HGC AttendsnDirt World Workshop Series At Knife River

Not Just Another Workshop

In partnership with BuildWitt, Katie Page, our Director of Team Development, and Andrea Ribelin, our Training & Curriculum Specialist, recently had the opportunity to come together with 150 construction industry leaders at the Dirt World Workshop series at Knife River in Albany, Oregon.

In a unique three-day event, the workshop focused on sharing the positive impacts of training and development in the dirt world, learning best practices, and networking. The agenda included insightful presentations, engaging activities, and valuable discussions, all set against the backdrop of Knife River’s impressive facility.

A Rich Learning Experience

The event kicked off with facility tours of Knife River, allowing attendees to see firsthand how a well-established training team and program operates. One highlight of the Workshop was a group dinner on a steamer train! This experience not only provided a one-of-a-kind setting for the evening but allowed for further networking and relationship building.

Dirt World Workshop

The Workshop featured several notable speakers, including Aaron Witt, and Randy Blount from BuildWitt, and JP Dinnell, Chief Training Officer at Echelon Front. JP Dinnell shared compelling stories about leadership and the profound impact of humility and effective communication. His reflections on leadership under Jocko Willink, particularly the anecdote of Jocko ‘picking up brass’ beside his team, emphasized how effective a different, more engaged style of leadership can be. Dinnell also stressed the importance of balancing Extreme Ownership with the need to avoid burnout, leading to the creation of the Dichotomy of Leadership.


Another attendee-favorite, Daron Earlewine, discussed the “4 Foundations of Love” in building strong relationships, helping the group understand how critical it is to make people feel seen, known, affirmed, and blessed. He introduced the “15-second rule” which emphasized the need to savor positive experiences for at least 15 seconds for them to imprint on your brain. This idea is particularly significant in the fast-paced world we live in today.

It was an honor to represent HGC and share the lessons we've learned with companies just starting their training and development journey. Receiving feedback from more established companies we've worked or met with before, and how they've used our insights to improve, was one of my personal highlights of the trip.
Katie Page, Director of Team Development

HGC’s Opportunity to Share

While the central themes of the workshop included the importance of relationships, consistency, and vulnerability in leadership, Katie and Andrea had the opportunity to share HGC’s training and development journey. Their 1-hour presentation drew 50 participants in each of their three sessions. They shared how the HGC Academy was born out of a vision from our leadership team and helped break down the milestones that our team has experienced since 2019. They answered questions from the group and offered practical content and tangible takeaways and resources. They were excited and honored to share their expertise, helping companies in the early stages of their training and development programs feel more equipped to get started.

Katie and Andrea noted the significant changes in the construction industry over the past five years, with training and development becoming more mainstream. They emphasized the importance of communication, accountability, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and investing in people.

Moving Our Industry Forward

An important take away welearned from Aaron Witt was understanding the three catergories of companies:

The winners actively train and teach their teammates, have winning attitudes, and lead by example. They communicate and are proud of what they do and who they are and have humility and care for each other.

The next event on the horizon is the 2024 Dirt World Summit in November, which promises to continue the momentum of this Workshop series. As the journey toward better training and development practices continues to ripple its way through our industry, we are excited to stay connected with BuildWitt and the network of leaders we met.

For our industry to continue pushing into the future, there is an undeniable need to break old-school mentalities and embrace new strategies for improvement. Every challenge should be faced as an opportunity for better training and communication.
Andrea Ribelin, Training & Curriculum Specialist

We invite anyone interested in learning more about the HGC Academy, or our training and development strategies, to reach out to us at andrear@hoopaughgrading.com or katiep@hoopaughgrading.com. In the meantime, our commitment to continuous improvement will remain at the forefront of our mission to be the best and we hope it will stay top of mind for you too.