Builders' Talk-How to attract young people to const. careers

Planning for a construction career can start early – little kids are often fascinated by the tools of the industry and love to build and play with construction-themed toys. But as they get older, they are often steered away from construction as a valid career option.

In addition to construction careers being well-paid and often in-demand, a career in construction can mean many things – from those who work on job sites to those in behind-the-scenes roles in office settings.

During the April 13 Builders' Talk webcast, we heard from local businesses who are interested in seeing more construction talent developed at a younger age and what area school districts are doing to prep students for a career in construction.


Meet the panelists:

William (Bill) Alexander, president and CEO Alexander Mechanical Inc.

William (Bill) Alexander is committed to the mechanical contracting industry. He started Alexander Mechanical after a 22-year career as a journeyman pipefitter and a member of Pipefitters Local Union 533 in Kansas City, Missouri. Working for a local mechanical contracting firm for 18 years, rising to a level of pipefitter superintendent and overseeing projects locally and out of state, Bill decided it was time to venture out and start his own company.

Bill started Alexander Mechanical in 1998. With his experience as a pipefitter and superintendent and his knowledge of business, he has grown Alexander Mechanical’s annual revenue to over $20 million.

Bill served as board member and president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Kansas City and trustee of the health and welfare and pension plans for Pipefitters LU #533. He serves as committee member for the National Association of the Mechanical Contractors of America.

Bill was born and raised in Missouri and attended Missouri Western College. He is married to Wanda (Ogilvie) Alexander and has three children and six grandchildren. He serves his local church as a board member, trustee and deacon.

Steven Crosley, operations training manager, McCownGordon Construction

Steven Crosley grew up in Lee’s Summit, Missouri before graduating from the University of Central Missouri with a Bachelor of Science in construction management. He has been with McCownGordon Construction since January of 2010 as a project manager.

At the beginning of 2020, Steven took on a new role as the operations training manager. During his time as a project manager, he worked on a variety projects, including the NICU at the University of Kansas Medical Center, various projects at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Lenexa Fleet Maintenance Facility, and the add-on and renovation of the UPS facility in Lenexa, Kansas.

Steven resides in North Kansas City with his wife and two daughters, and a third girl on the way!

Jacob Diebold, student, Staley High School

Jacob Diebold is a student at Staley High School in the North Kansas City school district and a participant in the Kansas City Construction Career Academy. He will graduate May 2021, at which time he plans to pursue a career in the construction industry. In addition to his participation in the Kansas City Construction Career Academy, Jacob also enjoys working on cars. Jacob has been interested in the construction trade since his sophomore year in high school, when he worked with his uncle’s remodeling company, and he plans to use his experience to jump start his career in finish-work.

Tina Read, apprenticeship instructor and coordinator, Cement Masons Local 518

Twenty-five years ago, following in the footsteps of her husband and brothers, Tina joined Cement Masons Local 518. Her hard work and determination led her to become a Journeyman Cement Mason within two years, given a year credit for previous experience. Tina recently received a 25-year pin in a field she did not realize was available to women when she started. She attributes much of the knowledge she's gained to her Union Brothers and, most notably, her mentor and now friend, Alise Martiny, who she thanks for breaking the barrier for all the union female cement masons. After 23 years at JE Dunn Construction Company, Tina was hired as an apprentice instructor for the Cement Masons Local 518 apprenticeship program. After two years as an instructor, she is now the apprentice program coordinator.

Moderated by:

Kiona Sinks, Elevate Consulting

Kiona Sinks is a social and civic innovator, setting the standard for how young leaders should model community engagement, bringing together generations across professions to change the perspective on what community activism is our modern-day world. Kiona takes pride in giving back and is a community-minded connector with a decade of consistent volunteerism and community engagement. She is mission-driven and passionate about diversity and inclusion and promoting social and civic engagement. As an undergraduate, Kiona helped found the African American Student Union (AASU) at Central Methodist University. The AASU’s mission is to promote positive images of African Americans and to stimulate the cultural, intellectual and social growth of all CMU students, faculty and staff. As a student ambassador, Kiona was selected as one of the top ten students by the Jefferson City, Mid Missouri Higher Education Board.

As a Kansas Citian, Kiona has advanced the agenda for many diverse and marginalized groups and has begun to make an impact by helping educate the next generation of leaders on the importance of diversity and inclusion, civic engagement and social justice. Kiona is a speaker and conducts conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion. Kiona has a proven track record of success in initiating, promoting and maintaining strong interpersonal relations with many in different sectors. Currently, Kiona serves as community engagement manager + digital marketing strategy for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

Thank you to our event sponsors

Question(s) about this event? Contact Angela Crawford | 816.595.4119. Having issues signing in or creating an account? Contact Aarika Leonard-DeMarc | 816.595.4118.

4/13/2021 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Central Daylight Time
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