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Give A Little, Learn A Lot

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There is something to be said for those who take the time and energy to go out of their way to help somebody in need, even more so for those who are able to ask for help when it is needed. Oftentimes the benefits of helping others are not always tangible, and it is that good feeling of knowing you made a difference that makes it all worth it. Sometimes, however, these experiences will teach you more than you knew was possible and change your entire perspective.

Andy Bartley and Andy Renner of Bartley Corp. attended the Concrete Foundations Convention in Nashville, TN this summer hoping to learn a lot, reconnect with old friends, make some new connections and put some new tools in their belt. Little did they know that one conversation was going to turn into an invaluable experience for their crew and change the way they do business.

It all started with a conversation between Bartley, Renner and Dennis Purinton, president of Purinton Builders and current CFA president. The three knew each other from years of attending the Concrete Foundations Convention, and were discussing business as usual. Dennis began to reveal some challenges that his company was facing, one of which is no stranger to the construction industry: a shortage of labor.

“If only I had a bigger crew who could help me keep up.”

– Dennis Purinton, president of Purinton Builders, East Granby, CT

This topic has been addressed for years, and will continue to be an obstacle for companies across the country for years to come—or is that all about to change?

Upon returning home from convention, Renner had the idea of possibly sending a wall crew up to Connecticut to assist Dennis and his team.

“We saw a temporary opening in our schedule, and felt like if we could help, we should.”

– Andy Renner, Project Manager for Bartley Corp, Silver Springs, MD

“We also knew that any time you see someone else’s operation, you see clever things that could help your own operations be more efficient,” said Renner. After a phone conversation about the idea of helping each other, the two companies decided it was a good fit.

“Once we realized this was a real opportunity that we wanted to pursue, we internally discussed how we could properly compensate our crew while also covering our costs,” said Bartley. “Once we had the numbers together, we called Dennis and cautiously presented our expected costs. The conversation was open and we were relieved that the numbers would work.”

Both parties agreed that they would need to execute and sign a contract and provide a certificate of insurance. These formalities were necessary for both companies to keep themselves safe and responsible. With the paperwork signed and a few logistical details discussed, Mario, Bartley’s foreman, and the crew headed north for the seven-hour trip.

That Monday morning, the crew showed up to the construction site ready and eager to get started. “The first thing we discussed was safety,” said Purinton. “We wanted to stress the importance of this to Bartley’s crew so we could all be on the same page with putting together their safety practices along with what our expectations and practices were.”

Although, idealistically, the importance of safety rarely goes unattended on a jobsite, there is something to be said about being held accountable for somebody else’s crew. “We’ve always held safety as a top priority,” said Purinton. “In stressing the importance to this crew, I was re-energized. I was reminded of the weight that my own expectations had on our crew and the impact it had on our operations.”

In addition to safety, Purinton went over the details of the job and set the guys free. Day 1 was very productive. Production included tying rebar mat and forming 400 feet of wall with what seemed like a never-ending number of corners and fillers. Day 2 was placement day. The crew placed 280 yards in less than four hours, along with setting hundreds of anchor bolts, some as close as 16 inches OC, and none more than 32 inches apart. “I couldn’t believe it,” said Purinton. “These guys picked up our system very quickly, and it was going even more smoothly than expected.”

Mario and his crew spent an entire week on Purinton’s jobsite, working together to get the job done, not only holding themselves to Bartley’s standards, but to Purinton’s as well.

“After all of my years in the construction industry, nothing has renewed my energy and passion like this experience has.”

– Dennis Purinton

The obvious benefits of the experience became evident throughout the week: Purinton was able to get ahead of his schedule without having to go through the typical hiring process, and he was provided with a crew that could get the job done. It was after the crew returned home that an unexplored benefit of a CFA membership came to fruition.

“I could not believe the energy and ownership that the guys brought back with them. We are sending Mario out to see another contractor who is using walking planks. Instead of dictating a similar change to Mario, he is asking for it – the power of the CFA!”

– Jim Bartley, president of Bartley Corp, Silver Springs, MD

The guys at Bartley Corp. knew that their experience would open their eyes to new processes, but they did not expect an entire change of attitude from their crew. “Their attention to safety was renewed, and they were beyond excited to introduce our team to new ideas and products that they were introduced to on Purinton’s jobsite,” said Jim Bartley. “I never knew that helping out another company would teach us so much.”

As the president of the CFA, Purinton discovered uncharted territory within the membership. “Our members are talking, but it’s time we take the talking to a new level,” said Purinton. “We’re all being presented with the same obstacles, and we have the means to help each other grow in more ways than you can imagine.”

It was no secret that the experience was more beneficial to both parties than expected. Not only was the Bartley crew able to help out peers, but they were also able to give a sense of ownership to their team, renewing their enthusiasm and introducing new ways of doing things.

“It was such a good opportunity for Mario to go and work with another company and see how things are done a little differently,” said Andy Renner. “When they came back, we sat down with the guys and really listened to what they had to say. We ended up buying a new set of forms that Dennis was using, as well as some other tools that they discovered to make the job safer and more efficient,” said Renner. “The guys came back energized and ready to continue their working habits that they learned, as well as the much-needed safety habits that they picked up, and our plan is to keep that morale going.”

The opportunity to learn from other companies is invaluable. Once you are open to the idea of letting other crews on your jobsite, you are inevitably going to gain knowledge, new perspectives, new tools and a renewed passion for the job. The association is full of contractors who continue to share knowledge and ideas. Bartley Corp. and Purinton Builders are just two companies who are committed to taking their professional relations to new levels and opening doors that otherwise would have never been discovered. Get involved. Make it a priority to seek out new perspectives—you never know just how it will change your entire way of operating.


For more information on Bartley Corp., please visit You can find more on Purinton Builders at

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us