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A Candid Interview with Gray West Construction’s CEO, Brian Silver

This month Brian Silver Celebrated his 25th Anniversary with Gray West. We celebrated this milestone by interviewing him!


Brian, you stepped into the role CEO in 2022; thus far, what have you learned?

One thing I’ve always known, but I have now seen come full circle, is that construction is a team sport and a people business.  From team members to customers to vendors and partners, people and relationship skills are the key to our success.

Succession planning is another big one.  Who will replace you someday is a question all forward thinking companies need to be asking and developing a plan to have the right answer.

Establishing and reinforcing our people-based culture and developing the next generation of leaders is what I’m enjoying the most and where I hope to be able to spend the majority of my time.  I’m grateful for the knowledge and shared experience I’ve gained from Bob, Eric, Todd, Dave and Rob, to help vault Gray WC to an even better place.

How have you seen the industry change over the years? What challenges do you think the industry will face in the future, and how does GWC plan to overcome them? 

One of the industry’s biggest challenges right now is labor shortage. There is a high demand for workers in our industry and not enough people entering the workforce. From labor in the field to project oversight in the office, we are facing an uphill challenge. Adding the role of Employee Experience Champion to Kim and Loraine’s plates is one significant step GWC has taken to push forward our people first culture to help attract and retaining the best team members that fit our culture.

Conversely, what are you most excited about?  

The purchase back from Gray last year has afforded GWC an abundance of opportunities for our people, customers and partners.  I’m excited to see our team flourish now that we can function like a company that’s our size and not theirs.  Working with customers we could no longer work for, leadership and ownership opportunities and upward mobility within our team are just a few of the plusesthat really excite me

What are some personal or professional routines that have contributed to your success?

I try to be fully present while interacting with others. It is disturbingly easy to go through a day in a constant state of interruption. When meeting with others, these personal interruptions — from your phone, computer, watch, etc. — can hurt your ability to fully participate in a conversation.

It can be hard not to immediately pull out your phone every time it vibrates. But I have found that making a concerted effort to manage the interruptions, rather than be managed by them, allows me to be more focused, productive, engaged, and effective.

Being a good listener, putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and returning calls, texts and e-mails in the same day are a few other routines I make sure to do every day.

What are some leadership qualities you most admire?

I admire leaders who create and articulate a compelling vision along with a plausible plan to achieve success. To rally a team — large or small — it is critical to set the direction and inspire others to champion that vision as well.  Leading by example and doing what you say you are going to do are traits I truly admire.

Great leaders exude a positive attitude of possibility and don’t shy from working harder than their team and taking risks. They also celebrate the excellence of each and every person’s contributions, big and small, and are quick to highlight and praise the achievements of their teammates.

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