Helm Group


We’re an unusual company. Asphalt paving, mechanical installations, bridge construction, electrical installations, rock crushing, facility maintenance, and much more. Some business units are labor-dependent; some are much more equipment-dependent. Some rely on public money; some rely on private money. Some projects are $100 million and more; some projects are $10,000 and less. At times, it’s […]

What is the one biggest complaint you hear in other companies? Probably toward the top of the list is something along the lines of, “We just don’t communicate well,” or “I never feel like I know what’s going on.” We can’t say that that’s never been a problem here, but we think we have turned […]

One of the most gratifying things in our business is when a new employee chooses to begin his or her career with us.  Sometimes the employee is blindly assigned by the apprentice coordinator, but more often than not, we have done a good job of recruiting the employee and they have chosen us over other […]

I’d like to take some time to write about one of the characteristics of our employees that I think makes us very unique and successful.  Industrial psychologists call it Situational Awareness.  In layman’s terms, we know what is going on around us and can adapt to changing situations quickly.  The full definition of Situational Awareness […]

At the Helm Group, we trace our start back to 1946 when Chuck Johnston started Freeport Blacktop.  Chuck was my Grandma’s brother, and truth be told, he enjoyed drinking and golfing more than estimating and running crews.  We did well enough in those post-World War II days to hang on and slowly build up a […]

Each March, salaried employees are given their annual performance review.  As part of the process, we ask them to list three strengths and three opportunities for improvement in the company.  There is a lot of good information in the answers and it helps us capitalize on the strengths and shore up our weaknesses.  It is […]

Consultant: “Why would a customer want to work with you over your competitor?” Me: “Because we have the best people.” Consultant: “You can’t say it’s your people.” Me: “Why not?  It’s true.  I really believe that.” Consultant: “Even if it is true, each of your competitors says the exact same thing and they all believe […]

We started as a union company and plan on being union forever.  When people outside of construction hear that, it is often met with dismay or disbelief.  They have images of public sector or service industry unions even though those are much different business models that our construction trade unions.  When we really dig into […]