Writer: Joshua Andino
2 min read September 2021 — As construction firms across the United States break ground on both new and old builds, some of which were put on hold due to COVID-19, there is a renewed sense of community, not only in the geographic sense, but in the importance of committing to active involvement and enhancing the interconnectivity among community members, partners and stakeholders.
Challenges due to the pandemic have caused companies like Rodgers Builders to have a deeper commitment to their role as critical pillars in their communities. In the case of the Carolinas-based construction firm, Rodgers understands the value of community involvement not only as a way to give back to the region, but to also help address supply chain and labor shortages facing the industry, and to invest in the future success and growth of the construction industry within these communities.
“It’s more important than ever that we support the communities in which we work and live. We’ve had to be quick to adapt and have become more resilient and creative in how we do business, translating into how we support our communities,” said Rodgers President and CEO Pat Rodgers. That support extends to education to ensure the availability of a skilled workforce. “Craftworkers built this country. We need people who are skilled and specialize in the construction trades and it’s important that we are both educating and fostering excitement in students at the high school level.”
In bringing together community involvement with the practical needs of workforce development, Rodgers has long been an avid supporter of the ACE Mentor Program and ROC Charlotte, two organizations that work to encourage and involve high-school students in trades such as architecture, construction, and engineering, and to demonstrate the career-long benefits the industry provides.
“It goes back to the Rodgers tagline, ‘Our Passion is Building,’’ said Rodgers Senior Vice President Todd Joyce. “We want to build passion within the communities where we live and work, passion for the community and those who live there. This is the moral imperative of what we do every day. When we build a place of learning, a place of healing or a place of gathering, we are giving back to the community, so direct engagement helps our team understand the value of their work and how it impacts the community — their families love to join also, which is very exciting.”
Rodgers actively supports the ROC Charlotte and Goodwill Construction Skills Training Center, a nonprofit organization with a goal of encouraging high school students to get engaged in the ever-growing construction industry and associated fields. Working with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system, this initiative gives high school students the opportunity to learn skills focused on specialized areas in construction like blueprint reading and estimating, and HVAC and electrical. Currently, the ROC Charlotte has 100 students enrolled, and has created a direct to work pathway, which equips students with industry certifications and job placement directly after high school graduation.
Rodgers also sponsors the ACE Mentor program, another workforce development initiative in Charlotte and the Triangle region. Over 40 Rodgers team members have been involved in mentorship, and this year Rodgers is sponsoring Ardrey Kell High School, providing the needed supplies for mentors and students, and the funds for scholarships.
For Rodgers, the benefits are twofold. “We empower future leaders by recognizing their value and positioning them for long-term success over their lives while simultaneously building the future workforce. In turn, we get the unique opportunity to practice and improve our skills and build strong, ever-lasting relationships,” said Pat Rodgers.
These relationships have granted Rodgers the opportunity to be a part of many meaningful and community-centric projects including a variety of community and learning centers, arts and culture buildings, hospital additions and campus improvements that all serve vital roles. Our projects help build the next generation of nurses and hospital workers at UNC Greensboro School of Nursing, help keep the community healthy at Duke Regional Health and Novant Health Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, and expand the minds of children at the Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh and Vandora Springs Elementary School in Wake County.
While big builds may be the most visible, sometimes it’s the little ones that may be the most impactful, said Joyce of constructing playgrounds in partnership with the Roc Solid Foundation. Roc Solid builds custom playsets in the backyards of kids fighting cancer. “This fall we will be building a playground for a child with cancer in the Chapel Hill area with the Roc Solid Foundation. Many Rodgers team members are involved with Roc Solid and this will be our fifth playground built this year. It is so incredible to see the smile on these children’s faces while battling such tough odds and unfortunate circumstances.”
When asked what motivated the firm’s commitment to the community, Pat Rodgers explained that the gain was never monetary to begin with. “Paul Hawken said, ‘Being in business is not about making money. It is a way to become who you are.’ It’s important to all of us at Rodgers that we actively give back, through giving of our time, talents and providing financial support to the communities where we live and work.”
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