What Industry Leaders are Doing

There is a wave of remodelers seeking to use their leadership roles as ones with impact on improving their own, and their team's, mental health

Industry Leaders Working
“The greatest thing I've ever done is counseling and leadership and emotional training for everyone,” says Baldovin, center.


TRAINING: Casey Baldovin, owner of Baldovin Construction in Peoria, Ill., holds biweekly training sessions for his 45 employees. The 30-minute trainings cover topics such as leadership, communication, and emotional intelligence, each with an emphasis on mental health. The group might watch a masterclass or have a professional come speak. Sessions are often followed by check-ins, where the team discusses how the training may have impacted a decision on the jobsite or at home. And while most of the field team did not buy into the idea at first, Baldovin says it’s been “a game changer” when an employee or leader opens up and shares how the training provided them with a skill.

WORKSHOPS: Steve Barkhouse, founder of Amsted Design-Build in Ottawa, Canada, partnered with two professional healthcare organizations to create a full workshop day all about mental health, including presentations from professionals and group discussions. The workshop came with printable resources and a team-created video. Hosting the workshop off-site and making it mandatory helped establish the tone, Barkhouse says, adding that leading by example is important as well because it opened the door for several of his team members to share their own experiences.

TOOLBOX TALKS: Several organizations provide Toolbox Talk printables to begin the conversation on mental health and inform employees of resources available (see sidebar “Resources”).

NEWSLETTERS: Brandon Bryant, owner of Red Tree Builders in Asheville, NC, rolled out a Mental Health and Wellness Program featuring a monthly newsletter and community partnerships. The newsletter, which is sent to employees, trade partners, and others, focuses on one topic, such as anger management, and includes local resources, mindfulness videos, personal analyses, and articles. Bryant is also part of the National Association of Home Builders’ mental health pilot program (see sidebar “An Industry Advocating”)

CHANGES TO PTO: Bryant and Joshua Dean, owner of Precision Homecrafters in Birmingham, Ala., adjusted to their  paid time off structure to allow a monitored, yet unlimited, amount of PTO. This helps increase the likelihood that employees will opt to take personal days rather than strictly sick days.

INCREASED TEAM MEETINGS: Alair Homes Ontario Partner Evelynn Ratcliffe says a weekly meeting with time dedicated to non-work-related topics helps create a more “human” dynamic, allowing the team to know each other better personally. Bryant has also increased his number of team meetings to share personal updates and encourage more open communication.

Workplace wellness expert Laura Putnam suggests beginning meetings by asking everyone to share three standout, positive things from the week, whether to the group or the person next to them. She points to research showing simple exercises, such as that one, “can literally rewire our brains to become more optimistic” and thus more resilient in the face of stress.

ONE-ON-ONE TOUCHPOINTS: Putnam says taking a few minutes each week to check in on an individual’s workload and offer assistance can improve an employee’s perception of support. and offer assistance can improve an employee’s perception of support.

SEEKING OUTSIDE RESOURCES: Many leaders in residential construction have spoken to the positive impact a therapist, counselor, life coach, or similar resource can have on an individual and the ripple effect it can have in being a leader.


Caroline Broderick, Managing Editor

Caroline Broderick is the Managing Editor for Pro Remodeler. Most recently, she served as the associate editor for PR's sister publications, Pro Builder, Custom Builder, and PRODUCTS where she covered design, building products, trends, and more in the residential construction industry. She can be reached at