Built For Promotion


From houses to high-rises, a building project won’t get off the ground without well-prepared construction and engineering firms to support it from start to finish. These industries rely on skilled labor and increasingly automated technologies to complete projects on time and on budget. Promotional products are key to ensuring high-quality employees are hired, as well as for engaging investors, ancillary service providers and team members throughout the lifecycle of a project.


Market Snapshot

The construction field ranks No. 6 among the top 10 industries purchasing promotional products, at 6.1 percent of total reported sales volume, according to the PPAI 2017 Sales Volume Study.

Labor Pains
The industry is facing shortages in skilled craft labor as Baby Boomers retire and as younger people in the workforce choose other career paths, but wages are increasing as a result. However, the shortage and the increase in construction costs put pressure on human resources personnel to employ more creative recruiting strategies. Contractors also are working to alleviate the labor shortage by supporting training programs and recruiting efforts outside their typical regions of operation.

Talent Search
Engineering firms have been slower than other industry groups to seek out talent via online recruiting and job-seeker platforms, but a growth in the number of “free agent” engineers—professionals who work on a project basis for different employers, rather than as full-time employees of a single firm—has prompted companies to boost their online talent searches. Engineering services firms accounted for 18 percent of all engineering jobs in 2016, and they are expected to grow by as many as 35,000 employees by 2021.

Trends For 2018 And Beyond


  • Green Building Council recommendations
  • Onsite construction and fabrication
  • Technology and automation; e.g. 3D printing and robotics


  • Design and production of lightweight products and packaging
  • Smart factories with IoT technology
  • Collaboration between manufacturers, project sponsors and free-agent engineers


Getting In  On The Ground Floor

American Council of Engineering Companies
A federation of 52 state and regional councils that represent more than 600,000 engineers, architects, land surveyors and other specialists.

Key Issues For ACEC:

  • A national infrastructure plan
  • Tax reform
  • FAA reauthorization
  • Water infrastructure

Associated General Contractors
The leading association for the construction industry, representing more than 26,000 firms—including more than 6,500 of the nation’s leading general contractors and more than 9,000 specialty contracting firms—and supporting more than 10,500 service providers and suppliers through a nationwide network of chapters.

Key Issues For AGC:

  • Construction law
  • Labor and human resources
  • Risk management
  • Safety and health
  • Workforce development
  • Technology

National Society of Professional Engineers
A national organization committed to addressing the professional concerns of licensed Professional Engineers (PEs) across all disciplines.

Key Issues For NSPE:

  • Threats to professional licensure
  • Qualifications- based selection of engineering services
  • Autonomous vehicles


3D Construction: The New Trend In Building Efficiency

Against The Wind
The California Energy Commission awarded a $1.25 million grant to RCAM Technologies in December 2017 to produce concrete turbine towers on-site using 3D printer technology. RCAM predicts that if the effort is successful, larger turbines can be produced without additional costs related to logistics and delivery, leading to greater wind energy production and the ability to reach new efficiency targets sooner.

From The Ground Up
Europe’s first 3-D printed building was built in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2017 by 3Dprinthuset, a Danish firm that had participated in a government-funded research project that consisted of visiting more than 30 3D construction printing sites around the world. The 50-square-meter office building is located in Copenhagen’s Nordhavn district.

Serving An Award-Winning Tennis Facility
HKS Architects, BBM Structural Engineers, Tavistock Development and DPR Construction received a Gold Building Team Award from Building Design+Construction for the United States Tennis Association National Campus. The 65-acre campus features red clay tennis courts constructed from more than 200 tons of clay imported from Italy in five-pound bags—more than 80,000 bags of clay were used to create just six courts. 

Source: BergerABAM


Real-World Solutions: Case Studies From The Industry

Measured Success

Every year a homebuilding association holds a trade show where attendees can see the newest trends, materials and technology in construction and homebuilding, as well as attend several seminars. One of the seminar speakers, who works for a well-known company in the homebuilding world, gave each seminar attendee a custom-logoed tape measure from Beacon Promotions. 

