VEGAS INC: Construction technique, technology are ever evolving.
July 18th, 2016

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(Photo Credit: VEGAS INC)

Bret Loughridge is vice president of operations at SR Construction, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary in Southern Nevada. He is an aficionado of Lean construction, a relatively new phenomenon in construction and project management that purports to maximize value and minimize waste.

What is the best business advice you’ve received?

Attitude is everything.

If you could change one thing about Southern Nevada, what would it be?

It would be phenomenal to diversify the Las Vegas economy beyond tourism. I am hopeful that we can continue the trend and enhance not only gaming and hospitality but cultivate other industries such as the industrial component, health care, medical tourism and higher education, to name a few.

What’s the biggest issue facing Southern Nevada?

Education. We need to redefine what we as Southern Nevada residents want our educational system to be. Do we constantly want to remain in the bottom five nationally, or do we want to strive to be better? If we want to be better, we need to make changes to address K-12 as well as higher education. Higher education is key to growing business and finding qualified personnel to fill the necessary positions. When companies are looking for places to locate, they want a community that can support their needs with highly qualified individuals. Often the constant flow of college-educated professionals is a key metric for them.

What has been your most exciting professional project?

The next project or the unknown is always exciting, but beyond that, the OR addition and post-anesthesia care unit renovation at Summerlin Hospital in 2010 would probably be close to the top. This was SR’s first step into the integrated project delivery model and Lean construction. In short, we, as part of a true team with the owner, facility, design partners and trade partners, were able to do some amazing things within the construction industry. We’ve integrated the tools used in that project into all of our projects since. Lean construction is an exciting topic in the industry, and I am happy to share the process with whomever, preferably over a Guinness.

Describe the evolution of your career. 

I started working for SR as a little kid, mainly sweeping buildings, streets, and picking up job-site trash. After working for a summer here chipping stucco out of planter boxes, I knew that although the construction industry might be my career path, chipping concrete was not.

After college, I went to work for a large general contractor in San Diego, but when SR Construction was awarded the Summerlin Hospital bed tower addition in 2008, I applied for the job as a project engineer.

Since that time, I have had the opportunity to oversee numerous projects and held various roles within those projects. When the former vice president of operations decided to move on a few years back, it was decided to leave the operations role open since there was not much of a need at that time. However, with the huge growth we’ve experienced over the past 24 months, and with the economy in recovery, the need for a new VP was clear, and I happily stepped into that role.

How has the construction industry changed over time? 

Technology, as in many industries, is being implemented everywhere across a lot of our processes. I remember not too long ago, guys in the field were being introduced to digital cameras and laptops. Now, almost every foreman on the job site carries an iPad, and I can’t remember the last time I saw someone in the field using just a camera onsite. Applications for progress, manpower, digital workstations, digital layout, etc., are the norm, and in no time, I am sure, will be replaced with the best, newest thing. Also, I believe there is more emphasis on working as a team. There’s a lot more collaboration and a lot less yelling and pointing fingers.

What are you reading right now? 

“Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard,” by Chip and Dan Heath.

What do you do after work? 

Having a 2- and a 4-year-old, I have a fairly standard routine: play for approximately 30 minutes (Legos, blocks, coloring), eat dinner with the family and, depending on how late it gets, play for a few more minutes. It is then off to bath time for the kids, a few stories and put the kids to bed. I follow right behind, as I tend to be up fairly early.

Describe your management style. 

I am a detail-and-analysis guy who loves numbers. However, our managers are experienced and knowledgeable, so I tend to let them run as they see fit and supplement when and where needed.

What is your dream job, outside of your current field? 

Head of quality control for Gunwerks or a product tester for Cabela’s. Those guys are never in the office and always hunting in some remote location. Both would be awesome because you’d get to experience the outdoors, nature and interesting places that typically would not garner a week of vacation.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

Anywhere I can fish in the front pasture and hunt in the back pasture would be just fine. Preferably somewhere in the West. Or New Zealand. They let common sense rule a lot, and that’s a good thing.

Whom do you admire?

I admire pioneers and small-business owners. I believe that anyone who is willing to take on inherent risks based on the unknown and work their butts off to make it successful is someone to be admired. That kind of person, in my opinion, is the key to what makes this country great.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Lack of effort.

Where do you like to go for business lunches? 

Nora’s is always a good choice. The steak sandwich is my favorite.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My stubbornness has a tendency to get in the way at times.

What is something that people might not know about you?

I am really into my family history and genealogy.

To read on the VEGAS INC website click, here.