IT’S GRADUATION TIME for college and university students, and soon the area’s high school seniors will follow with their own march to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Many of these teenage candidates for graduation already have a good idea about what they want to do in life — what they want to have as a career. It might be safe to say, though, that as many or more seniors have absolutely no clue what they want to do as a grown-up. For this latter group, we have a suggestion: Construction. Consider a career in the challenging but well-paying, wide-ranging, and rewarding field of construction. Continue reading High school grads: Get construction training and you’ll be in high demand
Many folks look forward to the Christmas season because of all the things they might get. Others look forward to the season and all the opportunities to give.
In the end, the folks focused more on giving usually end up happier and more blessed. The Good Book tells us that (Acts 20:35), but life and experience and all of those warm and fuzzy feelings tell us that, too.
We at Tucker Paving encourage everyone — friends, relatives, colleagues, and businesses of all kinds — to search for opportunities to give during the holidays and throughout the year. It’s not difficult at all to find a worthy cause. There are so many ways to help, so many people to help, and so many wonderful charitable endeavors to support. Those of us who are blessed — and, really, most of us are — can give our time, our talents, our money, and our other tangible resources to help improve individual lives, to help make families stronger, and, in extreme cases, to help the most vulnerable among us survive from day to day.
On the matter of giving, management wants Tucker Paving to be a company that sets a good business and community example. Through financial contributions, staff volunteerism, or perhaps just a simple mention on our online social media sites, here are some of the community and charitable organizations, activities, and causes we hope we boosted at least little bit in 2016:
• Polk County Public Schools
• Central Florida Construction Career Days
• American Heart Month (American Heart Association)
• Citrus Center Boys and Girls Clubs
• Taste of Winter Haven
• Rinker School of Construction Career Fair (University of Florida)
• Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club (Antique Engine & Tractor Show)
• Florida Special Olympics
• 25th Annual Chain of Lakes Challenge golf tournament
• The (Winter Haven) Banker’s Cup Award
• Southeastern Guide Dogs Walk-a-Thon
• Central Florida Leadership Forum
• All Saints’ Academy (Winter Haven)
• 2016 Haines City Economic Summit
• Our Children’s Academy (Lake Wales)
• Earth Day 2016
• Polk State College Foundation (Clays for Courts)
• Winter Haven Hospital Foundation (Fore the Love tournaments)
• Elbert Elementary School (Winter Haven)
• 2016 Hurricane Expo (Auburndale)
• American Red Cross (CPR training)
• Lake Alfred Chamber of Commerce
• Winter Haven Area Chamber of Commerce
• BCN Career Fair (University of Florida)
• University of North Florida (Computing, Engineering & Construction Employer Showcase)
• American Red Cross (following Hurricane Matthew)
• International Red Cross (following Hurricane Matthew)
• Salvation Army (following Hurricane Matthew)
• World Vision (following Hurricane Matthew)
• Project Care Outreach (Lakeland)
• Project Park Bench 2016
• “Pay It Forward: Perform a Random Act of Kindness”
• Law Offices of Elizabeth P. Davis (holiday toy roundup for Polk County foster children)
Tucker Paving team members always want to be No. 1 in everything we do and provide — our construction bids, the quality of our work, our on-time performance, our customer service and satisfaction, our promises kept, and more — but if another business tops us in giving, in philanthropy, in volunteering, or in community involvement, our feathers aren’t ruffled. Too much. We can live with that, because, in the end, people are helped and all of us are better off for it.
NOVEMBER IS ALMOST HERE, and many of us at Tucker Paving are feeling a bit nostalgic. The 11th month of the year always reminds us about our company’s launch — on Nov. 21, 1994. We started out with two employees and borrowed equipment and have since grown to include more than 150 crew members and a large inventory of equipment and vehicles under title in our own name.
Looking back, it seems nice and fitting that the company got its official start the week Americans celebrated Thanksgiving Day 22 years ago. We’re thankful for our humble beginnings and thankful for the growth and prosperity we’ve enjoyed since then. Certainly, the gratitude extends to the customers who took a chance on us in the early days of our operation and all the customers who have helped to fuel our growth since then.
