Value the Person Working Next to You

Ask Mark Haley why he’s in the construction business and his answer is simple: ‘it’s in my blood.’ Mark started installing HVAC systems when he was 14, working for his father and following in the footsteps of his grandfather who started an HVAC business in 1941. Today, Mark is Vice President and part owner of MYCO Mechanical, which offers industry-leading services including HVAC, plumbing and prefabrication from its headquarters in Telford, PA.

When Mark joined company founder Brian Myers in 2011, the company had 24 employees.

Today, there are more than 200.  As Vice President, Mark is responsible for all of the project management, estimating, financials, HR and legal.

He shared his perspectives about creating a Best Places to Work culture, managing through a pandemic, safety, and what it takes to be successful.

Part of your role as Vice President is to oversee HR—the hiring, the motivating, the culture. How would you describe the MYCO Mechanical culture?

MYCO is a company where you value the person working next to you and they value you. It’s where you take pride in the work – the craftsmanship, the accuracy—and in the company.

MYCO was named a Best Place to Work in PA for the past 4 years running. What does being a best workplace look like? 

The biggest thing is hiring the right people–individuals with the right character and belief systems that fit our culture. Then, we work every day throughout the company to maintain and grow the culture. It’s simple, but not easy. We treat people the way we want to be treated, we get them the best of everything, we demand the best from them and we hold them accountable. Good people want to be held accountable, and they want the opportunity to do great work.

The company is very committed to technology. What have you invested in and how do you decide what new technology to pursue?

There were tools that I wanted 5 years ago that just weren’t available. But construction technology has grown in leaps and bounds and it will go up from here exponentially. At Myco, we utilize the Trimble Total Station and the amazing X7 3D scanner in the field which connect to our CAD department. We can import the 3D scans into REVIT allowing us to virtually delete the old pipes and virtually draw new pipes with an accuracy of 1/16”. Another example is Viewpoint, our fully integrated project management/accounting system. As for making decisions, we look at new technology from a group perspective.

You just try to make the best judgements you can. So far, we’ve been successful.

What’s your personal secret to success?

People–having the right people and working hard to help them be great.

What’s most gratifying about your job?

What gets me up every day is watching people grow.

What advice would you give a young person about how to get ahead in the construction industry?

Take pride in your work. Don’t cut corners. Work hard.

Safety is clearly important at MYCO. What do you do to make sure your people and assets are as safe as possible?

The thing that we had to do, and need to do continually is create a culture of safety. You can’t be everywhere all the time so policing safety doesn’t work. You have to instill it in your people. Instead of reprimanding people for not being safe, we show them HOW to be safe. We do OSHA 30 training and we make sure they have the best safety gear. For example, we switched to helmets instead of hard hats because helmets don’t fall off. We also make sure that if anyone has a question about how to be safe, they have someone to contact. MYCO has a safety director and two safety personnel on site.

How have you been able to stay optimistic during COVID-19, and keep your staff positive as well?

At the beginning it was scary—we had to work hard to keep optimism up and fear down.  I’m an engineer, so I look at the numbers, because they never lie. Statistically speaking, if you’re under the age of 60 you have a 99.94 percent of survival. That’s certainly not to minimize anyone who has suffered or who has passed. We’ve been focused on getting people to see the reality, that ‘I’m probably going to be okay if I get it.’

What has changed the most operationally for MYCO as a result of the pandemic?

Meetings. Whether it’s a PM on a job site or inter-office meetings, we’ve learned that you don’t have to be physically there to have a productive meeting. That’s huge. PMs can just open their laptops or iPads and meet via Teams, Zoom, BIM360. We’ll definitely continue this practice when the pandemic is behind us.