The speaker chose this item because of the unique magnetic, dual-end hook which keeps the tape in place while measurements are being taken. The two-sided tape features inches and centimeters, and it comes with a wrist strap and belt clip.  A rubberized finish makes it less likely to slip out of hands, and the unique gift made sure the company name wouldn’t slip from attendees’ minds.

Source: Beacon Promotions  

Commemorating Safe Projects With Coins

Large-scale construction projects are inherently dangerous, even with proper safety measures in place. Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Mortenson Construction found a way to incent team members to practice safe behavior on projects by awarding personalized Safety Coins. 

Cody Davidowski, safety manager for Mortenson, was intrigued with the idea of military challenge coins, coins imprinted with a battalion or squadron logo and presented to individuals who distinguish themselves in service. So he came up with the idea of custom safety coins to recognize employees who show exceptional attention to safety measures. Davidowski had 250 coins minted by Cincinnati, Ohio’s Osborne Coinage Company as an initial run, at a cost comparable to a t-shirt or hat. Since then, the company has given out roughly 120 coins.

A Morton division that specializes in the design and construction of big energy projects within North America has started recognizing employees who go above and beyond in their efforts at job-site safety with the custom coins. The coins feature the division’s two initial projects—their first self-performed substation in Nevada in 2012, and their first transmission monopole structure in Oklahoma in 2013. 

“We put the projects on the coins along with the Mortenson Zero Injuries emblem to signify the purpose of the coin, and the Mortenson company values on the back,” Davidowski says “We also had them engraved with each individual’s name to personalize them.” The coins provide a point of pride and conversation for workers who contributed to upholding the safety of the entire project, and they are “kind of like an honor,” says Davidowski. “You have to earn it.” 

The coins were initially presented at an annual Safety Week barbecue, and recognition in front of family and peers with a meaningful memento has proven to be a powerful motivator, Davidowski says.

“The coins have gone over extremely well. While tokens of appreciation often come in the form of t-shirts, hats, or other small items, coins are more of a tangible honor; they say more than an everyday t-shirt can, and often hold a higher esteem in the eyes of employees,” he adds.

Rubber Ducks Lead New Clients To Tile Installer

Joe Scott, MAS, of Scott & Associates in Minneapolis, Minnesota, presented his brother, Dave Scott, with a quirky but memorable promotional idea—a yellow rubber duck. Dave was just entering the tile contracting business, and Joe sold him 50 rubber ducks with Dave’s phone number printed on them. When Dave started Slabworks of Montana, the ducks came along with him, and today it remains his primary promotional means of reaching out to current and prospective clients.

Dave began leaving the ducks at his work sites, and though he typically contracted through builders, homebuyers and Realtors began contacting him for additional work. His work—and the ducks—became well known in the area. “I was setting some large format slate tiles in a house, and the general contractor was showing off the house to a couple who were prospective customers,” Dave said. “As he walked by me he said, ‘… and we have The Best Tile Guy in the Valley.’”

“Thinking that the GC was just stroking my ego, when he came back through with his clients I asked why he had said what he did. The wife also chimed in, asking him the same question. The contractor’s response was immediate. He said, ‘because we never get callbacks on his work, and he leaves you a duck when he finishes his job, just in case you need to contact him.’”

Although the general contractor didn’t sell that particular house to the couple, they found Dave and had him do the tile work in their new home. “A few weeks later, I got a call from another homeowner who told me, ‘We have never met, but I bought the house in Painted Hills and you did the tile work... We want to finish the basement and we want a steam shower, wet bar and 700 square feet of slate on the floor. We saw your duck.’”   

Dave has since ordered several hundred more ducks, building on the momentum of an idea hatched by his brother, Joe. “Moral of the story,” Dave says, “People will throw away your business card, but they won’t throw away your duck.”

Source: Scott & Associates


Jen Alexander is associate editor of PPB.

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