So, who remembers what was life like in the United States and in Florida almost a generation ago, in 1994? When our memories fail us, we can always turn to the vast information on the World Wide Web to help fill in the blanks.
The president, of course, was Bill Clinton, No. 42 in the U.S. line of presidents and the fellow between two men named Bush. Florida’s governor was Lawton Chiles, who hailed from nearby Lakeland. Florida’s U.S. senators were Bob Graham and Connie Mack III, and our local congressman was Charles Canady, now a justice on the Florida Supreme Court.
At the movies, “Forrest Gump” was the top-grossing feature film at $330 million, followed closely by the animated “The Lion King” at 313 million. On television, “Friends” and “Touched by an Angel” made their debut in September 1994. “Seinfeld,” “ER,” and “Home Improvement” were the top three TV shows in the 1994-95 season. In music, “I Will Always Love You” (Whitney Houston) was Record of the Year at the Grammys, “The Bodyguard — Original Soundtrack Album” (Whitney Houston) was Album of the Year, and “A Whole New World” (the theme from “Aladdin”) was Song of the Year.
In other pop culture and news items from 1994 — we’ll stick to the more positive side of news column — “The Rachel” (Jennifer Aniston of “Friends) for gals and frosted tips for guys were the top hairstyles, the Nintendo Game Boy was popular, the Sony PlayStation was released, and Donkey Kong Country was among the top video games. Pagers were the best option for remote communication (61 million of those hip-hugging devices were in use), a first-class postage stamp went for 29 cents, a Web page was created for The White House, and best-selling books were “How Late It Was, How Late” (James Kelman) and “The Stone Diaries” (Carol Shields).
In sports, champions included the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), the Houston Rockets (NBA), the New York Rangers (NHL Stanley Cup), Conchita Martinez and Pete Sampras at Wimbledon, Go For Gin at the Kentucky Derby, Nebraska in NCAA football, Arkansas in NCAA basketball, and Brazil in the World Cup. Notably, the World Series wasn’t held, and, before college football had an overtime system, Florida and Florida State had to settle for a 31-31 tie in a game that became known as — sorry, Gator fans — “The Choke at Doak.”
And finally, in business, 1994 was the year for two other significant company launches. You might have heard of them — Yahoo! and Amazon. They’ve each become nationally what we at Tucker Paving are working very hard to make our company locally — and that would be a household name.
In various locations throughout Central Florida each year, and at various times, construction-related organizations sponsor special events to showcase for high school students the many career options and job opportunities within the construction industry. One such event — a big one — was the Central Florida Construction Career Days, held Jan. 28 and 29 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando. CCD Central Florida, at it’s known, is one of four regional CCDs now held annually. The newest one, CCD Tampa, is set for April 13. (See the details at 222.ccdfl.com.)
Each CCD — sponsored primarily by the Florida Department of Transportation, contractors and construction associations — gets better and more exciting each year, with the highlights being the hands-on learning labs for students. The recent CCD Central Florida included more than two dozen learning labs, featuring everything from Geotechnical Engineering and Survey/GPS to Bridge Building 101 and Asphalt Cookies (something right up Tucker Paving’s alley).
Construction is such a broad and rewarding career field, and the CCDs help to show that. There are so many specialties and subspecialties in construction — from laying block to laying asphalt. There’s literally something for everyone. Even if you’re not out in the field doing work with your hands or operating heavy machinery, you can provide very important and valuable construction support in an office setting.
Close to home, we can recommend two excellent places for primary training in a variety of construction-related trades. This training, which often leads directly to very good jobs, is offered by two Polk County public schools — Ridge Career Center (www.ridge.edu) in Winter Haven and Traviss Career Center (www.traviss.edu) in Lakeland. If you think that the construction industry might be a good fit for you, be sure to check out the career center websites for program options. The education you build on today very well could lead to building roads and bridges tomorrow.