July 20, 2018

MB EYE on the Future - Class of 2015

Justin Bohlke

Russ Bollig

Adam Douglas
Graham Construction Co.

Adam Drake
Color Inc.

Jason Farley
Merchants Bonding Co.

Joe Harris
The Weitz Company

Jason Knipp
Henkel Construction Co.

Lee Marbach
Russell Construction Co., Inc.

Nick Mathistad
W.A. Klinger, LLC

Valarie Meyer
Story Construction Co.

Troy Porter

Ben Simon
Conlon Construction Co.

Katy Susong
Cardinal Construction Inc.

Josh Thrap
Hy-Vee Construction, LC

Joe Troness
Ryan Companies US, Inc.

Ryan Welborn
Bush Construction Company, Inc.

The 11th class of the MB EYE on the Future program, much like the 2012/13 class, focused on the topic of ethics during their class time.  The observation was made that the Master Builders of Iowa did not have a Code of Ethical Conduct in place for member consideration, thus the class researched and created the following Code.  The Code is intended to be a resource for MBI members to:

1.    Use as a basis to create their own company-specific Code of Ethical Conduct. 
2.    Take the opportunity to address their existing company-specific Code to see how well it applies to today’s business environment and the company’s current philosophies.

Master Builders of Iowa


With the help and guidance of the 2014-2015 MB EYE on the Future Class, the Master Builders of Iowa have developed some basic guidelines for member-companies to follow when considering the concept of a “company code of ethics.” These guidelines are by no means hard-fast rules or mandates. Rather, the compilation of ethical practices presented below is to be seen as a “blueprint” of sorts for members to consider. Moreover, it was established to accomplish two primary goals:

  1. If your company does not have a code of ethics, now may be a good time to consider developing and adopting one. The list presented below is a good place to start, but members are encouraged to gauge the components of an ethical code of conduct that best fits the company’s business strategy and move forth accordingly.
  2. If your company does have an existing code of ethics, ask yourself when was the last time it was addressed? Does it still meet the dynamic market place of today? If, after some initial discussions with your management team, you feel your code of ethics still applies – then mission accomplished. If your business strategy has changed and the ethical code does not necessarily serve its purpose, then there is no better time than the present to start the discussions to update your ethical conduct code for your company.

Since a code of ethics can vary greatly depending on the corporate culture and a business’ focus, the best place to start is by having a feel for what might go into your written guidelines. A business code of ethics may need to provide reference to, and guidance on, a business’ standing on any or all of the following topics (and other topics not listed here but that are part of your culture or philosophy). Beyond the below checklist/guidelines, there may also be governmental regulations that may guide the ethics of a particular company.

Code of Ethical Conduct Checklist/Guidelines:

Make your word your bond and stronger than a written contract.

Hold the safety of the public, the workers, the environment, and the industry as a top priority in all respects to business.

Accurately represent all qualifications, experience, knowledge, and competence required to complete a project, and only partake in those projects for which you are qualified.

Provide a fair bid and award process.

Always seek the client’s consent and understanding before materially altering the scope or objectives of a project.

Avoid conflicts of interest and provide full disclosure to affected parties when they exist.

Avoid gifts or payments intended to influence the judgment of others.

Meet all financial obligations in a responsible manner.

Respect the confidentiality of business affairs, proprietary information, intellectual property, and procedures.

Courageously stand up and directly contend against all violations of these ethical principles and lead others to embrace and practice them in their communities.

The class recommended their version of the "Code of Ethical Conduct" to the MBI Board of Directors as a model for MBI members to consider and the above code has since been approved. Visit the Code of Ethical Conduct page on our website by CLICKING HERE.

The class also suggested that the Association offer training on the topic ethics in construction in the spring of 2015.  The Association welcomed the idea and created “Ethical Business is Good Business – An Exploration of Ethical Issues in Construction.”  The training was set to be held in May 2015 in two locations, West Des Moines and Iowa City, to allow for a wider audience.  The session allows for those members enrolled in the Master Builder Designation program to gain hours in the area of ethics.  The program explores and analyzes many of the ethical issues that contractors, design professionals and others confront throughout a project from beginning to end. Issues such as bid shopping, proprietary and performance specifications, disclaimers, pay-if-paid and pay-when-paid clauses, lien waivers, onerous specifications and dispute resolution provisions will be reviewed from the different perspectives of the parties to a project to analyze the ethical issues associated with them. This program will also look at contract documents such as pay applications and change orders to determine when our use of them is ethical or unethical. Through the use of real fact scenarios taken from actual projects, the program attendees will examine these and other issues to determine whether our conduct on a project is always as ethical as it should be. 

Testimonials from MB EYE on the Future Class of 2015:

"I gained confidence in my abilities as both a speaker, and a leader.  Over the course of five sessions, I saw tremendous growth in myself, and each of my classmates.   From this, I’ve come to understand two things.  First, I need to always be open to seeing the potential in others.  I can do this by being cognizant of the way I treat people, giving them a safe place to test their ways.  Secondly, I have witnessed that positive encouragement goes so much further than criticism.  This is a relationship business and when we take the time to improve our interpersonal skills (like thru this class), everyone succeeds."  - Katy Susong, Cardinal Construction Inc.

"I’ll start by saying, I came into this class very skeptical.  My thought was “I don’t like public speaking, never will, and some class won’t change that.”  I’ll continue by saying I was dead-wrong.  I’ve given speeches at work, weddings, and even in other classes, and can honestly say I’ve seen a drastic change.  Although I’m still a work in progress, for the first time in my life I don’t FEAR talking to a group.  I’ve found it so funny that all the skills Ken’s teachings (speaking, listening, etc.) have honestly changed how I interact daily.  I feel so much more calm because I’m finally comfortable knowing my audience.  Thank you Ken!"  - Troy Porter, Master Builders of Iowa

"This course asked me to look at myself and see what I was doing.  We forget sometimes what is important --- names, listening, small talk –   I also plan on revisiting the topics of the class as I continue my professional career.  It was also very beneficial going through the class with my peers and seeing their improvements as well as my own."  - Nick Mathistad, W.A. Klinger, LLC

"The course hit on a lot of the key skill sets we need to be professionals, reinforced how to implement those key skills, let us practice in a comfortable setting and highlighted some areas we need to raise the bar.  I wouldn’t characterize this as a professional speaking course, but a professional development course.  We learned what skill sets we need to be leaders and identified how we can change and improve ourselves.  I would recommend Ken to any professional or emerging professional in any industry.  Highly impactful."  - Russ Bollig