,” he said. “Of course.”