– The Ontario Construction Report Special Feature
Sean Martin first discovered the construction industry when he landed a temporary job with Reimar Forming & Construction as he sought permanent opportunities related to his eduction in English and film.
Today, he is Reimar’s director of operations, indicating he has truly embraced the hands on management career.
Martin says he started lending a hand in the field and then began working in the office, assisting with the company’s rapid expansion. “I learned that this was an exciting and rewarding career path, surprisingly well suited to my abilities.”
In 2007, he took an opportunity to join another emerging business, OnSite Contractors, and helped grow the group from six to 130 employees. “This was certainly one of the steepest learning curves you could imagine in construction management and I was responsible for everything from estimating and project management, purchasing and accounting, to dealing with five separate trade unions, with workers across three shifts.”
After OnSite was bought out, Martin returned to Reimar Forming as health and safety co-ordinator. As the company continued to grow, so did his responsibility with the company, eventually leading to his current role.
Today, Martin works closely with company president and general manager Mike Martins, overseeing all of the company’s operational aspects. “We have been fortunate to complete the structural concrete work on many key projects, helping to reshape Hamilton.”
Within the downtown core, recent projects have included the McMaster Health Sciences Centre, City Hall renovations, Staybridge Suites and Homewood Suites hotels, the former Federal Building and Bella Towers Condominiums, Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre, Tim Horton’s Field, and the James St. Go Station.
Martin describes construction management as essentially problem solving, co-ordinating, and managing all manner of conflict, large and small, on a daily basis. Challenges are always present.
He says it is essential to maintain a practical objectivity in order to resolve situations effectively. “Our workforce of around 140 tradesmen, administrative and management staff routinely express that Reimar is a company that they enjoy working for, and that it still feels like a large family. Helping to achieve a high level of operational efficiency while maintaining that atmosphere is paramount.”
As a successful under 40 professional in the industry, Martin says development trajectories like his own are fairly common. Mike Martins, he says, was around 30 when he co-founded Reimar and at OnSite the founder was 24. He says the right combination of skills, along with talented people to learn from and work with is key.“
I have been lucky to learn from some truly great mentors, whose approach to challenging situations I have tried to emulate. I am not impervious to letting emotion get the better of me, but I use the example set by these people as a template for improvement.”
Martin says continuing to grow both the company and himself personally are longterm goals. He will focus on improving and streamlining processes for greater profitability and stability.
He says backed by a good work ethic, an open mind and willingness to learn, the construction industry offers huge opportunities for young people.
Working in construction, he says, prepares anyone for constantly taking on new challenges and seeing them through. “I take the same approach to my family life as I do to work and always welcome the next adventure.”
“Every time we start a new job or with a new client, I want to show that they have made the right decision by hiring Reimar. I have confidence, but I realize that every day in construction is a learning experience. The goal is to end each day with more knowledge and experience than you entered it.”