When looking for new employees, J&W Asphalt is not only looking for folks who will thrive in our sometimes rugged work conditions, but also those who will fit into our working family.

That’s why we place such an emphasis on building up young talent through our mentorship efforts. When new employees join our company, we always challenge them to see themselves in more senior positions in a few years. We do this because more often than not, this visualization comes true.

A good many of our employees who began as laborers have graduated to our foreman and operator positions after a few years of learning the ropes. But, this learning process wouldn’t be possible without the more senior employees sharing their wisdom on the job.

A stereotype exists in the construction industry wherein new workers can expect to be aggressively corrected should they do something wrong on the job site. But at J&W, we strive to foster a productive, but enriching environment for our new employees. This stems from our belief that the company is indeed like a family.

It’s for this reason that J&W takes employee referrals as seriously as we do.

“Our guys often spend over 60 hours a week with each other, so during the season you are spending more time with each other than their own families, so when we’re hiring we want whoever we’re hiring to add to that family feel,” said Brock Zeller, our human resources manager.

Our efforts of building our new employees up in a supportive environment have paid off. And many of our employees who started as laborers have grown into leadership roles, included both of our paving foreman.

As a whole, building talent from within versus finding outside talent for many of our senior positions at J&W has led to strong bonds in our crews and makes for a stronger company altogether.

As J&W grows past 50 employees, the new employees who are joining the company as laborers are sure to be our future, and we hope they are here to stay for the long haul.

An article published by University of Massachusetts Global noted that “63 percent of employees said a lack of career development opportunities would be enough for them to leave their current employer.”

There’s always room to grow at our company. Working for J&W is a not just a job, but a career, and a number of our employees have learned that through decades of loyalty. So if you know a young adult in your life who is looking for a path through their working life, point them to J&W and they might just find their calling.

Leadership in business:

Many companies, such as the grocery giant Aldi, put their upper managers through the paces before they are given their responsibilities as company leaders.Regional managers, for instance have been known to bag groceries and stock shelves before taking on the mantle of their office roles. This is a philosophy we share at J&W Asphalt.

Generally, our company leaders—be they in the field or in the office— have seen and done it all. This means those who have worked their way up the company ladder can typically relate to the struggles and triumphs greener employees might be feeling on the job.

Several key leaders, including company president Ryan Herrmann and owner Shaun Johnson began as laborers. This is all by design, as we believe our leaders should lead by example.