The Fortress Development Solutions team put on our first learning lunch event on the Guttersen Ranch. With guest speakers, an interactive site visit, and a homemade BBQ meal, this event was a lot of fun to put on. Kate Graves, our Reclamation Division Manager, brought together the best in the business to have an open discussion about reclamation practices, soil handling, best management practices, and emerging technology for the construction industry. Some of our topics included:
• Choosing native vs. introduced species in seed mixes by Dustin Terrell with Buffalo Brand Seed
• Cheatgrass control in rangeland and reclamation sites by Derek Sebastian and Shannon Clark with Bayer
• Soil compaction and grade in recontouring by Kate Graves with Fortress Development Solutions
• Topsoil handling in different soil types by Jesse Dillion with Cedar Creek
• Soil amendments and mulch by Laura Finch with Trinton Environmental
Follow along below as we break down the sites we visited, the key takeaways, and how you can be part of our next event.
This site featured 5 demonstration areas with Rejuvra applied aerially for the management of cheatgrass. The demo area locations were determined by varying levels of native plant community diversity. Cheatgrass increases the risk of wildfire, decreases wildlife habitat and quality forage for livestock. Once cheatgrass pressure is reduced, perennial grasses can thrive and reduce negative cheatgrass related issues. Since cheatgrass is 4x more apt to burn, it is a hazard during the dry season, especially with increased vehicle traffic and operations. We look forward to the results of the application and showing the native grassland diversity in the spring of 2022. We also discussed how introduced grasses could compete with cheatgrass, but in the long term, native grasses with perennial growth will lead to a healthier rangeland.
At this stop, we’re looking at how the native topsoil was handled during construction, and conditions after pipeline construction. When it comes to reducing erosion, soil health, and re-establishing vegetation, we believe in a holistic process. Before the pipeline was installed, the team came in to evaluate the current topsoil and the potential for erosion. This process started by looking at soil survey information and having an onsite representative observing excavation during construction. Topsoil was only fully removed over the trench and vegetation and root mass was used to keep the sandy soils stable and to minimize rutting. A good plan put in place before construction starts will set up your reclamation projects for success. Our team is constantly working to stabilize the land, create growth, and revitalize the soil for future use.
P&A reclamation site.
This area was seeded last spring, which resulted in a good cover crop of wheat due to an abundance of spring moisture. The cool season natives were reduced due to competition, but there was hope the warm season natives were laying dormant. This area was also showing the establishment of sagebrush, which is important for the ecosystem and catches snow which is also great for erosion prevention. We mowed the area to prevent fire and performed soil aeration to create microclimates along with additional seeding. Through maintenance and monitoring, we will see what the next steps will be for additional reclamation if needed. We have the ability to try different methods and seed mixes throughout the ranch.
P&A Reclamation Site.
This pipeline right of way is being irrigated with ranch-supplied water. The goal was to establish good vegetative cover before the winter for erosion prevention. Since the irrigation was started in the late summer into early fall, temperatures were lower and native species also started to germinate and establish. We are excited to measure plant cover and density next growing season as compared to non-irrigated areas.
Throughout the tour, our speakers and guests got to experience and discuss the process of doing reclamation on a full working ranch. With many moving parts, strategic planning, and the best team in the business, it’s easy to see why we love doing what we do. We would love to have you at our next event. Be sure to check back on our social media pages for updates on our next site tour.
October kicks off Careers In Construction Month and the Fortress Development Solutions team is here to celebrate! We're highlighting some of our divisions, team members, and what skills are valuable in the construction field. We have some of the best construction development workers in the business and together we're fostering a culture of collaboration.
Each division and division manager plays a key role in growing the business and ensuring a safe work environment. From making sure each site is properly staffed to ongoing safety training, we’re leading the way for future construction workers and technology.
Our water hauling division is always there to support all aspects of construction development needs. Recently they followed along and oversaw a project to prevent fire damage. Through their diligent efforts, there were no fire incidents during the entire project. Safety and critical thinking are some of the top skills needed when it comes to planning a career in construction.
We look for many different skills for each job from our CDL drivers to our hydrovac operators and every position in between. To learn about all the skills we require, or to apply to our open positions, visit our website or Facebook to learn more today. On top of the technical skills needed, we also wanted to share what is collectively the top skills construction companies are hiring for. According to Indeed, these are the top 10 skills needed for a successful construction hire:
1. Safety procedures and PPE
One of the most important skills you can have on any construction site is a mastery of best practices in safety and personal protective equipment or PPE. Try to familiarize yourself with the best ways to stay safe on any job site, and the particular safety nuances of a specific job. This will help you stay free from injury and benefit your employer as well since most construction companies focus heavily on safety training.
