August 30, 2019

Is there a relationship between unemployment rates and training? Can supervisors make incremental adjustments to employees’ skills during times of economic growth and/or decline?

ELECTRI International’s Early Career Award study, commissioned in July 2019, will document how individuals’ knowledge and experience moves between project team members working on construction projects. The goal is to help construction organizations prepare for the unstable labor markets that change almost yearly.

Dr. Anthony Sparkling, Assistant Professor of Construction Management Technology at Purdue University will conduct field studies focusing on commercial construction case study projects, as identified in collaboration with NECA’s Central Indiana Chapter. This Award is named in honor of Russell J Alessi, ELECTRI’s founding Executive Director.


The six-month study, Harnessing Knowledge and Experience of Specialty Contracting Supervisors, will utilize site observations and interviews to access the knowledge and experience of construction supervisory professionals working for specialty contractors in the US. A demographic survey will serve as a proxy for the entire workforce on each project during the site observation period. This investigation will give researchers access to project-specific data about the project teams to investigate potential relationships to knowledge transfer.


The three main project objectives that attracted the ELECTRI Council to this research initiative include the intent to:


  • Generate a measurement instrument to evaluate explicit and tacit knowledge
  • Identify knowledge that construction professionals perceive as highly important for successful project delivery
  • Develop a “lessons learned” report and training material to prepare future construction professionals


For information about ELECTRI International’s research agenda, visit www.electri.org/research or contact the Foundation at 301-215-4538.