The Tucson Streetcar project team has a not-so-secret weapon in its arsenal that is contributing to its excellent results. The team draws on skills and experience honed long before the start of the project. They were developed through more than 50 years of combined uniformed service around the world with the United States military.
Five military veterans work in pivotal management positions on both the L.K. Comstock National Transit and RailWorks Track Systems teams. Add to that veterans at work with our Joint Venture Partner Granite Construction and electrical linemen and track laborers and you have nearly a dozen veterans constructing the Tucson Streetcar project representing the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
That should be no surprise since many of the same attributes that define success in the military also apply to our project work. It’s a big reason why RailWorks actively recruits veterans interested in using their military training and experience to build a second career on railroad and rail-transit construction projects in the United States and Canada.
Sixteen-year Marine veteran Thomas Rayson, a lineman foreman on the Tucson project, acknowledges that while he may not use some of the specific skills he learned in the military, much of the personal and professional training prepared him for his L.K. Comstock National Transit job. “First and foremost, the military teaches you responsibility,” states Thomas.
Field Engineer Eric Crighton, a 23-year veteran of the Air Force and Army, agrees.
“No matter what job you do in the military, they expect you to be accountable. At RailWorks (L.K. Comstock), that translates into knowing how to handle tools and equipment, how to maintain them, and how to work safely with others,” explains Eric. “You learn in the military that that you have to be accountable or someone won’t make it home. It’s the same with an electrician or lineman. Everyone has to be in the right place or someone could get hurt.”
Teamwork, another attribute refined in the military, is put into practice day after day on a project site.
“In the military, you don’t get to pick who you work with and it constantly changes. You’re expected to work with whoever you get. You learn not to let petty differences get in the way and to quickly trust the others in your unit,” explains Eric.
He suggests it’s the same on a job site. “You have a team meeting in the morning and you understand your job for the day. You don’t have to constantly check to make sure others are doing their job. People do what they need to do to get the work done. We work as a team where everyone is accountable.”
The supervisors agree that leadership skills learned in the military apply at RailWorks as well. “The military teaches you to be a leader. You learn how to build a cohesive team and how to build trust,” attests Eric. “They know you mean business.”