2. Communication skills
Knowing how to communicate effectively with colleagues and supervisors and any direct reports can help you accomplish your work more efficiently. Strong communication skills can also help make the workplace more enjoyable for all.
3. Growth mindset
Keeping a growth mindset—or a willingness to learn—can help you make a good impression on your supervisor and teammates. Many employers try to hire employees who are eager to learn and grow in their careers. A growth mindset can also help you advance more quickly in the workplace if you wish to do so.
4. Critical thinking
Critical thinking involves applying reason and problem-solving skills to the challenges you face in the workplace. Critical thinking skills can help you work more effectively and make a good impression with supervisors and colleagues.
5. Literacy and numeracy
Literacy and numeracy—or the ability to make sense of written language and numbers—are important skills in the construction field. Many construction employees must read plans and blueprints and well complete calculations during their day-to-day work. Doing so accurately and effectively can help you succeed.
6. Technological skills
Technology is an essential component of most modern construction projects, and many construction companies seek to hire employees with strong technological skills. Try to familiarize yourself with the kinds of software and electronic devices most commonly used in your specific construction field.
7. Time management
Knowing how to manage your time wisely on the job site is a good way to show initiative and complete tasks efficiently and effectively. Consider learning a specific strategy such as the Covey Time Management Matrix to help support this skill.
Companies value employees who can stay organized mentally and in their work environment throughout the day. Organization skills can help employees in a construction setting quickly locate the materials they need, understand objectives, and stay focused on the most important tasks on the job.
9. Physical strength and stamina
Many construction jobs are physically demanding. People with careers in construction often need to lift heavy items frequently at work and stay on their feet for long periods of time.
10. Attention to detail
Noticing details at work and taking steps to address them can be another way to succeed in the construction industry. For example, if an item needs to be replaced or a minor repair needs to occur, consider replacing or fixing that item immediately or bringing it to the attention of a supervisor.
If you’re looking to start a career in construction we hope this information is helpful! With many companies looking to hire the top talent we understand the importance of providing the best for our employees. Learn about our amazing benefits, competitive pay, and top-tier equipment today. Feel the Fortress difference and join our growing team today!
Our Wyoming team has grown since we started in the new region this year. Without the help of our Wyoming team, we wouldn’t have been able to meet the new demand for that area. With Marissa O’Dell joining the Business Development team we’ve seen great growth and new partnerships formed.
Fortress Development Solutions is proud to be supporting the business needs throughout Colorado and Wyoming. When we expanded into Wyoming we knew that we would need to find new ways to connect with the local businesses and grow these partnerships. Since starting with Fortress Marissa has helped secure new clients and make lasting relationships in the Wyoming area. We sat down with Marissa to learn more about her background and why she chose Fortress.
Q: Since starting in Wyoming how have you helped grow the Fortress name?
A: Before I left my previous company, I wanted to make sure that my replacement personally met all my customers in Wyoming to make a smooth transition. During those visits, I also spoke about Fortress and what we do. I have continued to follow up with previous customers as well as reach out to new potential customers.
Q: What projects have you worked on and what did you like about them?
A: My first project in Wyoming was during the snowstorm we had in Cheyenne in mid-March. One of my customers had 6 production locations that his pumpers could not get into to check facilities. We were able to mobilize our equipment and clear out all 6 locations in 3 days. It is satisfying knowing that you can help out during times like those. You become friends with people you work with on a regular basis, and it is nice to be able to come through when they need you.
Q: How have our projects helped the community?
A: During that same snowstorm, the whole town was snowed in for almost a week. The city just could not keep up with the amount of snow we had. Citizens were posting on Facebook community pages asking for help to clear streets. While we did not have the time to go through the proper channels to clear streets, I reached out to mobile home court owners to offer our services. We were able to clear 3 communities for them.
Q: What is something you are proud of that you've accomplished since starting at Fortress?
A: My role is to introduce Fortress to new business opportunities or customers we have not worked with in the past. I am proud to say that I have done that and will continue to look for new opportunities.
Q: How does teamwork play a role in your job?
A: My job does not end with just getting a sale or new customer. Typically, I am the point of contact for those projects. Teamwork is extremely important with coordinating equipment, personnel, and keeping on the project timeline. I speak daily with other Fortress Managers to ensure that we are all working together to get the projects accomplished.
Q: What are you looking forward to working on in the future?
A: Oil and Gas has definitely been my main focus in Wyoming, but I am currently working on another project that will help us to diversify. I am looking forward to seeing this come into fruition.
Q: What do you do for fun outside of work?
A: For the most part, I am a homebody, but I try to be outside as much as I can. That usually means walking my dog early in the morning or BBQing with the neighbors and socializing. When I cannot be outside, I am playing board games or watching movies with my kids.