EZG Manufacturing
Federated Insurance
Fraco USA, Inc.
Hohmann and Barnard, Inc.
Husqvarna Construction Products N.A.
Hydro Mobile, Inc.
iQ Power Tools
Kennison Forest Products, Inc.
Mortar Net Solutions
Non-Stop Scaffolding
Southwest Scaffolding
Tradesmen's Software, Inc.
FEMA Urban Search and Rescue teams work to clear rubble and search for survivors at the World Trade Center. Photo by Andrea Booher/ FEMA
FEMA Urban Search and Rescue teams work to clear rubble and search for survivors at the World Trade Center. Photo by Andrea Booher/ FEMA
September 11, 2013 7:00 AM CDT

Sept. 11: Leadership lessons learned

Full Contact Project Management


It was the 4th of July, and I found myself screaming at the television – again! Guess I was feeling less than patriotic – or maybe overly patriotic – I’m not sure which. But I just wanted it to stop. I was watching television, and Megyn Kelly was interviewing a group of veterans – wounded vets. Actually, they were catastrophically wounded veterans: double and triple amputees, severely burned, and worse.

As Americans, we are so grateful for guys and gals like these who have given so much. As the saying goes, “All gave some; some gave all.”

But, hey, this was Independence Day, so why was I so upset? Well, “independence” is the key word. Those who would help others had become almost unable to help themselves. To survive, they had become dependent upon others – the antithesis of independence!

The television show discussed the obstacles our wounded vets have to face just to get through the day, and how the new “smart homes” have been such a huge help. As a member of the building industry for so many years, it is encouraging and heartwarming for me to see the impact of this new technology upon those who need it so much. You’ve heard it said that a picture is worth 1,000 words, so just visit

And so, on the one hand, I am encouraged by the great things the building industry can and has done in order to help both our disabled population and severely wounded soldiers. But, I am frustrated by knowing that each of these deserving vets must wait years, at a minimum, to get the kind of housing help he needs.

Case and point: Less than half of the guys in that television interview were yet living in a “smart home,” and this was many years after the injuries were first sustained. To me, this is both outrageous and unacceptable. So that’s why I was yelling.

Why is this so much on my mind today? Well, as you read this magazine, Sept. 11 is upon us again. The guys and gals who have been killed or wounded this century in combat are all related to 9-11.

Our citizens of today have embraced this group of young men and women, and shown them nothing but love. And as someone who served in the military about a million years ago, and saw how our troops were mistreated by their fellow Americans as they returned home from Vietnam, I take the way we treat our troops very personally.

As bad a day as Sept. 11, 2001, was, it did showcase the resolve inherent and embedded in the DNA of almost every American. Training kicked in. First responders did exactly as they were trained. They hoped for the best but were prepared for the worst. Hundreds of our finest were lost.

The military immediately moved forward with its response. Americans at home hoped, prayed and worked to help. And in the days and months following, our country was lead to steel its resolve and press on toward new goals.

Lately, many of our embassies have been closed, at least temporarily. Our country seems to be losing credibility in the world community. We are still a long way from financial strength in our national economy as we continue to borrow more than we take in. We have set a record for the number of new jobs. Unfortunately, they are only part-time jobs, and that trend appears to be continuing.

So, people still are scared. As builders, we’re concerned, and not out of the woods yet. It’s safe to say that most of us don’t know where our next jobs may be coming from. We’re pretty sure we’ll find one; we just don’t know from where.

The MCAA continues to be a big part of how we can and will get out of this financial mess. There is no shortage of resources available to you, simply for making a phone call. The leaders there have been wise enough to offer continuing, online education that you can use to advance your career and help promote your company.

The MCAA has made certain that you can attend these webinars live or just catch the replay, in the event you actually have some work and may be out in the field at the time it’s scheduled. I had the privilege of teaching one of the webinars, and it is entitled “Leading Your Team Thru Absolutely Anything.”

Can I suggest something? During these bleak times, it’s important to get an encouraging word now and then. This is precisely the message I shared with the MCAA audience in that webinar. People paid good money to attend the webinar, and from the comments I got, many were inspired by its patriotic message of hope. I made the effort to re-record the “speech,” and to put it up on YouTube. It is available to anybody, without further cost, at, but you also can find it by going to Google or YouTube, and typing in the title.

I would like you to go there and watch it. It will cement into your mind the belief that you, your family, your company, your community, and your country can and will survive the mess we’re in and the doom and gloom that seems to pervade things these days. My message in that speech will convince you to accept and embrace our heritage.

About the Author

Gary Micheloni is a working project manager, speaker, author, consultant and coach. He has severals years of industry experience, including a background as a licensed general engineering contractor. For further information and insight on the Full Contact Project Management approach, write Coach Gary at


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