Cilley Named President of Steel Erectors Association | Construction News


Josh Cilley, president of American Steel & Precast Erectors (ASPE) and Buckner Steel & Precast Division of Buckner Companies, was inducted as president of the Steel Erectors Association of America (SEAA) in April.

Cilley will serve a two-year term. He succeeds Stephen Burkholder, president of S&R Enterprises, who was instrumental in the implementation of SEAA’s Ironworker Training and Apprenticeship program. During Burkholder’s presidency, Cilley served as vice president.

Cilley joined American Steel & Precast Erectors, his family’s Greenfield, N.H., business, in 1992, where he held various positions from ironworker to project manager. During the mid-2000s, he worked for C.P. Buckner Steel Erection, Graham, N.C., as a contracts manager and director of sales and business development. In 2016, he returned to Buckner, and now holds the dual role of president for both ASPE and Buckner Steel & Precast.

Cilley previously held board of director positions with SEAA, Associated Builders and Contractors, and Triangle Chapter of the American Subcontractors Association of America. He is also a part-time police officer in his childhood hometown of Greenfield, N.H.

Ironworker Retention and Recruitment

Among Cilley’s goals for the association over the next two years is a focus on employee retention and recruitment. According to Cilley, during the economic boom of the early 2000s, the construction industry was focused on the need to recruit a new workforce. “Those efforts were shelved during the recession. We need to refocus our strategy to educate parents, school counselors, and middle or high school students about the good career paths ironworking and steel erection offer,” he said.

Cilley says that establishing training and apprenticeship programs had to be a first step so that the industry can develop qualified workers. “Having the best training is important, but we’ve got to have people available to move through the programs. There has to be a healthy balance between recruitment and training initiatives,” he explained.

Last year was the first time that millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) surpassed baby boomers as the nation’s largest living generation. By 2020, millennials are expected to make up 50% of the nation’s workforce. According to 2015 FMI Industry Survey titled Millenials in Construction: Learning to engage a new workforce, millennials are not that different from their older work colleagues and that differences between the generations have been exaggerated.

“Findings show that millennials are indeed very dedicated and loyal to their companies and that they share similar values as baby boomers and Gen Xers when it comes down to career aspirations, attitudes and goals,” reports FMI. The report goes onto say that millennials are looking for clearly communicated company visions, they are eager to be challenged, and want to know what the advancement opportunities are. While competitive pay is important, they also are looking for personal development and work-life balance.

“Millennials want to drive innovation. Construction is a great industry to be in to do just that,” said Cilley. “When you are an Ironworker, you leave something tangible behind. We are instrumental in projects that make a real difference in people’s lives. Hospitals, schools, research centers, museums. That’s the message we need to get to parents and school counselors.”

As Cilley enters his term as President of SEAA, he look forward to working with the board of directors and committee chairpersons to create a concrete action plan to achieve these goals.